What distinguished thinkers had long called out for its manifest absurdity was now, Phoenix-like, rising from the ashes.
Darwinism, when viewed from a philosophical perspective, might more accurately be understood as a late sub-branch of ancient speculative thought.
Bottom line: Darwin did not have a single scrap of empirical fieldwork to document his conjectures.
After reading Malthus out of personal interest, it dawned on Darwin how he might usefully appropriate the Malthusian analogy.
Erasmus even touched on the theory of natural selection when he concluded that the strongest and most active animals would propagate the species.