Warming and Johannsen

The geneticist Wilhelm Johannsen concurred with the theory of evolution but was critical towards Darwin’s theory of natural selection and inheritance of acquired characteristics which was a theory advocated by the botanist Eugen Warming.

In the first decades of the twentieth century, two professors at the University of Copenhagen eagerly discussed the theory of evolution. Like all other Danish biologists, they were supporters of the theory of evolution but they disagreed on the fundamental mechanics. The botanist Eugen Warming defended a Lamarckian theory of evolution which was compatible with his Christian view of life while the geneticist Wilhelm Johannsen advocated the mutation theory and criticized the Lamarckian theory. None of them thought that Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection played a pivotal role with regards to evolution.

Johannsen, Wilhelm: “Om Udviklingslærens nuværende Standpunkt”, Frem Aarbog over ny Viden og Virken, vol. 2., Gyldendal Nordisk Forlag, København, pp.90-111

Warming, Eugen: ”Udviklingslæren i Nutiden”, Dansk Tidsskrift, vol. 2. pp. 785-801

Hans Henrik Hjermitslev