Library policies Library hours Library catalogue More than 10,000 books in the database!
Darwin, and After Darwin, Volume 2
Post-Darwinian Questions: Heredity and Utility

written by "Romanes, George John, 1848-1894"
...ed by our opponents. On the contrary, they draw the sharpest distinction between specific and all other characters in this respect, freely conceding that both those below and those above them need not—and very often do not—present any utilitarian significance. Although it appears to me that this doctrine is self-contradictory, and on this ground alone might be summarily dismissed, as it is now held in one or other of its forms by many naturalists, I will give it a more detailed consideration in both its parts—namely, first with respect to the distinction between varieties and species, and next with respect to the distinction between species and genera. Until it can be shown that species are something more than merely arbitrary divisions, due to the disappearance of intermediate varietal links; that in some way or another they are "definite entities," which admit of being delineated by the application of some uniform or general principles of definition; that, in short, species have only then been classified as such when it has been shown that the origin of each has been due to the operation of causes which have not been concerned in the production of varieties;—until these things are shown, it clearly remains a gratuitous dogma to maintain that forms which have been called species differ from forms which have been called varieties in the important respect, that they (let alone each of all their distinctive characters) must necessarily have been due to the principle of utility. Yet, as we have seen, even Mr. Wallace[Pg 259] allows that a species is "not a distinct entity," but "an assemblage of individuals which have become somewhat modified in structure, form, and constitution"; while estimates of the kinds and degrees of modification which are to be taken as of specific value are conceded to be undefinable, fluctuating, and in not a few cases almost ludicrously divergent. Perhaps one cannot more...

This book you can borrow for use directly by visiting our library!