To be launched in summer 2013, the aim is to publish one post a week, bringing the history of how we understand biological evolution right up to date. Posts are freely illustrated, have links to other internet sites, and are regularly up-dated and improved.
The posts are written without jargon or assumption of previous scientific knowledge, and although the author has a traditional scientific background, the work is aimed at a young audience. It focuses on the social consequences of the developing ideas and shows how they have interacted with world politics and its history.
Hopefully, dialogue in the “COMMENTS” boxes will become controversial
1. Aristotle on Lesbos 346-343BC
The first descriptions of natural history were based on animals and plants living in the lagoon on an Aegean island.
2. Two Men for All Seasons 1516-1624
The idea in Genesis that life had been created by God continued to be acceptable: it was the political and social structures in Europe that needed changing. In 1516 Thomas More wrote about his plans in a novel called Utopia. Over a century later, in another utopian novel called New Atlantis, Francis Bacon also accepted the church and the new politics, and added the need for scientific experiments.
3. Thee Creative Geniuses 1519-1632
During this same time, realism was being observed by da Vinci (1519), and calculations from astronomical data was made by Copernicus (1540) and Galileo (1632).
4. Bacon Exenterates Chicken 1626
The first scientific experiment was by Francis Bacon in 1626, who tested an idea about how animal tissue breaks down and decays.
5. The Problem of the Teeth 1660-1690
Steno and Gessner found fossil sharks’ teeth high up in the mountains 1660-1690.
6. Ray of Hope 1627-1705
In East Anglia Ray recognized the diversity of nature.
7. Hooked Inside 1635-1703
Hooke looked inside tissues and at organic chemistry.
8. Thomas Burnet Plots 1641-1715
Burnet and Plot saw limits to The Flood to explain diversity.
9. The Coffee House Society 1730-1760
This came from the industrial revolution, and at Slaughter’s Coffee House in Charing Cross Road there was excitement at discoveries of nature and the links between species.
10. Explorers 1750-1780
In the1750s a new generation of explorers collected exotic species, Banks curated them at a museum in Soho.
11.The Lunar Society 1760-1790
Rousseau in Derbyshire
12. Natural History Gets Scientific 1775-1790
13. Geotheories and Revolution 1750-1790
There were many geotheories of how the earth changes, especially by Buffon in France.
14. Revolution in France; Fear in England 1794-1797
French naturalists Diderot, Cuvier and Geoffroy described detail and classified variety.
15. Lamarck Springs Back 1795-1809
He saw links between environment and evolution.
16. With God, Was Priestley Safe? 1789-1802
In England Priestley stimulated ideas of how biology works.
17. Making Maps 1798-1840
In space and time, Humboldt and Bougainville set sail and explored
18. The English Establishment 1820-1824
19. The Great Paris Debate 1830
The famous debate about whether evolution was planned or random.
20. More English Traditionalists 1820-1845
Buckland and Mantell argued about the creation of fossil invertebrates; Lyell considered geology, the deluge and time.
21. Charles Darwin 1830-1860
his single evolutionary tree – many questions were not answered.
22. Wallace Returned 1862-1870
He returned from tropical forests to meet institutional science
23. Just Visiting 1862
TH Huxley, Hooker et al’ Bates, Spencer. Owen.
24. Wallace Got Up To Date 1862
social class, religion, race
25 The Start of Objective Biology 1860-1874
Galton’s Hereditary Genius 1869, Thomson and geological time
26. The Evolution of Humans 1869-1871
Darwin’s Descent of Man 1871
27. The Dissolving Spectre of Darwinism 1872-1887
Butler and Eimer promote Lamarckism; Weismann’s poor defence
28. Darwin’s Funeral and Degeneration 1882-1890
Ray Lankester and Haeckel continued with studies of marine biology and degeneration
29 Catastrophe and Mutation 1883-1895
30 Statistics Against Biometry 1895-1906
Pearson in London fought Bateson in Cambridge
31. Uncertainty About Mendel 1904-1907
Trying to understand the patterns that emerged. Morgan, Muller
32. Early Eugenics 1903-1911
Galton and Pearson open possibilities
33. Tansley and Ecology 1898-1911
ecosystems in the environment.
34. Five Men Go to War 1914-1918
Haldane and Fisher, Tansley and Smuts, Julian Huxley in Texas
35. Ecology in South Africa 1924-1930
Jan Smuts surveyed nature
36. Evolutionary Advances in the United States 1920-1930
37. Evolution in Soviet Russia 1928-1940
38. Eugenics Gets Serious 1925-1936
39. HG Wells’ The Science of Life 1919-1929
40 Numbers and the New Genetics
41. Maps, Moths and Cricket 1923-1937
42. Pessimism Before the Synthesis 1930-1939
43. The New Synthesis 1940-1942
44. Discovery of DNA Structure 1945-1953
45. First Concerns for the Planet Earth 1945
Aldous Huxley Warned on the Environment
illustrations acknowledged from internet source
copyright Michael Boulter 2013, 2014