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Theodosius Dobzhansky

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Theodosius Dobzhansky (January 25, 1900–November 11, 1975) was a Russian geneticist. Born in Ukraine (then part of the tsarist Russian Empire) as the son of a mathematics teacher, Dobzhansky studied at the University of Kiev before moving to the United States in 1930 where he worked at the California Institute of Technology and at Columbia University on Drosophila genetics.

Dobzhansky was one of the principal engineers of the modern synthesis which united genetics and evolution, notably holding a gene-centric view: he defined evolution as a change in allele frequencies in a gene pool.

Dobzhansky was a tireless critic of creationism, most famously in his 1973 essay "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution", the title of which has become one of the most quoted anti-creationist lines.

He was also a critic of racialism, and used his findings to show that the biological features of races are socially constructed rather than biologically defined, and that distinguishing races was only (marginally) useful for the practice of finding the where a person's ancestors lived geographically.

As a Russian Orthodox Christian, Dobzhansky was a proponent of theistic evolution.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937, third edition 1951)
  • The Biological Basis of Human Freedom (1954).
  • Mankind Evolving: The Evolution of the Human Species (1962)
  • The Biology of Ultimate Concern (1967)
  • Genetics of the Evolution Process (1970)
  • Genetic Diversity and Human Equality (1973).