Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, launching his theory of natural selection in biological evolution. The following year, Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism to identify the theory of evolution by natural selection.
Four years later, "survival of the fittest" was the phrase created by philosopher Herbert Spencer to summarize Darwinism. Darwin thought it accurate. Its most vehement opposition, initially at least, came from Henry Drummond of the Scottish Free Church, who said care and compassion are as important as strength and ability in survival.
Darwin later theorized that nature made the decision about what organisms progressed, not man nor God, as he explained in The Decent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871).
Historians have used the term Darwinism to identify Darwin's theory as opposed to other evolutionary theories in existence around the same time. Today, scientists use the term Darwinism to make the distinction between Darwin's theories and modern evolutionary ideas (termed "neo-Darwinism" by some).
Some creationists use the term Darwinism incorrectly when they talk about atheistic evolution, which includes cosmic evolution, the Big Bang theory, the origin or life, and such. Technically speaking, Darwinism discusses the progression and diversification of life on earth, not its origin.
The concepts of Darwinism have also been applied to other parts of society, such as Social Darwinism—the struggle for dominance in society.
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