Interesting Darwin

Compiled & edited by Jahed Ahmed

Published on Darwin Day (February 12, 2006)


  • Darwin had a plan to enter the ministry prior to his fateful voyage on HMS Beagle in 1831. Among other things, he carried a copy of Bible with him in his voyage. He was 22 at that time.

  • Darwin’s father, a wealthy country doctor, opposed his trip on Beagle.

  • Emma, Darwin’s wife & an ardent believer, thought that Darwin’s destination was plainly hell.

  • Biologists and Scientists don’t use the term “Darwinism” because of the misleading connotations associated with it. Darwinism “is a rhetorical device to make evolution seem like a kind of faith, like ‘Maoism’,” says Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson. Thus it’s the anti-evolution groups who make frequent utterances of the term.

  • “Survival of the fittest” is a phrase that Darwin never used himself. The phrase, although initially coined to characterize the Darwin’s theory, has taken on connotations of social and economic competition that Darwin never intended.

  • Darwin started writing “The Origin of Species” as early as 1830s but held publishing until 1859, when he decided to publish it after learning that a younger scientist, Alfred Russel Wallace, had come up with a similar theory. One of the  main reasons behind such a unusual delay in informing the world about his remarkable and splendid discovery was Darwin being afraid that his thoughts on evolution would be akin to “confessing a murder”, as Darwin wrote to a friend.

  • Darwin was profoundly influenced by Thomas Malthus and his theory that predators, disease and a finite food supply place a limit on populations that would otherwise multiply indefinitely.

  • In his novel “The Darwin Conspiracy”, best-selling author John Darnton playfully inverts history by portraying Darwin as a schemer who dispatched a rival into a volcano, and stole the ideas that made him famous.

  • Darwin has replaced Charles Dickens on the British 10-pound note.

  • In 1996, John Paul II, the chief of the Vatican, proclaims there is no essential conflict between Darwin’s theory and Catholicism.

  • Although Darwin struggled with questions of faith his whole life, he ultimately described himself as an “Agnostic.” 

  • Less than half of all Americans believe in evolution.


Source: Newsweek, November 28, 2005


Jahed Ahmed writes from New York, USA. He is one of the co-moderators of Mukto-Mona.