Wednesday, 21 January 2009

On reading The Origin of Species: Ch. 5 - Laws of Variation

When we see any part or organ developed in a remarkable degree or manner in any species, the fair presumption is that it is of high importance to the species; nevertheless the part in this case is eminently liable to variation. Why should this be so? On the view that each species has been independently created, with all its parts as we now see them, I can see no explanation. But on the view that groups of species have descended from other species, and have been modified through natural selection, I think we can obtain some light.
Darwin points out that creationism doesn't provide any answers.

And again, later in the chapter:

He who believes that each equine species was independenly created, will, I presume, assert that each species has been created with a tendency to vary, both under nature and under domestication, in this particular manner, so as often to become striped like other species of the genus; and that each has been created with a strong tendency, when crossed with species inhabiting distant quarters of the world, to produce hybrids resembling in their stripes, not their own parents, but other species of the genus. To admit this view is, as it seems to me, to reject a real for an unreal, or at least for an unknown, cause. It makes the works of God a mere mocker and deception; I would almost as soon believe with the old and ignorant cosmogonists, that fossil shells had never lived, but had been created in stone so as to mock the shells now living on the sea-shore.

No comments:

Post a Comment