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The theory of evolution or “the Modern Synthesis” can be applied to any system that changes, with the theory part of evolution used to explain how these changes occur. It is the unifying theory for disciplines as diverse as genetics, archaeology, primatology, biology, paleontology, systematics, and ecology. It is flourishing in psychology, economics, and anthropology and is slowly making inroads into sociology.

Historically, the word evolution was derived from the Latin verb evolvere, or an “unfolding process.” In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, this usage was combined with a theory of progress to promote a new scientific theory that higher forms had slowly developed out of lower forms. Evolution was also the centerpiece for the first social science paradigm, which viewed human societies as evolving ...

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