CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN
Charles Robert Darwin was born in the city of Shrewsbury, England on the 12th of February 1809. The son of Dr Robert Waring Darwin(son of Erasmus Darwin a poet, philosopher, and a naturalist who had written two books, The Botanic Garden and Zoonomia, recording his scientific views)and Susannah Darwin he was the younger of the two sons and the fourth child for the couple. From his birth, Charles had the zeal for nature of his grandfather in his blood. His father, Robert, influenced him in a much more tangible way. His mother, who had a hobby of raising pigeons, died when he was eight. The naturalist interests of Erasmus Darwin, the discipline of Robert Darwin, and the absence of Susannah Darwin influenced Darwin in his early life.
Darwin??™s early education was conducted at Shrewsbury, first for a year at a day-school, then for seven years at Shrewsbury School under Dr Samuel Butler (1774??”1839). He gained but little from the narrow system which was then universal. ???Nothing could have been worse for the development of my mind than Dr. Butleris school, as it was strictly classical, nothing else being taught except a little ancient geography and history ???
In 1825 he went to Edinburgh to prepare for the medical profession, for which he was unfitted by nature. Charles succumbed to his father??™s wishes and left the boarding school at age sixteen to study medicine at Edinburgh University. Once again, Darwin found pleasures doing things other than his studies. Instead of witnessing gruesome surgeries, Charles found it much more interesting to attend lectures on geology, learn how to stuff birds and animals, and visit his Uncle Josiah Wedgwood in the rural area surrounding Shrewsbury. In 1828 sent him to Cambridge with the idea that he should become a clergyman. He matriculated at Christ??™s College, and took his degree in 1831, tenth in the list of those who do not seek honors. Charles??™s life was reoriented, and he was thrown into something he did not have the heart to do. To pass the time in Cambridge, Darwin took up shooting and sporting. As he reflects on his education at Christ??™s College, ???During the three years which I spent at Cambridge my time there was wasted as far as the academic studies were concerned as completely as at Edinburgh and at school.??? The significance of Darwin??™s education up until the age of twenty-two, lies in how he spent his time and energy. Throughout his school career, Charles enjoyed the outdoors n whether it was collecting minerals and insects or watching birds or shooting and stuffing wildlife. He was not content to attend boring lectures, but he was enthusiastic about being out in the field where he could study geology and biology as it was happening. In an answer to a questionnaire concerning scientific men of the day, Darwin wrote,??? I consider that all I have learnt of any value has been self-taught.???Further significance of Darwin??™s schooling lies in the professors and esteemed scientists he met. His hands-on interest in the natural sciences and his personable character made him many solid connections with his teachers.
While Darwin is properly credited with making evolution the dominant paradigm in biology, he was not the first to come up with the idea. In fact Darwins major contribution was to suggest a mechanism for evolution??“natural selection??“that did not depend on the intervention of a divine power. There were three major revolutions in scientific thought that prepared the way for a successful theory of evolution.
Darwin essentially argued that living things are engaged in a struggle for existence and that any features they possess which affect their survival and reproductive potential will be subjected to continuous selective pressure. This might be seen as his new big idea in the whole evolution thing. This means that through time those features which confer an advantage in the struggle for life will be retained and those that constitute a handicap will be lost. Not for individuals but for the race. So the composition of the population (or species) changes through time, eventually producing such widely divergent forms that cannot interbreed, and are so called separate species.
Darwins three major contributions to evolutionary thought are:
1. There is genetic variation in all species
2. The variability is inherited – passed from parents to offspring
3. There are more offspring born than that survive to reproductive age
Darwin is remembered most for his famous book On the Origin of Species in which he detailed his theory of natural selection. But he did far more than just this. Even before he had published a word on evolution he was among the elite of Britains geologists and zoologists. He also made substantial contributions to botany, anthropology and psychology. His interests were incredibly broad but one of his main strengths was to bring ideas from different subjects together, uniting them under his grand theories of evolution.
Darwins theory of evolution brought these strands of thought together into a clear, cohesive argument about how the competition for life between individuals with varied traits could lead to near-infinite divergences in biological structure. It helped bring life further within the realm of science, and today it forms the conceptual framework within which all of biology is conducted.
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The appearance of Charles Darwin has been made well known in numerous portraits and statues. He was tall and thin, being about six feet high, but looked less because of a stoop, which increased towards the end of his life. As a young man he had been active, with considerable powers of endurance, and possessed in a marked degree those qualities of eye and hand which make the successful sportsman.
Charles Darwin was honored by the chief societies of the civilized world. He was made a knight of the Prussian order, ??? Pour le Merite,??? in 1867, a corresponding member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences in 1863, a fellow in 1878, and later in the same year a corresponding member of the French Institute in the botanical section. He received the Bressa prize of the Royal Academy of Turin, and the Baly medal of the Royal College of Physicians in 1879, the Wollaston medal of the Geological Society in 1859, a Royal medal of the Royal Society in 1853, and the Copley medal in 1864. His health prevented him from accepting the honorary degree which Oxford University wished to confer on him, but his own university had stronger claims, and he received its honorary LL.D. in 1877.
Two daughters and five sons survived him, four of the latter becoming prominent in the scientific world,??”Sir George Howard (b. 1845), who became professor of ???astronomy and experimental philosophy at Cambridge in 1883; Francis (b. 1848), the distinguished botanist; Leonard (b. 1850), a major in the royal engineers, and afterwards well known as an economist; and Horace (b. 1851), civil engineer.
Darwin is remembered for his brilliant science: in many ways though he was equally gifted in philosophy. He himself made many fundamental changes to the way we approach philosophy, and his work has inspired the work of many philosophers in the last 150 years.
I chose to research Charles Darwin as I feel as if without his contribution and influence the psychology we know would be very different. Thankfully unlike many others Darwin has been able to receive the ???shine and glory??? that he deserves, as I feel that his contributions has been the cornerstone to all things related to psychology . I may not always mirror the same ideologies but I feel as if without his theory I wouldn??™t have understood psychology as at.
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