Have biological theories of "evolution" 'evolved' since Charles Darwin's time or not?

Just the question iself is enough. This was also stated recently by a self-described “unbeliever”:

“to some extent it [TOE] has itself evolved”.

Really, a “theory” can “evolve” even though a “theory” is not a biological entity?!

Thankfully, the framing was welcome: “As a non believer, I do find this difficult.”

Amen to searching and trying to understand the teachings!

I am sure you must have read Kuhn. Just a couple of quotes from the many in his book.

“I am sure you must have read Kuhn.”

Yes, I’ve read Kuhn. Yes, I agree with you and have also cited the 2nd quote in publications.

The first quote reveals Kuhn’s philosophical naivety. But that’s somewhat to be expected, since he studied physics and physicists are notoriously insensitive about the humanities and social sciences.

I sure do wish more “BioLogosians” had understood what Kuhn meant when he said “can easily be pushed too far.” All I hear at BioLogos is denial that “too far” is even possible when it comes to exaggerating “evolution” outside of the naural sciences.

Does it surprise you that BioLogos seemingly refuses to acknowledge that any “too far” with the concept of “evolution” is EVEN POSSIBLE?

Kuhn’s thesis: “to present an evolutionary account of the interrelationships between social and conceptual developments in science…I set out a general analysis of selection processes that is equally applicable to biological, social and conceptual development…The danger in setting out such a general analysis of selection processes, one that is equally applicable to biological, social and conceptual change, is that it can become so general that it is empirically vacuous.” - T. Kuhn (12-14: 1962)

Both are essentially learning processes.

But the comparison of hypotheses, evidence, testing, and scientific approval to genes, environment, natural selection and the gene pool is only an analogy. There are significant differences. The hypotheses to alter the theory are far from random, and the testing of the hypotheses doesn’t have the random factors you find in survival. For that reason, the development of theory is much faster than what you see in evolution.


“the comparison of hypotheses, evidence, testing, and scientific approval to genes, environment, natural selection and the gene pool is only an analogy”

Yes, a VERY weak analogy. People make choices. Dirt doesn’t.

Yes, we are now in agreement about this. Thus, probably you can see a case where I reject using “evolution” for good reasons, yes?

In the 50 year evolution of the modern synthesis and since.

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So you just feign ignorance of the broader use of the term evolution as a rhetorical tool. I was wondering why someone would deny the normal usage of a word.

Nice to see you think of yourself so highly.

What exactly is a “BioLogosians”? This is a collection of people with no central organizational principle. Your problem appears to be with this rather motley group of posters.

Sorry, but I have been here for several years and while I haven’t read every post in every thread I can honestly say I don’t remember anyone “pushing” evolution outside of biology.

No for the simple reason that using the concept of evolution can be applied to anything and wouldn’t, IMHO, be considered “too far.” Just Google “evolution of automobiles” for an example.

Your argument, AFAICT, is “red” should be limited to apples and people that apply it to Stop Signs have gone “too far”.

But still a perfectly acceptable analogy. Analogy doesn’t win arguments it is just a means of communication.

The only reason I can see is it doesn’t meet the Gregory definition of evolution. Thank goodness you don’t write the dictionary.


I wonder if the irony is obvious enough. :slightly_smiling_face:

First you slam everyone for not using the word “evolution” the right way (as you see it), and then you turn around and make up a brand new word–“BioLogosians.”

A lot of creationists routinely indulge in the vice
of equivocation with certain words, “faith”, and “evolution”

Dirt??? What in the world are you talking about??? What does dirt have to do evolution???

ALL living organisms make choices. Even the ones without nervous systems. It a basic element in complex systems governed by non-linear equations – also known by the name of bifurcation. And the only place where these are deterministic is in a computer where the initial conditions are fixed by the user, but in the real world, initial conditions to an infinite degree of precision do not exist because of quantum physics.

I have always agreed with you up to a point. I also think you go too far… with all the character of a rampaging ideological crusade.


Agreed, no problem. But if you would kindly notice, the topic under discussion is selection processes made falsely comparable to biological evolution. Selection processes made falsely comparable to biological evolution. What is not concerned in that statement is the normal everyday use of the words ‘evolve’ and ‘evolution’ as used by maybe billions of English speakers around the world when speaking of other kinds of change with respect to time.

Good analogy, thank you.

Perhaps we can allow “red” for apples and stop signs, but it must be kept far away from all ideologies. Like prisms, for example.


And what is the other theory or are the other theories?

Hi Gregory -

We haven’t had any conversations here, so I’ll just start by saying hello, good to meet you.

I would like to skip over the squabble about the correct usage of the English word “evolution.” Instead, I would point out that the biological theory of evolution has indeed changed quite a bit over the past 160 years or so.

Did you want to have a discussion about the development of the theory over the past 160 years, or did you want to have a discussion about the proper use of the word “evolution”? If it’s the latter, I’ll bow out and let those who care about the issue have some fun.

Pax Christi,
Chris Falter

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