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Evolutionary Theory: the natural world is steadily changing; organisms have diverged from
common ancestors and have been transformed over geological time
Two World Views
Archbishop James Usher (17thc): calculated the origin of creation to year 4004 BC
Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon: French naturalist who estimated that the
earth was about 75,000 years old, and that plants/animals around ~37,000 years ago
Scientists Today
o Universe is 10-20 billion years old, Earth is ~4.5 billion years old
o Life on Earth arose ~3.5 billion years ago; hominids resembling our species arose
~4 millions years ago; Homo sapiens arose ~130,000 years ago
Traditional natural theology held the world to be static god had formed all
species just as they appear today, with no genealogical relationships between them
Ancient Greek philosophers: there were great cataclysms (e.g. Biblical flood), but
Noah had saved all the species that live today
Aristotelian and Platonic view: life-forms were ordered in single-file, from the most
simple inanimate objects, to plants, to animals fixed plan of creation
o Known as Scala Naturae Great Chain of Being
Its increasing perfection was understood in terms of different kinds of
soul more reason, and a greater advance toward god
In contrast to scala naturae, evolutionary theory holds that all life is related and
genealogical relations dont resemble a chain/ladder, but a tree
Teleology: view that organisms and their natural relations can only be explained by
purpose and intelligent design
o Judeo-Christian theology puts humans above nature created in image of god
Darwinian Evolutionary Theory: theres no design/preconceived plan in the natural
world, and organisms evolve in a makeshift way contingent on ecological conditions
o Nothing is necessary or purposeful different conditions, different world
o Put humans in nature as members of the animal kingdom
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck: most prominent pre-Darwin evolutionist
o Coined the term biology for the study of the manifestation of life, and the
conditions in which it occurs
Revolution to Evolution
Before the Revolution, French society was a static hierarchy from birth
Structure disturbed by uprising of peasants, artisans and the middle class until
Napoleon Bonaparte seized control and became emperor of France end of rev.
o After the revolution, people started believing in equality, freedom to emigrate
Word evolution first used by Robert Grant
During Reign of Terror, the Jardin du Roi (where Lamarck was a botanist), was
reorganized into a museum, where he was given a job as a zoologist
o He worked in classification of invertebrates, and coined the term invertebrate
Led him to explore questions about causes of life processes/evolution

3 convergent interests that led Lamarck to evolution:

o Thinking on what constituted the essence of life in simplest organisms (caloric
heat and electricity)
o His view of the natural way to arrange taxa
o His geological thinking (i.e. gradual change over long periods of time)
Believed the earth is incalculably old unique view for the time period

Lamarckian Myths
Myths about Lamarck
o Romantic genius ignored by his contemporaries but later rediscovered
o Someone who failed to tackle adaptation/origin of species before Darwin
o Lamarck based his evolution theory on inheritance of acquired characteristics
o Darwin opposed the inheritance acquired characteristics he believed in it!
He is remembered by biologists as having originated a mechanism of evolution that
differed from Darwins based on inheritance of acquired characteristics
o Found to not occur, but its wrong to attribute this view to Lamarck because:
He didnt think of it can be traced back to Hippocratic writers
Before him, Erasmus Darwin used it as the basis for his theory
He is ridiculed for the idea, but Darwin also held the idea of inheritance
of acquired characteristics (many evolutionists of the time did)
Inheritance of acquired characteristics is only one part of his theory
He thought the environment brought about heritable changes in
many different ways
Ridicule of him was often said to be due to the unclear ways he expressed his ideas
o Often seemed that he believed evolution was based on the desire of the animal,
but what he actually meant was that the animals habits impacted evolution
Simple to Complex
Lamarck arranged life-forms by ordering the great classes of life in a linear, graded
series moving toward perfection i.e. simple to complex (like scala naturae)
o Lamarcks scientific style was speculation, focusing on big systems
He said that branching/deviation from the linear order were due to the influence of
certain environmental circumstances
o Inheritance of acquired characteristics would account for the characters of
organisms that distinguished genera and species, as well as their instincts/habits
o General trend of evolution towards increasing complexity was due to an
unknown inner force in nature which he called the power of life
Naturalists who believed in the fixity of a species believed that the structure of an
animal is perfectly fit for their functions, structure of a part determines its function
o Lamarck believed that new functions/habits brought about by needs led to
changed structures and irregularities in the line from simple to complex
George Louis Buffon: studied living organisms and their characteristics in life; also
adopted a theory of evolution according to which a few original types of animals
developed, and evolved into the animals we see today via hybridization and
environmental influences (Linneaus had similar view did binary classification)
Lamarcks theory was not well-supported by the fossil record often whole species
seemed to appear suddenly, which goes against Lamarcks gradual evolution theory

The progressive, unified order of things he proposed was debunked by this

Disconnecting the Unity of Life

Georges Cuvier: a professor of natural history at College de France, who also
worked in comparative anatomy at the museum with Lamarck main antagonist
o Famous for being able to identify many characteristics about an animal just by
looking at its tooth
Cuvier built a rival system based on a new approach to comparative anatomy
Cuvier was a fixist view that species alive today are identical to ancient ones
o Lamarck denied species extinction; Cuvier believed in several mass extinctions
On top of Lamarcks reputation, Cuvier had a reputation of solid methodology and
observation, and was very similar to and well-regarded by Napoleon
Cuvier claimed there are 4 distinct, unrelated divisions of animals: vertebrates,
mollusks, articulates (annelids/arthropods), and radiates (starfish, coral, jellyfish)
o Divisions determined by the animals internal anatomy, which Cuvier believed
had been designed by the Creator to suit the animals certain functional needs
Cuvier believed that the history of life on early was marked by major catastrophes
and mass extinctions last one was the biblical flood
o Implied breaks in geological time and in life on earth he saw no connection
between early animals and animals today
o When catastrophe wiped out animals in a certain area, animals from other
species would migrate in and invade that area next disaster fossilizes them
there animals dont evolve, preexisting species from other areas move in
Accounts for changes in fossil record in different regions and strata
Flaw: if there was many catastrophes, species number would have declined, not
increased some of Cuvier followers developed a solution:
o There was not just one divine creation theres one after each catastrophe
Lamarck eventually realized his linear model didnt reflect nature
Some scholars have claimed that Cuviers ideas were progressive, and that
Lamarcks ideas were looking to the past, basically copying the Great Chain of Being
The Cuvier-Geoffroy Debate
Etienne Geoffroy: professor of zoology who was a famous antagonist of Cuvier
o Was a follower of Lamarck
Evolution was position in opposition to the privileges of nobility and the church, and
against the conservative and new professional social control of science in France
Their debate centered on two opposing approaches to comparative anatomy
o Cuvier: functionalist, thought that every part of an animal was designed by a
creator to contribute to the animals functional integrity
Function dictates structure
o Geoffroy: believed that structure dictates function
Developed transcendental/philosophical anatomy, which centered on
the concept that all animals had a structural plan to suit their functions
Structural plan precedes any modifications/adaptations (e.g. all
vertebrates have the same basic structural plan, and are all
modifications of the same being, called the vertebrate animal)

Geoffroys structuralism became the basis for determining homologous

Homology: traits evolving from common ancestry
Analogy: same trait but not evolved from common ancestry
People viewed Geoffroy as a philosopher/thinker, and Cuvier as a political elitist

The Origin
Darwin created his theory by proposing that that evolutionary change occurred by a
struggle for existence/survival, giving rise to a natural selection of the most fit
He investigated many aspects of nature contrast to science today (study 1 thing)
Development of his new concepts relied on studying the geographical distribution of
species, and studying the ecological processes involved in the formation of species
Alfred Wallace: developed theory of natural selection independent from Darwin
Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation: most important pre-Darwinian
evolution book written by Robert Chambers, but published anonymously
o Claimed evolution is a matter in which new species and the ascent of life were
planned linear developments, controlled by natural law, and dictated by god
o Was popular among lay readers but caused outrage among elite
o Important because it helped accustom readers to think about evolution
Darwins Bible
Darwin went aboard the HMS Beagle which is where he began his travels and work
Gained his geological knowledge relationship between extant and extinct species
from Charles Lyells book Principles of Geology
Darwin was influenced by Lyells radical view that geological changes occurred
gradually over a vast amount of time no cataclysms, just changes brought about
by factors similar in nature/intensity to those operating today (uniformitarianism)
o Postulated that the early was billions of years old
o Influenced Darwin because if the same processes the shaped the earth are still
occurring, then they can be studied
o Lyells theory does not necessarily imply evolution pertains more to fossils
Became clear that fossil record progressed from simple to complex organisms
o Some saw this as proof of creationism (i.e. first plants eventually man)
o Simplecomplex pattern of fossil record can be/was interpreted in many ways
o Geothermal Theory: earth originated as an incandescent blob and subsequent
history was a gradual cooling process accompanied by other physical changes
(e.g. climate, atmospheric conditions, land/sea distribution)
Flora/fauna of each geological period designed by god to fit in well
Lyell opposed species transmutation and criticized Lamarck proposed that new
species were created to replace extinct ones, but didnt provide a mechanism
o Only accepted evolution after Darwin convinced him (on condition that it
doesnt apply to man)
The Beagle Voyage
3 major observations that led Darwin to shift from believing fixity to evolution:

Relationships between living animals, and fossils of recently extinct animals in

the same general location
Darwin thought that fossils were related to living organisms in the same
area, not to fossils from the same time as them but in a different area
Species manifested subtle differences as they migrated from 1 place to another
Believed animals of different climatic zones in same area were related
to each other not animals from same climate but different area
Animals/plants on Galapagos islands resembled those of the nearest coast of S.
America Galapagos birds only existed there, but had a lot of similarities to S.
America birds implying a common ancestor (i.e. differences leading to a
separation of species developed from becoming geographically isolated)

Natural Selection and Natural Theology

Waited to publish his arguments about evolution for more than 2 decades
He and Lyell both wrote about struggle for existence, but Lyell believed that
although there are deviations from species (variation) that are passed down
generations, these deviations are not endless species are fixed
Edward Blyth: wrote about struggle for existence, but believed that all species
were perfectly adapted by god to suit their environment and the struggle would
weed out the sickle/ill-adapted ones
o Conservative principle for maintaining, not changing, species
Thomas Malthus: argued that there would always be poverty, hunger and war in
the world because there was a permanent imbalance between natures supply of
food, an the human need for food and sex
o Claimed that if unconstrained, human populations would grow exponentially,
while food supply would grow only arithmetically
o Malthus work highlighted the intensity of the struggle constant selection
Patrick Matthews: fruit farmer who also wrote a theory of natural selection
Wallaces Manuscript
As Darwin as preparing to publish his theories, he received a manuscript from
Wallace with basically his same theory Wallace asked him to send it to Lyell if he
thought it was a good theory
Its not right to consider Wallace the unsung hero of evolutionary biology, because
Darwin had developed the idea of natural selection years before Wallace, used way
more data, etc everything in Wallaces sketch was way more detailed in Darwins
Concepts in The Origin
Common Descent
Argued that all species descended within their own groups, classes, families, etc,
from common parents, and have all been modified in the course of descent
o All true classification is genealogical
Inferred that all organic beings which have ever lived on the earth descended from
one primordial form

Argued that emergence of a new variety in a species enables it to better exploit the
resources of its environment leads to specialization
An area can support more life if occupied by diverse organisms partitioning
resources, than if occupied by similar organisms all requiring the same resources
Divergence into specialized niches is adaptive because it reduces competition
Divergence into niches creates taxa within taxa, etc generates a branching
genealogy, not a linear chain

Argued that evolution was a process of continuous, gradual growth
o Believed the clear-cut distinctions naturalists saw were just illusions resulting
from the extinction of intermediate forms
Natural selection occurs by the accumulation of small, inherited modifications
o Same forces that gradually shaped the earth no need for supernatural forces
o Natura non facit saltum gradual change, no sudden jolts
Natural Selection
Darwins focus on species as dynamic populations rather than types, was the most
radical concept he introduced to biological thinking
o Typological thinking: view that species are fixed things created by god you
can have variation within a species, but not enough to transcend the species
Rejected the idea that there were fundamental/important traits that never change
within a species/certain traits that define a species rejected essentialism
o Adopted population thinking radically new way of understanding species
Eidos: idea, type, or essence concept in philosophy since Plato (idealism)
o When applied to nature, it means species are real natural types exist,
around which individual variation occurs
Darwin was a nominalist rejected notion of species and believed
individual differences are real
Evolution for Darwin is a 2-step process resulting from chance and necessity:
preservation of favourable variations, and rejection of injurious variations
In contrast to Lamarck (use/disuse variation), Darwin believed almost all variation
occurred randomly but that Lamarcks theory might be true too in some cases
o Darwin looked to the artificial selection used by breeders as a model of this
Heritable mutations appear occasionally, and random, and are selected purposely
The Struggle for Existence
Darwin linked evolution and diversity to excessive reproduction, combined with
ecological checks on population growth (i.e. constraints)
o Variation provides the fuel for evolution
o Over-reproduction creates a struggle/competition motor for selection
Linnaeus had calculated that if there were only one plant that produced 2 seeds a
year, in 20 years, there would be ore than a million plants
o Darwin made the same calculation for slow-breeding elephants procreates
at 30, lives to 100, has 6 offspring 15 million in 500 years
o Need checks on population growth in form of competition for resources, as well
as form of predation

Some species favoured at the expense of others, new varieties win if

their reproduction is favoured
Competition is most severe between closely related individuals, as they share the
same needs for resources selection favours divergence

Human Races Have No Biological Reality

There is no race type, and there are no genetically distinct populations of humans
that define a race WHY?
o Race is a social reality but has no meaning biologically
o 99.9% of human genes are common in all humans
o 85% of genetic diversity exists within a racial group, only 8% of diversity exists
within subgroups of any racial groups, and only 7% of genetic diversity
distinguishes any one race from another
Result of cross-breeding ever since humans migrated out of Africa
Mans Place in Nature
Evolution appealed a lot to non-scientists but Darwin also managed to convince the
academic elite at Oxford and Cambridge hard to do
Darwinists positioned their arguments against supernaturalism and against JudeoChristian theology
T.H. Huxley: one of the 3 people Darwin sent his manuscript before publication
o Had only two years of formal education mostly self-taught
Became assistant surgeon on HMS Rattlesnake to chart seas
Studied marine invertebrates there became prof of natural history
o Huxley lineage was very famous/successful (e.g. Leonard scholar/biographer;
Julian Evolutionary synthesis; Andrew nobel prize)
o Supported Darwins proposition/mechanism for production of species
o Huxley was a polemicist (skilled in debate, very confrontational) Darwin
didnt like confrontation
o Ensured Origin did well in the media wrote good reviews of it
o Was critical of the idea that natural selection acting gradually on slight
variations was the sole mechanism of evolution (gradualism)
Thought evolution might move faster at times e.g. rapid jumps
o Wrote Mans Place in Nature overview of what was known about primate
and human paleontology and ethnology
First attempt to apply evolution explicitly to humans
Darwin originally didnt really apply his theories to humans later
wrote a book about it but by then Huxley already had a lot of evidence
for human evolution, links to apelike ancestors, etc
Natural Theology and Agnosticism
Huxley is remembered today as Darwins bulldog
Wrote about theology/philosophy from an agnostic point of view (coined the term)
o Agnostic suggestively antithetic to the Gnostic of the Church

Way to approach knowledge follow reason no matter where it leads, not to

pretend to know things with certainty that have not been demonstrated or are
not demonstrable
Natural selection introduced contingency in nature displaced god from the
explanation of adaptation, but did not necessarily displace a first cause Darwin
often said there might be an intelligent first cause, but he thought this to be beyond
the intellectual reach of man
Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce
o Wilberforce was known as soapy Sam because he was a great arguer
o Him and Huxley had a huge debate and Wilberforce made a rhetorical error
Asked Huxley whether it was from his mothers side or his fathers side
that he had descended from an ape

Archetype and Idealism

Richard Owen: had argued with Huxley about his statement that human and ape
brains are very similar
o Became famous as British Cuvier because of his knowledge of anatomy (i.e.
could identify animals from bone fragments
Coined the word dinosaur terrible lizard; discovered/named gorillas
o Later in his career, his views/theories were very different from Cuviers:
Heavily influenced by idealist through and was driven to find the unity
of nature and rationality of natures plane Transcendental Anatomist
Wrote about a principle of transcendental unity existing at a deeper
level of reality than the physical
Led him to formulate concepts of homology and analogy
o Homology: same organ in 2 animals same purpose
o Analogy: different organs in 2 animals same purpose
Argued there must be some kind of archetype of vertebrates
o Was often portrayed as an antievolutionist really wanted to find a middleground between theology and evolution
Thought while each species had its origin in natural causes, the course
of evolution was directed by predetermined law (i.e. creator/1st cause)
o Owen claimed that humans were vastly different from apes (no common
ancestor) because only humans had a posterior lobe, posterior horn, and
hippocampus minor, which he claimed was absent in apes
Was proven wrong apes also have hippocampus minor
Ontogeny and Phylogeny
Ernst Haeckel: one of the most prominent theoreticians of 19thc. biology
o Coined terms ecology, phylum, ontology and phylogeny
o Darwin didnt say much about microbes and the origin of life seemed to think
human origins and human history and psychology to be much more important
Haekel thought Darwin didnt take the origin of life seriously
Monera would bridge the gap between life and non-life
would lack hereditary material chromosomes of other cells
o Argued with philosophers ideas that purpose in animals was given by god
Used vestigial features (e.g. human ear movement muscles) to argue

Also studied comparative embryology as evidence for evolution

Demonstrated that during the development of the embryo, key steps in
evolution are repeated ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny
This idea can be traced back Aristotle and ancient Greeks
Idea became known as the Meckel-Serres Law
o Parallelism
Naturphilosophen believed that development of a higher animal
actually passed through adult stages that lay below it
Birds and mammals pass through gill stage of a fish evidence
of gods divine plan
o Idealist philosophy in Germany represented by Hegel, Kant, Schelling
o Maintained that there was an unknowable spirit/creative force in nature which
gave it purpose, and accounted for progressive perfection of Gods creation
Karl Ernst von Baer: modified idea of parallelism (adult type), into embryonic types
o Noticed that over embryonic development, the embryo added organs
characteristic of their phylogenetic place
E.g. first to develop are organs characteristic of their phylum, then class,
order, genus, and last species
E.g. human embryo starts as single cell, then colony like sponge, then
level of mollusk, etc parallels taxonomic simple to complex order
o He did not see this as an evolutionary argument just comparative
Haeckel saw this as an evolutionary argument thought of all organisms as
historical records because each preserves the forms of ancestors as embryo stages
Haeckels theory was disproven because it was shown that organisms in
embryonic development pass through ancestral embryonic types, not adult types
Was Darwin a recapitulationist?
o Some would say no, Darwin didnt believed in progressive evolution
o Some would say yes, and it is central to his theory
He follows the meaning of the world evolution which began as having
the meaning development
Materialism and Mysticism
Haeckel made anticlerical statements not the first religion-science clash
o Copernicus claimed sun is centre of universe Galileo supported this and was
summoned to Rome by the Inquisition and was condemned to house arrest for
life forbidden to publish anything else
o Copernicanism displaced earth from centre of universe Darwinism displaced
man from centre of earth
Haeckel compared Darwins theory to Newtons theory of gravity
Haeckel believed that nothing could be further apart than scientific materialism and
the ethical materialism of the high priests
o Scientific materialism: everything progresses naturally by laws of cause/effect
o Ethical materialism: only purely material enjoyment can give satisfaction
there is no other human aim than the gratification of ones senses
Haeckel refuted saying intellectuals get gratification from knowledge
Scopes trial: one of the most famous confrontations between evolution and church

After legislature banned teaching evolution in schools, John Scopes (science

teacher) stood trial case turned into a debate over whether evolution and
religion could coexist
In the later 20th century, creationism gained strength in the USA


The Origin depicted what many people saw in their social world, and they used
Darwinism as natural law to explain it
o Industrial Revolution epitomized the struggle for life
Natural Law
o Use of natural law as the basis for a given view of society was common place in
social, political and economic theory of the 19th century
o Darwinian theory was used as natural law in many different ways in support
of all types of political & ideological (way of thinking about the world) positions
Does evolution imply progress?
o The word progress is ill-defined and value-ladened not used much in
evolution for that reason
o In the 19th century, evolution definitely implied progress in both social and
natural worlds meant conflict and competition should be encouraged

Economic theory developed by Adam Smith unregulated capitalism
Wealth of nations is produced by labor within the nations of the Industrial
Revolution, using improved technologies for producing goods
Driving force is competition between businesses, desire to make profits, individual
freedom to make decisions
o Pursuing own interests would be in the collective good of the community
o Government intervention in trade/industry is harmful
Herbert Spencer
o Used evolutionary theory to push government non-intervention in the natural
laws of the free market
o His synthetic philosophy attempted to unite all knowledge under evolution
Argued that evolutionary progress in nature and society proceeds from
homogeneous to heterogeneous pushes humanity toward perfection
This occurs through open competition and leads to perfection
o Developed this theory initially independent from Darwin drew on ideas of
Malthus, Lamarck and Lyell, laissez-faire economics, and some physics principles
o Coined the term survival of the fittest
o Argued that population pressures on resources leads to a struggle for existence
and the survival of the fittest with the most intelligent surviving
Population pressure was the engine of progress forced people to
become more efficient, better adapted, and have fewer babies
o Opposed government intervention and state charity aid should be given to
the poor by the rich on voluntary basis and thereby kept within moderate limits
Social Darwinism Exported

William Sumner
o Major social Darwinist in the US
o Believed the achievements of capitalism reflected the laws of nature
o Believed the only way to social progress was through sobriety, industriousness,
prudence and wisdom could lead to elimination of poverty
Andrew Carnegie
o Started out working in a bobbin factory and became a huge businessman
o Argued that struggle between individuals was bad for the individuals but good
for the whole
o Argued that the best way to benefit society was through a system that allowed
the accumulation of large quantities of money in private hands, which might be
returned to the community in the form of philanthropy

War and Racism

Conservatives were reluctant to accept evolutionary theory, but strongly applied
Darwinism to international relations
o Used it to justify war and struggle for social/racial supremacy
o When WW1 began, British writers turned to Darwinian analogies to stir up
enthusiasm for it
Heinrich von Treitschke
o Writer who claimed that evolutionary progress of humanity could be furthered
by interracial or international struggles might is right
o His views echoed the ideas of Hitler
E.g. believed that instead of belonging to a single geographically defined
nation, Jews held allegiance to both the nation in which they lived, and
to Jewry as a whole similar to Hitlers views in Mein Kampf
Darwinism on the Left
Karl Marx
o Saw the application of laissez-faire economics as giving rise to the proletariats
(workers/laborers) who produced wealth that did not benefit them
Majority of the value of labor was taken by the bourgeois
o Problems (e.g. laborers not having the means to move up in society) led to
formation of trade unions to try to improve workers conditions
o Marxs solution: workers should rise in revolution against the ruling
bourgeoisie and establish a new social system in which the state would at least
temporarily take over production
o Instead of applying Darwinism to competition between individuals, Marx
applied it to competitions between groups class struggles
Was Darwin a Social Darwinist?
Some writers insisted he was not; others disagree emphasize that Darwin saw in
natural selection a powerful means of interpreting human social evolution, and have
several sources of evidence

Believed that man in the future will be more perfect than now, and that natural
selection struggle for existence between races would continue to play a major
role in human evolution

The Division of Labour

Refers the separation of work into tasks, each performed by a separate person or
group of persons cheap, efficient way of producing goods
o Specialization of the division of labour was a key to economic progress because
it provided a cheap and efficient means of producing economic goods
Application to origin of species divergence:
o Area can support more life if occupied by diverse organisms less competition
o Origin of varieties would occur by vigorous selection for specialization
o Darwin modified Henri Milne Edwards idea of division of labour into this theory
Henri Milne Edwards
o Looked at physiological division of labour increased complexity of
organization in animals who have diverse organs with specialized functions
o Believed division of labour reflected divine order of life from simple to complex
Darwin and Malthus
Malthus addressed issues of population growth, and how if left unchecked it would
exceed the supply of resources available
Today, these concerns still exist as over half the worlds population lives in sub-par
conditions but Malthus would not approve of contraceptive practices used to
reduce populations (e.g. in Europe)
Malthus would have predicted that suffering/struggling would lead to population
regulation, but in Europe it was actually the upper class that trended towards
reduced reproduction
Prime Minister Pitt put forward a bill that would extend poor relief to larger families
o Malthus argued that such state charity would only encourage the poor to breed
more, then more state charity would be required everyone dragged down
o Malthus was hated by all progressive social reformers
Concept of struggle for existence came to Darwin after reading Malthus essay
o Realized that more individuals would always be produced than could possible
survive condition under which selection would operate nature
Grew from a profound concern with the ills of society, and from an optimistic view
of nature and human society
William Godwin argued that humankind could transcend its physical nature, that
reason was supreme, that society could approach perfect harmony and that this
could be done without central government
Argued that people are naturally good and cooperative, and that war is caused by
nations, not masses no national governments = no such thing as war
Thomas Hobbes
o Anarchist arguments were in direct opposition of his ideas

He argued that humans are by nature selfish, brutal and warlike

If there was no state a war of everyman against every man
Claimed people live together in civil society because its better than life
without central government without government, humans would live
as animals and like would be nasty, brutish and short
o His views were echoed in Darwinian writings view of nature as ceaseless
conflict and competition
Peter Kropotkin: one of the best-known anarchists
o Born a prince of old nobility in Moscow grew up in the revolutionary
movement against the czars during years of struggle to establish government
o Was exiled for his involvement in revolutionary activities and spent rest of his
life as an anarchist

Between Individuals
Huxley argued that human morality has no place in nature constantly a fight to
survive to fight another day
o Argued there is no need for ethics in nature, just survival
Kropotkin argued against Huxley argued humans are naturally cooperative, and
that cooperative behaviour/altruistic feelings were the most important progressive
elements in evolution
o During expeditions to Siberia, he had failed to find the struggle/competition for
existence among animals of the same species instead mutual aid/support
Argued that animals which practiced mutual air were much more fit
and intelligent and highly developed than those which were constantly
at war with each other
o Claimed that the role of struggle for existence in Darwinian evolutionary theory
had been exaggerated, which the importance of sociability/social instincts for
the well-being of the species had been underrated
o Darwin argued that the most conflict would exist between members of a
species; Kropotkin argued for a tendency toward cooperation between
individuals in a species, and conflict between species
Darwin premised that he used the expression struggle for existence in a
metaphorical sense including dependence of one being on another, and including
not only the life of the individual, but success in leaving progeny
o Darwin was also a social Darwinist and applied struggle for existence to
human social progress as well
Between Species
Pierre-Joseph van Beneden
o Introduced the term mututalism to biology
o Argued that the kinds of social relations in animal societies were as varied as
those found in human societies
Classified them into parasitism, commensalism and mutualism
Parasite: something that lives at the expense of its neighbour
Commensalist: something that receives benefit from its
neighbour but not at their expense

o E.g. small fish that swim alongside big fish for protection
Mutualist: something that both benefit from and provides
benefit to their neighbour
o Kropotkin focused on cooperation between individuals of a species Van
Beneden focused on cooperative relations between species
Pierre Joseph Proudhon
o One of the founders of socialist and anarchist movements
o Criticized Malthus for implying that poverty is the fault of the poor argued
that it was really the result of the selfishness of the rich
o His idea of mutualism was an anti-authoritarian ideology based on abolition of
governments reconstruction of society as overarching workers cooperatives
o Believed political revolution was unnecessary and dangerous best path to
socialism is to develop a system of mutual credit in which workers could borrow
funds to amass capital and create cooperatives (eventually replace capitalism)

Roots in Natural Theology

Mutualisms were often used by ancient writers as examples of natures balance
o Used to illustrate divine providence in natural theology
Followers of natural theology accepted the assumptions of Hobbes view, but
argued that nature did have laws that prevented such disorder and disharmony
o They maintained that the Creator had established a vast system of
subordination to assure peace in the natural world
Van Beneden was a Catholic believed that evolution was designed by god and
mutualisms were examples of perfect adaptations created by the divine wisdom
o Opposed the view that evolution resulted from a struggle for existence
Is the Earth Old Enough?
Darwin convinced many of his contemporaries of evolution, but not that natural
selection was the principle mechanism for the origin of species
o Natural selection could not account for the direction of evolution toward
complexity life is because it can be, there is no pre-determined design
Darwin assumed the Earth was billions of years old enough time for evolution
Lord Kelvin physicist who challenged the notion of a billion year old Earth
o Based on internal temperature and rate of cooling, he estimated the world was
no more than 100 million years old probably 24 million
o His theory was popular for a while, but he was unaware of radioactivity, which
would act as a long-lasting source of energy that would slow cooling down a lot
Lord Rayleigh after Pierre Currie demonstrated that radioactive decay of certain
elements produce a steady supply of heat, Rayleigh calculated that the heat
produced deep in the Earth would balance Kelvins cooling effect
o Allowing for radiation, the earth was calculated to be about 4.5 million years
old what Darwin had suspected
Blending Inheritance
Darwin proposed that differences between individuals fuels evolution

Problem: at the time it was observed that most variations seem to be blends of
characteristics inherited from parents thought that germinal material of parents
was mixed together in the offspring like 2 cans of paint
If traits were blended then any new characteristic which arose spontaneously would
be passed on in every-diminishing force to succeeding generations all new single
heritable changes would soon be washed out of a population

What is a Species?
A common view as late as the 19th c. was that diversity within a species was
constrained accumulation of individual variation couldnt step outside the species
Typologists: thought that species were real and defined by essential characteristics
Nominalists: thought that species were not real entities, but rather arbitrary units
of classification individuals and the differences between them were real
Darwin was criticized for claiming that species did not exist (was a nominalist), but
also claiming that that they could vary and evolve
o Response: species have a reality in time (i.e. temporary constancy)
Speciation and Isolation
Darwin argued that speciation was a process of divergence struggle for existence
would be most intense between individuals occupying the same niche
o Selection would favour those traits which enable competition avoidance
Some people argued that struggle for existence was not sufficient to account for
divergence and branching of the evolutionary tree
o Also need geographical barriers e.g. a mountain range separates/isolates a
population, who then evolve separately based on their environment, and
eventually accumulate enough differences to make them a separate species
Is Everything Adapted?
If natural selection was the sole mechanism of evolution, then every evolved
character must be useful or advantageous at some point, in the struggle for
o Natural selection is a utilitarian view of life if a characteristic was not useful,
it would be lost in a population
Darwin added the concept of sexual selection to account for features like eye
colour, bright plumage not useful for survival, but good for attracting mates
St. George Jackson Mivart: challenged Darwins utilitarian view of life (that traits
are selected based on usefulness)
o Argued that there is no selective value in rudimentary forms of complex organs
I.e. how can natural selection favour an eye before its fully formed and
Holes in the Record
Fossil record was the only real evidence of the course of the history of life on Earth
but there are gaps between species in the record problematic even today
o Especially problematic for Darwins theory of continuous evolution

Darwin responded that the species in the fossil record are only a fraction of the
species that have actually existed because the rest of them lived in conditions that
did not allow fossilization to occur
Missing links started coming up e.g. Huxleys observation that certain dinosaur
feet were indistinguishable from birds feet missing link between them?
o Discovery of Archaeopteryx and other bird-lizard-like animals as evidence
Horse hoof derived from single toe
o Evolutionists argued it must have evolved from an ancestor with 5 toes like
other mammals, and fossils showed a small 4-toed ancestor of the horse

Many biologists believed that adaptive variations due to environmental or
behavioural effects leading to use or disuse could affect later generations
o Darwin also believed in this to an extent
Led to debates between strict selectionists, and those who maintained that
inheritance of acquired characteristics played a crucial role in evolution
Inheritance of acquired characteristics allowed more progressive/directed evolution
softer/more hopeful view of life, often with teleological, spiritual overtones
o Also left room for consciousness as a directing force of nature, not just Creator
o Animals would control their own evolution because their conscious choice of
how to respond to their environment
Sense that life controls its own destiny
Darwin believed that natural selection alone couldnt account for morality/altruism
used inheritance of habit to explain them
Shortly after Darwins death, Neo-Darwinism emerged denied that the
inheritance of acquired characteristics ever occurred
Neo-Lamarckism in France: persisted through most of the 20th century
Neo-Lamarckism in Germany: strong there debates over acquired characteristics
shaped the growth of evolutionary biology there
Inheritance of acquired characteristics could account for the progressive evolution
of mortality some argued that if it did not occur then one could not hope for
permanent improvement through the conscious exertions of individuals and groups
o Darwin suspected that natural selection alone could not account for mortality
and altruism included inheritance of habit to explain them
Thought that altruistic traits evolved in humans through 2 mechanisms:
Inheritance of acquired characteristics, and group selection
Neo-Lamarckians argued that the struggle for existence played the role of the
gardener pruning the tree of life no more made the trees than the gardener did
o Survival of the fittest, not arrival of the fittest
Term used to describe the regular trends mentioned by paleontologists
A lot of these trends were non-adaptive and often led to species extinction (E.g. irish
elk evolved very large antlers that became a burden and led to their extinction)
Henry Fairfield Osborn big representer of orthogenesis

Recognized that evolution of a class from a common ancestor represented a

branching tree but once an order emerged, its own evolution would be a linear
process without the small branching Darwin predicted
Carl Ernst Nageli proposed that some unknown internal causes move
transformations toward greater perfection once the motion of evolution is
started, it cant stop and has to continue in its original direction
o Responded to criticism that this implies lower organisms from millions of years
ago would now be higher organisms by proposing that abiogenesis
(spontaneous generation) of lower organisms still occurs to refuel orthogenesis
Theodor Eimer
o Thought Nagelis theory was stupid, and developed a view of evolution based on
five different causes:
Direct influence of external conditions; functional activity of organisms
in relation to the external world (use and disuse); struggle for existence;
sexual mixing; and sudden appearance of new formation through
correlation (evolution per saltum)

Resolved difficulties about how complex organs like the eye could have developed
Could account for correlative characteristics of the organisms (e.g. horns and hoofs
were connected to each other correlatively)
Some people (e.g. Richard Owens) combined saltationism with teleological
principles to account for progressive evolution
o Two kinds of variation with two different causes:
Changes within a species might be the result of accidental causes
Discontinuous variations would be directed along a predetermined path
Saltation and Mendelism
o Idea of new species forming by sudden leaps without selection was adopted by:
William Bateson: coined the term genetics
Wilhelm Johannsen: made terms genotype phenotype and gene
Hugo de Vries: one of the co-discoverers of Mendels laws
Thomas Hunt Morgan: did work with Drosophila