Advertisement

Journal of the History of Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 267–305 | Cite as

William Bateson from Balanoglossus to Materials for the Study of Variation: The Transatlantic Roots of Discontinuity and the (un)naturalness of Selection

  • Erik L. Peterson
Article

Abstract

William Bateson (1861–1926) has long occupied a controversial role in the history of biology at the turn of the twentieth century. For the most part, Bateson has been situated as the British translator of Mendel or as the outspoken antagonist of W.␣F. R. Weldon and Karl Pearson’s biometrics program. Less has been made of Bateson’s transition from embryologist to advocate for discontinuous variation, and the precise role of British and American influences in that transition, in the years leading up to the publication of his massive Materials for the Study of Variation (1894). In this paper, I first attempt to trace Bateson’s development in his early career before turning to search for the development of the moniker “anti-Darwinist” that has been attached to Bateson in well-known histories of the neo-Darwinian Synthesis.

Keywords

William Bateson discontinuous variation merism W. F. R. Weldon R. A. Fisher Ernst Mayr embryology neo-Darwinism 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Phillip Sloan, Paul Farber, and the anonymous reviewers for insightful comments on earlier drafts of this essay. Thank you also to Daniel McKaughan and James Barham, who planted the initial seeds for this project.

References

  1. Allen Garland. 1978. Thomas Hunt Morgan: the Man and His Science. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  2. [Anon.] 1894. “Bateson’s Dictionary of Variation.” The American Naturalist 28(332): 692.Google Scholar
  3. [Anon.] 1906. “William Bateson: In Memoriam,” The Eagle (St. John’s College magazine) 44(197): 3.Google Scholar
  4. Bateson, Beatrice (ed.). 1928a. William Bateson, F.R.S.: His Essays and Addresses. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bateson, Beatrice (ed.). 1928b. Letters from the Steppe: Written in the Years 1886–1887. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  6. Bateson, Gregory. 2000a. “Experiments in Thinking about Observed Ethnological Material.” G. Bateson (ed.), Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Reprint ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, pp. 73–87.Google Scholar
  7. Bateson, Gregory. 2000b. “The Role of Somatic Change in Evolution.” G. Bateson (ed.), Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Reprint ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, pp. 346–365.Google Scholar
  8. Bateson, Gregory. 2000c. “A Re-Examination of Bateson’s Rule.” G. Bateson (ed.), Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Reprint ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, pp. 379–399.Google Scholar
  9. Bateson Peter. 2002. William Bateson: A Biologist Ahead of His Time. Journal of Genetics 81(2): 49–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bateson, William. 1971. Scientific Papers of William Bateson, vol. 2. R. Punnett (ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bateson William. 1979. Problems of Genetics. Sillman Milestones in Science. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Bateson William. 1992. Materials for the Study of Variation Treated with Especial Regard to Discontinuity in the Origin of Species. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Bateson William, et al. 1910. William Keith Brooks, A Sketch of His Life by Some of His Former Pupils and Associates. Journal of Experimental Zoology 9(1): 1–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Benson, Keith. 1979. “William Keith Brooks (1848–1908): a Case Study in Morphology and the Development of American Biology.” Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Oregon State University.Google Scholar
  15. Bowler Peter J. 1983. The Eclipse of Darwinism: Anti-Darwinian Evolution Theories in the Decades Around 1900. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Bowler Peter J. 1988. The Non-Darwinian Revolution: Reinterpreting a Historical Myth. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Bowler Peter J. 1989a. The Mendelian Revolution: the Emergence of Hereditarian Concepts in Modern Science and Society. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Bowler Peter J. 1989b. Development and Adaptation: Evolutionary Concepts in British Morphology, 1870–1914. British Journal for the History of Science 22(3): 283–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Bowler Peter J. 1989c. Holding Your Head up High: Degeneration and Orthogenesis in Theories of Human Evolution. In J. Moore (eds.) History, Humanity, and Evolution: Essays for John C. Greene. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 329–353.Google Scholar
  20. Bowler, Peter J. 1992. “Foreword.” In Materials for the Study of Variation, Treated with Especial Regard to Discontinuity in the Origin of Species. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. xvii–xxvii.Google Scholar
  21. Bowler Peter J. 2005. Revisiting the Eclipse of Darwinism. Journal of the History of Biology 38(1): 19–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Brautigam, Jeffery. 1993. “Inventing Biometry, Inventing ‹Man’: Biometrika and the Transformation of the Human Sciences.” Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Florida.Google Scholar
  23. Brindley H. H. 1898. On Certain Characters of Reproduced Appendages in Arthropoda, Particularly in the Blattidae. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 66: 924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Brooks William Keith. 1883. The Law of Heredity: a Study of the Cause of Variation. 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Carroll Sean. 2005. Endless Forms Most Beautiful: the New Science of Evo-Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  26. Cock Alan G. 1973. William Bateson, Mendelism and Biometry Journal of the History of Biology 6(1): 1–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Cock Alan G. 1983. William Bateson’s rejection and eventual acceptance of chromosome theory Annals of Science 40(1): 19–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Cockerell T. D. A. 1894. Discontinous colour-variation. Letter to the editor Nature 50(1287): 197–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Coleman William. 1970a. Bateson and chromosomes: conservative thought in science Centaurus 15(3/4): 228–314.Google Scholar
  30. Coleman William. 1970b Bateson, William. In C. Gillespie (eds.) Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol. 1. New York: Scribner, pp. 505–506.Google Scholar
  31. Conn H. W. 1895. Review of Materials for the Study of Variation Science (new series) 1(1): 23–24.Google Scholar
  32. Crowther J. G. 1952. British Scientists of the Twentieth Century. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  33. Darden Lindley. 1991. Theory and Change in Science: Strategies from Mendelian Genetics. Monographs on the History and Philosophy of Biology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Darwin Charles. 1872. The Origin of Species. 6th ed. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  35. Darwin Charles. 1885. The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, vol. 2, 2nd ed. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  36. Depew, David, Weber, Bruce. 1995. Darwinism Evolving: Systems Dynamics and the Genealogy of Natural Selection. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  37. Endersby Jim. 2003. Darwin on generation, pangenesis, and sexual selection. In J. Hodge, G. Radick (eds.) The Cambridge Companion to Darwin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 69–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Evans, David. 2004. “Newton, Alfred (1829–1907).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/35221, accessed 15 April 2006].
  39. Falk Raphael. 2003. Linkage: from particulate to interactive genetics Journal of the History of Biology 36(1): 87–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Fisher Ronald A. 1922. Darwinian evolution by mutations Eugenics Review 14: 31–34.Google Scholar
  41. Fisher, Ronald A. 1999. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Variorum ed. J. Bennett (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Froggatt P., Nevin N. C. 1971. The ‹Law of Ancestral Heredity’ and the Mendelian-Ancestrian controversy in England, 1889–1906 Journal of Medical Genetics 8(1): 1–36.Google Scholar
  43. Galton Francis. 1894. Discontinuity in evolution Mind (n.s.) 3(11): 369.Google Scholar
  44. Gayon Jean. 1998. Darwinism’s Struggle for Survival: Heredity and the Hypothesis of Natural Selection. Cambridge Studies in Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Ghiselin Michael. 1980. The failure of morphology to assimilate Darwinism. In E. Mayr W. Provine (eds.) The Evolutionary Synthesis: Perspectives on the Unification of Biology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, pp. 180–193.Google Scholar
  46. Gillham Nicholas. 2001. Evolution by jumps Francis Galton and William Bateson and the mechanism of evolutionary change Genetics 159(4): 1383–1392.Google Scholar
  47. Gould Stephen Jay. 1977. Eternal metaphors of palaeontology. In A. Hallam (eds.) Patterns of Evolution as Illustrated by the Fossil Record. Developments in Palaeontology and Stratigraphy, 5. Amsterdam: Elsevier Scientific Publishing, Co., pp. 1–26.Google Scholar
  48. Gould Stephen Jay. 1983. The hardening of the modern synthesis. In M. Grene (eds.) Dimensions of Darwinism: Themes and Counterthemes in Twentieth-Century Evolutionary Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 71–93.Google Scholar
  49. Gould Stephen Jay. 1998. Darwinism and the expansion of evolutionary theory. In M. Ruse (eds.) Philosophy of Biology. Amherst, New York: Promethius Books, pp. 100–117.Google Scholar
  50. Grebowicz, Margret. 2004. “Consensus, Dissensus, and Democracy: What is at Stake in Feminist Science Studies?” In Proceedings Philosophy of Science Assoc. 19th Biennial Meeting – PSA 2004. PSA 2004 Contributed Papers, Austin, TX. [http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/rchive/00001946, accessed 7 June 2007].
  51. Grene Marjorie, Depew David. 2004. The Philosophy of Biology: an Episodic History. The Evolution of Modern Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Haldane, J. B. S. 1926. “William Bateson,” The Nation & The Athenæum 30 (Feb. 26): 713.Google Scholar
  53. Hall Brian. 2000. Balfour, Garstang and de Beer the first century of evolutionary embryology American Zoologist 40(3): 718–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Hall Brian. 2005. Betrayed by Balanoglossus: William Bateson’s rejection of evolutionary embryology as the basis for understanding evolution Journal of Experimental Zoology (Mol. Dev. Evol), 304B(1): 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Hamburger Viktor. 1988. The Heritage of Experimental Embryology: Hans Spemann and the Organizer. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Harper Peter S. 2005. William Bateson, human genetics, and medicine Human Genetics 118(1): 141–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Heinemann J. A. 1993. Review of Materials for the Study of Variation Treated with Especial Regard to Discontinuity in the Origin of Species The Quarterly Review of Biology 68(3): 429–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Henig Robin M. 2000. The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics. New York: Houghton-Mifflin.Google Scholar
  59. Hull David. 1985. Darwinism as a historical entity: a historiographic proposal. In D. Kohn (eds.) The Darwinian Heritage. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 773–823.Google Scholar
  60. Huxley, Julian. 1960. “The Emergence of Darwinism.” S. Tax (ed.), The Evolution of Life: It’s Origin, History, and Future, vol. 1. Evolution After Darwin, The University of Chicago Centennial, vol. 3. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, pp. 1–21.Google Scholar
  61. Huxley, Leonard (ed.). 1900. Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley, vol. 2. New York: D. Appleton and Co.Google Scholar
  62. Huxley, Thomas Henry. 2006. Darwiniana: Essays, vol. 2. Collected essays (1893–1894). Charleston, SC: Bibliobazaar. [Originally published 1893].Google Scholar
  63. Jenkin H. C. F. 1867. Review of The Origin of Species North British Review 46: 277–318.Google Scholar
  64. Keiner Christine. 1998. W.K. Brooks and the oyster question science, politics, and resource management in Maryland, 1880–1930 Journal of the History of Biology 31(3): 383–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Kevles Daniel. 1980. Genetics in the United States and Great Britain, 1890–1930 a review with speculations Isis 71(3): 441–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Kirschner Marc W., Gerhart John C. 2005. The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin’s Dilemma. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Lipset David. 1980. Gregory Bateson: the Legacy of a Scientist. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  68. MacKenzie Donald. 1981. Statistics in Britain, 1865–1930. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Maienschein Jane. 1987. H.N. Martin and W.K. Brooks: exemplars for American biology American Zoologist 27(3): 773–783.Google Scholar
  70. Maienschein Jane. 1991. Transforming Traditions in American Biology, 1880–1915. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  71. Martins Lilian A. P. 1999. William Bateson da evolução à genética Episteme Filosofia e História das Ciências em Revista 8: 67–88.Google Scholar
  72. Mayr Ernst. 1949a. Systematics and the Origin of Species. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Mayr Ernst. 1949b. Speciation and Selection Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 93(6): 514–519.Google Scholar
  74. Mayr, Ernst. 1960. “The Emergence of Evolutionary Novelties.” S. Tax (ed.), The Evolution of Life: It’s Origin, History, and Future, vol. 1. Evolution After Darwin, The University of Chicago Centennial, vol. 3. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, pp. 349–380.Google Scholar
  75. Mayr Ernst. 1963. Animal Species and Evolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  76. Mayr Ernst. 1973. The recent historiography of genetics Journal of the History of Biology 6(1): 125–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Mayr Ernst. 1980. Prologue: some thoughts on the history of the evolutionary synthesis. In E. Mayr, W. Provine (eds.) The Evolutionary Synthesis: Perspectives on the Unification of Biology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, pp. 1–48.Google Scholar
  78. McCullough Dennis. 1969. W. K. Brooks’ role in the history of American biology Journal of the History of Biology 2(2): 411–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Morgan Thomas H. 1927. William Bateson Annual Proceedings of the Smithsonian Institution, 1926: 521–532.Google Scholar
  80. Nordmann Alfred. 1992. Darwinians at war: Bateson’s place in histories of Darwinism Synthese 91: 53–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Norton BJ. 1973. The biometric defense of Darwinism Journal of the History of Biology 6(2): 283–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Norton BJ 1983. Fisher’s entrance into evolutionary science: the role of eugenics. In M. Grene (eds.) Dimensions of Darwinism: Themes and Counterthemes in Twentieth-Century Evolutionary Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 19–29.Google Scholar
  83. Norton, B.J. and Pearson, E.S. 1976. “A Note on the Background to, and Refereeing of, R. A. Fisher’s 1918 Paper ‹On the Correlation Between Relatives on the Supposition of Mendelian Inheritance.’” Notes and Records of the Royal Society 32: 151–162.Google Scholar
  84. Olby, Robert. 1985. Origins of Mendelism, 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  85. Olby Robert. 1989a. The dimensions of scientific controversy the biometric–Mendelian debate British Journal for the History of Science 22(3): 299–320.Google Scholar
  86. Olby, Robert. 1989b. Scientists and bureaucrats in the establishment of the John Innes Horticultural Institution under William Bateson Annals of Science 46(5): 497–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Olby, Robert. 2004. “Bateson, William (1861–1926),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/30641, accessed 3 April 2006].
  88. Osborn, Henry L. 1898. A case of variation in the number of ambulacral systems of Arbacia punctulata The American Naturalist 32(376): 259–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Pearson, Karl. 1906. Walter Frank Raphael Weldon, 1860–1906 Biometrika 5(1/2): 1–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Provine, William. 1983. The development of Wright’s theory of evolution: systematics, adaptation, and drift. In M. Grene (eds.) Dimensions of Darwinism: Themes and Counterthemes in Twentieth-Century Evolutionary Theory. Cambridge University Press, pp. 43–70.Google Scholar
  91. Provine, William. 1985. Adaptation and mechanisms of evolution after Darwin: a study in persistent controversies. In D. Kohn (eds.) The Darwinian Heritage. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 825–886.Google Scholar
  92. Provine, William. 2001. The Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics. Reprint edition with a new afterword. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  93. Punnett R. C. 1950. Early days of genetics Heredity 4(1): 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Richmond, Marsha L. 2006. The 1909 Darwin Celebration: reexamining evolution in the light of Mendel, mutation, and meiosis Isis 97(3): 447–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Robinson, Gloria. 1979. A Prelude to Genetics: Theories of a Material Substance of Heredity, Darwin to Weismann. Lawrence, KS: Coronado Press.Google Scholar
  96. Romanes, George J. 1894. “Panmixia,” Letter to the Editor. Nature 50(1280) (May 10): 74–75.Google Scholar
  97. Rosenberg, Alexander. 1985. The Structure of Biological Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  98. Schwartz, Sara. 2002. Characters as units and the case of the presence and absence hypothesis Biology and Philosophy 17(3): 369–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Schwartz, Jeffery H. 2007. “Recognizing William Bateson’s Contributions.” Letter to the Editor. Science 315(5815) (Feb. 23): 1077.Google Scholar
  100. Scott W. B. 1894. On variations and mutations American Journal of Science (3rd series) 48(287): 355–374.Google Scholar
  101. Sedgwick, Adam. 2001. Objections to Mr. Darwin’s Theory of the Origin of Species (1860). In P. Appleman (eds.) Darwin: a Norton Critical Edition. 3rd ed. New York: Norton, pp. 265–267.Google Scholar
  102. Sloan, Phillip R. 2000. Mach’s phenomenalism and the British reception of Mendelism. “Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences. Série III, Sciences de la Vie 323(12): 1069–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Stebbins G. L. 1980. Botany and the synthetic theory of evolution. In E. Mayr, W. Provine (eds.) The Evolutionary Synthesis: Perspectives on the Unification of Biology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, pp. 139–152.Google Scholar
  104. Swinburne R. G. 1964. The presence-and-absence theory Annals of Science 18(3): 130–145.Google Scholar
  105. Turner, John R. G. 1983. ‹The hypothesis that explains mimetic resemblance explains evolution’: the gradualist-saltationist schism. In M. Grene (eds.) Dimensions of Darwinism: Themes and Counterthemes in Twentieth-Century Evolutionary Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 129–169.Google Scholar
  106. Wallace, Alfred R. 1894. Panmixia and natural selection, Letter to the editor. Nature 50(1287): 196–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Wallace, Alfred R. 1895. “The Method of Organic Evolution.” Fortnightly Review (new series) 57: 211–24, 435–445.Google Scholar
  108. Webster, Gerry. 1992. “William Bateson and the Science of Form.” In Materials for the Study of Variation, Treated with Especial Regard to Discontinuity in the Origin of Species. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. xxix–lix.Google Scholar
  109. Weldon W. F. R. 1892. Certain correlated variations in Crangon vulgaris Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 51: 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  110. Weldon W. F. R. 1894a. Panmixia, Letter to the editor. Nature 50(1279): 5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  111. Weldon W. F. R. 1894b. The study of animal variation; review of: Materials for the Study of Variation, Treated with Especial Regard to Discontinuity in the Origin of Species Nature 50(1280): 25–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  112. Weldon W. F. R. 1895. An attempt to measure the death-rate due to the selective destruction of Carcinas moenas with respect to particular dimensions Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 57: 360–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  113. Williams, George C. 1966. Adaptation and Natural Selection: a Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  114. Ziarek, Ewa. 2001. An Ethics of Dissensus: Postmodernity, Feminism, and the Politics of Radical Democracy. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program in History and Philosophy of Science and Department of HistoryUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

Personalised recommendations