Surprising truths about Charles Darwin Lifeline Born 1809 College (Edinburgh and Cambridge) 1825-1831 Beagle Voyage 1831-36 Retired to Down 1842 The Origin of Species 1859 Died 1882 Darwin’s home at Down, near London Darwin’s achievements Transformed biological science Both style and content Still the cornerstone of biology Now the cutting edge of psychology Transformed attitudes of humanity to our place in the universe Not just an evolutionist Not even a biologist to start with Collected beetles for fun Studied geology more seriously Considered himself a geologist throughout the Beagle voyage and for some time after Famous for working out how coral atolls are formed His books (not just on evolution) Beagle voyage Coral reefs Volcanic islands Geology of South America Barnacles Species Man Emotions Climbing plants Domestication Cross and self fertilisation Orchids Worms Autobiography Contribution to style of science Pre-Darwin, science was done in homage to God Was primarily descriptive Deduction and theorising was disparaged as “speculation” Darwin used detailed observation to explore much larger questions - helped change scientific methods Natural selection Developed theory in complete isolation In face of violent opposition With no knowledge of genetics With no knowledge of DNA With no knowledge of plate tectonics With no observations of natural selection actually occurring Not first to propose evolution French tradition Jean-Baptiste Lamark Etienne Geoffroy St Hilaire Erasmus Darwin (Grandfather) Robert Grant (Mentor) Was expounded in a popular book (“Vestiges”) 15 years before “Origin” Darwin was mis-credited Died famous for evolution (which was not his idea) Natural selection not widely accepted, even among his supporters Darwin remained convinced Only 40-50 years later did scientists appreciate his foresight. The Beagle Only 90 foot long, but carrying 74 people. Joining the Beagle Voyage Not paid for 5 years on Beagle. Actually, he had to pay! Was lucky to get on replaced someone who was shot in a duel his father opposed him going Mainly asked because of his class, to keep Captain Fitzroy company It was the making of him Galapagos, 1835 Portrayed as a “Eureka” experience. Did not recognize significance until back in England, 1837. Worked out theory much later. First inkling of natural selection in 1838. Turtles & finches were key evidence On boat home, ate turtles, dumped shells Thought finches different species; didn’t even label them properly The Big Idea: Natural Selection Darwin’s sand walk at Down: He knew about fossils a daily thoughtful stroll Collected many for extinct animals Knew about Llyell’s theory of “evolution” of geology Read Malthus (an economist) on population and competition for resources. His ideas developed steadily over 20 years!!!! Slow to publish: Why so long? Anguish Illness Slow development of ideas Collection of a wealth of evidence Anguish Social class Respectability Evolution subversive - against his class Religous considerations especially worried about hurting wife Emma who grieved for his soul Scientific prejudice against “speculation” “Like confessing a murder.” Illness Problems throughout life violent shivering, vomiting, exhaustion, palpitations, hands trembling, head swimming, sleeplessness, headaches, flatulence, stomach problems, ringing of ears, fainting, copious pallid urine In 1841 could work “an hour or two a couple of days a week.” Chaga’s disease? Just nervous? Poisoning himself with medecine? Slow to publish: Why so long? Detailed analysis, collection of a wealth of evidence pigeons barnacles Barnacles Started out as a brief study. Took 8 years (from 1848). Huge 2 volume treatise overhauling entire sub-class. Dominated his kids lives One of his kids asked a friend, “Where does your dad do his barnacles?” Established him as a biological specialist, not just a geologist Royal Society Medal Wealth Father a wealthy doctor Reduced his enthusiasm to get a job as a doctor or clergyman Wealth bought time and resources Made money from investments (land and railway stocks), not from books!!! Religious conflict Samuel Wilberforce vs T.H.Huxley Years “Was it from Wilberforce yourdid mother’s fell off “If the “For question once reality is whether and his I brain later Religion accommodate Darwin to his side horse, or landed your father’s on his side head would came rather intohave contact, a miserable and the some extent andthat wasyou killed. were descended ape result for a grandfather was fatal.” or a man ape?” Many religious leaders from an of meansnot andliteralist influence who uses theseso gifts introduce Science served religion, itstofindings ridicule intoof a grave were taken as revelations God’sscientific plan discussion, I unhesitatingly Buried in Westminster Abbey affirm my preference for the The Times: “Theape!” Abbey needed Darwin more than Darwin needed the Abbey.” The End! Now you know a LOT about the life of Charles Darwin!! Congratulations!!!!