Important Evolutionists Before Darwin
Important predecessors of Darwin included his own
grandfather Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829).
Lamarcks scheme in particular was very influential (not least on Darwin), but
he failed to perceive:
the importance of
extinction. In his scheme species sometimes became transformed into other
species on an (inevitable) ladder of progress, but Lamarck rejected the notion
of widespread extinction.
characteristics are not, typically, acquired during an individuals organisms
life. The son of a bad-tempered tennis star might possibly inherit a
predisposition to bad temper, but would not inherit the expanded racket-forearm
a tennis pro develops after years of play.
Strangely, evolutionary ideas were more popular with the lay
public than with the scientific establishment. Those who were best informed
about biology, and especially about classification and morphology, upheld most
strongly...the constancy of species.The furthest most scientists would go towards evolution was Richard Owens view
that closely related creatures were different implementations of a single
divinely-given archetype. The conventional belief remained that plant and
animal species were more or less fixed in the form in which they had been
link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate and Dr. Michael Robert Negus
Source: God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999)