Early scientists

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Early scientists

Post  Admin on Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:43 pm

And now we will view the armchair philosophers.
Hardly one of them ever set foot in field research or entered
the door of a science laboratory, yet they founded
the modern theory of evolution:
*Emmanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was a do-nothing
expert. In his 1734 book, Principia, he theorized that a
rapidly rotating nebula formed itself into our solar system
of sun and planets. He claimed that he obtained the idea
from spirits during a séance. It is significant that the
nebular hypothesis theory originated from such a
*Comte de Buffon (1707-1788) was a dissolute phi-
22 The Evolution Cruncher
losopher who, unable to improve on the work of Linnaeus,
spent his time criticizing him. He theorized that species
originated from one another and that a chunk was
torn out of the sun, which became our planet. As with
the other philosophers, he presented no evidence in support
of his theories.
*Jean-Baptist Lamarck (1744-1829) made a name
for himself by theorizing. He accomplished little else of
significance. He laid the foundation of modern evolutionary
theory, with his concept of “inheritance of acquired
characteristics,” which was later given the name
Lamarckism. In 1809, he published a book, Philosophie
zoologique, in which he declared that the giraffe got its
long neck by stretching it up to reach the higher branches,
and birds that lived in water grew webbed feet. According
to that, if you pull hard on your feet, you will gradually
increase their length; and, if you decide in your mind to do
so, you can grow hair on your bald head, and your offspring
will never be bald. This is science?
*Lamarck’s other erroneous contribution to evolution
was the theory of uniformitarianism. This is the
conjecture that all earlier ages on earth were exactly
as they are today, calm and peaceful with no worldwide
Flood or other great catastrophes.
*Robert Chambers (1802-1883) was a spiritualist
who regularly communicated with spirits. As a result
of his contacts, he wrote the first popular evolution book
in all of Britain. Called Vestiges of Creation (1844), it was
printed 15 years before *Charles Darwin’s book, Origin
of the Species.
*Charles Lyell (1797-1875). Like *Charles Darwin,
Lyell inherited great wealth and was able to spend his time
theorizing. Lyell published his Principles of Geology in
1830-1833, and it became the basis for the modern
theory of sedimentary strata,—even though 20th-century
discoveries in radiodating, radiocarbon dating,
missing strata, and overthrusts (older strata on top of
Brief History of Evolutionary Theory 23
more recent strata) have nullified the theory.
In order to prove his theory, Lyell was quite willing
to misstate the facts. He learned that Niagara Falls had
eroded a seven-mile [11 km] channel from Queenston,
Ontario, and that it was eroding at about 3 feet [1 m] a
year. So Lyell conveniently changed that to one foot [.3
m] a year, which meant that the falls had been flowing for
35,000 years! But Lyell had not told the truth. Three-foot
erosion a year, at its present rate of flow, would only take
us back 7000 to 9000 years,—and it would be expected
that, just after the Flood, the flow would, for a time, have
greatly increased the erosion rate. Lyell was a close friend
of Darwin, and urged him to write his book, Origin of
the Species.


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