Download E-books The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary Thought PDF

By Robert J. Richards

Prior to the 1st international warfare, extra humans discovered of evolutionary idea from the voluminous writings of Charles Darwin’s most excellent champion in Germany, Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919), than from the other resource, together with the writings of Darwin himself. yet, with detractors starting from paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould to modern day creationists and advocates of clever layout, Haeckel is best referred to as a divisive determine than as a pioneering biologist. Robert J. Richards’s highbrow biography rehabilitates Haeckel, offering the main actual degree of his technological know-how and artwork but written, in addition to a relocating account of Haeckel’s eventful life.

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Ganesan, 1922), 49–56. 10. Ernst Mayr, own communique, 1995. eleven. Richard Goldschmidt, graphics from reminiscence: memories of a Zoologist (Seattle: college of Washington Press, 1956), 35. four bankruptcy one the Dutch East Indies. 12 Haeckel formulated the idea that of ecology; pointed out millions of recent animal species; validated a complete state of creatures, the Protista; labored out the complex reproductive cycles of many marine invertebrates; pointed out the telephone nucleus because the provider of hereditary fabric; defined the method of gastrulation; and played experiments and devised theories in embryology that set the degree for the groundbreaking study of his scholars Roux and Driesch. His “biogenetic law”—that is, that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny 13—dominated organic learn for a few fi fty years, serving as a learn software that joined new parts right into a universal box for the applying of evolutionary thought. The “law,” rendered in sepia tones, can nonetheless be chanced on nostalgically connecting modern embryology texts to their background (figs. 1. 1 and eight. 18). 14 Haeckel, in spite of the fact that, has now not been good loved—or, extra to the purpose, good understood—by historians of technological know-how. E. S. Russell, whose judgment may well often be depended on, seemed Haeckel’s significant theoretical paintings, Generelle Morphologie der Organismen (General morphology of organisms, 1866), as “representative no longer quite a bit of Darwinian as of pre-Darwinian concept. ” “It was,” he declared, “a medley of dogmatic materialism, idealistic morphology, and evolutionary idea. ” 15 Gavin De Beer, a number one embryologist of the fi rst half the 20th century, blamed Haeckel for placing embryology in “a psychological strait-jacket which has had lamentable 12. Haeckel speculated that the transition from ape to guy through Pithecanthropus alalus (ape-man with out speech) came about within the sector of Borneo, Sumatra, and Java. encouraged through Haeckel, Eugène Dubois searched those areas whereas stationed there as a doctor within the Dutch military. Amazingly, in 1890 and 1891, he found in Java the is still of what grew to become often called Homo erectus, definitely the easiest candidate for the lacking hyperlink. See Eugène Dubois, Pithecanthropus erectus, eine menschenähnliche Übergangsform aus Java (Batavia: Landesdruckerei, 1894); and “Pithecanthropus Erectus—A shape from the Ancestral inventory of Mankind,” Annual file, Smithsonian establishment (1898): 445–59. thirteen. in particular the primary states that the constructing embryo of a sophisticated species passes throughout the morphological levels of its extra primitive evolutionary ancestors—that, for example, the human embryo starts as a one-celled creature, simply as our progenitor most likely did countless numbers of thousands of years in the past, after which passes via phases just like that of an early invertebrate, of a primitive vertebrate (e. g. , a fish), of a primate, and fi nally of a individual. 14. Richardson and Keuck have indexed a couple of dozen textual content books from the Eighties to the current that experience used Haeckel’s embryo illustrations.

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