Charles Darwin
(1809-1882) English naturalist who formulated the theory of evolution by natural selection. The young Darwin abandoned medical studies in Edinburgh to study at Cambridge, intending to train as an Anglican priest. While at Cambridge he developed a strong interest in science and in 1831, at the suggestion of John Henslow, the Professor of Botany, he was selected as the naturalist for HMS Beagle which was about to embark on a major surveying voyage. After a five year circumnavigation of the globe, during which Darwin filled many volumes of notebooks with observations of flora and fauna, he returned to England and began a long series of publications. Although his thought was pushing him towards the theory of evolution it was not until 1859, more than 20 years after the voyage of the Beagle, that he finally published Origin of Species, the book which was to revolutionise the way that both scientists and laymen thought about the way that species - including man - developed. The mechanism of evolutionary change he suggested - natural selection - has three elements to it: the occurrence of random variation; the struggle for survival; and the survival of the fittest. Variations occur, randomly, in the offspring of plants and animals. Nature produces an abundance of offspring, more than the natural world can sustain, so there is a struggle for survival. Some of the random variations confer an advantage on those who have them, giving them an advantage over the others. Those that survive will live longer, have more offspring and gain domination over those with other variations. So, by natural selection, particular variations are favoured and effect a gradual transformation in the appearance and behaviour of any species. So nervous was Darwin of upsetting the intellectual and religious establishment by suggesting that man, like others, developed by natural selection, that he only mentioned man on the last page of Origin, saying, almost as a throwaway line, that what he had written would doubtl as have some implications for man. Origin of Species was not the first public outing for Darwin's theory. That had happened the previous year when Darwin received a letter from another naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace, then in the Far East, indicating that the other man, quite independently, had reached conclusions about evolution very similar to Darwin's. The intercession of mutual friends enabled them to publish their papers jointly before the Linnean Society.
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Dyrene føler, som mennesket, glæde smerte, lykke og ulykke. De rammes af de samme sindsbevægelser. Klik for at sende dette citat til en ven
Et menneske, som tør spilde en time af sit liv, har ikke opdaget livets værdi. Klik for at sende dette citat til en ven
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Klik for at sende dette citat til en ven

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. Klik for at sende dette citat til en ven
As for future life, every person must judge for themself between conflicting vague possibilities. Klik for at sende dette citat til en ven
I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection. Klik for at sende dette citat til en ven
I love fools' experiments. I am always making them. Klik for at sende dette citat til en ven
It has been a bitter moritification for me to digest the conclusion that the 'race is for the strong' and that I shall probably do little. more but be content to admire the strides others made in science. Klik for at sende dette citat til en ven
Man is descended from a hairy, tailed quadruped, probably arboreal in its habits. Klik for at sende dette citat til en ven
The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognise that we ought to control our thoughts. Klik for at sende dette citat til en ven
The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. Klik for at sende dette citat til en ven

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