Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (9): 22243.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022243

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Why do we believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution—On the 25 folds of aesthetic parsimony of On the Origin of Species

Yajun Sun()   

  1. School of Event and Communication, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, Shanghai 201620
  • Received:2022-05-05 Accepted:2022-07-07 Online:2022-09-20 Published:2022-09-19
  • Contact: Yajun Sun


Background & Aim: Essentially, a contest between scientific theories is a contest for aesthetic parsimony, which makes scientific revolutions possible. By analyzing Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, I demonstrate the inner rationality of the greatest revolution in the history of life sciences.
Progress: The analysis shows the 25 parsimonious advantages of Darwin’s theory of evolution over creationism, reflected in explaining (1) the appearance of domestic races, (2) that the extent of the difference in some external character tends to be larger than that in some internal part among domestic races, (3) the morphological changes of offspring especially produced by crossing, (4) the differences in vigour/fertility between hybrids and mongrels, (5) the differences in the extent of morphological change among offspring by different kinds of crossing, (6) the clustered distribution of some morphological character among taxonomic categories, (7) that the extent of morphological differentiation is unequal among taxonomic categories, (8) that the extent of morphological differentiation is unequal among different morphological characters, (9) the gradual variation of traits among species, (10) the morphological changes accompanying environmental changes, (11) the morphological inertia relative to environmental changes, (12) the unequal distribution of competitive intensity among organisms, (13) the morphological homology among species, (14) that the morphological differences among individuals tend to increase with individual development, (15) the biological vestiges or rudiments, (16) the systematical disparity (cross taxonomic ranks) of biogeographic distribution, (17) the relation between the “hierarchical status” of a species and its distributional range, (18) the “island phenomenon” in biogeographic distribution, (19) the relatively lower species richness and higher ratio of endemic species in an island compared to those in a similar-sized area of a mainland, (20) the specific types of organisms that can be found or not in an island compared to that in a mainland, (21) the similarity between the organisms of an island and that of the neighbouring mainland, (22) the geographic heterogeneity of species migration and species extinction, (23) the gradual process of species extinction, (24) the morphological relation between extinct and extant organisms, and (25) the morphological similarity between the embryo of an organism and its ancestor.
Conclusion: It is these 25 folds of aesthetic parsimony that have cast the essence of On the Origin of Species as a greatest scientific work, and have provided the modern life-science research with the universal methodology and these general directions, i.e., the paradigm. This analysis also helps us understand the genuine spirit of scientific development and manage the contemporary scientific research.

Key words: life sciences, scientific revolution, morphology, biogeography, island, extinction, paleontology, embryology