Closely allied species, now living on a continuous area, must often have been formed when the area was not continuous, and when the conditions of life did not insensibly graduate away from one part to another.
Unity and Struggle of Opposites
When two varieties are formed in two districts of a continuous area, an intermediate variety will often be formed, fitted for an intermediate zone; but from reasons assigned, the intermediate variety will usually exist in lesser numbers than the two forms which it connects; consequently the two latter, during the course of further modification, from existing in greater numbers, will have a great advantage over the less numerous intermediate variety, and will thus generally succeed in supplanting and exterminating it.
We have seen in this chapter how cautious we should be in concluding that the most different habits of life could not graduate into each other; that a bat, for instance, could not have been formed by natural selection from an animal which at first only glided through the air.
We have seen that a species under new conditions of life may change its habits; or it may have diversified habits, with some very unlike those of its nearest congeners. Hence we can understand, bearing in mind that each organic being is trying to live wherever it can live, how it has arisen that there are upland geese with webbed feet, ground woodpeckers, diving thrushes, and petrels with the habits of auks. Although the belief that an organ so perfect as the eye could have been formed by natural selection, is enough to stagger any one; yet in the case of any organ, if we know of a long series of gradations in complexity, each good for its possessor, then, under changing conditions of life, there is no logical impossibility in the acquirement of any conceivable degree of perfection through natural selection.
In the cases in which we know of no intermediate or transitional states, we should be extremely cautious in concluding that none can have existed, for the metamorphoses of many organs show what wonderful changes in function are at least possible. For instance, a swim bladder has apparently been converted into an air-breathing lung.
The same organ having performed simultaneously very different functions, and then having been in part or in whole specialised for one function; and two distinct organs having performed at the same time the same function, the one having been perfected whilst aided by the other, must often have largely facilitated transitions. We have seen that in two beings widely remote from each other in the natural scale, organs serving for the same purpose and in external appearance closely similar may have been separately and independently formed; but when such organs are closely examined, essential differences in their structure can almost always be detected; and this naturally follows from the principle of natural selection.
On the other hand, the common rule throughout nature is infinite diversity of structure for gaining the same end; and this again naturally follows from the same great principle.
The Unity of Public Law
In many cases we are far too ignorant to be enabled to assert that a part or organ is so unimportant for the welfare of a species, that modifications in its structure could not have been slowly accumulated by means of natural selection. In many other cases, modifications are probably the direct result of the laws of variation or of growth, independently of any good having been thus gained. But even such structures have often, as we may feel assured, been subsequently taken advantage of, and still further modified, for the good of species under new conditions of life.
We may, also, believe that a part formerly of high importance has frequently been retained as the tail of an aquatic animal by its terrestrial descendants , though it has become of such small importance that it could not, in its present state, have been acquired by means of natural selection.
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The law of unity and struggle of opposites
Embed Video. Right-click on a link below and choose "Save link as The Club - February 27, The Club - November 26, These poles equally and mutually presuppose one another they are indivisible and correlated and exclude one another they displace and alienate; they are incompatible.
Common sense, because of its narrow focus, is cognizant of only the superficial aspect of the unity and struggle of opposites. It sees in the interrelationships of opposing elements only the interaction of logically equal extremes. Dialectics, on the contrary, does not at all dwell on the recognition that opposing elements appear as poles. Dialectics perceives beyond their interaction an uneven relationship of opposing elements emanating from one another, their mutual transition and penetration approaching complete identification with one another, and their contradictions and resolution through struggle.
Unity Magazine September 1918 - Metaphysical Law of the I AM
Lenin, Poln. From the point of view of rational dialectical thinking, genuine opposition does not exist without unity and identity, mutual penetration, and struggle.
In precisely the same way there is no concrete unity without specific oppositions for example, new and old, or traditional and creative. Whitehead and in the doctrine of organicism. Of the ancient philosophers, Plato studied most intensely the dialectics of the unity and struggle of opposites.
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In modern times I. Kant founded the theory of antinomies, J.
Fichte founded the theory of dialectics in the functioning of the ego, and Hegel founded the theory of the unity and struggle of opposites as a logical principle. The latter is one of the most important historical premises of Marxist dialectics. Two tendencies prevail in contemporary bourgeois philosophy. Positivists reduce opposites to poles, and their inter-relationship to one of mutual supplementation complementarism.
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