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The History And Theories Of The Evolutionist.

1374 words - 5 pages

In the mid 16th Century scientists and thinkers such as Bacon, Descartes, Copernicus and Newton began to, through their discoveries; challenge the Christian perspective of the world. The earth was displaced as center of the universe and the natural laws governing it like gravity were proven to be mathematical not moral. These discoveries challenged the traditional Christian explanation of creation as well as the moral, social and political world orders the church had created. In this enlightened environment of science and reason thinkers began to look for alternative scientific explanations for phenomena that Christian cosmology could no longer explain. Evolutionary Theory was one idea that arose in the nineteenth century to try and explain the emergence of biology and society. These theories were adopted by scientists and thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Hebert Spencer, Edward Burnett Tylor, Lewis Henry Morgan, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles, and Sigmund Freud. While all these great men specialized in different areas, came to different conclusions, and influenced the academic, economic, social and political worlds in different ways a similar rational and scientific evolutionary perspective can be seen in all their work. It is the similarities and differences of Evolutionist that this essay is going to focus on.Evolutionary theory was employed by these men to try and explain why and how biological and social entitles evolved as they did. It is traced back to Charles Darwin who is often given the credit for the ideas that emerged in his era. Darwin published huge collections scientific data in his "Origin of Species" he used this to argue that over millions of years creatures were continually coming into being and becoming extinct. In "Descent of Man" Darwin went as far as to argue that all biological entities, including humans, have evolved over time due to a process of natural selection. This means that over time those species that were best suited to the environment and were able to adapt to climactical changes would be more likely to reproduce and survive. Those less suited would die off and become extinct. Thus biological species progressed from simple to more complex forms as they evolved through time (Strayer 1995:49-50)Darwin thus began an evolutionary tradition that provided for the idea that history was the record of entities which either progressed or died. Thus history consisted of the biological and social evolution of species or societies toward more highly evolved beings. In this notion of progress entities moved from simple to more complex and from less evolved to more highly evolved forms (McGee & Warms 2000:6).This basic premise of evolutionary theory was taken up by social theorists such as Spencer who proposed that Darwin's evolutionary principles could be applied to human societies. Social Darwinists proposed that social evolution followed natural laws of Biological Evolution. Humans, like animals and plants, compete in a...

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