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Book Four---The Hows and the Why of Development and Evolution
"Selection in Evolution" - Previous Chapter / Next Chapter
The Vindication of Darwinism
In The Science of Life (1931) , pp. 600-605
    by H.G. Wells, Julian Huxley, and G.P. Wells

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VIII
SELECTION IN EVOLUTION
§ I. The Vindicaiion of Darwinism. § 2, Natural Selection as a Conservative
Force. § 3. Natural Selection Under Changing Conditions,
§ 4. Selection of Characters Useless to the Species. § 5. Isolation
as a Species-maker. § 6. Crossing May Produce New Species.
§ 7. Failures to Vary and Extinction.
§ 1. The Vindication of Darwinism.
IT MUST be clear already to the reader, after these seven chapters
upon individual development and the variation of the germ-plasm,
that, as we foreshadowed in our opening section, the broad propositions
of Darwinism re-emerge from a scrutiny of the most exacting
sort essentially unchanged. Charles Darwin propounded his view---•
which he applied at first only to animals and plants and extended later
to man---that in general the evolution of species was due to the Natural
Selection of Variations. What has three-quarters of a century of subsequent
criticism done to modify that view? We have now scrutinized
all the main Unes of research during that period, upon the development
of individual characters and the details of heredity, and our answer is,
"Practically nothing." Instead of "Variations" simply, we may prefer
to write "Mutations" or "Variations of the Germ-plasm." We have
already dealt with the questions of convulsive mutation and the
improbability (but not the impossibility) of the Lamarckian factor
playing any large part in the process. We will deal with the Elanvital
group of ideas, which does not so much combat the fact of Natural
Selection as ignore or subordinate it, in a subsequent chapter.
Let us be perfectly clear, even at the risk of repeating one or two
things already said, what this phrase "the struggle for existence"
means. The essential fact on which it lays stress is that the power of
living things to multiply is so great that every Uving species is constantly
tending to press upon its means of subsistence. The daily life
of man and mouse alike, as we pointed out in our opening Book, is
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