Darwin developed/ invented /created the theory of evolution

Discussion in 'English Only' started by wanabee, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. wanabee Senior Member

    Japanese
    Dear all,

    1. Charles Darwin invented the theory of evolution.
    2. Charles Darwin developed the theory of evolution.
    3. Charles Darwin created the theory of evolution.

    What are the differences between the three?
    For me,
    1. "He invented the theory" suggests that he came up with something totally new, novel and useful for society.
    2. "He developed the theory" suggests that he gradually grew a seed of his idea into the theory over time, but it's not clear how creative that theory is.
    3. "He created the theory" says that he made a new theory, but it's not stressing its novelty so much as "he invented the theory".

    I'm getting confused writing the above myself.
    I would appreciate your help.
     
  2. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    First of all let us dispose of a couple of problems.
    1. There is no single "Theory of Evolution" - there are many. Darwin's version was specifically of evolution by natural selection
    2. It is not clear that Darwin was the sole originator of the idea.

    However, on purely grammatical terms I would say:

    1. "He invented the theory" suggests that he came up with something totally new.
    2. "He developed the theory" suggests that he gradually grew an idea into a theory over time. We don't know who originated the theory but he elaborated and strengthened it.
    3. "He created the theory" I think this is probably indistinguishable from 1.
    4. "He propounded the theory" He presented the theory for others to read and consider.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  3. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    Do you know if he was the first person to come up with the idea? If, so, he did create/invent the theory. The "founder", so to speak. Then, he developed it.

    I am not familiar with the history of evolution.
     
  4. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    I've already tried to make the point that we are not dealing with facts about Darwin but with the meanings of the words invent, develop, create :) #2
     
  5. Beryl from Northallerton Senior Member

    British English
    In my opinion,
    1. "He invented the theory" suggests that he came up with something totally new, novel and useful for society. :cross: we don't say that
    3. "He created the theory" says that he made a new theory, but it's not stressing its novelty so much as "he invented the theory". :cross: we don't say that

    2. "He developed the theory" suggests that he gradually grew a seed of his idea into the theory over time, but it's not clear how creative that theory is. :tick: we do say that.

    Although, working with your metaphor, this does not imply that Darwin 'planted that seed' (and the history books would tell us otherwise). So if we are to take for granted that Darwin was the sole originator of this theory, then (2) is true, but it's not the full story.
     
  6. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    If he had only patented it! :) Sorry, Biffo. I pressed reply before seeing your entry.
     
  7. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    California
    English - US
    I think you develop theories, when they are assumed to be true or accurate.

    I think that to say that someone 'invented' or 'created' a theory suggests that the theory is not based in reality. However, I see that some people use 'invented' in colloquial discussions.

    Theories might be proposed or propounded, but, as Biffo says, that has a different meaning.

    Added: The submission of this post was delayed. I see that meanwhile Beryl has posted about the same thing above, but I'll leave this anyway.
     
  8. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    I'm a little confused by this. (I prefer not to use Darwin because we then end up mingling facts and grammar)

    If X develops a theory, he takes an idea (not necessarily his own) and knocks it into shape.

    Even if X was the sole originator of the theory, that does not imply that he was the sole developer of the theory.
     
  9. Beryl from Northallerton Senior Member

    British English
    I'm a little confused by this. (I prefer not to use Darwin because we then end up mingling facts and grammar) Fair enough.

    If X develops a theory, he takes an idea (not necessarily his own) and knocks it into shape.
    Agreed

    If X was the sole originator of the theory, that does not mean that he was the sole developer of the theory.
    Agreed
     
  10. wanabee Senior Member

    Japanese
    Thank you very much, Biffo, perpend, Beryl, and Cagey.

    I see your point about the inaccuracy of my sentence. Thank you.
    Representative comment:
    In the course of pointing out that inaccuracy of my sentence, you've clearly explained the difference between invent, create and develop the theory.
    I guess this is the case of turning everything into profit.

    I'm glad that I chose Darwin.;)
     

Share This Page

Loading...