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Charles Darwin and the Evolutionary Theory

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Charles Darwin and His Evolutionary Theory’s Effect on Psychology

PS 352 History and Systems of Psychology

Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution have always been an interest of mine because of the fact that I am a strong believer in God. Researching the evolutionary theory brings a couple of issues when considering Darwin and his evolutionary ideas. The first issue to consider is that if God designed the human mind, why is it that it took so long for humans to develop theistic concepts and beliefs. The second issue is the question asking why would God use evolution to design the living world when the discovery of evolution would contribute to so much nonbelief in God? It interests me because there is so much proof of the existence of God, while on the other hand there is so much that points towards evolution as well. I have my own personal opinion and reasons for why I believe that the world and all of its elements were created by God, but due to the fact that there are so many unanswered questions I chose to research Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution to gain a more in-depth idea of what exactly his thoughts on evolution were, where they came from, as well as more recent research and thoughts in other peer reviewed journal articles. On the Origin of Species

As a young child, Charles Darwin had always shown an interest in natural history and in collecting things such as shells and minerals. After college, he began working towards publishing a book titled On the Origin of Species, in which would present his evolutionary theory to the public. It took him a while because he wanted to make sure that before he published his work, it would be supported by strong scientific evidence. The basic idea of his book was that in nature, a process of natural selection results in the survival of those organisms that are best suited for the environment, and as a result, the elimination of those that are not fit for their environment. In other words, species that aren’t able to adapt or adjust to the environment will not survive. This idea is better known as the “survival of the fittest” (Green, 2009). He also had a theory of natural selection. The theory of natural selection made four important contributions. First, it explained change over time in an organic design. Second, it furnished the causal processes by which different species originate. Third, it explained the seemingly purposive quality of the component parts- their adaptive functions or the ways in which these characteristics aid in survival. Fourth, natural selection unified all species past and present, including humans, into one grand tree of descent (Buss, 2009). The Finches’ Beaks

As Darwin went on to study variations among and within species while visiting the Galápagos Islands, he had seen how animals of the same species evolved over time in different ways in response to the differing environmental conditions. A couple of Princeton University biologists decided to go and monitor the modifications found in succeeding generations of 13 finches as the birds adapted to dramatic changes in the environment (DeLeon et al., 2011). This research lasted more than 30 years. Through their research, they realized that evolution was occurring faster than Darwin had expected. In relation to the survival of the fittest, during severe drought conditions, the birds’ food supply was reduced to tough spikey seeds, and only the finches with the thickest beaks survived because they were able to break open the seeds. The birds with thinner beaks died off. During a time when heavy storms and floods struck the islands, only tiny seeds were left, making it necessary for the finches to have slender beaks in order to eat and survive. Therefore, these finches began to flourish and the thick-beaked birds were unable to survive. A similar study was done on two different sites on the Galapagos Island. The first was El Garrapatero; an undisturbed site, and Academy... Show More

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