Evolution for everyone

The word evolution is related to the terms evolve and evolute, and originally meant an unrolling. It acquired a sense of development in the 19th century and was associated with progress, especially as promoted by Herbert Spencer. Charles Darwin used it in print only once since his theory was not a theory of progress. “But Victorian belief in progress prevailed (and the advantages of brevity), and Herbert Spencer and other biologists after Darwin popularized evolution.” (source)

Today the basic meaning of the word evolution is change over time. That is, evolution refers to a process that changes one form into another form over time; in short, transmutation. There are various proposed means or mechanisms of evolution but they are all asserted to produce change over time.

Thus the concept of evolution is the opposite of the idea that forms do not change over time. What makes it complex is that some forms may change over time but not others. But no one today seriously alleges that there is no significant change over time. In that sense, we are all evolutionists.

Then we need terms to distinguish the different kinds of evolutionary concepts. One could simply attach the names of their originators, but their concepts are modified over time so additional terms would be required. We need simple terms to designate the main types of evolution. Three-letter acronyms would help, too.

Thus I propose the following terms and acronyms, starting with those who acknowledge no limits to evolution:

Unlimited universal evolution (UUE) – This is the concept most commonly associated with evolution, which is a process that started with the Big Bang and developed the physical universe of today.

Unlimited biological evolution (UBE) – This is the concept associated with biological evolution from “a few forms or … one” (Origin of Species, 1859) to the biological diversity of today.

There are limited versions of evolution, but those proposing limits are also proposing something else. Nevertheless, a general term for those who assert limits to evolution is:

Limited biological evolution (LBE) – This is the concept that biological evolution is limited in some way, whether that limit has been reached in the past or present, or will be reached in the future.

Specific versions of LBE are as follows:

Intelligent Design Evolution (IDE) – This is a limited form of evolution in which intelligent design is asserted to be required to explain the difference between some biological forms. The existence of a designer is not asserted.

Creator Designed Evolution (CDE) – This is a limited form of evolution in which a Creator is asserted to have made the initial form of the universe and initial forms of life, which contained in them a capacity to produce subordinate forms.

One question is where theistic evolution fits in. Is it UUE/UBE or CDE? Theistic evolutionists acknowledge the existence of a Creator and creation, which is CDE, but they also accept standard evolutionary theory, which is UUE/UBE. Creator designed unlimited universal evolution (CDUUE)? Yet since they acknowledge a Creator, they should at least allow the possibility that creation was designed for limited variation.