Orthogenesis was the belief in a tendency for evolution toward greater perfection and complexity (Kutschera & Niklas, 2004). It did not support natural selection. It was thought that evolution was preprogrammed and would lead to a predetermined end resulting in a perfect organism. Since simple life forms like bacteria are still around and the fact that there has not been a perfect organism orthogenesis is no longer taken seriously (Kutschera & Niklas, 2004).

Kutschera, U. & Niklas, K. (2004). The modern theory of biological evolution: an expanded synthesis. Naturwissenschaften 91:255–276





Short-sighted natural selection sorting random genetic variation no other guidance or aim.

Intrinsic drive towards perfection; natural selection unimportant.

Common Decent

Yes, new species coming into existence by speciation events.

No, speciation rejected or considered unimportant in long term trends; spontaneous generation of new species.


Prevailing in modified form as Neo-Darwinism.

No longer believed

Table 1. Darwinism vs. Orthogenesis.  Retrieved from

Here is an article that discusses orthogenesis in more detail.


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