• Igor Popov


Darwinism is based on the idea that evolution occurs due to selection from a large or an almost unlimited source of variability and that its direction is determined by adaptation to a constantly changing environment. An alternative viewpoint implies that the material of variability is limited, that organisms are predisposed to vary in certain directions and that this predisposition is the determinant of evolution. While evolution does respond to external changes, it does not depend on them; adaptation is not the evolutionary mainstream. This viewpoint has usually been referred to as orthogenesis (from the Greek orthos—straight), that is, development in a certain direction or “directed evolution”. Numerous other terms have also been coined to express this idea (nomogenesis, autogenesis, ologenesis, autoevolution, to name a few), while the term “orthogenesis” has not always meant directed evolution. Not uncommonly, it was used to describe a phenomenon when related groups of organisms (in fossil record or in current existence) could be said to represent series of directed transformations. Orthogenesis is closely associated with the doctrine of organicism, which postulates that species or higher taxonomic groups undergo the same life cycle as an individual: birth, growth, development and natural death. Though Darwinism holds the ideas of orthogenesis and organicism to be erroneous, their followers have accumulated some thought-provoking facts, which it would be unreasonable to ignore.



I am grateful to the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research and Fondation Maison des science de l’homme for providing financial support of the studies (in 2005–2007 and in 2013) that resulted in this book. I am grateful to Natalia Lentsman and Springer Publishing Company for careful work with my manuscript. I thank Dr. Andrew Ostrovsky, Saint Petersburg State University, for advice and encouragement during preparation of the manuscript.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Igor Popov
    • 1
  1. 1.Saint Petersburg State University, N. N. Petrov Research Institute of OncologySaint PetersburgRussia

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