PART C PRESENT INFORMATION TO DISCUSS THE HUXLEY-WILBERFORCE DEBATE ON DARWIN’S THEORY OF EVOLUTION. It was observations of variations between species and individuals by scientists in the nineteenth century (Darwin and Wallace) which led to the proposal of the evolution of life. Darwin created the theory of natural selection, which explained how organisms developed advanced structures to adapt and survive. The theory of natural selection proposes that it is the environment that selects favourable variations and eliminates harmful ones. After many generations of selection, the characteristics of a population may change and evolve from their primitive ancestors and the population becomes adapted to the environment. There are four elements to Darwin’s theory.
The main contributions by Darwin and Wallace to the theory of evolution were the idea that species can change, and the mechanism of natural selection to explain how the change takes place. The theory of natural selection explains how changes overtime, or evolution can occur in living organisms. In 1859 Darwin published the book “The Origin of Species” which contained evidence that he had gathered, and the theory of natural selection. A great deal of the evidence in which Darwin presented is still the basis for modern evolutionary theory. Yet Darwin’s theory caused an outrage among people when it was published. It also caused great excitement in the scientific community.
... on the theory of natural selection are similar, just more towards the species adapting but not changing into another species. Evolution and the part natural selection played ... are many different theories of natural selection, the first of which was proposed by Charles Darwin. Some of the common theories within natural selection include discussion of ...
Biology was never the same again. The storm of controversy has still not subsided to this day. Darwin’s theory affected the prevailing beliefs about the creation of humankind, because it suggested that humans were subject to the same evolutionary rules as any other species, we were no longer a special creation in the image of god. At the very heart of the controversy stood religion. What use would religion be now if its teachings over the centuries had been lies? People either believed in the Bible in its entirety, or not at all. The church was a profound critic of Darwinism.
It proved the teachings that they had passed down were wrong. The church believes that man began with Adam and Eve, and everyone else is a descendant of them. They strove to prove that the doctrine of creation was more valid than the theory of evolution. The criticism came to a head in June 1860, six months after the publication of ‘The Origin of Species’. On the evening of 30 th June, an unexpected debate took place during the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at Oxford University. Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce argued against Darwin’s theory.
He was one of those who were outraged, particularly with the idea of a relationship between men and apes. Wilberforce believed that saying humans had descended from a lowly life form in the distant past and shared a common ancestry with apes was heresy (against the Christian doctrine).
Wilberforce argued that if Darwin’s views were accepted, it was the end of western religion. He attempted to destroy Darwin’s credibility by reading a paper in which he claimed that there was nothing in the theory of evolution: ‘rock-pigeons were what rock pigeons had always been’, he said. Wilberforce was not deeply grounded in the sciences; he castigated the theory with good humour and made it appear absurd. Richard Owen, a jealous and hostile opponent of Darwin, had coached Wilberforce in his arguments.
Opposing Wilberforce’s arguments was Thomas Huxley. He was an eminent biologist who had been converted to Darwin’s evolutionism. He described himself as the ‘gladiator-general’ of Darwinism. Huxley often spoke at public debates and often clashed with the clergy and journalists. He became the theory’s most important advocate for two decades. After finishing his paper, Bishop Wilberforce turned to Huxley and asked, was it through his grandfather or his grandmother that Huxley was descended from a monkey? Huxley later replied saying: “He (Bishop Wilberforce) talked pretentious nonsense.
Darwins Theory vs. Christian View Darwins theory of evolution is sometimes called plausible. That is because it influenced much the traditional beliefs. Before Darwin there were some doubts concerning the origin of humanity and life. Before Darwin Church and religions of all kinds gave their explanation of how the world was created and towards what end it was heading. After Charles Darwin ...
The question is put to me ‘would I rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather, or a man highly endowed by nature and possessed of great means and influence, and yet who employs these faculties and that.