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Darwin and Wallace’s papers were presented to the Linnean Society on 1 July 1858. Neither attended.

The Guardian’s contribution to the anniversary.  My eye was caught by the  panel at the top left bylined Teflon Charlie.  There are a few interesting blog posts by Adam Rutherford.

In a TimesOnline promo-interview for Dawkin’s new Channel 4 Series, Dawkins on Darwin, Dawkins says:

“There’s a very important misunderstanding of the relationship between Hitler and Darwin, which is relevant to this,” ….. “A lot of people think that Hitler sort of was a Darwinian, which he absolutely wasn’t. What Hitler did was to take the principle of domestic breeding of animals and apply it to humans. What Darwin did was to take the principle of the domestic breeding of animals and apply it to nature. It’s all done by nature…[].”

which made me think yet again of section 2 of a short 1997 paper by Allison Barnes and Paul Thagard, Empathy and Analogy, dealing with Analogy as a cognitive process. To explain what they mean, they use Darwin’s use of analogy in The Origin of Species, as an example.

Just as artificial selection by breeders using the natural variability of organisms explains how new breeds of plants and animals can arise, so variability and natural selection explain how new species arise.

The analogical comparison in this example involves more than seeing the correspondences between attributes such as develop and relations such as selects. The explanatory power of the analogy derives from the correspondence between the high-level causal relations: just as human selection of traits causes new breeds to develop, so natural selection of traits causes new species to develop. In this example, natural selection is the target analog which needs to be understood and developed, while artificial selection is the source analog that is intended to further explanation and problem solving.

A lot of people might react to the Dawkin’s Hitler point by saying we are animals.

The clarity of the explanation of analogy in the paper could be used by Dawkins.

The Rhetorical Structure of Darwin’s Origin of Species


John Angus Campbell

The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online

Dawkins ( Why Darwin Matters, Guardian, 9 February 2008 ) :

….natural selection is all about differential survival within species, not between them.

July 27, 2008 Posted by | analogy, argument by analogy, Darwin, evolution, evolutionary biology, science | , , , | Leave a comment