Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Year of Darwin 9/23/2014: Inconvenient truths

 Charles Darwin

"You ask about Lyell's frame of mind. I think he is somewhat staggered, but does not give in, & speaks with horror often to me, of what a thing it would be & and what a job it would be for the next Edition of Principles, if he were "perverted", - But he is most candid & honest & I think will end by being perverted." Charles Darwin, Letter to A.W. Wallace, January 1859

Lyell was the top geologist of the day and a fabulous scientist. He would need to rework his Principles of Geology to include evolution. This quote is insightful to me because it should not all (or even most) scientists of the day accepted evolution and that some rejected it because it would be inconvenient.

I heard a criticism of Biological Species Concept standing in one of the top bird collections in the world. The criticism was "there would be too many species."  I think Bob Zink put the number of birds at 30,000. Too many? Tough tootles. 

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