Development of Evolution Concept

It is a matter of fact that history of evolution is very long and contradictive. The concept of evolution has existed even since ancient times and is being developing nowadays. Modern theory of evolutionary thought was established in 18th-19th centuries. Many outstanding and famous scientists contributed the evolutionary thought and interpreted it in their own way. As it was mentioned above, the concept of evolution appeared and was strongly supported in ancient time by Anaximander, Democritus, Epicurus and Empedocles.
Those Greek philosophers made the first attempt to explain the concept of evolution suggesting that humans, sun, earth life and civilization emerged from “aeons without divine intervention”. (Bowler 2003, 23) The Roman philosopher Lucretius described life development in stages starting from atoms collisions and ending with succession of animals and less brutish humans. Nevertheless, evolutionary thoughts died in Europe after the Roman Empire had fallen; however, the ideas were developed in Islamic countries.
It is known that Al-Jahiz claimed that environment affected the animals’ survivals and it had to affect humans as well. Ibn al-Haitham argued even about the explicitly for evolutionism. (Bowler 2003) Matthew Hale in 1677 used the term “evolution” t attack the atomism of Epicurus and Democritus. He argued that their atomist theory and suggested that collisions and vibrations of atoms had formed not humans and animals, but semina that were “immediate, primitive, productive principles of men, animals, birds and fishes”. (Riddle 1954, 89) Hale called that mechanism absurdity.

The concept of evolution was contributed also by German scientists including Schelling and Hegel. According to them evolution appears to be a fundamentally spiritual process involving both natural and divine interventions. They argued that evolution was “a self- disclosing revelation of the absolute”. (Riddle 1954, 89) In the early 18th century German scientist Leibniz suggested that the objects are caused by internal forces. He supported the idea of that evolution involved divine principles. He mentioned that universe couldn’t be formed without God’s works. (Riddle 1954)
In 1745 Pierre Maupertius suggested rather interesting concept considering that all the modern species are the smallest parts produced by the blind destiny. According to him “chance” has produced innumerable individuals; however only few individuals are able to satisfy their needs, whereas others perish. Therefore he presented the idea of natural selection further contributed by Charles Darwin. One more scientist Buffon suggested the mutability of species and underlined that organisms are influenced strongly by natural processes.
In 1755 Kant, German philosopher and scientist predicted the theory that unformed matter develops into the highest types of plants and animals. Kant believed that modifications and variations were the response to “mechanical laws of the organisms themselves rather than to the influence of their surroundings”. (Bowler 2003, 120) Herder, for example, agreed with the concept of natural selection stating that struggle foe survival and existence played the major role in organic world, although the theme remained undeveloped and rather vague.
In the early 19th century Wells assumed that evolution of humans is the principle of natural selection. It is known that Darwin was unaware of Wells’ suggestions and later he acknowledged that Wells was the first to promote the idea of natural selection in the evolutionary thought. In 1833 Charles Lyell emphasized the gradual variation of evolution, where each specie had “centre of creation and was diagnosed for habitat, but would go extinct when the habitat changed”. (Bowler 2003, 126) The concept was supported by Herschel outlined that natural laws played the most important role in species forming.
Nevertheless, the most important contribution into development of evolutionary though was actually made by Charles Darwin. Darwin criticized the previous ideas about natural selection assuming they failed to propone the coherent philosophy and to suggest the proper mechanism of species variations. Darwin, in his turn, stated that species had arisen from the “selective actions of external conditions upon the variations from their specific type which individuals present and which is called spontaneous”. (West 1938, 147) The Darwin’s theory proved to be successful providing the useful statistical models of evolution.
In the late 19th century evolutionary though was considerably contributed by the works of Gregor Mendel. He carried out series of experiments and in result provided models for inheritance based on the unit of gene. However, Mendel’s works remained unappreciated for many years and even ignored by biologists. Mendel’s works were “discovered” in 1990 and caused a conflict between Mendelians. (Riddle 1954) In 1970s the neutral theory of molecular evolution was presented by famous scientist Motoo Kimura who the first to establish the genetic drift and considered it a mechanism of evolution.
One more interesting idea was generated by Lynn Margilus. He presented the theory of symboigenesis arguing that genetic drift and mutations are not enough to explain the concepts of evolution. In the theory Margulis stated that species emerged through the process of symbiosis. (Riddle 1954) In 1972 Stephen Gould suggested the theory of punctuated equilibrium. All the theories were followed by renewal of structuaralist themes in evolutionary ideology. For example, Brian Goodwin incorporated in his researches the ideas of systems theory along with cybernetics and thus emphasized the important role of natural selection.
In 1995 Daniel Dennett argued that Darwin’s natural selection is “algorithmic process applicable to many circumstances besides biological evolution”. (Bowler 2003, 225) Such concept of evolution was called “universal Darwinism”. It is necessary to outline that the development of evolutionary thought was vivid, though contradictive. Lots of theories and concepts were developed to explain the evolution of human beings, but scientists failed to find the only satisfactory explanation. Nowadays some theories are disapproved, others are improved and followed. (Henderson 2000)

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