Writing on a NYT blog, Olivia Judson argues that we should abolish “Darwinism.” Here’s what she means:
I’d like to abolish the insidious terms Darwinism, Darwinist and Darwinian. They suggest a false narrowness to the field of modern evolutionary biology, as though it was the brainchild of a single person 150 years ago, rather than a vast, complex and evolving subject to which many other great figures have contributed. (The science would be in a sorry state if one man 150 years ago had, in fact, discovered everything there was to say.) Obsessively focusing on Darwin, perpetually asking whether he was right about this or that, implies that the discovery of something he didn’t think of or know about somehow undermines or threatens the whole enterprise of evolutionary biology today.
Sounds good to me. That way, it will be more apparent that the Creationists are arguing against an entire phalanx of theorists, biologists, statisticians, geologists and biochemists (among others). Without the term “Darwinism,” it would be more apparent that the Creationists can’t win simply by claiming that a single man stands between them and our science classrooms. I agree with Judson that to call modern evolutionary biology “Darwinism” is like calling aeronautical engineering “Wrightism.”
I only disagree with Judson in one regard. She suggests that Darwin accomplished more in his lifetime than any of us could accomplish in two lifetimes. I would suggest that the proper number is ten or more, based upon Darwin’s far-ranging achievements. He was truly an extraordinary scientist and thinker.