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On Purpose$
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Michael Ruse

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195957

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195957.001.0001

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Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

(p.76) Chapter Five Charles Darwin
On Purpose

Michael Ruse

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on Charles Darwin who spent five years as the naturalist of the ship HMS Beagle, spending much time in South America and eventually going all the way around the globe. During this time Darwin's religious beliefs changed from fairly conservative Anglican to deist, a view he held for the next several decades, changing again at the end of his life to a form of agnosticism. Although by the nature of his work he had to spend much time thinking and writing about the science–religion relationship, he always claimed that by nature he was not a particularly a religious man. Darwin returned to England and in the next two years became first an evolutionist and then a Darwinian, meaning he discovered his mechanism of change, natural selection. What spurred the move to evolution was, above all, the distribution of the animals on the Galapagos Archipelago, a group of islands in the Pacific that the HMS Beagle visited in the final part of its journey.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, HMS Beagle, Anglican, agnosticism, religious, evolutionist, Darwinian, Galapagos Archipelago

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