The Evolution Of The Geological And Biological Science

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Prior to Darwin’s time, little thought had been paid to the notion of a species changing over time- even though it was happening on a scale visible in a human lifetime, up until shortly before Darwin’s time, the climate surrounding the geological and biological sciences was not conducive to the notion of biological change over time. Prior to the systems of evolution put forth by scientists such as Lamarck, Wallace, and Darwin, the salient belief concerning species was that they were “fixed”- there was a limited number of species which remained constant over time, unchanged since their instantaneous creation. Some proponents for the fixity of species argued for vitalism, that an organism possesses a non-physical inner force or energy that…show more content…
This would allow for minimal change in species over time, as their environment would be fundamentally altered and not survivable with each cataclysmic event. Catastrophism, therefore, completely precluded any form of evolution. This stood in contrast to uniformitarianism, also known as gradualism, which posited that the earth 's morphology has been brought about in gradual incremental changes, and that geological processes are essentially unchanged today from the unobservable past. Lyell, a contemporary and friend of Darwin’s, was a geologist who published books advocating for this view. Darwin would have had access to Lyell’s Principles of Geology, and almost certainly relied upon it to formulate his theories of evolution- after all uniformitarianism provided the geological timeframe in which natural selection could operate, in that one could extrapolate present geological changes to the distant past. Lyell 's argument for uniformitarianism served as a natural complement and muse for Darwin 's theories in the capacity of the geological background that could finally afford credibility to evolution. Darwin’s theory of evolution was not the first or the only theory
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