Charles Darwin was a naturalist who fought against beliefs at the time and helped to prove his theory of evolution. His theory explained how each and every diverse living thing came to be. Despite popular beliefs, Darwin decided to explore the roots of creation through geology. Many events, including surprising and previously unexplainable discoveries, shifted Darwin’s beliefs and caused him to develop his own views on evolution. It is difficult to tell exactly when Darwin shifted in favor of evolution, but several factors including his findings on his trip greatly played a role in what he believed caused evolution.
To help him better understand previous animals and why they went extinct, Darwin collected a wide array of fossils and observed their similarities and differences. Darwin wondered why fossil remains and present species found so close to each other could possibly resemble each other so closely. This led Darwin to develop a theory on why extinction occurs and why there are specific species that are only relevant in certain areas of the planet. Many of these observations and theories ultimately lead Darwin to his shift from religion to his views on evolution. (Darwin’s Dangerous Idea 2002.) Once Darwin’s research and observations produced results that contradicted the bible, he started straying from Christianity.
A huge factor in his pull towards evolution was the realization that the facts in front of him disagreed with popular beliefs. Darwin had to choose whether to continue his experiments even though he felt like he was “committing a murder”. Another factor that greatly affected not only his pull towards evolution but also his push away from Christianity, was the death of his daughter. The death of Annie Darwin is claimed to be one of the most crucial reasons for Darwin’s push away from Christianity. When his daughter died of sickness, people of the church essentially blamed her death on Darwin. He refused to accept the belief that this was karma for him searching for answers about evolution.
This assumption made by the church showed him that he should not let church officials guilt him out of figuring out the truth. Many also believe that he was angry at God for taking his daughter and that he wasn’t going to stop his life’s work to praise him. As Darwin’s observations and research advanced, he travelled farther away from Christianity and eventually he doesn’t care about offending the Church.
All of these factors eventually led to Darwin publishing these theories and pushing through the hate form the Catholic Church. (Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, 2002) After extensive research and observations, Darwin suggested the idea of natural selection. He observed that each version of the same species had adapted to fit their habitat. He observed different Finches and discovered that they had different beaks to fit their lifestyle. Some finches had longer beaks and some had shorter beaks, but each creature’s beak was perfect for their habitat and way of life.
Natural selection is the idea that mutations can cause living organisms to evolve slowly over time. His research showed slight changes between many animals of the same species from different habitats. Darwin’s suggestion is that genetic mutations that benefit the specific animal, including making an animal faster for hunting down prey, ultimately benefit the species because the animal will pass down their traits to its offspring.
He believed that every living creature has evolved slowly over time due to small and accidental mistakes. This implied that new beings can appear on the earth by branching off of other species. This led Darwin to compose one of his strangest and most dangerous idea, which was his belief that all living things have branched out from one single being.