Sir Edward Poulton, F.R.S.

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    Abstract

    THE election of Sir Edward B. Poulton to be president of the British Association for 1937 will cause great satisfaction, and is particularly apt in connexion with the renewed interest in Darwinism, and more especially in natural selection. This year's meeting has shown that there is a strong revival of belief in the efficacy of natural selection, and the presidential address to Section D (Zoology), and subsequent papers, demonstrated how much evidence is flowing along different lines to support the theory. The presentation to the world of Mendel's particulate theory of heredity in 1866 resulted in enthusiastic acceptance of the new doctrine and the belief that this process supplied the obvious means of evolution which would finally dispose of the less easily proved theory of natural selection. From this view, Sir Edward vigorously dissociated himself; but so prevailing was it that in the presidential address to the Association in 1913, Sir Oliver Lodge stated that not only was it not true that Nature does not make leaps, but that it was doubtful whether she ever does anything else. Now that the early conception of advance by large sudden changes has been so greatly fined down by the discovery of modifying factors, the two schools will be found to be less antagonistic. No one will rejoice in the reconciliation more than Sir Edward, himself eager to welcome and examine any new ideas on evolution, but always ready to hold the fort against new-comers with blaring trumpets acclaimed as the heralds of a new order.

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