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File:George John Romanes, photograph by Elliott & Fry.jpg|thumb|'Neo-Darwinism' was used by George John RomanesGeorge John RomanesNeo-Darwinism is the interpretation of Darwinian evolution through natural selection as it has variously been modified since it was first proposed. It was early on used to name Charles Darwin's ideas of natural selection separated from his hypothesis of pangenesis as a Lamarckian source of variation involving blending inheritance.JOURNAL, Kutschera, Ulrich, Ulrich Kutschera, Niklas, Karl J., Karl J. Niklas, June 2004, The modern theory of biological evolution: an expanded synthesis, Naturwissenschaften, 91, 6, 255–276, 2004NW.....91..255K, 10.1007/s00114-004-0515-y, 15241603, In the early 20th century, the concept became associated with the modern synthesis of natural selection and Mendelian genetics that took place at that time.In the late 20th century and into the 21st century, neo-Darwinism denoted any strong advocacy of Darwin's thinking, such as the gene-centered view of evolution.

Early usage

As part of the disagreement about whether natural selection alone was sufficient to explain speciation, in 1880, Samuel Butler called Alfred Russel Wallace's view neo-Darwinism.BOOK, Butler, Samuel, Samuel Butler (novelist), Unconscious Memory, 1880, David Bogue, 280,weblink I may predict with some certainty that before long we shall find the original Darwinism of Dr. Erasmus Darwin … generally accepted instead of the neo-Darwinism of to-day, and that the variations whose accumulation results in species will be recognised as due to the wants and endeavours of the living forms in which they appear, instead of being ascribed to chance, or, in other words, to unknown causes, as by Mr. Charles Darwin's system, WEB,weblink On the Terms "Darwinism" and "Neo-Darwinism", Beccaloni, George, 2013, A. R. Wallace Website, The term was again used by George Romanes in 1895 to refer to the version of evolution advocated by Wallace and August Weismann with its heavy dependence on natural selection.{{harvnb|Gould|2002|p=216}}Weismann and Wallace rejected the Lamarckian idea of inheritance of acquired characteristics that even Darwin took for granted.{{harvnb|Darwin|1872|p=108}}JOURNAL, Kutschera, Ulrich, December 2003, A comparative analysis of the Darwin-Wallace papers and the development of the concept of natural selection, Theory in Biosciences, 122, 4, 343–359, 10.1007/s12064-003-0063-6, 1431-7613, The term was first used to explain that evolution occurs solely through natural selection, and not by the inheritance of acquired characteristics resulting from use or disuse.JOURNAL, Reif, Wolf-Ernst, :de:Wolf-Ernst Reif, Junker, Thomas, :de:Thomas Junker, Hoßfeld, Uwe, :de:Uwe Hoßfeld, March 2000, The synthetic theory of evolution: general problems and the German contribution to the synthesis, Theory in Biosciences, 119, 1, 41–91, 10.1007/s12064-000-0004-6, 1431-7613,weblink, The basis for the complete rejection of Lamarckism was Weismann's germ plasm theory. Weismann realised that the cells that produce the germ plasm, or gametes (such as sperm and egg in animals), separate from the somatic cells that go on to make other body tissues at an early stage in development. Since he could see no obvious means of communication between the two, he asserted that the inheritance of acquired characteristics was therefore impossible; a conclusion now known as the Weismann barrier.JOURNAL, Barbieri, Francisco D., 1989, The origin of Metazoa and Weismann's germ line theory, Rivista di Biologia, 82, 1, 61–74, 0035-6050, 2665023, From the 1880s to the 1930s, the term continued to be applied to the panselectionist school of thought, which argued that natural selection was the main and perhaps sole cause of all evolution.WEB,weblink So You Want to be an Anti-Darwinian: Varieties of Opposition to Darwinism, Wilkins, John, December 21, 1998, TalkOrigins Archive, The TalkOrigins Foundation, Inc., Houston, TX, 2015-11-19, From then until around 1947, the term was used for the panselectionist followers of Ronald Fisher.File:Modern Synthesis.svg|thumb|upright=1.75|Several major ideas about evolution came together in the population genetics of the early 20th century to form the so-called modern synthesis, including genetic variation, natural selection, and particulate (Mendelian) inheritance. This was at the time called neo-Darwinism.]]

Modern synthesis of the early 20th century

{{further|Modern synthesis (20th century)}}Following the development, from about 1918 to 1947, of the modern synthesis of evolutionary biology, the term neo-Darwinian was often used to refer to that contemporary evolutionary theory.WEB,weblink The Modern Synthesis of Genetics and Evolution, January 22, 1993, Moran, Laurance, TalkOrigins Archive, The TalkOrigins Foundation, Inc., Houston, TX, 2007-09-19, JOURNAL, Bock, Walter J., July 1981, Reviewed Work: The Evolutionary Synthesis. Perspectives on the Unification of Biology, The Auk, 98, 3, 644–646, 0004-8038, 4086148,

Any current version of evolutionary thinking

Biologists however have not limited their application of the term neo-Darwinism to the historical modern synthesis. For example, Ernst Mayr wrote in 1984 that "the term neo-Darwinism for the synthetic theory [the modern synthesis of the early 20th century] is wrong, because the term neo-Darwinism was coined by Romanes in 1895 as a designation of Weismann's theory."JOURNAL, Mayr, Ernst, Ernst Mayr, 1984, What is Darwinism Today?, PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, 2, 2, 145–156, 0270-8647, 192502, 10.1086/psaprocbienmeetp.1984.2.192502, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers (1984).JOURNAL, Pigliucci, Massimo, Massimo Pigliucci, December 2007, Do We Need An Extended Evolutionary Synthesis?,weblink Evolution (journal), Evolution, 61, 12, 2743–2749, 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2007.00246.x, 17924956, Publications such as Encyclopædia Britannica similarly use neo-Darwinism to refer to current evolutionary theory, not the version current during the early 20th century synthesis.ENCYCLOPEDIA, neo-Darwinism,weblink Encyclopædia Britannica, 2015, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., Chicago, IL, 2015-11-19, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould have used the term in their writings and lectures to denote the forms of evolutionary biology that were contemporary when they were writing.{{YouTube|id=kYCVmXVp_rk|title="Neo-Darwinism Lecture by Richard Dawkins"}}. The video of the lecture was originally posted on May 5, 2010, at WEB,weblink Lecture on Neo-Darwinism, 2013-07-07, bot: unknown,weblink" title="">weblink December 1, 2014, .{{harvnb|Gould|2011|pp=53–73}}

See also

{{Wikipedia books|Evolution}}




  • BOOK, Darwin, Charles, Charles Darwin, 1872, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, 6th, London, John Murray (publisher), John Murray, 1185571, harv, On the Origin of Species,
  • BOOK, Gould, Stephen Jay, Stephen Jay Gould, 2002, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 978-0-674-00613-3, 2001043556, 47869352, harv, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory,
  • BOOK, Gould, Stephen Jay, 2011, Challenges to Neo-Darwinism and Their Meaning for a Revised View of Human Consciousness, McMurrin, Sterling M., Sterling M. McMurrin, The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, 6, Salt Lake City, UT; Cambridge, UK, University of Utah Press; Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-17647-7, 846869183, harv, "Lecture delivered at Clare Hall, Cambridge University April 30 and May 1, 1984"

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