CSC Header Graphic
Printer Friendly Version
Dotted Line
What Is Evolution?
By: Staff
Discovery Institute
May 1, 2009

The debate over evolution can be confusing because equivocation has crept into the discussion. Some people use “evolution” to refer to something as simple as small changes in the sizes of bird beaks. Others use the same word to mean something much more far-reaching. Used one way, the term “evolution” isn’t controversial at all; used another way, it’s hotly debated. Used equivocally, “evolution” is too imprecise to be useful in a scientific discussion. Darwin’s theory is not a single idea. Instead, it is made up of several related ideas, each supported by specific arguments:

When you see the word evolution, you should ask yourself, “Which of the three definitions is being used?” Most critics of neo-Darwinism today focus on Evolution #2 or Evolution #3. But the discussion gets confusing when someone takes evidence for Evolution #1 and tries to make it look like it supports Evolution #2 or Evolution #3. Conversely, someone may discuss problems with Evolution #2 or Evolution #3, but is then falsely accused of rejecting Evolution #1, as well. This is simply not the case, for even biologists who dissent from neo-Darwinism accept Evolution #1.

For more information on this topic, read “The Meanings of Evolution” by Stephen Meyer and Michael Keas.

The work of Discovery Institute is made possible by the generosity of its members. Click here to donate.

Discovery Institute Logo
Discovery Institute — Center for Science and Culture
208 Columbia St. — Seattle, WA 98104
206-292-0401 phone — 206-682-5320 fax
email: Also: