Thursday, October 21, 2010

Historical Influences on Darwin

1.)  I’d claim that Thomas Malthus had the most influence over Charles Darwin’s progressing theory of Natural selection.
2.)  Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population, which inspired Darwin within his discoveries of natural selection.  Even though Malthus argued that if human numbers continued to increase then the lack of resources availability would lower and would result in “misery”.  Darwin extended Malthus’s discovery, by considering this principle could affect not only humans but organisms as well.  When resources are limited competition begins to take place and with competition it results in the understanding of natural selection.  Thomas Malthus made some remarkable discoveries, which Charles Darwin broadened and extended Malthus’s ideas further than what he would have ever been able to do.  With Malthus’s ideas, Darwin saw how selection in nature was the key to evolution.  Organisms with favorable variations would be able to reproduce and survive, while those with poor traits would perish and die out.
3.)  Thomas Malthus pointed out “limits to human population growth” when he wrote his essay on the principles of population.  His theory explained that if population grew too fast than the production of growth would be affected by disease, war, and famine, in order to be the survival of the fittest and compete for resources.  This information helped Darwin build more knowledge within natural selection.  With this new insight into principles of population it helped Darwin provide an answer to the problem of evolutionary change.
4.)  I think that Darwin could have eventually discovered that population is held in check with the availability of resources, yet it would have taken a longer time.  With that, I think it was better that Thomas Malthus first founded this discovery, because it gave Charles Darwin the ability to broaden and perfect this theory.
5.)  Since Darwin was discovering puzzling information that would go against the “Grand Designer”, the Church was not to pleased.   Especially during this time, England was very religious and any information that opposed God's existence was preposterous and uncalled for.  However, with all this negative public opinion brought upon Darwin, he was still able to receive much scholarly praise and appreciation for his book the Origin of Species.


  1. Sagelynn, great job on this. I too chose Malthus because I think that his ideas of over production of offspring and survial of the fittest were essential to Darwin's findings. I used the same source you did and found the last bit of information particularly interesting that China's rule of 1 child per family seems to stem from Malthus' opinion that lower income families should reproduce less than wealthy families.

  2. I too chose Malthus. I think his ideas of population helped to expand and create Darwin's ideas and his idea of natrual selection.

  3. I think that a lot of people chose Malthus because he made the foundation of Darwin's natural selection theory. I also found the same source, it was short but very informational. Even in modern today, the reality of a lack of resources is taken for granted.