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  Section: Introduction to Botany » Evolution
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Charles Darwin

  Early Changes in Thought
  Charles Darwin
  The Tenets of Darwinian Theory
  Other Theories of Evolution
  The First Organisms
  Prokaryotic Life
  Eukaryotic Life
  The Emergence of Seed Plants
  Human Life
  Life over Time

It was left to Charles Darwin (1809-1882) to establish the first sound theory of organic evolution. With the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, a revolution in thought spread through the scientific community, first in England and then in France and Germany. In little time, Darwin’s theory created shock waves that reverberated around the world. Darwin
purported that species came into being by gradual changes and descent from other species. The doctrine of evolution declares that organisms are related to each other through common descent and that the differences that exist between species have arisen through hereditary alteration of pre-existing forms.

Darwin’s work created such upheaval largely because it applies not only to lower life-forms, but also to human beings. His ideas thus conflicted with biblical teachings, and created trouble for religious fundamentalists. It is not the goal of this text to negotiate this conflict; rather, this text does not intend to present the argument that evolution takes place. The theory has virtually universal acceptance in the scientific community, and attention here should be focused on how evolution works.


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