genChaps17, 18, 19 Fall 07

genChaps17, 18, 19 Fall 07 - 19 DRAFT COPY Evolutionary...

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Chapters 17, 18, 19  DRAFT COPY Evolutionary thought prior to the 19 th  century Evolutionary ideas have been traced in western thought back to the ancient Greeks. Anaximander, 6 th  century B.C., humans and other animals were descended from fishes. Plato (427-347 B.C.) a student of Socrates Very influential concerning western thought Platonic thought biases western thought against the idea of evolutionary change. The forms we perceive in this universe are manifestations of forms (fixed essences) existing in an  ideal realm.   The forms in this universe were subject to change and decay.  They could be destroyed. Variation of objects and organisms in the Platonic view is accidental imperfection. The fixed essences could not change and decay and were therefore eternal. However the objects in a class might accidentally vary, the class still has a defining essence that  could not change. Therefore, the fixed essences had more permanence and more reality than those things that  could change. See p6. Platonic thought biases western thought against the idea of evolutionary change. Charles Darwin (February 12, 1809-April 19, 1882) English At 16 Darwin’s physician father sends him to the University of Edinburgh to study medicine. He finds medicine boring and distasteful.   Distasteful? (Recall 19 th  century anesthesiology, key point:  anesthetics not yet developed) He leaves without a degree. Father decided Charles could become a clergyman. Enrolled at Christ College at Cambridge University.
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There he becomes prot é g é e of Reverend John Henslow, professor of botany at Cambridge. Darwin gets B.A. degree in 1831. Henslow recommends him as naturalist and conversation companion to captain Robert FitzRoy,  captain of the H.M.S.  Beagle . They were both of the same age. Darwin 22 when he set sail December 27 of 1831.  Five-year voyage. Ship’s crew surveyed the cost lines and Darwin collected.  The key observations that he made that lead to his theory were based on  the correlations he  made between the variation in geography and the variation in the characteristics of the  organisms found in the various areas he visited . The comparisons between organisms living on island and mainland habitats were  particularly informative to him. Note: Darwin primarily  observes living organisms  rather than fossils. Comparisons between the fauna of various islands in the Galapagos archipelago  and between these islands and the South American mainland were very important.
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