Darwin was forced to abandoned the realm of true science to develop his theory of evolution. The gold standard of science, the Scientific Method, had long been used to deliver the laws of nature. The Scientific Method was originally formalized long before Darwin by Francis Bacon during the seventeenth century.
It was following the successful use of inductive reasoning by Nicholaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei earlier in the sixteenth century, Bacon advanced this method as the basis to the establish the first scientific organization in the world, the Royal Society, in 1645.
Use of the inductive method by Isaac Newton lead to the discovery of the laws of motion, gravity and calculus and secured the role of the scientific method as the only reliable means for discovering the laws of nature.
Although Darwin was knowledgeable about the scientific method, to rationalize his version of evolution, Darwin was forced to abandon the Scientific Method. Darwin made his break with the scientific method very clear by stating –
“I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science.” 1857
“What you hint at generally is very, very true: that my work is grievously hypothetical, and large parts are by no means worthy of being called induction.” 1859
Darwin was concerned about the effect of abandoning the scientific method. To console Darwin, just two weeks before the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, Erasmus Darwin, his brother wrote:
“In fact, the a priori reasoning is so entirely satisfactory to me that if the facts [evidence] won’t fit, why so much the worse for the facts, in my feeling.”