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Encyclopedia > Darwinism

Darwinism is a term for the underlying theory in those ideas of Charles Darwin concerning evolution and natural selection. Discussions of Darwinism usually focus on evolution by natural selection, but sometimes Darwinism is taken to mean evolution more broadly, or other ideas not directly associated with the work of Darwin. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons, a repository of free content hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. ... For other people of the same surname, and places and things named after Charles Darwin, see Darwin. ... For other people of the same surname, and places and things named after Charles Darwin, see Darwin. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... For other uses, see Natural selection (disambiguation). ...

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Classical Darwinism

In the 19th century context in which Darwin's Origin of Species was first received, "Darwinism" came to stand for an entire range of evolutionary (and often revolutionary) philosophies about both biology and society. One of the more prominent approaches was that summed in the phrase "survival of the fittest" by the philosopher Herbert Spencer, which was later taken to be emblematic of Darwinism even though Spencer's own understanding of evolution was more Lamarckian than Darwinian, and predated the publication of Darwin's theory. What we now call "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 agendas. Another interpretation, one notably favored 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 corrective measures would have to be undertaken — the foundation of eugenics. The 1859 edition of On the Origin of Species First published in 1859, The Origin of Species (full title On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life) by British naturalist Charles Darwin is one of the pivotal... Herbert Spencer coined the phrase, survival of the fittest. ... For other persons named Herbert Spencer, see Herbert Spencer (disambiguation). ... Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. ... The publication of Darwins theory followed on from the development of Darwins theory of evolution and culminated in the publication of his book On the Origin of Species. ... Social Darwinism is the idea that Charles Darwins theory can be extended and applied to the social realm, i. ... Philanthropy is the act of donating money, goods, time, or effort to support a charitable cause, usually over an extended period of time and in regard to a defined objective. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution: Logo from the Second International Eugenics Conference [7], 1921, depicting it as a tree which unites a variety of different fields. ...


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 Haeckel's "Darwinism" had only a rough resemblance to the theory of Charles Darwin, and was not centered around natural selection at all. Ernst Haeckel. ...


While the reaction against Darwin's ideas is nowadays often thought to have been widespread immediately, in 1886 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.[1] For the Cornish painter, see Alfred Wallis. ...


Darwinism as selectionism

To distinguish themselves from the very loose meaning of "Darwinism" prevalent in the 19th century, those who advocated evolution by natural selection after the death of Darwin became known as neo-Darwinists. August Weismann was the most prominent member of this school, and further articulated that neo-Darwinism referred to evolution specifically by forms of "selection" (natural selection, including sexual selection), and that it was articulated around the idea that the hereditary material of an organism was not modified by the further development of the organism. Neo-Darwinism poised itself against neo-Lamarckism, also popular at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, which argued that bodily modifications acquired during the lifetime of the organism could be hereditarily passed on to the next generation. Weismann's neo-Darwinism, on the other hand, argued that all of an organism's hereditary material was kept in its germ plasm, which existed separately from the rest of the organism's development. The modern evolutionary synthesis refers to a set of ideas from several biological specialities that were brought together to form a unified theory of evolution accepted by the great majority of working biologists. ... August Weismann Friedrich Leopold August Weismann (b. ... The germ plasm (or polar plasm) is a zone found in the the cytoplasm of the egg cells of some model organisms (such as C. elegans, Drosophila, Xenopus), which contains determinants that will give rise to the germ cell lineage. ...


Neo-Darwinism was not terribly popular in the scientific community, as most biologists felt that the complete segregation of development and heredity actions seems unlikely or unwarranted. After the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1930s, however, the selection theory became increasingly popular amongst biologists, and codified the more modern definition of Darwinism which we have today. The modern evolutionary synthesis refers to a set of ideas from several biological specialities that were brought together to form a unified theory of evolution accepted by the great majority of working biologists. ...


Darwinian processes

In a modern definition of the term, a Darwinian process requires the following schema:

  1. Self-replication/Inheritance: Some number of entities must be capable of producing copies of themselves, and those copies must also be capable of reproduction. The new copies must inherit the traits of old ones. Sometimes the different variations are recombined in sexual reproduction.
  2. Variation: There must be a range of different traits in the population of entities, and there must be a mechanism for introducing new variations into the population.
  3. Selection: Inherited traits must somehow affect the ability of the entities to reproduce themselves, either by survival (natural selection), or by ability to produce offspring by finding partners (sexual selection).

If the entity or organism survives to reproduce, the process restarts. Sometimes, in stricter formulations, it is required that variation and selection act on different entities, variation on the replicator (genotype) and selection on the interactor (phenotype). Self-replication is the process by which some things make copies of themselves. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Sexual reproduction is a union that results in increasing genetic diversity of the offspring. ... Genetic variation is the variation in the genetic material of a population, and includes the nuclear, mitochodrial, ribosomal genomes as well as the genomes of other organelles. ... For other uses, see Selection (disambiguation). ... In a generic sense, a replicator can be anything capable of self-replication. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In darwinism, the interactor is the part of the organism, selection acts on. ... Individuals in the mollusk species Donax variabilis show diverse coloration and patterning in their phenotypes. ...


Darwinism asserts that any system given these conditions, by whatever means, evolution is likely to occur. That is, over time, the entities will accumulate complex traits that favor their reproduction. This is called Universal Darwinism, a term coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene[citation needed] . This article is about Darwinism as a philosophical concept; see evolution for the page on biological evolution; modern evolutionary synthesis for neo-Darwinism; and also evolution (disambiguation). ... Year 1976 Pick up sticks(MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Original book cover from the painting The Expectant Valley by zoologist Desmond Morris The Selfish Gene is a very popular and somewhat controversial book on evolutionary theory by Richard Dawkins, published in 1976. ...


Most obviously, this can refer to biological evolution. However, it has other potential spheres, the best known of which is the meme, a concept of inheritance and modification of ideas introduced by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene and further refined by researchers such as Richard Brodie and Susan Blackmore. It has been disputed if this was a Darwinian process, since it is unproven that memes undergo random mutations. However, it is noted many times in discussions of Universal Darwinism that the variation within a population need not be random. In fact Richard Dawkins states that the fact that Darwinian evoulution can occur "even if" the mutation/variation is random or directed to a degree away from the direction of the selection pressure. For other uses, see Meme (disambiguation). ... Richard Quiet Lion Brodie is the original author of Microsoft Word[1][2], was employee #77 at Microsoft and is now a professional poker player. ... Susan Jane Blackmore (born July 29, 1951) is a British freelance writer, lecturer, and broadcaster, perhaps best known for her book The Meme Machine. ... Clinton Richard Dawkins (born March 26, 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer who holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. ... Evolutionary pressure or selection pressure can be formalized as an external pressure applied to a process, thereby pushing that process in a distinct direction. ...


Perhaps surprisingly Darwinian theories have been proposed as explanations of the origin of the universe we live in. Lee Smolin's theory Cosmological natural selection explains the selection of a universe with the correct fundamental physical parameters to support complex matter such as stars and ourselves. Wojciech Zurek's theory of Quantum darwinism explains the selection of the our classical macroscopic world from underlying quantum processes. Lee Smolin at Harvard. ... Cosmological natural selection is a hypothesis proposed by Lee Smolin intended as a scientific alternative to the anthropic principle. ... Wojciech Hubert Zurek is a well-known physicist, as a Laboratory Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. ... Quantum darwinism is a proven theorem published on November 22, 2004 by a team of theoretical phycisists at Los Alamos which explains how the objective reality we see arises from the uncertain quantum world. ...


Another example to illustrate are computer systems (PCs). Taking the software as the replicator and the whole system as the interactor, it could be seen as a Darwinian system, however, the code does not change randomly, but is directionally changed or rewritten from scratch; also systems do not reproduce. A personal computer (PC) is a computer whose price, size, and capabilities make it useful for individuals. ...


Daniel Dennett (1995) in Darwin's Dangerous Idea argues for Universal Darwinism. Daniel Clement Dennett (born March 28, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts) is a prominent American philosopher whose research centers on philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. ... cover Darwins Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life (1995) is a controversial book by Daniel Dennett that argues that Darwinian processes are the central organising force not only in biology (which is not controversial), but also in most other aspects of the Universe, including the human mind...


Other Usages of the Term

The term Darwinism is often used by promotors of creationism to describe evolution, notably by leading members of the intelligent design movement.[2] In this usage, the term has connotations of atheism. For example, in Charles Hodge's book What Is Darwinism?, Hodge answers the question posed in the book's title by concluding: "It is Atheism."[3][4][5] 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.[6] Casting evolution as a doctrine or belief bolsters religiously motivated political arguments to mandate equal time for the teaching of creationism in public schools. Creationism is a religious belief that humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe were created in their original form by a deity or deities (often the Abrahamic God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam), whose existence is presupposed. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... The intelligent design movement is a neo-creationist religious campaign that calls for broad social, academic and political changes derived from the concept of intelligent design. ... “Atheist” redirects here. ... Charles Hodge Charles Hodge (1797 – 1878) was the principal of Princeton Theological Seminary between 1851 and 1878. ... For other senses of this word, see dogma (disambiguation). ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Teach the Controversy is the name of a Discovery Institute intelligent design campaign to promote intelligent design creationism while discrediting evolution in United States public high school science courses. ...


However, Darwinism is also used neutrally within the scientific community to distinguish modern evolutionary theories from those first proposed by Darwin, as well as by historians to differentiate it from other evolutionary theories from 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 theories 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 thought — particularly contrasting Darwin's results with those of earlier theories such as Lamarckism or later ones such as the modern synthesis. A notable example of a scientist who uses the term in a positive sense is Richard Dawkins[citation needed]. For other uses, see Natural selection (disambiguation). ... In population genetics, genetic drift is the statistical effect that results from the influence that chance has on the success of alleles (variants of a gene). ... In population genetics, gene flow (also known as gene migration) is the transfer of alleles of genes from one population to another. ... Evolutionary thought has roots in antiquity as philosophical ideas conceived during the Ancient Greek and Roman eras, but until the 18th century, biological thought was dominated by essentialism, the idea that living forms are static and unchanging in time. ... Lamarckism or Lamarckian evolution refers to the once widely accepted idea that an organism can pass on characteristics that it acquired during its lifetime to its offspring (also known as based on heritability of acquired characteristics or soft inheritance). It is named for the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who... The modern evolutionary synthesis (often referred to simply as the modern synthesis), neo-Darwinian synthesis or neo-Darwinism, brings together Charles Darwins theory of the evolution of species by natural selection with Gregor Mendels theory of genetics as the basis for biological inheritance. ... Clinton Richard Dawkins (born March 26, 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer who holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. ...


References

  1. ^ Evolution and Wonder - Understanding Charles Darwin - Speaking of Faith® from American Public Media. Retrieved on 2007-07-27.
  2. ^ Johnson, Phillip E.. What is Darwinism?. Retrieved on 2007-01-04.
  3. ^ Matthew, Ropp. Charles Hodge and His Objection to Darwinism. Retrieved on 2007-01-04.
  4. ^ Hodge, Charles. What is Darwinism?. Retrieved on 2007-01-04.
  5. ^ Hodge, Charles (1874). What is Darwinism?. Scribner, Armstrong, and Company. OCLC 11489956. 
  6. ^ From the Beagle to the School Board: God Goes Back to School, Morris Sullivan, Impact Press, Spring 2005.

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 208th day of the year (209th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 4th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 4th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 4th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) was founded in 1967 and originally named the Ohio College Library Center. ... Impact Press was an Orlando, Florida-based magazine. ...

See also

The modern evolutionary synthesis refers to a set of ideas from several biological specialities that were brought together to form a unified theory of evolution accepted by the great majority of working biologists. ... The term Neural Darwinism is used in two different ways. ... Social Darwinism is the idea that Charles Darwins theory can be extended and applied to the social realm, i. ... A Darwin Award is a tongue-in-cheek honor named after evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin. ... Corporate Darwinism refers to the natural evolution of professional staff over time in a corporate setting where more effective and higher contributing employees eventually migrate to larger roles in the organization. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
What is Darwinism? (1288 words)
One particulary cogent reason why Darwinism cannot be a single monolithic theory is that organic evolution consists of two essentially independent processes, as we have seen: transformation in time, and diversification in ecological and geographical space.
Darwin did not claim that evolutionary change is slow and continuous -- only that it does not proceed by "jumps" in a single generation (what Mayr calls "saltational" change).
Darwinism is not a simple theory that is either true or false but is rather a highly complex research program that is being continuously modified and improved.
Social Darwinism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2922 words)
While Social Darwinism applies the concept of evolution and natural selection to human cultural systems, the extent to which the ideologies related to it are a part of Darwin's biological theory of evolution or Spencer's classical liberal philosophy is arguable.
Darwin's unique discussion of evolution was distinct in several ways from these previous works: Darwin argued that humans were shaped by biological laws in the same way as other animals, particularly by the pressure put on individuals by population growth, emphasizing the natural over the supernatural in human development.
Darwin's theory does not equal progress, except in the sense that the new, evolved species will be better suited to their changing environment.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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