The Evolution Of John Herschel And Lyell And Charles Darwin

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The Evolution of Darwin
It is difficult to argue against the magnitude of the impact Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection had on the world. It has revolutionized biology as we know it and given an exact definition of the term ‘species’. During his journey to develop this theory, a great number of people had influenced Darwin’s thinking and actions which eventually led to his elucidation of the mechanisms of evolution. This essay will examine some of these individuals in greater detail to examine how they had affected Darwin, either through modifying his thinking or a more direct form of assistance. Two such examples are the economist Thomas Malthus and the lawyer Charles Lyell. Malthus’s essay provided Darwin with the
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The English philosophers of science John Herschel and William Whewell had sewn into Darwin the ideals of the hypethetico-deductive system which Darwin had followed in conceptualizing and constructing his theory (2). John Henslow, a botany professor and a mentor to Darwin, was the individual who had suggested Darwin as a naturalist for the HMS Beagle (3). Furthermore, Henslow’s mode of thinking had crept into Darwin through his time at Cambridge (3). Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a rival to Darwin who was the first to introduce the idea of evolution to the world, albeit in an incredibly radical format to the one prevalent today (4, 5, 6).These are among some of the key individuals who contributed to the development of the Charles Darwin, whose name is etched into the vast majority …show more content…
An English astronomer, Herschel saw all scientific theories as hypothetico-deductive systems. The hypothetico-deductive system is one within which new theories are formulated in such a way that they can be tested empirically. Any result which does not agree with the hypothesis being tested is taken as a falsification (2). Herschel further states, scientific hypothetico-deductive systems consist of certain ‘laws’ which are universally true (2). Darwin first interacted with Herschel’s work through Herschel’s ‘Discourse’. Since then, Darwin appears to hold the man in high respects, even after meeting him personally (2). William Whewell, a close friend to Herschel, has also contributed greatly to the system of science that Darwin embodies, termed the Herschel-Whewell system (2).The structure of Darwin’s description and formulation of natural selection can be seen to parallel this system. From Malthus, Darwin first begins to formulate natural selection from the ‘law’ that populations increase at a faster rate than their food supply

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