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Compare and contrast Newton and Darwin.

NewtonHow did the revolutions in science that bear their names differ

with respect to time, order in nature, or the essential character of


Did they agree on the process by which we discover new knowledge?


Table of comparative concepts:

Newton Darwin
space & time are absolute  space evolves
time is linear & a variable  time is cyclical
energy is force or F=M*V    inheritance & reproduction are forces
gravity  natural selection
matter is measurable Organisms transform matter
atomistic mechanism organic evolution
predictive  stochastic

Sir Isaac Newton, experimental, mathematician & physicist

born the poor son of a illiterate, yeoman farmer  12/25/1642, in Lincolnshire.

premature infant

mechanically inclined child

home was at Woolsthorpe

1661    entered Trinity College in Cambridge

1665    plague forced him home for safety

            discovered bright white light is a composite of refracted colors

            formulated the law of universal gravitational attraction (inverse square law)

            created fluxions   as the foundation of differential Calculus

1667          returned when Cambridge reopened in the Spring for his Masters degree

1684          he describes the planetary orbits for Halley as an ellipse!

1687          his notes & proofs became The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy

1703           President of the Royal Society

1704           published the Opticks                   1706, 1721, 1730 editions


57 of 121 original alchemical books recovered from the Newton collection.

John Maynard Lord Keynes wrote of Newton, “He regarded the universe as a cryptogram set by the Almighty. . . .

As a unitarian, piety and righteousness were two preeminent expressions of value characteristic of Newton’s moral imagination.


*B. J. T. Dobbs,

The Foundations of Newton’s Alchemy: or the Hunting of the Green Lion.

Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1975.