Tautology Wiki

counter argument[]


Dublin Journal of medicine[]


Quotes Dr.Fletcher extensively and how the human embrio relives its fish stage etc. This was a key argument for the Common Ancestor idea.

http://books.google.co.za/books?q=fletcher&id=02sBAAAAYAAJ&output=text&pg=PA133 " That the corresponding organs of the different tribes of animals are fundamentally the same, and that the organs of the human fetus represent in turn many of the lower animals, is a truth which will in future full to be particularly insisted on; but the fundamental identity of such organs by no means implies an actual identity, either of the different tribes of animals which consist of an assemblage of these organs, or of the human fetus at any period with any one of the inferior tribes. In order that this should be the case with respect to the different tribes, as compared with each other, it would be necessary, as just observed, that the form and mutual relations of the several organs should be at every step in the ascending scale maintained; whereas it is sufficiently well known, not only that any developement may be, with respect to the elements of each organ, quite irregular, so that its general aspect may become entirely changed, but also that some organs do not at any given step advance at all, perhaps even recede, while the rest undergo, some a slight, and others a vast degree of developement. And the same want of correspondence takes place in the progressive advancement of the organs of the human fetus, as compared with any one of those of the inferior tribes. Its individual organs may represent, at different periods of their elaboration, those of an avertebrated animal, of a fish, a reptile, a bird, a quadruped; but if, while the respiratory organs are like those of one tribe, the circulating organs represent those of another, and the assimilating organs, the genital organs, and those of sensation, thought and voluntary motion, those of numerous others, it is impossible that, akin as it may be in its several parts to many, it should be collectively akin to, and still less identical with any one.*

Google Books[]


Dr. Fletcher's embryos argument[]

pages: 179,187, 317 ,302 ,309 - Dr. Fletcher's Rudiments of Physiology embryos argument. He made heavy use of Dr. Fletcher's Rudiments of Physiology embryos argument. Back then the embryonic argument was the corner stone of transmutationism. But they selectively picked those stages which looked the most similar at each individual different stages of development. At the same stage of development the embryos don't look the same.

Tautology part[]

quote: "....The influences upon the fœtus may have also been of an extreme and unusual kind. Let us suppose that the conditions upon the whole have been favourable for the development, not of the higher, but of the lower sentiments, and of the propensities of the new being, the result will necessarily be a mean type of brain. Here, it will be observed, God no more decreed an immoral being, than he decreed an immoral paroxysm of the sentiments. Our perplexity is in considering the ill-disposed being by himself...."

rephrase for tautology: "....Let us suppose that the conditions ....have been favourable for the development .... of the lower sentiments, ....the result will necessarily be a mean type of brain....."

Notes: "favourable for the lower sentiments" and "...be a mean type of brain...." says the same thing twice making his proposition irrefutable and his conclusion a non-sequitur - he might have been correct but not as a logical deduction from his argumentation scheme.


I allude, of course, to the experiments conducted a few years ago by Mr. Crosse, which seemed to result in the production of a heretofore unknown species of insect in considerable numbers. Various causes have prevented these experiments and their results from receiving candid treatment, but they may perhaps be yet found to have opened up a new and most interesting chapter of nature’s mysteries. Mr. Crosse was pursuing some experiments in crystallization, causing a powerful voltaic battery to operate upon a saturated solution of silicate of potash, when the insects unexpectedly made their appearance. He afterwards tried nitrate of copper, which is a deadly poison, and from that fluid also did live insects emerge. Discouraged by the reception of his experiments, Mr. Crosse soon discontinued them; but they were some years after pursued by Mr. Weekes, of Sandwich, with precisely the same results. This gentleman, besides trying the first of the above substances, employed ferro-cyanet of potash, on account of its containing a larger proportion of carbon, the principal element of organic bodies; and from this substance the insects were produced in increased numbers. A few weeks sufficed for this experiment, with the powerful battery of Mr. Crosse; but the first attempts of Mr. Weekes required about eleven months, a ground of presumption in itself that the electricity was chiefly concerned in the phenomenon. The changes undergone by the fluid operated upon, were in both cases remarkable, and nearly alike. In Mr. Weekes’ apparatus, the silicate of potash became first turbid, then of a milky appearance; round the negative wire of the battery, dipped into the fluid, there gathered a quantity of gelatinous matter, a part of the process of considerable importance, considering that gelatin is one of the proximate principles, or first compounds, of which animal bodies are formed. From this matter Mr. Weekes observed one of the insects in the very act of emerging, immediately after which, it ascended to the surface of the fluid, and sought concealment in an obscure corner of the apparatus. The insects produced by both experimentalists seem to have been the same, a species of acarus, minute and semi-transparent, and furnished with long bristles, which can only be seen by the aid of the microscope. It is worthy of remark, that some of these insects, soon after their existence had commenced, were found to be likely to extend their species. They were sometimes observed to go back to the fluid to feed, and occasionally they devoured each other. {187}

201 We have yet to advert to the most interesting class of facts connected with the laws of organic development. It is only in recent times that physiologists have observed that each animal passes, in the course of its germinal history, through a series of changes resembling the permanent forms of the various orders of animals inferior to it in the scale. Thus, for instance, an insect, standing at the head of the articulated animals, is, in the larva state, a true annelid, or worm, the annelida being the lowest in the same class. The embryo of a crab resembles the perfect animal of the inferior order myriapoda, and passes through all the forms of transition which characterize the intermediate tribes of crustacea. The frog, for some time after its birth, is a fish with external gills, and other organs fitting it for an aquatic life, all of which are changed as it advances to maturity, and becomes a land animal. The mammifer only passes through still more stages, according to its higher place in the scale. Nor is man himself exempt from this law. His first form is that which is permanent in the animalcule. His organization gradually passes through conditions generally resembling a fish, a reptile, a bird, and the lower mammalia, before it attains its specific maturity. At one of the last stages of his fœtal career, he exhibits an intermaxillary bone, which is characteristic of the perfect ape; this is suppressed, and he may then be said to take leave of the simial type, and become a true human creature. Even, as we shall see, the varieties of his race are represented in the progressive development of an individual of the highest, before we see the adult Caucasian, the highest point yet attained in the animal scale.


The whole train of animated beings, from the simplest and oldest up to the highest and most recent, are, then, to be regarded as a series of advances of the principle of development, which have depended upon external physical circumstances, to which the resulting animals are appropriate.


The nucleated vesicle, the fundamental form of all organization, we must regard as the meeting-point between the inorganic and the organic - the end of the mineral and beginning of the vegetable and animal kingdoms, which thence start in different directions, but in perfect parallelism and analogy. We have already seen that this nucleated vesicle is itself a type of mature and independent being in the infusory animalcules, as well as the starting point of the fœtal progress of every higher individual in creation, both animal and vegetable. We have seen that it is a form of being which electric agency will produce - though not perhaps usher into full life - in albumen, one of those compound elements of animal bodies, of which another (urea) has been made by artificial means. Remembering these things, we are drawn on to the supposition, that the first step in the creation of life upon this planet was a chemico-electric operation, by which simple germinal vesicles were produced. This is so much, but what were the next steps? Let a common vegetable infusion help us to an answer. There, as we have seen, simple forms are produced at first, but afterwards they become more complicated, until at length the life-producing powers of the infusion are exhausted. Are we to presume that, in this case, the simple engender the complicated? Undoubtedly, this would not be more wonderful as a natural process than one which we never think of wondering at, because familiar to us - namely, that in the gestation of the mammals, the animalcule-like ovum of a few days is the parent, in a sense, of the chick-like form of a few weeks, and that in all the subsequent stages - fish, reptile, &c. - the one may, with scarcely a metaphor, be said to be the progenitor of the other. I suggest, then, as an hypothesis already countenanced by much that is ascertained, and likely to be further sanctioned by much that remains to be known, that the first step was an advance under favour of peculiar conditions, from the simplest forms of being, to the next more complicated, and this through the medium of the ordinary process of generation.


"...advance under favour of peculiar conditions, from the simplest forms of being, to the next more complicated, and this through the medium of the ordinary process of generation...."

"...advance under favour of peculiar conditions ..... to the more complicated .... and this through the medium of the ordinary process of generation...."

"...advance under favour of peculiar conditions ..... to the more complicated ...."

p. 215 Cause effect inversion[]

".....We shall now see an instance of development operating within the production of what approaches to the character of variety of species. It is fully established that a human family, tribe, or nation, is liable, in the course of generations, to be either advanced from a mean form to a higher one, or degraded from a higher to a lower, by the influence of the physical conditions in which it lives. The coarse features, and other structural peculiarities of the negro race only continue while these people live amidst the circumstances usually associated with barbarism....."

This confuses cause with effect everything that is in existence is in some sort of an environment to which it responds. The internal attributes determines how it responds,the response is forced out by the environment, but the environment didn't cause the response. Each response and its actual cause must be independently determined for each occurance. Water doesn't cause corn to grow, it is but one attribute needed to induce the DNA to give the grow instruction.