Ch 1 Notes - Theological Stage Until the middle of the...

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Theological Stage Until the middle of the eighteenth century, nature was explained almost exclusively in religious terms. o It was believed that God created all the species that existed in their present form and these were fixed and unchanging. o The belief that life forms could not change was known in European intellectual circles as fixity of species o According to their belief, God created the universe in six days and the earth and it people are pretty much the same as they are now. James Ussher o Calculated the earth to be 4004 BC years o God’s creations were arranged in a hierarchy that progressed from the simplest organisms to the complex ones. Eventually humans were created this way, and all part of a supernatural plan. First thought of by Aristotle, called the Great Chain of Being. John Ray o Published a book called The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of Creation Said this was all part of God’s grand design. o Defined Species and Genus He found that plants and animals could be distinguished from one another by their ability to reproduce and produce offspring. He called these groups species He then found that species shared similarities with other species so they were grouped into a second level of classification called genus. Scientific Phase Carolus Linnaeus o A Swedish naturalist that believed in a static universe and fixity of species. o In Systema Naturae He established the first formal classification of all known living species He standardized Ray’s use of the term species and genus, which firmly established the use of binomial nomenclature for classifying organisms. He also added the terms class and order. o Furthermore, Linnaeus included humans in his classification of animals, giving them the genus Homo and the species sapiens . o Placing humans in the animal kingdom was against the religious viewpoint because humans were created in God’s image and not in the animal kingdom. Put them with primates. Buffon o Saw nature as a dynamic system of processes instead of a static one o In his work Natural History he believed that organisms were influenced
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by external environment. They would gradually change as they adapted to the new environment. o However he DID NOT believe in the change of one species into another. o He beliefs seem like modern evolution principles but it is not because he rejected the idea that one species could give rise to another. Erasmus Darwin
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Ch 1 Notes - Theological Stage Until the middle of the...

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