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After reading the writings of Charles Darwin, Jean Lamarck, and Alfred Russel Wallace you will
submit your answers to the following overview questions and those related to each writing.
Reading #1 Questions: Jean Lamarck’s writing
1. What is the role of the environment in Lamarck's explanation?
2. What scientific approach is suggested by Lamarck's statement: "Nothing of all this can be
considered as hypothesis or private opinion; on the contrary, they are truths which, in
order to be made clear, only require attention and the observation of facts."
3. Was Lamarck's explanation scientific? Why or why not?
4. Can you propose any other explanations for Lamarck's observations about the disuse and
use of organs?
Reading #2 Questions: Alfred Russel Wallace’s writing
1. How would you characterize Wallace's idea that "The life of wild animals is a struggle for
2. How is Wallace's view scientific?
3. Wallace claims that "useful variations will tend to increase, unuseful or hurtful variations
to diminish." How does this occur? What evidence does he cite?
4. How does Wallace's explanation differ from Lamarck's?
5. What do you think of Wallace's critique of Lamarck's hypotheses?
Reading #3 Questions: Charles Darwin’s writing
1. What led Darwin to formulate his ideas about the origin of species?
2. On what did he base his explanations?
3. What did Darwin propose as the origin of species?
4. What was the relationship of Lamarck's and Wallace's work to Darwin's?
5. Was Darwin's explanation scientific? Why or why not?
6. How did Darwin attempt to determine how modifications of a species are accomplished?
7. How did Darwin explain the incomplete nature of his ideas?
Write a brief essay (3 paragraphs) on the nature of scientific knowledge as demonstrated in the
development of the theory of evolution. You should cite at least two quotes from the readings to
support your discussion. The essays should incorporate the concepts of adaptation, natural
selection, and the idea of the descent from common ancestors.