(Science) 시대에 앞선 다윈: 아직도 큰 영향 미쳐

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By NICHOLAS WADE ⓒ2009 New York Times News Service Darwin’s theory of evolution has become the bedrock of modern biology. But for most of the theory’s existence since 1859, even biologists have ignored or vigorously opposed it, in whole or in part. 다윈의 진화론은 현대 생물학의 초석이 되어 있다. 그러나 1859년에서 현재에 이르는 그 이론의 생존기간의 대부분에 걸쳐 생물학자들조차도 그 이론에 대해 부분적으로 또는 전체적으로 무시하거나 맹렬히 반대하는 일이 벌어져 왔다. It is a testament to Darwin’s extraordinary insight that it took almost a century for biologists to understand the essential correctness of his views. 생물학자들이 그의 견해가 근본적으로 옳다는 것을 이해하게 되는 데 근 한 세기가 걸렸다는 것은 다윈의 비상한 통찰력을 증명해 주고 있다. Biologists quickly accepted the idea of evolution, but for decades they rejected natural selection, the mechanism Darwin proposed for the evolutionary process. 생물학자들은 진화라는 개념은 속히 수용했다. 그러나 수십 년 동안 그들은 자연선택이란 개념은 거부했다. 이것은 다윈이 진화 과정을 가져오는 장치라고 생각한 것이었다. Until the mid-20th century they largely ignored sexual selection, a special aspect of natural selection that Darwin proposed to account for male ornaments like the peacock’s tail. And biologists are still arguing about group-level selection, the idea that natural selection can operate at the level of groups as well as on individuals. Darwin proposed group selection — or something like it; scholars differ as to what he meant — to account for castes in ant societies and morality in people. How did Darwin come to be so in advance of his time? Why were biologists so slow to understand that Darwin had provided the correct answer on so many central issues? Historians of science have noted several distinctive features of Darwin’s approach to science that, besides genius, help account for his insights. They also point to several nonscientific criteria that stood as mental blocks in the way of biologists’ accepting Darwin’s ideas. One of Darwin’s advantages was that he did not have to write grant proposals or publish 15 articles a year. He thought deeply about every detail of his theory for more than 20 years before publishing “The Origin of Species” in 1859, and for 12 years more before its sequel, “The Descent of Man,” which explored how his theory applied to people. (ⓒ2009 The New York Times) (ⓒ2009 usabriefing.net)
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