Ernst Haeckel, full name Ernst Heinrich Phillip August Haeckel

Ernst
Haeckel, full name Ernst Heinrich Phillip August Haeckel
1834
1919

German Biologist, Naturalist, Philosopher, Physician, Professor and Artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology

Author Quotes

Phylogenesis is the mechanical cause of ontogenesis.

They throw light first of all on the "natural history of creation," then on psychology, or "the science of the soul," and through this on the whole of philosophy. And as the general results of every branch of inquiry are summed up in philosophy, all the sciences come in turn to be touched and influenced more or less by the study of the evolution of man.

Comparative psychology teaches us to recognize a very long series of successive steps in the development of soul in the animal kingdom. But it is only in the most highly developed vertebrates-birds and mammals--that we discern the first beginnings of reason, the first traces of religious and ethical conduct. In them we find not only the social virtues common to all the higher socially-living animals,--neighborly love, friendship, fidelity, self-sacrifice, etc.,--but also consciousness, sense of duty, and conscience; in relation to man their lord, the same obedience, the same submissiveness, and the same craving for protection, which primitive man in his turn shows towards his "gods."

Phylogeny and ontogeny are, therefore, the two coordinated branches of morphology. Phylogeny is the developmental history [Entwickelungsgeschichte] of the abstract, genealogical individual; ontogeny, on the other hand, is the developmental history of the concrete, morphological individual.

This demand, that the doctrine of descent should be grounded on experiment, is so perverse and shows such ignorance of the very essence of our theory, that though we have never been surprised at hearing it continually repeated by ignorant laymen, from the lips of a Virchow it has positively astounded us. What can in this case be proved by experiment, and what can experiment prove?

Everybody knows that the butterfly emerges from the pupa, and the pupa from a quite different thing called a larva, and the larva from the butterfly's egg.

Politics is applied biology.

Though the great differences in the mental life and the civilisation of the higher and lower races are generally known, they are, as a rule, under-valued, and so the value of life at the different levels is falsely estimated. It is civilisation, and the fuller development of the mind that makes civilisation possible, that raise mans so much above the other animals, even his nearest animal relatives, the mammals. But this is, as a rule, peculiar to the higher races, and is found only in a very imperfect form or not at all among the lower. These lower races (such as the Veddahs or Austrailan negroes) are psychologically nearer to the mammals (apes or dogs) than to civilised Europeans; we must, therefore, assign a totally different value to their lives.

I trust we may be able to arouse the same interest in this delicate field of inquiry as has been excited already in other branches of science; though we shall meet more obstacles here than elsewhere.

The Caucasian, or Mediterranean man (Homo Mediterraneus), has from time immemorial been placed as the head of all races of men, as the most highly developed and perfect.

We may now give the following more precise expression to our chief law of biogeny:— The evolution of the foetus (or ontogenesis) is a condensed and abbreviated recapitulation of the evolution of the stem (orphylogenesis); and this recapitulation is the more complete in proportion as the original development (orpalingenesis) is preserved by a constant heredity; on the other hand, it becomes less complete in proportion as a varying adaptation to new conditions increases the disturbing factors in the development (or cenogenesis).

I will endeavor to be as plain as possible in dealing with this branch of science.

The causal character of the relation which connects embryology with stem-history is due to the action of heredity and adaptation.

We need but mention the mighty influence which irrational dogmas still exercise on the elementary education of our youth, we need but mention that the state yet permits the existence of cloisters and of celibacy, the most immoral and baneful ordinance of the “only-saving” church; we need but mention that the civilized state yet divides the most important parts of the civil year in accordance with church festivals; that in many countries it allows the public order to be disturbed by church processions, and so on.

In consequence of Darwin's reformed Theory of Descent, we are now in a position to establish scientifically the groundwork of a non-miraculous history of the development of the human race... If any person feels the necessity of conceiving the coming into existence of this matter as the work of a supernatural creative power, of the creative force of something outside of matter, we have nothing to say against it. But we must remark, that thereby not even the smallest advantage is gained for a scientific knowledge of nature. Such a conception of an immaterial force, which as the first creates matter, is an article of faith which has nothing whatever to do with human science. Where faith commences, science ends.

The common origin of man and the other mammals from a single ancient stem-form can no longer be questioned; nor can the immediate blood-relationship of man and the ape.

We see that man entirely resembles the higher mammals, and most of all the apes, in embryonic development as well as in anatomic structure. And if we seek to understand this ontogenetic agreement in the light of the biogenetic law, we find that it proves clearly and necessarily the descent of man from a series of other mammals, and proximately from the primates.

In many of these languages there are numerals only for one, two, and three: no Australian language counts beyond four. Very many wild tribes can count no further than ten or twenty, whereas some very clever dogs have been made to count up to forty and even beyond sixty.

The difference between the reason of a Goethe, a Kant, a Lamarck, or a Darwin, and that of the lowest savage, a Vedda, an Akka, a native Australian, or a Patagonian, is much greater than the graduated difference between the reason of the latter and the most "rational" mammals, the anthropoid apes, or even the papiomorpha, the dog, or the elephant.

Yet it is an astonishing fact that the science of the evolution of man does not even yet form part of the scheme of general education. In fact, educated people even in our day are for the most part quite ignorant of the important truths and remarkable phenomena which anthropogeny teaches us.

In order to be convinced of this important result, it is above all things necessary to study and compare the mental life of wild savages and of children. At the lowest stage of human mental development are the Australians, some tribes of the Polynesians, and the Bushmen, Hottentots, and some of the Negro tribes.

The doctrine of derivation, or theory of descent, as a comprehensive theory of the natural origin of all organisms, assumes that all compound organisms are derived from simple ones, all many-celled animals and plants from single-celled ones, and these last from quite simple primary organisms—from monads. As we see the organic species, the multiform varieties of animals and plants, vary under our eyes through adaptation, while the similarity of their internal structure is reasonably explicable only by inheritance from common parent-forms, we are forced to assume common parent-forms for at least the great main divisions of the animal and vegetable kingdoms, and for the classes, orders, and so forth.

In the course of individual development, inherited characters appear, in general, earlier than adaptive ones, and the earlier a certain character appears in ontogeny, the further back must lie in time when it was acquired by its ancestors.

The doctrine of elimination, or the selection theory, as the doctrine especially of "choice of breed or selection," assumes that almost all, or at any rate most, organic species have originated by a process of selection; the artificial varieties under conditions of domestication—as the races of domestic animals and cultivated plants—through artificial choice of breeds; and the natural varieties of animals and plants in their wild state by natural choice of breeds: in the first case, the will of man effects the selection to suit a purpose; in the second, it is effected in a purposeless way by the "struggle for existence." In both cases the transformation of the organic forms takes place through the reciprocal action of the laws of inheritance and of adaptation; in both cases it depends on the survival or selection of the better-qualified minority.

In this mighty “war of culture,” affecting as it does the whole history of the World, and in which we may well deem it an honor to take part, no better ally that Anthropogeny can, it seems to me, be brought to the assistance of struggling truth. The history of evolution is the heavy artillery in the struggle for truth.

Author Picture
First Name
Ernst
Last Name
Haeckel, full name Ernst Heinrich Phillip August Haeckel
Birth Date
1834
Death Date
1919
Bio

German Biologist, Naturalist, Philosopher, Physician, Professor and Artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology