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Charles Darwin: A Man Apart. Rohit Samson Parkland Magnet Middle School Grade 6. Childhood.

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charles darwin a man apart

Charles Darwin:A Man Apart

Rohit Samson

Parkland Magnet Middle School

Grade 6


On February 12, 1809 Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England as a son of a well-to-do physician. He was named Charles after his uncle and Robert after his father. He had four siblings, Erasmus being his older brother. In the spring of 1817, Charles went to a grammar school run by a Mr. Case. He was said to be shy yet mischievous. Darwin’s mother died on July 15, 1817, when he was only 8. In September 1818, Darwin attended Shrewsbury Grammar School, along with Erasmus, run by the Rev. Samuel Butler. The focus of their study was Greek and Roman grammar and reading. He did not do well in school, and on June 17, 1825 Darwin was removed because of bad grades. Because of this he spent the summer working in his dad’s medical practice.

an unpromising youth
An Unpromising Youth
  • Darwin was sent by his father to study medicine at Edinburgh University in Scotland. He was horrified, however, by the sight of surgery without anesthesia, and discontinued his studies after only two years.
  • Darwin was accepted into Christ’s College at Cambridge in Oct. 1827, but he lacked true interest in theology. Instead, he collected beetles and studied them.
  • His first work in science began with a geologic field trip led by English geologist Adam Sedgwick.
  • Scottish zoologist Robert Grant introduced Darwin to the evolutionary ideas of the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who first thought of evolution of life from simple forms.
the beagle voyage
The Beagle Voyage
  • In December of 1831 the H.M.S. Beagle left Plymouth Harbor on a 5 year ‘voyage of scientific exploration’.
  • Darwin joined as the ship’s naturalist.
  • Sea-sickness and infections apart he was able to come to a ‘clear realization of the antiquity of the Earth and the long ages through which life had to develop.’ (Isaac Asimov)
natural selection
Natural Selection
  • While there were many unusual animals on the Galapagos Islands, Darwin mainly noticed a group of birds, the famous “Darwin’s Finches” which were similar but divided into at least 14 species, none of which existed on the mainland.
  • Darwin believed that these birds came to the island seeking food and therefore had a common ancestor, but their descendants differentiated based on adaptation to different natural conditions like availability of food, predators, prey, and climate “eventually evolving into separate species.”
  • He noticed that the 14 different species of finches each had “unique beaks tailored to it’s specific diets.” For example the Warbler Finch has a sharp, pointy beak to eat insects in trees, but the Large ground finch has a large, stout beak that allows it to eat seeds and nuts which are too big for other species. (courtesy of Newsweek article, Nov. 2005)
  • He also could identify the island origin of giant tortoises based on the patterns on their shells.
  • He concluded that creatures adapted themselves to different ways of life based on the environment and the fittest of them survived and procreated. He then realized that such NATURAL SELECTION explained the process of EVOLUTION.
darwin s wife children
Darwin’s Wife & Children
  • Darwin married his cousin Emma Wedgwood of the Wedgwood Porcelain fame, a devout Catholic and they had 10 children:
  • William Erasmus Darwin- (1839- 1914) married without children.
  • Anne Elizabeth Darwin (Darwin’s favorite child)- (Mar. 2, 1847- Apr. 22, 1851) from tuberculosis.
  • Mary Eleanor Darwin- (Sep. 23, 1842- Oct. 16, 1842)
  • Henrietta Emma Darwin- (1843- 1929) no children.
  • George Howard Darwin- (1845- 1912) Came to America, had four children.
  • Elizabeth Darwin- (1847- 1926) died single.
  • Francis Darwin- (1848- 1925) He published some of Darwin’s letters and his autobiography. He married twice and had two children.
  • Leonard Darwin- (1850- 1943) Married with no children
  • Horace Darwin (1851-1928) Had three children.
  • Charles Waring Darwin (Dec. 6, 1856- June 28, 1858)
  • In the end, Darwin had one wife, 10 children, and nine grandchildren. A number of his great-grandchildren still live today.
the theory of evolution
The Theory of Evolution
  • The evolution concept refers to the belief that existing animals and plants developed by a process of slow, continuous change from previously existing forms.
  • Organic evolution, as opposed to belief in the special creation of each individual species as an unchangeable form, envisions life as having had its beginnings in a simple mass (probably starting out in the sea) from which, over course of time, arose all living forms.
  • Inorganic evolution, on the other hand, is concerned with the development of the physical universe from unorganized matter.
intelligent design
Intelligent Design
  • Intelligent design is based on the theory that blueprints of the world were created by an intelligent being.
  • This theory started out in the times of the ancient Greeks.
  • English Theologian William Paley in his book Natural Theology; or the Evidences of the Existence and Attributed of the Deity (1802) brought it to the forefront.
  • Even though intelligent design is supposed to differ from creationism, it seems to be linked to the biblical version of the universe’s creation in 6 days.
  • Intelligent design does not reject the fact that the Earth is billions of years old, creationism does.
  • While it does not reject some aspects of evolution, it rejects science’s theory that the world changed through natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions.
  • Believers of intelligent design have been fighting to keep intelligent design taught in schools.
  • Their case was over-ruled by Judge John E. Jones III who claimed the theory as a version of creationism and banned it from being taught in public schools in Pennsylvania.
  • Later on January 19, 2006 the Vatican newspaper proclaimed that intelligent design is not science and should not be taught in schools along with evolution. It also said that evolution doesn’t exactly remove God from the process of creation.
Evolution is based on ‘survival of the fittest’ by ‘natural selection’ and adaptation.

Evolution has been studied and can be explained by various naturalistic experiments.

Evolution is a theory thought of gradually over a course of time through various observations.

Intelligent design is based on the assumption that an intelligent designer created the world to this state of perfection.

Creationism is a theory that has no fundamental scientific basis.

Intelligent design is based on blind belief.

Evolution vs. Intelligent DesignThe origin of the universe, of life, of the different organisms on earth and of mankind is basically explained in two different ways: evolution and creation.

the late years of darwin
The Late Years of Darwin
  • Charles Darwin remained ill most of his life. He never traveled abroad again. He may have suffered from Chagas disease. On September 7, 1881, Darwin finished his final will. On Dec. 15, 1881, Darwin started feeling strong chest pains. From Feb. to Apr. 1882, Darwin had violent seizures and heart troubles. A doctor was called on April 18, 1882 and left the next day saying Darwin was fine. Later that day he suffered from more violent attacks. His family gathered around his bedside. Charles Robert Darwin died about 4:00p.m April 19, 1882. On April 26 1882, Charles Robert Darwin was buried at Westminster Abbey (even without the family requesting it) next to his friend, Sir John Herschel (astronomer) about 20 feet from Sir Isaac Newton. Ironically, this was the only honor he received from the British government under Queen Victoria, who were against Darwinism.
some books by charles darwin
Some Books by Charles Darwin

Darwin's Scientific Diaries 1836-1842.

On the Origin of Species a Facsimile of the First Edition

The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.

The Origin of Species

The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: Or, the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.

The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882.

Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the 'Beagle'.

Charles Darwin's Notebooks, 1836-1844: Geology, Transmutation of Species, Metaphysical Enquiries.

The Correspondence of Charles Darwin: 1821-1863 (vol-1-11).

Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary.

the end
The End

I wanted to acknowledge my family, who introduced me to Charles Robert Darwin. I grew up admiring him. I chose him as a topic for my project because I wanted the world to know him as a Man Apart; a shy school misfit who then pursued his keen observation and provided the world scientific data never disproved for over 1 ½ centuries.

Thank you for your time.