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Darwin + Wallace: First to Explain Evolutionary Process, First to Create Theory of Evolution by the Process of Natural Selection

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Autor:   •  October 8, 2018  •  Study Guide  •  1,564 Words (7 Pages)  •  10 Views

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Darwin + Wallace: First to explain evolutionary process, first to create theory of evolution by the process of natural selection.

In middle ages:

people thought things were never changes, things will always be the same/will always be the same in future. (stasis + fixity of species)

bible was literally interpreted → the universe was “Grand Designed” by God - Aristotle’s “Great Chain of Being” was also a prevalent idea, that there was a hierarchy of life (God, angels, demons, man, animals, plants, minerals)

Archbishop James Ussher analyzed the bible book of Genesis (talks about generations of people), looked at those generations and when the first people were created (Adam and Eve) and when the earth was created. He found the earth was created October 23rd, 4004 BC.

Young earth + fixity of species is not equal to development of evolutionary thought.

The scientific revolution

led to new provocative ideas that have never appeared before

laid the foundation of modern sciences

Christopher Columbus was involved, sailed the ocean, ‘discovered’ the new world. He landed in the Caribbean and encountered indigenous peoples and went back eventually to Europe.

He brought people, animals, and plants (peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes, chocolate, tobacco, rubber, corn, turkey) to Europe and they had never seen it before - the world was bigger than they imagined.

Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastian Elcano sailed around the earth to prove the world was not flat and changing people's understanding of the earth.

Early publications of the scientific revolution:

1. Nicolaus Copernicus ‘On the revolutions of the heavenly spheres’

important mathematician, astronomer, artist, etc.

In 1514 he wrote the “Commentariolus (Little Commentary)” - this is where he first wrote about the sun centered universe.

He spent the time until he died gathering info about the sun being the center of the universe (heliocentric - sun centric model of the universe). His publication created debate.

2. Andreas Vesalius’ on the fabric of the human body.

Andreas Vesalius was an anatomist, doctor, founder of modern human anatomy, discarded Galenic anatomy, created building block for observational science.

Ptolemaic - the idea that the world was the centre of the universe, stationary, doesn't move

Copernican - the idea that the sun is the centre of the universe, is fixed, planets go around the sun

Catholic Church

During middle ages the catholic church was in charge of everything → they didn’t like the Copernican idea as it challenged ideas

They didn't completely ban his ideas, but they took his book off of circulation. It would only circulate again if there were ‘corrections’ in the book, they wanted his ideas to be a hypothesis.

But, the book was never reprinted with the corrections. It was not to be read for over 100 years.

Galileo → was putting out dead Copernicus’ ideas out there.

physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, etc.

father of modern studies.

discovered Jupiter’s moons, improved compases and telescopes.

He publically supported Copernicus’ ideas

published his own book with his ideas as Copernicus’ book was banned.

He tested his ideas looking through telescopes, got in trouble with the church, and his works were banned.

Galenic Anatomy: named after Roman physician Galen

based his anatomy observation on dissection of animals (it was illegal to dissect humans in Roman period)

They thought he had discovered it all, the ideas dominated the field.

→ Vesalius did his own dissection and found Galen was wrong

published his findings in 7 volumes of proper human anatomy.

He also did comparative anatomy with humans and animals.

He considered humans as one species among many, had many traits - Darwin used this idea.

16th and 17th centuries - revolutionary scientific discoveries

→ classification was focus of heavy investigation during this time

William Harvey: anatomy, how the human body works, blood circulation

Robert Hooke: cells, microbiology

Johannes Kepler: laws of planetary motion

Rene Decartes: math, modern philosophy, geometry, optics, basic ideas for Calculus, people can think for themselves and that ideas don’t come from God

Sir Isaac Newton: laws of motion, universal gravitation, divided calculus

They were all trying to investigate nature’s fundamental laws, how things always work

Precursors to theory of evolution

John Ray:

came up with the concept of genus and species, that groups of plants and animals could be differentiated by their ability to mate with one another and create offspring

species that share traits can be grouped together in a genus.

Carolus Linnaeus:

Used Ray’s work to develop taxonomy

standardized Ray’s use of the species and genus terminology

created standardized names (that animals should be called genus/species name), first to classify humans as a genus and a species

created class order genus species

Taxonomy: the science of classifying and naming organisms

→ made up of smaller units called


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