Evolution and Genetics

Evolution and Genetics

Evolution and Genetics

Evolution and Genetics

Excerpt

The third reprinting of the Vanuxem Lectures for 1915-16, entitled A Critique of the Theory of Evolution, having been exhausted, the publishers have asked for a revised edition. The revision is no less an attempt at a critique of the evolution theory than its predecessor, but, as the change in title suggests, greater attention is here paid to one of the the most debated questions among evolutionists today, namely, the bearing of the recent discoveries in genetics and in mutation on the theory of evolution.

While in a general way Darwin's theory of Natural Selection is independent of the origin of the new variations that furnish it with its materials, yet the scientific formulation of the theory is intimately connected with the origin and inheritance of suitable variations. For instance, if most of the observed variability of animals and plants were due directly to the environment, and if the effects thus brought about were not inherited, such variability could no longer be appealed to as material for natural selection.

Again, if the variations that appear as mutants are always defective types, they could not, even though they are inherited, be appealed to as furnishing material for progressive evolution.

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