April 28, 2008

SCIENCE AND EVOLUTION

Posted in Education, Environment, Science & Technology, Thoughts tagged , , , , , , , , , at 4:40 am by randallbutisingh

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

SCIENCE AND EVOLUTION

Quotes by Charles Darwin – 1809-1882

“A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, — a mere heart of stone.”

“We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universe[s], to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.”

“Nothing before had ever made me thoroughly realize, though I had read various scientific books, that science consists in grouping facts so that general laws or conclusions may be drawn from them.”

“It is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” –

“”The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an improved theory, is it then a science or faith?” “In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.”

Charles Darwin – author “The Origin of Species”

One of the most influential scientists of the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin (1809-1882) is best known for establishing the theory of organic evolution by natural selection. This English naturalist discovered that natural selection was the agent for the transmutation of organisms during evolution, as did Alfred Russell Wallace independently. Darwin presented his theory in Origin of Species.

The concept of evolution by descent dates at least from classical Greek philosophers. In the eighteenth century Carl Linnaeus postulated limited mutability of species by descent. But most naturalists were concerned with identifying species, the stability of which was considered essential for their work. Natural theology regarded the perfection of adaptation between structure and mode of life in organisms as evidence for a predetermined divine plan

After University, Darwin to join the crew on a British government survey ship, the H.M.S. Beagle, as an unpaid naturalist on a five-year voyage to South America and the South Pacific Islands.

While in Brazil, Darwin found various fossils and made geological and biological observations, took records, and collected specimens of every kind as the ship cruised back and forth along the coasts of South America. Darwin had begun to notice evidence that animals and plants had undergone evolutionary changes. In some areas, species had become extinct, yet Darwin noticed similar but not identical species in other areas nearby.

He was perplexed over the fact that existing species had demonstrated characteristics similar to those of extinct species. He also found slightly similar, though clearly different, species located in a variety of places around the world, but also completely lacking in other parts of the world. Moreover, Darwin was intrigued that the flora and fauna of oceanic islands were likely to resemble the same animal and plant species found on the neighboring continents. He thought it peculiar that islands with the same geological and physical features could be home to completely different animal species.

Four years after having set sail, Darwin landed in the Galápagos Islands, where he would make the most significant observations of the expedition. Darwin noticed that there were around 14 different types of finch birds on different islands of the Galápagos. Each type of finch appeared to have adapted completely to the island on which it lived. Moreover, some with sharper, finer beaks fed on insects and were more suited to stabbing their prey, while others ate seeds and had more powerful, parrot-like bills for breaking the shells. Another curiosity was the giant tortoises that appeared similar but possessed many distinctive features. The local island inhabitants could tell at sight from which island any of the giant creatures had come. Darwin began to ask if all of this biological diversity was arbitrary or whether a pattern of meaning could be discerned. Then a possible explanation began to emerge; he realized that species had to be mutable and diverged instead of fixed in form according to their original ancestry. A common ancestor could explain the similarities, but Darwin began to guess that each species could have given rise to new ones.

Upon returning to Britain in October 1836, Darwin’s ideas came into focus and he began to synthesize a theory to explain his premonition. He began by asserting that if species had transformed, the issue of diversity was satisfied, and species were related by descent from common ancestors. Recent study of Darwin’s unpublished manuscripts and entire works reveal a continuity of purpose and integrity of effort to establish the high probability of the genetic relationship through descent in all forms of life. Darwin work created a paradigm shift of consummate importance to the history of science and ideas.

(By Cyril Bryan with excerpts from Discover and Sociology Magazines)

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2 Comments »

  1. tom said,

    Sorry, but much of your outline of Darwin’s achievements is incorrect. It is a sad fact that most of the discovery and understanding many attribut to Charles Darwin did not happen while he was on the Beagle voyage but only in a much improved and embellished version of his Beagle diary which he published in 1845 nearly ten year after the voyage. In between Darwin had garnered the ideas of many experts and he folded these back into his journal – without indication – so that he was feted for his evolutionary ideas while on the Beagle.

    But this isn’t the worst of it. Darwin continually stole, cheated and lied about his attribution to others. So you must read The Darwin Conspiracy by Roy Davies which is published next month and which can be ordered directly from Amazon.

    It is time we all began to put the record straight.

  2. The failure to find the missing link has debunked Darwin’s theory of the Origin of the Species and is as outrageous and erroneous as Judaism which claimed that the universe was created in six days by a personal God, only around six thousand years ago. Darwin never tried to explain how the ocean from which life started happened to be. His theory could not penetrate beyond fallible reason to intuit invisible reality.


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