History of Ideas.Annotated Slides F17.ppt

History of Ideas.Annotated Slides F17.ppt - History of...

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History of Evolutionary Ideas BIO 1300 Dr. Vail “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.“ Final sentence of “The Origin of Species.”
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Darwin is the key figure in the history of evolutionary biology.
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Synopsis: before Darwin Aristotle’s scala naturae Medieval Christianity and the Great Chain of Being Exploration: new faunas Rationalism and Science Geology: Fossils, Earth’s age, Uniformity Principle Evolutionary ideas (esp. Lamarck) Darwin (b. Feb 12, 1809, d. April 19, 1882) Beagle voyage 1831-1836 Origin of Species 1859
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VII. Far as Creation's ample range extends, The scale of sensual, mental powers ascends: Mark how it mounts, to man's imperial race… …Above, how high, progressive life may go! Around, how wide! how deep extend below? Vast chain of being! which from God began, Natures ethereal, human, angel, man, Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see, No glass can reach; from Infinite to thee, From thee to nothing. On superior powers Were we to press, inferior might on ours: Or in the full creation leave a void, Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroyed: From Nature's chain whatever link you strike, Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike. An Essay on Man (1734) Pope, Alexander, 1688-1744 The Great Chain of Being Alexander Pope’s long poem, excerpted here, captures well the ancient notion of a natural scale to explain life’s diversity. It also expresses how deeply this idea is embedded in our view of the world and our place in it, and how it can be used to support racism, sexism, and other invidious ideologies. Such ideas are very resistant to change.
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Linnaean System of Classification Linnaeus recognized the hierarchical nature of biological diversity, and represented it in the hierarchical classification system that we still use. This pattern of groups within groups is very different from a linear scale of perfection (the Great Chain of Being) and an important clue to the evolutionary origin of diversity, as you saw in your study of phylogenetic methods. It’s important to point out that Linnaeus worked before Darwin and entirely within the prevailing philosophy that attributed these patterns to a divine plan in which every species had its fixed and preordained place.
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Age of Exploration 1400-present Magellan (d.1521) Cook (d.1779) Discovery of extraordinary new fauna and flora during the period of European expansion tended to undermine this traditional view of the Great Chain of Being, which had been developed with knowledge only of diversity in the vicinity of Europe. The idea that biological diversity conformed to a universal plan came into conflict with evidence that patterns of diversity developed according to local circumstances that vary from place to place.
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Rise of Science
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