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When Charles Darwin published his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, he convinced most of the scientific community that new species arise through descent through modification in a branching pattern of divergence from common ancestors, but while most scientists accepted that natural selection is a valid and empirically testable hypothesis, Darwin's view that it is the primary mechanism of evolution was rejected by some.At that time the specific evolutionary mechanism which Darwin provided of natural selection was actively disputed by scientists in favour of alternative theories such as Lamarckism and orthogenesis.In 1996, Pope John Paul II said that evolution is "more than a hypothesis" and acknowledged the large body of work accumulated in its support, but reiterated that any attempt to give a material explanation of the human soul is "incompatible with the truth about man." Pope Benedict XVI has reiterated the conviction that human beings "are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary." Muslim reaction ranged from those believing in literal creation from the Quran to many educated Muslims who subscribed to a version of theistic or guided evolution in which the Quran reinforced rather than contradicted mainstream science.This occurred relatively early, as medieval madrasahs taught the ideas of Al-Jahiz, a Muslim scholar from the 9th century, who proposed concepts similar to natural selection.Natural theology included a range of ideas and arguments from the outset, and when Darwin's theory was published, ideas of theistic evolution were presented in which evolution is accepted as a secondary cause open to scientific investigation, while still holding belief in God as a first cause with a non-specified role in guiding evolution and creating humans.This position has been adopted by denominations of Christianity and Judaism in line with modernist theology which views the Bible and Torah as allegorical, thus removing the conflict between evolution and religion.Such arguments against evolution have become widespread and include objections to evolution's evidence, methodology, plausibility, morality, and scientific acceptance.
The ideas that species change over time through natural processes and that different species share common ancestors seemed to contradict the Genesis account of Creation.
The modern synthesis rose to universal acceptance among biologists with the help of new evidence, such as genetics, which confirmed Darwin's predictions and refuted the competing theories.