Erasmus DarwinIn existographies, Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) (IQ:175|#235) (EvT:9|21+) (CR:41) was an English physician, poet, philosopher, botanist and naturalist, stylized "singular genius" (Thurston, 1878), patriarch of the great "Darwin family", grandfather of naturalist Charles Darwin and great-great grandfather of physicist C.G. Darwin, noted for his 1791 evolution theories, preceding those of Saint-Hilaire (1833) and following those of Goethe (1784), and for his 1794 Zoonomia: the Laws of Organic Life, in which he argued that organic matter may be the matrix of new life. [1]

His 1789, Erasmus, in his poem The Love of Plants, offered a long footnote glimpse of his theory of evolution; his 1794/96 Zoonomia contains a chapter on “Generation”, which outline a foreshadow of modern evolution theory.

Origin of life
In 1794, Erasmus, in his Zoonomia: the Laws of Organic Life, on the subject of the origin of life, gave the following opinion:

“Would it be too bold to imagine, that in the great length of time, since the earth began to exist, perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind, would it be too bold to imagine, that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament, which the great first cause endued with animality, with the power of acquiring new parts, attended with new propensities, directed by irritations, sensations, volitions, and associations; and thus possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity, and of delivering down those improvements by generation to its posterity, world without end!”
— Erasmus Darwin (1794), Zoonomia: the Laws of Organic Life (pg. 397) [2]

This, no doubt, was a precursor idea to Charles Darwin's later "warm pond model" (1871).

Quotes | By
The following are quotes by Erasmus:

“I was led to suspect, that elastic fluids, when they were mechanically expanded, would attract or absorb heat from the bodies in their vicinity; and that, when they were mechanically condensed, the fluid matter of heat would be pressed out of them, and disused among the adjacent bodies.”
— Erasmus Darwin (1788), “Frigorific Experiments on the Mechanical Expansion of Air” [1]

A fool, Mr, Edgeworth, is one who has never made an experiment.
— Erasmus Darwin (c.1795), “Remark to Richard Edgeworth (Ѻ)”; as quoted by Stanley Jevons in ‘Experimental Legislation’ [4]
See also
Desiderius Erasmus

1. Ball, Philip. (2011). Unnatural: the Heretical Idea of Making People (pg. 123). Vintage Books.
2. (a) Darwin, Erasmus. (1794). Zoonomia (XXXIX: On Generation, pgs. 373-442). Publisher.
(b) Darwin, Erasmus in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
3. (a) Erasmus, Darwin. (1788). “Frigorific Experiments on the Mechanical Expansion of Air” (abs) (pg. 43), Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 78:43-42, Jan 01.
(b) Cardwell, Donald S.L. (1971). From Watt to Clausius: the Rise of Thermodynamics in the Early Industrial Age (pg. 58). Cornell University Press.
4. Jevons, Stanley. (1880). “Experimental Legislation” (Ѻ), Popular Science, 16:754, Apr.

Further reading
● King-Hele, Desmond. (1977). Doctor of Revolution: the Life and Genius of Erasmus Darwin. Faber.
● Smith, Cristopher and Arnott, Robert. (2005). The Genius of Erasmus Darwin. Ashgate.

External links
Erasmus Darwin – Wikipedia.

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