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Natural Selection

(339 words)

Author(s): Polkinghorne, John
[German Version] C. Darwin recognized that varying success in reproduction, that is related to small inherited differences between individual animals, could represent a filtering process, in which environmental factors influence the development of a new species over a very long period of time, extending to many generations. About a century later, his Neo-Darwinian students (Darwinism, Neo-Darwinism) recognized that genetic mutations result in these small variations. Thus, for example, animals that…

Nuclear Physics

(1,672 words)

Author(s): Polkinghorne, John C.
[German Version] In the 19th century, physics was still based on the Newtonian conception of a physical world that was clear and deterministic (I. Newton). The early 20th century witnessed a fundamental revision of this theory. On the level of the atom and even smaller particles, nature proved to be fuzzy and variable. I. Light The first break with the principles of classical physics was the work of M. Planck, who theorized that light neither radiates nor is…

Evolution

(3,425 words)

Author(s): Polkinghorne, John | Pollack, Detlef | Hübner, Jürgen | Kubon-Gilke, Gisela | Leiner, Martin
[German Version] I. History and Cosmology – II. Religious Studies – III. Evolution and Creation – IV. Social Sciences – V. Ethics I. History and Cosmology The significance of the notion of evolution as a historical process taking place through the interaction of contingent factors and regular laws first attracted attention in 18th-century geology, where it served to mediate between the theory of uniformity, espoused by James Hutton (…