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Darwin11 - Darwin's Precursors and Influences 1...

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Darwin's Precursors and Influences 1. Transmutationism Charles Lyell (right) Moreover, in 1832, Charles Lyell published the second volume of his influential Principles of Geology , which Darwin received while on the Beagle voyage the same year. Much of it was devoted to attacking Lamarck's views, using Cuvier's arguments. Finally, and admitted by Darwin himself, his good friend at Edinburgh University where he studied medicine, Robert Grant, was one of the few enthusiastic Lamarckians in Britain, and expounded it to Darwin many times. Darwin remarked in his Autobiography that he may have been predisposed to consider evolution from having heard Lamarck so praised 4 . What Darwin gained from Lamarck regarding evolution was a view of branching change, although it is likely that he came to these views on his own, initially through his field observations during the voyage of the Beagle and reflections afterwards. Lamarck had created a climate in which such views were possible. In 1802, William Paley published his Natural Theology , which was an extended argument for the existence and activity of God from the evidence of design in the natural world, and similar views were argued in the Bridgewater Treatises (1833-1836) by a series of theologians and scientists. But the cat was out of the bag, and science became increasingly autonomous of theological constraints, moving to more naturalistic explanations. Lamarck's own explanations were clearly unsatisfactory, but the need
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