Journal of the History of Biology 45 (2):253-299 (2012)
AbstractThe relatively late acceptance of Darwinism in German biology and paleontology is frequently attributed to a lingering of Lamarckism, a persisting influence of German idealistic Naturphilosophie and Goethean romanticism. These factors are largely held responsible for the vitalism underlying theories of saltational and orthogenetic evolutionary change that characterize the writings of many German paleontologists during the first half of the 20th century. A prominent exponent of that tradition was Karl Beurlen, who is credited with having been the first German paleontologist to present a full-fledged theory of saltational evolution and orthogenetic change. A review of Beurlen's writings reveals motives and concerns far more complex, however, and firmly rooted in contemporary völkisch thought and Aryan Science. Beurlen's mature theory of evolution can indeed be understood as his own contribution to Aryan Geology and Biology, tainted as it was with National-Socialist ideology. Evolutionary biologists of the time who opposed the theories of Beurlen and likeminded authors, i.e., idealistic morphology, typology, saltational change, orthogenesis and cyclism did so on Darwinian principles, which ultimately prevailed. But at the time when the battle was fought, their adherence to the principle of natural selection was likewise ideologically tainted, namely in terms of racial theory. National-Socialist ideology was unable to forge a unity of evolutionary theory in Germany even amongst those of its proponents who endorsed this ideology
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References found in this work
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The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe.Robert J. Richards - 2002 - University of Chicago Press.
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Citations of this work
Adolf Naef (1883–1949): On Foundational Concepts and Principles of Systematic Morphology. [REVIEW]Olivier Rieppel, David M. Williams & Malte C. Ebach - 2013 - Journal of the History of Biology 46 (3):445-510.
Hugo Dingler (1881–1954) and the Philosophical Foundation of the German Evolutionary Synthesis.Olivier Rieppel - 2011 - Biological Theory 6 (2):162-168.
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