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Evolution Debate in the 18th-19th Centuries

Author:

Leon, Antonio

Category:

Research Papers

Sub-Category:

Ecology - Life/Social Sciences

Language:

English

Date Published:

June 16, 2022

Downloads:

89

Keywords:

adaptation, anagenesis, catastrophism, cladogenesis, Darwin theory of evolution, Enlightenment, essentialist, Great Chain of Beings, heredity, heredity, Lamarckism, natural selection, Scientific Revolution, transformism, uniformism, vitalism

Abstract:

The publication in 1859 of The Origin of Species can be considered a decisive event in the history of Evolutionary biology. A century earlier, Buffon had dared to raise the possibility of organic evolution in scientific terms, although he himself ended up rejecting such a possibility. The issue was picked up and developed by Lamarck, especially in his Zoological Philosophy (1809). Buffon, Lamarck and Darwin were, therefore, the three great protagonists of the birth and scientific consolidation of evolutionary ideas during the 18th and 19th centuries. There were other authors, but their interventions were either indirect and involuntary (as in the cases of Cuvier or Lyell) or of little scientific significance (as in the case of Chambers). The scientific birth of the theory of organic evolution meant a revolutionary change in the conception of nature, with profound implications in other areas of knowledge, as well as in social and religious attitude. Its development caused a heated and long debate between its numerous detractors and its few defenders, although in the last third of the 19th century a considerable part of the naturalists had already accepted the new ideas. The debate is still open today, not so much inside as outside the scientific community, where the animal kinship of man has not been fully assimilated.

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