What is the theory of evolution? Explain how it works with examples.
Armstrong, A, C. (1912) The Progress of evolution. [Online] The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods. Vol 9. No 13. Journal of Philosophy Inc. Pp 337-342. Available from – http://www.jstor.org/stable/2013630
Bowler, P. J. (1990). Charles Darwin: the man and his influence. Cambridge.
Bowler, P. J. (2003). Evolution: the history of an idea. London.
Darwin, C. 1859 On The Origins of Species by means of Natural Selection. London, Murray
Darwin, C. 1871 The Descent of man and selection in relation to sex. London, Murray
Darwin, C., LL. D. (1929) The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. The Thinker’s Library, No.8. 6th Ed. London. Watts & Co.
Dawkins, R. (2006) The selfish gene. Oxford. OUP.
Dawkins, R. (2006). The Blind Watchmaker. London.
Dennett, D, C. (1996) Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Evolution and The Meaning of Life. New Ed. London. Penguin.
Fortey, R. (2002). Fossils: the key to the past. London.
Kemp, T. S. (1999). Fossils and Evolution. Oxford.
Laland, K.N. & Brown, G.R. 2011 (2nd ed) Sense & Nonsense. Evolutionary perspectives on human behaviour. OUP
Ridley, M. (2003) Evolution. 3 Ed. Oxford. Blackwell Publishing Company.
Tattersall, I. (1995). The Fossil Trail: how we know what we think we know about human evolution. Oxford
Also: http://www.intelligentdesign.org/ for anti-evolutionary views
http://www.creationism.org/ – creationist website
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/beliefs/creationism_1.shtml – BBC review coverage – has good summaries
Remember that these are from the Western/Christian tradition. Other religions will also have reactions, comments and critiques – see the BBC website for some
The theory of evolution is the scientific explanation for the diversity of life on Earth. It states that all living organisms share a common ancestor and have evolved over time through natural selection, where certain traits that are advantageous for survival and reproduction are passed on to future generations. This process leads to the gradual accumulation of changes, resulting in the formation of new species over millions of years.
An example of evolution can be seen in the diversity of beak shapes and sizes among finches on the Galapagos Islands, as observed by Charles Darwin. These variations in beak characteristics allowed some finches to specialize in feeding on different types of food, such as seeds or insects. Through natural selection, those finches with beaks better suited to their particular food source were more likely to survive and reproduce. As a result, they passed on their advantageous traits to their offspring, leading to the gradual accumulation of changes over time and the eventual formation of new species.
Another example is the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Bacteria that are resistant to certain antibiotics are able to survive and reproduce, passing on their resistance genes to future generations, while those without resistance die off. This leads to an increase in the proportion of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in a population over time.
It’s important to note that evolution is a scientific theory that is supported by a vast amount of empirical evidence, and it is widely accepted among scientists. Some religious or ideological beliefs can conflict with evolution, but these are not scientific criticisms.