27th January, 2018. Charles Darwin (continued).

Recently attended lecture at the Royal Station Hotel, Ferensway, Hull (see above) organised by the Hull Literary and Philosophical Soc. which is a society with a proud history stretching back to 1822 (book recently published on the history of the Society). The subject of the presentation was the Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador and was given by a man from Beverley area who organises wildlife viewing trips to the islands. Inevitably the speaker mentioned Charles Darwin and the ‘finches’, partly studied in the voyage of the 1830s (s.p.b.). The talk was complimented by good images and videos. (Had thought about becoming member of the Society, but wouldn’t attend all talks so will just go as and when and pay £5/ talk).

Darwin had delayed publishing his research on the evolution of Man as he feared it would be unacceptably controversial. However, by the early 1870s fellow scholars were publishing on the same theme e.g. Charles Lyell, a famous early geologist, published Antiquity of Man in 1863, the same year that Thomas Huxley (another early evolutionist) published his Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature.

The second part of Darwin’s Descent of Man, published in 1871, dealt with Selection in Relation to Sex and included a number of controversial hypotheses, this even more so today. Darwin presented a wealth of evidence to support the contention that Man is but another species in the animal kingdom rather than being a higher life-form created by some divine intervention. In support of this notion Darwin argued that Man didn’t have a monopoly of language, that religion was simply the product of a primitive urge to give cause to otherwise inexplicable natural events and that morality was learned behaviour not innate. Modern scientific discover is providing rational explanations for all things in Nature and the Universe, a situation that, presumably, Darwin would have welcomed.

(To be continued).