The Merits of Darwin. Evolution Is a Scientific Fact
The Origin of Species
In his first book, "The Origin of Species," Darwin essentially has occupied himself with the examination of animals and fossils, but almost ignoring the men , a subject, treated in any possible manner in his next work, titled "The Origin of Man", published in 1871.
Around Darwin, Darwinism, Evolution and Evolutionism we have tons of books, including titles that I don't know if they can make us laugh or cry, like the following: "Darwin explained to children". But not chatting, because it is better to go directly to the heart of the matter, that is the problem that most fascinates the general public: the origin and evolution of man.
Then, we may say quite simply that Darwin's work has the merit of clarity, explaining the mechanism by which organic evolution takes place, i.e. the mechanism of natural selection, by extending the concept to humans. The merits of Darwin were therefore to set SCIENTIFICALLY the problem of our BIOLOGICAL PARENTAGE with the so-called NON-human primates.
The “Offending” Sentence of Darwin:
“We thus learn that man is descended from a hairy, tailed quadruped, probably arboreal in its habits, and an inhabitant of the Old World. This creature, if its whole structure had been examined by a naturalist, would have been classed amongst the Quadrumana” (1).
Contemporary Studies in Evolution
Outstanding discoveries are made by scholars in human evolutionary history. The remains of the Australopithecines of South Africa, of Pithecanthropus, called Java man, the remains found in the Omo Valley in south-west Ethiopia show that there existed intermediate forms between today's man and his ancestors.
The information that scholars have drawn from the study of these remains show that there is a sort of genetic continuity between the primates and all modern men. The fundamental problem is to determine exactly what form of non-human primates is related to man. Hence the careful study of the BIOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS of non-human primates. The amount of information obtained from the chromosome studies which contain DNA (genes) are extremely important to determine the distances between the different biological species.
The study of chromosome and DNA replication on the remains found in the western Rift Valley of East Africa (dating back to 3-4 million years ago) have shown that they are both the oldest remains of pre-human forms, and that they also appear to be in humans, linking man and the ape in common ancestry. This theory reveals a direct relationship among humans, chimpanzee and gorillas that lived in Africa 5-6 million years ago. Lucy and the other Hominids in the Afar [Ethiopia] are Hominids with apish tendencies but with human-like characteristics.
According to the most accredited hypotheses and theories, at least 250 thousand generations separate us from our COMMON ANCESTOR. Regarding both the “quadruped," and “quadrumana" cited by Darwin, science has proved that the upright position of man has an “ecological origin” because while the apes chose the forests, our ancestors chose instead the savanna. The choice of the savanna [ occurred about 3 million years ago] determined the new man's posture, who became more and more erect (2).
These are the scientific findings of Darwin, whose primary merit was the conduct of scientific research on the problem of origins of our ancestors, and all serious scientists today recognize it. Sergio Tonzig, who presented the problem of evolution in a very correct way, wrote that "Evolution is a fact”:
“Until recently, the dilemma ‘Evolution yes-Evolution no’ was the subject of harsh and overly violent disputes, determined above all by the fact that the answer to this question was arbitrary linked to the answer for the origin of life.
This is not the case, however.
And when it was recognized, those scraps stopped or at least lost interest. The two issues, the evolution and the origin of life DO NOT belong to the same field of discourse. The first (the evolution) has a secure place in the area of scientific objectivity, while the second (the origin of life) remains entirely outside the scope of science because it is still in the realm of the supernatural” (3).
Evolution Is a Fact.
“Evolution is a fact”, Tonzig wrote . “We know its history, mechanisms and results. We can even reproduce it in the laboratory, giving rise to a new discipline, the science of genetics including molecular biology.
This question is forever closed.
The second question poses therefore the following issue, ‘Is the origin of life and its evolutionary mechanisms the result of the case or creative intervention of God ?’
This is another matter, which has nothing to do with Evolution, “a scientific fact, ” because “Darwin explicitly excluded the origin of life from his theory” (4).
1) C. Darwin, “The Essential Darwin”, Dover Publications, First Edition 2006, p. 55.
2) B. Chiarelli, “Origine ed evoluzione dell’uomo”, in “Cultura e Scuola”, 1984, n. 91, pp. 254-257. B. Chiarelli is Director of the National Museum of anthropology and Ethnology in Florence. Darwin's words have often been misinterpreted, and sometimes you hear that “Man comes from monkeys,” where "monkeys" means specimens of monkeys that currently exist. Which, of course, is a gross scientific and historical absurdity that confuses the reader.
3) S. Tonzig, “Sull’evoluzione biologica”, VIII, in “Cultura e Scuola”, 1991, n. 117, pp. 206-208. Sergio Tonzig (1905-1998) was a Professor Emeritus of Botany, and an illustrious member of the Academy of Sciences in Turin.
4) P.S. Agutter-D. N. Wheatley, “Thinking about Life: The history and philosophy of biology and other sciences”, Springer, 2008, p. 224. On "tons" of paper written about Darwin and the interpretations of his work, see A. La Vergata, ““Interpretazioni di Darwin”[ Darwin’s Interpretations], in “Cultura e Scuola”, 1985, no. 93, pp. 127-135. "Going into tons of paper written on Darwin, we find funny works like “L’evoluzione e il darwinismo adombrati nell’Apocalisse” [The Evolution and Darwinism Overshadowed in the Apocalypse], “Darwin non è cosa per bambini” Darwin is not for children], but also “Darwin spiegato ai bambini” [Darwin explained to children], (p. 130).