before and after DarwinIn the beginning was God.And everything was simple and easilycomprehensible. You had God to worship, the Ten Commandments to follow andnothing to worry about.
Because God was responsible for everything and Hewas supposed to take care for you if you truly believe in Him and pray hardenough. And there were no questions without an answer because everythingwas encoded in one word – God. And although man knew he was part ofsomething greater than himself, he was feeling important because God hadcreated everything to serve man and man only.
There were no questionsabout the meaning of life, no speculations on morality, no doubt about theright way in life.Some things never change. But some things do change. George BernardShaw said that: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions thatsurround him..
. The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions tohimself..
. All progress depends on the unreasonable man.” And CharlesDarwin was one of these unreasonable men, who carry the progress on theirshoulders.
He took the ideas and findings of early scientist, the observations ofdifferent farmers and his own personal experience about the diversity andfitness of life on earth and put together the foundation of modernevolution theory used by scientist today. Darwin presented a vast amount ofevidence showing that all living things ultimately descended from a few oreven one type of ancestor. The greatest naturalist also presented his ideaof how this “descent with modification”, or evolution, works; it was called”natural selection.” Natural selection was considered a force for thealteration of species. In essence, in the battle for their survival, onlythose individuals best adapted to their environment are more likely tosurvive, reproduce and pass on their genes. Favourable or beneficialmutations of species are favoured and retained, while harmful or uselessones are rejected and lost. So, across generations, different speciesundergo adaptations through the gradual accumulation of useful variations -those which help them better survive and successfully reproduce in theirparticular environments.
Over time, in a series of tiny, steady, andimperceptible steps, beneficial mutations accumulate and the result is anentirely different organism. Not just a variation of the original, but anentirely different creature. Suppose a member of a species developed afunctional advantage (it grew wings and learned to fly). Its offspringwould inherit that advantage and pass it on to their offspring. Theinferior (disadvantaged) members of the same species would gradually dieout, leaving only the superior (advantaged) members of the species. Naturalselection is the naturalistic equivalent to domestic breeding.
Over thecenturies, human breeders have produced dramatic changes in domestic animalpopulations by selecting individualstobreed.Breederseliminateundesirable traits gradually over time. Similarly, naturalselectioneliminates inferior species gradually over time.
Darwin proposed “sexualselection” to explain the accentuation of features, not always essential oreven beneficial to survival, that increase a species’ chance of securing amate and breeding. Moreover, sexual selection can produce individuals withsuch elaborate ornaments that they must be either energetically costly todevelop, costly to maintain, or even lead to a direct survival cost for theindividual that bears the ornament. For example, the male peacock’s immenseand lurid tail attracts female peacocks. But imagine a population that hasnot yet evolved elaborate sexual ornaments compared to the population,which is derived from the original stock, but males have now evolvedelaborate ornaments.
In the derived population, many males die due toreasons of sexual selection owing to their ornaments. The average fitnessof individuals in the initial population is higher because fewer males dieselective deaths compared to the number of males that die selective deathsin the sexually-selected population. And the result is declination in theaverage chance of survival of the population over time.Darwin’s ideas turned the world upside-down and changed the way weunderstand ourselves and everything around us radically. His most infamousidea was that human beings evolved from apes through a series of gradualsteps. It’s here that modern evolutionary psychologists pick up from whereDarwin left off.
Humans and all their associated habits and behaviours,they suggest, can be explained as products of evolution. He implied thateven attributes, previously identified as uniquelyhuman,suchasintelligence and emotion could come about through natural selection.Before that no one could challenge God’s authority but Darwin did itand was very successful in this undertaking, although it wasn’t hisintention. He did believe