By Joseph Le Conte
Joseph Le Conte used to be the 1st geologist, normal historian and botanist to be appointed to the collage of California in 1869. He based the winning palaeontology software at Berkeley and purchased vital collections of fossils. He additionally lectured and wrote on evolution, of which he was once the major American proponent. This ebook, first released in 1888 yet revised and elevated within the moment variation reissued the following, is his try to reconcile his evolutionist convictions together with his spiritual religion. the sort of synthesis, he felt, was once impeded by means of dogmatism on either side, and he makes a case for 'a combining, reconciling and rational view.' He considers 3 questions: what's evolution? Is it precise? and What then?, aspiring to handle 'the clever common reader' with out being superficial or unscientific. suggestions akin to 'neo-Darwinism', 'materialism', and 'design' make their visual appeal during this wide-ranging booklet, whose issues stay strangely topical this present day.
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Extra info for Evolution: Its Nature, its Evidences and its Relation to Religious Thought
Our argument I suppose that most well-informed men will raise no objection. It will be admitted, I think, even by those most bitterly opposed to the theory of evolution, that there has been throughout the whole geological history of the earth an onward movement of the organic kingdom to higher and higher levels. It will be admitted, also, that there is a grand and most significant resemblance between the course of development of the organic kingdom and the course of embryonic develop4 28 WHAT IS EVOLUTION?
It is more—it is the type of all evolution. It is that from which we get our idea of evolution, and without which there would be no such word. Whenever and wherever we find a process of change more or less resembling this, and following laws similar to those determining the development of an egg, we call it evolution. —Evolution as a process is not confined to one thing, the egg, nor as a doctrine is it confined to one department of science—biology. The process pervades the whole universe, and the doctrine concerns alike every department of science—yea, every department of human thought.
There is undoubtedly in social evolution something more and higher than we have described, but which does not concern us here, except to guard against misconstruction. There is in society a voluntary progress wholly different from the evolution we have been describing. In true or material evolution natural law works for the betterment of the whole utterly regardless of the elevation of the individual, and the individual contributes to the advance of the whole quite unconsciously while striving only for his own betterment.