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Charles Darwin: A Man Apart

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Charles Darwin:
A Man Apart
Rohit Samson
Parkland Magnet Middle School
Grade 6
Childhood
On February 12, 1809 Charles Robert
Darwin was born in Shrewsbury,
Shropshire, England as a son of a
well-to-do physician. He was named
Charles after his uncle and Robert
after his father. He had four siblings,
Erasmus being his older brother. In the
spring of 1817, Charles went to a
grammar school run by a Mr. Case. He
was said to be shy yet mischievous.
Darwin’s mother died on July 15, 1817,
when he was only 8. In September
1818, Darwin attended Shrewsbury
Grammar School, along with Erasmus,
run by the Rev. Samuel Butler. The
focus of their study was Greek and
Roman grammar and reading. He did
not do well in school, and on June 17,
1825 Darwin was removed because of
bad grades. Because of this he spent
the summer working in his dad’s
medical practice.
An
Unpromising
Youth
 Darwin was sent by his father to study medicine at
Edinburgh University in Scotland. He was horrified,
however, by the sight of surgery without anesthesia, and
discontinued his studies after only two years.
 Darwin was accepted into Christ’s College at Cambridge
in Oct. 1827, but he lacked true interest in theology.
Instead, he collected beetles and studied them.
 His first work in science began with a geologic field trip
led by English geologist Adam Sedgwick.
 Scottish zoologist Robert Grant introduced Darwin to the
evolutionary ideas of the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste
Lamarck, who first thought of evolution of life from simple
forms.
The Beagle
Voyage
• In December of
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1831 the H.M.S.
Beagle left
Plymouth
Harbor on a 5
year �voyage of
scientific
exploration’.
Darwin joined as
the ship’s
naturalist.
Sea-sickness and
infections apart
he was able to
Galapagos Giant
Tortoise
photograph courtesy of Dr. Phillip Dvoskin
“Darwin’s finches”
photograph courtesy of Dr. Phillip Dvoskin (Galapagos Islands 2004)
Natural Selection
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While there were many unusual animals on the Galapagos Islands, Darwin mainly
noticed a group of birds, the famous “Darwin’s Finches” which were similar but
divided into at least 14 species, none of which existed on the mainland.
Darwin believed that these birds came to the island seeking food and therefore had a
common ancestor, but their descendants differentiated based on adaptation to
different natural conditions like availability of food, predators, prey, and climate
“eventually evolving into separate species.”
He noticed that the 14 different species of finches each had “unique beaks tailored to
it’s specific diets.” For example the Warbler Finch has a sharp, pointy beak to eat
insects in trees, but the Large ground finch has a large, stout beak that allows it to eat
seeds and nuts which are too big for other species. (courtesy of Newsweek article,
Nov. 2005)
He also could identify the island origin of giant tortoises based on the patterns on
their shells.
He concluded that creatures adapted themselves to different ways of life based on the
environment and the fittest of them survived and procreated. He then realized that
such NATURAL SELECTION explained the process of EVOLUTION.
Darwin’s wife &
Children
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Darwin married his cousin Emma Wedgwood of the Wedgwood
Porcelain fame, a devout Catholic and they had 10 children:
William Erasmus Darwin- (1839- 1914) married without children.
Anne Elizabeth Darwin (Darwin’s favorite child)- (Mar. 2, 1847- Apr.
22, 1851) from tuberculosis.
Mary Eleanor Darwin- (Sep. 23, 1842- Oct. 16, 1842)
Henrietta Emma Darwin- (1843- 1929) no children.
George Howard Darwin- (1845- 1912) Came to America, had four
children.
Elizabeth Darwin- (1847- 1926) died single.
Francis Darwin- (1848- 1925) He published some of Darwin’s letters
and his autobiography. He married twice and had two children.
Leonard Darwin- (1850- 1943) Married with no children
Horace Darwin (1851-1928) Had three children.
Charles Waring Darwin (Dec. 6, 1856- June 28, 1858)
In the end, Darwin had one wife, 10 children, and nine
grandchildren. A number of his great-grandchildren still live today.
The Theory of
Evolution
• The evolution concept refers to the belief that existing animals and plants developed
by a process of slow, continuous change from previously existing forms.
•Organic evolution, as opposed to belief in the special creation of each individual
species as an unchangeable form, envisions life as having had its beginnings in a
simple mass (probably starting out in the sea) from which, over course of time, arose all
living forms.
•Inorganic evolution, on the other hand, is concerned with the development of the
physical universe from unorganized matter.
Intelligent Design
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Intelligent design is based on the theory that blueprints of the world were created
by an intelligent being.
This theory started out in the times of the ancient Greeks.
English Theologian William Paley in his book Natural Theology; or the
Evidences of the Existence and Attributed of the Deity (1802) brought it to the
forefront.
Even though intelligent design is supposed to differ from creationism, it seems to
be linked to the biblical version of the universe’s creation in 6 days.
Intelligent design does not reject the fact that the Earth is billions of years old,
creationism does.
While it does not reject some aspects of evolution, it rejects science’s theory that
the world changed through natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions.
Believers of intelligent design have been fighting to keep intelligent design taught
in schools.
Their case was over-ruled by Judge John E. Jones III who claimed the theory as
a version of creationism and banned it from being taught in public schools in
Pennsylvania.
Later on January 19, 2006 the Vatican newspaper proclaimed that intelligent
design is not science and should not be taught in schools along with evolution. It
also said that evolution doesn’t exactly remove God from the process of creation.
Evolution vs.
Intelligent Design
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The origin of the universe, of life, of the different
organisms on earth and of mankind is basically
explained in two different ways: evolution and
Evolution is based on �survival
пЃ® Intelligent design is based on
creation.
of the fittest’ by �natural
selection’ and adaptation.
Evolution has been studied and
can be explained by various
naturalistic experiments.
Evolution is a theory thought
of gradually over a course of
time through various
observations.
the assumption that an
intelligent designer created the
world to this state of
perfection.
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Creationism is a theory that
has no fundamental scientific
basis.
Intelligent design is based on
blind belief.
The Late Years of
Darwin
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Charles Darwin remained ill most of
his life. He never traveled abroad
again. He may have suffered from
Chagas disease. On September 7,
1881, Darwin finished his final will. On
Dec. 15, 1881, Darwin started feeling
strong chest pains. From Feb. to Apr.
1882, Darwin had violent seizures and
heart troubles. A doctor was called on
April 18, 1882 and left the next day
saying Darwin was fine. Later that day
he suffered from more violent attacks.
His family gathered around his
bedside. Charles Robert Darwin died
about 4:00p.m April 19, 1882. On April
26 1882, Charles Robert Darwin was
buried at Westminster Abbey (even
without the family requesting it) next to
his friend, Sir John Herschel
(astronomer) about 20 feet from Sir
Isaac Newton. Ironically, this was the
only honor he received from the British
government under Queen Victoria,
who were against Darwinism.
Some Books by
Charles Darwin
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Darwin's Scientific Diaries 1836-1842.
On the Origin of Species a Facsimile of the First Edition
The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.
The Origin of Species
The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.
The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: Or, the
Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.
The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882.
Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the 'Beagle'.
Charles Darwin's Notebooks, 1836-1844: Geology, Transmutation
of Species, Metaphysical Enquiries.
The Correspondence of Charles Darwin: 1821-1863 (vol-1-11).
Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary.
The End
I wanted to acknowledge my family, who
introduced me to Charles Robert Darwin. I grew
up admiring him. I chose him as a topic for my
project because I wanted the world to know him
as a Man Apart; a shy school misfit who then
pursued his keen observation and provided the
world scientific data never disproved for over 1
ВЅ centuries.
Thank you for your time.
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