genChaps17, 18, 19 Fall 07

genChaps17, 18, 19 Fall 07 - Chapters 17, 18, 19 DRAFT COPY...

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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. There he becomes protégée 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
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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. Galapagos archipelago is of volcanic origin and is located approximately 900 km west of Ecuador in South America. Darwin did not understand the significance of the Galapagos animals until he studied the collection after returning to England in 1836. He apparently first came to the conclusion that species might have developed from
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genChaps17, 18, 19 Fall 07 - Chapters 17, 18, 19 DRAFT COPY...

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