Erasmus Darwin

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Erasmus Darwin

Erasmus Darwin (12 December 1731 – 18 April 1802) was an English physician. He was Charles Darwin's grandfather and he is believed to have influenced Charles Darwin as far as the development of Charles Darwin's evolutionary beliefs.[1] He was also an agnostic.[2]

Although Erasmus Darwin was a physician, he was overweight (Hippocrates was an early advocate of the health benefits of exercise and nutrition.[3]). An article entitled Darwinism: it was all in the family declares concerning Erasmus Darwin:

His love of food (particularly fruits, sugar, cream and butter) was matched by his dislike of exercise, and by the age of 46 he had grown so corpulent that a semi-circle had to be cut out of his dining table to accommodate his girth at meal times.[4]

Erasmus Darwin's wealth formed a basis for Charles Darwin's inherited wealth, which in turn gave him the economic freedom to research and write without the day-to-day task of earning his own living.