Evolution: What if the idea was never communicated?
I’ve often wonder, what life would be without the knowledge of evolution? A person would simply have to step back 160 years to live in England. A country that believed the Earth was made in 7 days.
Charles Darwin challenged this view famously with his theory of evolution – a new and life changing scientific theory. It was a theory that wrecked havoc amongst many people who had believed in the literal word of the bible. Darwin himself struggled to come to terms with his finding (many believe that his hiatus between completing but not publishing his studies was due to the clash of his religious beliefs and scientific discoveries). What if he had not come to produce his findings?
The theory may now be fully attributed to another man Alfred Wallace. In writing to Charles Darwin for assistance in his own evolutionary theory, Wallace forced Darwin into publishing his ‘Origin of Species.’ If this had not occurred, the theory of evolution may never have been attributed solely and so popularly to Darwin.
The fact that evolution became so popular in England at the time could not just be put down to Darwin’s work. It can also be put down to the hard work and persistence of his friends such as Thomas Huxley who gave himself the nickname ‘Darwin’s Bulldog’. By publication, Darwin was too old and sick to successfully debate at full strength his incredible findings. Huxley, who in fact doubted Darwin’s original findings, was a man of action who spread the word of evolution throughout England via reviews of the book, newspaper articles and debating against and criticizing those who opposed Darwin. Without Huxley, the theory of evolution might not be so widespread. It may not have ever been so widely accepted.
The consequences of this theory not coming to power would have had enormous ramifications on biological studies for the past 150 years. Great communicators spread great (and sometimes not so great) science. Without them however, who knows what kind of world we would be living in now.