• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A history of evolutionary theory Evolutionary theory itself has evolved in man's quest for understanding his origins.

Extracts from this document...


A history of evolutionary theory Evolutionary theory itself has evolved in man's quest for understanding his origins. Many individuals have contributed to it, each modifying the work of his predecessors to address new data or resolve problems that arose from new information. This paper will briefly summarize some of the most defining contributions and trace the development of the theory of evolution from early to modern times. Views if origins will be categorized as early, pre-Darwinian, Darwinian, and post-Darwinian. Early Views of Origins The best-known early view of origins is that of the Hebrews. The Torah taught that an eternal, omnipotent, and all-wise God created the entire universe, including man, by calling it into existence. Creation began with apparent age, and complexity and design was woven into every detail. The species (Latin = kinds) were fixed by reproductive limitations which resulted when God commanded each to "bring forth after its own kind". God created man in his own image and was his showpiece of workmanship. 1 Acknowledgement of this doctrine established man's accountability to his maker. This view was subsequently embraced by Christianity, which had its origins in Judaism, but not until after the Greek Empire arose. The Greeks adopted a view of origins that included a multitude of anthropomorphic, deities. ...read more.


It wasn't until the rise of Christianity that large numbers of people seriously challenged it. The Christians, with their Jewish origins, clung to the Genesis account of creation. Jesus Christ, himself, quoted Genesis numerous times in such a way to endorse its literal interpretation. 7 When Constantine became a Christian, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. The almost unlimited power of the Roman church was wielded with arrogance and lack of reason, stifling scientific inquiry. Proclamations were made as to the exact day and hour that the earth had been created. Galileo, already famous for developing a working telescope, was punished for endorsing the heliocentric theory of the solar system. Reaction to this intellectual dishonesty lead to a questioning of all that the church taught, including the theory of intelligent creation. The Reformation of the seventeenth century and the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century were largely due to reactions to extra-Biblical decrees of the Roman church. Before leaving the topic of special creation, it should be noted that, though this view has ancient roots, it is still the view of most people in the western world. Many prestigious scientists believe that, putting theology and religious doctrine aside, there is more empirical evidence to support a model of creation with intelligent design than there is to support a model of evolution through random processes. ...read more.


Although neither of Lamarck's views is considered credible today, his was the first scientific theory of evolution. Further, his work in the natural sciences resulted in a unified science which he called "Biology". Perhaps the most influential writing that would stir the imagination of Charles Darwin was Essay on the Principles of Populations, 1798, by Thomas Malthus (1766-1834). Malthus described the problem of overpopulation in plants, animals, and even man. His view was that any population, left to itself, would eventually outgrow its food source. His motive was to establish the need for moral restraint in reproduction, but Darwin saw his work as an insight into the competitive environment that all species must face to survive. Darwinism The writings of Malthus and Lyell were to find significance in the mind of Charles Darwin. He was given a post as a naturalist for an extended voyage aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, from which he acquired a wealth of observations of various organisms. It was during this voyage that he began developing a theory of adaptation based upon natural selection, though it was not until twenty-two years later that he wrote and published Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection. Though "survival of the fittest" was not a phrase that he actually coined, it describes his view of gradual evolution through natural selection. Small, random variations in some individuals within an isolated population coupled with changes in the environment created a competitive advantage for those ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Existence of God essays

  1. Is Galileo considered a "hero" or "anti-hero"?

    an absolute vice and leads to disaster."Pg.68 At last, Galileo says "I enjoy doing my stuff" pg.17 showing once more his great satisfaction and determination towards the scientific research. Galileo has the ability to communicate and explain the most complex ideas with clarity and precision, things these that makes him a very comprehensive teacher.

  2. Deconstructing O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find".

    "You can do one thing or you can do another, kill a man or take a tire off his car, because sooner or later you're going to forget what it was you done and just be punished for it", says the Misfit.

  1. Creation vs. Evolution?

    Therefore, they no longer exist, and only the two divergent evolutionary results can be seen today. Christians, on the other hand believe in the story of Adam and Eve. O'Brien and Major, working for the American Academy of Religion did extensive work on the origins and understanding of the Adam and Eve story.

  2. Examine the differences which may exist between a religious and scientific interpretation of the ...

    Whilst the theory of evolution is generally accredited almost solely to Charles Darwin, and his book "Origin of the Universe", a fractionally earlier scholar Jean-Baptiste Lamarck also wrote a similar although ultimately incorrect theory of evolution. Lamarck's theory claimed that the organs a life form uses most increase in size

  1. What does St. Thomas Aquinas consider to be the nature and methodology of the ...

    That of divine revelation, therefore theology is an in-depth study of the one plan. "Faith also regardless of the science is to one degree or other a must. At each stage one must put one's trust in some idea or principle that could conceivably be false.

  2. Augustine based his theory on his reading of key biblical passages

    Augustine suggested that there was a state of blissful ignorance in the Garden of Eden, which was then knocked of balance by the Fall.

  1. Identify 3 novels, short stories or poems that would have special significance to the ...

    And now as the sun boiled up at them they remembered a score of verses and quotations: '"The golden apples of the sun'?" "Yeats." "'Fear no more the heat of the sun'?" "Shakespeare, of course!" "'Cup of Gold? Steinbeck. 'The Crock of Gold'?

  2. Where did the universe come from, has it evolved or has it been created ...

    However, some scientists don't believe this was the case but that life actually evolved from the Big Bang theory. For science the Big Bang theory came about in the form that since all galaxies appear to be moving apart rapidly, the obvious conclusion is that there was an initial explosion: the Big Bang.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work