“The belief that species were immutable products was almost inevitable while the history of the world was considered short-lived… The main cause of our reluctance to admit that one species originated clear and distinct species is that we are always slow to admit big changes. which we do not see the steps ”. (Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species)
The first Darwin to study evolution was not Charles, but Erasmus, his grandfather. He thought that species adapted to the environment by a kind of conscious effort. The theory of acquired characters. But it was his contemporary Jean-Baptiste Lamarck most famously defending a similar theory, that of “Use and Disuse”.
According to him the organs were perfected with the use and weakened with the lack of use. Changes that are preserved and transmitted to offspring. The most typical example would be the giraffe's neck, which would grow as it stretches to reach the highest leaves of the trees. Check it out in the picture below.
Lamarck's theory was a kind of Darwinism in reverse, with organisms controlling their own development. His ideas were quite intuitive and more engaging because they more easily adapted to common sense. His theories suffered from a problem of selection of observations and his approach lacking scientific evidence.
Such proof that he refused (and could not). Of course, if we tie a baby's arm around its body and hold it for 30 years, the muscles will not develop, and over time they will atrophy, losing the ability to develop. This adult will have unequally sized arms. But contrary to what Lamarck predicted, this man's children will not be born with small arms. Just like the scars we acquire during our lifetime are not transmitted to our children.
The man and his anthropocentrism. Even when the evidence of a planet that was older than the bible will accumulate, it was still difficult to accept that man would have been "less than a man".