Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer
Charles Darwin, a British naturalist, transformed biology with his
theory of evolution through the development of natural selection. Herbert Spencer
was the major philosopher of biological and social evolution. Spencer's work
considerably influenced 19th century progress in biology, psychology,
sociology and anthropology. While Darwin was influential in the fields of
natural history and geology, his theory of evolution caused great controversy.
He changed the way people thought about the duty of humans in the natural world.
Although these two men made advancements in the theory of evolution, they had
contrasting views regarding anthropological study.
Charles Darwin was an English environmentalist who first solidly established
the theory of organic evolution, in his work, The Origin of Species. Darwin realized and showed that all species have evolved over time from familiar ancestors through a process called natural selection. The idea that evolution occurs became accepted by the scientific community and the general public during his lifetime, while his theory of natural selection came to be widely noticed as the primary explanation for the process of evolution, and now forms the basis of modern evolutionary theory. In modified form, Darwin’s scientific discovery remains the foundation of biology, as it provides a unifying logical explanation for the diversity of life.
Spencer’s major contribution to sociology was an evolutionary perspective on social order and change. Spencer’s theory, “The Theory of General Evolution” basically stated that society like a biological organism has various interdependent parts that work together to ensure the stability and survival of the entire society. He like Charles Darwin believed in survival of the fittest, so much that his views were often called Social Darwinism. He believed that the fit, would survive whereas the unfit would eventually die and be filtered out of the...