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Editorial Reviews. About the Author. By Sven Erik JA rgensen, Royal Danish School of Evolutionary Essays: A Thermodynamic Interpretation of the Evolution.
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The Evolution of Darwin’s Finches on the Galápagos Islands

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The scientific community does not recognize such objections as valid, pointing to detractors' misinterpretations of such things as the scientific method , evidence, and basic physical laws. Evolutionary ideas came to prominence in the early 19th century with the theory of the transmutation of species put forward by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.

Evolution was at first opposed among the scientific community, notably by Georges Cuvier. When Charles Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species , he convinced most of the scientific community that new species arise through descent through modification in a branching pattern of divergence from common ancestors , but while most scientists accepted that natural selection is a valid and empirically testable hypothesis , Darwin's view that it is the primary mechanism of evolution was rejected by some. Darwin's contemporaries eventually came to accept the transmutation of species based upon fossil evidence, and the X Club was formed to defend evolution against the church and wealthy amateurs.

Darwin's gradualistic account was also opposed by saltationism and catastrophism. Lord Kelvin led scientific opposition to gradualism on the basis of his thermodynamic calculations that the Earth was between 24 and million years old , and his views favoured a version of theistic evolution accelerated by divine guidance. Although evolution was unchallenged, uncertainties about the mechanism in the eclipse of Darwinism persisted from the s until the s' [7] inclusion of Mendelian inheritance and the rise of the modern evolutionary synthesis.

The modern synthesis rose to universal acceptance among biologists with the help of new evidence, such as genetics , which confirmed Darwin's predictions and refuted the competing theories.

Does Evolution Have a Thermodynamics Problem?

Protestantism , especially in America, broke out in "acrid polemics" and argument about evolution from to the s—with the turning point possibly marked by the death of Louis Agassiz in —and by a form of " Christian evolution" was becoming the consensus. As a result, evolutionary theory was "both permissible and respectable" by For decades the Roman Catholic Church avoided official refutation of evolution. However, it would rein in Catholics who proposed that evolution could be reconciled with the Bible , as this conflicted with the First Vatican Council 's —70 finding that everything was created out of nothing by God, and to deny that finding could lead to excommunication.

In , Pope John Paul II said that evolution is "more than a hypothesis" and acknowledged the large body of work accumulated in its support, but reiterated that any attempt to give a material explanation of the human soul is "incompatible with the truth about man. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. Muslim reaction ranged from those believing in literal creation from the Quran to many educated Muslims who subscribed to a version of theistic or guided evolution in which the Quran reinforced rather than contradicted mainstream science.

This occurred relatively early, as medieval madrasahs taught the ideas of Al-Jahiz , a Muslim scholar from the 9th century, who proposed concepts similar to natural selection. Regardless of acceptance from major religious hierarchies, early religious objections to Darwin's theory are still used in opposition to evolution. The ideas that species change over time through natural processes and that different species share common ancestors seemed to contradict the Genesis account of Creation. Believers in Biblical infallibility attacked Darwinism as heretical.

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The natural theology of the early 19th century was typified by William Paley 's watchmaker analogy , an argument from design still used by the creationist movement. Natural theology included a range of ideas and arguments from the outset, and when Darwin's theory was published, ideas of theistic evolution were presented in which evolution is accepted as a secondary cause open to scientific investigation, while still holding belief in God as a first cause with a non-specified role in guiding evolution and creating humans. However, in the s Christian fundamentalists in the United States developed their literalist arguments against modernist theology into opposition to the teaching of evolution, with fears that Darwinism had led to German militarism and was a threat to religion and morality.

This opposition developed into the creation—evolution controversy involving Christian literalists in the United States objecting to the teaching of evolution in public schools. Although early objectors dismissed evolution as contradicting their interpretation of the Bible, this argument was legally invalidated when the Supreme Court ruled in Epperson v. Arkansas in that forbidding the teaching of evolution on religious grounds violated the Establishment Clause.

Since then creationists have developed more nuanced objections to evolution, alleging variously that it is unscientific, infringes on creationists' religious freedoms , or that the acceptance of evolution is a religious stance. One of the main sources of confusion and ambiguity in the creation—evolution debate is the definition of evolution itself.

In the context of biology, evolution is genetic changes in populations of organisms over successive generations. The word also has a number of different meanings in different fields, from evolutionary computation to molecular evolution to sociocultural evolution to stellar and galactic evolution. Evolution in colloquial contexts can refer to any sort of progressive development or gradual improvement, and a process that results in greater quality or complexity.

Evolution's Worst Mistake? How About External Testicles?

For example, the idea of devolution "backwards" evolution is a result of erroneously assuming that evolution is directional or has a specific goal in mind cf. In reality, the evolution of an organism has no "objective" and is only showing increasing ability of successive generations to survive and reproduce in its environment; and increased suitability is only defined in relation to this environment. Biologists do not consider any one species, such as humans, to be more highly evolved or advanced than another.

Certain sources have been criticized for indicating otherwise due to a tendency to evaluate nonhuman organisms according to anthropocentric standards rather than more objective ones. Evolution also does not require that organisms become more complex.

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  4. Although the history of life shows an apparent trend towards the evolution of biological complexity ; there is a question if this appearance of increased complexity is real, or if it comes from neglecting the fact that the majority of life on Earth has always consisted of prokaryotes.

    Depending on the situation, organisms' complexity can either increase, decrease, or stay the same, and all three of these trends have been observed in evolution. Creationist sources frequently define evolution according to a colloquial, rather than scientific, meaning.

    Human Creativity: Expanding Complexity and Evolutionary Discontinuities

    As a result, many attempts to rebut evolution do not address the findings of evolutionary biology see straw man argument. This also means that advocates of creationism and evolutionary biologists often simply speak past each other. Critics of evolution assert that evolution is "just a theory," which emphasizes that scientific theories are never absolute, or misleadingly presents it as a matter of opinion rather than of fact or evidence.

    Evolutionary theory refers to an explanation for the diversity of species and their ancestry which has met extremely high standards of scientific evidence. An example of evolution as theory is the modern synthesis of Darwinian natural selection and Mendelian inheritance. As with any scientific theory, the modern synthesis is constantly debated, tested, and refined by scientists, but there is an overwhelming consensus in the scientific community that it remains the only robust model that accounts for the known facts concerning evolution.

    Critics also state that evolution is not a fact. For example, in common usage theories such as " the Earth revolves around the Sun " and "objects fall due to gravity" may be referred to as "facts," even though they are purely theoretical. From a scientific standpoint, therefore, evolution may be called a "fact" for the same reason that gravity can: under the scientific definition, evolution is an observable process that occurs whenever a population of organisms genetically changes over time.

    Under the colloquial definition, the theory of evolution can also be called a fact, referring to this theory's well-established nature.