Human evolution theory utilizing concepts of neoteny & female sexual selection
An etiology of neuropsychological disorders such as autism and dyslexia, and the origin of left handedness.

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Charles Lyell

Charles Lyell: bibliographical excerpts


"Then, at a time when Cuvier was at the height of his fame, and the leading geologists of both England and France were catastrophists, a young unknown man, Charles Lyell (1797-1875), published a book, Principles of Geology, which was destined to destroy the reigning geological doctrine and introduce unlimited time and the play of natural forces once more into geology. Lyell must be accorded the secure distinction, not alone of altering the course of geological thought, but of having been the single greatest influence in the life of Charles Darwin. Moreover, he introduced Lamarck's theories to the British reading public and, although he opposed them, he gave Lamarck a fair dispassionate hearing. Lyell had originally been trained for the law. He knew how to marshal the facts of an argument, to weigh evidence and to present it well." (Eiseley, L (1958) Darwin’s Centry. Anchor Books: New York p. 98)

"Lyell was no impartial empiricist, but a partisan thinker committed to defending time's cycle against a literal record that spoke strongly against a directionless world, particularly in its evidence for organic progress from fish to reptile to mammal, to man. (Gould, (1987) Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle. Harvard Univ. Press: Cambridge pp. 103-104)

As early as the year 1830, in his famous "Principles of Geology," he [Charles Lyell] proved that that doctrine [Cuvier's Theory of Cataclysms] is utterly false so far as the crust of the earth itself is concerned; and he showed that in order to explain the structure and evolution of mountains, there is no need of having recourse to supernatural causes which even now unceasingly effect the transformation and reconstruction of the earth, are amply sufficient to explain these phenomena. These causes are: atmospheric influences; water in its various forms--such as snow and ice, fog and rain, the running stream and the surging sea; and finally, the volcanic phenomena contributed by the hot liquid mass in the interior of the earth. The most convincing proof was furnished by Lyell, that these natural causes are quite sufficient to explain all the phenomena of the structure and development of the crust of the earth." (Haeckel, E (1897) The Evolution of Man: A Popular Exposition of the Principle Points of Human Ontogeny and Phylogeny, vols. 1 and 2: Appleton, New York p. 77-78)

"The second volume of Lyell went beyond physical geology and applied his Uniformitarianism to biology. Throughout geological time, Lyell explained, new species had been emerging, and others had become extinct. Survival of a species depended on certain conditions of its environment, but geological processes were constantly changing those conditions. Failure in competition with other species in the same habitat might extinguish a species. The success of one prosperous species might crowd out others to extinction. Lyell's survey of the geographical distribution of plants and animals suggested that each species had come into being in one center. Similar habitats on separate continents seemed to produce quite different species equally adapted to their habitats. Environment, species - everything was in flux." (Boorstin, Daniel J. (1983) The Discovers. Vintage Books: New York p. 468)

"Lyell, in another place, after speaking of unhealthy plants being the first to be destroyed and choked out by more vigorous individuals, uses the phrase which was afterwards to become world famous, "struggle for existence." (Eiseley, L (1958) Darwin’s Centry. Anchor Books: New York p. 101-2)

[Boorstin quoting Darwin] "In October 1838, that is fifteen months after I had begun my systematic enquiry, I happened to read for amusement "Malthus on Population," and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species." (Boorstin, Daniel J. (1983) The Discovers. Vintage Books: New York p. 469)

"In September 1838 he [Darwin] read Malthus, which, he recalled, gave him "a theory by which to work." [Darwin, Autobiography, p. 120.] The catalyst of Malthus precipitated out of Darwin's thought the bare structure of his mechanism of natural selection." (Richards, RJ (1992) The Meaning of Evolution. Univ of Chicago Press: Chicago p. 80)

"In almost every other race of animals each individual, when it is grown up to maturity, is entirely independent, and in its natural state has occasion for the assistance of no other living creature. But man has almost constant occasion for the assistance of no other living creature. But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, andshow them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in the manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of."(Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, p. 7)

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