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Review: “Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought” by Ernst Mayr

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 509
  • Category: Evolution

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The article Darwins Influence on Modern Thought informs the reader about Charles Darwins theory of evolution and all his ideas about natural selection. These were brave discoveries at the time because they went against the Catholic Churchs theory of evolution that our world was made in six days. This was the biggest conflict against the Catholic Church of its time.

Charles Darwin founded evolutionary biology, which was a new branch of life science. Four of Charles Darwins theories are extremely important. The first one is the non-constancy of species. The second is the notion of branching evolution, implying that all species originate from a single unique origin. The third is that evolution must be gradual, with no major breaks or discontinuities. The fourth was that the mechanism of evolution was natural selection. These four concepts were the foundation of philosophy of biology.

Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace were responsible for the discovery of natural selection, which was an extraordinary philosophical advance. Natural selection helped explain natural and adaptive changes, which were mysteries for more than two thousand years. The basic principle is elimination of inferior individuals, or survival of the fittest.

For eighty years after 1859, there was a large controversy over which one of the four theories was the most valid. There was transmutation, which was the beginning of a new species by a mutation or saltation. There was orthogenesis, which was that intrinsic teleological tendencies led to transformation. There was Lamarckian evolution, which was the inheritance of acquired characteristics. And there was Charles Darwins theory of variational evolution, through natural selection. During the 1940s Charles Darwins theory became the winner of whose theory of the four was the most valid. This has also become the basic component of the new philosophy of biology.

In the 1850s virtually all leading scientists and philosophers were Christian men.

They believed that God had created their world. They believed that God had created laws and created perfect organisms. At this same time the scientific revolution was providing evidence of other possibilities. They used physicalism, teleology, determinism, and other basic principles. The theories of Charles Darwin stood in total conflict with those of the Catholic Church. First, Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations.

God is no longer the creator or designer of the universe. Second, Darwinism refutes typology or essentialism and introduces the theory of population thinking. Third, Darwinism made teleology unnecessary. Fourth, Darwinism does away with determinism. Fifth, Darwinism developed a new view of humanity and a new anthropocentrism. The theory of Darwinism deprived man from his former unique position. Humans are the only animals with true language, ethical systems, high intelligence, long parental care and humans have created a rich culture. Humanity has created dominance across the globe. Sixth, Darwinism provided a scientific foundation for ethics.

This was a well written article by Ernst Mayr and it helped me understand the concepts of Darwinism much better than before. I firmly believe in Darwinism over the Holy Bibles version of evolution.

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