Not Saint Darwin

Wilkins, John S.
February 2009
Resonance: Journal of Science Education;Feb2009, Vol. 14 Issue 2, p154
Academic Journal
Charles Darwin's name is going to be heard, read about, or spoken a lot this year, as it is the second centenary of his birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species. And as great as his contribution to science and the modern world is, we might ask ourselves whether we are making rather too much of this man. Is Darwin the important person he is being taken to be? To answer this question I shall raise three more: first, why do we celebrate individuals in scientific history, when it is the work of many scientists that gives us the results? Second, how original was Darwin anyway - who else did the important work? And third, what role do scientific heroes play in current science? Answers to these questions will give us a better, more sober and balanced, and more useful explanation of actual science both in the past and the present, and perhaps also in the future.


Related Articles

  • A Comparative Analysis of the Darwin-Wallace Papers and the Development of the Concept of Natural Selection.  // Theory in Biosciences;Nov2004, Vol. 122 Issue 4, p343 

    The classical theory of descent with modification by means of natural selection had no mother, but did have two English fathers, Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913). In 1858, the Linnean Society of London published two contributions of these naturalists and...

  • Dar·win.  // American Heritage Student Science Dictionary;2009, p92 

    A profile of the British naturalist Charles Robert Darwin, is presented. He proposed the theory of evolution based on natural selection and that random variations of trait, within an individual species can lead to the development of new species, revolutionized the study of biology. INSET:...

  • What is 'Natural' in Natural Selection? Bardapurkar, Abhijeet // Resonance: Journal of Science Education;May2013, Vol. 18 Issue 5, p475 

    To understand Darwin's concept of natural selection, we have to contrast it with his characterization of artificial selection, and then ask: what is natural in natural selection? While we do this, we develop two distinctions: one between 'change by transformative action' and 'change by...

  • What's at stake in the evolution debate. Trail, Pepper // High Country News;10/3/2005, Vol. 37 Issue 18, p21 

    This article presents the author's views about the debate on evolution. Naturalist Charles Darwin's concept of evolution and natural selection asserts that life is so complex that it must reflect a guiding intelligence. Mindful that the teaching of creationism has been barred by the courts,...

  • Predicting Evolution. Zeigler, David // Skeptic;2008, Vol. 14 Issue 2, p24 

    The article explores the concept of evolution in human-level intelligence which was based on the pre-Darwinian view of the scala naturae and the Great Chain of Being. Accordingly, the work of English natural scientist Charles Darwin destroyed any foundation for progressive thinking by showing...

  • The institutes of an evolutionary confession of faith: But is Nietzsche wrong? Roper, Duncan // Stimulus: The New Zealand Journal of Christian Thought & Practic;Nov2009, Vol. 17 Issue 4, p32 

    The article discusses the effort to place evolution in an overall view of science, religiousness, and ideology. It notes the importance of naturalist Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection wherein it is the means by which biology came to adopt the wide idea of evolution. It highlights the...

  • Wallace's Fatal Flaw. Gould, Stephen Jay // Natural History;Jan80, Vol. 89 Issue 1, p26 

    Focuses on multiple discoveries in the field of evolutionary biology, particularly the works of the naturalists Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. Difference between Darwin's and Wallace's assessments of the power of natural selection; Notions on sexual selection; Accounts of the two...

  • Evolution for Young Victorians. Lightman, Bernard // Science & Education;Jul2012, Vol. 21 Issue 7, p1015 

    Evolution was a difficult topic to tackle when writing books for the young in the wake of the controversies over Darwin's Origin of Species. Authors who wrote about evolution for the young experimented with different ways of making the complex concepts of evolutionary theory accessible and less...

  • PART ONE: Context: ESSAY ONE: Darwin's Context. Crook, Paul // Darwin's Coat-Tails;2007, preceding p2 

    The article examines the perspectives through which Charles Darwin conceived his theory of evolution. The centerpoint of his theory, natural selection, is based on the ideas of Thomas Malthus. The key idea of divergence originated from Scottish economists, especially Adam Smith and James...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics