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Frequently Asked Questions About Evolution
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  1. Who was Charles Darwin?  
  Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, in Shrewsbury, England. His father, Robert Darwin, was a physician, the son of Erasmus Darwin, a poet, philosopher, and naturalist. Charles's mother, Susannah Wedgwood Darwin, died when he was eight years old.

At age 16, Darwin left Shrewsbury to study medicine at Edinburgh University. He later enrolled in Cambridge University to prepare for a career as a clergyman in the Church of England. After receiving his degrees in 1831, Darwin accepted an invitation to serve as an unpaid naturalist on a five-year scientific expedition to South America aboard the HMS Beagle. This voyage and Darwin's later research formed the basis for his theory of evolution by means of natural selection, detailed in his book On the Origin of Species, published in 1859.

Darwin continued throughout most of the rest of his life to publish his research and writings on biology. In his later years, Darwin was plagued by fatigue and intestinal sickness, thought by some historians to have been caused by Chagas' disease, contracted during his travels in South America. He died on April 19, 1882, and lies buried in Westminster Abbey.
Darwin's Diary   Learn More
Darwin's Diary
  2. Why was Darwin's idea considered dangerous?  
  Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection was considered dangerous in 19th-century England because it threatened the prevailing views of the Anglican Church and society at large. If extrapolated beyond its role as a scientific theory, it seemed to run counter to the notion of humankind's supremacy and God's hand in the world order. The same fear exists today. Evolution can seem to be in direct conflict with deeply held belief systems of how life came to exist on Earth.
Darwin's Diary   Learn More
Darwin's Diary
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