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Darwin, answers to usual mistakes.

June 22, 2016

I was perusing an article and comments. Some claims serve only to expose those who either never read Darwin, or don’t understand him.


Darwin understood Punctuated Equilibrium before Eldredge and Gould coined the term.
Origin of Species, 6th ed, under the only diagram in the book, pages 91, 92, and 95:

“But I must here remark that I do not suppose that the process ever goes on so regularly as is represented in the diagram, though in itself made somewhat irregular, nor that it goes on continuously; it is far more probable that each form remains for long periods unaltered, and then again undergoes modification. Nor do I suppose that the most divergent varieties are invariably preserved: a medium form may often long endure, and may or may not produce more than one modified descendant; for natural selection will always act according to the nature of the places which are either unoccupied or not perfectly occupied by other beings; and this will depend on infinitely complex relations. … In our diagram the line of succession is broken at regular intervals by small numbered letters marking the successive forms which have become sufficiently distinct to be recorded as varieties. But these breaks are imaginary, and might have been inserted anywhere, after intervals long enough to allow the accumulation of a considerable amount of divergent variation. …
In the diagram, each horizontal line has hitherto been supposed to represent a thousand generations, but each may represent a million or more generations; it may also represent a section of the successive strata of the earth’s crust including extinct remains.” ___darwin

On another point, in a letter to Spencer (if I recall), Darwin complained that his own writing wasn’t clear and concise. One way he could be clear is to state the exact wording for his theory. I searched his book to come up with:
Descent with Modification through Natural Selection of Random, Heritable Variations within Unity of Type.

Darwin covered other mechanisms, as well. He was working on Sexual Selection at the time. He clearly stated Natural Selection is the major, but not the only mechanism for change. Find that in the introduction.

Before drift, flow, horizontal gene transfer, sexual selection, and any others under debate, those traits emerged through Natural Selection. After the effect of other mechanisms, they all are again subject to Natural Selection.

I think the worst misunderstanding (lie, really) on Darwin is calling him racist, leading to genocide by eugenics.
1. Darwin stood against the racists of the day. Read Capt. Fitzroy’s letter, quoting Darwin heavily, and cosigned by Darwin.
2. Galton invented the term Eugenics. And he advocated Mankind, and mixing bloodlines (now genetic lines) from outstanding individuals of distant populations. Neither Darwin nor Galton invented Anti-miscegenation.
3. The Polygenists were the racist slavers/segregationists; who later became the master race eugenicists, in direct contradiction to Galton. Study his last chapter summary.


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