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The Theory of Evolution Overview and Analysis

The theory of biological evolution was firstly developed by British naturalist Charles Darwin in his book On the Origins of Species in 1859. This theory is also called Darwinism or Darwinian theory and is recognized by many people as a modern evolutionary theory. The theory has explained many things, such as the origin of humans, animals, and other species. Thus, the book caused a profound impact on the development of natural sciences. The theory is based on two basic concepts. The first is that each descendant has its differences from an ancestor. Darwin entitled these differences as variations.

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This fact later becomes a foundation phenomenon for genetics studies and the concept of genetic mutations. Secondly, even though these variations are random, they also can contribute to the creation of advantages for species. For instance, a slimmer predator can run and hunt faster. Darwin named this mechanism of natural adaptation of organisms into changing environments as natural selection. The idea is that during natural selection and adaptation, organisms always gain better traits that can lead to more chances of surviving and reproducing in the future. Thus, this idea of natural selection is among the most influential for breeding. In basic terms, breeding is an attempt to take natural selection into people’s hands. Therefore, these variations are created and distributed through many populations over time, and that can lead to bigger surviving rates or even the creation of new species.

There are many agreements and criticism of Darwin’s theory of evolution. The first debate stands on the fact that theory does not take into account any religious beliefs. Stewart-Williams states that “evolution doesn’t just eliminate reasons to believe in God; it provides reasons not to believe” (9). This controversial opposition of science and religion is deeply rooted in the history of humanity. Secondly, Darwin’s theory does not say anything about the cultural characteristics of nations and their unique history. Finally, the theory’s concept is not scientifically proven but rather depicts a set of previous observations and findings from other sciences. Consequently, the theory does not explain the origin of life on Earth and is applicable only from a long-term perspective. Based on that, it also has a vast place for interpretation by readers and a further place for debate.

However, many examples support Darwin’s theory. Most of them are based on fossil records that depict a change in earlier species. For instance, the finding of fossil Archaeopteryx confirmed that birds had reptilian ancestors. Another significant example is the findings of human ancestors, a sign of natural evolution from apes to humans. Natural adaptation and natural selection are concepts that can explain the mutation that happened in colonies of bacteria when they become resistant to antibiotics. By adding an antibiotic in a Petri dish with bacteria, the majority of the colony usually dies. However, there are always a few bacteria that stay immune and continue to replicate. Therefore, their future descendants will be immune to antibiotics and so on.

Finally, after its publishing, Darwin’s theory of evolution had a tremendous impact on many sciences and divided our society into two main groups: those who believe in it and those who do not. However, the fact that it is not scientifically proven and based on observations creates a place for a debate and many interpretations. In addition, it does not consider religion, culture, and history. However, for the majority of scientists – evolution won.

Works Cited

Stewart-Williams, Steve. Darwin, God and the meaning of life: How evolutionary theory undermines everything you thought you knew. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Print.

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