What is Darwinism

What is Darwinism - What is Darwinism? n One Long Argument,...

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What is Darwinism? n One Long Argument , Ernst Mayr (evolutionary biologist, and originator of the Biological Species Concept) summarizes Darwin's theories, and traces the history of their acceptance by the world scientific community. In the Preface , he begins: A modern evolutionist turns to Darwin's work again and again. This is not surprising, since the roots of all our evolutionary thinking go back to Darwin. Our current controversies very often have as their starting point some vagueness in Darwin's writings or a question Darwin was unable to answer owing to the insufficient biological knowledge available in his time. But one returns to Darwin's original writings for more than historical reasons. Darwin frequently understood things far more clearly than both his supporters and his opponents, including those of the present day. In Chapter Four, "Ideological Opposition to Darwin's Five Theories", Mayr summarizes "Darwin's Theory", or "Darwinism", thus: In both scholarly and popular literature one frequently finds references to "Darwin's theory of evolution", as though it were a unitary entity. In reality, Darwin's "theory" of evolution was a whole bundle of theories, and it is impossible to discuss Darwin's evolutionary thought constructively if one does not distinguish its various components. ... The term "Darwinism", . .. has numerous meanings depending on who has used the term and at what period. A better understanding of the meaning of this term is only one reason to call attention to the composite nature of Darwin's evolutionary thought. ... One particulary cogent reason why Darwinism cannot be a single monolithic theory is that organic evolution consists of two essentially independent processes, as we have seen: transformation in time, and diversification in ecological and geographical space. The two processes require a minimum of two entirely independent and very different theories. ... I consider it necessary to dissect Darwin's conceptual framework of evolution into a number of major theories that formed the basis of his evolutionary thinking. For the sake of convenience, I have partitioned Darwin's evolutionary paradigm into five theories, but of course others might prefer a different division. The selected theories are by no means all of Darwin's evolutionary
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course BIO BSC1010 taught by Professor Gwenhauner during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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What is Darwinism - What is Darwinism? n One Long Argument,...

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