Darwinism must die?
Darwinism Must Die So That Evolution May Live
That's the title of a NYT opinion piece.
My first reaction: huh?
Searching for an explanation, I find this:
We don’t call astronomy Copernicism, nor gravity Newtonism.
Maybe not specifically, but science is filled with things named after scientists - including Copernicus and Newton. For example, the Copernican principle.
“Darwinism” implies an ideology adhering to one man’s dictates, like Marxism.
And “isms” (capitalism, Catholicism, racism) are not science.
Formalism? Adaptationism? Aneurysm? A joke, but argument-by-word-suffix seems terribly weak.
“Darwinism” implies that biological scientists “believe in” Darwin’s “theory.” It’s as if, since 1860, scientists have just ditto-headed Darwin rather than challenging and testing his ideas, or adding vast new knowledge.
That is putting an awfully heavy load of interpretation on a single word.
Using phrases like “Darwinian selection” or “Darwinian evolution” implies there must be another kind of evolution at work, a process that can be described with another adjective.
So now the reason given is that it suggests that there are more than one actual mechanisms of evolution. How about this for an alternative: that there are more than one proposed mechanisms for evolution - such as Lamarckian evolution, which has been falsified but which surely is still talked about (e.g. when discussing the history of science).
The author really does seem to be throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Notice also that we have switched from "Darwinism" to "Darwinian". It's not really the "-ism" that was the offender, was it? I wonder what the words "Darwinism" and "Darwinian" have in common...
But the term “Darwinian” built a stage upon which “intelligent” could share the spotlight.
Seems rather a stretch to blame the name for the religious assault on the theory of natural selection. The roots of the assault run fairly deep and it seems doubtful that the choice of name would have made a detectable difference in how far it has gone.
Almost everything we understand about evolution came after Darwin, not from him.
So now the attack is on Darwin himself, or rather on his place in the history of science. It is, apparently, not the "-ism" in "Darwinism" that offends, nor the "-ian" in "Darwinian", but the "Darwin" in both. The use of his name gives him too much credit, or so it is suggested.
And yet we talk about Newtonian physics and Euclidean geometry, and there was plenty of progress in these fields after Newton and after Euclid, respectively. Using the names of Newton and of Euclid here does not give them too much credit.
In brief: I was not persuaded.