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University of Toronto St. George
History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Curtis Forbes

Evolution not equal to Darwinism- check pictures Social Context: natural Theology  William Paley, the "Argument from Design," and "Evidences of Christianity"  Watchmaker analogy- all living things so well designed that no way you can think about them without thinking that someone designed them, like some cosmic watchmaker, argument for existence of God; study nature as God's creation  Species as "ideal types," perfectly adapted/designed for life in their environment  Variability within a species as irrelevant deviations from the ideal Personal Context: Natural Theology Darwin...  read Paley very well  came from a nonconformist Unitarian background, full of freethinkers  attended Cambridge for a B.A., training to become a Anglican parson  was a biblical literalist for a very long time Social Context: Geology  Geological thought can be roughly divided into two camps: uniformitarianism (Lyell) and catastrophism (Cuvier)  These are views on how to explain geological phenomena  Uniformitarianism: o believes that the geological processes operating on Earth have always been the same o Actualism: geologists should explain using known, still operant kinds of causes; geological formations explained through things that we know to be happening like floods, earthquakes o "Uniformitarianism"- geologists should explain using operant degrees of force; can't explain things by ridiculous degrees outside of normal force; be able to point to not only kinds of causes but in the same degree in order to explain geological phenomenon o Steady-state Earth-the Earth is in a constant cycle of eruption and decay (the beginning and end of the earth are irrelevant to the geologist) o Born out of "Vulcanist" school of geology (Hutton); "The present is the key to the past." (Hutton) o because this theory didn't give rise to very climatic changes, had a vision that earth was set in a very old age o OLD Earth  Catastrophism - older theory o Denies actualism, "uniformitarianism," and the steady-state Earth o Geological phenomena result from "catastrophic" events (floods, massive earthquakes, etc) o not necessarily that divine being coming and flooding things and causing change, other explanations as well o Geological forces change over time o Born out of "Neptunism" school of geology (Werner)- water as primary force o YOUNG Earth Personal Context: Geology Darwin...  Was initially trained by a catastrophist (Sedgewick)  brought Lyell's book on the Beagle voyage  was a uniformitarian by 1839  Darwin was coming to his understanding of land formations as a geologist primarily not a biologist Social Context: Philosophy of Science  by this time Bacon and Newton prevalent on the continent, so all explanations, to be a legitimate scientist need to explain phenomena through doctrines of Baconianism and Newtonianism  William Whewell: Good theories display consilience (unificaiton of disparate phenomena)- a good theory could explain a variety of different things  John Herschel: Good theories employ only familiar causes (vera causa); things that we know being used to explain phenomena  Both agreed that good science, in all domains, looks like physics; that there is some sort of system that will be developed and used to explain variety of phenomena Dawin...  was committed to uniformitarianism, making him allied with Herschel (actualism - doctrine of vera causa in geology)  was a speculative scientist, making him also allid with Whewell  was eager to meet the standards of both Herschel and Whewell  tailored the presentation of his theory in 'On the Origin of Species' to meet these standards of "good science"  Also read works by Humboldt, which encouraged the search for complex interactions underlying natural phenomena Theoretical Development: Beagle (name of ship) Voyage Darwin...  began his scientific career as a geologist and natural historian  was invited to be Captain FitzRoy's "Gentleman companion" in the Beagle's voyage to chart South America and the south seas from 1831-1836  observed "new" geological formulations and processes  witnessed a massive earthquake in Chile in 1835 that raised the coastline ten feet; it allowed him as a uniformitarianist to look at earthquakes and say that natural changes can explain phenomena, not necessarily catastrophic  believed
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