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Thread: Darwinism clarification

  1. #1 Darwinism clarification 
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    In Darwins book Orgin of Species will I be able to find his definitions for the following questions?

    QUESTION 1
    What were Darwins conclusion(s) if any in regards to the starting point in *time of the evolutioniary process?

    *by time I mean a time in the past either exact or estiminated by Darwin.

    QUESTION 2
    What were Darwins conclusion(s) if any in regards to the starting point in *conditions of the evolutioniary process?

    *by conditions I mean what was necessary on earth for such a process to take place.

    QUESTION 3
    What were Darwins conclusion(s) if any in regards to the first living life form/organism (was it microscopic, celluar, plant or moving creature of some other type)?

    QUESTION 4
    What were Darwins conclusion(s) if any in regards to the evolution process in regards to a species while still remaining the same species?

    QUESTION 5
    What were Darwins conclusion(s) if any in regards to the evolution process in regards to a species into a completely different species?


    Thank you for your patience in my search for evolutioniary truth,

    S Donovan


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Ummm, out of curiosity why are you looking at the On the origin of species, and not at the modern synthesis of evolutionary theories?

    Oh, and as for questions one, two and three- they never were (and still aren't) part of evolutionary theory, but rather are the domain of abiogenesis hypothesis.


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    Thank you for your patience in my search for evolutioniary truth
    A search for 'truth' is just as problematic as a search for 'proof' in science.

    There's stuff we do know and stuff we don't. We have robust theories with well-grounded data-sets and tentative hypotheses with a bunch of "not sure what we could do with this next" data. Occasionally we have a whole new view of something just by looking at particular things in a different way. This happens every so often in medicine. But those changes don't really change anything "big" about our understanding of biology in the general sense.

    The stuff we don't know in the big concept areas are beginnings - both in biology/evolution and in cosmology.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  5. #4  
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    Thank you for your patience in my search for evolutioniary truth
    Yep, that is the thing I was going to pick up on as well. Science is not about "truth", it is about getting better descriptions and explanations of the world around us. All scientific theories are assumed to be provisional because of the possibility of new evidence ("black swans").

    As for your questions, I have never read Darwin's work (*) but I know he speculated about the answers to your first three questions. Whether that is in the book or not I don't know.

    (*) I have studied history of science but that was mainly focused on mathematics and physics (and technology). I'm not sure I would read it even if I was a biologist.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  6. #5  
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    REPLY 1
    I was under the impression the book On the orgin of species was somewhat fundlamental in our understanding of the world around us especially in the field of biology. As being as such I wanted that to be my starting point as I was under the impression that Darwinism and Evolutionism are synonymous. I thought it would then be advatageous to use it as a starting point in theory and terminology. However, it seems that many people have not read the book.

    QUESTION 1
    Is it required reading in college to be a biologist?

    REPLY 2
    I was going to ask for modern day sources for the same question after I had learned about the basics of Darwins theory and terminology. He seems to be a pillar in evolutioniary theory and as such I thought people would be familiar with his book On the orgin of species especially in the field of biology.

    QUESTION 2
    Is there now another such modern day work in academia in regards to evolutioniary therory?

    QUESTION 3
    Is abiogenesis hypothesis the same as biopoisis and if not what are the differences?

    QUESTION 4
    Is abiogenesis hypothesis - a process in which life arose from inorganic matter?

    QUESTION 5
    In abiogenesis hypothesis - if QUESTION 4 is yes; then is this a form of spontaneous generation?

    Thanks again,
    S Donovan
    Last edited by S Donovan; January 22nd, 2013 at 04:32 AM.
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  7. #6  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S Donovan View Post
    QUESTION 1
    What were Darwins conclusion(s) if any in regards to the starting point in *time of the evolutioniary process?

    *by time I mean a time in the past either exact or estiminated by Darwin.
    When Darwin wrote Origin the scientific community had moved to the view that the Earth was very much older than Biblical convention would have it. They appreciated James Hutton's view that he could find no vestige of a beginning,–no prospect of an end. They did not know how long this period of time might be. Darwin reflected on that unknown time span in Origin:

    "Though nature grants vast periods of time for the work of natural selection, she does not grant an indefinite period."

    In regard to the actual origin of life he makes no mention of it in Origin, but did famously comment on it ever so briefly in a letter to Joseph Hooker in 1871:

    "It is often said that all the conditions for the first production of a living organism are now present, which could ever have been present. But if (and oh what a big if) we could conceive in some warm little pond with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, - light, heat, electricity &c. present, that a protein compound was chemically formed, ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the present day such matter wd be instantly devoured, or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed."


    QUESTION 2
    What were Darwins conclusion(s) if any in regards to the starting point in *conditions of the evolutioniary process?

    *by conditions I mean what was necessary on earth for such a process to take place.
    It was necessary that populations of plants or animals possess variation and that such variation be, at least in part, heritable. In Origin he goes to great pains to document this variability.


    QUESTION 3
    What were Darwins conclusion(s) if any in regards to the first living life form/organism (was it microscopic, celluar, plant or moving creature of some other type)?
    He did not address this point. As Paleoichneum has pointed out your first three questions relate primarily (and question three, exclusively) to abiogenesis. Abiogenesis is quite distinct from evolution. Indeed if we were to learn tomorrow that the first life had been created by a supernatural act it would not alter in any degree current evolutionary theory.

    QUESTION 4
    What were Darwins conclusion(s) if any in regards to the evolution process in regards to a species while still remaining the same species?
    This is central to his work. He concludes and demonstrates that natural selection will favour particular characteristics which are best suited to the environment in which the species lives and this will lead over time to varities of the species emerging.

    QUESTION 5
    What were Darwins conclusion(s) if any in regards to the evolution process in regards to a species into a completely different species?
    Small changes occuring progressively over an extended period of time lead to speciation.
    Last edited by John Galt; January 22nd, 2013 at 05:17 AM. Reason: Correct 1971 to 1871. Darwin was good, but not good enough to write a posthumous letter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by S Donovan View Post
    REPLY 1
    I was under the impression the book On the orgin of species was somewhat fundlamental in our understanding of the world around us especially in the field of biology.
    The ideas are. But we have learnt so much more since then (Darwin didn't know about genes, for example). We now know that there is much more to it than the basic "inheritance with modification" that Darwin proposed. And I'm sure there are some things that Darwin proposed that have turned out to be wrong. So I imagine it would be better to start with more modern books.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by S Donovan View Post
    REPLY 1
    I was under the impression the book On the orgin of species was somewhat fundlamental in our understanding of the world around us especially in the field of biology.
    This is true, but the theory has itself evolved, deepened and broadened since Darwin wrote Origin. Since the fundamentals, coupled with that greater understanding, are key constituents in current textbooks it is not necessary to read Origin. I would recommend reading it, but not as the first book on the subject of evolution and certainly not as a means of understanding how we now think evolution works.

    Quote Originally Posted by S Donovan View Post
    QUESTION 1
    Is it required reading in college to be a biologist?
    I have only a minor in Botany so I cannot comment. I am sure it is a requirement in some biology courses at some universities.

    Quote Originally Posted by S Donovan View Post
    REPLY 2
    I was going to ask for modern day sources for the same question after I had learned about the basics of Darwins theory and terminology. He seems to be a pillar in evolutioniary theory and as such I thought people would be familiar with his book On the orgin of species especially in the field of biology
    Geologists don't read the works of Lyell or of Hutton unless they are interested in the history of geology. The same applies to Darwin in biology.

    Quote Originally Posted by S Donovan View Post
    QUESTION 2
    Is there now another such modern day work in academia in regards to evolutioniary therory?
    If you can tolerate Gould's paranthetic style, which is informative, but of questionable fluency, and do so with ease, as is necessary in this pastiche I create here, out of a desire to elucidate rather than pontificate, not that the latter is beyond me, then I can heartily recommend this work:

    Stephen J. Gould 'The Structure of Evolutionary Theory' Belknap Press 2002 ISBN:0-674-00613-5

    For a more accessible account this is a review of Origin in the light of all we have learnt in a century and a half since its publication.

    Steve Jones 'Darwin's Ghost: The Origin of Species Updated' Random House 1999 ISBN:0-375-50103-7

    There are a host of other important historical works and of more recent popular, but scholarly accounts of the theory. I can offer suggestions if you wish.

    QUESTION 3
    Is abiogenesis hypothesis the same as biopoisis and if not what are the differences?
    I think you mean biopoiesis. In my experience the two words are synonyms, but I do not rule out the possibility that one or other researcher may have chosen to make a distinction between them.

    Is abiogenesis hypothesis - a process in which life arose from inorganic matter?
    Correct.

    In abiogenesis hypothesis - if QUESTION 4 is yes; then is this a form of spontaneous generation?
    Yes it is, although some definitions of spontaneous generation relate to the spontaneous generation of complex life forms. Abiogenesis does not address this, but takes it to be demonstrably a non-occurence.
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  10. #9  
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    You might want to take a look at this thread: Book recommendation - Evolution
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by S Donovan View Post
    QUESTION 1
    Is it required reading in college to be a biologist?
    No. Evolutionary biology has changed since Darwin was researching. A professor may suggest you read through his work to see how it began, but any university not teaching evolution in an ironic way would have you read modern theory.

    It also depends upon the university. The one where I work has a huge medical program, so our biology degree is aimed at medicine. Evolution in a footnote in 101.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    i have read "On the origin of species", and to be honest it is rather tedious and boring

    you know a paradigm shift has happened when a work that was ground-breaking at the time of its publication now seems tame - it's not so much that it's out-of-date, but many of its concepts are now so well embedded that they form the basic building blocks of modern biology rather than being thought-provoking novelties
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    i have read "On the origin of species", and to be honest it is rather tedious and boring
    I first read it when I fourteen or fifteen and my impressions was the same. Now when I read portions of it I am blown away by the perception, the professionalism, the detail, the self criticism, the honesty, and so on. The reasons for the difference could merit an entire thread, or a best selling novel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    i have read "On the origin of species", and to be honest it is rather tedious and boring
    I first read it when I fourteen or fifteen and my impressions was the same. Now when I read portions of it I am blown away by the perception, the professionalism, the detail, the self criticism, the honesty, and so on. The reasons for the difference could merit an entire thread, or a best selling novel.
    Or four words: old people are boring.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Or three words: old people are boring.
    Yeah, but they can probably count to four better than you!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Or three words: old people are boring.
    Yeah, but they can probably count to four better than you!
    Deliberate misquote! Hahahahahaha!




    Damn
    Last edited by KALSTER; January 23rd, 2013 at 12:26 PM.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I first read it when I fourteen or fifteen and my impressions was the same. Now when I read portions of it I am blown away by the perception, the professionalism, the detail, the self criticism, the honesty, and so on. The reasons for the difference could merit an entire thread, or a best selling novel.
    i must admit that, even though a full read is rather tedious, i'm full of admiration for how much Darwin got right about the essentials with far less in-depth knowledge than your average biology student
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Thank you for the insight. I will be sure to read some historical books on the subject and then I will ask some more questions. As I am very busy at the moment this may take a couple of weeks/months as I will be taking lots of notes. I guess I could get cliffnotes but that may leave something out that I might find quite dynamic. Once I understand the basics of orgin of species then I will ask some questions on some of the obvious points that may seem dated. I would then appreciate a more modern work(s) to answer that question from an accepted Academia source.

    Thanks again,
    S Donovan
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    If you read my bio I am highly interested in the lowly fruit fly and still have some unanswered questions in regards to this humble species. However, I want to read Darwins work(s) and those of the early pioneers. If they answer my questions then I will probably be quite satisfied with just a Darwinism knowledge. If however, the work(s) themselves prove unsatisfactory then I would like some help and direction to some more modern accepted Academia works to pursue my knowledge in that field of biology.

    Thanks again,
    S Donovan
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    P.S. I am also a Mendel Maniac!
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    just as an aside, i assume you're aware that darwin never wrote about fruit flies ? orchids, worms, barnacles, insectivorous plants etc. yes, but no fruit flies
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  22. #21  
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    Fascinating article on whether Darwin ever read Mendel's work or not: Did Darwin read Mendel?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Fascinating article on whether Darwin ever read Mendel's work or not: Did Darwin read Mendel?
    I was puzzled by this article. My recollection is that a copy of the journal containing Mendel's first paper on the subject was found in Darwin's papers, but it was unopened. This article makes no mention of that. I shall try to locate the reference for that piece of information - my suspicion is that it was in a book on Darwin, but that hardly narrows it down much.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I was puzzled by this article. My recollection is that a copy of the journal containing Mendel's first paper on the subject was found in Darwin's papers, but it was unopened.
    It does mention the book by Focke, which Darwin sent to Romanes, where the pages containing Mendel's work were uncut. It isn't clear if Darwin got the book back again or not...
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I was puzzled by this article. My recollection is that a copy of the journal containing Mendel's first paper on the subject was found in Darwin's papers, but it was unopened.
    It does mention the book by Focke, which Darwin sent to Romanes, where the pages containing Mendel's work were uncut. It isn't clear if Darwin got the book back again or not...
    So once again I have demonstrated through practical experiment that speed reading does not always work well for me. That was the issue I was thinking of - I recall now the reference to uncut pages. I had not realised it had been sent to another correspondent. so it could have been returned, opened, read and subsequently misplaced. I find it somewhat challenging to imagine Darwin not appreciating its significance despite his apparent disregard for mathematics in biology.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I find it somewhat challenging to imagine Darwin not appreciating its significance despite his apparent disregard for mathematics in biology.
    I can picture him glancing at it, seeing those odd squiggles and numbers, and turning the page with a harrumph! (The fact that Mendel showed that inheritance was "quantized" rather than continuous/blended may have also discouraged him from diving into the detail.)

    I was wondering what his reaction might have been to later discoveries of the mechanisms and came across this delightful sentence: "DNA was first isolated by the Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher who, in 1869, discovered a microscopic substance in the pus of discarded surgical bandages."
    DNA - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Eww
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    Darwin = naturalist = naked eye, macroscopic perspective/explanation of the evolutionary process.

    In the last 150yrs the field of vision the way in which the subject of evolution is looked upon has shifted, from the naked eye macroscopic perspective to the modern biologists microscopic view.

    Two equally valid ways of viewing and understanding the same subject. [perhaps a third way]

    So yes read Darwin as an intro it will stand you in good stead.

    Paul.
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