Sunday, June 25, 2006

Discussing Creationism Part XVIII


Darwin became close friends with Cambridge don, Reverend Professor John Henslow while attending the university. Henslow was a clergyman who taught botany and minerology at the university. Darwin attended his field trips and scientific gatherings at Henslow's home. As their friendship developed he took daily walks with this mentor and became known as the "man who walks with Henslow."

What did Henslow teach?

An article in, of all places, the Financial Director, hypothesises:

"Some time earlier, Gina Murrell, assistant curator of the herbarium at the university, had noted Henslow’s tendency to attach several variations of the same species on the same piece of paper for comparison purposes – a practice not observed by Henslow’s fellow botanists of the era.

The hypothesis?
That Henslow had, in fact, been studying variation – the prime factor behind Darwin’s theory of evolution – decades before Darwin himself. Therefore, Darwin could not have come up with the theory alone...

There is no doubt that Henslow had some influence over Darwin’s career because he was his tutor during Darwin’s spell at the university. Henslow also had no doubt in his own mind about the brilliance of his pupil and because of this arranged a berth for him on HMS Beagle for its famous voyage to the Galapagos Islands in 1831.

It was during this voyage that Darwin finalised his theory of evolution – but it was as many as 20 years earlier than this that Henslow was laying the foundations for the theory...

In a three-page feature published in Nature magazine, the scientists and researchers involved – David Kohn, Gina Murrell, John Parker and Mark Whitehorn – spelled out the results of their research. “We have analysed all 10,172 plants on these sheets and infer that he [Henslow] intentionally organised his dried-plant collection to serve as the tool for an inquiry into species and their limits,” the article claims. “Darwin’s exposure to his mentor’s thinking was part of the exciting intellectual framework that he took with him on the Beagle.”

The article in Nature provides an insight into how important the technology could prove to history. “Henslow had launched Darwin’s voyage when he helped to secure a berth for him on the Beagle. But, more significantly, during Darwin’s undergraduate career, Henslow had also launched his mind on an intellectual voyage that led from species stability to On the Origin of Species.”

Henslow was also a cleric and believed that God was in control of life.

It was Henslow who recommended that Charles Darwin be a naturalist aboard the sea vessel, HMS Beagle.


Bibliography:
The Theory of Evolution by Cynthia L. Mills
Henslow, John on Encyclopedia. Com
Friends of Darwin
Charles Darwin on Reference.com


Previous Discussions:
Discussing Creationism: The Initial Argument
Part II: Two Questions about the Ark
Part III:The Volume of the Ark
Part IV: The Weight and Sturdiness of the Ark
Part V:What is a Myth
Part VI: Gilgamesh
Part VII: The Biblical View of Noah
Part VIII: Gathering of the Animals
Part IX Evolution
Part X The First Evolutionist
Part XI The Notebook
Part XII Erasmus Darwin
Part XIII Aristotle
Part XIV Middle Ages
Part XV Kant's Quotation
Part XVI Kant in Context
Part XVII: The Beliefs that influenced Darwin

5 comments:

David said...

wow -you amaze me

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

Man, you really do your home work, don't you! :)

Poetry by Kai said...

thank u

Mango Lane said...

So Solomon was right when he wrote there is nothing new under the sun. This information begs the "chicken and egg" question: what came first the theory or the evidence?

Carol said...

David,
You always make me blush.

J. Andrew,
Well, I do try to be as thorough as time allows.

Kai,
Keep writing, girl!

Mango,
Exactly.