28 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2022
    1. New DNA technology is shaking up the family trees of many plants and animals.

      One of Darwin's most compelling arguments in favour of evolution by means of natural selection was just how many different, apparently unrelated phenomena it explained. One of these was 'Classification' (what we now call taxonomy).

      Darwin argued that, when the taxonomists of his day arranged species into hierarchical groups, those tree-like groupings were best explained by genealogical descent.

      Now that biological evolution is accepted as a fact, genealogical descent has become the criterion taxonomists use to place species into hierarchical groups. Ironically, Darwin's explanation of taxonomy means it can no longer be used to justify his theory because modern taxonomy is, in effect, defined by his theory.

      The strongest tool we have for identifying genealogical descent in species is modern DNA analysis. This has helped identify many mistakes in former, non-DNA-based taxonomic classifications. But DNA analysis can't be used in all cases… For example, we do not have access to DNA samples of the vast majority of extinct species.

  2. Jun 2022
    1. https://www.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk/the-scope-and-nature-of-darwins-commonplace-book/

      Erasmus Darwin's commonplace book

      It is one of the version(s?) published by John Bell based on John Locke's method and is a quarto volume bound in vellum with about 300 sheets of fine paper.

      Blank pages 1 to 160 were numbered and filled by Darwin in his own hand with 136 entries. The book was started in 1776 and continued until 1787. Presumably Darwin had a previous commonplace book, but it has not been found and this version doesn't have any experiments prior to 1776, though there are indications that some material has been transferred from another source.

      The book contains material on medical records, scientific matters, mechanical and industrial improvements, and inventions.

      The provenance of Erasmus Darwin's seems to have it pass through is widow Elizabeth who added some family history to it. It passed through to her son and other descendants who added entries primarily of family related topics. Leonard Darwin (1850-1943), the last surviving son of Charles Darwin gave it to Down House, Kent from whence it was loaned to Erasmus Darwin House in 1999.

  3. May 2022
    1. Toward the end of the 18th century English publisher John Bell published notebooks entitled Bell’s Common-Place Book, Formed generally upon the Principles Recommended and Practised by Mr Locke.” These included eight pages of instructions on Locke’s indexing method, a system which not only made it easier to find passages, but also served the higher purpose of “facilitat[ing] reflexive thought.”

      At the end of the 18th century, John Bell (1745–1831), an English publisher published notebooks with the title Bell’s Common-Place Book, Formed generally upon the Principles Recommended and Practised by Mr Locke. The notebooks commonly included 550 pages, of which eight pages included instructions on John Locke's indexing method.


      Link to: - Didn't Erasmus Darwin use one of these?!

  4. Feb 2022
    1. “I had [...]during many years followed a golden rule, namely, that whenever apublished fact, a new observation or thought came across me, whichwas opposed to my general results, to make a memorandum of itwithout fail and at once; for I had found by experience that such factsand thoughts were far more apt to escape from the memory thanfavorable ones. Owing to this habit, very few objections were raisedagainst my views, which I had not at least noticed and attempted toanswer.” (Darwin 1958, 123)

      Charles Darwin fought confirmation bias by writing down contrary arguments and criticisms and addressing them.

  5. Jan 2022
    1. Charles Darwin wrote an entire book about humans being social creatures. He wrote that any Hobbesian human would be an “unnatural monster.”

      Relate this back to Graeber/Wengrow's thesis.

  6. Nov 2021
    1. For if I wait out the uncomfortable night by the river,I fear that the female dew and the evil frost togetherwill be too much for my damaged strength, I am so exhausted, and in themorning a chilly wind will blow from the river; 470 but if I go up the slopeand into the shadowy forest,and lie down to sleep among the dense bushes, even if the chill andweariness let me be, and a sweet sleep comes upon me,I fear I may become spoil and prey to the wild animals.’

      There's something about the description here that reminds me of the closing paragraph of Charles Darwin's On The Origin of the Species (p 489):

      It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, [...]

      Both authors are writing about riverbanks, life, and uncertainty.

  7. Aug 2021
  8. Feb 2021
    1. Teilhard consistentlyargued that,“the main movement in the universe has been, and is, a groping towards consciousness.”262Evolution, in hisview, exhibits a tendency towards increasing complexity and “cerebralisation.”263To date, this process has resulted in the emergence of humans, highly complex creatures thathave in turn given rise to a new “‘thinking layer,’” or noosphere—the complex web of collective thought and technologies that have dramatically extended humanity’s reach within the biosphere.264

      The tendency to ascribe a telos to evolution is an interesting trend here. It's essentially anthropomorphizing Darwin's ideas in ways that don't really track the reality. Natural selection is after what is adaptive in a particular context, it does not actually have to trend towards greater complexity and greater minds.

  9. Dec 2019
    1. I had heard of some discoveries having been made by an English philosopher

      It is unclear who this English philosopher might have been, though it might be a reference to Erasmus Darwin, who Percy Shelley cites in the novel's introduction.

    2. Dr. Darwin

      Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), the evolutionist and poet who lived in Birmingham, England, is clearly on Percy Shelley's mind when he introduces Mary's text in the 1818 edition. Critics of the novel have not often followed this lead in thinking about it as an early work in the British evolutionary imagination. Erasmus Darwin had made "not of impossible occurrence" that one presently visible species could mutate into another. Victor contemplates this possibility—as an alarming one—when he speculates in Volume 3, Chapter 3, that the Creature's demand that he create a "mate" could result in a new evolutionary development, "a race of devils."

  10. Oct 2019
    1. « Si tu te regardes trop longtemps dans la glace, tu y verras un singe. » J’ai dû me regarder encore plus longtemps : ce que je vois est bien au-dessous du singe, à la lisière du monde végétal, au niveau des polypes.

      darwinisme, théorie de l'évolution (nous avons tous un ancêtre commun)

  11. Dec 2018
    1. Finches

      These finches are not related to "true finches" at all. More here.

    2. marine iguanas, the only lizard that scours the ocean for food.

      This four minute BBB Video about marine iguanas is crazy--they cliff dive, then go down thirty feet, and stay there for ten minutes grazing on algae! https://youtu.be/tO_9zm9tsCs

    3. island of Santiago

      You can learn more about Santiago and tips for exploring it here.

  12. Nov 2018
  13. Aug 2018
  14. Jun 2017
    1. The Galápagos are an archipelago of 20 islands, originally called the Enchanted Islands, and made famous by Charles Darwin, who visited the islands in 1835, later formulating his theory of evolution based on his trip.

      Galapagos--on the bucket list!

  15. Apr 2017
    1. How inexplicable are these facts on the ordinary view of creation! Why should the brain be enclosed in a box composed of such numerous and such extraordinarily shaped pieces of bone? As Owen has remarked, the benefit derived from the yielding of the separate pieces in the act of parturition of mammals, will by no means explain the same construction in the skulls of birds. Why should similar bones have been created in the formation of the wing and leg of a bat, used as they are for such totally different purposes? Why should one crustacean, which has an extremely complex mouth formed of many parts, consequently always have fewer legs; or conversely, those with many legs have simpler mouths? Why should the sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils in any individual flower, though fitted for such widely different purposes, be all constructed on the same pattern ?

      Reminds me of Thoreau:

      We might try our lives by a thousand simple tests; as, for instance, that the same sun which ripens my beans illumines at once a system of earths like ours. If I had remembered this it would have prevented some mistakes. This was not the light in which I hoed them. The stars are the apexes of what wonderful triangles! What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment! Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? We should live in all the ages of the world in an hour; ay, in all the worlds of the ages. History, Poetry, Mythology!—I know of no reading of another's experience so startling and informing as this would be. The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can, old man—you who have lived seventy years, not without honor of a kind—I hear an irresistible voice which invites me away from all that. One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels.

    2. If it could be proved that the Hottentot had descended from the Negro, I think he would be classed under the Negro group, however much he might differ in colour and other important characters from negroes.

      He removes this later.

    3. Finally, with respect to the comparative value of the various groups of species, such as orders, sub-orders, families, sub-families, and genera, they seem to be, at least at present, almost arbitrary. Several of the best botanists, such as Mr Bentham and others, have strongly insisted on their arbitrary value. Instances could be given amongst plants and insects, of a group of forms, first ranked by practised naturalists as only a genus, and then raised to the rank of a sub-family or family; and this has been done, not because further research has detected important structural differences, at first overlooked, but because numerous allied species, with slightly different grades of difference, have been subsequently discovered.

      Read by Tamashasky: "Getting away from making flat assertions by defending your claims."

    1. We might try our lives by a thousand simple tests; as, for instance, that the same sun which ripens my beans illumines at once a system of earths like ours. If I had remembered this it would have prevented some mistakes. This was not the light in which I hoed them. The stars are the apexes of what wonderful triangles! What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment! Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? We should live in all the ages of the world in an hour; ay, in all the worlds of the ages. History, Poetry, Mythology!—I know of no reading of another's experience so startling and informing as this would be. The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can, old man—you who have lived seventy years, not without honor of a kind—I hear an irresistible voice which invites me away from all that. One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels.

      Reminds me of Darwin:

      How inexplicable are these facts on the ordinary view of creation! Why should the brain be enclosed in a box composed of such numerous and such extraordinarily shaped pieces of bone? As Owen has remarked, the benefit derived from the yielding of the separate pieces in the act of parturition of mammals, will by no means explain the same construction in the skulls of birds. Why should similar bones have been created in the formation of the wing and leg of a bat, used as they are for such totally different purposes? Why should one crustacean, which has an extremely complex mouth formed of many parts, consequently always have fewer legs; or conversely, those with many legs have simpler mouths? Why should the sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils in any individual flower, though fitted for such widely different purposes, be all constructed on the same pattern ?

  16. Feb 2017
    1. which is the means by which weaker, less robust individuals preserve them-selves-since they have been denied the chance to wage the battle for existence with horns or with the sharp teeth of beasts of prey.
    1. This conclusion is not founded on this single instance, but on this instance compared with a general experience of the regularity of this clement in all its operations.

      I am thinking here of Darwin's Moth, a species of moth Charles Darwin concluded must exist, from the shape of a certain orchid, 40 years before the moth itself was discovered. It is not the induction from orchid->moth, but dozens of moth-orchid interactions that lets you fill in the probable details.

      e. Actually, I think this is better an example of analogy, now that I think about it.

      e2. Moth-Orchid Dynamics would be a good name for a rock band

  17. Sep 2013
    1. whereas nature herself intimates that it is just for the better to have more than the worse, the more powerful than the weaker; and in many ways she shows, among men as well as among animals, and indeed among whole cities and races, that justice consists in the superior ruling over and having more than the inferior.

      reference to 'survival of the fittest' philosphy

    1. struggle is what all life essentially consists of,and the evolution of civilization may therefore be simply described as the struggle for life of the humanspecies.
    2. preservation of the species

      consider in context of Darwinian "survival", and interesting to consider the contrast with Berlant's "Slow Death" concept--hunger to the point of obesity, love striving after objects to the point of depression