The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis

Get more content like this with our weekly newsletter. Subscribe

When you learned about evolution, you probably were taught about random genetic variation in populations, inheritance of traits and about the role of natural selection in bringing about the “survival of the fittest.” This is often referred to as the Modern Synthesis of evolutionary theory. Some scientists think these principles are insufficient to explain the full breadth of evolution. They propose something called the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis which incorporates new finding in developmental biology, genomics, epigenetics, ecology, and the social sciences as important in explaining evolutionary outcomes. It does not negate variation, inheritance or natural selection, but adds new elements like animal behavior that paint a slightly different, and not-completely random, picture of how life evolves.

Read (here and here) about the proposed “rethink” to the Modern Synthesis, or visit this more comprehensive website to understand the kinds of research being pursued.

For an example of how Christian theologians are responding, check out these reflections, one from Michael Burdett at BioLogos and the other from Catholic theologian Chris Baglow.

Get our weekly email

Enjoying this article? Every week we boil down complex topics to help ministry leaders navigate questions of science and faith. Subscribe today.