Lecture 13 18th Century Naturalists - The History of...

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NATS 1690 - 18th Century Naturalists 1 The History of Evolutionary Thought: 3. 18 th Century Naturalists
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NATS 1690 - 18th Century Naturalists 2 Reference Custom Textbook – An Introduction to Biological Evolution , 2009 Pages 62 - 74
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NATS 1690 - 18th Century Naturalists 3 Lecture Topics Compte de Buffon Carolus Linnaeus Erasmus Darwin William Paley
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4 During the 18 th century, western culture continued to resist evolutionary views of life: View of nature still determined by deep-seated beliefs Two major truths Species were individually designed Species did not evolve Two driving forces Church provided Biblical explanations for biological diversity Separate Creation – all creatures created, independently, by God Earth approx. 6,000 year old Aristotle’s ideas also influenced Western culture views Chain of Being – organized into a hierarchy Man in highest rank (beneath god) All living forms - arranged on a ladder ( scala naturae ) of increasing complexity Every rung taken - with perfect, permanent species - fixity of species
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NATS 1690 - 18th Century Naturalists 5 BUT some European scientists were challenging religious dogma a Astronomers argued that Earth was not center of the universe Geologists argued that Earth was very ancient Biologists considered the ideas of evolution That similarities between living things reflected recent common ancestry That dissimilarities between living things reflected ancient common ancestry During 1700’s - dominant philosophy was NATURAL THEOLOGY : study of adaptations of organisms as evidence a creator designed each species for a purpose
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French aristocrat, educated in law and medicine Interested in nature - Not content with existing explanations Proposed radical ideas Insisted that natural phenomenon must be explained by natural laws rather than theological doctrine 1. 2. His “field studies” – direct observations – new way of “doing biology” His Three major ideas relating to life (100 years before Darwin) 1. Believed Earth was at least 75,000 years old Church condemned this - burned his books in France 2. That species have evolved – were not spontaneously generated D enied Noah’s flood had occurred 3. Suggested that humans and apes were related through a common ancestor That the great similarities between apes and humans were not coincidence His most controversial claim Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788)
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This note was uploaded on 11/16/2010 for the course NATURAL SC NATS 1505 taught by Professor Isley during the Spring '10 term at Columbia State Community College.

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Lecture 13 18th Century Naturalists - The History of...

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