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Chronology and context:origins and structure of Darwin’s long argument Darwin and his World Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal, and the Rise of Naturalism Honors 1104: Unity & Diversity of Knowledge Bemidji State University Marsha Driscoll, Elizabeth Dunn, Dann Siems, Kamran Swanson
Game Introduction • The setting… • Royal Society of London • 21 Member Council Meetings • General Sessions – presentation of a paper or papers – retire to library or club • The time frame • Compresses events occurring from Royal Society Reform of 1847 to Tyndall’s 1874 Efficacy of Prayer Resolution (roughly third quarter of 19th century) • Collapses time from death of Prince Albert at 42 in 1861 to 1864 to a point • The stakes • Copley Medal – to Darwin or not to Darwin, that is the question… • 19th Century winners • Symbolic endorsement of naturalism over ‘supernaturalism’ by pre-eminent scientific academy of the day • Related issues: race, class, gender, professionalization of science, science and religion… • The ‘factions’ – somewhat nebulous and shifting on various issues • X-men: generally committed to the sufficiency of naturalistic (materialistic) explanation albeit with some misgivings • A-men: committed to a need for theological (ideal) causes and justifications
Two Key Influences on Darwin’s Philosophy of Science • William Whewell (1794-1866) • Coined the then controversial term ‘scientist’ in 1833 – first “philosopher of science” • “History (1837) and Philosophy (1840) of the Inductive Sciences” • “Consilience of inductions” – one class of facts coincides with an induction obtained from a different class – ‘strengthens the fabric of our knowledge’ • See Wilson, E.O. 1998. Consilience (pro | con) • William Whewell-John Stewart Mill debate [CONSILIENCE OF INDUCTIONS] • John Herschel (1792-1871) • “Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy” (1830) • SEARCH FOR VERA CAUSA AS SCIENTIFIC IDEAL • Establish existence of cause • Establish adequacy of the cause • Establish responsibility of the cause [SEARCH FOR VERA CAUSA]
MAIN ARGUMENT FOR NATURAL SELECTION [A VERA CAUSA ARGUMENT] (HERSCHEL) Existence of selection Does selection exist? Adequacy of selection Can selection account for change in species? Adaptive fit to environment? Origin of new species? Responsibility of selection Is selection both a necessary and a sufficient cause? BROADER ARGUMENTS [CONSILIENCE OF INDUCTIONS] (WHEWELL) Broader argument for transmutation within species over time Broader argument for descent of different species from a common ancestor Origin of Species by Mean of Natural Selection (1859)Darwin’s ‘one long argument’ presents at least three related arguments Note that one could accept Darwin’s broader arguments without buying natural selection as the responsible mechanism [and many did!] [See Hodge 1977 and Waters 2003 on structure of Darwin’s argument ]
“The duty of the historian is to restore to the past the options it once had.”— Gordon Craig
Edinburgh medicine (1825-1827) “Athens of the North” Materialist tradition Transmutation sympathies Family tradition – father and grandfather Erasmus Darwin Robe rt Grant – invertebrate zoology – introduced Darwin to transmutationist ideas o f Lamarck and Geoffroy Darwin roomed with brother Erasmus, five years his senior Collecting and describing inverts from the Firth of Forth No taste for medicine Father’s comments on Darwin’s prospect – “care for nothing…” [TRANSMUTIONIST IDEAS] Cambridge theology (1828-1831) Had to accept the “Thirty-nine article of Anglican communion” Demonstrate competence in new testament Greek William Paley’s (1802) “Natural theology” or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity Bridgewater Treatises On the Power Wisdom and Goodness of God As Manifested in the Creation Rev. Adam Sedgwick (geologist) Rev. John Stevens Henslow (botanist) Social and professional connections! Later Hooker’s father-in-law Introduces Darwin to writing of Augustin Pyrame de Candolle and Alexander von Humboldt [ADAPTATION AND DESIGN] Edinburgh & Cambridge (1825-1831)
Natural SelectionThree (inductive) observations and two (inescapable) deductions Observation 1 – Adults on average produce (many) more offspring than required for their own replacement Observation 2 – Populations remain relatively constant in number (at least they don’t increase continuously) Deduction 1 – Therefore, it necessarily follows that some (many) offspring must fail to survive and/or to reproduce • IMPORTANT NOTE: Deduction 1 in no way implies the inevitability of competition. Many offspring fall prey to predators, are victims of pathogens or parasites, or are victims of environmental events. • The widespread belief (past and present!) that natural selection requires competition reflects cultural rather than biological foundations! Observation 3 – Within any population there are heritable variations in form and physiology (species have no immutable essence) Deduction 2 – Any heritable variations which enhance prospects for survival and reproduction will increase in frequency over time
The Huxley-Wilberforce DebateBritish Association Advancement of Science -- 30 June 1860 • Rev. Henslow presiding… • In place of Richard Owen • John Draper’s (dull) speech… • Later (1874) wrote ‘The Conflict Between Science and Religion’ • See also A.D. White ‘Warfare between science and theology’ • Wilberforce attack… • Huxley response… • Hooker response… • Darwin off taking water cure… • The winner? • Depends on who you ask! • BBC Clip | PBS Evolution Captain Fitzroy’s Outburst During the proceedings Fitzroy leapt to his feet, pounding his Bible and shouting, “All the truth is here.” Fitzroy committed suicide 30 April 1865 despondent about his key but unintended role in Darwin’s success.
Clergyman Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)Theistic naturalism expressed in 1859 Letter to Darwin “I have gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of Deity, to believe that he created primal forms capable of self development into all forms needful pro tempore and pro loco, as to believe that he required a fresh act of intervention to supply the lacunas which He himself had made. I question whether the former be not the loftier thought.”