The socio-economic prerequisites for the emergence of Darwin’s evolutionary theory are associated with the rapid development of capitalism in England, which led to the growth of cities and the development of agriculture.
It became necessary to improve the existing varieties of plants and animal breeds, which led to the development of breeding. New breeds of animals and varieties of plants were created. It was becoming apparent that living organisms could change and adapt to conditions.
The creation of Charles Darwin’s theory was also influenced by the economic teachings of A. Smith and T. Malthus, who put forward the ideas of free competition, overpopulation, and the natural death of unsuccessful competitors.
Natural science prerequisites
The natural scientific prerequisites for the emergence of Darwin’s evolutionary teachings are:
- development of astronomy and geology;
- successes in the taxonomy of plants and animals;
- development of biogeography and paleontology;
- development of comparative anatomy and embryology;
- creation of cell theory;
- evolutionary teachings of Lamarck.
Facts were accumulating that were incompatible with the idea of the immutability of nature. Thus, the German philosopher I. Kant came to the conclusion that the Earth and the entire solar system did not exist forever, they arose and are constantly changing.
The English scientist Charles Lyell argued that the Earth’s surface is constantly changing under the influence of climate and other factors.
Chemists have found evidence of the unity of animate and inanimate nature.
Comparative anatomy, embryology, biogeography, paleontology appeared and began to develop rapidly. The accumulated factual material about the diversity of living organisms, fossil forms, the similarity of the structure and stages of development of embryos demanded understanding and explanation.
Travel around the world aboard the ship “Beagle”
During the expedition, Darwin visited Africa, South America and Australia. He collected a wealth of material, the work on which led to the creation of the theory of natural selection.