Natrual Selection Informitive




Natural Selection

Table of Contents

Intro – Page 3

Natural Selection and Charles Darwin – Page 4-5

Herbert Spencer, Social Darwinism – Page 5

Arguments against Natural Selection - Page 6

Conclusion – Page 7

Bibliography – Page 8

Evolution is one of the most controversial topics that has been argued about for centuries. Natural selection is one of the main supports for the evolution theory; it is defined as: “the process in nature by which, according to Darwin\'s theory of evolution, only the organisms best adapted to their environment tend to survive and transmit their genetic characteristics in increasing numbers to succeeding generations while those less adapted tend to be eliminated”(4). A similar term would be “survival of the fittest.” For centuries Evolutionists have argued between themselves about the evolution of the human race. There are many different theories of natural selection, the first of which was proposed by Charles Darwin. Some of the common theories within natural selection include discussion of Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism. When discussing evolution, one must also look at the common debates of natural selection because of its controversy.

Natural selection occurs when a certain cell mutates in a favorable way to either help it survive or make it more likely to procreate. This is one of the bases for Darwinism in that, without that adaptation to the environment, a species would just die off at the first change in weather patterns or from being extinguished by predators. While sailing on the H.S.S. Beagle, Darwin wrote about this topic and other observations in his book: “On the Origin of Species.” One such observation was made about the population of different animals in relationship to each other:
“From experiments which I have tried, I have found that the visits of bees, if not indispensable, are at least highly beneficial to the fertilization of our clovers; but humble bees alone visit the common red clover (Trifolium pratense), as other bees cannot reach the nectar. Hence I have very little doubt, that if the whole genus of humble bees became extinct or very rare in England, the heartsease and red clover would become very rare, or wholly disappear. The number of humble-bees in any district depends in a great degree on the number of field-mice, which destroy their combs and nests; and Mr. H. Newman, who has long attended to the habits of humble-bees, believes "that more than two-thirds of them are thus destroyed all over England." Now the number of mice is largely dependent, as every one knows, on the number of cats; and Mr. Newman says, "Near villages and small towns I have found the nests of humble-bees more numerous than elsewhere, which I attribute to the number of cats that destroy the mice." Hence it is quite credible that the presence of a feline animal in large numbers in a district might determine, through the intervention first of mice and then of bees, the frequency of certain flowers in that district”(1, P. 73)!
This observation shows to what length Darwin would go to study something and then deliberate over it. He would also spend hours just studying a group of simple barnacles. This demonstrates the level of commitment that he had for scientific exploration. Another observation that he noted was the different beak sizes of the same species of birds on the same island. He then hypothesized that the bird’s beak size was related to the food that it ate and that it had evolved this way over many thousands of years to accommodate this.
This was not the first reflection on the idea of natural selection, but Darwin definitely expanded it more than anyone else had up to that point. However, Darwin does openly admit to the possibility of error and the need for further investigation; he is careful to point out that the idea of evolution by natural selection is "one of long argument"(1, P. 459).
When scientists wondered why humans were not actually evolving biologically anymore, many theories were put out; the answer turned out to be cultural evolution. Cultural evolution is when people adapt to their environment through culture rather than biological changes. Herbert Spencer, a popular sociologist and philosopher in the 1800’s, coined the phrase “survival of the fittest” based on natural selection and cultural evolution. Spencer also had