Carlous Linnaeus, who often went by the more conventional “Carl,” is often called the “Father of Taxonomy.” He created a system for ranking, classifying, and naming organisms. Many of his ideas about classification are still used today, creating an influence on biologists that has shaped the scientific world since the 18th century.
Linnaeus loved nature and held strong to a faith of natural theology. He felt that a person could understand the wisdom of God better by studying what he felt God had created. By searching for order, Linnaeus felt that order would be discovered.
The Sexual Basis of the Carlous Linnaeus Theory
The plant taxonomy theory that Linnaeus developed was based solely on the arrangement and number of reproductive organs that were present. In the Linnaeus theory, the classification of a plant would be determined by the stamens and the order of pistels. For this reason, many of his groups seemed to not make sense compared with other scientific observations from the day.
Linnaeus would classify plants without obvious sex organs in their own class. Those with multiple male organs joined to one common base would be combined with plants that had separate male and female organs on the same plant.
Linnaeus would admit that his classifications were more artificial than natural. His goal was to account for the differences and similarities that could be seen in plants.
Then Linnaeus would go on to connect the sexuality of a plant to the sexuality that occurs in human love. How a plant reproduces would be compared to a “bridal bed.”
The Naming System Introduced by Carlous Linnaeus
Linnaeus recognized that a workable naming system would be required to classify plants, and eventually animals, so that each species could be separately identified. After working through several options, he settled on designating names with one Latin name to indicate the genus, then a shorthand name to determine the name for the species.
This would create a system of binomial naming, which would become the foundation of his theories on creation. The oldest plant names that are accepted as a valid name today were published by Linnaeus in 1753 in his work called “Species Plantarum.” The oldest animal names were published by Linnaeus in 1758 in his work called “Systema Naturae.”
Although some scientists and researchers used Latin names for plants and animals before Linneaus, they are not usually considered to be a valid name. It is the consistent use of the naming system that has stuck from the Carlous Linnaeus theory and why his names have been given a priority.
Why Linnaeus Began to Name Plants and Animals
In his early works, Linnaeus believed that life was “fixed” on the planet. This meant a rose was always a rose, a wolf was always a wolf, and nothing would change that. It is the reason behind his desire to create a pattern of consistent naming. By classifying each animal species, Linnaeus could “theologically prove” that God was behind the complexity of creation.
As Linnaeus observed the natural world, however, he would have his theological beliefs challenged. Rather than having each species be fixed, he realized that hybridization could occur within the natural world. Different species of plant could hybridize and create forms which looked like a brand-new species of plant.
After observing several instances of hybridization, Linnaeus would abandon the idea that species were invariable. He would then shift to suggest that a genus could arise after creation, with plants and eventually animals being able to alter themselves through a process of acclimitazation.
Near the end of his life, he even began to suggest that the hybridization of genera could occur to give rise to new genera. This would essentially be the foundation of the first theories of evolution, which would eventually be brought to popularity by theorists like Charles Darwin.
One could even say that his description of nature being a “war of all against all” is an early version of the “survival of the fittest” idea. The idea of open-ended evolution, however, is clearly not part of the Carlous Linnaeus theory.
Thanks to his search for a natural system, the scientific world is still classifying life based on the naming systems and consistency that Linnaeus created. Whether he discovered a Divine Order to the planet through this process is left to him, but what we do have is a systematic method of discovering and using information to identify relationships in the natural world.