Darwinism and natural selection

Sishuo Wang et al.

Darwinism and natural selection

Ancient Greek Views Evolution is not so much a modern discovery as some of its advocates would have us believe. It made its appearance early in Greek philosophyand maintained its position more or less, with the most diverse modifications, and frequently confused with the idea of emanation, until the close of ancient thought.

The Greeks had, it is true, no term exactly equivalent to " evolution"; but when Thales asserts that all things originated from water; when Anaximenes calls air the principle of all things, regarding the subsequent process as a thinning or thickening, they must have considered individual beings and the phenomenal world Darwinism and natural selection, a result of evolution, even if they did not carry the process out in detail.

Anaximander is often regarded as a precursor of the modem theory of development. He deduces living beings, in a gradual development, from moisture under the influence of warmth, and suggests the view that men originated from animals of another sort, since if they had come into existence as human beings, needing fostering care for a Darwinism and natural selection time, they would not have been able to maintain their existence.

In Empedocles, as in Epicurus and Lucretius, who follow in Hs footsteps, there are rudimentary suggestions of the Darwinian theory in its broader sense; and here too, as with Darwin, the mechanical principle comes in; the process is adapted to a certain end by a sort of natural selection, without regarding nature as deliberately forming its results for these ends.

If the mechanical view is to be found in these philosophers, the teleological occurs in Heraclitus, who conceives the process as a rational development, in accordance with the Logos and names steps of the process, as from igneous air to water, and thence to earth.

The Stoics followed Heraclitus in the main lines of their physics. The primal principle is, as with him, igneous air. The Godhead has life in itself, and develops into the universe, differentiating primarily into two kinds of elements the finer or active, and the coarser or passive.

Formation or development goes on continuously, under the impulse of the formative principle, by whatever name it is known, until all is once more dissolved by the ekpyrosis into the fundamental principle, and the whole process begins over again.

Their conception of the process as analogous to the development of the seed finds special expression in their term of logos spermatikos. In one point the Stoics differ essentially from Heraclitus. With them the whole process is accomplished according to certain ends indwelling in the Godhead, which is a provident, careful intelligence, while no providence is assumed in Heraclitus.

Empedocles asserts definitely that the sphairos, as the full reconciliation of opposites, is opposed, as the superior, to the individual beings brought into existence by hatred, which are then once more united by love to the primal essence, the interchange of world-periods thus continuing indefinitely.

Development is to be found also in the atomistic philosopher Democritus; in a purely mechanical manner without any purpose, bodies come into existence out of atoms, and ultimately entire worlds appear and disappear from and to eternity.

Darwinism and natural selection

Like his predecessors, Deinocritus, deduces organic beings from what is inorganic-moist earth or slime. Development, as well as the process of becoming, in general, was denied by the Eleatic philosophers. Their doctrine, diametrically opposed to the older thoroughgoing evolutionism, had its influence in determining the acceptance of unchangeable ideas, or forms, by Plato and Aristotle.

Though Plato reproduces the doctrine of Heraclitus as to the flux of all things in the phenomenal world, he denies any continuous change in the world of ideas. Change is permanent only in so far as the eternal forms stamp themselves upon individual objects.

Though this, as a rule, takes place but imperfectly, the stubborn mass is so far affected that all works out as far as possible for the best. The demiurge willed that all should become as far as possible like himself; and so the world finally becomes beautiful and perfect.

Here we have a development, though the principle which has the most real existence does not change; the forms, or archetypal ideas, remain eternally what they are. In Aristotle also the forms are the real existences, working in matter but eternally remaining the same, at once the motive cause and the effectual end of all things.

Here the idea of evolution is clearer than in Plato, especially for the physical world, which is wholly dominated by purpose. The transition from lifeless to living matter is a gradual one, so that the dividing-line between them is scarcely perceptible.

Next to lifeless matter comes the vegetable kingdom, which seems, compared with the inorganic, to have life, but appears lifeless compared with the organic. The transition from plants to animals is again a gradual one. The lowest organisms originate from the primeval slime, or from animal differentiation; there is a continual progression from simple, undeveloped types to the higher and more perfect.

As the highest stage, the end and aim of the whole process, man appears; all lower forms are merely unsuccessful attempts to produce him. The ape is a transitional stage between man and other viviparous animals. If development has so important a work in Aristotle's physics, it is not less important in his metaphysics.

The whole transition from potentiality to actuality from dynamis toentelecheia is nothing but a transition from the lower to the higher, everything striving to assimilate itself to the absolutely perfect, to the Divine. Thus Aristotle, like Plato, regards the entire order of the universe as a sort of deification.Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in initiativeblog.com is a key mechanism of evolution, the change in the heritable traits characteristic of a population over generations.

Charles Darwin popularised the term "natural selection", contrasting it with artificial selection, which is intentional, whereas natural selection is not. The theory of evolution by natural selection, first formulated in Darwin's book "On the Origin of Species" in , is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in.

Terrorism and Natural Selection: Darwinism Says That Black People Have to Be.. Eliminated By Natural Selection: Dogmatism and Natural Selection: The Reason of Baby Killings: Natural Selection: American Racism and Natural Selection "White Supermacy" and Natural Selection. "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutations and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.

Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.". Sources For a thorough exposition, WASMANN, Modern Biology and the Theory of Evolution (Freiburg im Br., ). Of the older literature, MIVART, On the Genesis of Species (London and New York, ).

Darwin developed his theory of natural selection without any knowledge of genetics. Since Darwin, genetics and evolution have been synthesized. Furthermore, natural selection is no longer considered to be the only evolutionary mechanism.

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Catholics and Evolution