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SPONTANEOUS ORDER, EVOLUTION, AND NATURAL LAW

that works to project its pre its present narrow definition of evolution with its limited scope, back into the 19th century. That neither evolution nor its explanation were conceived in this way at that time is well evidenced by the words of Darwin's most enthusiastic and influential ninenteenth century supporter himself, Thomas Huxley. "Mr. Darwin," wrote Huxley (1878/1970, p. 212) in his entry in the 1878 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, has made "numerous and important contributions to the problems of biological evolution...[while] on the other hand, Mr. Spencer...has dealt with the whole problem of evolution."

Finally, it should be briefly noted that many decades before the innovative and best-selling works of Chambers and Spencer, Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin's grandfather and a public figure in his own right, was steeped in the subject of evolution promoting, among other things, the idea that "all living things were descended from a common ancestor" (Darlington, 1961, p. 26). In 18th century France the influential naturalist Buffon wrote of the transformation of species, and he was followed by Lamarck with his widely read theory of evolution, while in Germany at the end of the eighteenth century Schelling was writing about "the progressive development of nature as a 'dynamic evolution' [dynamische Evolution]" (Richards, 1992, p. 271), and Treviranus of the transformation of species, and there were many others.

The Fecundity Principle, The Idea of Natural Selection:, And The Core Of Darwinian Theory

While there are many brands of Darwinism today what unifies them all under the common name of "Darwinism" is the core concept of natural selection, the central principle according to which Darwinian theory is said to explain evolution (Depew & Weber, 1995). Attributing the idea of natural selection to Darwin, Dennett (1995b, p. 21), as noted earlier, calls it "the single best idea anyone has ever had". Evolution, according to Darwinism, is seen as following from natural selection, and natural selection is entailed by what Popper (1985) has called a "situational logic", namely, if certain conditions hold then natural selection will necessarily follow. The most fundamental condition of this situational logic, often referred to as the sine qua non of the living, is the "fecundity principle", a biological extremum principle that expresses the active striving of living things to fill out the economy of nature. The other conditions are heritable variation and the finite availability of resources (or the finite accessibility of space-time, a property, by definition, of space-time itself).

Because "every organic being," said Darwin (1859/1937, p. 266), is "striving its utmost to increase, there is therefore the strongest possible power tending to make each site support as much life as possible." Paraphrasing Darwin, in Schweber's (1985, p. 38) words, this says that nature acts to "maximize the amount of life per unit area" given the constraints, and this is the essence of the fecundity principle. Thus, given a population of replicating or reproducing entities with heritable variation, "striving," in Darwin's (1859/1937, p. 152) words, "to seize on every unoccupied or less well occupied space in the economy of nature", and given finite accessibility to resources, a "struggle for existence" necessarily follows, leading to the selection of the fittest variants, or to the "survival of the fittest". This is the idea

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