Evolution: Education and Outreach

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 90–94

Don’t Call it “Darwinism”


  • Eugenie C. Scott
    • National Center for Science Education
    • National Center for Science Education
Overcoming Obstacles to Evolution Education

DOI: 10.1007/s12052-008-0111-2

Cite this article as:
Scott, E.C. & Branch, G. Evo Edu Outreach (2009) 2: 90. doi:10.1007/s12052-008-0111-2


Evolutionary biology owes much to Charles Darwin, whose discussions of common descent and natural selection provide the foundations of the discipline. But evolutionary biology has expanded well beyond its foundations to encompass many theories and concepts unknown in the 19th century. The term “Darwinism” is, therefore, ambiguous and misleading. Compounding the problem of “Darwinism” is the hijacking of the term by creationists to portray evolution as a dangerous ideology—an “ism”—that has no place in the science classroom. When scientists and teachers use “Darwinism” as synonymous with evolutionary biology, it reinforces such a misleading portrayal and hinders efforts to present the scientific standing of evolution accurately. Accordingly, the term “Darwinism” should be abandoned as a synonym for evolutionary biology.


DarwinismDarwinistCreationismIntelligent designCharles DarwinEvolutionary biology

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008