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Darwinism vs. Evolution — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 23, 2023
Darwinism refers to Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection; Evolution is the broader process of species changing over time.
Darwinism vs. Evolution — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Darwinism and Evolution

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Key Differences

Darwinism specifically encapsulates the ideas and theories proposed by Charles Darwin, especially regarding natural selection. Evolution, in contrast, is a broad scientific concept that describes the process by which species undergo changes over generations, encompassing a multitude of mechanisms and theories.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 23, 2023
The foundation of Darwinism rests on the idea that within populations, organisms with beneficial traits are more likely to reproduce, passing these traits to offspring. Evolution, however, speaks to the overarching process wherein species change, adapt, and diversify over long time spans, whether by natural selection or other means.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 23, 2023
Darwinism, while a significant subset, is just one theory under the umbrella of Evolution. Other theories and mechanisms, such as genetic drift or gene flow, contribute to the broader understanding of Evolution, extending beyond just the ideas presented by Darwin.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 23, 2023
At times, the term Darwinism might be used colloquially or in a specific context to refer to the theory of natural selection. In contrast, Evolution remains a more encompassing term, referring to the gradual development and diversification of life on Earth across eons.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 23, 2023

Comparison Chart

Definition

Theory proposed by Charles Darwin
Broad process of species changing over time
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Sep 23, 2023
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Focus

Natural selection
Multiple mechanisms of change
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Sep 23, 2023

Proponent

Charles Darwin
Numerous scientists across history
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Sep 23, 2023

Timeframe of Origin

19th Century
Idea predates Darwin, but modern understanding is ongoing
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Sep 23, 2023

Scope

Subset of theories under Evolution
All-encompassing term for life's development and change
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Sep 23, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Darwinism

A 19th-century evolutionary theory.
Darwinism was groundbreaking in its time, reshaping biological studies.
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Sep 23, 2023

Evolution

A scientific theory encompassing various mechanisms of change.
Natural selection, gene flow, and genetic drift are all components of evolution.
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Sep 23, 2023

Darwinism

Emphasis on survival of the fittest.
In the realm of Darwinism, advantageous traits increase an organism's likelihood of survival.
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Sep 23, 2023

Evolution

Describes the history and development of life.
The evolution of birds from theropod dinosaurs is well-documented in the fossil record.
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Sep 23, 2023

Darwinism

Represents a specific mechanism of evolutionary change.
While Darwinism focuses on natural selection, there are other mechanisms at play in evolution.
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Sep 23, 2023

Evolution

A continuous and ongoing process.
Evolution occurs over generations, with small changes accumulating over time.
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Sep 23, 2023

Darwinism

Charles Darwin's specific contribution to evolutionary biology.
Darwinism is often contrasted with other evolutionary theories.
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Sep 23, 2023

Evolution

Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes that are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction.
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Jul 25, 2021

Darwinism

The theory of evolution by natural selection.
Darwinism introduced a new perspective on the origins of species.
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Sep 23, 2023

Evolution

The process by which different kinds of living organism are believed to have developed from earlier forms during the history of the earth.
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Jul 25, 2021

Darwinism

Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Also called Darwinian theory, it originally included the broad concepts of transmutation of species or of evolution which gained general scientific acceptance after Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, including concepts which predated Darwin's theories.
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Jul 25, 2021

Evolution

The gradual development of something
The forms of written languages undergo constant evolution
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Darwinism

A theory of biological evolution developed by Charles Darwin and others, stating that all species of organisms have developed from other species, primarily through natural selection. Also called Darwinian theory.
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Evolution

The giving off of a gaseous product, or of heat
The evolution of oxygen occurs rapidly in this process
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Darwinism

Alternative case form of Darwinism.
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Evolution

A pattern of movements or manoeuvres
Flocks of waders often perform aerial evolutions
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Darwinism

The theory or doctrines put forth by Darwin. See above.
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Evolution

The extraction of a root from a given quantity.
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Darwinism

A theory of organic evolution claiming that new species arise and are perpetuated by natural selection
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Evolution

A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.
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Evolution

A result of this process; a development
Judo is an evolution of an earlier martial art.
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Evolution

Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, often resulting in the development of new species. The mechanisms of evolution include natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, mutation, migration, and genetic drift.
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Evolution

The historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.
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Jul 25, 2021

Evolution

(Astronomy) Change in the structure, chemical composition, or dynamical properties of a celestial object or system such as a planetary system, star, or galaxy. Evolution often changes the observable or measurable characteristics of the object or system.
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Jul 25, 2021

Evolution

A movement that is part of a set of ordered movements
Naval evolutions in preparation for battle.
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Evolution

(Mathematics) The extraction of a root of a quantity.
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Evolution

A change of position.
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Evolution

(military) A manoeuvre of troops or ships.
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Evolution

A turning movement, especially of the body.
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Evolution

(obsolete) A turned or twisted shape; an involution, a complex or intricate shape.
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Evolution

An unfolding.
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Evolution

The act or process of unfolding or opening out; the progression of events in regular succession.
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Evolution

(geometry) The opening out of a curve; now more generally, the gradual transformation of a curve by a change of the conditions generating it.
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Evolution

The extraction of a root from a given power.
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Jul 25, 2021

Evolution

(chemistry) The act or an instance of giving off gas; emission.
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Evolution

Process of development.
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Evolution

Development; the act or result of developing what was implicit in an idea, argument etc.
The ongoing evolution of Lolita subculture fashion includes, among other things, the ballet style.
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Jul 25, 2021

Evolution

A process of gradual change in a given system, subject, product etc., especially from simpler to more complex forms.
Among other forms of change, the evolution of transportation has involved modification, diversification, convergence, divergence, hybridization, differentiation, and naturally, selection.
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Jul 25, 2021

Evolution

(biology) The transformation of animals, plants and other living things into different forms (now understood as a change in genetic composition) by the accumulation of changes over successive generations.
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Jul 25, 2021

Evolution

The act of unfolding or unrolling; hence, any process of growth or development; as, the evolution of a flower from a bud, or an animal from the egg.
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Evolution

A series of things unrolled or unfolded.
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Evolution

The formation of an involute by unwrapping a thread from a curve as an evolute.
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Evolution

The extraction of roots; - the reverse of involution.
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Evolution

A prescribed movement of a body of troops, or a vessel or fleet; any movement designed to effect a new arrangement or disposition; a maneuver.
Those evolutions are best which can be executed with the greatest celerity, compatible with regularity.
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Jul 25, 2021

Evolution

A general name for the history of the steps by which any living organism has acquired the morphological and physiological characters which distinguish it; a gradual unfolding of successive phases of growth or development.
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Evolution

That theory of generation which supposes the germ to preëxist in the parent, and its parts to be developed, but not actually formed, by the procreative act; - opposed to epigenesis.
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Jul 25, 2021

Evolution

That series of changes under natural law which involves continuous progress from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous in structure, and from the single and simple to the diverse and manifold in quality or function. The process is by some limited to organic beings; by others it is applied to the inorganic and the psychical. It is also applied to explain the existence and growth of institutions, manners, language, civilization, and every product of human activity. The agencies and laws of the process are variously explained by different philosophrs.
Evolution is to me series with development.
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Jul 25, 2021

Evolution

A process in which something passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage);
The development of his ideas took many years
The evolution of Greek civilization
The slow development of her skill as a writer
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Jul 25, 2021

Evolution

(biology) the sequence of events involved in the evolutionary development of a species or taxonomic group of organisms
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Jul 25, 2021

Evolution

The process by which species change over time.
Evolution explains the vast diversity of life on Earth.
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Sep 23, 2023

Evolution

Responsible for the adaptation and diversification of organisms.
Evolution has led to the myriad of species we see today.
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Sep 23, 2023

Common Curiosities

Why is Darwinism significant?

Darwinism provided a naturalistic explanation for the diversity of life.
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Sep 23, 2023

What is Darwinism?

Darwinism refers to Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection.
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Sep 23, 2023

Did Darwin coin the term Evolution?

No, the concept of evolution predates Darwin, but he provided a mechanism through Darwinism.
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Sep 23, 2023

Does Evolution only occur by natural selection?

No, while natural selection is a primary driver, other mechanisms like genetic drift also play a role in evolution.
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Sep 23, 2023

Who proposed the theory of Darwinism?

Charles Darwin proposed the theory.
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Sep 23, 2023

Is Darwinism the only theory under Evolution?

No, there are other mechanisms and theories that contribute to the broader concept of evolution.
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Sep 23, 2023

Can a trait evolve if it's not under Darwinian natural selection?

Yes, traits can evolve due to other factors like genetic drift or gene flow.
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Sep 23, 2023

How has our understanding of Evolution evolved since Darwin's time?

Our understanding has expanded with new theories, fossil evidence, and genetic research building upon and refining the ideas of Darwinism.
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Sep 23, 2023

How does Evolution differ from Darwinism?

Evolution is the broad process of species changing over time, while Darwinism focuses on the mechanism of natural selection.
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Sep 23, 2023

What is the main focus of Darwinism?

The primary focus of Darwinism is natural selection or survival of the fittest.
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Sep 23, 2023

Does Darwinism cover all aspects of Evolution?

No, Darwinism is a subset of theories under the broader concept of evolution.
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Sep 23, 2023

Are there controversies surrounding Darwinism and Evolution?

While the scientific consensus supports evolution, there have been societal and religious debates regarding Darwinism.
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Sep 23, 2023

When was Darwinism introduced?

The theory was introduced in the 19th century.
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Sep 23, 2023

Is Darwinism universally accepted in the scientific community?

While the broader concept of evolution is widely accepted, there are ongoing discussions about the specifics and mechanisms, including those of Darwinism.
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Sep 23, 2023

Is Evolution an ongoing process?

Yes, evolution is continuous and occurs over generations.
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Sep 23, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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