Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id AAA11760 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Fri, 10 Aug 2001 00:56:00 +0100 Message-Id: <200108092353.f79Nrbb02004@unix03.wehi.edu.au> Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 09:53:34 +1000 Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed; charset=us-ascii X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.388) From: John Wilkins <wilkins@wehi.EDU.AU> To: email@example.com In-Reply-To: <3B728708.52EAC2B1@bioinf.man.ac.uk> Subject: Re: Logic + universal evolution Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
On Thursday, August 9, 2001, at 10:50 PM, Chris Taylor wrote:
> Do we mean evolution as in a literal 'coming out of what preceded', or
> do we mean biological evolution based on differential reproductive
> success (which would, as Wade says, be a complete misapplication)?
The term "evolution" derives from the Latin word for the unfolding of a
scroll, and it was used in the epigenesis/preformationist generational
debates in the late middle ages through to the 18th century to mean
Buffon's view of transmutation of species was a degenerational one -
each species in a genus bar at most one was a degeneration from the
"prime stock" or "primary stem" (premiere souche). His pupil and friend
Lamarck applied a *generational* view to species transmutation, but
because he thought it was an internal impulse or drive that caused it,
he used the term "evolution", which Geoffroy, *his* pupil, carried on
into the 19th century debates.
By the time Darwin wrote the Origin, the term was tied up closely in
Spencer's, Geoffroy's and Robert Grant's notion of transmutation, which
Darwin sought to evade. He did not use the word "evolution" in the
modern sense in his first edition, although by the third, IIRC, he was
effectively forced to by common usage. He preferred "transmutation", and
"common descent" or "descent with modification" to express his ideas.
Interestingly, the word "evolution" was used independently by geologists
and mineralogists, and by astronomers. The term "stellar evolution"
predates the biological sense, and in this case it is appropriate.
RA Fisher started his _Genetical Theory_ with the sentence "Evolution is
not Natural Selection", an d it is a point worth recalling from time to
-- John Wilkins Head Communication Services, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne Australia Personal page: <http://users.bigpond.com/thewilkins/darwiniana.html>
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