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.
MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.