The Rise of Darwinism
Charles Darwin (1809-82) was not the first
naturalist to think that organic evolution might have occurred (see important
evolutionists before Darwin).
Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in November
1859, by which time he had been developing the theory of evolution by natural
selection for at least 22 years. For an account of this development, and the
fluctuations in Darwins own religious belief, see the biography by Desmond and
Moore(1992). The importance of the Origin
is that Darwin a) presented a vast amount of evidence for evolution and b)
proposed a mechanism by which it could give rise, given time, to the vast
variety of life-forms he had observed. See Darwins evolutionary scheme.
Darwins challenge to theological positionswas a profound one, more subtle than is implied in the caricature - Darwin v.
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Source: God, Humanity and the
Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999)