Thesis Darwinism: A False Start in
(1) Karl Popper's theory of evolutionary epistemology is based on the idea that scientific discovery is the result of a trial-and-error elimination of blindly conjectured hypotheses. (2) This theory makes scientific progress an inexplicable, virtually miraculous phenomenon. (3) The fatal flaw of Popper's approach lies in the fact that its Darwinian evolutionism is addressed to theses (theories or hypotheses). Only an account that focuses on cognitive methods— and thereby automatically provides for rational rather than random selection—can offer an adequate basis for understanding the historical realities of scientific progress. (4) The methodological turn is needed to make evolutionary epistemology into a viable project, though its evolutionism is not a matter of natural selection among method-users but one of rational selection through a trial and error testing of our cognitive methods themselves.
One of the most elaborate and influential contemporary versions of evolutionary epistemology is the model of scientific progress presented in Popper's Objective Knowledge (Oxford, 1972). Popper geared his cognitive evolutionism specifically to theories and hypotheses considered with a view to their "fitness to survive by standing up to tests" (p. 19). His theory was based on a model of random conjecture and refutation,