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Why is Charles Darwin important?

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Charles Darwin was a naturalist of the 1800s who became the foremost name in the theory of evolution. He promoted the idea of “survival of the fittest” that embraced the theory of natural selection. His 1859 book, “On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection,” caused an uproar around the world, especially in religious and science circles.

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After changing his goals of becoming an Anglican minister, Darwin studied plants, fossils and varied geological settings for over four years and published a book entitled “Journal of Researches” based on his notes. "Journal of Researches" is viewed by scientists as the beginnings of Darwin's natural selection theory; over 20 years passed between this publication and the book that launched him into history.

After reading "Essay on the Principle of Population," an essay written by a British philosopher by the name of Thomas Malthus that covered overpopulation and human survival, Darwin’s distinct views became more solidified. After more years of collecting and studying more of his own data, Darwin published “On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection” in November 1859. The book has six editions and sold at a continuous rate for years after publication. Among religious circles, it is seen as a counter to the creationist theory told in the Bible. While Darwin is not the first naturalist to write on the natural selection theory, his presentation made it more intelligible for a broader audience.

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