Ray Martinez on Species Edit

- Hide quoted text - > Tim Anderson <> wrote: > > On Jul 14, 8:38 pm, (John S. Wilkins) wrote: > > > The Book of Animals is a kind of retread of Aristotle and Pliny, both of > > > whom were available to the high culture Persian intellectual scene, and > > > similar comments can be found in both. I don't think of his (or their) > > > ideas as being evolutionary for a number of reasons I won't bore you > > > with here. > > Feel free to bore me (since the quote is clearly concerned with the > > evolution of animals). > Basically it is this: until and unless one has a notion of species as > fixed kinds, the idea of evolution is not really possible. The ancients > and medievals knew that kinds were mutable and had monsters and sports. > The idea that a theory of evolution was required would literally not > have made sense, even under the Great Chain of Being, which flourished > from the 16th century onwards. > There simply was no concept of biological species until the 16th > century, although the term "species" was used in various ways, only a > few of which were coterminous with our modern notion of species. A > "kind" (either genus or species in Latin - the terms were used > interchangeably, sometimes in the same paragraph) could be a kind of > flower (what we could call a varietal) or something at the "level" of > "elm" (which covers many species).

It is important to point out that Wilkins is NOT using or defining the concept of "kind" the way YECs define and use the concept. It is also important to reiterate that Wilkins has defined "kind" to mean "species" (or genus), which is, of course, correct.

- Hide quoted text - > In the 16th century Cesalpino, Gesner and Bauhin and others started to > refer to "species" of herbs and animals more or less at the level of > resolution we now use it, largely because they started to actually go > and look, rather than rely upon folk taxonomies and prior authorities. > This led to a period in the late 17th century (interrupted by the > Reformation) when botanists in particular were asking what a species of > plant or animal was, and John Ray wrote, in 1686 in the _Historia > plantarum generalis_: > "In order that an inventory of plants may be begun and a classification > of them correctly established, we must try to discover criteria of some > sort for distinguishing what are called "species". After long and > considerable investigation, no surer criterion for determining species > has occurred to me than the distinguishing features that perpetuate > themselves in propagation from seed. Thus, no matter what variations > occur in the individuals or the species, if they spring from the seed of > one and the same plant, they are accidental variations and not such as > to distinguish a species ... Animals likewise that differ specifically > preserve their distinct species permanently; one species never springs > from the seed of another nor vice versa." > Here, at last, was a definition to work by. This definition was widely > adopted, in particular by Linnaeus, who in 1735 published the Systema > Naturae and subsequent writings (he often repeated himself) in which he > asserted that species are fixed: > "There are as many species as the Infinite Being produced diverse forms > in the beginning." (Species tot sunt diversae quot diversas formas ab > initio creavit infinitum Ens, Fundamenta botanica No. 157, 1736). > Note that this is in 1735/6. Less than *7 years* later, Pierre > Maupertuis writes _Venus Physique_ in which the first evolutionary view > is presented....

Since Maupertuis accepted spontaneous generation his view of "transmutation" is not how we understand evolution since the rise of Darwinism. > ....Basically, once you had a notion of species as fixed > kinds, which was what Linnaeus was influential in spreading, the > question arises whether species might not be. The sports and monsters > and gradual variations between kinds of the middle ages now become > evidence that species are not fixed *in time*.

Except "sports and monsters" was never true. > By 1800 there have been > at least four accounts in which species are mutable, and at least a > dozen more before Darwin does his thing in 1858/9.

Lets put this in proper perspective: Before 1800 (according to Wilkins) 4 "accounts" advocated some conception of basic mutability (and we are not talking about common descent). That's 4 out of how many hundreds, if not thousands of practicing naturalists worldwide. In other words mutability existed in a state of scientific rejection. Between 1800 and 1859 (according to Wilkins) 12 "accounts" advocated mutability. That's 12 out of how many hundreds, if not thousands of practicing naturalists worldwide. In other words mutability existed in a state of scientific rejection. "We see this in the plainest manner by the fact that all the most eminent palæontologists, namely Cuvier, Owen, Agassiz, Barrande, Falconer, E. Forbes, &c., and all our greatest geologists, as Lyell, Murchison, Sedgwick, &c., have unanimously, often vehemently, maintained the immutability of species. But I have reason to believe that one great authority, Sir Charles Lyell, from further reflexion entertains grave doubts on this subject. I feel how rash it is to differ from these great authorities, to whom, with others, we owe all our knowledge" (C. Darwin 1859:310). In my own research: I can't find 1/one practicing naturalist in America or England who advocated mutability between the years 1800 and 1859, not even 1/one. Until 1858-59 Darwin never published a word about mutability. Wallace was not a practicing naturalist. Joseph Hooker and T.H. Huxley were Darwin's first converts. But Wilkins said "accounts," which could include non-scientists. > So I conclude that in order to have an evolutionary view, you must have > 1. A definition of living species (as opposed to logical and other > definitions) > 2. An assertion that species are fixed kinds > 3. Some idea that species change from one to another over time > None of this applies to anyone before 1686.

And only a small handful after said date. And none of these workers had any conception of common descent or mutability without teleological influence, including spontaneous generation (a Biblical concept). So much for these "accepting evolution" as we understand evolution since the rise of Darwinism. Ray

- Hide quoted text - > Hence, "precursors" like al-Jahiz, Aristotle, Empedocles, and so on are > not evolutionary, because they are dealing with what Linnaeus thought > later as the "filling up of empty territories" in the plan of God or > nature, rather than an open-ended process, and because they don't have a > notion of species as such (despite the ways careless translators use the > modern latinate term to translate terms in Greek and, I presume, Arabic; > for example, much of what is translated as "species" in Aristotle's > Liber Animalium is not "eidos" but terms like "homogene"). > -- > John S. Wilkins, Associate, Philosophy, University of Sydney > But al be that he was a philosophre, > Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre

Ray Martinez awaited paper Edit

Please edit the wiki with a link when your paper is ready. All of us can't wait to read it, we are sure it will be chock full of facts, reasoned discourse and extensive citations. I don't read the nonsense on since my thesis is that anybody using 'ns' is writing meaningless nonsense, thus I don't really have anything further to add and will probably be making very little further posts, thus please post a link we can monitor from time to time as we await your paper.

May I suggest that your release the paper as a wiki with the disclaimer that any previous idea of yours can be edited by you should new data arise. This way we can focus on your ideas instead of what usually happens that people try and protect their ego, instead of admitting that new data changed their minds.