Charles Darwin's Evolutionary Theory

1223 WordsMar 1, 20155 Pages
In 1859, Charles Darwin finally released his evolutionary theory “On the Origins of Species.” In this book, he described the process of natural selection and how certain alleles can be passed on to future generations. However the main focus of this was through animals and people, but not through the evolution of society. Early anthropologists in the nineteenth century took on this theory to help explain how societies have developed. However with this kind of thinking, it almost leads up to the assumption that those in modern societies (like Great Britain, America, and the rest of Europe) are more advanced than most of these societies that they try to explain about. Taking a look at Spencer’s cultural evolutionary model, in which we…show more content…
There he went to explore the different cultural aspects from these people. He went to see the kind of things that they painted, how they painted, and the meanings of the paintings themselves to the people of the Aborigines. To Spencer, the Aborigines were most likely savages on his cultural evolutionary model because they were still a hunting society. He conducted his field work by observing the Aborigines as they conducted their rituals like totemism and rites of passage. In a sense, he is looking for differences mainly between them and his European counterpart. Although it is important to note the differences in the Aborigines and his counterpart, the similarities were not as drawn out. The pointing out of significant differences between cultures leads to the ethnocentric thinking because in a sense, one is pointing out the ways in which we are more civilized than them. Another nineteenth century anthropologist, William Rivers went to the Torres Strait to study them with a multidisciplinary style. In the film “Everything is Relatives” Rivers observed the popular string game with intricate movements in which “Rivers began to challenge the naïve concept of inferiority mentality” (A. Singer, 1985b). Rivers, originally a doctor, became an anthropologist and brought science to the field (A. Singer, 1985b). During his expedition he brought his visual tools and tested the visual acuity of the people of the Torres Strait
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