Darwinism  

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  1. The principles of natural selection set out by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species (1859) and other writings.
  2. The evolution and common ancestry of all living and extinct species resulting from gradual evolutionary mechanisms such as natural selection.

"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution"

As "Darwinism" became widely accepted in the 1870s, good-natured caricatures of him with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution.
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As "Darwinism" became widely accepted in the 1870s, good-natured caricatures of him with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.


Darwinism is a set of movements and concepts related to ideas of transmutation of species or of evolution, including some ideas with no connection to the work of Charles Darwin.

The meaning of "Darwinism" has changed over time, and varies depending on who is using the term. In the United States, the term "Darwinism" is often used by creationists as a pejorative term, but in the United Kingdom the term has no negative connotations, being freely used as a short hand for the body of theory dealing with evolution, and in particular, evolution by natural selection.

The term was coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in April 1860, and was used to describe evolutionary concepts, including earlier concepts such as Malthusianism and Spencerism. In the late 19th century it came to mean the concept that natural selection was the sole mechanism of evolution, in contrast to Lamarckism.

Around 1900 Darwinism was eclipsed by Mendelism until the modern evolutionary synthesis unified Darwin's and Gregor Mendel's ideas. As modern evolutionary theory has developed, the term has been associated at times with specific ideas.

While the term has remained in use amongst scientific authors, it has increasingly been argued that it is an inappropriate term for modern evolutionary theory. and as a result had only a vague and inaccurate understanding of heredity. He naturally had no inkling of yet more recent developments and, like Mendel himself, knew nothing of genetic drift for example.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Darwinism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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