Misconception: “Most biologists have rejected ‘Darwinism’ (i.e., no longer really agree with the ideas put forth by Darwin and Wallace).”

Response: Darwin’s idea that evolution generally proceeds at a slow, deliberate pace has been modified to include the idea that evolution can proceed at a relatively rapid pace under some circumstances. In this sense, “Darwinism” is continually being modified. Modification of theories to make them more representative of how things work is the role of scientists and of science itself.

Thus far, however, there have been no credible challenges to the basic Darwinian principles that evolution proceeds primarily by the mechanism of natural selection acting upon variation in populations and that different species share common ancestors. Scientists have not rejected Darwin’s natural selection, but have improved and expanded it as more information has become available. For example, we now know (although Darwin did not) that genetic mutations are the source of variation acted on by natural selection, but we haven’t rejected Darwin’s idea of natural selection—we’ve just added to it.


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Misconceptions: Implications of Evolution


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Spanish translation of Understanding Evolution For Teachers from the Spanish Society of Evolutionary Biology.