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Dennisg

Where did Darwin get his ideas?

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I got What Evolution Is from home. I was referring to Box 6.1, here on Google Books (where I should have just looked in the first place):

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Not sure about the diagram you are referring to but in general I don’t find these very compelling. For example horses, cats and humans all share the same digestive system – small bowel, appendix and large bowel but are otherwise not closely related. This seems to be more in favor of design than evolution.

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It's not a comparative anatomy diagram... It's a chart answering the original question posed by this thread. Does the link not work?

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Not sure about the diagram you are referring to but in general I don’t find these very compelling. For example horses, cats and humans all share the same digestive system – small bowel, appendix and large bowel but are otherwise not closely related. This seems to be more in favor of design than evolution.

All those are mammals and are related (in the mammal family). Looking at fossils hints that these structures existed back in a group of animals that weren't mammals, but eventually evolved into mammals. The fact that all mammals show these structures is not evidence of design but of shared ancestry.

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It's not a comparative anatomy diagram... It's a chart answering the original question posed by this thread. Does the link not work?

 

 

 

It didn't take me to the diagram. Can you scan it and insert it here?

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It's the text box, Box 6.1, right when you open the link.

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It's the text box, Box 6.1, right when you open the link.

 

Only see google book search page with "What Evolution Is By Ernst Mayr" book pictured and some google links to this topic which don't have a diagram either.

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I was wondering if anyone has done some research into this topic. I know there are some quick answers to this question but I think the topic deserves a lot more study.

 

It's gotten a lot of study. Darwin's notebooks give a very good history of the development and source of his ideas. I think they are still on display at the American Museum of Natural History.

 

Otherwise, the biography Darwin by Desmond and Moore will walk you thru it.

 

The discovery of natural selection is laid out in Darwin's notebooks very precisely. Basically, Darwin had read Malthus, done his own work on variation, and then made a leap of imagination to put them together to get natural selection.

 

Again I agree with this. While Darwin studied Theology and trained for the ministry he seems to have been unaware of this Biblical view of nature - that in the beginning the vegetative kingdom provided all the food for the animal kingdom. That is no animal ate any other animal.

 

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-- everything that has the breath of life in it-- I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-- the sixth day.

 

I wonder if this view would have influenced the way he saw nature as being cruel.

 

First, Darwin didn't see nature being "cruel". The Struggle for Existence was a metaphorical struggle. See below.

 

Second, the quote you provided from Genesis 1 applies only to humans. This is what humans get to eat. It doesn't apply to the rest of creation. Darwin would have been aware of that.

 

Third, Darwin studied for the ministry because he wanted to be a scientist. At the time there was no way to earn money only being a scientist; you had to have a day job. Most of Darwin's scientist friends were country parsons. With a small country parish, you gave a sermon on Sunday, visited a few sick, and had the rest of the week to be a "naturalist".

 

"The Term, Struggle for Existence, Used in a Large Sense

 

I should premise that I use this term in a large and metaphorical sense including dependence of one being on another, and including (which is more important) not only the life of the individual, but success in leaving progeny. TWo canine animals, in a time of dearth, may be truly said to struggle witheach other which shall get food and live. But a plant on the edge of a desert is said to struggle for life against the drought, though more properly it should be said to be dependent on the moisture. A plant which annually produces a thousand seeds, of which only one of an average comes to maturity, may be more truly said to struggle with the ground. The mistletoe is dependent on the apple and a few other trees, but can only in a fr-fetched sense be said to struggle with these trees, for, if too many of these parasites grow on the same tree, it languishes and dies. But several seedling mistletoes, growing close together on the same branch, may more truly be said to struggle with each other. As the mistletoe is disseminated by birds, its existence depends on them; and it may methodically be said to struggle with other fruit-bearing plants, in tempting the birds to devour and thus disseminate its seeds. In these several senses, which pass into each other, I use for convenience' sake the general term of Struggle for Existence."

 

I am surprised no one has mentioned the influence of his grandfather Erasmus. You are even more silent on it than was Darwin himself. Here is an extract from Erasmus's work Zoonomia, courtesy of wikipedia.

 

Would it be too bold to imagine that, in the great length of time since the earth began to exist, perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind would it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament, which the great First Cause endued with animality, with the power of acquiring new parts, attended with new propensities, directed by irritations, sensations, volitions and associations, and thus possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity, and of delivering down these improvements by generation to its posterity, world without end!

 

Charles Darwin clearly felt uncomfortable that his grandfather had anticipated him and concedes virtually nothing to him in any of his writings.

 

The reason Darwin was silent is because, if you read that paragraph closely, Erasmus is wrong. Erasmus has the ability to acquire new traits coming directly from the organism itself. Notice that "directed by .. volitions" and "improve by its own inherent activity". There is no volition on the part of the individual in either natural selection or Lamarkism.

 

Erasmus can be said to be an "evolutionist" only in the sense that he was denying Special Creation of each individual species. However, that isn't enough to give him "credit". Otherwise his biology and evolution were so far off the mark as to be useless.

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First, Darwin didn't see nature being "cruel". The Struggle for Existence was a metaphorical struggle. See below.

 

My understanding was that he saw the natural world as being cruel especially after the death of his daughter.

 

Second, the quote you provided from Genesis 1 applies only to humans. This is what humans get to eat. It doesn't apply to the rest of creation. Darwin would have been aware of that.

 

????

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-- everything that has the breath of life in it-- I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-- the sixth day.

 

The description of life in the garden was of a symbiotic arrangement between the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom.

Edited by Dennisg
grammar

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The reason Darwin was silent is because, if you read that paragraph closely, Erasmus is wrong. Erasmus has the ability to acquire new traits coming directly from the organism itself. Notice that "directed by .. volitions" and "improve by its own inherent activity". There is no volition on the part of the individual in either natural selection or Lamarkism.
Come now, it doesn't require a close reading to see that it is wrong, nor does it require a close reading of Darwin to know that he more than dabbled with Lamarkian mechanisms to generate the changes that would then be selected. It was the absence of a plausible mechanism that disturbed him and caused him to vaccilate on that point a great deal.

 

It is a pity that he did not chance to meet and talk to Gregor Mendel when the latter was visiting London for the Great Exhibition. The development of evolutionary theory might then have been quite different.

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My understanding was that he saw the natural world as being cruel especially after the death of his daughter.

 

He saw God as being cruel. Annie's death triggered a crisis of faith in Darwin that many people have shared: why does God allow bad things happen to good people?

 

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-- everything that has the breath of life in it-- I give every green plant for food."

The description of life in the garden was of a symbiotic arrangement between the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom.

 

First, this isn't the garden. Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are two completely different creation stories.

 

Second, Let's do the context:

"So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, ...

"I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-- everything that has the breath of life in it-- I give every green plant for food."

 

This isn't a symbiotic relationship as you claim, but a delineation of food for humans and food for animals. Humans get to eath "seed-bearing plant" and "tree that has fruit with seed in it". Animals and birds get every plant to eat. Humans would not be allowed to eat maple trees or moss, for instance, but birds and animals can.

 

Come now, it doesn't require a close reading to see that it is wrong, nor does it require a close reading of Darwin to know that he more than dabbled with Lamarkian mechanisms to generate the changes that would then be selected.

 

Lamarckism is an alternative to natural selection. It is not a mechanism for generating variation, but rather a entire mechanism to get adaptations. In some cases, Darwin didn't have a mechanism by natural selection to get the adaptation (such as beetles that lost their wings) and so invoked Lamarckism instead.

 

It is a pity that he did not chance to meet and talk to Gregor Mendel when the latter was visiting London for the Great Exhibition. The development of evolutionary theory might then have been quite different.

 

It probably would not have helped unless Mendel spoke English. As it happens, Mendel sent Darwin a copy of his paper (as the most famous scientist in Europe, a lot of people corresponded with Darwin). But the paper was in, of course, German. As accomplished as Darwin was, he was very poor at foreign languages. He never did learn any. When reading German manuscripts, he would have to go thru them word by word with an English-German dictionary in hand. Thus Mendel's paper sat on his desk unread.

 

But had he read it we may have had the Modern Synthesis 60 years earlier. Or not. Darwin would have had to use Mendel's work to develop the whole discipline of population genetics and, as good as Darwin was, that was a lot of work.

 

However, it would have removed the most potent criticism of natural selection at the time: that natural selection does not work with blended characteristics (the predominant theory of inheritance at the time).

Edited by lucaspa
multiple post merged

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Lamarckism is an alternative to natural selection. It is not a mechanism for generating variation, but rather a entire mechanism to get adaptations. In some cases, Darwin didn't have a mechanism by natural selection to get the adaptation (such as beetles that lost their wings) and so invoked Lamarckism instead.

 

Yes, it is very important to note that there are many other ways that Darwin could have interpreted the information that was available to him. It seems to me that he took the various blocks of information and assembled them based on a scenario that was imprinted within his subconscious mind. For me the “Redeemer” scenario was what Darwin used as a outline which he then filled in with the various blocks.

 

Darwin studied and trained for the Christian ministry. The idea of a redeemer would have been the focus of his thinking during that time. It should not be surprising that Evolution follows a "redeemer" scenario. For example in Christianity Jesus is the redeemer and those who follow him are "saved". In Evolution it is the one member of a species that has a mutation that is advantageous who leads the way to survival. Transformation and redemption in Christianity became "mutation" and "survival" in Evolution. Finally, in evolution this changed member of a species must out procreate the other members from the species to be changed. While Jesus did not procreate - his spiritual "genes" are in billions of people making him the most “imitated" person to have ever lived.

 

So similar are underlying themes between Evolution and Christianity that it seems unlikely that they are a product of chance.

 

 

First, this isn't the garden. Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are two completely different creation stories.

 

This is not completely true. This is getting off topic a little, but please bear with me as it is important to clarify these kinds of small points. The two stories are two perspectives of the same event and are not completely separate. For example in Genesis 1:29 fruit with seed is given as food. The questions then becomes how would one know whether a fruit had a seed or not? And what would be the consequences of eating fruit without a seed? These two questions are then answered in the second account where God points out which tree not to eat from and what the consequences of eating from it are. The point of the first account is that symbiosis was not just a local issue but was interwoven into the creation of the universe itself. Animals in this context did not eat whole plants anymore than Adam and Eve ate trees but ate the food provided for them by the plants (“clean” animals in the Bible still eat this original diet of mostly grass). Animals were companions for Adam and he “tended” the garden in return for food for himself and his companions.

Edited by Dennisg
grammar

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Yes, it is very important to note that there are many other ways that Darwin could have interpreted the information that was available to him. It seems to me that he took the various blocks of information and assembled them based on a scenario that was imprinted within his subconscious mind. For me the “Redeemer” scenario was what Darwin used as a outline which he then filled in with the various blocks.

 

Darwin studied and trained for the Christian ministry. The idea of a redeemer would have been the focus of his thinking during that time. It should not be surprising that Evolution follows a "redeemer" scenario. For example in Christianity Jesus is the redeemer and those who follow him are "saved". In Evolution it is the one member of a species that has a mutation that is advantageous who leads the way to survival. Transformation and redemption in Christianity became "mutation" and "survival" in Evolution. Finally, in evolution this changed member of a species must out procreate the other members from the species to be changed. While Jesus did not procreate - his spiritual "genes" are in billions of people making him the most “imitated" person to have ever lived.

 

So similar are underlying themes between Evolution and Christianity that it seems unlikely that they are a product of chance.

 

As most every Englishman of the time period would have been raised in Christianity, there is no doubt that his upbringing, as everyone's inevitably does, affected his interpretation of the fact somewhat. However, modern evolution is not "Darwinism". We have genetics; we have so much that Darwin did not have and it all points to his theory. It was his theory, and he was Christian, but the theory is not Christian. The theory is effectively agnostic, having no say on where the first form of life came from, just how that first form diversified into what we see today.

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However, modern evolution is not "Darwinism". We have genetics; we have so much that Darwin did not have and it all points to his theory.

I agree.

 

 

It was his theory, and he was Christian, but the theory is not Christian. The theory is effectively agnostic, having no say on where the first form of life came from, just how that first form diversified into what we see today.

 

It wasn't Christianity but shared many parallels with the Christian scenario which is interesting. The points of difference were Darwinsim replaced God with chance and "survival of the fittest" replaced "redeemption of the unfit" (simply put).

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I disagree. Religion has no place in an idea which works.

 

We don't have muslim versus jewish mathematics. Just math.

We don't have Hindi versus buddhist electronics. Just electronics.

We don't have (or shouldn't have) religious specific descriptions of evolutions.

 

Part of the strength of the ideas is that they work no matter where or who you are. They are consistent. They are fundamental in the good way. ;)

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We don't have muslim versus jewish mathematics. Just math.

We don't have Hindi versus buddhist electronics. Just electronics.

We don't have (or shouldn't have) religious specific descriptions of evolutions.

 

Part of the strength of the ideas is that they work no matter where or who you are. They are consistent. They are fundamental in the good way.

Yesterday 11:24 PM

 

ah Ok :) But I think you are missing the point. Darwinism presents a kind of story of how nature works. It is the story and not the science that is in question.

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>.< Darwin, in attempting to describe his secular theory to a religious public, used a story. However, his theory (which is the only thing that matters in the scientific community) is no more rhetoric than that or gravity or relativity.

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>.< Darwin, in attempting to describe his secular theory to a religious public, used a story. However, his theory (which is the only thing that matters in the scientific community) is no more rhetoric than that or gravity or relativity.

 

I would disagree based on the number of political movements that have risen up from Darwin's thinking. This is not true of gravity of relativity.

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<sigh>

 

The point is that the theory itself is not rhetoric, but is instead a well formulated, well tested, and accurate description of reality, regardless of whatever dipstick religious or political movements have tried using it for their own ends.

 

 

 

http://www.chron.com/commons/readerblogs/evosphere.html?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3af12fd84e-253f-46cf-9408-ee579f9a3a0bPost%3af03a66ad-509f-4ba6-9bd6-2e73397573dc

Exactly 150 years ago today, three papers appeared in the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London that would start a revolution in the biological sciences. The papers had been read the previous month by the distinguished scientists Charles Lyell and Joseph Hooker (a geologist and a botanist, respectively) and contained "the results of the investigations of two indefatigable naturalists".

 

Earlier that year (June, 1858), their friend Charles Darwin had received a startling letter from a young naturalist called Alfred Russel Wallace, with whom he had been corresponding during the previous year. The letter, posted in February from the remote Moluccan Islands (now in eastern Indonesia), contained an essay titled "On the Tendency of Varieties to depart indefinitely from the Original Type". In it Wallace began by ... <more at
>

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I would disagree based on the number of political movements that have risen up from Darwin's thinking. This is not true of gravity of relativity.

 

Often frequenting Christian forums to see what progress the Evolution versus Creation front has made (not really all that expectantly) I am quite tired of hearing this. Social Darwinism is NOT evolution. Please refer to my last post; Darwinism and the Theory of Evolution are QUITE distinct entities. The first is an ideology, the second is a scientific theory. The first relies on rhetoric and concepts, the second on data and predictions. You must not conflate the two or ignore this key distinction.

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Often frequenting Christian forums to see what progress the Evolution versus Creation front has made (not really all that expectantly) I am quite tired of hearing this. Social Darwinism is NOT evolution. Please refer to my last post; Darwinism and the Theory of Evolution are QUITE distinct entities. The first is an ideology, the second is a scientific theory. The first relies on rhetoric and concepts, the second on data and predictions. You must not conflate the two or ignore this key distinction.

 

Sorry, but for me the topic here is "Where did Darwin Get His Ideas" and then perhaps to a much lesser extent what evolution is today. My point is that Darwin built his theory on a Christian Framework. I would guess that he did this unconsciously. His basic theory follows the Christian or “redeemer” scenario with a few changes as noted above.

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My point is that Darwin built his theory on a Christian Framework.

You are welcome to your own speculations, but you cannot assert them as fact and expect to be taken seriously. Your point is wrong, and will remain so until you can support it with logic and accurate premises.

 

Also, wtf is a "christian framework?" Does that mean you have to molest alter boys before publishing?

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You are welcome to your own speculations, but you cannot assert them as fact and expect to be taken seriously. Your point is wrong, and will remain so until you can support it with logic and accurate premises.

 

Also, wtf is a "christian framework?" Does that mean you have to molest alter boys before publishing?

 

 

Evolution like many stories follows a variation of the “Redeemer Scenario” - which is the most prevalent archtypes in the world. The idea of a redeemer is as old as mankind. And it can be found in many cultures. Entertainment in our society is so saturated with this idea of a saviour that we take the whole thing for granted and don't even notice it. The Western movie is famous for the lone hero who rides into town to save people from a gang of villains. But there are also many adventure, war, action or drama movies feature a hero who suffers and then rescues the innocent. Often in movies a hero appears to die only to have to somehow have escaped death and reappears to everyone’s joy. In Darwin's thought it is the changed member that leads the way to survival.

Edited by Dennisg
cut and paste error

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The only thing you mentioned in reference to darwin was in the last sentence where you assert, "In Darwin's thought it is the changed member that leads the way to survival."

 

First, I'd like you to point out for everyone how exactly you came to the conclusion that this is an accurate representation of "darwins thought."

 

Second, I'd like to point out TO you that this is not an accurate representation of darwins idea. His idea was that certain mutations prove beneficial in certain environments, and those most successful out reproduce those who are less successful when viewed across long expanses of time.

 

Third, change in the sense that you mean it (once bad, now good, once evil, now a hero) is personality/character change, and has nothing to do with "change" in allele frequencies through geologic time.

 

 

I'm not attacking you, Dennis. Know that. I'm attacking your assertions, as they are really close to the truth, but just wrong enough to be misrepresenting it.

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The only thing you mentioned in reference to darwin was in the last sentence where you assert, "In Darwin's thought it is the changed member that leads the way to survival."

 

First, I'd like you to point out for everyone how exactly you came to the conclusion that this is an accurate representation of "darwins thought."

 

Second, I'd like to point out TO you that this is not an accurate representation of darwins idea. His idea was that certain mutations prove beneficial in certain environments, and those most successful out reproduce those who are less successful when viewed across long expanses of time.

 

Third, change in the sense that you mean it (once bad, now good, once evil, now a hero) is personality/character change, and has nothing to do with "change" in allele frequencies through geologic time.

 

 

I'm not attacking you, Dennis. Know that. I'm attacking your assertions, as they are really close to the truth, but just wrong enough to be misrepresenting it.

 

 

What is the problem with recognizing the parallels between Christianity and Evolution?

 

Darwin got some of his information from observations – but he did not observe evolution. The observations that Darwin made had many gaps. And when there are gaps then something known as the “Closure Principle” kicks into action. The principle of closure applies when we tend to see complete figures even when part of the information is missing. Our minds react to patterns that are familiar, even though we often receive incomplete information. It means that, when a person is given an incomplete set of data, his mind will fill in the gaps to make a whole picture so that he can interpret it. In the case of Darwin the familiar pattern was that of Christianity.

 

One of the problems that Darwin had was there wasn’t any mathematical framework to test his overall theory and to toy around with to test other possibilities. The problem with basing a theory on observations without a mathematical foundation can be seen by doing the following thought experiment:

 

Sitting on the table before me is a coffee cup. I now close my eyes and try to picture the cup. As I try to picture the cup within my mind I notice that I can only hold the image of the cup for a short time and that the image that I imagine has features that are not present on the real cup. And the real cup has features that are not present on the cup I imagine. Clearly the cup that exists in my mind is a distorted representation of the cup on the table. The cup in my mind is made up from my observations of the cup on the table. But the cup in my mind is not the same as the cup on the table. The cup on the table exists in real time and space while the cup in my mind exists in an entirely different way that is not a true representation.

 

Observations always leave gaps and the unconscious mind always fills those gaps to make sense of the world. In Darwin’s case the gaps were many and large and he filled them with the Christian scenario.

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