Charles Darwin and the Time Machine

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Charles Robert Darwin was a very famous naturalist who contributed greatly to the evolution of science. He truly believed that all the life on Earth had descended from a common ancestor and that species evolve. On a voyage in the HMS Eagles, Darwin focused mainly on animals, plants, and many other aspects of Earth (Charles Darwin, History’s Most Famous Biologist). His theory of evolution and natural selection began as he visited South America and Africa. He started to believe that it was definitely evolution.  Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is what describes his life. Meanwhile, H.G. Wells published The Time Machine in 1895 while Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in 1859. Both of these were written during the Victorian Era (1837-1901), which focused primarily on a period of peace, technological interest, and many other things. On the Origin of Species is one long argument for evolution and for natural selection as the primary force behind it (Gramlich 3). Furthermore, The Time Machine by H.G Wells describes an adventure tale of the time traveller and his science fiction. Both Charles Darwin and The Time Machine are significant because they both have the same idea of evolution. The influence of Charles Darwin in the evolution of The Time Machine will be examined through Darwin’s analysis on evolution, differences and similarities between them, and Social Darwinism.

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         In The Time Machine, the Time Traveller is an inventor who wants to speculate the future of what he discovers. He began by designing his own chair embraced and caressed sitter, explaining that he is a top-notch inventor (Wells 1). Moreover, throughout the novel, the reader can examine Darwin’s theory on natural selection. Charles Darwin truly believed that natural and observable causes should be used to explain things. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution concludes that a diverse group of animals evolved from one or more common ancestors.  Also, he truly believes this evolution is taken place by natural selection. Does this mean that the theory of evolution is exactly the same as natural selection? The theory of natural selection is about the same. Natural Selection considers a simple concept. First individuals of any species vary in size, coloration, behavior, and many other characteristics. Second, these variations are meant to be passed on to the organism’s offspring (Gramlich 4).  Natural Selection proposes that the fittest’ individual organisms those with characteristics best suited to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce. They pass on these desirable characteristics to their offspring. Gradually these features may become more common in a population so species change over time. If the changes are great enough they could produce new species altogether (Charles Darwin, History’s Most Famous Biologist). It means that species are allowed to evolve in order to survive and these species could result in a completely different organism from the original one.  Many people tend to believe that natural selection is the only method of evolution, but that is not true since evolution is the changing of genes over time and natural selection is a variation on hereditary (Understanding Evolution).        

Darwin also discussed many other types of evolution like sexual selection. Sexual selection resulted from the competition against females to males who resulted in mating. He also describes a second type of sexual selection in which had a female choice or preference that was argued between males (Knapp 6). Wells does not describe this type of evolution; he mainly focuses on natural selection.  H.G Wells adopted Darwin’s theory to present a possible degeneration and the final extinction of species. At the end, most of these species were dying out. Moreover, Wells gives a good example of the Morlocks and Eloi’s way of being and how they each live.  The Morlocks are allowed to master technology and have parallels to the origin of Mankind (Allender). They also prefer to stay in the dark due to their thin and weak eyelids (Wells 89). They were also cannibalistic, the eating of human flesh by another human being (Wells 89). On the contrary, the Eloi were all of the opposite of the Morlocks. The Eloi lived in daylight. Due to their lack of competition they were devolving into stupid and weak beings. The Eloi were also allowing the Morlocks to overpower them (Wells 31). As seen, these two had big differences between them. Morlocks and Eloi had to compete with one another to survive which explains the Darwinian evolution in a better format. They can be compared to the theory that Darwin used in order for species to survive.   

        The Time Machine focuses on describing evolution in different ways through the Morlocks and Eloi. However, Darwin describes evolution with birds. On his visit to the Galapagos Islands, Darwin discovered several species of finches that varied from place to place in order to develop the theory of natural selection.  He uses the bird’s beaks and explains more about evolution while Wells uses animal-like creatures. The finches look identical in many ways, but the beaks are what make them different. Their beaks have adapted to the type of food they have been eating in order to survive on the Galapagos Islands. Their isolation on the islands over long periods of time made them undergo speciation (Scoville). Darwin’s finches are what make his theory of evolution different from to what H.G Wells explains in his novel. In The Voyage of the Beagle, Darwin finds another animal that helps him describe more his theory of evolution. During his trip to the Galapagos Islands, he finds the Amblyrhynchus, a remarkable genus of lizards (Hyndley 483). This lizard has a short, broad head, and strong claws of equal length that its habits of life would turn out very peculiar and will differ from those around like the Iguana (Hyndley 484).  This lizard is also a representation of the theory of natural selection. Darwin’s traveling to all the places mentioned in the book gave him a certain belief in evolution. He described all the places he visited like Australia, Tierra del Fuego, Santa Clara, Mauritus, and many others (Darwin).  H.G. Wells uses the Time Traveller to make the difference between the Morlocks and the Eloi. The Morlocks have more power than the Eloi. They both have a very different way of looking too. The Eloi are much more sweet looking than the Morlocks. Indeed, there was something in these pretty little people that inspired confidence a graceful gentleness, a certain childlike ease. And besides, they looked so frail that I could fancy myself flinging the whole dozen of them about like ninepins (Wells 30). The Eloi assured much more sweetness and humbleness than the other group. The Morlocks at any rate were carnivorous! Even at that time, I remember wondering what large animal could have survived to finish the red joint I saw. It was all very indistinct: the heavy smell, the big unmeaning shapes, the obscene figures lurking in the shadows, and only waiting for the darkness to come at me again (Wells 72-73). Wells compares the Morlocks to some disgusting creatures, which refers much more like to some creatures. Darwin uses the finches to describe the theory of his evolution and H.G Wells uses creatures with obscene figures (Wells 72). 

Darwin’s Origin of Species is a theory that evolves over the course of natural selection and he also believes that animals, plants, and much more were evolved from non-life. It was the critical work of Darwin’s life and of all his books the one that most directly influenced nearly every field of philosophy. Darwin demonstrated that what appeared to be an object of design could be produced without a Designer (Gramlich 3). Darwin completely believed in his theory of evolution. He believed that there was no creator at all.  Not only was the tradition of natural theology and its argument for God’s existence by design threatened, but also, more important, mechanism was showed to be capable of yielding creativity. Mind could be produced by mindlessness (Gramlich 3). Origin of Species ties mostly to what natural selection is about.  As in The Time Machine, H.G Wells meets the astrobiology idea of Darwin’s theory. This means that the novel was mostly centralized in describing a scientific field with origins attached to it. The Time Traveller is the main character that is being used in order to determine if any extraterrestrial life exists or if humans can determine if it really does exist. The Time Traveller truly believes that the time machine will take him to the future, presently I am going to press the lever, and off the machine will go. It will vanish pass into the future Time, and disappear (Wells 9).  Furthermore, they both focus on the form of evolution. One of the primarily themes of The Time Machine is evolution. The time machine that the Time Traveller makes for himself symbolizes the power of science and reason. The Time Traveller uses the time machine to navigate in time and to discover a forbidding truth. He truly believes time travel is very possible. Once he meets the Eloi, he believes they are a good kind of creatures, the great triumph of Humanity I had dreamed of took a different shape in my mind. It had been no such triumph of moral education and general co-operation as I had imagined. Instead, I saw a real aristocracy, armed with a perfected science and working to a logical conclusion the industrial system of today (Wells 66).  Another similarity between Darwin and The Time Traveller is that they both go on voyages and discover new things. The voyage for Darwin was to go to the Galapagos Islands and the Time Traveller’s was to go to the future year 802,701 A.D (Baule).  Both of them find their voyages interesting and describe them through these examples. The time machine described in the novel The Time Machine is described as a glittering metallic framework, scarcely larger than a small clock, and very delicately made. There was ivory in it, and some transparent crystalline substance (Wells 8). The time machine is explained as a very valuable thing. It is created by him and not through evolution. Going to the future is what has to do with the theory of evolution that Darwin created. Darwin and the Time Traveller is both creative to what they want to learn or investigate, not to mention the author of The Time Machine. Both of these have many similarities between them and explain them very well.

Additionally, The Time Machine greatly demonstrates the use of evolution by focusing on Social Darwinism. According to The Time Machine, it is a concept that can act on social pressures, for example, natural selection and many other things. It can be enforced to make something happen. H.G Wells uses the characters the Morlocks to describe how they were nocturnal due to the evolution of the environment that was related to.  The Morlocks were subterranean for innumerable generations, which had at last to find the daylit surface intolerable (Wells 77). The Time Traveller believed that it came from the use of underground space and arriving at work before the sun. Not to mention, that it had been already done more than once. Wells takes the concept of social Darwinism to the extreme; he imagines the future as if different classes of society have become extinct to distinct species that descended from a modern man (Baule). The Morlocks and Eloi had resulted from the evolution of man were sliding towards, or had already arrived at, an altogether new relationship (Wells 57).  By this, Wells creates a comparison between as the Morlocks and Eloi as seen above. It is clear that the view of evolution in the book is very extreme because of the idea of human community that were to live underground these would eventually become more suitable to being underground as natural selection presents it. Decades later, while Wells wrote the novel, Darwin’s theory of evolution was answered, but generally accepted in the learning community. Furthermoe, these concepts would have eventually spawn controversies such as eugenics these will cause a certain amount of anxiety, and it is in The Time Machine that Wells explores such distress (Baule).  Darwin’s theory of evolution and The Time Machine focus very much on Social Darwinism.

Lastly, Charles Darwin and H.G Wells have a lot in common they both present the idea of evolution.  Primarily, H.G Wells describes it through his writing of The Time Machine. The time traveller is the one who discovers the future through his time machine and deeply believes in it (Wells 10). Meanwhile, Charles Darwin demonstrated his theory of natural selection and evolution through the Origin of Species. To explain more, Origin of Species by Charles Darwin gave a more brief explanation of his theory of evolution. Darwin mainly focused on describing it through this book. He explained more of himself and what he believed in. Darwin’s theory does present the complex idea of evolution and it was well demonstrated. Wells used Darwin’s theory to fully explain what he believed about it and he also uses the idea of social Darwinism. Darwin’s influence of evolution was very well explained through out the novel of The Time Machine.

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Charles Darwin And The Time Machine. (2019, Dec 18). Retrieved January 27, 2023 , from
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