Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Influence of Culture on Charles Darwin

In order to be able to fully evaluate Darwin’s theory on the origins of species, the influence of culture must first be explored. Darwinism, or Biological Victorianism, was created in England in the 19th century. Charles Darwin was born into the upper-middle class. He lived in a culture which promoted the idea that success can be achieved through determination; a culture which rejected the premise that we are limited by our social hierarchy. Most importantly, he lived in a culture where males flirted or fought for female mates. As a consequence of his cultural influence, he suggests that similar to the majority of all other species, female human beings procreate with the males who are the most fit. However, I propose that Darwin neglected to evaluate cultures which differed from his own in his theoretical research.

The knowledge of Darwin’s social status, culture, and accompanying ideals illuminate the ulterior assumptions regarding human nature in On The Origin of Species. While Darwin boasts that his theory is relevant to humans, he lacks any empirical to support of its applicability. Rather, He claims that male humans will flirt or fight to entice females to procreate with them. This theoretical proposition of survival of the fittest imitates the Victorian manner of relations between mingling singles: women sat passively while men fought or tried to romance them, resulting in the girl selecting the most impressive mate. However, as a consequence of altering dating relations since the 19th century, Darwin’s theory does not encompass modern behaviour. I personally think that there is now equality between males seeking female mates and females seeking male mates. Both preen, strut and speak for attention from the opposite sex. Both equally fight competitors; either physically or emotionally. Furthermore, both sexes attempt to seduce mates through intellect.

Because of Darwin’s neglect to take into account the different dating and mating rituals among the cultures in other societies, his theory does not apply to dating and mating relations that differ from that of the 19th century Victorians. Darwin unconsciously includes a cultural influence in the formation of his theory, accepting his own assumptions as fact.

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