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The Theory Of Devolution


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What a strange thread...can't believe there are six pages....

 

It seems to be all about semantics. "Degeneration" vs. "Devolution" vs. "Retro-evolution".

 

Call it what you will, but the initial premise is false from the beggining. It assumes variables that may or may not have existed.

 

It is true that organisms can lose traits, whether evolutionarily beneficial or not. These are typically extreme cases that manifest over thousands of generations. It's not something that we would likely notice in the short time that humans have been writing.

 

It always amuses me when people talk about the "speed" of evolution. It's like physics...it's relative.

 

What is the speed of evolution for an African crocodile? What about a cockroach?

 

Are they speeding up...slowing down...going in reverse?

 

If you're getting it, then you can see how this penguin can't fly...

 

Hi freestar :)

 

The OP deserted the thread long ago,and the topic maybe should be changed to better conform with the actual ongoings in here.

 

Direction of evolution is mentioned but, if my memory dont fail me then you are the first to mention "Evolution speed"...

 

Eh... What might that be? When after a period of stagnation suddenly new life forms show up everywhere, or: ?

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Clearly what you write is incomplete. Lankester was perhaps the first "biologist" to come up with the theory of devolution. But devolution was originally a creationist idea, first presented as an evolutionary mechanism in 1857 by a devout Catholic, not circa 1880-1910 (as you write).

 

Whether the physician Bénédict More should be considered a biologist is irrelevant, so too is the possibility that Lankester may have been the first biologist to adopt the idea of devolution. Key, is that Morel (the devout Catholic) produced the hypothesis of devolution prior to Lankaster (in excess of 20 years prior). Lankester could have been aware of Morel's work, though Morel is not mentioned in Lankester's book: Degeneration: a chapter in Darwinism, 1880 (Lamarck is, however). In 1857 Morel published Traité des dégénérescences physiques, intellectuelles et morales de l'espèce humaine et des causes qui produisent ces variétés maladives, in which he explains the nature, causes, and indications of human degeneration. This book may not have been translate into English at the time, so it's excusable if Lankester was not aware that Morel published first. He may well have been oblivious to what was transpiring across the English Chanel.

 

Interestingly enough, the idea of degeneration was not new, even at the time of Morel's publication (though he gave the expression a biological twist).

 

You appear to be getting your information from wikipedia, while it may seem like a good introduction this is not exactly fully reliable on this issue and the article itself does have a couple of mistakes. If you want to understand this matter, then I suggest reading Peter J. Bowler's book Evolution: the history of an idea or The Eclipse of Darwinism: Anti-Darwinian Evolution Theories in the Decades Around 1900 , Bowler is a historian of biology, he has covered the scientists who came up with the theory of devolution.

 

But devolution was originally a creationist idea, first presented as an evolutionary mechanism in 1857 by a devout Catholic

 

The first man to suggest devolution was Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon in around 1750 according to Bowler. Buffon was not a creationist infact in his later life he challenged many parts of the Bible, by 1730 he was a deist and by 1750 he was probably an atheist according to most sources, he was a French mathematician and cosmologist who also studied anthropology and the speculated on the origin of the human races. He was also one of the first scientists to argue for an old earth, argueing against the dogma of the Bible. Peter Bowler lists Buffon as a very early evolutionary scientist, Buffon did not believe in fixity of the species, he even believed in an early version of common descent.

 

Whether the physician Bénédict More should be considered a biologist is irrelevant

 

It is not irrelevant. You appear to misunderstand the concepts of Benedict Morel, glancing over a wikipedia page for 10 seconds is not enough to understand this matter. Morel did not advocate biological devolution like the later scientists did, he was not a biologist. Morel was a psychiatrist who started to realise that alchohol caused human beings to act in degenerate ways, he also believed that perhaps criminals would pass their mind set on to their offspring and that mental illness may be inherited. Thus the wikipedia article is wrong on devolution for including Morel, instead he should be included on the degeneration article. Degeneration has always been a social theory, whilst devolution was always a biological theory later advocated by some to explain some of the gaps with natural selection.

 

that races can degenerate into "primitive" forms. Blumenbach claimed that Adam and Eve were white

 

I don't see the point in putting this in bold. The majority of scientists back in the day took the Bible as literal history. Blumenbach and Buffon could not understand why different races exist on earth, if all the races had the same origin and neither of these scientists wanted to advocate polygenism. To try and explain it, they claimed Caucasian could turn into other races due to environmental pressures. These were proto-evolutionary ideas which even influenced Charles Darwin, note how Darwin quoted from Buffon in places and tried to argue against the polygenists.

 

Devolution may be used by some creationists but in biology it's origin was strictly science. Edward Drinker Cope one of the worlds most famous paleontologists was also advocating devolution around 1890 and even came up with a mechanism for this (this isn't mentioned on wiki), Cope was an evolutionist not a creationist. Most scientists in this period believed evolution had a direction, but that is not reason to dismiss their work.

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"Devolution"...Maybe virus are an example ...

But the issue is not what interests me, its the question of whether

 

Evolution has a direction!

My view here is that Evolution in itself is neutral put has a path to follow!

It is supposed that life arose in the sea,and if it is true

then life will have to either dig down into the ground,

settle on the surface of the earth or water

or take to the air.

 

I think its clear that life will not immediatly take off to the air! Right?

Life will not evolve in that direction until theres not much choice left!

And, in particular, for life to enter space and settle on the Moon

theres lots of necessary adaptions to acquire...

 

The path to the Moon leads through civilisation it seems.

I tried to find this idea in evolutionary thinking but failed.

Perhaps too much energy is spent in educating creationists?

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Evolution has a Path to follow !

 

 

Another itch I scratch is why a certain undecided question seems settled in advance?

Almost everybody agrees that lifes origin is to be found on Earth... Why?

Is there a proof? Is everything pointing towards that conclusion?

 

From Wikipedia:

"An alternative to Earthly abiogenesis is the hypothesis that primitive life may have originally formed extraterrestrially,

 

Organic compounds are relatively common in space, especially in the outer solar system where volatiles are not evaporated by solar heating.Comets are encrusted by outer layers of dark material, thought to be a tar-like substance composed of complex organic material formed from simple carbon compounds after reactions initiated mostly by irradiation by ultraviolet light. It is supposed that a rain of material from comets could have brought significant quantities of such complex organic molecules to Earth."

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin "Primitive" extraterrestrial life

 

We have found organics in space, are they somehow "spitted out" from planets,

or are there spots in space where the building blocks of life (and who knows what else)

are produced?

 

What were the conditions in the cloud that later became our solar system?

Surely the organics came from there somehow?

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