Agassiz, Louis – Essay on Classification – The fallacy of chance mutation as the means of evolution
Type of Spiritual Experience
The argument here isbased on the fact that there are numerous species that are structurally almost identical all over the world.
Ignoring for the moment the problem of how did they get there when oceans sometimes separate animals that cannot swim, many of these sub-species differ by very small things, often things that have very little to do with their environment.
This then leaves the open question, how is it that they have all stayed much the same in essence, if chance mutation is the means by which the diversity occurred. Chance mutation ought to lead to practically no animals that are alike
A description of the experience
ESSAY ON CLASSIFICATION By LOUIS AGASSIZ
There is no structural difference between the herrings of the Arctic, or those of the Temperate zone, or those of the Tropics, or those of the Antarctic regions; there are not any more between the foxes and wolves of the most distant parts of the globe.
Moreover, if there were any, and the specific differences existing between them were insisted upon, could any relation between these differences and the cosmic influences under which they live be pointed out, which would at the same time account for the independence of their structure in general?
In other words, how could it be assumed that while these ‘causes’ would produce specific differences, they would at the same time produce generic identity, family identity, ordinal identity, class identity, typical identity?
When naturalists have investigated the influence of physical causes upon living beings, they have constantly overlooked the fact that the features which are thus modified are only of secondary importance in the life of animals and plants, and that neither the plan of their structure nor the various complications of that structure are ever affected by such influences.
Identity in everything that is truly important, high, and complicated in the structure of animals, produced by the most diversified influences, while at the same time these extreme physical differences, considered as the cause of the existence of these animals, would produce diversity in secondary relations only!