Tuesday, August 12, 2008

PoE: 1.1.3. Herbert Spencer's meaning of "evolution"

Continuing my book outline, "Problems of Evolution,"

[Right: Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), Wikipedia]

with subsection, 1.1.3. Herbert Spencer's meaning of "evolution."

References cited are supported by the `tagline' quotes below (emphasis italics original, emphasis bold mine).

© Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).




1.1. What is "evolution"?

1.1.2. The original meaning of "evolution"

1.1.3. Herbert Spencer's meaning of "evolution."

The word "evolution" was first used by the English philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) in the sense of the progress of life from lower to higher forms (Gould, 1978, pp.36-37). It was also Spencer who most popularized the term "evolution" in that sense (Bowler, 1989, p.8; Gould, 2002, p.245).

Spencer defined "evolution" as "an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion; during which the matter passes from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity" (Spencer, 1945, p.358; Gould, 1978, pp.36-37; Mayr, 1982, pp.385-386). But Spencer's "evolution" was "a metaphysical principle" that "has nothing to do with real biology" (Mayr, 1982, pp.385-386). Although Spencer "was not a specialist in biology, and his speculations on biological problems have not advanced that science to any very great extent" nevertheless "he became one of the most influential promoters of the new doctrine of evolution." (Nordenskiold, 1928, p.493).

It was Spencer's a priori belief in universal natural causation that led him to accept evolution, in the absence of scientific proof (Burrow, 1966, pp.205-206). But once Spencer had accepted this metaphysical naturalism, his only alternative was some form of evolution (Pearcey,1998, pp.79-80).

To Spencer there were only "two hypotheses" to choose between, either "the hypothesis of Special Creation" or "the hypothesis of Evolution" (Spencer, 1910, p.415). The "only alternative to the hypothesis of Evolution is the hypothesis of Special Creation" (Spencer, 1910, pp.453-454). That is, either the many different "kinds of organisms ... have been from time to time separately made; or they have arisen by insensible steps, through actions such as we see habitually going" (Spencer, 1910, p.416). But then Spencer dismissed special creation as "not even a thinkable hypothesis" (Spencer, 1910, p.554) and "illegitimate" (Spencer, 1910, pp.420; 435).

Therefore, by "evolution" Spencer meant the very antithesis of supernatural creation. Spencer regarded "the hypothesis of evolution" and "the hypothesis of special creation" as "antagonist hypotheses" (Spencer, 1910, pp.416; 439-440).

Spencer defined "special creation" as "the belief that each species of organism was specially created" (Spencer, 1910, p.419), by a supernatural act" (Spencer, 1910, pp.431-432), such that"a new organism, when specially created, is created out of nothing" (Spencer, 1910, p.420). Evolution on the other hand was defined by Spencer as all the different "kinds of organisms" have "arisen by insensible steps, through actions such as we see habitually going on" (Spencer, 1910, p.415).

Therefore Spencer had set up a Fallacy of False Dilemma, which "presumes that only two alternatives exist when in actuality there are more than two" (Schick & Vaughn, 1995, pp.285-286). According to Spencer, it was "as if there were nothing in heaven and earth except an omnipotent deity acting as his own agent or natural selection of chance variations." (Fix, 1984, p.195). But there is a third alternative, that God did not separately create whole "organisms" but rather supernaturally guided and/or supernaturally intervened in those "insensible steps" to bring about genetic changes that would not have otherwise occurred naturalistically.Having thus set up a straw man caricature of the creationist position, "set up only to be knocked down" (Gale, 1982, p.139); "misrepresenting an opponent's position ... then ... arguing against the imputed position as though it were really that of your opponent" (Honderic, 1995, p.854), "in order to improve the appearance of his own case" (Gillespie, 1979, pp.19-20), Creation to Spencer was "absolutely without evidence to give it external support" (Spencer, 1910, p.420, 430).

So Spencer coined the word "evolution" to mean fully naturalistic evolution, the opposite of supernatural creation.

The quotes below are hyperlinked from inline references above. Emphasis in italics are original and in bold are mine.

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blogs: TheShroudofTurin & Jesus is Jehovah!

"The progressionist implication was retained in a rather different form by the philosopher Herbert Spencer, the person who did most to popularize the term `evolution' in its modern context. Spencer advocated a system of cosmic progress, which included a theory of the inevitable evolution of life toward higher forms. Darwin's theory came to be tagged `evolution,' even though he seldom used the term himself; and most people still imagine that evolution is an essentially progressive process" (Bowler, P.J., 1989, "Evolution: The History of an Idea," [1983], University of California Press: Berkeley CA, Revised edition, p.8).

"Spencer's belief in the universality of natural causation was, together with his laissez-faire political creed, the bedrock of his thinking. It was this belief, more than anything else, that led him to reject Christianity, long before the great conflict of the eighteen-sixties. Moreover, it was his belief in natural causation that led him to embrace the theory of evolution, not vice versa. ... His faith was so strong that it did not wait on scientific proof. Spencer became an ardent evolutionist at a time when a cautious scientist would have been justified at least in suspending judgement. ... for him the belief in natural causation was primary, the theory of evolution derivative." (Burrow, J.W., 1966, "Evolution and Society: A Study in Victorian Social Theory," Cambridge University Press: London, Reprinted, 1968, pp.205-206).

"It is easy enough to set up a straw man, to point to the whale's vestigial pelvic bones, for example, and to say that if God had created the whale, directly and from nothing, he wouldn't have included these useless parts. Typically, neo-Darwinists then argue that it simply does not make sense to attribute the whale to divine creation-as if there were nothing in heaven and earth except an omnipotent deity acting as his own agent or natural selection of chance variations." (Fix, W.R. , 1984, "The Bone Peddlers: Selling Evolution," Macmillan: New York NY, p.195).

"Darwin's contrast of the explanatory powers of his theory with the Creationist, especially in the areas of geographical distribution, morphology embryology, and rudimentary organs, represents, I think, the strongest line of arguments in the Origin. ... Yet even here, where Darwin's arguments are strongest, nagging questions remain. For example, a reader of the Origin might be justified in wondering what Creationist view Darwin is referring to. Perhaps this is a problem more for the present-day reader. Darwin's contemporaries may have known exactly what he meant, though I doubt it. Often the Creationist position seems merely a straw man-set up only to be knocked down. The constraints on space in the Origin, which led Darwin to abandon his original intention of arguing on both sides of the mutability issue, add to this feeling. The result is that the Creationist position is never clearly defined in the Origin." (Gale, B.G., 1982, "Evolution Without Evidence: Charles Darwin and The Origin of Species," University of New Mexico Press: Albuquerque NM, p.139).

"Charles Darwin's hostile preoccupation with the belief that God had separately and individually created each of the animal and plant species in the world is one of the most intriguing but neglected features of the Origin of Species. Historians have disagreed about what to make of it. ... Some have accused Darwin of setting up a straw man in order to improve the appearance of his own case. Lastly, there are those who believe, correctly I think, that Darwin's rejection of special creation was part of the transformation of biology into a positive science, one committed to thoroughly naturalistic explanations based on material causes and the uniformity of the laws of nature, a change to which the Origin was a signally important contribution. ... Consequently, it was not a harmless straw man, but a traditional bias found among scientists and laymen alike and one that stood in the path of any novel way of viewing the problem of species. Darwin, then, was not engaged in anachronistic shadowboxing, but had selected his target well and knew exactly what he was doing. His attack on special creation was a response to the crisis and an attempt to resolve it by helping to promote the restructuring of biology along positivist lines. The critique of special creation in the Origin was systematically organized to that end. ... There were then, in 1859, a minority of naturalists, some of them influential, who believed in miraculous creation; others, of shifting number, who believed in direct divine intervention in some mysterious but lawful manner to create each new species; a third group, a small minority, who had accepted the descent theory; a fourth, larger group who were moving away from a belief in direct divine intervention in favor of a natural cause, but who were either skeptical of its being found or who were engaged in a quest for laws rather than true causes; and, lastly, a group that busied itself with practical work and renounced theory altogether. All of these save the third combined willy-nilly to create a genuine obstacle in the path of the project Charles Darwin had undertaken." (Gillespie, N.C., 1979, "Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, pp.19-20,39).

"Evolution entered the English language as a synonym for `descent with modification' through the propaganda of Herbert Spencer, that indefatigable Victorian pundit of nearly everything. Evolution, to Spencer, was the overarching law of all development. And, to a smug Victorian, what principle other than progress could rule the developmental processes of the universe? Thus, Spencer defined the universal law in his First Principles of 1862: `Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion; during which the matter passes from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite coherent heterogeneity.' Two other aspects of Spencer's work contributed to the establishment of evolution in its present meaning: First, in writing his very popular Principles of Biology (1864-67), Spencer constantly used `evolution' as a description of organic change. Second, he did not view progress as an intrinsic capacity of matter, but as a result of `cooperation' between internal and external (environmental) forces. This view fit nicely with most nineteenth-century concepts of organic evolution, for Victorian scientists easily equated organic change with organic progress. Thus evolution was available when many scientists felt a need for a term more succinct than Darwin's descent with modification." (Gould, S.J., 1978, "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History," Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1991, pp.36-37).

"Herbert Spencer's progressivist view of natural change probably exerted most influence in establishing `evolution' as the general name for Darwin's process-for Spencer held a dominating status as Victorian pundit and grand panjandrum of nearly everything conceptual. In any case, Darwin had too many other fish to fry, and didn't choose to fight a battle about words rather than things. He felt confident that his views would eventually prevail, even over the contrary etymology of word imposed upon his process by popular will. (He knew, after all, that meanings of words can transmute within new climates of immediate utility, just as species transform under new local environments of life and ecology!) Darwin never used the `E' word extensively in his writings, but he did capitulate to a developing consensus by referring to his process as `evolution' for the first time in The Descent of Man, published in 1871. (Still, Darwin never cited `evolution' in the title of any book-and he chose, in labeling his major work on our species, to emphasize our genealogical `descent,' not our `ascent' to higher levels of consciousness.)" (Gould, S.J., 2002, "I Have Landed: Splashes and Reflections in Natural History," Vintage: London, Reprinted, 2003, p.245).

"The straw man fallacy is the tactic in argument of misrepresenting an opponent's position, making it appear more implausible, so that it can more easily be refuted, then going ahead and arguing against the imputed position as though it were really that of your opponent." (Honderic, T., ed., 1995, "The Oxford Companion to Philosophy," Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, p.854).

"Herbert Spencer is often cited as having anticipated Darwin in propounding a theory of evolution, but there is little validity in this assertion. Evolution, for Spencer, was a metaphysical principle. The vacuousness of Spencer's theory is evident from his definition: `Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion; during which the matter passes from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity; and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation' ([Spencer, H., "First Principles,"Williams & Norgate: London, Second edition, [1870: 396). The stress on matter, movement, and forces in this and other discussions of evolution is a typical example of an inappropriate eighteenth-century-type physicalist interpretation of ultimate causations in biological systems, and has nothing to do with real biology." (Mayr, E.W., 1982, "The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance," Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, pp.385-386).

"Spencer's idea of evolution HERBERT SPENCER was not a specialist in biology, and his speculations on biological problems have not advanced that science to any very great extent. He nevertheless deserves a place in the history of biology as a rare example of a consummate and typical representative of that evolutional mode of thought which was awakened to life by the general tendency of the times in the middle of last century and which was promoted by Darwinism. He is commonly called the most consistent philosopher of evolution which that period produced - evolution forms the very groundwork of his system. In its essential features this system was already pretty definite before the advent of Darwin; it was promulgated in a number of small articles in periodicals, often characterized by masterly penetration and lucidity, afterwards brought together to form an imposing work entitled A System of Synthetic Philosophy, which was the fruits of thirty years' work and which gives `a broad, often too broad, development of what is recorded in the short treatises' (Hoffding). When Darwin produced his theory, Spencer associated himself with it, although he interprets it after his own mind, and he became one of the most influential promoters of the new doctrine of evolution. Otherwise he is said not to have been in favour of extensive studies; he preferred to think for himself and was very jealous of his independence." (Nordenskiold, E., 1928, "The History of Biology: A Survey," [1920-24], Eyre, L.B., transl., Tudor Publishing Co: New York NY, p.493. Emphasis original).

"In his autobiography Herbert Spencer recounts in excruciating detail the process by which he developed a naturalistic outlook, beginning when he was a boy. Over time, he writes, `a breach in the course of [physical] causation had come to be, if not an impossible thought, yet a thought never entertained' (Spencer 1904, 1:172). As in Darwin's case, members of Spencer's family described his adherence to naturalism in near-religious terms. His father drew a parallel between the son's naturalism and the father's own religion: `From what I see of my son's mind, it appears to me that the laws of nature are to him what revealed religion is to us, and that any wilful infraction of those laws is to him as much a sin as to us is disbelief in what is revealed' (Spencer 1904, 1:655). This semireligious attachment to naturalism explains why Spencer eventually became a tireless promoter of Darwinism. It was not because he was persuaded by Darwin's scientific theory; he rejected Darwinism and embraced Lamarckianism. Yet Spencer saw clearly that once he had embraced philosophical naturalism, he had no alternative but to accept some form of naturalistic evolution. As he puts it, having discarded orthodox Christianity, he developed an `intellectual leaning towards belief in natural causation everywhere operating.' And in that naturalistic leaning, `doubtless ... a belief in evolution at large was then latent.' Why latent? Because `anyone who, abandoning the supernaturalism of theology, accepts in full the naturalism of science, tacitly asserts that all things as they now exist have been evolved.' Spencer accepted naturalism first and then accepted evolution as a logical consequence. He goes on: `The doctrine of the universality of natural causation, has for its inevitable corollary the doctrine that the Universe and all things in it have reached their present forms through successive stages physically necessitated' (Spencer 1904, 2:7). Just so: Once one accepts the philosophy of naturalism, some form of naturalistic evolution is an `inevitable corollary.' Finding a plausible scientific theory is secondary. In Spencer's writings we get a glimpse of the intellectual pressure that impelled him toward a naturalistic view of evolution. `I cheerfully acknowledge,' he writes in The Principles of Psychology, that the hypothesis of evolution is beset by `serious difficulties' scientifically. Yet, `save for those who still adhere to the Hebrew myth, or to the doctrine of special creations derived from it, there is no alternative but this hypothesis or no hypothesis.' And no one can long remain in `the neutral state of having no hypothesis' (Spencer 1896, 1:466n). Similarly, in an 1899 letter, he writes that already decades earlier, `in 1852 the belief in organic evolution had taken deep root'-not for scientific reasons but because of `the necessity of accepting the hypothesis of Evolution when the hypothesis of Special Creation has been rejected.' He concludes with these telling words: `The Special Creation belief had dropped out of my mind many years before, and I could not remain in a suspended state: acceptance of the only conceivable alternative was peremptory' (Duncan 1908, 2:319). Here is a candid admission that Spencer was driven by a sense of philosophical necessity-naturalistic evolution was `the only conceivable alternative' to creation- more than by a dispassionate assessment of the scientific evidence." (Pearcey, N.R., "You Guys Lost: Is Design a Closed Issue?," in Dembski, W.A., ed., "Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1998, pp.79-80).

"An argument proposes a false dilemma when it presumes that only two alternatives exist when in actuality there are more than two. For example, `Either science can explain how she was cured or it was a miracle. Science can't explain how she was cured. So it must be a miracle.' These two alternatives do not exhaust all the possibilities. It's possible, for example, that she was cured by some natural cause that scientists don't yet understand. Because the argument doesn't take this possibility into account, it's fallacious. Again: `Either have your horoscope charted by an astrologer or continue to stumble through life without knowing where you're going. You certainly don't want to continue your wayward ways. So you should have your horoscope charted by an astrologer.' If someone is concerned about the direction his or her life is taking, there are other things he or she can do about it than consult an astrologer. Since there are other options, the argument is fallacious." (Schick, T. & Vaughn, L., 1995, "How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age," Mayfield: Mountain View CA, California, Second edition, pp.285-286).

"We have to choose between two hypotheses-the hypothesis of Special Creation and the hypothesis of Evolution. Either the multitudinous kinds of organisms which now exist, and the far more multitudinous kinds which have existed during past geologic eras, have been from time to time separately made; or they have arisen by insensible steps, through actions such as we see habitually going on. Both hypotheses imply a Cause. The last, certainly as much as the first, recognizes this Cause as inscrutable. The point at issue is, how this inscrutable Cause has worked in the production of living forms. This point, if it is to be decided. at all, is to be decided only by examination of evidence. Let us inquire which of these antagonist hypotheses is most congruous with established facts." (Spencer, H., 1910, "The Principles of Biology," [1864], D. Appleton & Co: New York NY, Vol. I, Revised, pp.415-416).

"If, then, of this once-numerous family of beliefs the immense majority have become extinct, we may not unreasonably expect that the few remaining members of the family will become extinct. One of these is the belief we are here considering-the belief that each species of organism was specially created. Many who in all else have abandoned the aboriginal theory of things, still hold this remnant of the aboriginal theory. Ask any well-informed man whether he accepts the cosmogony of the Indians, or the Greeks, or the Hebrews, and he will regard the question as next to an insult. Yet one element common to these cosmogonies he very likely retains: not bearing in mind its origin. For whence did he get the doctrine of special creations? Catechise him, and he is forced to confess that it was put into his mind in childhood, as one portion of a story which, as a whole, he has long since rejected. Why this fragment is likely to be right while all the rest is wrong, he is unable to say. May we not then expect that the relinquishment of all other parts of this story, will by and by be followed by the relinquishment of this remaining part of it?" (Spencer, 1910, p.419).

"The belief which we find thus questionable; both as being a primitive belief and as being a belief belonging to an almost-extinct family, is a belief not countenanced by a single fact. No one ever saw a special creation; no one ever found proof of an indirect kind that a special creation had taken place. It is significant, as Dr. Hooker remarks, that naturalists who suppose new species to be miraculously originated, habitually suppose the origination to occur in some region remote from human observation. Wherever the order of organic nature is exposed to the view of zoologists and botanists, it expels this conception; and the conception survives only in connexion with imagined places, where the order of organic nature is unknown." (Spencer, 1910, pp.419-420).

"Besides being absolutely without evidence to give it external support, this hypothesis of special creations cannot support itself internally-cannot be framed into a coherent thought. It is one of those illegitimate symbolic conceptions which are mistaken for legitimate symbolic conceptions (_First Principles_, § 9), because they remain untested. Immediately an attempt is made to elaborate the idea into anything like a definite shape, it proves to be a pseud-idea, admitting of no definite shape. Is it supposed that a new organism, when specially created, is created out of nothing? If so, there is a supposed creation of matter; and the creation of matter is inconceivable-implies the establishment of a relation in thought between nothing and something-a relation of which one term is absent-an impossible relation. Is it supposed that the matter of which the new organism consists is not created for the occasion, but is taken out of its pre-existing forms and arranged into a new form? If so, we are met by the question-how is the re-arrangement effected? Of the myriad atoms going to the composition of the new organism, all of them previously dispersed through the neighbouring air and earth, does each, suddenly disengaging itself from its combinations, rush to meet the rest, unite with them into the appropriate chemical compounds, and then fall with certain others into its appointed place in the aggregate of complex tissues and organs? Surely thus to assume a myriad supernatural impulses, differing in their directions and amounts, given to as many different atoms, is a multiplication of mysteries rather than the solution of a mystery. For every one of these impulses, not being the, result of a force locally existing in some other form, implies the creation of force; and the creation of force is just as inconceivable as the creation of matter. It is thus with all attempted ways of representing the process." (Spencer, 1910, pp.420-421).

"The belief in special creations of organisms arose among men during the era of profoundest darkness; and it belongs to a family of beliefs which have nearly all died out as enlightenment has increased. It is without a solitary established fact on which to stand; and when the attempt is made to put it into definite shape in the mind, it turns out to be only a pseud-idea. This mere verbal hypothesis, which men idly accept as a real or thinkable hypothesis, is of the same nature as would be one, based on a day's observation of human life, that each man and woman was specially created -an hypothesis not suggested by evidence but by lack of evidence-an hypothesis which formulates ignorance into a semblance of knowledge. Further, we see that this hypothesis, failing to satisfy men's intellectual need of an interpretation, fails also to satisfy their moral sentiment. It is quite inconsistent with those conceptions of the divine nature which they profess to entertain. If infinite power was to be demonstrated, then, either by the special creation of every individual, or by the production of species by some method of natural genesis, it would be better demonstrated than by the use of two methods, as assumed by the hypothesis. And if infinite goodness was to be demonstrated, then, not only do the provisions of organic structure, if they are specially devised, fail to demonstrate it, but there is an enormous mass of them which imply malevolence rather than benevolence. Thus the hypothesis of special creations turns out to be worthless by its derivation; worthless in its intrinsic incoherence; worthless as absolutely without evidence; worthless as not supplying an intellectual need; worthless as not satisfying a moral want. We must therefore consider it as counting for nothing, in opposition to any other hypothesis respecting the origin of organic beings." (Spencer, 1910, pp.429-430).

"A kindred antithesis exists between the two families of beliefs, to which the beliefs we are comparing severally belong. While the one family has been dying out the other family has been multiplying. As fast as men have ceased to regard different classes of phenomena as caused by special personal agents, acting irregularly; so fast have they come to regard these different classes of phenomena as caused by a general agency acting uniformly-the two changes being correlatives. And as, on the one hand, the hypothesis that each species resulted from a supernatural act, having lost nearly all its kindred hypotheses, may be expected soon to die; so, on the other hand, the hypothesis that each species resulted from the action of natural causes, being one of an increasing family of hypotheses, may be expected to survive." (Spencer, 1910, pp.431-432).

"The hypothesis of evolution is contrasted with the hypothesis of special creations, in a further respect. It is not simply legitimate instead of illegitimate, because representable in thought instead of unrepresentable; but it has the support of some evidence, instead of being absolutely unsupported by evidence. Though the facts at present assignable in direct proof that by progressive modifications, races of organisms which are apparently distinct from antecedent races have descended from them, are not sufficient; yet there are numerous facts of the order required. Beyond all question unlikenesses of structure gradually arise among the members of successive generations. We find that there is going on a modifying process of the kind alleged as the source of specific differences: a process which, though slow, does, in time, produce conspicuous changes-a process which, to all appearance, would produce in millions of years, any amount of change." (Spencer, 1910, pp.435-436).

"In all respects, then, the hypothesis of evolution contrasts favourably with the hypothesis of special creation. It has arisen in comparatively-instructed times and in the most cultivated class. It is one of those beliefs in the uniform concurrence of phenomena, which are gradually supplanting beliefs in their irregular and arbitrary concurrence; and it belongs to a genus of these beliefs which has of late been rapidly spreading. It is a definitely-conceivable hypothesis; being simply an extension to the organic world at large, of a conception framed from our experiences of individual organisms; just as the hypothesis of universal gravitation was an extension of the conception which our experiences of terrestrial gravitation had produced. This definitely-conceivable hypothesis, besides the support of numerous analogies, has the support of direct evidence. We have proof that there is going on a process of the kind alleged; and though the results of this process, as actually witnessed, are minute in comparison with the totality of results ascribed to it, yet they bear to such totality a ratio as great as that by which an analogous hypothesis is justified. Lastly, that sentiment which the doctrine of special creations is thought necessary to satisfy, is much better satisfied by the doctrine of evolution; since this doctrine raises no contradictory implications respecting the Unknown Cause, such as are raised by the antagonist doctrine." (Spencer, 1910, pp.439-440).

"Von Baer lived in the days when the Development Hypothesis was mentioned only to be ridiculed, and he joined in the ridicule. What he conceived to be the meaning of these groupings of organisms and these relations among their embryological histories, is not obvious. The only alternative to the hypothesis of Evolution is the hypothesis of Special Creation; and as he did not accept the one it is inferable that he accepted the other. But if he did this he must in the first place have found no answer to the inquiry why organisms specially created should have the embryological kinships he described. And in the second place, after discovering that his alleged law was traversed by many and various nonconformities, he would have been without any explanation of these." (Spencer, 1910, pp.453-454).

"On considering the `General Aspects of the Special-creation hypothesis,' we discovered it to be worthless. Discredited by its origin, and wholly without any basis of observed fact, we found that it was not even a thinkable hypothesis; and, while thus intellectually illusive, it turned out to have moral implications irreconcilable with the professed beliefs of those who hold it. Contrariwise, the `General Aspects of the Evolution-hypothesis' begot the stronger faith in it the more nearly they were considered. By its lineage and its kindred, it was found to be as closely allied with the proved truths of modern science, as is the antagonist hypothesis with the proved errors of ancient ignorance. We saw that instead of being a mere pseud-idea, it admits of elaboration into a definite conception: so showing its legitimacy as an hypothesis. Instead of positing a purely fictitious process, the process which it alleges proves to be one actually going on around us. To which add that, morally considered, this hypothesis presents no radical incongruities. Thus, even were we without further means of judging there could be no rational hesitation which of the two views should be entertained." (Spencer, 1910, pp.554-555).

"Our formula, therefore, needs an additional clause. To combine this satisfactorily with the clauses as they stand in the last chapter, is scarcely practicable; and for convenience of expression it will be best to change their order. Doing this, and making the requisite addition, the formula finally stands thus:-Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion; during which the matter passes from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity; and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation." (Spencer, H., 1945, "First Principles," [1862], Watts & Co: London, Sixth edition, Revised, 1945, p.358).

Saturday, August 02, 2008

PoE: Bibliography "S"

This is the Bibliography "S" page for author's surnames beginning

[Right: George Gaylord Simpson, Paleontologist & Evolutionist, 1902-1984: Léo F. Laporte. See `tagline' quotes below (emphasis italics original, emphasis bold mine), all by Simpson.]

with "S" of books and journals which I may refer to in my book outline, "Problems of Evolution."

Simpson was an a co-founder of the Neo-Darwinian Modern Synthesis, but he had the honesty to admit that the fossil record was not Darwinian!:

"PALEONTOLOGY, once more, furnishes both the most direct evidence for the fact of evolution, and the most imposing evidence against the conception of evolution as a continuous, gradual progression of adaptive relationships. `Gaps in the fossil record' were a serious stumbling block in Darwin's time, and despite the discovery of many missing links - for example the striking completion of horse family history, or the discovery of the bird ancestor Archaeopteryx, with its reptilian features-they still persist. Moreover, they persist systematically: over and over, with suddenness termed `explosive,' a bewildering variety of new types appear: this is true, notably, for example, of the origin of the major mammalian types. Thus, as G.G. Simpson's calculations of rates of evolution show, the bat's wing if evolved by `normal' Mendelian mutation and selective pressure, would have had to begin developing well before the origin of the earth! " (Grene, M.G., 1959, "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, Vol. 74, November, p.54).

"At the higher level of evolutionary transition between basic morphological designs, gradualism has always been in trouble, though it remains the `official' position of most Western evolutionists. Smooth intermediates between Baupläne [body plans] are almost impossible to construct, even in thought experiments; there is certainly no evidence for them in the fossil record (curious mosaics like Archaeopteryx do not count). Even so convinced a gradualist as G. G. Simpson (1944) invoked quantum evolution and inadaptive phases to explain these transitions." (Gould, S.J. & Eldredge, N., 1977, "Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered," Paleobiology, Vol. 3, April, pp.115-147, p.147).

"In example after example, Simpson saw that new groups seemed to appear suddenly in the fossil record. New higher taxa such as whales (mammalian order Cetacea), bats (order Chiroptera), or even the lineage of grass-grazing horses that evolved from leaf-browsing ancestors all made sudden appearances. Seldom was there a long series of intermediate forms that could be traced back through the tens of millions of years that such large-scale evolution would seem to call for. Moreover, Simpson saw that these new groups first appear pretty much in recognizable form. ... As one might expect, they were primitive in certain ways as whales; for example, they bore serrated teeth and still retained a pair of pelvic flippers. But those earliest whales were by no means half-way between a four-legged terrestrial mammalian ancestor and a modern sperm whale. They were much more like the latter than the former. Bats offer an even more dramatic example. The earliest ones known, also from the Eocene Epoch, have not only wings but also the distinctive inner-ear apparatus to show that echolocation had already evolved! And here is the kicker. The earliest whales Simpson knew about are some 55 million years old. If one could devise some sort of measure of rate of evolutionary change, the rate of change within whales over the past 55 million years would seem to be slow to moderate. If that rate were then extrapolated back to encompass the far greater anatomical changes between the earliest whales and their wholly terrestrial, four-legged mammalian ancestors, we would have to place the beginnings of whale evolution hundreds of millions of years back in geological time! And that is a patent absurdity, as placental mammals of any kind had appeared at most only a few tens of millions of years prior to the advent of the earliest whales." (Eldredge, N., 1998, "The Pattern of Evolution," W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, Reprinted, 2000, pp.134-135).

© Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology)


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Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blogs: TheShroudofTurin & Jesus is Jehovah!

"For the study of these problems it is the great defect of paleontology that it cannot directly determine any of the cryptogenetic factors that must, after all, be instrumental in the evolution of populations. Fossil animals cannot be brought into the laboratory for the experimental determination of their genetic constitutions. The experiments have been done by nature without controls and under conditions too complex and variable for sure and simple analysis. ... On the other hand, experimental biology in general and genetics in particular have the grave defect that they cannot reproduce the vast and complex horizontal extent of the natural environment and, particularly, the immense span of time in which population changes really occur. They may reveal what happens to a hundred rats in the course of ten years under fixed and simple conditions, but not what happened to a billion rats in the course of ten million years under the fluctuating conditions of earth history. Obviously, the latter problem is much more important. The work of geneticists on phenogenetics and still more on population genetics is almost meaningless unless it does have a bearing in this broader scene. Some students, not particularly paleontologists, conclude that it does not, that the phenomena revealed by experimental studies are relatively insignificant in evolution as a whole, that major problems cannot now be studied at all in the laboratory, and that macro-evolution differs qualitatively as well as quantitatively from the micro-evolution of the experimentalist." (Simpson, G.G., 1944, "Tempo and Mode in Evolution," Columbia University Press: New York NY, Third printing, 1949, pp.xvi-xvii).

"As a matter of personal philosophy, I do not here mean to endorse an entirely mechanistic or materialistic view of the life processes. I suspect that there is a great deal in the universe that never will be explained in such terms and much that may be inexplicable on a purely physical plane. But scientific history conclusively demonstrates that the progress of knowledge rigidly requires that no nonphysical postulate ever be admitted in connection with the study of physical phenomena. We do not know what is and what is not explicable in physical terms, and the researcher who is seeking explanations must seek physical explanations only, or the two kinds can never be disentangled. Personal opinion is free in the field where this search has so far failed, but this is no proper guide in the search and no part of science." (Simpson, 1944, pp.76-77).

"Micro-evolution involves mainly changes within potentially continuous populations, and there is little doubt that its materials are those revealed by genetic experimentation. Macro-evolution involves the rise and divergence of discontinuous groups, and it is still debatable whether it differs in kind or only in degree from microevolution. If the two proved to be basically different, the innumerable studies of micro-evolution would become relatively unimportant and would have minor value in the study of evolution as a whole." (Simpson, 1944, p.97).

"If the term `macro-evolution' is applied to the rise of taxonomic groups that are at or near the minimum level of genetic discontinuity (species and genera), the large-scale evolution studied by the paleontologist might be called `mega-evolution' (a hybrid word, but so is `macro-evolution'). The assumption, as in Goldschmidt's work, that mega-evolution and macroevolution are the same in all respects is no more justified than the assumption, so violently attacked by Goldschmidt and others, that microevolution and macro-evolution differ only in degree. As will be shown, the paleontologist has more reason to believe in a qualitative distinction between macro-evolution and mega-evolution than in one between microevolution and macro-evolution." (Simpson, 1944, p.98).

"The facts are that many species and genera, indeed the majority, do appear suddenly in the record, differing sharply and in many ways from any earlier group, and that this appearance of discontinuity becomes more common the higher the level, until it is virtually universal as regards orders and all higher steps in the taxonomic hierarchy. The face of the record thus does really suggest normal discontinuity at all levels, most particularly at high levels, and some paleontologists (e.g., Spath and Schindewolf) insist on taking the record at this face value." (Simpson, 1944, p.99).

"The levels to which these conclusions apply without modification are approximately those discussed as macro-evolution (under that or an equivalent term) by neozoologists and biologists. On still higher levels, those of what is here called `mega-evolution,' the inferences might still apply, but caution is enjoined, because here essentially continuous transitional sequences are not merely rare, but are virtually absent. These large discontinuities are less numerous, so that paleontological examples of their origin should also be less numerous; but their absence is so nearly universal that it cannot, offhand, be imputed entirely to chance and does require some attempt at special explanation, as has been felt by most paleontologists." (Simpson, 1944, pp.105-106).

"This is true of all the thirty-two orders of mammals, and in most cases the break in the record is still more striking than in the case of the perissodactyls, for which a known earlier group does at least provide a good structural ancestry. The earliest and most primitive known members of every order already have the basic ordinal characters, and in no case is an approximately continuous sequence from one order to another known. In most cases the break is so sharp and the gap so large that the origin of the order is speculative and much disputed. Of course the orders all converge backward in time, to different degrees. The earliest known members are much more alike than the latest known members, and there is little doubt, for instance, but that all the highly diverse ungulates did have a common ancestry; but the line making actual connection with such an ancestry is not known in even one instance." (Simpson, 1944, p.106).

"This regular absence of transitional forms is not confined to mammals, but is an almost universal phenomenon, as has long been noted by paleontologists. It is true of almost all orders of all classes of animals, both vertebrate and invertebrate. A fortiori, it is also true of the classes, themselves, and of the major animal phyla, and it is apparently also true of analogous categories of plants. Among genera and species some apparent regularity of absence of transitional types is clearly a taxonomic artifact: artificial divisions between taxonomic units are for practical reasons established where random gaps exist. This does not adequately explain the systematic occurrence of the gaps between larger units. In the cases of the gaps that are artifacts, the effect of discovery has been to reveal their random nature and has tended to fill in now one, now another-now from the ancestral, and now from the descendent side. In most cases discoveries relating to the major breaks have produced a more or less tenuous extension backward of the descendent groups, leaving the probable contact with the ancestry a sharp boundary. None of these large breaks has actually been filled by real, continuous sequences of fossils, although many of them can be exactly located and the transitions described by inference from the improved record on both sides. In addition to the fact that they exist, there are other more or less systematic features of these discontinuities of record that call for attention and require explanation." (Simpson, 1944, pp.107-109).

"In the early days of evolutionary paleontology it was assumed that the major gaps would be filled in by further discoveries, and even, falsely, that some discoveries had already filled them. As it became more and more evident that the great gaps remained, despite wonderful progress in finding the members of lesser transitional groups and progressive lines, it was no longer satisfactory to impute this absence of objective data entirely to chance. The failure of paleontology to produce such evidence was so keenly felt that a few disillusioned naturalists even decided that the theory of organic evolution, or of general organic continuity of descent, was wrong, after all." (Simpson, 1944, p.115).

"J. Arthur Thomson ... felt constrained to devote a considerable part of his work to presentation of proofs of the truth of evolution. This would be a waste of time now. Ample proof has been repeatedly presented and is available to anyone who really wants to know the truth. It is a human peculiarity, occasionally endearing but more often maddening, that no amount of proof suffices to convince those who simply do not want to know or to accept the truth. Reiteration for the sake of these wishful thinkers would be futile, and reiteration for those who do want to know the truth is quite unnecessary because they already know it or can easily find it in earlier works. In the present study the factual truth of organic evolution is taken as established and the enquiry goes on from there." (Simpson, G.G., 1949, "The Meaning of Evolution: A Study of the History of Life and of its Significance for Man," Yale University Press: New Haven CT, Reprinted, 1960, pp.4-5).

THE ORIGIN of life was necessarily the beginning of organic evolution and it is among the greatest of all evolutionary problems. Yet its discussion here will be brief, almost parenthetical. Our concern here is with the record of evolution, and there is no known record bearing closely on the origin of life. The first living things were almost certainly microscopic in size and not apt for any of the usual processes of fossilization. It is unlikely that any preserved trace of them will ever be found, or recognized." (Simpson, 1949, p.14).

"Above the level of the virus, if that be granted status as an organism, the simplest living unit is almost incredibly complex. It has become commonplace to speak of evolution from ameba to man, as if the ameba were a natural and simple beginning of the process. On the contrary, if, as must almost necessarily be true short of miracles, life arose as a living molecule or protogene, the progression from this stage to that of the ameba is at least as great as from ameba to man." (Simpson, 1949, pp.15-16).

"Natural selection as it was understood in Darwinian days emphasized `the struggle for existence' and `the survival of the fittest.' These concepts had ethical, ideological, and political repercussions which were and continue to be, in some cases, unfortunate, to say the least. Even modern students of evolution have not always fully corrected the misconceptions arising from these slogans. It should now be clear that the process does not depend on `existence' or `surviving' certainly not as this applies to individuals and not even in any intensive or explanatory way as it applies to populations or species. It depends on differential reproduction, which is a different matter altogether. It does not favor `the fittest,' flatly and just so, unless you care to circle around and define `fittest' as those that do have most offspring. It does favor those that have more offspring. This usually means those best adapted to the conditions in which they find themselves or those best able to meet opportunity or necessity for adaptation to other existing conditions, which may or may not mean that they are `fittest,' according to understanding of that word. Moreover the correlation between those having more offspring, and therefore really favored by natural selection, and those best adapted or best adapting to change is neither perfect nor invariable; it is only approximate and usual." (Simpson, 1949, p.221).

"It is, however, the word `struggle' that has led to most serious misunderstanding of the process of natural selection, along with a host of related phrases and ideas, `nature red in fang and claw,' `class struggle' as a natural and desirable element in societal evolution, and all the rest. `Struggle' inevitably carries the connotation of direct and conscious combat. Such combat does occur in nature, to be sure, and it may have some connection with differential reproduction. A puma and a deer may struggle, one to kill and the other to avoid being killed. If the puma wins, it eats and presumably may thereby be helped to produce offspring, while the deer dies and will never reproduce again. Two stags may struggle in rivalry for does and the successful combatant may then reproduce while the loser does not. Even such actual struggles may have only slight effects on reproduction, although they will, on an average, tend to exercise some selective influence. The deer most likely to be killed by the puma is too old to reproduce; if the puma does not get the deer, it will eat something else; the losing stag finds other females, or a third enjoys the does while the combat rages between these two." (Simpson, 1949, pp.221-222).

"To generalize from such incidents that natural selection is over-all and even in a figurative sense the outcome of struggle is quite unjustified under the modern understanding of the process. Struggle is sometimes involved, but it usually is not, and when it is, it may even work against rather than toward natural selection. Advantage in differential reproduction is usually a peaceful process in which the concept of struggle is really irrelevant. It more often involves such things as better integration into the ecological situation, maintenance of a balance of nature, more efficient utilization of available food, better care of the young, elimination of intragroup discords (struggles) that might hamper reproduction, exploitation of environmental possibilities that are not the objects of competition or are less effectively exploited by others." (Simpson, 1949, p.222).

"The word `competition,' used in discussion here and previously, may also carry anthropomorphic undertones and then be subject to some of these same objections. It may, however, and in this connection it must, be understood without necessary implication of active competitive behavior. Competition in evolution often or usually is entirely passive; It could conceivably occur without the competing forms ever coming into sight or contact." (Simpson, 1949, p.222).

"It is thus likely, to say the least, that major as well as minor changes in evolution have occurred gradually and that the same forces are at work in each case. Nevertheless there is a difference and many of the major changes cannot be considered as simply caused by longer continuation of the more usual sorts of minor changes. For one thing, there is excellent evidence that evolution involving major changes often occurs with unusual rapidity, although, as we have seen, there is no good evidence that it ever occurs instantaneously. The rate of evolution of the insectivore forelimb into the bat wing, to give just one striking example, must have been many times more rapid than any evolution of the bat wing after it had arisen. The whole record attests that the origin of a distinctly new adaptive type normally occurs at a much higher rate than subsequent progressive adaptation and diversification within that type. The rapidity of such shifts from one adaptive level or equilibrium to another has suggested the name `quantum evolution,' under which I have elsewhere discussed this phenomenon at greater length." (Simpson, 1949, pp.234-235).

"Scientists often display a human failing: whenever they get hold of some new bit of truth they are inclined to decide that it is the whole truth. Thus the neo-Darwinians insisted their natural selection, was the whole truth of evolution; the neo-Lamarckians held that interaction of structure-function-environment was the whole truth; the vitalists saw the whole truth in the creative aspect of life processes; and the finalists found all basic truth in the directional nature of evolution. Similarly, many of the early geneticists, although they soon learned far more about the mechanism involved, accepted de Vries' thesis and concluded that mutation was the whole truth of evolution. Mutations are random, so it was decided that evolution is random. The problem of adaptation was, in their opinion, solved by abolishing it: they proclaimed that there is no adaptation, only chance preadaptation. Other theories had often stumbled over the fact that there is quite plainly a random element in evolution, the nature of which had been unknown. Now the mutationists had identified the source of this random element, but their theory stumbled over the fact that evolution is not wholly random. The vitalists and finalists were right in continuing to insist on this point, although they were wrong in their own overgeneralization of insisting that the directional element is universal and in maintaining that this element is inherent in life or in its goal. The mutationist discoveries were bewildering to many field naturalists and paleontologists, because they in particular were well aware that evolution cannot be a purely random process and that progressive adaptation certainly does occur. For a time the discoveries of the geneticists seemed only to make confusion worse confounded. Defeatism and escapism spread among many students of evolution. One very eminent vertebrate paleontologist ended a lifetime of study of evolution with the conclusion that he did not, after all, know anything about its causes; another decided in the declining years of his prolonged and exceptionally fertile studies of the subject that good and bad angels must be directing evolution! In fact, as the geneticists' studies progressed they were providing the last major piece of the truth so long sought regarding the causes of evolution." (Simpson, 1949, pp.276-277).

"The resulting synthetic theory ... has often been called neo-Darwinian, even by those who have helped to develop it, because its first glimmerings arose from confrontation of the Darwinian idea of natural selection with the facts of genetics. The term is, however, a misnomer and doubly confusing in this application. The full-blown theory is quite different from Darwin's and has drawn its materials from a variety of sources largely non-Darwinian and partly anti-Darwinian. Even natural selection in this theory has a sense distinctly different, although largely developed from, the Darwinian concept of natural selection." (Simpson, 1949, p.277).

"This is not to say that the whole mystery has been plumbed to its core or even that it ever will be. The ultimate mystery is beyond the reach of scientific investigation, and probably of the human mind. There is neither need nor excuse for postulation of nonmaterial intervention in the origin of life, the rise of man, or any other part of the long history of the material cosmos. Yet the origin of that cosmos and the causal principles of its history remain unexplained and inaccessible to science. Here is hidden the First Cause sought by theology and philosophy. The First Cause is not known and I suspect that it never will be known to living man. We may, if we are so inclined, worship it in our own ways, but we certainly do not comprehend it." (Simpson, 1949, p.278).

"Although many details remain to be worked out, it is already evident that all the objective phenomena of the history of life can be explained by purely materialistic factors. They are readily explicable on the basis of differential reproduction in populations (the main factor in the modern conception of natural selection) and of the mainly random interplay of the known processes of heredity." (Simpson, 1949, p.343).

"Man is the result of a purposeless and materialistic process that did not have him in mind. He was not planned. He is a state of matter, a form of life, a sort of animal, and a species of the Order Primates, akin nearly or remotely to all of life and indeed to all that is material. It is, however, a gross misrepresentation to say that he is just an accident or nothing but an animal. Among all the myriad forms of matter and of life on the earth, or as far as we know in the universe, man is unique. He happens to represent the highest form of organization of matter and energy that has ever appeared. Recognition of this kinship with the rest of the universe is necessary for understanding him, but his essential nature is defined by qualities found nowhere else, not by those he has in common with apes, fishes, trees, fire, or anything other than himself." (Simpson, 1949, p.344).

"There really is no point nowadays in continuing to collect and to study fossils simply to determine whether or not evolution is a fact. The question has been decisively answered in the affirmative. There are still those who deny this, of course - there are still some who deny that the earth is round. It is no use gathering more evidence to persuade these doubters, because the evidence already in hand has convinced everyone who ever really studied it. Anyone who cannot or will not accept or attempt to understand this evidence is not likely to have the will or the ability to evaluate new facts of the same sort." (Simpson, G.G., 1951, "Horses: The Story of the Horse Family in the Modern World and through Sixty Million Years of History," The Natural History Library, Doubleday & Co: Garden City NY, Reprinted, 1961, pp.224-225).

"Nevertheless, Darwin's theory still had some serious imperfections that prevented its being accepted by many students of evolution. The theory explained why unfit or inadaptive types of organisms tend to be eliminated, but it did not seem adequately to explain the much more important origin of more fit, better adapted organisms. It also failed to explain why evolution is not completely adaptive-why different types of organisms may evolve even though their relationships with the environment seem to be exactly the same, why adaptation is seldom or never perfect, and why non-adaptive characters (those not involved in adaptation) and inadaptive characters (those opposed to harmonious adaptation) do often arise in evolution. These features of evolution were not well explained by the older forms of Darwinian theory and their reality was abundantly demonstrated by critics of Darwin." (Simpson, 1951, p.293).

"Moreover, it is a fact that discontinuities are almost always and systematically present at the origin of really high categories, and, like any other systematic feature of the record, this requires explanation. ... There remains, however, the point that for still higher categories discontinuity of appearance in the record is not only frequent but if also systematic. Some break in continuity always occurs in categories from orders upwards, at least, although the break may not be large or appear significant to most students." (Simpson, G.G., 1953, "The Major Features of Evolution," Columbia University Press: New York NY, Second printing, 1955, pp.361,366).

"Darwin also considers the argument that the subject of evolution `was in the air,' `that men's minds were prepared for it.' We may note that even if this was so, it would not explain why Darwin was the individual who plucked evolution out of the air or how he accomplished the feat. Darwin himself rejected the argument out of hand because, as he wrote, he `never happened to come across a single naturalist who seemed to doubt about the permanence of species,' and he acknowledged no debt to his predecessors. These are extraordinary statements. They cannot be literally true, yet Darwin cannot be consciously lying, and he may therefore be judged unconsciously misleading, naive, forgetful, or all three. His own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, whose work Charles knew very well, was a pioneer evolutionist. Darwin was also familiar with the work of Lamarck, and had certainly met at least a few naturalists who had flirted with the idea of evolution. He actually specifies one elsewhere in the autobiography: a Robert Edmund Grant, professor at the University of London. Of all this Darwin says that none of these forerunners had any effect on him. Then, in almost the next breath, he admits that hearing evolutionary views supported and praised rather early in life may have favored his upholding them later." (Simpson, G.G., 1958, "Charles Darwin in search of himself." Review of "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin," by Nora Barlow, ed., Collins: London, 1958. Scientific American, Vol. 199, No. 2, August, pp.117-122, p.119).

"It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution. A great many sequences of two or a few temporally intergrading species are known, but even at this level most species appear without known immediate ancestors, and really long, perfectly complete sequences of numerous species are exceedingly rare. Sequences of genera, immediately successive or nearly so at that level (not necessarily represented by the exact populations involved in the transition from one genus to the next), are more common and may be longer than known sequences of species. But the appearance of a new genus in the record is usually more abrupt than the appearance of a new species: the gaps involved are generally larger, that is, when a new genus appears in the record it is usually well separated morphologically from the most nearly similar other known genera. This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes, and phyla are systematic and almost always large." (Simpson, G.G., 1960, "The History of Life," in Tax, S., ed., "Evolution After Darwin: The Evolution of Life: Its Origin, History and Future," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Vol. I, p.117).

"The fact-not theory-that evolution has occurred and the Darwinian theory as to how it has occurred have become so confused in popular opinion that the distinction must be stressed. The distinction is also particularly important for the present subject, because the effects on the world in which we live have been distinct. The greatest impact no doubt has come from the fact of evolution. It must color the whole of our attitude toward life and toward our selves, and hence our whole perceptual world. That is, however, a single step, essentially taken a hundred years ago and now a matter of simple rational acceptance or superstitious rejection. How evolution occurs is much more intricate, still incompletely known, debated in detail, and the subject of most active investigation at present." (Simpson, G.G., 1964, "This View of Life: The World into Which Darwin Led Us," in "This View of Life: The World of an Evolutionist," Harcourt, Brace & World: New York NY, p.10).

"The import of the fact of evolution depends on how far evolution extends, and here there are two crucial points: does it extend from the inorganic into the organic, and does it extend from the lower animals to man? In The Origin of Species Darwin implies that life did not arise naturally from nonliving matter, for in the very last sentence he wrote, `...life...having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one...... (The words by the Creator were inserted in the second edition and are one of many gradual concessions made to critics of that book.) Later, however, Darwin conjectured (he did not consider this scientific) that life will be found to be a `consequence of some general law'-that is, to be a result of natural processes rather than divine intervention. He referred to this at least three times in letters unpublished until after his death, the one from which I have quoted being the last letter he ever wrote (28 March 1882 to G. C. Wallich; Darwin died three weeks later)." (Simpson, 1964, pp.10-11).

"Until comparatively recently, many-probably most-biologists agreed with Darwin that the problem of the origin of life was not yet amenable to scientific study. Now, however, almost all biologists agree that the problem can be attacked scientifically. The consensus is that life did arise naturally from the nonliving and that even the first living things were not specially created. The conclusion has, indeed, really become inescapable, for the first steps in that process have already been repeated in several laboratories. There is concerted study from geochemical, biochemical, and microbiological approaches. At a meeting in Chicago in 1959, a highly distinguished international panel of experts was polled. All considered the experimental production of life in the laboratory imminent, and one maintained that this had already been done-his opinion was not based on a disagreement about the facts, but depended on the definition of just where, in a continuous sequence, life can be said to begin." (Simpson, 1964, p.11).

"At the other end of the story, it was evident to evolutionists from the start that man cannot be an exception. In The Origin of Species Darwin deliberately avoided the issue, saying only in closing, `Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.' Yet his adherents made no secret of the matter and at once embroiled Darwin, with themselves, in arguments about man's origin from monkeys. Twelve years later (in 1871) Darwin published The Descent of Man, which makes it clear that he was indeed of that opinion. No evolutionist has since seriously questioned that man did originate by evolution. Some, notably the Wallace who shared with Darwin the discovery of natural selection, have maintained that special principles, not elsewhere operative, were involved in human origins, but that is decidedly a minority opinion ...." (Simpson, 1964, pp.11-12).

"We feel, almost instinctively, that there is a pattern. The diversity of living creatures is neither complete nor random. All living things share many characteristics, and above this basic level we observe groups with every degree of resemblance, from near identity to great dissimilarity. There is, or seems to be, an essential order or plan among the forms of life in spite of their great multiplicity. There seems, moreover, to be purpose in this plan. The resemblances and differences among a fish, a bird, and a man are meaningful. The resemblances adapt them to those conditions and functions that all have in common and the differences to peculiarities in their ways of life not shared with the others. It is a habit of speech and thought to say that fishes have gills in order to breathe water, that birds have wings in order to fly, and that men have brains in order to think." (Simpson, 1964, pp.190-191).

"A telescope, a telephone, or a typewriter is a complex mechanism serving a particular function. Obviously, its manufacturer had a purpose in mind, and the machine was designed and built in order to serve that purpose. An eye, an ear, or a hand is also a complex mechanism serving a particular function. It, too, looks as if it had been made for a purpose. This appearance of purposefulness is pervading in nature, in the general structure of animals and plants, in the mechanisms of their various organs, and in the give and take of their relationships with each other. Accounting for this apparent purposefulness is a basic problem for any system of philosophy or of science." (Simpson, 1964, p.190).

"Adaptation by natural selection as a creative process and pre-adaptation in the special senses just explained are the answers of the synthetic theory of evolution to the problem of plan and purpose in nature. Of course much work remains to be done, many details to be filled in, and many parts of the process to be more clearly understood, but it seems to me and to many others that here, at last, is the basis for a complete and sound solution of this old and troublesome problem. Adaptation is real, and it is achieved by a progressive and directed process. The process is wholly natural in its operation. This natural process achieves the aspect of purpose without the intervention of a purposer, and it has produced a vast plan without the concurrent action of a planner. It may be that the initiation of the process and the physical laws under which it functions had a Purposer and that this mechanistic way of achieving a plan is the instrument of a Planner-of this still deeper problem the scientist, as scientist, cannot speak." (Simpson, 1964, p.212).

"Our major space agency, NASA, has a `space bioscience' program. Biologists meeting under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences have agreed that their `first and ... foremost [task in space science] is the search for extraterrestrial life' (Hess et al., 1962). The existence of this movement is as familiar to the reader of the newspapers as to those of technical publications. There is even increasing recognition of a new science of extraterrestrial life, some times called exobiology-a curious development in view of the fact that this `science' has yet to demonstrate that its subject matter exists!" (Simpson, 1964, pp.253-254).

"In the face of the universal tendency for order to be lost, the complex organization of the living organism can be maintained only if work- involving the expenditure of energy- is performed to conserve the order. The organism is constantly adjusting, repairing, replacing, and this requires energy. But the preservation of the complex, improbable organization of the living creature needs more than energy for the work. It calls for information or instructions on how the energy should be expended to maintain the improbable organization. The idea of information necessary for the maintenance and, as we shall see, creation of living systems is of great utility in approaching the biological problems of reproduction." (Simpson, G.G. & Beck, W.S., 1965, "Life: An Introduction to Biology," [1957], Routledge & Kegan Paul: London, Second Edition, p.145).

"We have repeatedly emphasized the fundamental problems posed for the biologist by the fact of life's complex organization. We have seen that organization requires work for its maintenance and that the universal quest for food is in part to provide the energy needed for this work. But the simple expenditure of energy is not sufficient to develop and maintain order. A bull in a china shop performs work, but he neither creates nor maintains organization. The work needed is particular work; it must follow specifications; it requires information on how to proceed." (Simpson & Beck, 1965, p.466).

"As posture is focal for consideration of man's anatomical nature and tools are for consideration of his material culture, so is language focal for his mental nature and his non-material culture .... Language is also the most diagnostic single trait of man - all normal men have language; no other nonliving organisms do. That real, incomparably important, and absolute distinction has been blurred by imprecise use of the word `language' not only in popular speech but also by some scientists who should know better, speaking, for example, of the `language of the bees' ... In any animal societies, and indeed in still simpler forms of aggregation among animals, there must be some kind of communication in the very broadest sense. One animal must receive some kind of information about another animal. That information may be conveyed by specific signals, which may be of extremely diverse kinds both as to form and as to modality, that is, the sensory mode by which it is received. The odor of an ant, the movements of a bee, the color pattern of a bird, the howl of a wolf, and many thousands of others are all signals that convey information to other animals and that, in these and many other examples, are essential adaptations for behavioral integration in the species involved. Human language is also a system of interpersonal communication and a behavioral adaptation essential for the human form of socialization. Yet human language is absolutely distinct from any system of communication in other animals. That is made most clear by comparison with other animal utterances, which most nearly resemble human speech and are most often called `speech.' Nonhuman vocables are, in effect, interjections. They reflect the individual's physical or, more frequently, emotional state. They do not, as true language does, name, discuss, abstract, or symbolize. They are what the psychologists call affective; such purely affective so-called languages are systems of emotional signals and not discourse. The difference between animal interjection and human language is the difference between saying `Ouch!' and saying `Fire is hot.' That example shows that the non-language of animal interjection is still present in man. In us it is in effect not a part of language, but the negative of language, something we use in place of speech. ... . Still we do retain that older system along with our wholly new and wholly distinct system of true language" (Simpson, G.G. , 1966, "The Biological Nature of Man," Science, Vol. 152, 22 April, pp.472-478, p.476).

"Many other attempts have been made to determine the evolutionary origin of language, and all have failed. ... Moreover at the present time no languages are primitive in the sense of being significantly close to the origin of language. Even the peoples with least complex cultures have highly sophisticated languages, with complex grammar and large vocabularies, capable of naming and discussing anything that occurs in the sphere occupied by their speakers. ... The oldest language that can reasonably be reconstructed is already modern, sophisticated, complete from an evolutionary point of view." (Simpson, 1966, p.477).

"D-Days at Dayton is intended to provide judgement on the effects of the trial after 40 years. It contains the contemporaneous accounts of an iconoclastic reporter E.L. Mencken. and the contemporaneous affidavits of the three teachers of science, W.C. Curtis, K.F. Mather and F.-C. Cole. The main offering, however, is a series of eight newly written essays by two ministers, a theologian, three scientists, a scientific journalist, and a former director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Some of these were present at the trial, but none had an active part in it and for some the only connection is that they remember hearing about the trial when they were children. There is also an essay by Scopes himself, and this is extraordinary. Scopes apparently had little interest in the trial at the time, has virtually none now, and is most nearly moved by his belief that Bryan, his rabble rousing, anti-intellectual prosecutor, was `the greatest man produced in the United States since the days of Thomas Jefferson'. The not very clearly expressed thesis of the editor and some contributors seems to be that the Scopes trial has current relevance because it marked the opening of a largely successful attack on anti-evolutionism in the United States. As one contributor (Carlyle Marney, a Southern Baptist minister and evidently a unique one) does point out, the thesis is flatly wrong on both counts: the battle against anti-evolutionary fundamentalism began long before 1925 and was far from won in 1965. The strongest argument is that Tennessee was so ridiculed that no other States dared be so foolish. But all the evidence suggests that Tennesseeans were delighted by the publicity and unconscious of the ridicule. And in fact today the teaching of evolution is prevented in an enormous number of school districts (locally almost autonomous in the United States) by devices much more effective than unenforced State laws. This somewhat interesting but unconvincing and patchwork volume does nothing to alter the feeling that the Scopes trial was a farce and that its only present importance is that it inspired a more successful and more frank farce, the play Inherit the Wind." (Simpson, G.G. , 1966, "Good Enough for Moses?" Review of "D-Days at Dayton: Reflections on the Scopes Trial," edited by Jerry R. Tompkins, Louisiana State University Press: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1965. In Nature, Vol 210, June 18, pp.1194-1195).

"Many other attempts have been made to determine the evolutionary origin of language, and all have failed. ... Moreover at the present time no languages are primitive in the sense of being significantly close to the origin of language. Even the peoples with least complex cultures have highly sophisticated languages, with complex grammar and large vocabularies, capable of naming and discussing anything that occurs in the sphere occupied by their speakers. ... The oldest language that can reasonably be reconstructed is already modern, sophisticated, complete from an evolutionary point of view." (Simpson, 1966, p.477).