Reception of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by natural selection

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In this culminating assignment you are going to craft a short essay that explores the reception of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. This assignment is designed to get you to consider the reception to Darwin’s theory from a scientific and humanistic perspective (humanistic: pertaining to the human condition or ideas about what it means to be human). Your essay:

  • will be three paragraphs (and three paragraphs only).
  • 12 point font, double-spaced.
  • extraordinarily well argued and well written.
  • contain at least two quotes from different source material. Use (author, page) citation style.

Your first paragraph should evaluate the extent to which Darwin’s argument follows Whewell’s philosophy of the “conscilience of inductions.” Your second paragraph will then discuss what Darwin’s contemporary scientists thought of whether total understanding (a la Whewell) was enough to accept Darwin’s theory. In your last paragraph, you will consider the more popular reception to his theory. Using Quammen as your guide (especially his discussion of “materialism”), discuss what it was that freaked so many people out about Darwin’s theory. (Hint: its not simply because his theory contradicts the origins account of the Bible in “Genesis.”)

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