Mendel, Darwin and Evolution

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2022-06-22 12:00:13

Intelligent Design was not the most serious challenge to Darwin's Theory of Evolution in its long history. Scientists in the late nineteenth century couldn't reconcile Darwin's theory with their current understanding of heredity. This flaw was serious enough to cause it to fall out of favour until about 1940 (see Eclipse of Darwinism). Darwin's Theory of Evolution, often a symbol of the clash of religion and science, was revived through the work of Gregor Mendel, a Roman Catholic friar.

Darwin's Theory of Evolution proposed that, with the natural variations that occur in populations, any trait that is beneficial would make that individual more likely to survive and pass on the trait to the next generation. This process of natural selection could result in completely new species. Darwin did not have an explanation for how the traits could be preserved over the succeeding generations. At the time, the prevailing theory of inheritance was that the traits of the parents were blended in the offspring. But this would mean that any beneficial trait would be diluted out of the population within a few generations. This is because most of the blending over the next generations would be with individuals that did not have the trait.

A Roman Catholic friar from Moravia, Gregor Mendel, had the answer to Darwin's problem. Traits were not blended, but inherited whole. Modern Neo-Darwinism combines both Darwin's and Mendel's work.

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