Saturday, June 16, 2012

How does Evolution work?

One of the most influential philosophers that contribute to Charles Darwin’s theory was from Charles Lyell. Lyell’s theory of geology came from the idea of uniformitarianism. Best defined as the assumption that the same natural processes that function in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe. Lyell would conclude that Earth was made of many gradual slow changes made into what we know today.  Similar to Darwin, Lyell had a thoughtful effect on our understanding of life's history. Lyell influenced Darwin so intensely that Darwin viewed evolution as a sort of biological uniformitarianism. Evolution took place from one generation to the next, he argued, but it worked too slowly for us to perceive.


How does Evolution work?

n order for traits to evolve and change, they MUST be heritable. This is one of the points that I definitely find to be of Lyell’s understanding. Darwin could not seem to find an understanding to how traits were passed on. But from Lyell’s beliefs, he finds that over a long course of time things change. Just like theis traits have been passed down and eventually changing over a long course of time, producing generation after generation.
If the environment changes, the traits that are helpful or adaptive to that environment will be different. As Lyell in his theories, mentions that He found evidence for many rises and falls of sea level, volcanoes construct on top of much older rocks. Natural processes such as earthquakes and eruptions, which had been witnessed by humans, were enough to produce mountain ranges. Now only were valleys the work from huge floods but they slowly were the grinding from a intense force of wind and water. As the environments were changing by natural processes, traits that were adaptive lived in the surroundings. Lyell was a huge believer in environments naturally changing and how the world will slowly change, only those who could adapt would survive. Darwin must of found Lyell’s beliefs in this topic something he could grow from.

Darwin and Natural Selection: I do not find Charles Darwin’s theory on natural selection to be that connected with the work from Charles Lyell. Don’t get me wrong, I do think Charles Darwin would not have gotten this far in his work without knowing what Lyell did first, but I think Darwin’s thoughts on natural selection were stemmed from his thoughts on evolution in geology that came first. From the evolution of geology which Lyell thought took so long overtime, Darwin interpreted that to the idea of people evolving over time.
The church found that religion and science could never meet hand in hand. The book shaped a variety of religious responses at a time of altering ideas at this time. Developments in geology meant that there was little hostility based on a literal reading of Genesis, but defense of the argument from design and natural theology was central to debates over the book in the English speaking world. The church of English interpreted the idea of Natural Selection to be an instrument of God's design. Even though the book had hardly implied to human evolution, it rapidly became vital to the debate as psychological and moral qualities were seen as spiritual aspects of the irrelevant soul, and it was believed that animals did not have spiritual traits. This divergence could be submissive by supposing there was some supernatural intervention on the path leading to humans, or interpreting evolution as a decisive and progressive rise to mankind's position at the head of nature.

1 comment:

  1. Good work on Lyell's contribution. You are correct that, in terms of biology, there is little connection between Darwin's work and Lyell's. What Lyell gave to Darwin was literally TIME. By showing that the earth was millions (actually billions) of years old, not 6000 which the church argued, Lyell gave Darwin enough time for the slow processes of natural selection to work. Without that time, Darwin's theory wouldn't have worked.

    You discuss the influence of the church after the work was published, but what about before? What prevent Darwin from publishing for more than 20 years?