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History of the theory of evolution[edit]

history of the theory of evolution

In the 19th century the word "evolution" was identified with improvement. It was clear to European thinkers at that time – in the wake of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution – that human societies evolved; many people have claimed the same about the evolution of biological species. In the 20th century, most social scientists came to reject the strict identification of social and cultural change with improvement (see also social evolution and cultural evolution); most interpretations of Darwin's account of evolution similarly argue against identifying biological changes with improvement.

Context of Lamark and creationism, biochemistry

Since the 19th century "evolution" is generally used in reference to biological evolution, the development of the different varieties of living things over generations. Often it is shorthand for the modern theory of evolution of species based upon Darwin's idea of natural selection.

The current dominant theory of evolution is known as the "modern evolutionary synthesis" (or simply "modern synthesis"), referring to the synthesis of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection and Mendel's theory of the gene. According to this theory, the fundamental event of speciation is the genetic isolation of two populations, which allows their gene pools to diverge. Since the modern synthesis, biological evolution has been defined as changes in allele frequencies in a population from one generation to another. The remainder of this article addresses biological evolution.