Robert Charles Darwin Biography

Drawing of HMS Beagle from 'A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World' 1912 by Charles Darwin


The young naturalist

Born in 1809, Darwin was fascinated by all living things from a young age. While growing up he was an avid reader of nature books and devoted his spare time to exploring the fields around his home, collecting plants and insects.

In 1825 he became a medical student at the University of Edinburgh but was so traumatised by an operation performed on a child without anaesthetic that he gave up his studies without completing the course. He then went to Cambridge University to study theology.

Darwin graduated 4 years later, but was in no hurry to take holy orders. Instead, he set off on a journey that was to change his life, and much more besides.

Cactus finch found in the Galapagos Islands, collected during the Voyage of the Beagle.Drawing of HMS Beagle from 'A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World' 1912 by Charles Darwin

In 1831 Darwin embarked on a 5-year voyage aboard the Beagle. The ship sailed to South America to carry out surveying work. Darwin, who had been recommended by one of his Cambridge professors, had a joint role as naturalist and companion to the ship’s captain, Robert FitzRoy.

Darwin explored remote regions and marvelled at a world so different from the one he knew. He encountered birds with bright blue feet, sharks with T-shaped heads and oversized tortoises.

Everywhere he went, Darwin amassed plants, animals and fossils, and took copious notes. These collections and records were to provide the clues he needed to develop his remarkable theory.

On returning to England in 1836, Darwin spent years analysing his specimens.

Theory of natural selection

Darwin realised that evolution occurs by the process of natural selection. The ‘fittest’ animals or plants – those with the characteristics best suited to their environment – are more likely to survive and reproduce.

They pass on these desirable characteristics to their offspring. Gradually those features become more common, causing the species to change over time. If the changes are great enough, they could produce a new species altogether.

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Running Press Darwin's Notebook: The Life, Times, and Discoveries of Charles Robert Darwin
Book (Running Press)

THE Vatican has issued a stout defence of Charles Darwin, voicing strong criticism of Christian fundamentalists who reject his theory of evolution and interpret the biblical account of creation literally.

by shermer

But let's be clear: Intelligent-design theory is not science. The proof is in the pudding. Scientists, including scientists who are Christians, do not use IDT when they do science because it offers nothing in the way of testable hypotheses. Lee Anne Chaney, professor of biology at Whitworth College, a Christian institution, wrote in a 1995 article: "As a Christian, part of my belief system is that God is ultimately responsible. But as a biologist, I need to look at the evidence…. I don't think intelligent design is very helpful because it does not provide things that are refutable — there is no way in the world you can show it's not true

— New Scientist
Before a visit from his friend the geologist Charles Lyell, Darwin wrote: "I will show you my pigeons! Which is the greatest treat, in my opinion, which ..

University of Chicago Press The Meaning of Evolution: The Morphological Construction and Ideological Reconstruction of Darwin's Theory (Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series)
Book (University of Chicago Press)
Dodo Press The Autobiography of Charles Darwin (Dodo Press): Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) Was An English Naturalist Who Achieved Lasting Fame By Producing ... Theory That Natural Selection Is The Me
Book (Dodo Press)
GRIN Verlag GmbH Charles Robert Darwin (1809 - 1882) - Ein Naturforscher als Rassist? (German Edition)
eBooks (GRIN Verlag GmbH)
Adamant Media Corporation The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin: Including an Autobiographical Chapter. Edited by his son. Volume 1
Book (Adamant Media Corporation)


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