Talk:Charles Darwin

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Suggestions re “Eugenics” section.[edit]

I think there is a case for dropping, or at least altering, the last two sentences in the Eugenics section (beginning:

“Eugenics movements were widespread at a time when Darwin's …”).

The influence of Darwin's ideas upon proponents of eugenics has already been dealt with in the first paragraph of the section. Do we, further, want to suggest a link between - the temporary eclipse of Darwin’s ideas, and - the eugenics movements of the first half of the 20th c, as this sentence might imply? Also the sentence implies that “Mendelian genetics” was the only factor in the eclipse of natural selection. This is not the case. More generally do we need to include a potted history of later events surrounding Eugenics, when a wiki article covering this subject is linked to at the start of the section? Prunesqualer (talk) 13:39, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Hi, the cited sources note that "In the first decades of the twentieth century, the study of human heredity consisted of the applied science of eugenics and the theoretical science of genetics. Geneticists studied the mechanisms of heredity, while eugenicists sought to apply this knowledge to manage society."[1] and "The primary scientific foundation for this shift [to negative eugenics] lay in Mendelian genetics, not in evolution, based on the idea that recessive genes were the locus of negative traits."[2] There's an all too common misperception that Darwin's work led straight to nasty eugenics, which the section aims to correct in a concise way. We shouldn't imply that eugenics was the only factor in the eclipse, but it was central to the popularising of negative eugenics. Proposals for improved wording? . . dave souza, talk 14:05, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
Hi Dave- I’m not disputing any of the points you made, my concerns are slightly different from those you address (I probable didn’t explain my concerns very well in my initial post). I have a problem with the article saying: “Darwin's natural selection was eclipsed by Mendelian genetics” Which, in my opinion, is a little muddled (eg it could imply to the reader that, Mendelian genetics somehow replaced, at least temporarily, Natural selection as a theory). I would also say, that later developments in Eugenics (eg links between “Mendelian genetics” and Eugenics) are probably too far off topic to be alluded to in the Darwin biography article (especially as links to articles which deal these issues are provided). Personally I would be happy to lose the last two sentences of that section.Prunesqualer (talk) 15:13, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
I've been thinking over losing the last two sentences, and improving clarification of points in the footnote. Your change removed the more significant aspect, that the "primary scientific foundation for this shift [to negative eugenics] lay in Mendelian genetics", so I've trimmed and modified the wording accordingly. Will now review sources on these developments. . . dave souza, talk 14:27, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
Hi Dave. Thanks for giving this your attention. I'm a little uneasy about the claim that- the "primary scientific foundation for this shift [to negative eugenics] lay in Mendelian genetics". My version has the advantage that it makes no contentious claims and leaves more complex issues to the links (ie I’m not sure that these issues can be dealt with adequately in a few sentences). There is an understandable impulse among those of us who admire Darwin, and his work, to want to distance him, as much as possible, from distasteful associations with Eugenics. However I don’t think we need to tarnish Mendelian genetics in order to do this. I shall be interested to see what your further research turns up though. Prunesqualer (talk) 15:37, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
Reading through the section now, I think it has reached a good state, with no obvious problems. It has been a good discussion. Macdonald-ross (talk) 16:23, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
There's still seems to be a problem with the following sentences:
"Galton named the field of study "eugenics" in 1883. In contrast to their cautious ideas of voluntary improvement, negative eugenics later developed on a basis of Mendelian genetics and led to compulsory sterilization laws which brought the field into disrepute."
It's not all clear (not to me, at least) whom the pronoun "their" is referring to at the start of the second sentence.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 09:46, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Good point. Since the article's about Darwin, I've changed it to "In contrast to Darwin's cautious thoughts on voluntary improvement,". I'm currently reading through Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the uses of human heredity and negative eugenics seems to have come in with Charles Davenport's ideas and the U.S. state laws on sterilisation and immigration control: British eugenicists kept more to voluntary principles, though near the end of his life Galton apparently expressed thoughts of a compusory scheme. . . dave souza, talk 11:16, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Death and legacy[edit]

I split of some content into a death and legacy section. I think this should however have more content. I heard that Alfred Russel Wallace attended his funeral from a video on NOVA. This is important because the relationship between Darwin and Wallace is not well commented on. The fact that they were good friends should also be mentioned somewhere. The BBC movie "Creation" also said that he was buried with full Christian "honours". This is important because it shows some of his relationship with the church and how he was not universally hated at that time by all Christians.Sidious1741 (talk) 17:31, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

I wouldn't necessarily trust a movie as as source but burial at Westminster Abbey would mean a Church of England burial service and judging from the Times description of the funeral a lot of ministers were there though apparently no bishops. BTW I am very dubious about calling it a State Funeral except in the sense that there was permission for him to be buried at Westminster. No members of the royal family attended, the Prime Minister did not attend, there were no bishops presiding or assisting, and it was not organized by either the crown or the government (all four I would expect at a State Funeral). --Erp (talk) 01:25, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Good catch, we seem to have been let down by the beeb, possibly due to the Graun, but it's not supported by the best source[s]. Have modified the article accordingly
As for more detail, don't forget this is a concise overview and more detail is given in Darwin from Insectivorous Plants to Worms, which I've linked as a see also.
Re the 1909 celebrations, a useful source: van Wyhe, John (March 2011). "1909: The first Darwin centenary". The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online. Retrieved 7 June 2011. . . dave souza, talk 08:25, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Political Interpretations[edit]

The political interpretations section seems very out of place in a biography on Charles Darwin -- it barely mentions the man himself, and focuses primarily on things that (as it describes) have little direct connection to him beyond occasional naming. This doesn't seem to be the appropriate place to go into it (no more than, say, you would put a section on the Crusades in Jesus Christ) -- this article is intended to be a biography of Darwin the man, and his own life, beliefs, and personal accomplishments. It also feels like it was cut-and-pasted awkwardly from another article (especially the heading -- political interpretations of Darwin himself?) --Aquillion (talk) 02:43, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Having only skimmed the actual content, I do agree there's a lot there. I don't agree it should be excluded altogether. The reason it's relevant is because Darwin's name is used heavily when discussing these concepts, and as such, they are a topic which a reader might pursue this biography to explore. I would have to read them over more heavily to decide, but it seems likely that they could be trimmed, particularly since the content is already linked in the "main article" templates above. If you agree, you're welcome to be bold and do it!   — Jess· Δ 04:02, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
I think the word 'political' is not right; it has connotations which do not fit. I suggest the section should be 'Social interpretations', and the two sub-sections as now. Since CD expressed views on both sub-topics, the content seems justified. Discussions certainly appear in published biographies of CD. Macdonald-ross (talk) 07:35, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
Good point about renaming the section, that brings it more into line with evolution#Social and cultural responses so I've made the change. These are areas of common misunderstandings of Darwin, so it's important to show his own views on these topics while indicating how he did not support later developments of these social interpretations. Some tightening may be in order to keep the focus on Darwin, but it's sometimes complex and not easy to be concise while remaining accurate. . . dave souza, talk 09:20, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Get a grip - get rid of the Alma mater[edit]

(Please accept my apologies for any spelling mistakes and the like - English is not my mother tongue.) Because of reasons not necessary to discuss here, the American culture (maybe also the British, please enlighten me) has a fixation with the institution at which anyone received his higher education. This is evident from the Info-box in the article where the Alma mater of Charles Darwin is presented, the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge. If a primary school child comes to Wikipedia to learn, by a quick look, something about Darwin, he (possible a girl, because I use he as a gender neutral pronoun) might very well return from the visit with the knowledge that Darwin was educated at Edinburgh and Cambridge. This would be a waste, because the theology Darwin studied at Cambridge has no relation to his contributions, and of course Darwin's true university was H.M.S. Beagle - what the child would be much better off to have learnt was the grandfather's of Darwin, and so I suggest that the Info-box, obviously of no good to anyone but a schoolboy, be changed and the Alma mater data be replaced with data about his grandfathers.

(It can be worthwhile to look around at the other languages of Wikipedia, the German page does not sport an Info-box at all, and the French page says nothing of Darwin's formal education in it's Info-box. The Spanish page does mention the Alma mater in its Info-box, not Edinburgh but Shrewsbury, something for the Spanish speaking editors to look into, but the Italian page again spares the reader the sufferings of an Info-box.)

((What I'm really trying to say above is this: The American view of the world is a tilted one, and the article reflects this American view more than it reflects Charles Darwin, and therefore the article would be improved if the American view was set aside just an inch for a more accurate description of the life and times of Charles Darwin, not the life of modern time American Wikipedians, some of which are to young to know the essential things about Darwin, but hopefully none to old to be willing to look closer at the differences between their own days and the times of Darwin.)) -- (talk) 18:16, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Frankly how the article is displayed in Spanish let alone the French Wikipedias sites etc is irrelevant and in my view a little condescending, but I will comment no further on this. I can't see what you are getting at by 'an American tilt'. The article no doubt has a whole range of contributions from editors of many nations and be assured if any cultural bias crept in there would be plenty of editors from both sides of the pond and further afield stepping in to address any such 'tilts'. If you have any specific examples I suggest you be more specific and refer to these here. You are also wrong about the irrelevance of Darwin's Alma Mater and his theological education having no influence on his contribution to science. There will be some Darwin experts who can comment on this more eruditely than I can but it was perhaps the very fact that he continually had to resolve conflicts in his mind between his religious beliefs and the evidence which emerged from his scientific discoveries that led him after years of personal struggle to publish On the Origin of the Species. Tmol42 (talk) 18:51, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
To put another slant on it, this is a biographical article so of course his education is relevant. – ukexpat (talk) 18:58, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
The Info-box, I think, correct me if I am wrong, is the minimal short summary Wikipedia would like to tell any quick visitor about the subject, especially those of less knowledge and shorter time spent in school, children, even small children. Such minimal short summaries should try to focus on the most important points of the subject, and the fact that Darwin had an education of some kind, and the fact that it happened to be a partly theological one, are not so important, and - now I have to ask you to read again what I wrote above - the institutions at which Darwin received his education is of absolutely no importance, lest the kind of education is first told the visitor. The Info-box mentions his Alma mater, but not the kind of studies Darwin took, and so a visitor will learn nothing of importance by staring at the words Edinburgh and Cambridge. (Please note that I suggest one single specific improvement, the removal of the Alma mater of the Info-box, and the addition of the names of Darwin's grandfathers. I do not claim to have read the article in any length, I am busy reading OtOoS, which happens to be a very nice book, recommended.) -- (talk) 19:24, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
By consensus, infoboxes for people contain fields for their places of education. If you wish to change that consensus, feel free to suggest it. In any event, educational background is far more relevant that grandfathers, but if the grandfathers are notable, they maybe listed in the ibox too. – ukexpat (talk) 19:34, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
What I suggest is this: Charles Darwin is such a different and important man that he deserves an Info-box design of his own - to give a hint of his story requires something more, and different, than the Info-box of an ordinary run-of-the-mill kind of scientist. Therefore the Alma mater is ill-placed in his Info-box and should be removed and replaced. (I am convinced that Ukexpat is plain wrong when he (who might be a woman, because I use he as a gender neutral pronoun) states: "In any event, educational background is far more relevant that grandfathers" - in this particular case the educational background is of far less importance than the family tree, not to mention his world tour. To assume educational background, here taken to mean the place of, not the kind of, education received, to always be of greater importance than a persons grandfathers is part of the tilt of the (modern day) American world view. In 19th century imperial homeland England quite a number of people are found who exhibits qualities not related to their places of education, Florence Nightingale is perhaps the prime example.) -- (talk) 07:12, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I think our IP contributor makes a good point. Yes, someone's education is important, but to just list the academic institutions, and not the field(s) of study, tells the reader very little. And I too agree that it seems to be an American habit to rate the place of one's education ahead of what one actually learnt. Infoboxes are dangerous places. The inevitable tendency to use a field just because it's there can lead to both a shallow and distorted view of a subject. HiLo48 (talk) 07:21, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

The purpose of an info box in an article on a person is to provide common biographical information (date of birth, date of death, nationality, field of work, and institution of higher education attended are examples). They do include a field for what a person is known for, but they do not provide a space suitable for much explanation about what is really important about a person. This is no different than say the info box for an article on a country that provides useful statistics and facts about that country (population, area, languages spoken and religions practiced there etc.) but nothing about what is really important about a country's history, politics, physical geography, flora and fauna, or culture. The really important information is summarized in the article lead not the info box. Furthermore I find it puzzling that anyone who was really familiar with Darwin would write "the theology Darwin studied at Cambridge has no relation to his contributions". Darwin's education at Edinburgh, and especially at Cambridge was immensely important to his future work. His studies in natural theology shaped his view of the natural world, especially his emphasis on the adaptation of living things to their environment, and his studies of entomology (esp. beetles), botany, and geology (all of which were studied as part of natural theology at the time) with Henslow and Sedgwick at Cambridge as well as his earlier studies of marine invertebrates with Grant at Edinburgh provided him with the background in natural history that made his observations during the voyage of the Beagle possible. Not to mention of course that it was one of his professors at Cambridge, Henslow, whose recommendation secured him the position on the Beagle in the first place. Finally, while we Yanks no doubt deserve much of the blame/credit for what is good and what is bad about the English language Wikipedia, you can't blame much about this particular article on us. Most of this article has been shaped, for better or for worse (mostly for the better I think) by British editors, and one Brit in particular :) Rusty Cashman (talk) 09:43, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

OK. I assumed that, as is very common, the infobox was designed by an American. Dunno about anyone else, but it's more the structure of the infobox that I'm criticising, in that it over-emphasises some things and ignores others. Apologies if it wasn't an American creation. HiLo48 (talk) 10:12, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
It's the term 'alma mater' that looks odd to me - what's wrong with 'education'? I've never heard the term used outside the US and I always thought that it was the first university/college attended whereas many scientists have attended multiple institutions, as in Darwin's case. Mikenorton (talk) 12:41, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree. Whatever we end up doing, we should say something other than "alma mater", which sounds rather pretentious to many people (I'm an academic, and it makes me cringe) and is a little odd when there are several institutions listed. I think education is fine. I don't have strong feelings either way whether we include what he studied or not, but I'd lean towards something like "Edinburgh (medicine), Cambridge (theology)". garik (talk) 17:30, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

If you don't like the term alma mater (and I can see your point) the place you need to discuss it is at Template talk:Infobox person or maybe at Template talk:Infobox scientist. I think you are going to have a hard time reaching a consensus to move away from the standard biographical info box templates for this (or any other) biographical article. The templates are used to provide a little commonality in structure, appearance and terminology across articles. As it stands now the term alma mater appears in the info box of many thousands of biographical articles, and changing it in one but not others is probably going to cause confusion; standardizing terminology was one of the big motivations for adopting info box templates in the first place. I do think there is probably room for improvement in the way the info box template is used for this article. I don't have any objection to adding his field of study in parenthesis after the school as suggested above, and I would like to see common descent added to the things he is known for. I would also like the word "evolution" to be worked into the list of things he is known for as well, as not having it there is a bit like ignoring the elephant in the room. Rusty Cashman (talk) 18:13, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Good points, I'm not much interested in infoboxes but agree that alma mater is an Americanism which is totally out of place in a British bio. First I heard of Alma mater was listening to Chuck Berry. So Tertiary education would be better, have raised this at Template talk:Infobox scientist#Alma mater. The other proposals also seem like good ideas. . . dave souza, talk 18:23, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm comfortable no university is credited for the passion of Vincent van Gogh. I'd like to see the Xerox machine at the patent office listed as the alma mater of Thomas Alva Edison, a good matching of an American term with an American figure, alas chronology has a more persuasive platform than I do. Charles couldn't copy his classmates, he could certainly lecture his lecturers, and his university was no school of revolution. Credit where it's due. My own schooling prepared me to address the English speaking world and farm animals alike. I find chickens and dogs to be naturally multilingual, and the dialect of cats I cannot fathom. Like the IP Contributor I feel it's worthwhile to look beyond our noses for a wider view. I oppose shelving the discussion in templates, I support 'Getting a Grip' with passion. Penyulap talk 14:36, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

The references to his university work seem acceptable to me. Don't see why the original argument began.Paragraphbee (talk) 19:10, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the reminder, the template talk didn't resolve this odd Americanism, so I've cunningly put them under Institutions. . . dave souza, talk 19:53, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
That looks like a reasonable solution - good suggestion. Mikenorton (talk) 21:40, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

John Edmonstone[edit]

"He learned taxidermy from John Edmonstone, a freed black slave who had accompanied Charles Waterton in the South American rainforest, and often sat with this "very pleasant and intelligent man".[18]"

Does anyone else feel that this sentence has a slight "Charles Darwin: NOT A RACIST" subtext? garik (talk) 17:33, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

To me this observation is more likely to be expressing quite the opposite if you read the whole quote not just the last bit. Important also we don't apply a 2011 perspective to a 19th century statement. Tmol42 (talk) 17:47, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
<ec> Maybe we should make it a stronger subtext, possibly citing Desmond, Adrian; Moore, James (2009), Darwin's Sacred Cause: Race, Slavery and the quest for human origins, Allen Lane, Penguin Books, which has a lot on the topic. This review covers that specific point. However, I'm reluctant to add yet another reference book to the list. How do others feel? . . dave souza, talk 17:51, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Tmol42: I'm not sure how Darwin's observation is expressing the opposite. My point anyway is not about what Darwin might have meant, but what the sentence in the article is doing. Dave souza: I should add that I'm not saying Darwin was a racist and that this sentence is therefore misleading. My worry is that this sentence makes me cringe; it seems to be saying: "Look! Darwin knew a black man and found him intelligent and pleasant!" I have no doubt that he did, but I think the article would be better either addressing the "Darwin not a racist" point more explicitly (i.e. not as a heavy-handed subtext) or not at all. garik (talk) 18:05, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
We do cover the point more explicitly later on, in the Education section we're covering the notable fact that he did have this training and had these friendly and respectful dealings with a freed black who had been a slave, as well as learning the craft of taxidermy which would prove useful on the Beagle voyage. This story shows aspects of his character at that time. He was significantly less racist than many scientists were at the time, but modern sensitivities can take amiss Darwin's willingness to describe people as savages or western civilisation as superior. Like the similar issues with his contemporary Abraham Lincoln, it has to be considered in context. Darwin was strongly motivated to consider people on an egalitarian basis, but he ranked people by abilities, had the class consciousness of his time, and did not have modern ideas of multiculturalism. . dave souza, talk 18:35, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I would strongly suggest citing a secondary source like the one you mentioned previously. Simply putting that quote in there, devoid of context, is plainly trying to make an argument without properly sourcing that argument to a secondary source. Since we have secondary sources talking about Darwin's attitude on race, we can cite those directly. (However, either way, Darwin's attitudes towards race shouldn't be given undue weight in the article, since it's not what makes him notable.) --Aquillion (talk) 18:55, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Ok, well sourced improvement of this aspect will be welcome, will try to assist when time permits. We don't want to give these attitudes undue weight, but D&M do make a case that his attitude to slavery and hence to other races had a strong influence on his willingess to see unity in life, and so influenced his theorising. There's also the need to clear up misunderstandings that are sometimes promoted by anitevolutionists. . .dave souza, talk 19:18, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Yup, it seems a fairly ham-fisted sentence to me. Easily fixed by removal of the last part of the sentence, "and often sat ...". Being educated by a freed slave is bibliographically significant; that Darwin often "sat" with someone is not; Darwin's characterisation of a black man as "educated" is not a key feature of Darwin's Childhood and Education. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:43, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Academic advisors seems misleading[edit]

Because I don't speak English as my mother tongue my problem might be due to language difficulties but I do find it odd that the Info-box states John Stevens Henslow and Adam Sedgwick as Academic advisors of Darwin. I have tried to understand this "academic advisary" using WP, but no avail. The article speaks about Henslow and Sedgwick in the following passages:

[Darwin] became a close friend and follower of botany professor John Stevens Henslow and met other leading naturalists who saw scientific work as religious natural theology, becoming known to these dons as "the man who walks with Henslow".
In preparation, [Darwin] joined Adam Sedgwick's geology course, then went with him in the summer for a fortnight to map strata in Wales.
After a week with student friends at Barmouth, [Darwin] returned home to find a letter from Henslow proposing [him] (...) for a self-funded place with captain Robert FitzRoy, more as a companion than a mere collector, on HMS Beagle which was to leave in four weeks on an expedition to chart the coastline of South America.
When the Beagle reached Falmouth, Cornwall, on 2 October 1836, Darwin was already a celebrity in scientific circles as in December 1835 Henslow had fostered his former pupil's reputation by giving selected naturalists a pamphlet of Darwin's geological letters.
Darwin visited his home in Shrewsbury and saw relatives, then hurried to Cambridge to see Henslow, who advised on finding naturalists available to catalogue the collections and agreed to take on the botanical specimens.
Still rewriting his Journal, [Darwin] took on editing and publishing the expert reports on his collections, and with Henslow's help obtained a Treasury grant of £1,000 to sponsor this multi-volume Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle,
The Church of England's response was mixed. Darwin's old Cambridge tutors Sedgwick and Henslow dismissed the ideas,

I have not read up on Darwin more than this, but the old tutor and first and foremost close friend Henslow does not at all sound like an "academic advisor". The role Sedgwick played does not fit my idea of such an advisor either. I suggest that the Info-box be stripped of their names. If there is something important I'm missing I hope the "academic advisor" will be linked to a suitable article for my sake (and the sake of other foreign readers). -- (talk) 19:57, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Template:Infobox scientist describes the "academic_advisors" field as being for "Names of any significant educational advisors (other than doctoral advisor)", then its Usage guidelines says "Insert names of significant academic teachers other than the doctoral advisor: e.g. Master's advisor, postdoctoral supervisor, significant undergraduate mentor/teacher etc. In Cambridge, before 1919, there was no PhD and so you can insert the relevant Cambridge tutor." As discussed in more detail in Charles Darwin's education, Henslow was a tutor to Darwin on mathematics and theology, as well as teaching him botany and natural history. Sedgwick taught Darwin about geology, as well as taking him on a brief but influential expedition to examine stratigraphy (rock layers) in Wales. So in my view they both significant academic teachers of Darwin. Hope that explains their inclusion, . . dave souza, talk 20:25, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
To me an important tutor is something else than an academic advisor, whatever the Usage guidelines of Template:Infobox scientist says. Your explanation does not make sense in my world, Henslow and Sedgwick didn't "advice" Darwin in the way a full professor would have done, had Darwin been a 20th century postgraduate student. I still think the article would benefit from having the "academic advisor" removed from the Info-box, even after having read your description of the tutor-student-relation between Darwin and Henslow; Sedgwick must go at once, mustn't he?
(A few more words about the use of Info-boxes: An Info-box serves two purposes, on the face of it, the Info-box summarizes the most usual answers the editors expects a causal visitor would look for. On a deeper level the Info-box teaches the visitor what questions to ask, at least in the case of a template. The editors teaches the readers to think along the lines: Scientists can be described by a few typical traits, and Darwin is a scientist, therefore we (the readers and the editors together) can describe Darwin, and understand him, and his contributions, by simply stating his position in the multi-dimensional space of scientists, defined by his "academic advisor", his "alma mater", etc. This takes the reader away from the important questions, and puts him in a place where he can feel safe - having all the answers - but totally fooled all the same - he has not gained an inch in understanding Darwin by learning about his academic advisors and his alma mater.
The problem of course, for 21st century readers, is the enormous differences between our days, and the world of 19th century "scientists". A "scientist" today is something very different from a "scientist" 200 years ago, the use of a common Info-box template obscures this very important fact. (One example difference: Back then, you received an education because of who you were, today you receive an education because of who you shall become.)) -- (talk) 21:17, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Agree that there's a problem involved in outlining early 19th century concepts with an infobox which uses modern American terms. Your comments at Template talk:Infobox scientist#Alma mater will be welcome. . . dave souza, talk 22:08, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
First of all, I think also you may be expecting too much from an info-box. The purpose of an info box is to provide convenient access to certain facts about the subject of an article (for biographical articles things like birth date, death date, nationality, religion etc.). You say "he has not gained an inch in understanding Darwin" by reading the info-box, and that is probably true but I can't help (and perhaps this is just me being over familiar with the English language Wikipedia) but I am very puzzled by anyone who would expect to gain any understanding from an info-box. Info-boxes are for quick reference for certain standardized information. The lead of an article is supposed to summarize what is important about the subject, not the info-box. I admit that when I use Wikipedia for a reference I sometimes ONLY read the lead of an article if it tells me what I am looking for, but I would never just peruse the info-box, unless I was looking for one specific fact such as say nationality, or place of birth. As to the "academic advisor" issue. I realize that you seem to have a certain very specific/formal definition of that term in mind which I suspect has something to do with the specific way the term is used in some modern Universities (where an academic adviser might be a person assigned by a university or academic department to advise a particular student), but I find what Henslow did for Darwin to be very consistent with what is described in the academic advising article, and I don't see much problem with describing Sedgwick that way either. Just because a particular profession uses a term in a very specific way doesn't mean that it can't be used in a more general, commonsense, way in an encyclopedia article written for a general audience. Rusty Cashman (talk) 09:19, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
To illustrate my reservations regarding info-boxes, or rather templates of such things, let my suggest that we had gathered a list of the one houndred most important contributors to the field of science born before Julius Caesar. Now think about the task of designing a template for Info-box 100best100BC. How would you go about selecting apropriate fields for such a template? You would have to study those one houndred "scientists", I would say rather hard, to decide what to summarize about them for the causal reader. (Of course you would have to study the causal reader as well, to be able to judge what information he would like to see, but then again the WP-editor can look to himself for a reader-model. (Maybe it is the educational task of the editor to teach the reader to put the right questions, that is certainly what I expect the not so effortless template design to do.))
A second task, lets look at all "scientists" mentioned in WP at the end of last month born between 1750 and 1849, and think of how to design a template Info-box 18th and a half century scientist WP 1 June 2011.
Now think about the general template Info-box Scientist and compare it to the 100best100BC and 18th and a half. Are there any common ground between the three of them? Not necessarily, because the general Info-box Scientist template mirrors first and foremost (modern day) (vague) general ideas about scientists - Einstein is probably lurking somewhere in the back of the editors heads - and not a real effort to summarize real people in the real world. (Speaking of scientists is really a matter of speaking about the exceptions, and a template is about the rules, so a scientist template is a self-contradiction.)
Speaking about Darwin there is no need to call his tutors "academic advisors", if the Info-box was designed to mirror Darwin in his time, without glancing at other more contempory scientists, there would be no mentioning of "academic advisors", but of course his most important tutors and real life friends and supporters would be mentioned as such. -- (talk) 20:21, 29 June 2011 (UTC) (Formerly
I really don't agree. I don't see any real difference between the term "tutor" and the term "academic adviser" they seem pretty interchangeable to me. It is not like we are talking about thesis advisers which would be a modern concept. The info box has a separate field for thesis advisers and clearly says that the "academic advisor" field should not be used for them. It seems to me that the people who created the infobox had in mind exactly the way the term is used here; a teacher who strongly influenced a student's later career. Now we may have preferred a different term perhaps "academic mentors" or "educational influences", but I think that is a separate argument than you are making, which seems to be that the very concept doesn't apply to 19th century scientists. Now one area where I think we do agree is that the "scientist" info box doesn't make much sense for figures from tantiquity. I don't think anyone prior to at least the 16th century really could be called a scientist. Figures like Aristotle, Ptolemy, Thales, Anaximander, and even many later figures like Descartes, Copernicus, and Kepler (Galileo was truly an exception) were really natural philosophers (and thought of themselves as such) whose scientific contributions were merely incidental to their philosophical work. Rusty Cashman (talk) 06:54, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

No Source Cited for a vital claim.[edit]

Second Paragraph:

"By the 1870s the scientific community and much of the general public accepted evolution as a fact."

I'm astounded that this wild claim is not cited in any way. I'm not in any way contending it's truth, but it is an extremely presumptuous claim to make without a wealth of evidential support. — Preceding unsigned comment added by AdrianStray (talkcontribs) 04:43, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

The lead doesn't have to be cited if the material is dealt with in detail lower down. See "Responses to publication". --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:17, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

...there is not, however, an exception to citation requirements specific to leads. The necessity for citations in a lead should be determined on a case-by-case basis by editorial consensus. Complex, current, or controversial subjects may require many citations...

It is a common misconception that the lead is immune from WP:CHALLENGE Jebus989 09:51, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
  • The sources cited for this sentence and the sentence which follows it are van Wyhe 2008 which focusses on scientific acceptance (link to current version), and Bowler 2003, pp. 179, 338, 347. Bowler gives more detail and covers the public acceptance, but as his explanation that in the general public there was a spread of opinion and "in the decade following publication of the Origin, even the conservatives became more willing to accept the general theory of evolution" appears on p. 178, I'll amend the citation accordingly. Note Bowler's comment that Darwin's great achievement was in precipitating a change in public opinion and scientific opinion. dave souza, talk 11:23, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
The claim is not even true anyways. Look up the Institute for Creation Research, they (and I for that mater)are scientists who do not believe in evolution.Lee Tru. (talk) 19:32, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
Ah, the Institute for Creation Research, a well known bastion of pseudoscience. Of course, I don't believe in evolution, as a well established scientific fact it doesn't need belief. See WP:FRINGE and WP:WEIGHT. . dave souza, talk 19:44, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Claims Summary[edit]

The claims of the second sentance in the first paragraph are uncited and inaccurate.

He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry,...

It is NOT established in science that all species of life have descended over time from a common ancestry and it is not accurate to claim that Charles Darwin established this concept as a fact. I propose the following more accurate version:

He proposed that all species of life could have descended over time from common ancestry,...

A reference to these two claims should be cited at minimum if authors believe the current version is truthful and accurate.

Wcwarren (talk) 00:38, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

This has been discussed at serious, serious length before. Anyone have a link handy to that discussion? de Bivort 03:22, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
Try here, et sec; anything to forestall that argument kicking off again. --Old Moonraker (talk) 13:25, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
Could it be that "natural selection" is being applied to the origin and evolution of this article? Texaswikiman777 (talk) 04:41, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your responses. I thought that this would probably have been discussed at length but I could not find the discussion. Evolution is a theory, and has never been established as proven fact (hence the ongoing debate). I know this sounds like an old discussion but the words used here describing Darwin's contribution are very important. Facts are established, theories (no matter how popular or supported they are) are proposed and supported or challenged. If Darwin actually proposed theory then the sentance also requires the word could as suggested above. Wcwarren (talk) 07:34, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Anyone who uses Western medicine is being treated by people who know that evolution is more than "just a theory". However, our opinions are not relevant: reliable sources are required, particularly when dealing with scientific issues. Johnuniq (talk) 07:54, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Gravity is a theory. Fortunately there aren't alternative versions in ancient religious texts for nutters to push as alternatives. HiLo48 (talk) 09:37, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
If posts of the Great Turtle Theory now start appearing in the Gravity article, we know whom to blame for starting them off! --Old Moonraker (talk) 10:10, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
I suggest you read the article on Scientific Theory, as that argument is quite laughable.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 18:31, 1 November 2011‎

Information.svg Please see Use of Word "established" for a hopefully useful detailed explanation and conclusion.Wcwarren (talk) 14:32, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Neutrality is in serious question. The whole introduction should be worded differently, it establishes evolution as fact at least twice. There is no such thing as a scientific fact. See Scientific Method and Scientific Analysis. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:31, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

The sources cited in evolution as theory and fact disagree with your unsourced assertion. . dave souza, talk 18:11, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually, Evolution is a scientific fact. WP:NPOV applies when there is actually a controversy surrounding a matter, however, with evolution, there is no controversy among the educated people who have studied biological processes.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 18:31, 1 November 2011‎

That is absolutely not true!Lee Tru. (talk) 19:42, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

So this whole discussion comes down to sources cited! If two sources say different things which do we believe? The majority belief is no guide so maybe we use some common sense? I propose evolution, defined as molecules to man, defies common sense proof, since it can't be proved and was never and has never been observed (science method fundamentals are violated) it MUST remain a theory. Wikipedia readers are not thinking about philosophical arguments which move ideas into so called facts. Swirling controversy does surround evolutionary theory except for those who's ideas are opposed to any other possibility so conclude evolution must have happened (so just believe like Richard Dawkins does). WP:NPOV should be applied rigorously to this article!!!Wcwarren (talk) 05:30, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Fortunately, extraordinary developments in the last 150 years mean we now have medical procedures that would have been regarded as magic in Darwin's time, and we can type messages to each other, and land on the Moon, and a lot more. All that is due to science, and scientific sources verify what is in the article. By the way, evolution has nothing to do with "molecules to man"—it concerns what happened after life began. Johnuniq (talk) 06:09, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Wcwarren argues for common sense. Creationism is anything but. Keep that faith based, irrational dogma away from this scientific content. HiLo48 (talk) 06:45, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes. Please keep your theology out of my biology. ArtifexMayhem (talk) 09:05, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Lies! Evolution requires more faith that Creationism! This is for the simple reason that there actualy is evidince for Creation and there is none for evolution! In regards to the above comment, theology and biology are inseparable.Lee Tru. (talk) 19:42, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
Evolution is all about molecules evolving into life and that life evolving into man. How else did life begin if it did not spontaneously evolve?Wcwarren (talk) 10:00, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Questions are good. While it is known that life has evolved from a common ancestor, how it all began is more speculative—see abiogenesis. At any rate, evolution concerns how self-replicating organisms change when subject to natural selection, and does not consider how the first such entities arose. Johnuniq (talk) 10:22, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Has the issue of WP:NPOV applying to this article been discussed and resolved? Ever?Wcwarren (talk) 10:00, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Nothing in the article is known to be poorly sourced or undue. After some study of the topics, perhaps suggestions about changes might be made. Johnuniq (talk) 10:22, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
This is exactly my point, the words in the second sentance ARE undue and do not match the rest of the article. The words give greater prominance to one point of view of conclusions about the theory and are NOT neutral. The second paragraph uses words like theory, evidence and consensus which is neutral wording. Using terms like established is opinion. Charles Darwin himself did not even try and make a claim of confirmed facts in his research. He added refinement and evidence to already existing theories.Wcwarren (talk) 21:56, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
As was suggested to you above, this point has been given endless discussion already—example here. I can't think of anything that's left to be said, but that doesn't mean there isn't one. What's the new point, please? --Old Moonraker (talk) 14:57, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
Wcwarren, if you think that Darwin didn't "establish" but merely "proposed", could you then tell me, who "established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry"? I am not an expert on Darwin and evolution despite being a biochemist. That is why I am asking. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Carstensen (talkcontribs) 01:14, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Exactly my point. Theories are proposed and facts established. Evolution is a conclusion not a testable and proved fact.Wcwarren (talk) 12:42, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Please see the definition of "theory" as it applies to evolution...

A scheme or system of ideas or statements held as an explanation or account of a group of facts or phenomena; a hypothesis that has been confirmed or established by observation or experiment, and is propounded or accepted as accounting for the known facts; a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed.


Theory does not mean what you think it means. ArtifexMayhem (talk) 14:45, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
This is a great definition but it is worth noting the key joining words in it. Theory is a scheme or system held (belief) to explain the known facts. It could also be a confirmed hypothesis (evolution lacks experimental support however). It might be a general law OR principle OR cause of facts observed. Since evolution has never been observed (Dawkins) and is only a conclusion (though often believed in or held) the popular reading of theory fits well. Evolution is a concept or idea. Wcwarren (talk) 01:26, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
Evolution lacks experimental support? Hardly. Did you have suggestions for improving the article? Otherwise please see WP:NOTAFORUM. ArtifexMayhem (talk) 06:19, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
My points about a lack of experimental support for evolution are simply to illustrate the bias of this article. Editorial bias is attributing unproved and unsourced claims to Darwin. For the sake of accuracy and NPOV these errors should be corrected. The section I started below goes into detail on the significant wording problems I see. If this is corrected then this article will be significantly improved and the interpretive and subjective editorial bias corrected.Wcwarren (talk) 22:41, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
Ah. You want the article to be biased to suit your religious view which has no support in science. Wrong article, wrong 'pedia. Try reading NPOV more carefully, it does not support giving undue weight to your fringe views. . . dave souza, talk 23:16, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
There is no bias in my suggestions at all. Neutrality is a worthy goal in a subject as contentous as evolutionary theory. I am not seeking a balance to other perspectives just an accurate representation of Darwin's work. Editorial opinion may lean heavily to this articles bias but the quoted sources do not. This is not an issue of my or any other's opinion but the need for verifiability of wording that is the issue needing to be solved.Wcwarren (talk) 22:32, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Richard Lenski has seen evolution in action, to name just one example.evolution is no longer in controversy. (talk) 20:35, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

There is a big difference between microevolution and macroevolution. microevolution is adaptation like Darwin saw,(ie. the finches grow bigger or smaller and have thicker or thinner beaks) this is real, this has been observed, macroevolution is completely false, this is the kind that is often called just "evolution" this is , for example, a reptile turning into a bird, this, in addition to being genetically/biologically impossible, in the above example the "protobird's"lungs would not work, macroevolution has never been observed.Lee Tru. (talk) 19:57, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

You couldn't be more wrong. The appearance of tetrapods in the fossil record is a form of macroevolution. Stasis, adaptive radiations, extinctions of entire lineages, co-evolution, and convergent evolution in primates are all examples of macroevolutionary phenomena. (talk) 22:17, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Use of Word "established"[edit]

In the second sentance the second word is "established". In a previous version the word "showed" was used. This change was made by Mann jess on 14 June 2010‎ at 16:36 and allegedly is based on long discussions up to that time. This is not correct!

I have read the relevant discussions and the change from "showed" to "established" is actually in the context of Darwin's establishment of the theory not his alleged establishment of the science of evolution! This is a vital difference. This sentence reads much more strongly than any reference or discussion supports!

Please see the the fourth sentance of the fourth paragraph for the correct context of the use of this word. In that sentance it is clear that Darwin only "established" an explanation not the conclusion. This sentance is referenced appropriately.

If anyone can show the error in this section please give direct reference to any missing discussion. Please do not include YOUR opinions on the value of the use of the word "established".

This reverted change is NOT based on the ideas of the content but on the wording agreed upon in discussion.

Please do not mindlessly revert this reverted edit.

I hope this clears things up as this single word "established" has been defended incorrectly many times. A simple search of this word in edits and discussions proves the truth of what I am saying.

Wcwarren (talk) 14:02, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Please see Evolution as a theory and fact. Providing sources for your proposal would also help.   — Jess· Δ 23:02, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Sorry but you miss the point. Discussions here are NOT about the theory but the discussion of the use of this word. This change has NOT been discussed. I checked! Wcwarren (talk) 00:16, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Your argument is based on an incorrect distinction between "theory" and "fact". The article I linked to explains that in exhaustive detail, with ample sources. We go by what the sources say, not the opinions of our editors. Please just read the article. Thanks.   — Jess· Δ 00:24, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
My argument has nothing to do with a distinction between "theory" and "fact". The changes to this article are discussed here but this change which I reverted has NOT been discussed. The sources do not say Darwin established science but that he established a concept or idea, call it a fact or theory it is still an idea. Wcwarren (talk) 00:34, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Archive 11. However, even if it hadn't been discussed, as you alleged, edit warring would not be appropriate.   — Jess· Δ
I accept the observation that edit warring should be avoided, I'll watch my edits. I am not very experienced.
I believe the "consensus" seen is based on editor's opinions on this topic. Sorry Jess, but the original insertion of "established" is I think based on subjective interpretation not on references. There is lots of debate about the current reading though I see that many editors like it. An objective consensus taking this sentance back to an unbiased point of view should be sought. The collective wording says much more than the parts agreed to by some editors. Wcwarren (talk) 02:09, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Can we stop wasting time on this pointless discussion? It's yet another case of fundamentalist Christians preaching Creationism, this time in an article on a great scientist. No matter how much they argue otherwise, it's a fringe POV position by world standards. Much of this page should be hatted and ignored. HiLo48 (talk) 02:17, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
No problem on the edit warring; Wikipedia is a learning experience by nature. It's just something to look out for going forward. According to the discussion on Archive 11, "showed" was rejected because 1) it implies a visual demonstration primarily, 2) it implies an immediacy to his work, though some of his work was not accepted until later, 3) it is less precise about the impact and acceptance of his work today, 4) it is implied by other alternatives which do not have similar problems (such as demonstrated and established). That the theory of evolution is "established", in the sense that it is both true and a cornerstone of modern biology, is strongly supported by our reliable sources. Here's one, but there are others in the Evolution as a theory and fact article, as well as Evolution and Objections to evolution. If you have sources which demonstrate otherwise, I'd encourage you to link to them. All the best,   — Jess· Δ 02:38, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for a thoughtful reply to my discussion. It is good to see constructive discussion without resorting to attempts to distract from the core issue of good literature and NPOV. I didn't search "showed", just the alternative of "established" which lacked discussion. Thanks for the background. I still feel that this word attributes too much to Darwin which is not supported by references. Since some of his ideas were not accepted till latter then he didn't establish the theory but added to the discussion. Again we are not talking about the theory of evolution but Darwin's contribution. The merits or otherwise of the theory is a secondary discussion and ought not even be the core of this article. Maybe we can put to the community a change to "demonstrated" then since this word gives greater accuracy to an understanding of Darwin's contribution to the concept of evolution. Wcwarren (talk) 04:34, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Another solution would be to put a hatnote above the article to put it all in context. This could be similar to the sentances used in other articles with divergent perpectives like Age of the earth.Wcwarren (talk) 04:33, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Re Age of the Earth: I reverted the change by Wcwarren which introduced a hatnote to the effect that the article is concerned with scientific estimates (however, the hatnote has been restored). The practice at Wikipedia is to write what pertinent reliable sources say: the Earth is 4.54 billion years old (not "some scientists believe..."). The same applies to this article: Darwin did establish common ancestry (although of course the evidence available now is overwhelmingly more powerful than was available 150 years ago), and the article should not say "some scientists believe...". Johnuniq (talk) 06:56, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
@John: Actually, I'm pretty sure I'm the one who restored it. I didn't see a problem with the wording on Age of the Earth, but as my edit summary indicated, you're more than welcome to revert me and we can discuss. Obviously, I agree with you; the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and saying "scientists believe" would violate WP:DUE.
@Wcwarren: I think "established" is better than "demonstrated", since our reliable sources indicate common descent is established, and that it originated with Darwin's work. Demonstrated gives almost precisely the same meaning, except that it skips over that fact. I'm not sure what sort of hatnote you wish to put at the top of the article, but none of the ones I can think of would be appropriate. ("For religious interpretations of Charles Darwin...") Hatnotes are intended to guide readers to the topic they were searching for... If they hit "Charles Darwin", they were obviously looking for a biography, not something religious.   — Jess· Δ 07:18, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
And just to make sure I've hit all your points, Wcwarren, it doesn't matter whether Darwin's work established common descent during or after his lifetime. We haven't supplied any dates in that sentence, so we don't need to restrict ourselves to just that period. BTW, we talked about all this in Archive 11. Did you read the discussion I linked you to?   — Jess· Δ 07:24, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the responses. A "hatnote" could say something like This article is about Charles Darwin's contributions to the theory of evolution. For detailed discussion of evolution itself see that article.

In Archive 11 Jess's quote sums it up. Established rightly gives him credit for founding and popularizing the theory, No problem here, Darwin established the theory but he did NOT establish the science. The point in timing is a third conversation about who established the theory. Darwin's evidence did not establish evolutionary science but did help to popularise the "concept" or "idea" or "fact". Wcwarren (talk) 22:50, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Misleading. Darwin's work and authority established the fact that evolution occurs, other scientists had been gradually working towards this but Darwin provided the tipping point. He did not establish his theory of natural selection in his lifetime, that came later. . . dave souza, talk 00:19, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I have a proposal for a new consensus for discussion here - let's think about this. It seems we have one group of people that favors "showed" and one group of people that favors "established." Since neither group is willing to accept the other group's word, let's think of a possible alternative to both. I propose (and please, hear my argument out) that we instead use the word "determined." By saying "He determined that all species of life...", we are treating it as both a discovery and the basis for Darwin's work (leaving the dead-horse theory-vs-fact argument completely out of the loop). I know this has been discussed at length, but I think we might be able to find a better consensus here than what we previously had. Any ideas or counter-suggestions? Cheers. Sleddog116 (talk) 20:15, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
The term "established" covers the main point which is that "Darwin's name is so linked with evolution because his works convinced the international scientific community that evolution was true."[3] The other terms don't have the same meaning. He "determined" that evolution was a fact around 1837 soon after his return from the Beagle voyage, but it took him many years of work before he was prepared to convince the scientific community. It's true that he "showed" this to the scientific community, but more than that, "Darwin, as an unquestionably respectable authority in elite science, publicly threw his weight on the side of evolution" and "the great majority of the scientific community came to accept that Darwin was right about the evolution of life". . . dave souza, talk 21:04, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I see your point; I'm just trying to come up with an alternative that will not cause edit wars. (I realize, of course, that there are some on both sides who won't drop it even if the proof is right in front of them.) If you don't like "determined" (and let's say just for the sake of discussion that "showed" and "established" are also both out), what do you propose? And for the record, I'm not against the current status quo - I'm just trying to come up with a solution that will please both sides. Sleddog116 (talk) 22:09, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, but there is no reason to think that "established" is out. Many articles offend fringe groups and are subject to frequent attempts to "balance" scientifically accurate statements by fiddling with the wording—if this were ever resolved, another word in the article would be the next focus of attention. As dave has mentioned, the transformation to scientific thinking caused by Darwin's work is astounding (and well sourced), and "established" is exactly correct. Johnuniq (talk) 22:33, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Again, great contributions. There is a serious lack of reference to the use of the word established in literature however. The use of this word is a consensus of editors' interpretation and thus should be changed or removed as it is not verifiable. The correct use of the word is the establishment of the theory and this is precisely what the references say. Darwin's work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. He established an explanation, a great contribution to the story of origins but not the science itself. Wcwarren (talk) 01:27, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Wrong. Darwin's work and intervention tipped the balance to establish what other scientists had been coming round to, the fact that evolution occurs. That isn't "the story of origins", but it does explain the origin of species. As discussed above, your bias is showing and is not a view that should be given weight in this science article. . dave souza, talk 23:19, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
Correct! Darwin did establish a theory that other scientists were coming round to. However there are no sources which say Darwin established the fact of evolution as the origin of species. If there are then provide the quote, please. The key point is that the use of the word established is NOT supported by any quoted sources or references as it is used in the article. Yes he did propose an explanation, now widely accepted, but he did not establish the history of origins any more than any other historian ever established the real history of events NOT OBSERVED. Darwin established the theory not the facts!!!Wcwarren (talk) 22:44, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
@ Wcwarren, not quite. Darwin's intervention established the fact that evolution of some sort was occurring and had occurred, but his theory was generally rejected or thought to be only a minor factor. As is shown by the sources. . dave souza, talk 03:00, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
There is a serious lack of references supporting the editorial conclusion that Darwin established the fact of evolution. Change in species is seen but that is not the same as evolution of one species from another. To illustrate this fact the observed changes like finch beak sizes are within a species and reversible over time! The finches are not evolving into a new species and this definition of evolution has NEVER been observed, ANYWHERE!!! If the quotes don't support the text then it should be changed. This is the whole point. Wcwarren (talk) 02:59, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
We get it. You can't see the evidence. However, this is not a forum. Johnuniq (talk) 04:11, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
This article should not be about editorial opinion or who sees or understands the "evidence". Wikipedia is about verifiable sources of information not about editorial analysis or original work. Where are the sources which say that Darwin established the fact of evolution? Clearly he helped establish the theory in the scientific community but did not establish any alleged facts of evolution itself.Wcwarren (talk) 02:47, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Edit request from , 24 November 2011[edit]

On the Origin of Species proved unexpectedly popular, with the entire stock of 1,250 copies oversubscribed when it went on sale to booksellers on 24 November 1859.[1] Peperoque (talk) 16:28, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

    Hi, you'll have to explain more clearly what change you'd like made as this appears to be identical to the current wording. Thanks, . dave souza, talk 17:33, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

    Maull and Polyblank portrait[edit]

    There was considerable discussion some time ago, and agreement that the seated portrait by Maull and Fox was the best portrait for the infobox, but the Maull and Polyblank portrait was recently swapped with that picture. The latter works reasonably well in the "publication" section, but has an unfortunate impact. As Darwin said to Hooker, "if I really have as bad an expression, as my photograph gives me, how I can have one single friend is surprising". So, in my view inappropriate for the infobox and have swapped them back. Will think about whether to quote Darwin's view about the photo in the caption. . . dave souza, talk 21:24, 12 December 2011 (UTC)


    Where and when did Darwin study and earn a degree in biology? -- (talk) 16:05, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

    As the article shows, Darwin studied biology at both Edinburgh and Cambridge, there was no such thing as a degree in biology at Cambridge at that time. He also studied biology in greater depth when working on barnacles and plants. . dave souza, talk 16:27, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

    Wording in 1st paragraph[edit]

    Please reconsider the wording in the second sentence. It is not very scientific in its style. "He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection."

    He proposed that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and is the founder of the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection."

    A hypothesis is proposed, theories are not. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:00, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

    This matter has been thoroughly discussed (see the archives at the top). Darwin did a lot more than wake up one morning with a proposal. Also, reliable sources verify that the scientific community moved from a position of ignorance of the subject to support for Darwin's conclusions in a remarkably small number of years—that is the reason for "established". Johnuniq (talk) 00:50, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
    This might be a reason for editorial opinion for use of the word "established" but where are the references to support such a conclusion?Wcwarren (talk) 02:41, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

    The Article Is Blocked[edit]

    The Article Is Blocked For Other Users Except Administrators And Bots. It Is A Polpular page in Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sonphan1 (talkcontribs) 23:01, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

    The article can be edited by established users. If you keep on vandalising articles you'll be blocked, and won't be able to edit any articles, so please try to improve your editing and be constructive. . dave souza, talk 23:28, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

    Darwin's views on race and Descent of Man quote[edit]

    User:Timmoreland added a quote to the Social Darwinism section from from The Descent of Man:

    "“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”

    I have no issue inserting the quote if it is properly explained and placed in context. The quote is sometimes used by critics of evolution and Darwin to show that he was racist or was a proponent of social darwinism. There should be some reliable sources discusses his views on race and that quote in particular. Since this is an issue, people may be looking for it when they go to this article. We could split it from the social Darwinism section so that there's a clear separation between his views and later interpretations. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 19:21, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

    Good call, the detailed explanation of this particular creationist quotemine are dealt with in The Descent of Man and don't need to be repeated here. . dave souza, talk 17:51, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
    There's some precedence for this. For instance the Margaret Sanger article has a section on her views on Race. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 19:31, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
    The article already outlined Darwin's views on race, scholarly views are clear that he was much less racist than most people of his time. It may be useful to move some points from notes into the body of the article, will think about that. . . dave souza, talk 17:51, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

    Also put most of the Eugenics section into Views on Eugenics. It does create some redundancy as you have to explain Francis Galton twice. You can expand the Eugenics section a bit to focus on the field as opposed to Darwin's views on it. I also move the following quote to the end:

    Taking descriptive ideas as moral and social justification creates the ethical is-ought problem[citation needed].

    There's no citation. Critics of Social Darwinism have said that, but you have to include a source. I also removed:

    Darwin's theory of evolution was a matter of explanation. He thought it "absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another" and saw evolution as having no goal [citation needed].

    Again, no source. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 20:11, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

    The first was sourced to Wilkins, the statement "absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another" is already sourced further up in the article, his theory was unusual in that evolution to him lacked a goal or direction but don't think that was well sourced so have left it out for now. . dave souza, talk 17:51, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

    Full quote:

    The great break in the organic chain between man and his nearest allies, which cannot be bridged over by any extinct or living species, has often been advanced as a grave objection to the belief that man is descended from some lower form; but this objection will not appear of much weight to those who, from general reasons, believe in the general principle of evolution. Breaks often occur in all parts of the series, some being wide, sharp and defined, others less so in various degrees; as between the orang and its nearest allies—between the Tarsius and the other Lemuridae between the elephant, and in a more striking manner between the Ornithorhynchus or Echidna, and all other mammals. But these breaks depend merely on the number of related forms which have become extinct. At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. Source:Ch. VI, On The Birthplace and Antiquity Of Man

    --Harizotoh9 (talk) 21:50, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

    As above, see Descent for commentary. . dave souza, talk 17:51, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

    Also removed the citation to Anthony Flew. I am not sure how useful it is. It seems to contradict the rest of the section.

    Darwin did not share the racism common at that time: a point examined by the philosopher Antony Flew, who is at pains to distance Darwin's attitudes from those later attributed to him.[1]

    --Harizotoh9 (talk) 22:47, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

      • ^ Flew, Antony (1997). Darwinian Evolution (2 ed.). Piscataway, NJ: Transaction. ISBN 1-56000-948-9. "...there seem to be absolutely no grounds for pillorying Darwin as a racist. On the contrary... he shared...principled hatred...for Negro slavery" 
      Good call. . dave souza, talk 17:51, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
      • Overall, there are some problems with this reorganisation and it may have lost some useful sourced info. However, it's worthwhile reviewing this part of the article. As a first step I've simplified some of the sections, putting the emphasis a bit more on Darwin's views. Note that women aren't a separate race, so a more general heading is appropriate. Have also moved the pic of daddy with Wm. out of the box, you're right about it getting too large. . . . dave souza, talk 17:51, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
      Re the section title, the article explains how "Darwinism" means many things, and we should show that rather than avoiding it because of creationist misuse in one country. The proposed change to "Social Darwinism" gives anachronistic weight to a neologism that didn't exist in Darwin's day, so I'm happier with the shorter title. It already mentions various evolutionary ideas, we could always add a bit about use of "Darwinism" for Weissman's Neo-Darwinism or evolutionary theory with an emphasis on natural selection. . dave souza, talk 18:51, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

      Recommendation on Article Opening[edit]

      As someone with great respect for the scientific endeavor, as practiced via true scientific method, I am taken aback by the second sentence of this article. This sentence proclaims that Darwin "ESTABLISHED" common ancestry. I submit that it would be prudent to maintain the Wikipedia principle of neutrality with this high-profile article. To start the article with this absolutist assertion for the proposed scientific "THEORY" is not in keeping with the principle of neutrality. I recommend that this second sentence be modified to properly present this assertion as the opinion of some, and also be forthright about this being Darwin's theory, and not verified scientific fact. I'm certain this topic must have been discussed before, which is why I am astounded that this second sentence remains in the article. Such an immediate mis-statement does not speak well for this article, nor considering that this is such a high-profile article, does this speak well for Wikipedia. There are many ways this sentence could be constructed without the absolutist one-side opinion put forth. It could simply say "asserted" instead of "established". Regardless of the exact manner, this matter should be promptly addressed. Sincerely, G. Brett — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:38, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

      Wikipedia follows reliable sources, and as you suspect, "established" has been thoroughly discussed in the past, and consensus is that "established" is the correct word to describe what happened, according to the many reliable sources. If you know of a reliable source suggesting that it was not established, please post it. Johnuniq (talk) 02:38, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
      The intro is in conformity with WP policies. Neutrality does not mean always giving equal weight to all sides in a dispute. Read the following:
      --Harizotoh9 (talk) 08:37, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

      This startling issue has yet to be resolved. Although a consensus of editors believe in the use of the word "established" there are no references which make this claim of Darwin's studies. This use of the word "established" does reflect editorial bias and does not reflect referenced sources. Darwin established only the theory in the scientific world but did NOT establish evolution as a scientific fact. Again no sources make the claim of fact for his work, especially since most of his work was simply a reproduction of ideas and alleged evolutionary examples which existed for many decades before he published his Origins book.Wcwarren (talk) 23:22, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

      Try van Wyhe and the other cited sources, Darwin's work was an influential tipping point in the the already growing acceptance that some sort of evolution had occurred, and common ancestry became established in science in his lifetime. His theory of common descent took longer to be accepted, as the article shows. Your last sentence is nonsensical. . dave souza, talk 18:54, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

      On blackbirds[edit]

      When I read about an English person, especially if he is an ornithologist like John Gould, and especially if he is referring to an English biologist like Charles Darwin, I expect "blackbird" to mean Turdus merula and nothing else, because that would have been the meaning of the word for both of them. --Episcophagus (talk) 14:48, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

      Thanks, a very good point. They would probably have been aware of the New World birds, but unlikely to use "blackbird" as a common name for these birds. I've changed it accordingly .dave souza, talk 06:38, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

      A question[edit]

      I wanted to tentatively suggest the idea that artificial selection be mentioned at the end of the first paragraph, because this comparison/contrast is an essential way to an easy understanding of what Darwin meant by "natural selection". One could say: "...and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, which he compared and contrasted with artificial selection." Just an idea. I do understand that a lot of people may not agree with this suggestion. Invertzoo (talk) 00:10, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

      We would have to stick with the principle that material added to the paragraph you propose has to be dealt with in more detail lower down the page. It's only alluded to briefly here, as "animal husbandry", and in no great detail in Inception of Darwin's theory#Animal observations. There seems to be a bit of a gap, somewhere, in our coverage of this (allowing, of course, that I may have missed it) which could be filled in a bit. Good suggestion! --Old Moonraker (talk) 09:07, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
      Thanks, I do feel this is an important theme, see my note below. Invertzoo (talk) 13:15, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
      Astutely observed, so I've had a go at revising the relevant detail as well as forming a new sub-subsection on Malthus and natural selection.
      The "animal husbandry" link isn't very good, but has been superseded for our purposes by selective breeding which is much better. In your suggestion, it would work better than "artificial selection" which is a term coined by Darwin and which would not mean much to most readers. So, perhaps "...and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in an analogy with selective breeding." . . dave souza, talk 10:24, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
      Thanks for adding a new subsection, this is an important theme in Darwin's development of his theory. We actually already have a pretty good article on artificial selection, so maybe we could put "...and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, which he compared to artificial selection, his term for selective breeding."
      I feel that the average person (at least here in the USA) simply does not understand the principle of evolution by natural selection at all (!) and by far the easiest way to understand it is to see it as a similar process to selective breeding, but the selecting being done by changing environmental pressures rather than by a farmer or animal breeder. Darwin was strongly influenced by what he saw of pigeon breeding. There's lots of good sources online for this. Invertzoo (talk) 13:07, 15 June 2012 (UTC)


      Attempts to minimise Hume's racialism are similar to attempts to minimise Darwin's racialism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:59, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

      This is an article about Darwin, not Hume. Your source for your provocative statement? . . dave souza, talk 16:45, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
      Attempts to minimise Marx's racialism are similar to the other two attempts. See verbatim quotations from all three racialists. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Anti-Kaplan (talkcontribs) 09:29, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

      State funeral[edit]

      Following this edit my immediate recollection was that we had the reference to a state funeral before but decided it was technically a major ceremonial funeral. However, a look for sources found van Whye calling it a state funeral in his book giving an overview, so I edited the lead to match.[4] This description also appears in Mark Patten's The Rough Guide to Evolution, so that's two authors who tend to be cautious about Darwin legends. There's no indication in Browne or in Desmond & Moore that it was officially a state funeral, but the Graun and the BBC have described it as such, in the context of discussing suggestions that Thatcher might get a state funeral. The Natural History Museum also call it a stat funeral in their timeline.[5]
      Our State funerals in the United Kingdom article includes Darwin in its list, and says that "The real distinction between a state funeral and a ceremonial funeral is that a state funeral requires a motion or vote in Parliament." Freeman p. 81 notes that the request to Westminster was on House of Commons paper, signed by Lubbock and nineteen other MPs. That's supported by Francis Darwin's Life and letters. Desmond and Moore describe the context on pp. 664–677, on pp. 666–557 they describe the Revd. Frederic Farrar, Canon of Westminster, as saying that a petition would be needed, and when Lubbock heard this he went to the House of Commons to collect signatures: only the short notice prevented him from getting more signatures. So, there was a petition from Parliament. Protocol seems to have changed a bit since Darwin's time, so given the above sources it appears correct to call it a state funeral. . .dave souza, talk 14:07, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

      Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge[edit]

      Can some mention be made of Sir Francis Darwin, Sir George Darwin, and Sir Horace Darwin and granddaughter Frances Cornford all being buried in Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground? Frances Cornford being a daughter of Sir Francis 'Frank' Darwin, and is interred in the same grave. Please add these details as the Darwin family has close connections to this immediate area of Cambridge. Martin Packer (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:15, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

      Not exactly relevant on a page that is about none of them. Might be appropriate in the Darwin-Wedgwood family page. --Erp (talk) 14:01, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

      Influenced: Richard Dawkins[edit]

      I just watched this video: In it Richard Dawkins says that he is influenced by Darwin. Should he be added to the influenced section? HostDavid (talk) 20:09, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

      I reckon this is marginal stuff. It goes without saying that most modern scientists in a particular field were influenced by major figures from the past in that field. How we choose particular individuals for mention beats me. And the Infobox is only meant to be a summary of what's buried in the depths of the article. To this end, the list is already doubtful. The ONLY mention of George Romanes and John Lubbock is in the Infobox. No context or explanation at all. I'd be reluctant to add Dawkins. (And we should removed Romanes and Lubbock.) HiLo48 (talk) 22:27, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

      Edit request on 2 October 2012[edit]

      In the summary section headed by Darwin's photograph and finishing with his signature, there is an error in the Spouse's year of birth shown just above the signature--it should read 1808 not 1839 Michaelanthonywhite (talk) 17:12, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

      X mark.svg Not done It's not her year of birth, it's the year they got married. --Six words (talk) 17:35, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
      I've clarified it in the box. That's an absurd way of presenting marriage dates; any range of dates following a person's name is going to be interpreted as birth-death unless otherwise indicated, so some form of clarification is needed if we've adopted IMDB's approach to marriages. - Nunh-huh 18:15, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
      Wouldn't it be better to just leave it as (married 1839), because the marriage finished on Darwin's death, not in 1896. Mikenorton (talk) 19:01, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
      Yes, sorry, I didn't check who died first. I'll drop the "end" year of marriage - it's silly to have it in any case unless the marriage ended by divorce or annulment. - Nunh-huh 00:57, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

      Evolutionary biology template at top[edit]

      I have removed the evolutionary biology template at the top of the article. This enormous template box detracts from the appearance, and its content should go at the foot of the page, not the beginning. In fact, there is already a navbox on Basic topics in evolutionary biology at the foot of the page, which appears to cover much the same ground.

      The template at the top was added in Feburary by this edit, without any discussion, pro or con, that I can see. This is a featured article, and the text should be given precedence. We do not need two templates covering much the same subject, and where they do not overlap, one should be made comprehensive. Kablammo (talk) 21:59, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

      That 'State Funeral'[edit]

      If, as appears to be the case, the evidence for a state funeral is wobbly, then the article should not say that Darwin was given one. The obituary in The Times cited above make no mention of any gun carriage or other military dimension or of any of the usual paraphenalia of a state funeral. The Prime Minister didn't attend, though that article says that 'Lord Spencer, President of the Council [...] represented Her Majesty's Ministers at the funeral'. The article shouldn't perpetuate a myth. Norvo (talk) 05:06, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

      I've just reached out for Charles Darwin by Gavin deBeer off my bookshelf. On the second last page it says "The only British national honour that Darwin received was burial at Westminster Abbey." (My bolding.) That pretty much eliminates a state funeral. It should be removed. HiLo48 (talk) 05:19, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
      And, strictly speaking, it was not even a "national honour". The decision was made by the Dean of Canterbury upon application by John Lubbock. Galton and Huxley also applied pressure. Neither Gladstone nor the Archbishop attended the ceremony, and technically it had no official state sanction at all (last few pages of Janet Browne's biography). The Dean is not an official of the British state, obviously. I think it's right to say without qualification that Darwin had no official sign of recognition by the British state either during his life or after his death. Macdonald-ross (talk) 17:02, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
      I have boldly removed the reference to a state funeral.--ukexpat (talk) 17:50, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
      Excellent! Norvo (talk) 00:41, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

      The Dean is a royal appointee so is a state official in a sense (though not a government official). It was certainly considered significant in that the Speaker of the House of Commons and Lord Spencer as a representative of the Queen's ministers attended (these two attending especially the latter attending as a representative and possibly the former if there as Speaker and not in his private capacity count as 'official recognition'), several peers were among the pallbearers, and representatives from several embassies also attended (see the Times article on the funeral). I agree the funeral was not a state funeral far from it but it was certainly a national honor given where and who attended. --Erp (talk) 02:52, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

      As discussed at #State funeral above, sources differ on this but it's clear that it was a major public event held by a state church. On the basis of these further discussions and my review of sources I've removed state funeral from the lead, and substituted "major ceremonial funeral" as before. Will review the more detailed section. . dave souza, talk 19:06, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

      A3243G Mitochondrial mutation: Did Darwin have Mitochondrial Disease as some experts speculate?[edit]

      The Wiki article on Mitochondrial Diseases reports that Charles Darwin and Thomas Wedgwood both may have had a Mitochondrial Dz, specifically the A3243G mutation. While we have an understanding of Mitochondrial genetics, we have just come to realize that there is an adult form of Mitochondrial Dz. The article on Mito Dz reports a 1:4000 prevalence, but there are new studies (see: United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation) reporting a prevalence of 1:200. Many geneticists believe that all disease--organic and our susceptibility/response to infectious) has at their core a mitochondrial cause.

      As someone who has just been Dx with the Adult form of Mito w/dysautonomia, I noted in this article on Darwin the reports of his concern that his lifetime of mysterious and poor health may have had a genetic basis. In fact, it has been speculated that Darwin had the A3243G mutation of the Dz. If Darwin had Mito, I can truly understand his sense in wondering if he had more than just Bad Genes. While experiencing scores of symptoms such as fatigue, pain and a large number of autoimmune type symptoms, a person with Mito does not consider themselves as ill. Poor Genes and a less fortunate genetic inheritance, yes. But actually illness? No. Lacking the health and vitality of his peers, with Mito, Darwin would have simply accepted this and proceeded to "work around" any health issues as they presented.

      Aging is disproportionally harder for adult mito PTs; they show aging symptoms earlier and have to devote more time dealing with their "maladaptations to physical stress" as they age. All of this Darwin (and no doubt his wife and family) would have seen and wondered about as Darwin aged. Four years ago, he would have been tested for the Mito and Nuclear DNA mutations. But in 2013, he will be exome sequenced! Soon, we may know more about Darwin's speculation that he had a genetic disease. But of course, we now know that we all have at least one of those--something Darwin, no doubt, assumed!Charley sf (talk) 23:32, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

      Thanks for the information, sorry to hear of your own Dx and hope it affects you much less than the symptoms Darwin suffered. We have a whole article on these issues, and I think that point is covered under Charles Darwin's health#Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. if any further detail has been published in a reliable source then it can be shown in that article with a citation to meet verifiability policy. . . dave souza, talk 04:04, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

      Edit request 12/30/12[edit]

      I have looked up William Paley and his 'Evidences of Christianity' after reading this line from the article, When his own exams drew near, Darwin focused on his studies and was delighted by the language and logic of William Paley's Evidences of Christianity. I found this paragraph that I have to admit that I am 'assuming' is a direct quote from Darwin off a page about William Paley, 'Again, in my last year I worked with some earnestness for my final degree of B.A., and brushed up my Classics, together with a little Algebra and Euclid, which latter gave me much pleasure, as it did at school. In order to pass the B.A. examination, it was also necessary to get up Paley's 'Evidences of Christianity,' and his 'Moral Philosophy.' This was done in a thorough manner, and I am convinced that I could have written out the whole of the 'Evidences' with perfect correctness, but not of course in the clear language of Paley. The logic of this book and, as I may add, of his 'Natural Theology,' gave me as much delight as did Euclid. The careful study of these works, without attempting to learn any part by rote, was the only part of the academical course which, as I then felt and as I still believe, was of the least use to me in the education of my mind. I did not at that time trouble myself about Paley's premises; and taking these on trust, I was charmed and convinced by the long line of argumentation. By answering well the examination questions in Paley, by doing Euclid well, and by not failing miserably in Classics, I gained a good place among the oi polloi or crowd of men who do not go in for honours.'

      I would like to have an addition to the following sentence in the article - 'When his own exams drew near, Darwin focused on his studies of and was delighted by the language and logic of William Paley's Evidences of Christianity as he was of Euclid. Darwin also said, 'The careful study of these works, without attempting to learn any part by rote, was the only part of the academical course which, as I then felt and as I still believe, was of the least use to me in the education of my mind.'

      I believe that the additional sentence portrays Darwin's feelings more acurately.

      I got the paragraph from a website of (talk) 22:14, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

      Hi Mylittlezach, Wikipedia, as you know, isn't a place for original research. If this is an accurate quote, you are giving an interpretation to an original source and an interpretation that is out of context. Moreover, even if Wikipedia did not have a fundamental rule against original research, I would argue that your interpretation is a little off. So, the sentence as it is captures Darwin's view well as expressed by the secondary source quoted.--I am One of Many (talk) 10:16, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
      @ Mylittlezach, thanks for raising the point. The wording in question was actually cited to Darwin's biography, which your source reproduces. This is a very condensed summary, the topic is developed in more detail in Charles Darwin's education#Third year, theology and natural history which was based on Desmond and Moore's Darwin, and since we really should cite a secondary source I've added a citation here to the relevant pages. Though Darwin does refer prominently to Euclid, that had less impact on his later life than his study of Paley's Evidences and Natural Theology, which we cover in the next paragraph. Oddly enough, Desmond and Moore interpret it as Darwin learning the Evidences by heart: the brief statement in this article is fine, I'll think over the wording in Charles Darwin's education. Thanks again for raising these points, . dave souza, talk 12:06, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

      Add to WikiProject Shropshire?[edit]

      Darwin is already in the London project, so I believe that he should be in Wikipedia:Shropshire due to his home county's influence on him, and his subsequent influence on it. Discuss, and make the change if necessary. I haven't done it yet due to the vital importance of this article Indiasummer95 (talk) 17:25, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

      Sounds reasonable to me, if someone in the project wants to add it that would be ok. . . dave souza, talk 18:54, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

      Edit request on 25 February 2013[edit]

      He almost could not board the ship because he had heart problems. M5ServerInfo (talk) 22:29, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

      Source? — raekyt 22:43, 25 February 2013 (UTC)
      Please see WP:RS and add a reliable source to back up your claim. Camyoung54 talk 03:26, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
      It's covered by Charles Darwin's health#Development of illness and symptoms, and was a self diagnosis which had no effect on him going so it's rather too detailed to cover in this overview article. From his bio, "I was also troubled with palpitation and pain about the heart, and like many a young ignorant man, especially one with a smattering of medical knowledge, was convinced that I had heart disease. I did not consult any doctor, as I fully expected to hear the verdict that I was not fit for the voyage, and I was resolved to go at all hazards." . . dave souza, talk 09:27, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

      Edit Request 27/03/2013[edit]

      Digitised images of the Darwin-Hooker correspondence have been made available on the Cambridge Digital Library Should this be added to the external links section? EifionJones (talk) 18:24, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

      Done, replacing the news item: links to both Cambridge Digital Library and Darwin Correspondence Project as both have pages on this joint publication. . dave souza, talk 20:29, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

      Edit request on 1 April 2013[edit]

      Please change statement/ assertion in first par. sentence 2, which says "He established that all species of life have descended over time from ...." to read "He proposed that all species" [or words of similar effect].

      There has never been any testable or measureable evidence which can be referred to as scientific proof, brought forward of Darwins ideas on the subject. The immediate next part of the same sentence more accurately describes the true nature of his work:

      "... and proposed the scientific theory .." - However even this is innacurate, considering the meaning of "Scientific Theory". According to Wikipedia's own site, scientific theory:

      "is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment" So, I ask: Where are the repeated confirmations, observations, and measureable experiments Darwin carried out to gain theory status for his work? I put to you they simply do not exist, otherwise they would be able to be repeated over & over again, and with even greater accuracy and conviction in our modern & high-tech era.

      It is therefore I request that the word "established" (or any similar words & phrases) be substituted for a lesser descriptive when referring to Darwin's work. (talk) 12:45, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

      This is covered in the references, and the wording has already been extensively discussed. Your comments suggest that you are unaware of scientific findings on evidence of common descent and evolution, please note that this is an article about a science topic. . . dave souza, talk 13:34, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

      Edit request in info box: Influences[edit]

      On notable influence that is sorely missing from the information box is Thomas Malthus ( Malthus and Lyell are largely responsible for Darwin's formulation of natural selection, as syllogistically stated. Lyell influenced Darwin with the gradualistic perspective of small changes over lots of time results in large change. Malthus' "An Essay on the Principle of Population" was Darwin's base for incorporating limited resources ("subsistence" in Malthus' words) and competition into the natural selection model. I have yet to see a historical treatment of Darwin that have failed to include Malthus as a major influence on the formulation of evolution by natural selection.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 03:50, 16 May 2013‎

      Thanks for commenting, we do of course mention Malthus and Lyell in the article. The Template:Infobox scientist advises "influences List names of any notable people who influenced the scientist significantly. The intention is to only list those influences that had physical contact with the scientist. Do not insert those influences that were not in person (e.g. via study of works or books) as this is more tenuous and there are generally too many for each scientist." Malthus predated Darwin, and we include Lyell as an influence. . . dave souza, talk 08:00, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

      Darwin avoiding the term "evolution" is a relevant detail[edit]

      Dave souza, I'm reverting your edit deleting the reference to the fact that the word "evolution" wasn't used in the first edition of On the Origin of Species. It's a fact backed with sources, and it is interesting and relevant enough to appear somewhere in the article. Everybody relates On the Origin of Species with the concept of evolution, and rightly so. But how many readers of this article are aware that such term wasn't used at all in the first edition, and was only introduced years later when Darwin was more confident about using it publicly? I agree with you it's not a big deal but I don't see a reason to remove half sentence down in section 1.6, where the publication of this first edition is explained. If you disagree please explain your reasons here. Thank you.--QuimGil (talk) 16:39, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

      It was there for that reason, but your wording "In the first edition of the book he put a strong case for common descent, but avoided the then controversial term" is clumsy and rather implies that he didn't put a strong case for common descent in subsequent editions. Have used secondary sources to clarify the point, Browne attributes his reluctance to use the word to it being most commonly used for embryological development at that time. Freeman notes when CD first added it to his writings. . dave souza, talk 18:07, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
      Thank you for your patience and for contributing your deep knowledge in this subject!--QuimGil (talk) 20:18, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
      Ha, sorry to be a bit grumpy. The research made a worthwhile improvement, with a new focus on Browne's expert opinion. . . dave souza, talk 21:07, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

      On the money[edit]

      Shouldn't it be mentioned that he's on the 10-pound-note? ♆ CUSH ♆ 08:24, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

      Thanks, it is mentioned: see Charles Darwin#Commemoration. As I recall, it was part of the 2009 Commemoration of Charles Darwin but for some reason it doesn't seem to get a mention in that article, which it should. These tenners used to be uncommon in Scotland, but I've seen a lot more lately for some unknown reason. . . dave souza, talk 18:59, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

      First sentence[edit]

      Previously this stated that Darwin "was an English naturalist", this has now been extended with "best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory". While true, the aim of the simpler formulation was to avoid focussing all attention on this aspect of his career.
      I propose extending this, to read that Darwin "was an English naturalist", an eminent geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory.
      This indicates his initial career as a geologist, Secretary of the Geological Society and author of several significant books and geological theories, and biologist whose work on barnacles earned him the Royal Society's Royal Medal, all before he published on evolution. . dave souza, talk 20:46, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

      Do we have secondary sources that describe him as a biologist or as a geologist? I don't disagree that he studied barnacles or that he did a considerable amount of geological work when he on the Beagle for five years. But as far as the sources are concerned, what is he primarily known as? And isn't the term "naturalist" sufficient? danielkueh (talk) 21:33, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
      Firstly, note that his geological theorising lasted for years and included publication of The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs, Geological Observations on South America and Geological Observations on the Volcanic Islands. See Herbert, Sandra. (2005). Charles Darwin, Geologist. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4348-0.  On Biology, Desmond & Moore 1991, pp. 408–409, "What had started as a few months work in 1846 on one strange boring barnacle ended almost eight years later in two technical treatises overhauling the entire sub-class. It was the longest piece of sustained research he would ever undertake.... [he had] become the world authority on barnacles.... It established him as a zoological expert, and no longer just the geological expert. More important, it was his license to speak on species." For more detail, I have Darwin and the Barnacle, Rebecca Stott to hand. . . dave souza, talk 22:57, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
      Two things: Right now, I am still not convinced awhy these titles/labels have to be part of the first sentence of the lead. As one editor correctly pointed, Darwin is known for many things. But that doesn't mean we have to list all of them in the first sentence. 2) Again, I don't dispute that he became a zoological expert or that he published work on barnacles. But I question the modern label, "biologist." Was that label used during Darwin's time? If so, was it used to describe Darwin in particular? danielkueh (talk) 23:14, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
      "In summing up an estimate of Mr. Darwin's work in science, we are profoundly impressed with his versatility. He was a geologist, as his "Observations on South America Geology," and upon "Volcanoes," will testify. He was a palaeontologist. He was a biologist without a peer. His works upon the Cirripedia, and on Coral Islands, show a profound knowledge and wonderful observing power." – James, Joseph F. 1882, Obituary of) Charles Robert Darwin. The journal of the Cincinnati society of natural history The word "biologist" was in use in the 1850s, The first paragraph amply covers Darwin's evolution work, but at the time he published Origin he was already eminent for this earlier work, so if we mention evo in the first sentence it should be shown in this broader context. . . . dave souza, talk 04:45, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
      He was an Englishman, a scientist, an agnostic, a father, an abolitionist, a medical school dropout, etc. So what? Do we have to list all of his characteristics, career positions, and/or accomplishments in the first sentence? You don't need to know any of that in the first sentence to know that he made contributions to evolutionary theory. If you're going to take an all-or-none approach, then fine, we can just revert the first sentence to its original version. danielkueh (talk) 12:30, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
      If you mean go back to this edition, can't complain about that. However, I'm coming round to including the recent additions plus at the minimum geologist: that would tie in with the Oxford Biography Index entry,
      "Darwin, Charles Robert (1809–1882), naturalist, geologist, and originator of the theory of natural selection".
      Obviously we mention natural selection further down the paragraph, so suggest:
      Darwin "was an English naturalist" and geologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory.
      That would at least offset the common misperception that his whole career was as an evolutionary biologist. . dave souza, talk 13:45, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
      OK, Preference 1: revert back to the original version. Preference 2 : use the labels at the same level, i.e., biologist and geologist. Not naturalist and geologist or naturalist and biologist. It's like saying writer and author of fiction.Ok with compromise if we go with Oxford as a source. danielkueh (talk) 13:56, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
      Thanks, have done. I think that offsets the strong emphasis on evo biology in the first paragraph, and is more representative of CD's life. . dave souza, talk 15:13, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

      Editing the page on Charles Darwin[edit]

      Intercalate (talk) 19:32, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

      Ok, umm, yeah, so, what are you asking again? Dbrodbeck (talk) 21:22, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
      Hatted the rewrite? Waiting for discussion. Vsmith (talk) 22:06, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
      Not a lot to discuss. Most of it is another attempt to argue against evolution and not appropriate in Darwin's biography. Dougweller (talk) 10:29, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

      Reader feedback: more pics of darwin[edit] posted this comment on 31 October 2013 (view all feedback).

      more pics of darwin

      Any thoughts?

      We've already got 11 images of Darwin in the article, and cover most of the available sources. While portraits mostly come from his later years, File:Charles Darwin drawing by Samuel Laurence, 1853, alternative.jpg is an attractive pastel drawing from 1853. We could put that in place of the current infobox picture, which could then be moved down to the Publication section and the rather grim File:Charles Darwin by Maull and Polyblank, 1855-crop.png moved down a bit or moved elsewhere. Comments? . dave souza, talk 13:19, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

      I like the second one the best as it is the most recognizable.I like the infobox picture as is. danielkueh (talk) 16:46, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

      EXTERNAL LINKS[edit]

      PLEASE ADD IT! (talk) 22:36, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

      small grammatical edit[edit]

      The wording "agreed unrealistic dates" seems to have a word missing. It would be improved by "agreed to unrealistic dates." DonRobinson (talk) 17:05, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

      Ellen Wordsworth Darwin, nee Crofts : the second wife of Sir Francis Darwin[edit]

      I am looking for her whereabouts: interred/cremated, but there appears to be no record anywhere!

      Any answers/assistance here please or on the Talk Page of Sir Francis Darwin; Martin Packer (talk) 13:38, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

      The Complete Title of Darwin's Book.[edit]

      It is important to not omit the complete title of Darwin’s book:

      On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.

      From my perspective, Darwin was both a racists and a eugenicists.’ His work certainly reinforced and fueled leading theories of racial hygiene and superiority in the West. It is ironic that in spite of Darwin’s spurious theories on “natural selection,” he himself could not explain his own mitochondrial deficiencies, he being a congenital sufferer of Mitochondrial disease. This fact too has also been omitted from this article.

      Finally, if Darwin’s unifying theory of “natural selection” and “survival of the fittest” has any credibility, all roads would still lead to Africa, since it is now well established that all humans evolved from the African Eve.

      It is also ironic that absolutely nowhere in African, Native American, nor Asia cosmologies or indigenous science, do they claim to have descended from apes. Most claim origins from other solar systems such as Sirius and the Pleiades. However, I am ranting here; but my point is that the full title of Darwin’s book needs to be revealed. It is that which reveals the hidden motivation behind “Social Darwinism” and what it meant for indigenous humanity. There are two sides to this story. (talk) 01:51, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

      1) The book was not only known as this, just for the first few editions, 2) you misunderstand what is meant by 'race' 3) your perspective is of no concern, please read WP:NOTAFORUM. Dbrodbeck (talk) 02:37, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
      Dear, why are you so concerned about cabbageism? See On the Origin of Species#Events leading to publication for clarification that the first use in the book refers to "the several races, for instance, of the cabbage". As for your perspective, it not only appears to be misinformed, it is unpublished and so cannot appear in Wikipedia: see WP:V. .. . dave souza, talk 04:50, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

      “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state as we may hope, than the Caucasian and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”

      ― Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

      “I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.” ― Charles Darwin

      “Of all the problems which will have to be faced in the future, in my opinion, the most difficult will be those concerning the treatment of the inferior races of mankind.” ― Leonard Darwin (talk) 04:28, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

      So? WP:SYN means not drawing our own conclusions, see WP:PSTS. . . dave souza, talk 07:41, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

      A Few Critiques on the Article, Charles Darwin[edit]

      This article on Charles Darwin is very informative and does a great job of summarizing his major accomplishments. What the article could improve on is removing irrelevant information that clutters the lead section. For example, it mentions details about where his funeral was and other significant figures that he was buried next to. This information is important, but not necessarily in the lead section. Another thing that could be changed is that under the heading “Evolutionary social movements,” there are no subheadings. This portion of the article focuses on Darwinism, Eugenics, and Social Darwinism. I think that those three topics could be made into subheadings within this section to make it easier for the reader to find these specific topics. Most pictures that are used in this article are relevant, besides the one of “Man dressed as Charles Darwin during Lyme Regis Fossil Festival.” This picture does not contribute necessary information to Charles Darwin. It is also chronological according to Charles Darwin’s lifetime. However, it talks about his children after it talks about his death. The subheading of “Children” can be moved to a place earlier in the article. In this section “Overwork, illness and marriage,” it is stated that, “Darwin’s health suffered from the pressure.” This was not cited by any source, and it is not known if the pressure was the direct cause of his declining health.

      Jcf028 (talk) 02:59, 10 February 2014 (UTC)jcf028

      Thanks for these constructive points, I've tried implementing some changes:
      The funeral detail is covered in the main text, so have tried to simplify it in the lead while keeping the point of it honouring his preeminence. [This originated as the erroneous claim that he had a state funeral.]
      I'm dubious about subdividing “Evolutionary social movements" as it's a brief pointer to other articlew while noting that these had only a limited amount to do with Darwin himself. Worth discussing further?
      Yes, the Man dressed as Charles Darwin during Lyme Regis Fossil Festival was charming, but not necessary, so have removed the pic.
      Have tried reorganising the sections, introducing a new Legacy heading with Children as a subsection. Commemoration then fits logically under Legacy. Any comments? I'm not sure how well this changed layout displays with various browsers and screen sizes.
      The “Overwork, illness and marriage” paragraph is based on Desmond and Moore, have changed “Darwin’s health suffered from the pressure" to “Darwin’s health suffered under the pressure" to avoid the implication that it was a direct cause.
      Thanks again for your thoughts on this, specific suggestions for improvement are always welcome, . . dave souza, talk 08:42, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
      If you'll excuse me opining here, I gotta say I'm not enthralled by the idea of relegating the children to a "legacy" section. They really ought to be included within the main biography. Are children left behind, and therefore a legacy? Well, yes, but so was Darwin's work on evolution. And the child who arguably had the most effect on Darwin, Anne, died in his lifetime, and therefore isn't actually a legacy at all. The legacy section should be reserved for events and developments after Darwin's death. - Nunh-huh 21:11, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
      Good points. It does follow naturally from the "life" section, but is out of sequence in that the children influenced his life at various times, and it also outlines their subsequent careers. There's also the case that Francis, Henrietta and George extensively worked with their father at various times, so a different sort of influence. Anyway, I'm open to suggestions for the best sequence: maybe Children in a separate main section, either before or after Legacy? . . . dave souza, talk 21:35, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
      My thought would be to move the pertinent portions of the paragraph regarding the children (and its associated sidebar listing of them) up to the end of the "Overwork, illness, and marriage" section (thus moving them up before death), and then mention the children individually only as needed in the rest of the article (in the biography if their relationship with Darwin is being discussed, or in the legacy section if they are being mentioned for something that occurred after Darwin's death). - Nunh-huh 02:26, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
      Doesn't work for me, it means a massive interruption to the flow of Darwin's life at a crucial moment for his theorising, adding info about their ten children before they were married. Similarly, the children's births could fit logically into the #Geology books, Barnacles, evolutionary research section, but as you note their later careers don't fit there. We could always split it into a new sub-article, but possibly a better approach is to make it a standalone main section just before #Views and opinions. It would also be possible to add more about his children into the context of his life, but as usual we have to be concise. . . dave souza, talk 08:26, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
      Since no further comments, have made Children a separate section, which looks ok to me. . dave souza, talk 10:25, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

      Leading Section[edit]

      I believe the leading section of the article could address where Darwin did his studies. If he didn't go to various places, for example the Galapagos, Darwin may have never adopted the same theories and ideas. It is important to acknowledge the relationship the location of his studies had on his ideas. You never know what would have come about if his studies lead him somewhere else in the world.

      Another suggestion I have for the article is to break up the public reaction sections, into two sections - one for supporters, another for his critics - this makes the article easier to read. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Andrewscutt (talkcontribs) 12:27, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

      Thanks for these comments, his studies and Beagle voyage are already covered in the third and fourth paragraphs of the lead: specific places such as the Galapagos are discussed in the body text. Splitting the Responses to publication section would probably make it harder to read, as the responses were not binary, and in addition subdividing it would have npov problems. . dave souza, talk 13:29, 11 February 2014 (UTC)


      Of Charles Darwin's immediate family, only the grave of first wife of Leonard Darwin has not yet been identified : Elizabeth Frances Darwin, nee Fraser - otherwise known as "Aunt Bee" = (1846 - 1898); if anyone knows anything about her, can you please post here or on F-A-G? (talk) 12:16, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

      info at Talk:Leonard_Darwin#LEONARD DARWIN'S FIRST WIFE - Nunh-huh 21:23, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

      Removal of Michael H. Hart reference[edit]

      After looking into the removal of "Hart, Michael H. (2000). The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. New York: Citadel. ISBN 0-89104-175-3. " from the article, I agree that is very likely a biased source given Michael H. Hart extreme views and should not be used here or anywhere else to determine or characterize the most influential people in history. I am One of Many (talk) 20:02, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

      Thanks for that clarification. In light of Darwin's strong opposition to slavery and oppression by Europeans, Hart seems completely inappropriate as a reference. . dave souza, talk 22:24, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

      Influenced: Karl Marx[edit]

      Darwin was a major influence on Karl Marx. Why he is not in the "influenced" section? --DerAnsager (talk) 14:03, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

      Two reasons. Firstly, your claim is very dubious. Secondly, Template:Infobox scientist "influenced List names of any notable people who were significantly influenced by the scientist. The intention is to only list those that were influenced by physical contact with the scientist." They never met. . . dave souza, talk 15:22, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
      I would say personal contact rather than physical. Letters exchanged could be more influential than a face to face meeting especially considering how much Darwin depended (and vice versa) on his correspondents. However the influence of Darwin on Marx is likely little. --Erp (talk) 17:54, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
      Well, i think the influence was not little. Read "The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man" --DerAnsager (talk) 01:15, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
      From The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man: "Though incomplete, the essay elucidates two aspects of materialist theory which had underpinned Marx and Engels’s thinking since the mid-1840s." It seems unlikely that they were greatly influenced in this by Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, or CD's other publications at that time. Of course CD didn't publish on human evolution until 1871. . . dave souza, talk 05:32, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

      Is there a citation for this? A reliable source that is. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 15:33, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

      Freeman (2007) p. 201: "Marx, Heinrich Karl, 1818-1883. German communist. CD never met, and some doubt has been thrown on the authenticity of M's letters to CD". . . dave souza, talk 16:01, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

      Crohn's disease[edit]

      It now seems pretty certain that Darwin suffered from Crohne's disease. This was proposed in 2007 in the Royal society Journal of the History of Science,[6] and in a Channel 4 Documentary broadcast a few days ago it was confirmed by Professor Stephan Schuster who sequenced part of his genome and found "a total of twenty-one markers for Crohn’s disease, five of them being diagnostic, including the major marker on chromosome 16".[7]. Unfortunately the only reference I can find is a newspaper article, however, having seen the documentary this does seem to be an accurate account of what Professor Schuster said. Is this reliable enough to add something to the article? Richerman (talk) 21:24, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

      Thanks, this is one of the many possibilities discussed in Charles Darwin's health and if you find a good source it would be worth adding to that article. The Mirror is rather dubious as a source, hopefully Professor Schuster will publish his research in a journal. . dave souza, talk 06:08, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

      27 degree Freemason?[edit]

      Is Charles Robert Darwin a 27 degree Freemason? Illuminavissem (talk) 17:15, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

      Fahrenheit or Celcius? Highly improbable, source needed. . . dave souza, talk 17:47, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

      Error in Henrietta Darwin's date of death[edit]

      • It should read: 17 December, 1927; can someone/anyone with edit ability correct it please?

      "Darwin's children
      William Erasmus Darwin (27 December 1839 – 1914)
      Anne Elizabeth Darwin (2 March 1841 – 23 April 1851)
      Mary Eleanor Darwin (23 September 1842 – 16 October 1842)
      Henrietta Emma "Etty" Darwin (25 September 1843 – 1929*)
      George Howard Darwin (9 July 1845 – 7 December 1912)
      Elizabeth "Bessy" Darwin (8 July 1847 – 1926)
      Francis Darwin (16 August 1848 – 19 September 1925)
      Leonard Darwin (15 January 1850 – 26 March 1943)
      Horace Darwin (13 May 1851 – 29 September 1928)
      Charles Waring Darwin (6 December 1856 – 28 June 1858)"

      It is also currently wrong in two ODNB biographies: William Darwin (2005) by Randal Keynes and Charles Darwin (2007) by a trio of Darwin experts! It started in 1952 in Period Piece by Gwen Raverat. Why it is wrong TWICE in these ODNB biographies in 2005/2007 is a mystery! It is right in "Darwin and his Family" by Tim M. Berra, as published by OUP in 2013 on page 80.

      The reference is: Henrietta Darwin's obituary in "The Times" on 24th December 1927, and NOT 1929. (talk) 19:58, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

      Thanks for picking this point up, that's it changed to 1927. Confirmed by Darwin Correspondence Project » Namereg: 1225 and reference to Freeman. Much appreciated. . dave souza, talk 20:22, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
      • It should read: 17 December, 1927; can you complete it please? Just "1927" is not enough! (talk) 20:45, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

      Got an online source for that? I can't edit on the basis of a source I've not seen. . .dave souza, talk 00:50, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
      The IP editor has already given one (although with a slightly incorrect title): Tim Berra's Darwin and his Children: His other Legacy, p.80.
      David Wilson (talk · cont) 01:16, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

      Yes, there is a "online source"; it's the Wikipedia article for Etty Darwin herself

      Henrietta Emma Litchfield, née Darwin, (25 September 1843[1] - 17 December 1927[2]) was a daughter of Charles Darwin and his wife Emma Wedgwood.


      [2] ^ Burke's landed gentry. London: Burke's Peerage. 1952.

      How this error can be in Period Piece in 1952, and still be in two ODNB biographies in 2014 is..... (talk) 07:52, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

      Thanks 2. However, editing takes a bit of time, although I am sure the dates will be cleared up. I took the liberty of refactoring your comments above, mainly to remove the uppercase. Apart from making the section more readable, that allowed your Etty Darwin link to work (it's a redirect to Henrietta Litchfield). Johnuniq (talk) 08:02, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
      Thanks everyone, Berra's book worked for me so I've amended this article, and also avoided the redirect from "Etty" by linking directly to Henrietta Litchfield. . dave souza, talk 08:27, 11 May 2014 (UTC)


      Can William Erasmus Darwin have his date of death too: 8 September 1914 ?

      Can [Elizabeth "Bessy" Darwin] have her date of death too: 8 June 1926 ??

      It must be awesome responsibility editing Charles Darwin with so many errors/omissions! As far as Berra's book is concerned, it too is riddled with 'errors and omissions' by the way. (talk) 08:06, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

      You can edit it too! All you need to do is get an account, be patient for the run-in period, and provide good sources. Wm.'s death date matches a photo of his tombstone, so that's ok. Can't find anything so far for Bessy: got an online link? . . dave souza, talk 17:31, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

      "Elizabeth "Bessy" Darwin (8 July 1847 – 1926)"[edit]

      Try the fine print on the images of the family gravestone on her Find-A-Grave entry:

      Elizabeth "Aunt Bessy" Darwin

      Birth: Jul. 8, 1847 Downe Greater London, England Death: Jun. 8, 1926 Downe Greater London, England

      ps Please tread carefully in using Tim Berra's 2013 book, but "it's good in parts" by the way!


      Ok, found it so have changed entry. . dave souza, talk 11:23, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

      Thanks Dave! ps ! [Not mentioned in CD article?] (talk) 18:55, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

      Covered by "More than 120 species and nine genera have been named after Darwin". Even Commemoration of Charles Darwin hasn't got room for all of them, you might want to start a list article. . dave souza, talk 19:26, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

      first line...[edit]

      Hi. I like to improve leads, but this lead is already really good, which is better than most. I've got one suggestion. The opening sentence reads "Charles Robert Darwin, FRS (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist and geologist,[1] best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory." This sentence is true, but there are lots of people who are best known for their contributions to evolutionary theory. When contemporary experts describe Darwin, what do they say? In my reading, they concur that he revolutionized science by establishing the theory of evolution by natural selection, which is the foundation of modern biology. The lead eventually gets to that point, but it's a long way in. He's repeatedly described as having a towering and disciplined intellect, with a keen sense of observation. How about saying he's best known for "formulating the theory of natural selection to explain how new sorts of living things appear" or "establishing modern evolutionary science." Leadwind (talk) 04:45, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

      Thanks, due to a lot of interest in the topic this lead has had a chance to evolve. Since Darwin is so well known his importance to evolutionary biology tends to be exaggerated, so the first sentence notes his position as a naturalist and geologist, as well as evolutionary theory. When contemporary experts described Darwin, he was famed for establishing as science a version of the evolutionary concept which others had already argued. The concept of natural selection came in a joint publication with Wallace, and that sequence is shown in the second sentence of the lead. As we note in the second paragraph, natural selection did not gain wide support in Darwin's lifetime: see The eclipse of Darwinism. Darwin didn't establish modern evolutionary science: that had to await the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s, and of course there have been significant changes since then.
      So, we can aim to improve the first sentence, but don't want to undermine this balance. As van Wyhe writes, "Historians of science now believe that Darwin's effect was, as James Secord put it, a 'palace coup' amongst elite men of science rather than a revolution. ... Nevertheless to the end of his life Darwin was regarded as a great scientific revolutionary who had overturned the ideas of his generation. . Darwin, as an unquestionably respectable authority in elite science, publicly threw his weight on the side of evolution... Darwin's name is so linked with evolution because his works convinced the international scientific community that evolution was true." Wyhe also emphasises that "a generation of biologists regarded Darwin as correct in uncovering the evolution of life but mistaken in stressing natural selection." . . dave souza, talk 10:21, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
      OK, it's certainly true that his role is exaggerated. "we can aim to improve the first sentence" Glad to hear it. Any suggestions? The stuff you wrote in your response all looks good. Leadwind (talk) 21:51, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

      Voyage of the Beagle section is missing any reference to Darwin in Australia; a very important visit it was, too.[edit]

      When he visited Australia, he made his way to Bathurst (then, as now, a reasonably large country town) to see a Platypus; a creature that was so different to any seen in other parts of the world as to be absolutely sensational. Indeed, in Portland, a very small town on the way to Bathurst, there is a memorial of Darwin and a platypus commemorating the visit. Darwin's encounter with the critter was in its own way as profound as his encounters with, say, the Galapagos finches or mockingbirds. He mused as to what might be God's purpose in creating an animal that served the same purpose (today I guess we would say "lives in the same ecological niche") as say an otter, yet was so different. It was one of Darwin's first questioning of his deeply held religous beliefs on the matter. Surely something as important as this deserves some space in the article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:59, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

      Good point, how about a couple of sentences: "In Australia the marsupial rat-kangaroo and the platypus seemed so unusual that Darwin thought it was almost as though two distinct Creators had been at work. He found the Aborigines "good-humoured & pleasant", and noted their depletion by European settlement." Of course this article has to be as concise as possible, and there is a link to second voyage of HMS Beagle for more detail. . . dave souza, talk 17:33, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

      Well, an excellent start. I think it deserves more, but that might only be because I'm Australian and a great admirer of the platypus. So I'll leave the judgement up to you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:33, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

      Darwin's family : dates & data[edit]

      The dates of birth and death are now all correct (see below) but the location of the 22 members of Charles Darwin's immediate family can be found in their individual WIKIPEDIA articles (where they have them) and can also be found on Find-A-Grave; ODNB biographes (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography) are NOT 100% correct, including the CD biography by three authors.

      • Darwin, Amy Richenda, nee Ruck,

      b. Feb. 9, 1850 d. Sep. 11, 1876 Holy Trinity, Corris Gwynedd Wales

      • Darwin, Anne Elizabeth "Annie",

      b. Mar. 2, 1841 d. Apr. 23, 1851 Great Malvern Priory Church, Great Malvern Malvern Hills District Worcestershire England

      • Darwin, Charles Robert,

      b. Feb. 12, 1809 d. Apr. 19, 1882 Westminster Abbey Westminster City of Westminster Greater London England

      • Darwin, Charles Waring,

      b. Dec. 6, 1856 d. Jun. 28, 1858 St Mary the Virgin Church, Downe London Borough of Bromley Greater London England

      • Darwin, Charlotte Mildred "Mildred", nee Massingbird,

      b. 1868 d. Dec. 18, 1940 Forest Row Cemetery Forest Row Wealden District East Sussex England

      • Darwin, Elizabeth "Aunt Bessy",

      b. Jul. 8, 1847 d. Jun. 8, 1926 St Mary the Virgin Church, Downe London Borough of Bromley Greater London England

      • Darwin, Elizabeth Frances "Aunt Bee", nee Fraser,

      b. 1846 d. Jan. 13, 1898 Putney Vale Cemetery, Wimbledon London Borough of Merton Greater London England

      • Darwin, Ellen Wordsworth "Aunt Ellen", nee Crofts,

      b. Jan. 13, 1856 d. Aug. 28, 1903 St Andrew Churchyard Girton South Cambridgeshire District Cambridgeshire England

      • Darwin, Emma, nee Wedgwood,

      b. May 2, 1808 d. Oct. 2, 1896 St Mary the Virgin Church, Downe London Borough of Bromley Greater London England

      • Darwin, Lady Emma Cecilia "Aunt Ida", nee Farrer,

      b. Nov. 7, 1854 d. Jul. 5, 1946 Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge City of Cambridge Cambridgeshire England

      • Darwin, Erasmus Alvey "Ras" (brother of Charles Darwin),

      b. Dec. 29, 1804 d. Aug. 26, 1881 St Mary the Virgin Church, Downe London Borough of Bromley Greater London England]

      • Darwin, Lady Florence Henrietta, nee Fisher, previously Maitland,

      b. Jan. 31, 1864 d. Mar. 5, 1920 Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge City of Cambridge Cambridgeshire England]

      • Darwin, Sir Francis "Uncle Frank",

      b. Aug. 16, 1848 d. Sep. 19, 1925 Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge City of Cambridge Cambridgeshire England

      • Darwin, Sir George Howard "Uncle George",

      b. Jul. 9, 1845 d. Dec. 7, 1912 Trumpington Parish Extension, Trumpington City of Cambridge Cambridgeshire England

      • Darwin, Sir Horace "Uncle Horace",

      b. May 13, 1851 d. Sep. 22, 1928 Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge City of Cambridge Cambridgeshire England

      • Darwin, Major Leonard "Uncle Lenny",

      b. Jan. 15, 1850 d. Mar. 26, 1943 Forest Row Cemetery Forest Row Wealden District East Sussex England

      • Darwin, Lady Martha Haskins "Maud", nee Du Puy,

      b. Jul. 27, 1861 d. Feb. 6, 1947 Trumpington Parish Extension (cremated), Trumpington City of Cambridge Cambridgeshire England

      • Darwin, Mary Eleanor,

      b. Sep. 23, 1842 d. Oct. 16, 1842 St Mary the Virgin Church, Downe London Borough of Bromley Greater London England

      • Darwin, Sara Price Ashburner "Aunt Sara", nee Sedgwick,

      b. Nov. 8, 1839 d. Oct. 24, 1902 St Nicolas Churchyard North Stoneham Eastleigh Borough Hampshire England

      • Darwin, William Erasmus "Uncle William",

      b. Dec. 27, 1839 d. Sep. 8, 1914 St Nicolas Churchyard North Stoneham Eastleigh Borough Hampshire England

      • Litchfield, Henrietta Emma "Aunt Etty", nee Darwin,

      b. Sep. 25, 1843 d. Dec. 17, 1927 St Mary the Virgin Church, Downe London Borough of Bromley Greater London England

      • Litchfield, Richard Buckley "Uncle Richard",

      b. Jan. 6, 1832 d. Jan. 11, 1903 Cimetiere du Grand Jas de Cannes... Departement des Alpes-Maritimes Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur France

      • There is no other list on the internet/in books as absolutely correct as this one! This is the first complete record of all of the dates of birth and death/burials of the Darwin family's first generation.The following comment should seriously considered: "One wonders when all of the so-called academic 'Darwin experts' are going to get their acts together? I looked at a new Charles Darwin book the other day: it started with an error: year of death for Henrietta Darwin "1930" (for '1927') and it finished with an error: "Down" (as in House) instead of 'Downe' as in place! [Not surprisingly I was very sceptical about the contents.] Another expert - at the end of his 2009 book - refers to the Darwin families having not suffered any deaths in WWI, ignoring both the Erasmus Darwin (1915) and Cecil Wedgwood (1916) fatalities. Who is at fault: the authors (for making mistakes/repeating other authors' mistakes) or the publishers? As for ODNB, I counted three errors in one paragraph of a 2005 biography of a 'Darwin'; the 'Henrietta Darwin year of death error' is repeated across three Darwin biographies; the 13 ODNB 'Darwin' biographies have some 12 different 'authors', including 3 top authors combined for Charles Darwin alone! When will academic writing and publishing catch-up with the internet, eg's Find A Grave? [If it is correct on the internet, eg Wikipedia, surely it should be correct in any new book?] Is there any excuse for errors in ODNB biographies being repeated in OUP books when ODNB and OUP are effectively one and the same business under the "Oxford" University banner?)"

      Charles and Emma Darwin's family really much deserves better in books and the internet (ODNB). (talk) 21:42, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

      That's very good, but Wikipedia requires published sources and this looks like unacceptable original research. Perhaps you could interest Darwin Online in publishing it, and that would then be a source we could use. One of your points is rather questionable: the village was still named Down in 1842, the name was changed to Downe at a later stage.[8]. . . . dave souza, talk 18:25, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

      Charles Darwin factual college degree?[edit]

      I was trying to find some facts about Darwin's education, but it seemed missing. World Biology was mentioned several times in biography, but for most part his level of education wasn't present. I concluded a research and found that Darwin's only degree was in Theology. Strangely enough the world famous Wikipedia missed Darwin's education level on its pages. Biased? Agendized? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Prkarpi (talkcontribs) 01:49, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

      Why do you assume such a poor motive? Or just nobody actually knew (or was unable to find solid evidence). What is the reference you found? Remember, everyone here is a volunteer who can contribute research, so even you can help write and improve any article you find to be lacking. DMacks (talk) 01:53, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
      See Charles Darwin#Early life and education for an outline, and follow the link at See also: Charles Darwin's education if you want more detail. It's rubbish to say that "Darwin's only degree was in Theology", his sole degree was an ordinary Bachelor of Arts degree which covered various topics, including at that time theology as a standard part of a Cambridge education. He didn't go on to the specialised divinity course needed to become a parson, as originally intended. A good place to start hunting for more info is Darwin Online: Biography. . . dave souza, talk 05:53, 28 July 2014 (UTC)