“.....Natural selection is...simply the doctrine of Malthus applied with manifold force to the whole animal and vegetable kingdoms.....”
natural selection” which is, as Darwin wrote in his notebook somewhere aroun 1838: “....simply the doctrine of Malthus applied with manifold force to the whole animal and vegetable kingdoms.....”
In July of l837, Darwin wrote that he “opened his first notebook” to record additional facts bearing on the question, but it was not until he happened to read Malthus’ Essay on Population in October of l838 that he found an explanatory theory from which the above “supposition” followed. “In October l838,” Darwin wrote, “that is fifteen months after I had begun my systematic enquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus’ Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence (a phrase used by Malthus) which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favorable variations would tend to be preserved and unfavorable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be a new species. Here then I had at last got hold of a theory by which to work.”
From this encounter, Darwin commenced the now famous formulation of the principle of “natural selection” which is, as he wrote, “simply the doctrine of Malthus applied with manifold force to the whole animal and vegetable kingdoms.”
Note: ...favorable variations would tend to be preserved and unfavorable ones to be destroyed.... is a rhetorical tautology meaning that any conclusion from such is a non-sequitur. Darwin's premise was that the present attributes were not in the distant past, his mechanism natural selection or natural means of competitive preservation of the favorable attributes is a claim of logic and thus not falsifiable.
- "I tried once or twice to explain to able men what I meant by natural selection, but signally failed" (Darwin, Autobio:124)
- http://www.talkorigins.org/sandbox/kwork/Ver4_tautology.html#ref04 Others have objected that the term selection implies conscious choice in the animals which become modified; and it has even been urged that, as plants have no volition, natural selection is not applicable to them! In the literal sense of the word, no doubt, natural selection is a misnomer; but who ever objected to chemists speaking of the elective affinities of the various elements? -and yet an acid cannot strictly be said to elect the base with which it will in preference combine. It has been said that I speak of natural selection as an active power or Deity; but who objects to an author speaking of the attraction of gravity as ruling the movements of the planets? Every one knows what is meant and is implied by such metaphorical expressions; and they are almost necessary for brevity. - Charles Darwin
... Natural selection is the best idea anybody ever had .... Danielle Dennett
... It will be a good joke indeed if the best idea anybody ever had turns out to be wrong .... Jerry Fodor
..... I believe in Natural Selection ..... Ken Ham
David Berlinski Edit
...the concept of natural selection is hopelessly confused.... , David Berlinski
mturner on arn.org Edit
- The phrase Natural Selection is a synonym for bad luck, misfortune, and getting the pointy end of the stick. It is empirically, that is, scientifically, meaningless, but it makes a pretty metaphor . It originated in a categorical error parading as an analogy. For the past 150 years, it has deluded unthinking simpletons into mistaking it for a real phenomenon, when it is nothing but a collective anthropomorphization of non-specified natural causes of mortality presented as a mystical, animist 'presence' possessing the intelligence and powers of descrimination necessary to make actual choices, i.e., 'selections'. As such it may be accurately summed up as a childish religious mystique, that is, as a superstition for the Godless -mturner' on the www.arn.org discussion board
- Again, we find the same forms, or forms which (save for external ornament) are mathematically identical, repeating themselves in all periods of the world's geological history ; and, irrespective of climate or local conditions, we see them mixed up, one with another, in the depths and on the shores of every sea. It is hard indeed (to my mind) to see where Natural Selection necessarily enters in, or to admit that it has had any share whatsoever in the production of these varied conformations. Unless indeed we use the term Natural Selection in a sense so wide as to deprive it of any purely biological significance; and so recognize as a sort of Natural Selection whatsoever nexus of causes suffices to differentiate between the likely and the unlikely, the scarce and the frequent, the easy and the hard : and leads accordingly, under the peculiar conditions, limitations and restraints which we call "ordinary circumstances," one type of crystal, one form of cloud, one chemical compound, to be of frequent occurrence and another to be rare. - D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson
Wallace on selection as metaphor Edit
- Quarterly Journal of Science, Oct. 1867. - k Creation by Law - " by Alfred Wallace. " Mr. Darwin has laid himself open to much misconception, and has given to his opponents a powerful weapon by his continual use of metaphor in describing the wonderful coadaptations of organic beings." P. 473.
John Harshman Edit
phd biology , regular poster on talk.origins http://tautology.wikia.com/wiki/AcloselookAtNaturalSelection#post_7_by_John_Harshman "...But the ones that successfully reproduced best are those with the advantageous traits....." ,"...And that's natural selection. ..."
successfully <=> advantageous traits (implies and is implied by), is a claim of logic and thus not falsifiable.
... if pigs had wheels mounted on ball bearings instead of trotters, on what scale of porcine Fitness1 would they be? ..... David Berlinski. He was asking(Black Mischief, first edition) that the concept of fitness be derived from first principles and not used as a semantic marshmallow. If the ancestors of pigs tried out wheels instead of trotters, what numerical fitness value would it be assigned on a scale 1 to 10 ?