What is Gradualism versus catastrophism and Historical processes


Over the years there has been a questioning about the origin of life and how it changes. The theory of gradualism was proposed in 1859 by the naturalist Charles Darwin, and this hypothesis was formulated in his book The Origin of Species . According to gradualism , speciation is defined as a slow and gradual process, which occurs by the accumulation of small changes over time. These differences accumulate and are passed on to their descendants, that is, species descend from a common ancestor and undergo gradual modifications over time, where each generation leaves some type of modification for the next.

These changes help the organism to adapt to the natural habitat, and to keep in harmony with other beings and the environment.

Through a fossil record, there was much discussion, some researchers did not find evidence of gradual changes, but others questioned it by reporting that the record was inaccurate and flawed, that is, no theory was determined through this fossil.

Based on arguments other researchers believe in punctuated equilibrium theory contrary to gradualism. This other theory emerged in 1972, proposed by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldrege, which argues that species spend thousands of years without undergoing changes, and little change, that is, long periods remain without significant changes, but suddenly the species they diversify rapidly, with large transformations occurring, giving rise to constant equilibrium rapid change scores.

The theory of gradualism is influential, but questioned by some scientists. There are those who agree with it, while others believe that large evolutionary changes occur quickly, as reported by the punctuated equilibrium theory. in half as a whole.

Versus catastrophism in the view of nature

We observe that all living beings and nature in general are in a process of permanent transformation. In this sense, in the natural sciences as a whole there are two main currents on this issue: gradualism and catastrophism.

As its name implies, gradualism refers to a slow and continuous process of transformation. The evolutionary theories of Lamarck and Darwin are clear examples of this theoretical view.

In the Communication” in the 1960s. The historical context of Darwinism, when an individual of a species has a mutation beneficial to its survival, this mutation will be inherited by its offspring (this process is the fundamental idea of ​​the so-called natural selection). This type of evolutionary change is neither abrupt nor sudden, but takes place in a slow process of transformation, that is, in a gradual manner.

The opposite theory or view is catastrophism. According to him, the processes of nature occur because a sudden episode triggers a process of accelerated change.

Catastrophism is defended by some geologists to explain the Earth’s layers and their abrupt transformations due to climate changes .

Historical processes can be explained through gradualism or catastrophism

In addition to nature, history is in a process of permanent change. This means that historians are also asking themselves about the mechanisms of change throughout history.

Those who support the thesis of gradualism claim that evolution occurs from permanent reforms that succeed each other over time. Legislative changes, social trends, cultural trends and technological advances articulate a gradual process of historical evolution.

The thesis of gradualism in history is not shared by all historians. Some believe that the changes happen in a revolutionary way. The Copernican revolution is an illustrative example that shows how humanity took a qualitative leap with the new astronomical theories of Copernicus and Galileo.

Obviously political and social revolutions are also examples of the catastrophic paradigm in history.

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