Charles Darwin was a popular scientific celebrity during his time and a legend a century after his death. Darwin is the scientist who popularized the preexisting idea of evolution through powerful evidence and research. He is responsible for coining the term “natural selection”, the micro-process of how the theory of Darwin evolution works. He professed that humans and animals evolved over millions of years as nature “selected” stronger individuals in species to live on based on characteristics they use for survival.
One hundred years after his death, Charles Darwin has been noted for his contributions to the scientific community. Eventually, Darwinism was created to identified various movements or concepts related to ideas of Darwin evolution, natural selection, and transmutation of species (theory describing the altering of one species to another). There are even ideas in Darwinism that extend beyond Darwin evolution theories and further into ideas that were never researched by him. Darwinism also sometimes has different meanings depending on which country you travel to. For example, in the United States, the term is widely used by creationists as a negative term to describe Darwin evolution. In the United Kingdom, the term has no negative connotations and is freely used to describe the Darwin evolution theory.
1. Origin of Darwinism:
Darwinism is a term that was first used in Thomas Henry Huxley’s review of Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species in the Westminster Review. He gave the book a positive review and described it as “a veritable Whitworth gun in the armory of liberalism”. He praised the book for promoting scientific naturalism over theology, and he liked the usefulness of Darwin’s ideas.
2. How was the term Darwinism used in the 19th century to describe Darwin evolution?
Darwinism soon became a common term to describe any range of Darwin evolution concepts or theories. It even describes some philosophies about both biology and society. Advocates of Darwinism use the phrase “survival of the fittest” often when practicing Darwinism, even though this was a term by the philosopher Herbert Spencer, whose work predated Darwin’s work.
When society is implemented into terms of Darwinism, it is called “Social Darwinism”. This concept has to do with the “struggle” principles to society. It basically means that competition between individuals, groups, nations, and ideas is the key factor in what drives social evolution in human societies.
During his time however, Darwinism did not have a concrete meaning. Proponents and opponents of Darwin used it to their liking to state their case and beliefs, either to contradict Darwin’s writing, praise it, or attack it.
3. Uses of Darwinism today:
Promoters of creationism in the United States, people who believe that the earth and all of its inhabitants were intelligently designed, use the term Darwinism to attack ideas of Darwin evolution. Their reasoning behind using the term “Darwinism” is to negatively imply that the only person that holds the beliefs of Darwin evolution to be true are Darwin himself.
Darwinism is also used to positively describe the differences between the Darwin evolution theory and modern theories of evolution in the scientific community. Darwinism may also describe the theory of “natural selection” to compare it with modern theories such as “gene flow”.