From George Grinnell, “The Rise and Fall of Darwin’s First Theory of Transmutation,” Journal of the History of Biology, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Autumn, 1974), pp. 259-273:
Conclusions: Darwin began his work from a highly abstract and speculative base. His later careful research into minute details followed rather then preceded his theoretical activities. When he worked out his first theory he was ignorant of most branches of natural history with the exception of geology and geographic distribution subjects which he had learned while on the Beagle voyage. His original purpose in opening these notebooks was to try out variousm odels of “transmutation.”T he extent to which he was willing to push one model, and after its collapse, to entertain new models suggests that he was philosophically inclined to transmutation theories for reasons that transcended the empirical data with which he originally worked.
How does this fit with Darwin having practically invented biology on TV while aboard the Beagle set?
All the while freeing the human race? Helping the human race understand who we really are? And having the best idea anyone ever had? And other relentless, ridiculous hagiography?