Science and Faith


in Grass

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780520258396
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944527 | DOI:
Science and Faith

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This chapter narrates how the author has been influenced by Frederic E. Clements, an ecologist who developed a theory of community ecology. According to Clements, a plant community resembles in some ways a community of people, consisting of plants that coexist and interact. He called this theory community succession, in which each plant community started from bare ground and over time the community advances through a series of successional stages until finally it enters into the climax. Many ecologists in Clements's day believed that nature strived constantly toward climax, the ultimate endpoint, guided by an Invisible Hand or Divine Purpose. Philosophers have called this view determinism while some people now might call it Creationism. At the height of Clements's influence in the mid-1900s, ecologist Frank Egler criticized the unquestioning acceptance of succession theory, however, Clements's views prevailed for most of the century.

Keywords: Frederic E. Clements; community ecology; community succession; determinism; Creationism; Frank Egler

Chapter.  2279 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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