Asked in ScienceEvolution
Is it accurate to call Evolutionists as Darwinists?
April 22, 2009 12:03AM
The word "evolution" means that offspring of an animal can change through random mutations. This has been observed happening, and is why the flu vaacine changes every year: the flu virus evolves.
"Darwinian" Natural Selection proposes a MECHANISM that causes beneficial evolutionary changes to spread through the population; Darwin proposed that the plant or animal which is better suited to its environment will survive in greater numbers than a plant or animal which was less suited. For example, an animal capable of running fast would be more able to catch a prey, or more able to flee from a predator. So slower animals tended to produce fewer surviving offspring than faster animals, unless the slower animal had some other advantages. So in the flat plains of Africa, fast animals like the cheetah chase fast animals like the gazelle. But in forested areas, the monkey can climb trees to escape from the lions and panthers.
Since Darwin's Theory is based on evolution, all "Darwinists" believe in evolution, but not all evolutionists accept Darwin's explanation. No other hyothesis are supported by the same overwhelming amount of evidence, however, and thus are generally not considered serious competitors to Darwin's Theory.