|Darwinism (där'wĭ-nĭz'əm) Pronunciation Key
A theory of biological evolution developed by Charles Darwin 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. Darwin's ideas have been refined and modified by subsequent researchers, but his theories still form the foundation of the scientific understanding of the evolution of life. Darwinism is often contrasted with another theory of biological evolution called Lamarckism, based on the now-discredited ideas of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. See Note at evolution.