The Darwinian Revolution. Archbishop James Ussher of Ireland (1581-1656): The earth was created on October 22, 4004 BC. Usher’s “History of the World”. " ... we find no vestige of a beginning,— no prospect of an end." James Hutton, Theory of the Earth (1795). Table Mountain
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Archbishop James Ussher of Ireland (1581-1656): The earth was created on October 22, 4004 BC.
Usher’s “History of the World”
James Hutton, Theory of the Earth (1795)
Cape Town, South Africa
The earth is much older than we thought.
Different creatures have inhabited the earth at different times.
Problem: How did this happen?
The geometrical increase of populations. If left unchecked, the size of the population of a single animal or plant species would increase until the world is overrun.
Variation. Individuals within the same species are not always exactly alike—they differ in their particular characteristics.
Inheritance. Individuals tend to pass on their own particular characteristics to their descendants.
(1) Organisms tend to reproduce in such numbers that, if all survived to reproduce again, they would soon overrun the earth.
This does not (and could not) happen. No species can continue to multiply unchecked.
(3) It follows that a high percentage of organisms must die before they are able to reproduce.
Therefore, there will be a "struggle for existence" to determine which individuals live and which die. What determines the outcome of this struggle? What determines which live and which die?
There are two possibilities: it could be the result of random causes; or the reason could be related to the differences between particular individuals.
(5) Darwin admits that sometimes it is random; that is, the reason one organism survives to reproduce, while another does not, may sometimes be attributable to causes that have nothing to do with their particular characteristics. One may be struck by lightning, while another is not, and this may be mere luck.
(6) But sometimes it is a matter of differences between individual organisms. Consider:
(7) Organisms pass on their characteristics to their descendants.
(9) In this way, a species will be modified--the descendants of the original stock will come to have different characteristics than their forebears.
(10) When enough of these modifications have accumulated, we call the result a new species.