Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Carl Safina wrote an interesting essay for the New York Times about how Darwinism Must Die So That Evolution May Live.

This article reminded me of a favorite Dr. Bob “myth”: Darwinism is not Evolution.

I thought that Safina’s essay made several good points, but one of it’s premises is that scientists are equating Darwinism and evolution. I would say that scientists are apt to honor Darwin and his ideas, but those who are less involved in science are the ones who propagate the idea that Darwinism = Evolution. If anyone realizes how far evolution has come from Darwin’s Origin, it’s scientists. If anyone realizes the importance of advances in the fields of genetics – which wasn’t even a part of the field of evolution during Darwin’s time – it’s scientists. I would argue that popular culture, religious debate, the general news media – really anyone BUT scientists – are responsible for equating Darwinism and Evolution.

These are some particularly notable lines/passages in the essay:

Charles Darwin gets so much credit, we can’t distinguish evolution from him.

Equating evolution with Charles Darwin ignores 150 years of discoveries, including most of what scientists understand about evolution.

Science has marched on. But evolution can seem uniquely stuck on its founder. We don’t call astronomy Copernicism, nor gravity Newtonism. “Darwinism” implies an ideology adhering to one man’s dictates, like Marxism. And “isms” (capitalism, Catholicism, racism) are not science. “Darwinism” implies that biological scientists “believe in” Darwin’s “theory.” It’s as if, since 1860, scientists have just ditto-headed Darwin rather than challenging and testing his ideas, or adding vast new knowledge.


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