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Darwinism | biology | Britannica.com

Darwinism, theory of the evolutionary mechanism propounded by Charles Darwin as an explanation of organic change. It denotes Darwins specific view that evolution is driven mainly by natural selection.

Beginning in 1837, Darwin proceeded to work on the now well-understood concept that evolution is essentially brought about by the interplay of three principles: (1) variationa liberalizing factor, which Darwin did not attempt to explain, present in all forms of life; (2) hereditythe conservative force that transmits similar organic form from one generation to another; and (3) the struggle for existencewhich determines the variations that will confer advantages in a given environment, thus altering species through a selective reproductive rate.

On the basis of newer knowledge, neo-Darwinism has superseded the earlier concept and purged it of Darwins lingering attachment to the Lamarckian theory of inheritance of acquired characters. Present knowledge of the mechanisms of inheritance are such that modern scientists can distinguish more satisfactorily than Darwin between non-inheritable bodily variation and variation of a genuinely inheritable kind.

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Darwinism | biology | Britannica.com

Darwinism – Wikipedia

This article is about concepts called Darwinism. For biological evolution, see evolution. For modern evolutionary theories, see Modern synthesis. For Wallace’s defence of the theory of natural selection, see Darwinism (book).

Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (18091882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Also called Darwinian theory, it originally included the broad concepts of transmutation of species or of evolution which gained general scientific acceptance after Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, including concepts which predated Darwin’s theories. It subsequently referred to the specific concepts of natural selection, the Weismann barrier, or the central dogma of molecular biology.[1] Though the term usually refers strictly to biological evolution, creationists have appropriated it to refer to the origin of life, and it has even been applied to concepts of cosmic evolution, both of which have no connection to Darwin’s work. It is therefore considered the belief and acceptance of Darwin’s and of his predecessors’ workin place of other theories, including divine design and extraterrestrial origins.[2][3]

English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism in April 1860.[4] It was used to describe evolutionary concepts in general, including earlier concepts published by English philosopher Herbert Spencer. Many of the proponents of Darwinism at that time, including Huxley, had reservations about the significance of natural selection, and Darwin himself gave credence to what was later called Lamarckism. The strict neo-Darwinism of German evolutionary biologist August Weismann gained few supporters in the late 19th century. During the approximate period of the 1880s to about 1920, sometimes called “the eclipse of Darwinism”, scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms which eventually proved untenable. The development of the modern synthesis in the early 20th century, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, revived Darwinism in an updated form.[5]

While the term Darwinism has remained in use amongst the public when referring to modern evolutionary theory, it has increasingly been argued by science writers such as Olivia Judson and Eugenie Scott that it is an inappropriate term for modern evolutionary theory.[6][7] For example, Darwin was unfamiliar with the work of the Moravian scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel,[8] and as a result had only a vague and inaccurate understanding of heredity. He naturally had no inkling of later theoretical developments and, like Mendel himself, knew nothing of genetic drift, for example.[9][10] In the United States, creationists often use the term “Darwinism” as a pejorative term in reference to beliefs such as scientific materialism, but in the United Kingdom the term has no negative connotations, being freely used as a shorthand for the body of theory dealing with evolution, and in particular, with evolution by natural selection.[6]

While the term Darwinism had been used previously to refer to the work of Erasmus Darwin in the late 18th century, the term as understood today was introduced when Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species was reviewed by Thomas Henry Huxley in the April 1860 issue of the Westminster Review.[12] Having hailed the book as “a veritable Whitworth gun in the armoury of liberalism” promoting scientific naturalism over theology, and praising the usefulness of Darwin’s ideas while expressing professional reservations about Darwin’s gradualism and doubting if it could be proved that natural selection could form new species,[13] Huxley compared Darwin’s achievement to that of Nicolaus Copernicus in explaining planetary motion:

What if the orbit of Darwinism should be a little too circular? What if species should offer residual phenomena, here and there, not explicable by natural selection? Twenty years hence naturalists may be in a position to say whether this is, or is not, the case; but in either event they will owe the author of “The Origin of Species” an immense debt of gratitude…. And viewed as a whole, we do not believe that, since the publication of Von Baer’s “Researches on Development,” thirty years ago, any work has appeared calculated to exert so large an influence, not only on the future of Biology, but in extending the domination of Science over regions of thought into which she has, as yet, hardly penetrated.[4]

These are the basic tenets of evolution by natural selection as defined by Darwin:

Another important evolutionary theorist of the same period was the Russian geographer and prominent anarchist Peter Kropotkin who, in his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), advocated a conception of Darwinism counter to that of Huxley. His conception was centred around what he saw as the widespread use of co-operation as a survival mechanism in human societies and animals. He used biological and sociological arguments in an attempt to show that the main factor in facilitating evolution is cooperation between individuals in free-associated societies and groups. This was in order to counteract the conception of fierce competition as the core of evolution, which provided a rationalization for the dominant political, economic and social theories of the time; and the prevalent interpretations of Darwinism, such as those by Huxley, who is targeted as an opponent by Kropotkin. Kropotkin’s conception of Darwinism could be summed up by the following quote:

In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sensenot as a struggle for the sheer means of existence, but as a struggle against all natural conditions unfavourable to the species. The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress. The mutual protection which is obtained in this case, the possibility of attaining old age and of accumulating experience, the higher intellectual development, and the further growth of sociable habits, secure the maintenance of the species, its extension, and its further progressive evolution. The unsociable species, on the contrary, are doomed to decay.[14]

Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), Conclusion

“Darwinism” soon came to stand for an entire range of evolutionary (and often revolutionary) philosophies about both biology and society. One of the more prominent approaches, summed in the 1864 phrase “survival of the fittest” by Herbert Spencer, later became emblematic of Darwinism even though Spencer’s own understanding of evolution (as expressed in 1857) was more similar to that of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck than to that of Darwin, and predated the publication of Darwin’s theory in 1859. What is now called “Social Darwinism” was, in its day, synonymous with “Darwinism”the application of Darwinian principles of “struggle” to society, usually in support of anti-philanthropic political agenda. Another interpretation, one notably favoured by Darwin’s half-cousin Francis Galton, was that “Darwinism” implied that because natural selection was apparently no longer working on “civilized” people, it was possible for “inferior” strains of people (who would normally be filtered out of the gene pool) to overwhelm the “superior” strains, and voluntary corrective measures would be desirablethe foundation of eugenics.

In Darwin’s day there was no rigid definition of the term “Darwinism”, and it was used by opponents and proponents of Darwin’s biological theory alike to mean whatever they wanted it to in a larger context. The ideas had international influence, and Ernst Haeckel developed what was known as Darwinismus in Germany, although, like Spencer’s “evolution”, Haeckel’s “Darwinism” had only a rough resemblance to the theory of Charles Darwin, and was not centered on natural selection.[15] In 1886, Alfred Russel Wallace went on a lecture tour across the United States, starting in New York and going via Boston, Washington, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska to California, lecturing on what he called “Darwinism” without any problems.[16]

In his book Darwinism (1889), Wallace had used the term pure-Darwinism which proposed a “greater efficacy” for natural selection.[17][18] George Romanes dubbed this view as “Wallaceism”, noting that in contrast to Darwin, this position was advocating a “pure theory of natural selection to the exclusion of any supplementary theory.”[19][20] Taking influence from Darwin, Romanes was a proponent of both natural selection and the inheritance of acquired characteristics. The latter was denied by Wallace who was a strict selectionist.[21] Romanes’ definition of Darwinism conformed directly with Darwin’s views and was contrasted with Wallace’s definition of the term.[22]

The term Darwinism is often used in the United States by promoters of creationism, notably by leading members of the intelligent design movement, as an epithet to attack evolution as though it were an ideology (an “ism”) of philosophical naturalism, or atheism.[23] For example, UC Berkeley law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson makes this accusation of atheism with reference to Charles Hodge’s book What Is Darwinism? (1874).[24] However, unlike Johnson, Hodge confined the term to exclude those like American botanist Asa Gray who combined Christian faith with support for Darwin’s natural selection theory, before answering the question posed in the book’s title by concluding: “It is Atheism.”[25][26] Creationists use the term Darwinism, often pejoratively, to imply that the theory has been held as true only by Darwin and a core group of his followers, whom they cast as dogmatic and inflexible in their belief.[27] In the 2008 documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which promotes intelligent design (ID), American writer and actor Ben Stein refers to scientists as Darwinists. Reviewing the film for Scientific American, John Rennie says “The term is a curious throwback, because in modern biology almost no one relies solely on Darwin’s original ideas… Yet the choice of terminology isn’t random: Ben Stein wants you to stop thinking of evolution as an actual science supported by verifiable facts and logical arguments and to start thinking of it as a dogmatic, atheistic ideology akin to Marxism.” [28]

However, Darwinism is also used neutrally within the scientific community to distinguish the modern evolutionary synthesis, sometimes called “neo-Darwinism”, from those first proposed by Darwin. Darwinism also is used neutrally by historians to differentiate his theory from other evolutionary theories current around the same period. For example, Darwinism may be used to refer to Darwin’s proposed mechanism of natural selection, in comparison to more recent mechanisms such as genetic drift and gene flow. It may also refer specifically to the role of Charles Darwin as opposed to others in the history of evolutionary thoughtparticularly contrasting Darwin’s results with those of earlier theories such as Lamarckism or later ones such as the modern evolutionary synthesis.

In political discussions in the United States, the term is mostly used by its enemies. “It’s a rhetorical device to make evolution seem like a kind of faith, like ‘Maoism,'” says Harvard University biologist E. O. Wilson. He adds, “Scientists don’t call it ‘Darwinism’.”[29] In the United Kingdom the term often retains its positive sense as a reference to natural selection, and for example British ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote in his collection of essays A Devil’s Chaplain, published in 2003, that as a scientist he is a Darwinist.[30]

In his 1995 book Darwinian Fairytales, Australian philosopher David Stove[31] used the term “Darwinism” in a different sense than the above examples. Describing himself as non-religious and as accepting the concept of natural selection as a well-established fact, Stove nonetheless attacked what he described as flawed concepts proposed by some “Ultra-Darwinists.” Stove alleged that by using weak or false ad hoc reasoning, these Ultra-Darwinists used evolutionary concepts to offer explanations that were not valid (e.g., Stove suggested that sociobiological explanation of altruism as an evolutionary feature was presented in such a way that the argument was effectively immune to any criticism). Philosopher Simon Blackburn wrote a rejoinder to Stove,[32] though a subsequent essay by Stove’s protegee James Franklin’s[33] suggested that Blackburn’s response actually “confirms Stove’s central thesis that Darwinism can ‘explain’ anything.”

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Darwinism – Wikipedia

Darwinism | biology | Britannica.com

Darwinism, theory of the evolutionary mechanism propounded by Charles Darwin as an explanation of organic change. It denotes Darwins specific view that evolution is driven mainly by natural selection.

Beginning in 1837, Darwin proceeded to work on the now well-understood concept that evolution is essentially brought about by the interplay of three principles: (1) variationa liberalizing factor, which Darwin did not attempt to explain, present in all forms of life; (2) hereditythe conservative force that transmits similar organic form from one generation to another; and (3) the struggle for existencewhich determines the variations that will confer advantages in a given environment, thus altering species through a selective reproductive rate.

On the basis of newer knowledge, neo-Darwinism has superseded the earlier concept and purged it of Darwins lingering attachment to the Lamarckian theory of inheritance of acquired characters. Present knowledge of the mechanisms of inheritance are such that modern scientists can distinguish more satisfactorily than Darwin between non-inheritable bodily variation and variation of a genuinely inheritable kind.

Read more from the original source:

Darwinism | biology | Britannica.com

Challenge B Origins | Six More Summers

As we begin Challenge B with the study of Origins, and Defeating Darwinism, I am positive that one of the areas my students will struggle will be in summarizingthe chapters of the book. The text can be wordy and a bit complicated and thought-provoking even for adults, so Im sure there will be places our kids will get a bit tangled up and summarizing a jumbled up thought will be difficult on a good day.

In an attempt to aid parents and tutors in surviving the summarizing of Defeating Darwinism, I am creating outlines for the chapters, which guide students in summarizing in their own words, but through questions that help them understand what it means to summarize.

Please feel free to download and use these summaries however you see fit.

I actually summarized the entire first chapter for my students and handed it out to them on the first day. We read through the chapter together and discussed how the points in the book were summarized on the page. My plan is to gently wean my students off of needing a template to summarize and to lead them towards formal outlining but Im working a week at a time, so we will see where it leads!

Best of luck as you tackle this big piece of literature. If you have suggestions or comments, please enter them below.

~ Amy

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 1(completed)

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 1 blank(empty for students to fill in)

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 2

Summarization Options and Tips

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 3

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 4

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 5

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 6

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 7

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 8

Read the original here:

Challenge B Origins | Six More Summers

Darwinism – Wikipedia

This article is about concepts called Darwinism. For biological evolution, see evolution. For modern evolutionary theories, see Modern synthesis. For Wallace’s defence of the theory of natural selection, see Darwinism (book).

Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (18091882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Also called Darwinian theory, it originally included the broad concepts of transmutation of species or of evolution which gained general scientific acceptance after Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, including concepts which predated Darwin’s theories. It subsequently referred to the specific concepts of natural selection, the Weismann barrier, or the central dogma of molecular biology.[1] Though the term usually refers strictly to biological evolution, creationists have appropriated it to refer to the origin of life, and it has even been applied to concepts of cosmic evolution, both of which have no connection to Darwin’s work. It is therefore considered the belief and acceptance of Darwin’s and of his predecessors’ workin place of other theories, including divine design and extraterrestrial origins.[2][3]

English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism in April 1860.[4] It was used to describe evolutionary concepts in general, including earlier concepts published by English philosopher Herbert Spencer. Many of the proponents of Darwinism at that time, including Huxley, had reservations about the significance of natural selection, and Darwin himself gave credence to what was later called Lamarckism. The strict neo-Darwinism of German evolutionary biologist August Weismann gained few supporters in the late 19th century. During the approximate period of the 1880s to about 1920, sometimes called “the eclipse of Darwinism”, scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms which eventually proved untenable. The development of the modern synthesis in the early 20th century, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, revived Darwinism in an updated form.[5]

While the term Darwinism has remained in use amongst the public when referring to modern evolutionary theory, it has increasingly been argued by science writers such as Olivia Judson and Eugenie Scott that it is an inappropriate term for modern evolutionary theory.[6][7] For example, Darwin was unfamiliar with the work of the Moravian scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel,[8] and as a result had only a vague and inaccurate understanding of heredity. He naturally had no inkling of later theoretical developments and, like Mendel himself, knew nothing of genetic drift, for example.[9][10] In the United States, creationists often use the term “Darwinism” as a pejorative term in reference to beliefs such as scientific materialism, but in the United Kingdom the term has no negative connotations, being freely used as a shorthand for the body of theory dealing with evolution, and in particular, with evolution by natural selection.[6]

While the term Darwinism had been used previously to refer to the work of Erasmus Darwin in the late 18th century, the term as understood today was introduced when Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species was reviewed by Thomas Henry Huxley in the April 1860 issue of the Westminster Review.[12] Having hailed the book as “a veritable Whitworth gun in the armoury of liberalism” promoting scientific naturalism over theology, and praising the usefulness of Darwin’s ideas while expressing professional reservations about Darwin’s gradualism and doubting if it could be proved that natural selection could form new species,[13] Huxley compared Darwin’s achievement to that of Nicolaus Copernicus in explaining planetary motion:

What if the orbit of Darwinism should be a little too circular? What if species should offer residual phenomena, here and there, not explicable by natural selection? Twenty years hence naturalists may be in a position to say whether this is, or is not, the case; but in either event they will owe the author of “The Origin of Species” an immense debt of gratitude…. And viewed as a whole, we do not believe that, since the publication of Von Baer’s “Researches on Development,” thirty years ago, any work has appeared calculated to exert so large an influence, not only on the future of Biology, but in extending the domination of Science over regions of thought into which she has, as yet, hardly penetrated.[4]

These are the basic tenets of evolution by natural selection as defined by Darwin:

Another important evolutionary theorist of the same period was the Russian geographer and prominent anarchist Peter Kropotkin who, in his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), advocated a conception of Darwinism counter to that of Huxley. His conception was centred around what he saw as the widespread use of co-operation as a survival mechanism in human societies and animals. He used biological and sociological arguments in an attempt to show that the main factor in facilitating evolution is cooperation between individuals in free-associated societies and groups. This was in order to counteract the conception of fierce competition as the core of evolution, which provided a rationalization for the dominant political, economic and social theories of the time; and the prevalent interpretations of Darwinism, such as those by Huxley, who is targeted as an opponent by Kropotkin. Kropotkin’s conception of Darwinism could be summed up by the following quote:

In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sensenot as a struggle for the sheer means of existence, but as a struggle against all natural conditions unfavourable to the species. The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress. The mutual protection which is obtained in this case, the possibility of attaining old age and of accumulating experience, the higher intellectual development, and the further growth of sociable habits, secure the maintenance of the species, its extension, and its further progressive evolution. The unsociable species, on the contrary, are doomed to decay.[14]

Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), Conclusion

“Darwinism” soon came to stand for an entire range of evolutionary (and often revolutionary) philosophies about both biology and society. One of the more prominent approaches, summed in the 1864 phrase “survival of the fittest” by Herbert Spencer, later became emblematic of Darwinism even though Spencer’s own understanding of evolution (as expressed in 1857) was more similar to that of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck than to that of Darwin, and predated the publication of Darwin’s theory in 1859. What is now called “Social Darwinism” was, in its day, synonymous with “Darwinism”the application of Darwinian principles of “struggle” to society, usually in support of anti-philanthropic political agenda. Another interpretation, one notably favoured by Darwin’s half-cousin Francis Galton, was that “Darwinism” implied that because natural selection was apparently no longer working on “civilized” people, it was possible for “inferior” strains of people (who would normally be filtered out of the gene pool) to overwhelm the “superior” strains, and voluntary corrective measures would be desirablethe foundation of eugenics.

In Darwin’s day there was no rigid definition of the term “Darwinism”, and it was used by opponents and proponents of Darwin’s biological theory alike to mean whatever they wanted it to in a larger context. The ideas had international influence, and Ernst Haeckel developed what was known as Darwinismus in Germany, although, like Spencer’s “evolution”, Haeckel’s “Darwinism” had only a rough resemblance to the theory of Charles Darwin, and was not centered on natural selection.[15] In 1886, Alfred Russel Wallace went on a lecture tour across the United States, starting in New York and going via Boston, Washington, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska to California, lecturing on what he called “Darwinism” without any problems.[16]

In his book Darwinism (1889), Wallace had used the term pure-Darwinism which proposed a “greater efficacy” for natural selection.[17][18] George Romanes dubbed this view as “Wallaceism”, noting that in contrast to Darwin, this position was advocating a “pure theory of natural selection to the exclusion of any supplementary theory.”[19][20] Taking influence from Darwin, Romanes was a proponent of both natural selection and the inheritance of acquired characteristics. The latter was denied by Wallace who was a strict selectionist.[21] Romanes’ definition of Darwinism conformed directly with Darwin’s views and was contrasted with Wallace’s definition of the term.[22]

The term Darwinism is often used in the United States by promoters of creationism, notably by leading members of the intelligent design movement, as an epithet to attack evolution as though it were an ideology (an “ism”) of philosophical naturalism, or atheism.[23] For example, UC Berkeley law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson makes this accusation of atheism with reference to Charles Hodge’s book What Is Darwinism? (1874).[24] However, unlike Johnson, Hodge confined the term to exclude those like American botanist Asa Gray who combined Christian faith with support for Darwin’s natural selection theory, before answering the question posed in the book’s title by concluding: “It is Atheism.”[25][26] Creationists use the term Darwinism, often pejoratively, to imply that the theory has been held as true only by Darwin and a core group of his followers, whom they cast as dogmatic and inflexible in their belief.[27] In the 2008 documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which promotes intelligent design (ID), American writer and actor Ben Stein refers to scientists as Darwinists. Reviewing the film for Scientific American, John Rennie says “The term is a curious throwback, because in modern biology almost no one relies solely on Darwin’s original ideas… Yet the choice of terminology isn’t random: Ben Stein wants you to stop thinking of evolution as an actual science supported by verifiable facts and logical arguments and to start thinking of it as a dogmatic, atheistic ideology akin to Marxism.” [28]

However, Darwinism is also used neutrally within the scientific community to distinguish the modern evolutionary synthesis, sometimes called “neo-Darwinism”, from those first proposed by Darwin. Darwinism also is used neutrally by historians to differentiate his theory from other evolutionary theories current around the same period. For example, Darwinism may be used to refer to Darwin’s proposed mechanism of natural selection, in comparison to more recent mechanisms such as genetic drift and gene flow. It may also refer specifically to the role of Charles Darwin as opposed to others in the history of evolutionary thoughtparticularly contrasting Darwin’s results with those of earlier theories such as Lamarckism or later ones such as the modern evolutionary synthesis.

In political discussions in the United States, the term is mostly used by its enemies. “It’s a rhetorical device to make evolution seem like a kind of faith, like ‘Maoism,'” says Harvard University biologist E. O. Wilson. He adds, “Scientists don’t call it ‘Darwinism’.”[29] In the United Kingdom the term often retains its positive sense as a reference to natural selection, and for example British ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote in his collection of essays A Devil’s Chaplain, published in 2003, that as a scientist he is a Darwinist.[30]

In his 1995 book Darwinian Fairytales, Australian philosopher David Stove[31] used the term “Darwinism” in a different sense than the above examples. Describing himself as non-religious and as accepting the concept of natural selection as a well-established fact, Stove nonetheless attacked what he described as flawed concepts proposed by some “Ultra-Darwinists.” Stove alleged that by using weak or false ad hoc reasoning, these Ultra-Darwinists used evolutionary concepts to offer explanations that were not valid (e.g., Stove suggested that sociobiological explanation of altruism as an evolutionary feature was presented in such a way that the argument was effectively immune to any criticism). Philosopher Simon Blackburn wrote a rejoinder to Stove,[32] though a subsequent essay by Stove’s protegee James Franklin’s[33] suggested that Blackburn’s response actually “confirms Stove’s central thesis that Darwinism can ‘explain’ anything.”

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Darwinism – Wikipedia

A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism – There is a …

“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutations and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

There Is ScientificDissent From Darwinism.

It deserves to be heard.

“Darwinian evolution whatever its other virtues does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology.”Dr. Philip S. Skell, Member National Academy of Sciences, Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University

Excerpt from:

A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism – There is a …

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and …

Why Darwinismlike Marxism and Freudianism before itis headed for extinction

In the 1925 Scopes trial, the American Civil Liberties Union sued to allow the teaching of Darwins theory of evolution in public schools. Seventy-five years later, in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the ACLU sued to prevent the teaching of an alternative to Darwins theory known as “Intelligent Design”and won. Why did the ACLU turn from defending the free-speech rights of Darwinists to silencing their opponents? Jonathan Wells reveals that, for todays Darwinists, there may be no other choice: unable to fend off growing challenges from scientists, or to compete with rival theories better adapted to the latest evidence, Darwinismlike Marxism and Freudianism before itis simply unfit to survive.

Wells begins by explaining the basic tenets of Darwinism, and the evidence both for and against it. He reveals, for instance, that the fossil record, which according to Darwin should be teeming with “transitional” fossils showing the development of one species to the next, so far hasnt produced a single incontestable example. On the other hand, certain well-documented aspects of the fossil recordsuch as the Cambrian explosion, in which innumerable new species suddenly appeared fully formeddirectly contradict Darwins theory. Wells also shows how most of the other “evidence” for evolution including textbook “icons” such as peppered moths, Darwins finches, Haeckels embryos, and the Tree of Lifehas been exaggerated, distorted . . . and even faked.

Wells then turns to the theory of intelligent design (ID), the idea that some features of the natural world, such as the internal machinery of cells, are too “irreducibly complex” to have resulted from unguided natural processes alone. In clear-cut laymans language, he reveals the growing evidence for ID coming out of scientific specialties from microbiology to astrophysics. As Wells explains, religion does play a role in the debate over Darwinthough not in the way evolutionists claim. Wells shows how Darwin reasoned that evolution is true because divine creation “must” be falsea theological assumption oddly out of place in a scientific debate. In other words, Darwinists materialistic, atheistic assumptions rule out any theories but their own, and account for their willingness to explain away the evidenceor lack of it.

Darwin is an emperor who has no clothes but it takes a brave man to say so. Jonathan Wells, a microbiologist with two Ph.D.s (from Berkeley and Yale), is that brave man. Most textbooks on evolution are written by Darwinists with an ideological ax to grind. Brave dissidentsqualified scientistswho try to teach or write about intelligent design are silenced and sent to the academic gulag. But fear not: Jonathan Wells is a liberator. He unmasks the truth about Darwinism why it is wrong and what the real evidence is. He also supplies a revealing list of “Books Youre Not Supposed to Read” (as far as the Darwinists are concerned) and puts at your fingertips all the evidence you need to challenge the most closed-minded Darwinist.

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The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and …

Darwinism | biology | Britannica.com

Darwinism, theory of the evolutionary mechanism propounded by Charles Darwin as an explanation of organic change. It denotes Darwins specific view that evolution is driven mainly by natural selection.

Beginning in 1837, Darwin proceeded to work on the now well-understood concept that evolution is essentially brought about by the interplay of three principles: (1) variationa liberalizing factor, which Darwin did not attempt to explain, present in all forms of life; (2) hereditythe conservative force that transmits similar organic form from one generation to another; and (3) the struggle for existencewhich determines the variations that will confer advantages in a given environment, thus altering species through a selective reproductive rate.

On the basis of newer knowledge, neo-Darwinism has superseded the earlier concept and purged it of Darwins lingering attachment to the Lamarckian theory of inheritance of acquired characters. Present knowledge of the mechanisms of inheritance are such that modern scientists can distinguish more satisfactorily than Darwin between non-inheritable bodily variation and variation of a genuinely inheritable kind.

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Darwinism | biology | Britannica.com

Social Darwinism – Wikipedia

The term Social Darwinism is used to refer to various ways of thinking and theories that emerged in the second half of the 19th century and tried to apply the evolutionary concept of natural selection to human society. The term itself emerged in the 1880s, and it gained widespread currency when used after 1944 by opponents of these ways of thinking. The majority of those who have been categorized as social Darwinists did not identify themselves by such a label.[1]

Scholars debate the extent to which the various Social Darwinist ideologies reflect Charles Darwin’s own views on human social and economic issues. His writings have passages that can be interpreted as opposing aggressive individualism, while other passages appear to promote it.[2] Some scholars argue that Darwin’s view gradually changed and came to incorporate views from other theorists such as Herbert Spencer.[3] Spencer published[4] his Lamarckian evolutionary ideas about society before Darwin first published his hypothesis in 1859, and both Spencer and Darwin promoted their own conceptions of moral values. Spencer supported laissez-faire capitalism on the basis of his Lamarckian belief that struggle for survival spurred self-improvement which could be inherited.[5] An important proponent in Germany was Ernst Haeckel, who popularized Darwin’s thought (and personal interpretation of it) and used it as well to contribute to a new creed, the monist movement.

The term Darwinism was coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in his March 1861 review of On the Origin of Species,[6] and by the 1870s it was used to describe a range of concepts of evolution or development, without any specific commitment to Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.[7]

The first use of the phrase “social Darwinism” was in Joseph Fisher’s 1877 article on The History of Landholding in Ireland which was published in the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society.[8] Fisher was commenting on how a system for borrowing livestock which had been called “tenure” had led to the false impression that the early Irish had already evolved or developed land tenure;[9]

These arrangements did not in any way affect that which we understand by the word ” tenure”, that is, a man’s farm, but they related solely to cattle, which we consider a chattel. It has appeared necessary to devote some space to this subject, inasmuch as that usually acute writer Sir Henry Maine has accepted the word ” tenure ” in its modern interpretation, and has built up a theory under which the Irish chief ” developed ” into a feudal baron. I can find nothing in the Brehon laws to warrant this theory of social Darwinism, and believe further study will show that the Cain Saerrath and the Cain Aigillue relate solely to what we now call chattels, and did not in any way affect what we now call the freehold, the possession of the land.

Despite the fact that Social Darwinism bears Charles Darwin’s name, it is also linked today with others, notably Herbert Spencer, Thomas Malthus, and Francis Galton, the founder of eugenics. In fact, Spencer was not described as a social Darwinist until the 1930s, long after his death.[10] The social Darwinism term first appeared in Europe in 1880, the journalist Emilie Gautier had coined the term with reference to a health conference in Berlin 1877.[8] Around 1900 it was used by sociologists, some being opposed to the concept.[11] The term was popularized in the United States in 1944 by the American historian Richard Hofstadter who used it in the ideological war effort against fascism to denote a reactionary creed which promoted competitive strife, racism and chauvinism. Hofstadter later also recognized (what he saw as) the influence of Darwinist and other evolutionary ideas upon those with collectivist views, enough to devise a term for the phenomenon, “Darwinist collectivism”.[12] Before Hofstadter’s work the use of the term “social Darwinism” in English academic journals was quite rare.[13] In fact,

… there is considerable evidence that the entire concept of “social Darwinism” as we know it today was virtually invented by Richard Hofstadter. Eric Foner, in an introduction to a then-new edition of Hofstadter’s book published in the early 1990s, declines to go quite that far. “Hofstadter did not invent the term Social Darwinism”, Foner writes, “which originated in Europe in the 1860s and crossed the Atlantic in the early twentieth century. But before he wrote, it was used only on rare occasions; he made it a standard shorthand for a complex of late-nineteenth-century ideas, a familiar part of the lexicon of social thought.”

Social Darwinism has many definitions, and some of them are incompatible with each other. As such, social Darwinism has been criticized for being an inconsistent philosophy, which does not lead to any clear political conclusions. For example, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics states:

Part of the difficulty in establishing sensible and consistent usage is that commitment to the biology of natural selection and to ‘survival of the fittest’ entailed nothing uniform either for sociological method or for political doctrine. A ‘social Darwinist’ could just as well be a defender of laissez-faire as a defender of state socialism, just as much an imperialist as a domestic eugenist.[15]

The term “Social Darwinism” has rarely been used by advocates of the supposed ideologies or ideas; instead it has almost always been used pejoratively by its opponents.[1] The term draws upon the common use of the term Darwinism, which has been used to describe a range of evolutionary views, but in the late 19th century was applied more specifically to natural selection as first advanced by Charles Darwin to explain speciation in populations of organisms. The process includes competition between individuals for limited resources, popularly but inaccurately described by the phrase “survival of the fittest”, a term coined by sociologist Herbert Spencer.

Creationists have often maintained that Social Darwinismleading to policies designed to reward the most competitiveis a logical consequence of “Darwinism” (the theory of natural selection in biology).[16] Biologists and historians have stated that this is a fallacy of appeal to nature and should not be taken to imply that this phenomenon ought to be used as a moral guide in human society.[17] While there are historical links between the popularization of Darwin’s theory and forms of social Darwinism, social Darwinism is not a necessary consequence of the principles of biological evolution.

While the term has been applied to the claim that Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection can be used to understand the social endurance of a nation or country, Social Darwinism commonly refers to ideas that predate Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species. Others whose ideas are given the label include the 18th century clergyman Thomas Malthus, and Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton who founded eugenics towards the end of the 19th century.

The expansion of the British Empire fitted in with the broader notion of social Darwinism used from the 1870s onwards to account for the remarkable and universal phenomenon of “the Anglo-Saxon overflowing his boundaries”, as phrased by the late-Victorian sociologist Benjamin Kidd in Social Evolution, published in 1894.[18] The concept also proved useful to justify what was seen by some as the inevitable extermination of “the weaker races who disappear before the stronger” not so much “through the effects of our vices upon them” as “what may be called the virtues of our civilisation.”

Herbert Spencer’s ideas, like those of evolutionary progressivism, stemmed from his reading of Thomas Malthus, and his later theories were influenced by those of Darwin. However, Spencer’s major work, Progress: Its Law and Cause (1857), was released two years before the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and First Principles was printed in 1860.

In The Social Organism (1860), Spencer compares society to a living organism and argues that, just as biological organisms evolve through natural selection, society evolves and increases in complexity through analogous processes.[19]

In many ways, Spencer’s theory of cosmic evolution has much more in common with the works of Lamarck and Auguste Comte’s positivism than with Darwin’s.

Jeff Riggenbach argues that Spencer’s view was that culture and education made a sort of Lamarckism possible[14] and notes that Herbert Spencer was a proponent of private charity.[14]

Spencer’s work also served to renew interest in the work of Malthus. While Malthus’s work does not itself qualify as social Darwinism, his 1798 work An Essay on the Principle of Population, was incredibly popular and widely read by social Darwinists. In that book, for example, the author argued that as an increasing population would normally outgrow its food supply, this would result in the starvation of the weakest and a Malthusian catastrophe.

According to Michael Ruse, Darwin read Malthus’ famous Essay on a Principle of Population in 1838, four years after Malthus’ death. Malthus himself anticipated the social Darwinists in suggesting that charity could exacerbate social problems.

Another of these social interpretations of Darwin’s biological views, later known as eugenics, was put forth by Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, in 1865 and 1869. Galton argued that just as physical traits were clearly inherited among generations of people, the same could be said for mental qualities (genius and talent). Galton argued that social morals needed to change so that heredity was a conscious decision in order to avoid both the over-breeding by less fit members of society and the under-breeding of the more fit ones.

In Galton’s view, social institutions such as welfare and insane asylums were allowing inferior humans to survive and reproduce at levels faster than the more “superior” humans in respectable society, and if corrections were not soon taken, society would be awash with “inferiors”. Darwin read his cousin’s work with interest, and devoted sections of Descent of Man to discussion of Galton’s theories. Neither Galton nor Darwin, though, advocated any eugenic policies restricting reproduction, due to their Whiggish distrust of government.[20]

Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy addressed the question of artificial selection, yet Nietzsche’s principles did not concur with Darwinian theories of natural selection. Nietzsche’s point of view on sickness and health, in particular, opposed him to the concept of biological adaptation as forged by Spencer’s “fitness”. Nietzsche criticized Haeckel, Spencer, and Darwin, sometimes under the same banner by maintaining that in specific cases, sickness was necessary and even helpful.[21] Thus, he wrote:

Wherever progress is to ensue, deviating natures are of greatest importance. Every progress of the whole must be preceded by a partial weakening. The strongest natures retain the type, the weaker ones help to advance it. Something similar also happens in the individual. There is rarely a degeneration, a truncation, or even a vice or any physical or moral loss without an advantage somewhere else. In a warlike and restless clan, for example, the sicklier man may have occasion to be alone, and may therefore become quieter and wiser; the one-eyed man will have one eye the stronger; the blind man will see deeper inwardly, and certainly hear better. To this extent, the famous theory of the survival of the fittest does not seem to me to be the only viewpoint from which to explain the progress of strengthening of a man or of a race.[22]

Ernst Haeckel’s recapitulation theory was not Darwinism, but rather attempted to combine the ideas of Goethe, Lamarck and Darwin. It was adopted by emerging social sciences to support the concept that non-European societies were “primitive” in an early stage of development towards the European ideal, but since then it has been heavily refuted on many fronts[23] Haeckel’s works led to the formation of the Monist League in 1904 with many prominent citizens among its members, including the Nobel Prize winner Wilhelm Ostwald.

The simpler aspects of social Darwinism followed the earlier Malthusian ideas that humans, especially males, require competition in their lives in order to survive in the future. Further, the poor should have to provide for themselves and not be given any aid. However, amidst this climate, most social Darwinists of the early twentieth century actually supported better working conditions and salaries. Such measures would grant the poor a better chance to provide for themselves yet still distinguish those who are capable of succeeding from those who are poor out of laziness, weakness, or inferiority.

“Social Darwinism” was first described by Oscar Schmidt of the University of Strasbourg, reporting at a scientific and medical conference held in Munich in 1877. He noted how socialists, although opponents of Darwin’s theory, used it to add force to their political arguments. Schmidt’s essay first appeared in English in Popular Science in March 1879.[24] There followed an anarchist tract published in Paris in 1880 entitled “Le darwinisme social” by mile Gautier. However, the use of the term was very rareat least in the English-speaking world (Hodgson, 2004)[25]until the American historian Richard Hofstadter published his influential Social Darwinism in American Thought (1944) during World War II.

Hypotheses of social evolution and cultural evolution were common in Europe. The Enlightenment thinkers who preceded Darwin, such as Hegel, often argued that societies progressed through stages of increasing development. Earlier thinkers also emphasized conflict as an inherent feature of social life. Thomas Hobbes’s 17th century portrayal of the state of nature seems analogous to the competition for natural resources described by Darwin. Social Darwinism is distinct from other theories of social change because of the way it draws Darwin’s distinctive ideas from the field of biology into social studies.

Darwin, unlike Hobbes, believed that this struggle for natural resources allowed individuals with certain physical and mental traits to succeed more frequently than others, and that these traits accumulated in the population over time, which under certain conditions could lead to the descendants being so different that they would be defined as a new species.

However, Darwin felt that “social instincts” such as “sympathy” and “moral sentiments” also evolved through natural selection, and that these resulted in the strengthening of societies in which they occurred, so much so that he wrote about it in Descent of Man:

The following proposition seems to me in a high degree probablenamely, that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, the parental and filial affections being here included, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well, or nearly as well developed, as in man. For, firstly, the social instincts lead an animal to take pleasure in the society of its fellows, to feel a certain amount of sympathy with them, and to perform various services for them.[26]

Spencer proved to be a popular figure in the 1880s primarily because his application of evolution to areas of human endeavor promoted an optimistic view of the future as inevitably becoming better. In the United States, writers and thinkers of the gilded age such as Edward L. Youmans, William Graham Sumner, John Fiske, John W. Burgess, and others developed theories of social evolution as a result of their exposure to the works of Darwin and Spencer.

In 1883, Sumner published a highly influential pamphlet entitled “What Social Classes Owe to Each Other”, in which he insisted that the social classes owe each other nothing, synthesizing Darwin’s findings with free enterprise Capitalism for his justification.[citation needed] According to Sumner, those who feel an obligation to provide assistance to those unequipped or under-equipped to compete for resources, will lead to a country in which the weak and inferior are encouraged to breed more like them, eventually dragging the country down. Sumner also believed that the best equipped to win the struggle for existence was the American businessman, and concluded that taxes and regulations serve as dangers to his survival. This pamphlet makes no mention of Darwinism, and only refers to Darwin in a statement on the meaning of liberty, that “There never has been any man, from the primitive barbarian up to a Humboldt or a Darwin, who could do as he had a mind to.”[27]

Sumner never fully embraced Darwinian ideas, and some contemporary historians do not believe that Sumner ever actually believed in social Darwinism.[28] The great majority of American businessmen rejected the anti-philanthropic implications of the theory. Instead they gave millions to build schools, colleges, hospitals, art institutes, parks and many other institutions. Andrew Carnegie, who admired Spencer, was the leading philanthropist in the world (18901920), and a major leader against imperialism and warfare.[29]

H. G. Wells was heavily influenced by Darwinist thoughts, and novelist Jack London wrote stories of survival that incorporated his views on social Darwinism.[30] Film director Stanley Kubrick has been described as having held social Darwinist opinions.[31]

Social Darwinism has influenced political, public health and social movements in Japan since the late 19th and early 20th century. Social Darwinism was originally brought to Japan through the works of Francis Galton and Ernst Haeckel as well as United States, British and French Lamarkian eugenic written studies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[32] Eugenism as a science was hotly debated at the beginning of the 20th century, in Jinsei-Der Mensch, the first eugenics journal in the empire. As Japan sought to close ranks with the west, this practice was adopted wholesale along with colonialism and its justifications.

Social Darwinism was formally introduced to China through the translation by Yan Fu of Huxley’s Evolution and Ethics, in the course of an extensive series of translations of influential Western thought.[33] Yan’s translation strongly impacted Chinese scholars because he added national elements not found in the original. He understood Spencer’s sociology as “not merely analytical and descriptive, but prescriptive as well”, and saw Spencer building on Darwin, whom Yan summarized thus:

By the 1920s, social Darwinism found expression in the promotion of eugenics by the Chinese sociologist Pan Guangdan. When Chiang Kai-shek started the New Life movement in 1934, he

Social evolution theories in Germany gained large popularity in the 1860s and had a strong antiestablishment connotation first. Social Darwinism allowed to counter the connection of Thron und Altar, the intertwined establishment of clergy and nobility and provided as well the idea of progressive change and evolution of society as a whole. Ernst Haeckel propagated both Darwinism as a part of natural history and as a suitable base for a modern Weltanschauung, a world view based on scientific reasoning in his Monistenbund. Friedrich von Hellwald had a strong role in popularizing it in Austria. Darwin’s work served as a catalyst to popularize evolutionary thinking.[36] Darwin himself called Haeckels connection between Socialism and Evolution through Natural Selection a foolish ideaprevailingin Germany.

A sort of aristocratic turn, the use of the struggle for life as base of social darwinism sensu stricto came up after 1900 with Alexander Tilles 1895 work Entwicklungsethik (ethics of evolution) which asked to move from Darwin till Nietzsche. Further interpretations moved to ideologies propagating a racist and radical elbow society and provided ground for the later radical versions of social Darwinism.[36]

Social Darwinism is often cited as an ideological justification for much of 18th/19th century European enslavement and colonization of Third World countries;[37] it has often even found its way into the intellectual foundations of public education in neo-colonized countries.[38]

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Darwinism | Definition of Darwinism by Merriam-Webster

1 : a theory of the origin and perpetuation of new species of animals and plants that offspring of a given organism vary, that natural selection favors the survival of some of these variations over others, that new species have arisen and may continue to arise by these processes, and that widely divergent groups of plants and animals have arisen from the same ancestors compare evolution 1, neo-Darwinism 2 : a theory that inherent dynamic forces allow only the fittest persons or organizations to prosper in a competitive environment or situation compare Social Darwinism play -w-nist noun or adjective

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social Darwinism | Definition & Facts | Britannica.com

Social Darwinism, the theory that human groups and races are subject to the same laws of natural selection as Charles Darwin had perceived in plants and animals in nature. According to the theory, which was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the weak were diminished and their cultures delimited while the strong grew in power and in cultural influence over the weak. Social Darwinists held that the life of humans in society was a struggle for existence ruled by survival of the fittest, a phrase proposed by the British philosopher and scientist Herbert Spencer.

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biology, philosophy of: Evolutionary ethics

form of evolutionary ethics is social Darwinism, though this view owes far more to Herbert Spencer than it does to Darwin himself. It begins with the assumption that in the natural world the struggle for existence is good, because it leads to the evolution of animals that are better adapted

The social Darwinistsnotably Spencer and Walter Bagehot in England and William Graham Sumner in the United Statesbelieved that the process of natural selection acting on variations in the population would result in the survival of the best competitors and in continuing improvement in the population. Societies were viewed as organisms that evolve in this manner.

The theory was used to support laissez-faire capitalism and political conservatism. Class stratification was justified on the basis of natural inequalities among individuals, for the control of property was said to be a correlate of superior and inherent moral attributes such as industriousness, temperance, and frugality. Attempts to reform society through state intervention or other means would, therefore, interfere with natural processes; unrestricted competition and defense of the status quo were in accord with biological selection. The poor were the unfit and should not be aided; in the struggle for existence, wealth was a sign of success. At the societal level, social Darwinism was used as a philosophical rationalization for imperialist, colonialist, and racist policies, sustaining belief in Anglo-Saxon or Aryan cultural and biological superiority.

Social Darwinism declined during the 20th century as an expanded knowledge of biological, social, and cultural phenomena undermined, rather than supported, its basic tenets.

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Social Darwinism – definition of social Darwinism by The …

Despite the book’s title and the deftness with which he sketches the lineaments of Social Darwinism in its opening chapters, Hofstadter actually devotes more attention to the theory’s critics than its proponents.While the European term in this era is associated with social Darwinism, eugenics, female inferiority, and authoritarianism, this faction in India espoused social democracy, multiculturalism, the end of female suppression, and non-violent resistance to colonialism.The failure of Reconstruction and the influence of social Darwinism legalized hierarchy in society and relieved the middle class from any responsibility for the rising inequality in industrial America.New and reprinted essays discuss his critical reputation over the decades, and his work in terms of issues of modernism, his attitudes towards industrial labor, Social Darwinism, nature, science, and from a nationalist perspective, as well as his use of the metaphor of walking for enlightenment, his use of personification, his poems about death, and the background to his book North of Boston.Here Giberson admits that Social Darwinism and its resulting eugenics programs have not been “a historical aberration,” but a logical (although not inevitable) conclusion of natural selection.This ideology, which discounts or minimizes human nature, is a reactionary result of the real abuses of social Darwinism of the past century and the pseudoscience of eugenics.He traces how a justified skepticism toward Social Darwinism evolved into a sweeping denial that human nature has anything to do with heredity.Impacted by Victorian notions of social Darwinism, xenophobia, militarism and jingoistic nationalism, professional (and even amateur) cricket evolved into a national competition among virile athletes whose professional lives depended upon their fitness in order to survive, much like English business and colonial forces.But entrepreneurs face a kind of social Darwinism that can quash the fit as well as the unfit.Story of an African Farm, a peculiar mixture of narrative realism, biblical allegory and social Darwinism, is wholly original.Equating AmericaAEs obsession with zombies to a lack of hope and culture of despair, the author scrutinizes twenty-first century zombies on Wall Street and in political office who continue to promote authoritarianism and Social Darwinism, through which individuals and certain groups are considered disposable and easy prey.Marginal symbols indicate such categories as legislation and legal cases, argument from design and Intelligent Design, the age of earth, and social Darwinism and eugenics.

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Darwinism – Wikipedia

This article is about concepts called Darwinism. For biological evolution, see evolution. For modern evolutionary theories, see Modern synthesis. For Wallace’s defence of the theory of natural selection, see Darwinism (book).

Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (18091882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Also called Darwinian theory, it originally included the broad concepts of transmutation of species or of evolution which gained general scientific acceptance after Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, including concepts which predated Darwin’s theories. It subsequently referred to the specific concepts of natural selection, the Weismann barrier, or the central dogma of molecular biology.[1] Though the term usually refers strictly to biological evolution, creationists have appropriated it to refer to the origin of life, and it has even been applied to concepts of cosmic evolution, both of which have no connection to Darwin’s work. It is therefore considered the belief and acceptance of Darwin’s and of his predecessors’ workin place of other theories, including divine design and extraterrestrial origins.[2][3]

English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism in April 1860.[4] It was used to describe evolutionary concepts in general, including earlier concepts published by English philosopher Herbert Spencer. Many of the proponents of Darwinism at that time, including Huxley, had reservations about the significance of natural selection, and Darwin himself gave credence to what was later called Lamarckism. The strict neo-Darwinism of German evolutionary biologist August Weismann gained few supporters in the late 19th century. During the approximate period of the 1880s to about 1920, sometimes called “the eclipse of Darwinism”, scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms which eventually proved untenable. The development of the modern synthesis in the early 20th century, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, revived Darwinism in an updated form.[5]

While the term Darwinism has remained in use amongst the public when referring to modern evolutionary theory, it has increasingly been argued by science writers such as Olivia Judson and Eugenie Scott that it is an inappropriate term for modern evolutionary theory.[6][7] For example, Darwin was unfamiliar with the work of the Moravian scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel,[8] and as a result had only a vague and inaccurate understanding of heredity. He naturally had no inkling of later theoretical developments and, like Mendel himself, knew nothing of genetic drift, for example.[9][10] In the United States, creationists often use the term “Darwinism” as a pejorative term in reference to beliefs such as scientific materialism, but in the United Kingdom the term has no negative connotations, being freely used as a shorthand for the body of theory dealing with evolution, and in particular, with evolution by natural selection.[6]

While the term Darwinism had been used previously to refer to the work of Erasmus Darwin in the late 18th century, the term as understood today was introduced when Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species was reviewed by Thomas Henry Huxley in the April 1860 issue of the Westminster Review.[12] Having hailed the book as “a veritable Whitworth gun in the armoury of liberalism” promoting scientific naturalism over theology, and praising the usefulness of Darwin’s ideas while expressing professional reservations about Darwin’s gradualism and doubting if it could be proved that natural selection could form new species,[13] Huxley compared Darwin’s achievement to that of Nicolaus Copernicus in explaining planetary motion:

What if the orbit of Darwinism should be a little too circular? What if species should offer residual phenomena, here and there, not explicable by natural selection? Twenty years hence naturalists may be in a position to say whether this is, or is not, the case; but in either event they will owe the author of “The Origin of Species” an immense debt of gratitude…. And viewed as a whole, we do not believe that, since the publication of Von Baer’s “Researches on Development,” thirty years ago, any work has appeared calculated to exert so large an influence, not only on the future of Biology, but in extending the domination of Science over regions of thought into which she has, as yet, hardly penetrated.[4]

These are the basic tenets of evolution by natural selection as defined by Darwin:

Another important evolutionary theorist of the same period was the Russian geographer and prominent anarchist Peter Kropotkin who, in his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), advocated a conception of Darwinism counter to that of Huxley. His conception was centred around what he saw as the widespread use of co-operation as a survival mechanism in human societies and animals. He used biological and sociological arguments in an attempt to show that the main factor in facilitating evolution is cooperation between individuals in free-associated societies and groups. This was in order to counteract the conception of fierce competition as the core of evolution, which provided a rationalization for the dominant political, economic and social theories of the time; and the prevalent interpretations of Darwinism, such as those by Huxley, who is targeted as an opponent by Kropotkin. Kropotkin’s conception of Darwinism could be summed up by the following quote:

In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sensenot as a struggle for the sheer means of existence, but as a struggle against all natural conditions unfavourable to the species. The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress. The mutual protection which is obtained in this case, the possibility of attaining old age and of accumulating experience, the higher intellectual development, and the further growth of sociable habits, secure the maintenance of the species, its extension, and its further progressive evolution. The unsociable species, on the contrary, are doomed to decay.[14]

Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), Conclusion

“Darwinism” soon came to stand for an entire range of evolutionary (and often revolutionary) philosophies about both biology and society. One of the more prominent approaches, summed in the 1864 phrase “survival of the fittest” by Herbert Spencer, later became emblematic of Darwinism even though Spencer’s own understanding of evolution (as expressed in 1857) was more similar to that of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck than to that of Darwin, and predated the publication of Darwin’s theory in 1859. What is now called “Social Darwinism” was, in its day, synonymous with “Darwinism”the application of Darwinian principles of “struggle” to society, usually in support of anti-philanthropic political agenda. Another interpretation, one notably favoured by Darwin’s half-cousin Francis Galton, was that “Darwinism” implied that because natural selection was apparently no longer working on “civilized” people, it was possible for “inferior” strains of people (who would normally be filtered out of the gene pool) to overwhelm the “superior” strains, and voluntary corrective measures would be desirablethe foundation of eugenics.

In Darwin’s day there was no rigid definition of the term “Darwinism”, and it was used by opponents and proponents of Darwin’s biological theory alike to mean whatever they wanted it to in a larger context. The ideas had international influence, and Ernst Haeckel developed what was known as Darwinismus in Germany, although, like Spencer’s “evolution”, Haeckel’s “Darwinism” had only a rough resemblance to the theory of Charles Darwin, and was not centered on natural selection.[15] In 1886, Alfred Russel Wallace went on a lecture tour across the United States, starting in New York and going via Boston, Washington, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska to California, lecturing on what he called “Darwinism” without any problems.[16]

In his book Darwinism (1889), Wallace had used the term pure-Darwinism which proposed a “greater efficacy” for natural selection.[17][18] George Romanes dubbed this view as “Wallaceism”, noting that in contrast to Darwin, this position was advocating a “pure theory of natural selection to the exclusion of any supplementary theory.”[19][20] Taking influence from Darwin, Romanes was a proponent of both natural selection and the inheritance of acquired characteristics. The latter was denied by Wallace who was a strict selectionist.[21] Romanes’ definition of Darwinism conformed directly with Darwin’s views and was contrasted with Wallace’s definition of the term.[22]

The term Darwinism is often used in the United States by promoters of creationism, notably by leading members of the intelligent design movement, as an epithet to attack evolution as though it were an ideology (an “ism”) of philosophical naturalism, or atheism.[23] For example, UC Berkeley law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson makes this accusation of atheism with reference to Charles Hodge’s book What Is Darwinism? (1874).[24] However, unlike Johnson, Hodge confined the term to exclude those like American botanist Asa Gray who combined Christian faith with support for Darwin’s natural selection theory, before answering the question posed in the book’s title by concluding: “It is Atheism.”[25][26] Creationists use the term Darwinism, often pejoratively, to imply that the theory has been held as true only by Darwin and a core group of his followers, whom they cast as dogmatic and inflexible in their belief.[27] In the 2008 documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which promotes intelligent design (ID), American writer and actor Ben Stein refers to scientists as Darwinists. Reviewing the film for Scientific American, John Rennie says “The term is a curious throwback, because in modern biology almost no one relies solely on Darwin’s original ideas… Yet the choice of terminology isn’t random: Ben Stein wants you to stop thinking of evolution as an actual science supported by verifiable facts and logical arguments and to start thinking of it as a dogmatic, atheistic ideology akin to Marxism.” [28]

However, Darwinism is also used neutrally within the scientific community to distinguish the modern evolutionary synthesis, sometimes called “neo-Darwinism”, from those first proposed by Darwin. Darwinism also is used neutrally by historians to differentiate his theory from other evolutionary theories current around the same period. For example, Darwinism may be used to refer to Darwin’s proposed mechanism of natural selection, in comparison to more recent mechanisms such as genetic drift and gene flow. It may also refer specifically to the role of Charles Darwin as opposed to others in the history of evolutionary thoughtparticularly contrasting Darwin’s results with those of earlier theories such as Lamarckism or later ones such as the modern evolutionary synthesis.

In political discussions in the United States, the term is mostly used by its enemies. “It’s a rhetorical device to make evolution seem like a kind of faith, like ‘Maoism,'” says Harvard University biologist E. O. Wilson. He adds, “Scientists don’t call it ‘Darwinism’.”[29] In the United Kingdom the term often retains its positive sense as a reference to natural selection, and for example British ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote in his collection of essays A Devil’s Chaplain, published in 2003, that as a scientist he is a Darwinist.[30]

In his 1995 book Darwinian Fairytales, Australian philosopher David Stove[31] used the term “Darwinism” in a different sense than the above examples. Describing himself as non-religious and as accepting the concept of natural selection as a well-established fact, Stove nonetheless attacked what he described as flawed concepts proposed by some “Ultra-Darwinists.” Stove alleged that by using weak or false ad hoc reasoning, these Ultra-Darwinists used evolutionary concepts to offer explanations that were not valid (e.g., Stove suggested that sociobiological explanation of altruism as an evolutionary feature was presented in such a way that the argument was effectively immune to any criticism). Philosopher Simon Blackburn wrote a rejoinder to Stove,[32] though a subsequent essay by Stove’s protegee James Franklin’s[33] suggested that Blackburn’s response actually “confirms Stove’s central thesis that Darwinism can ‘explain’ anything.”

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Darwinism | biology | Britannica.com

Darwinism, theory of the evolutionary mechanism propounded by Charles Darwin as an explanation of organic change. It denotes Darwins specific view that evolution is driven mainly by natural selection.

Beginning in 1837, Darwin proceeded to work on the now well-understood concept that evolution is essentially brought about by the interplay of three principles: (1) variationa liberalizing factor, which Darwin did not attempt to explain, present in all forms of life; (2) hereditythe conservative force that transmits similar organic form from one generation to another; and (3) the struggle for existencewhich determines the variations that will confer advantages in a given environment, thus altering species through a selective reproductive rate.

On the basis of newer knowledge, neo-Darwinism has superseded the earlier concept and purged it of Darwins lingering attachment to the Lamarckian theory of inheritance of acquired characters. Present knowledge of the mechanisms of inheritance are such that modern scientists can distinguish more satisfactorily than Darwin between non-inheritable bodily variation and variation of a genuinely inheritable kind.

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Neo-Darwinism – Wikipedia

Neo-Darwinism is the interpretation of Darwinian evolution through natural selection as it has variously been modified since it was first proposed. It was early on used to name Charles Darwin’s ideas of natural selection separated from his hypothesis of pangenesis as a Lamarckian source of variation involving blending inheritance.[1]

In the early 20th century, the concept became associated with the modern synthesis of natural selection and Mendelian genetics that took place at that time.

In the late 20th century and into the 21st century, neo-Darwinism denoted any strong advocacy of Darwin’s thinking, such as the gene-centered view of evolution.

As part of the disagreement about whether natural selection alone was sufficient to explain speciation, in 1880, Samuel Butler called Alfred Russel Wallace’s view neo-Darwinism.[2][3]

The term was again used by George Romanes in 1895 to refer to the version of evolution advocated by Wallace and August Weismann with its heavy dependence on natural selection.[4]

Weismann and Wallace rejected the Lamarckian idea of inheritance of acquired characteristics that even Darwin took for granted.[5][6] The term was first used to explain that evolution occurs solely through natural selection, and not by the inheritance of acquired characteristics resulting from use or disuse.[7] The basis for the complete rejection of Lamarckism was Weismann’s germ plasm theory. Weismann realised that the cells that produce the germ plasm, or gametes (such as sperm and egg in animals), separate from the somatic cells that go on to make other body tissues at an early stage in development. Since he could see no obvious means of communication between the two, he asserted that the inheritance of acquired characteristics was therefore impossible; a conclusion now known as the Weismann barrier.[8]

From the 1880s to the 1930s, the term continued to be applied to the panselectionist school of thought, which argued that natural selection was the main and perhaps sole cause of all evolution.[9] From then until around 1947, the term was used for the panselectionist followers of Ronald Fisher.

Following the development, from about 1918 to 1947, of the modern synthesis of evolutionary biology, the term neo-Darwinian was often used to refer to that contemporary evolutionary theory.[10][11]

Biologists however have not limited their application of the term neo-Darwinism to the historical modern synthesis. For example, Ernst Mayr wrote in 1984 that “the term neo-Darwinism for the synthetic theory [the modern synthesis of the early 20th century] is wrong, because the term neo-Darwinism was coined by Romanes in 1895 as a designation of Weismann’s theory.”[12][1][7][13] Publications such as Encyclopdia Britannica similarly use neo-Darwinism to refer to current evolutionary theory, not the version current during the early 20th century synthesis.[14] Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould have used the term in their writings and lectures to denote the forms of evolutionary biology that were contemporary when they were writing.[15][16]

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Neo-Darwinism – Wikipedia

Neo-Darwinism | biology | Britannica.com

Neo-Darwinism, Theory of evolution that represents a synthesis of Charles Darwins theory in terms of natural selection and modern population genetics. The term was first used after 1896 to describe the theories of August Weismann (18341914), who asserted that his germ-plasm theory made impossible the inheritance of acquired characteristics and supported natural selection as the only major process that would account for biological evolution.

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