Thomas Malthus

posted by Lena

In the assignment I'm doing, there's a question that asks for whether Thomas Malthus believed in evolution or not. I don't know what to say considering he never made any direct references to it. I know he was a Reverend so I'm thinking he believed in creationism but I don't want to assume anything. Any suggestions?

  1. Ms. Sue

    I'd say the question wasn't applicable. Malthus died 25 years before Darwin published The Origin of the Species.

  2. Lena

    Thank you Ms. Sue. The question also asked about Earth's history. So I'm thinking that is about how the Earth was formed and such. Malthus didn't make an references to that either so I would say the same about that as well?

  3. bobpursley

    You are right about assumptions.

    Here is his first law:
    "Elevated as man is above all other animals by his intellectual faculties, it is not to be supposed that the physical laws to which he is subjected should be essentially different from those which are observed to prevail in other parts of animated nature."

    That speaks to what we see as the processes involved in what we call as Evolution.

    Here is all we have of his Religious Beliefs on the subject:
    "The powers of selection, combination, and transmutation, which every seed shews, are truly miraculous. Who can imagine that these wonderful faculties are contained in these little bits of matter? To me it appears much more philosophical to suppose that the mighty God of nature is present in full energy in all these operations."
    That is something nearly all Creationists would accept.

    Perhaps Malthus is being a blend of God's work as understood by man, and not relying on literal belief in the first chapter of Genesis,but more inclined to see that work as a psalm of creation. With that view, then
    "Malthusian selection is not proposed in opposition to the theory of evolution, but in support of it. In the context of new species, or the evolution of species, natural selection and artificial selection remain unchanged.

    However, in the context of populations, natural selection and artificial selection can now be seen in a new light, as additional group selection processes that work in conjunction with Malthusian selection to affect differential rates of reproduction for populations of all species" That is from

    which I anticipate you spending 10 minutes reading. If you do that, you will be more of an expert on the subject than your teacher, I anticipate.

  4. Lena

    Thanks a bunch bobpursley :D

  5. bobpursley

    IS somthing else you might want to scan, it has some nice snippets on what you are asking .

  6. Lena

    Thanks :D

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