Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On the Origin of Species

On this day, 150 years ago, Charles Darwin's groundbreaking book On the Origin of Species was first published. It is often considered the first book where the theory of evolution of species was presented, and the main rule behind the evolution, which is the survival of the fittest. Thus, humans got to know the basic idea on how all living things has evolved from the most primitive life forms. Yet, controversy about the ideas went on for decades, and some humans still not believe in evolution. Many humans believed that all species had been created as they are, unchangeable, by God, by the dawn of time. The idea of evolution seemed, to them, as illogical.

I am a little puzzled to learn that humans actually thought that all species were created once and for all and could not change. Sure, changes takes generations, but humans had been around for generations to witness such changes. Indeed, humans had instigated such changes themselves in many species, when they had bred dogs, horses, and other animals as well as plants to their liking. Breeding as a form of shaping a species would not be possible, if the idea that all species were created unchangeable would be true. Yet, humans had been shaping different species by breeding for centuries before Darwin's book was published.

Well, there is reality, and there are the ideas that explain reality, and sometimes, you do not need the ideas explaining reality in order to use reality to your liking. I guess this is what the humans did who changed animals through breeding, while believing that species were unchangeable.

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