Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and in a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.

No one better than Darwin could embody the prototype of the scholar who with his limited means, those of reason and observation, was able to divert the course of the history of ideas and to influence the entire development of science. Everyone knows that his theory of evolution has become crucial to understanding the origins and diversity of living things we know today and that his theory is not universally accepted. It is indeed still the result of heated discussions or net waste, as in some more fundamentalist western parts which are tied to the tradition. No wonder. The concept of evolution does not get along with that of Creation, as well as with that of a well-defined ordering principle, to leave room to an unexpected chance of natural selection based on the environment. It is more than normal, therefore, that the Darwinian revolution has clashed with ancient certainties and visions of the world and of history acquired.

In 1859, he published his masterpiece “The Origin of Species” which, on the one hand caused scandal and fierce opposition especially in the religious circles, but among scientists, the theory soon found a wide acceptance. The book was accompanied by a large amount of evidence and arguments that comforted the thesis and who were hardly deniable in the light of reason.

In 1882 he was diagnosed with what was called “angina pectoris” which then meant coronary thrombosis and disease of the heart. At the time of his death, the physicians diagnosed “anginal attacks”, and “heart-failure”. He died at Down House on 19 April 1882. His last words were to his family, telling Emma “I am not the least afraid of death. Remember what a good wife you have been to me. Tell all my children to remember how good they have been to me”, then while she rested, he repeatedly told Henrietta and Francis “It’s almost worth while to be sick to be nursed by you”. Charles Darwin was buried in Westminster Abbey in London.

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