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H.G. Bronn, Ernst Haeckel, and the Origins of German DarwinismA Study in Translation and Transformation$
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Sander Gliboff

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262072939

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262072939.001.0001

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Darwin’s Origin

Darwin’s Origin

(p.87) 3 Darwin’s Origin
H.G. Bronn, Ernst Haeckel, and the Origins of German Darwinism

Sander Gliboff

The MIT Press

Charles Darwin did not share all of Heinrich Georg Bronn’s concerns about the status of biology and paleontology as independent Wissenschaften. Unlike Bronn, Darwin was not interested in patterns in taxonomic or paleontological data from which to derive general laws of change. In fact, laws played a limited role in his theory of evolution. Darwin was influenced by many scientists such as Jean-Baptist de Lamarck, Johann Friedrich Meckel, William Paley, Adam Sedgwick, John Stevens Henslow, Richard Owen, and even his own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin. There were many important points of convergence between Darwin and Bronn that made the latter take such a lively interest in On the Origin of Species. This chapter examines the points of divergence between Darwin and Bronn, the most important of which can be attributed, directly or indirectly, to the former’s experiences and connections at the University of Cambridge. In particular, it looks at Darwin’s reading of Paley and his rejection of the laws of adaptation, progress, and change such as Bronn’s.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, Heinrich Georg Bronn, evolution, William Paley, On the Origin of Species, University of Cambridge, adaptation, progress, change, biology

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