Evolution

Sarah Habgood - Theory of Evolution timeline

  • Erasmus Darwin (Part 1)

    Erasmus Darwin was a naturalist who formed the first theories on evolution. He had based his theories David Harley’s theory of associationism. His book, Zoonomia, was his most famous work, and discussed how all species evolved from one organism. He also referred to natural selection by writing about the three great objects of desire, which were lust, hunger, and security.
  • Erasmus Darwin (Part 2)

    Erasmus Darwin also wrote poems about his theories of evolution, one of his referring to stamen (male plant sexual organ) and pistil (female plant sexual organ) as bride and groom. He also mentions in this poem how the ‘youths’ are infertile, with footnotes giving examples neutered organs, such as in flowers and insect castes.
  • Erasmus Darwin Influences (Part 1)

    Erasmus Darwin’s theory was mostly based on David Harley’s theory of associationism, which states that ‘how the human mind is like a blank slate prior to sensation’. David Harley fought to show his ideas of the phenomena of memory, as well as the phenomena of emotion, reasoning, and voluntary and involuntary actions.
  • Erasmus Darwin Influences (Part 2)

    This gave birth to the idea of psychological and psychical facts which helped Erasmus show his work on his theory, but had a lot of backlash due to this theory not being favoured by the powerful religious figures in that time. Erasmus Darwin also a big influence on others figuring out about evolution and how different species changed, like his grandson, Charles Darwin.
  • William Paley (Part 1)

    William Paley was a religious man that enforced the idea that the Bible theory of evolution was the correct one. His main argument was that God’s design of all creation was so it could be seen in general happiness, or well-being, that was evident in both the physical and social way of life.
  • William Paley (Part 2)

    The book he wrote about this argument fell within the broad tradition of natural theology works written during the Enlightenment, which also explains why Paley based much of his thought on books published by John Ray (1691), William Derham (1711) and Nieuwentyt (1750). His argument was built mainly around anatomy as well as natural history.
  • William Paley Influences (Part 1)

    His ideas were mostly based around the faith of the Catholic God, as well as the Holy Bibles ideas on how species evolved. His rigorously defended his faith in God with his arguments, trying to disprove any other type of theory he could find. He also based some of his thoughts in books published by John Ray, William Derham, and Nieuwentyt.
  • William Paley Influences (Part 2)

    His ideas about God and his theories were widely accepted by the world since it followed the religious beliefs at the time. These theories would later be debunked by Charles Darwin’s, after a lot of research, evidence, and time in order to fully accept his idea.
  • Jean Baptiste Lamarck (Part 1)

    Jean Baptiste Lamarck was a French naturalist, and gave the idea of how all animals evolved from simpler forms in his book Philosophie Zooloique. To Lamarck, the process of evolution was simple – as the environment changed species found the need to modify how they interacted with it in order to survive the changes.
  • Jean Baptiste Lamarck (Part 2)

    What he believed in though turned out to be more complex - that organisms are not passively altered by the environment, which is what one of his colleagues Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire thought. Lamarck thought that changes in environment changed the needs of the organisms living in that environment. The organisms would than change their behavior in accordance to these changes. This theory was quite similar to Comte de Buffon, his mentor whom influenced a generation of naturalists in his lifetime
  • Jean Baptiste Lamarck Influences (Part 1)

    His main influence in his work was Comte de Buffon, who had also tutored Charles Darwin, and set him on the path of naturalism. Comte de Buffon was a naturalist who views on evolutions influenced his students. He was also a mathematician. He thought that species did change over generations, but outright rejected the idea that species could evolve into other species.
  • Jean Baptiste Lamarck Influences (Part 2)

    One of Comte de Buffon’s contributions to biological science was his insistence that natural phenomena must be explained by the natural laws rather than the theological doctrine. This lead to Jean Baptiste Lamarck being the first to publicly state his ideas about processes leading up to biological change.
  • John Henslow (Part 1)

    John Henslow was a Christian and creationist who, rather ironically, helped Charles Darwin become so famous even though he rejected his idea of evolution. He was the one who persuaded Charles to become a naturalist, defended his rights to explore new ideas from the public, and presided at the famous 1860 debate between Wilberforce and Huxley.
  • John Henslow (Part 2)

    John’s philosophy was that God has planned evolution, saying to Charles that ‘God does not set the creation going like a clock, he wound it up himself’ when he stated his theory of evolution. John did not believe that God would do such a hands-off approach that Charles’s theory described, and believed that God had an active role and duty in the working of evolution.
  • John Henslow Influences (Part 1)

    John Henslow was mostly influenced by the current theory in his time, as well as his belief in the Holy Bible and God. He wasn’t very accepting of Charles theory, but ironically only inspired Charles Darwin to prove his theory correct when he objected to it.
    His theory was that God played an active role on how species did form, not believing in natural selection and that chance plays a role on what characteristics an organism may get.
  • John Henslow Influences (Part 2)

    But even though he didn’t agree with Mr Darwin’s ideas, he still allowed him to say his theory to other students, allowing Charles to eventually prove his theory and have it be widely accepted by the world.
  • Chales Lyell (Part 1)

    Charles Lyell was a geologist who joined a school who based their theories on Catastrophism, and when his teacher attempted to link the way the earth was formed with the Bible, suggesting that the world was formed from Noah’s flood, Charles Lyell quit the school to find a way to turn geology into a true science, not just one that’s based of religion and speculation.
  • Charles Lyell (Part 2)

    Charles Lyell soon turned his attention to 51 year old farmer called James Hutton. James believed that the world was not formed by sudden change but instead gradual change over time, like rain eroding mountains and magma being pushed though the ground to form new ones. Charles was interested in this theory and travelled around Europe to find evidence to support this theory.
  • Charles Lyell (Part 3)

    He conducted research many rises and falls of sea level, as well as volcanoes being built upon old rocks. His book, Principles of Geology, suggested that fossil found in rocks suggested that animals have been changing and evolving much longer than everyone in that current time period previously thought.
  • Charles Lyell Influence (Part 1)

    Charles Lyell was mostly influenced by the 51 year old farmer James Hutton, whose theory on how erosion and disposition changed the world, not floods described by the Bible. Wanting to prove geology as a true science and not a profession based of religion, he decided to test this belief with evidence he collected during his trip in Europe.
  • Charles Lyell Influence (Part 2)

    He found that animals, whose fossils he found in rocks, were widely different from the ones around in his time, suggesting that animals also changed over long periods of time. He wrote his findings in a book called Principles of Geology, which Charles Darwin read and used his knowledge to help further his own theory.
  • Robert Chamber Influence

    Robert Chambers based much of his theory on the late Jen Baptiste Lamarck's. He mentioned quite a few things in his book that Lamarck also believed in. But due to the unpopularity of such a theory, Robert Chambers did change up a few of his theories, outright ruling out parts of his altogether.
  • Robert Chambers (Part 1)

    Robert Chamber was an author who wrote anonymously a book containing his theory about evolution. This book was quite controversial in its time, many naturalists criticizing it due it being about an evolutionary theory, like the late Lamarck’s was. Lamarck’s theory had long been deicredited by the intellectual by the time the book was published.
  • Robert Chambers (Part 2)

    This evolutionary theory was exceedingly unpopular, except among political radicals, materialists and atheists. Robert did, however, distance his theory from Lamarck’s, denying that his evolutionary mechanism of any possibility, but suggesting that something similar to it could play a large role. His most popular book was one in which never officially attached by his name. This book was the Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation.
  • Charles Darwin (Part 1)

    Charles Darwin was an English naturalist who was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin. Charles did not believe that Erasmus fully covered how evolution works, and came up with his own theories. After reading Lyell’s Principles of Geology, which suggested how fossils found in rocks showed that animals had lived thousands or millions of years ago, Charles began to form his theory on how all animals had a common ancestor, and how evolution in species came and went through time.
  • Charles Darwin Influences (Part 2)

    Charles Lyell book, Principles of Geology, helped him realise that animals had been around millions of years, a lot longer than most people in that time believed.
    William Paley also influenced his work, but his theories often clashed with his own, due to Charles’s theory debunking the Bibles theory on how the Earth was formed in seven days.
  • Charles Darwin (Part 2)

    He also talked about how natural selection had a big outcome on how species were formed, and how it helped give variants to animal to help them survive in the wild, but due to natural selection being the most unpopular theories on evolution in the 1800’s his theory was put into question, and not generally accepted by religious figures, like his grandfather’s work. When facing the same criticism like his father, Charles attempted to disown him so he isn’t associated with him.
  • Charles Darwin Influences (Part 1)

    Most of Charles Darwin’s work was influenced by his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, own theory of evolution. Charles considered Erasmus’s theory to not elaborate on certain topics, such as natural selection, which he believed in.
    Another person that influenced Charles Darwin was Comte de Buffon, which was his tutor in school, and steered in on the path of naturalism.
  • Alfred Wallace (Part 2)

    He did however; base his theory on Darwin’s own principle of utility, which insisted that where no clear advantage when it came to survival, some purposive and intelligent agency, such as human beings, must have been the cause.
  • Alfred Wallace Influences (Part 2)

    Although leading naturalist did not believe their work, when the theory was proven correct, many people think of how Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin were the main stepping stones into reaching that conclusion, Charles Darwin being mentioned more than Alfred Wallace.
  • Alfred Wallace (Part 1)

    Alfred Wallace was a British naturalist who is mostly known in history as being the man who set up a stimulus for Charles Darwin to help his theory. Wallace’s theory of evolution was quite similar to Charles, with some differences such as envisioning natural selection, a great part of Charles theory, to be more of a kind of feedback mechanism to keep species and varieties adapted to their environment.
  • Alfred Wallace Influences (Part 1)

    Alfred Wallace was greatly influenced by Charles Darwin, who when he realised that his research and work on his theory lead to one similar to his, to help Charles get the recognition in the eyes of the leading naturalists, and to prove the theories everyone though as correct as wrong.