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Author Topic:   Definition of Evolution
Xaruan
Junior Member (Idle past 4163 days)
Posts: 8
Joined: 08-31-2007


Message 106 of 212 (419075)
08-31-2007 5:39 PM
Reply to: Message 105 by Brad McFall
08-31-2007 5:22 PM


Re: extant vs extent
I think anyone who has learned about genetics can accept that mutations or changes in genetics occur and they can be passed on. There is no denying that. If we use the general definition of evolution that I proposed "Change in the genetic traits of a population across generations", then it follows that anyone (evolutionist or creationist) who knows basic high school biology cannot possibly deny that evolution occurs. However, even with this definition, creationists still believe evolution did not start before Adam and Eve and evolution does not explain the emergence of humans. That's what I am meaning when I say extent. If both sides believe evolution occurs (according to the general definition), the debate comes down to the following:
1. Does evolution occur to a degree that can cause the formation of a new species?
2. Did humans come into existence because of evolution from less complex life forms?
3. And is that possible within the time scale given by creationists?

My use of extent includes time scale and intensity. Extant just means something is currently existing, so I'm not sure why you brought that up.

Edited by Xaruan, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 105 by Brad McFall, posted 08-31-2007 5:22 PM Brad McFall has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 108 by Brad McFall, posted 08-31-2007 6:07 PM Xaruan has not yet responded

  
RAZD
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Posts: 19819
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 107 of 212 (419078)
08-31-2007 5:45 PM
Reply to: Message 103 by Xaruan
08-31-2007 5:03 PM


definition from scientific sources
If one takes to time to consider this definition, it still allows for some creationists to believe in the theory of evolution. I have known some creationists to believe that evolution (by this definition) can occur but started occurring only after God created the Earth. So this definition does not disallow creationism. (Like I said, the question is to what extent evolution occurs).

The issue creationists have is not with evolution per se but with descent from a common ancestor population, and what\who those ancestors were.

This is where the issue of macroevolution rears it's pretty little head. For evolutionists macroevolution is increased diversification between descendant populations over longer periods of time, caused by continued microevolution within each sub-population. For creationists macroevolution seems to be a different process altogether, though it is difficult to get them to define it.

RAZD, that was a good post you linked to.
ev·o·lu·tion
That's a pretty good definiition.

The problem is that the debate there devolved into a "your list of definitions versus my list" with a lot of interpretation of different definitions in the mix ...

The real crux of the matter is that you need to be discussing evolution with the definition used in the science, or you are not discussing the science of evolution but something else. In this regard there are a couple of definitions that come directly from scientific sources -- universities teaching evolution:

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIntro.shtml

quote:
The Definition:
Biological evolution, simply put, is descent with modification. This definition encompasses small-scale evolution (changes in gene frequency in a population from one generation to the next) and large-scale evolution (the descent of different species from a common ancestor over many generations). Evolution helps us to understand the history of life.

http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/speciation/speciation.html

quote:
Definitions of Biological Evolution
We begin with two working definitions of biological evolution, which capture these two facets of genetics and differences among life forms. Then we will ask what is a species, and how does a species arise?

  • Definition 1:
    Changes in the genetic composition of a population with the passage of each generation

  • Definition 2:
    The gradual change of living things from one form into another over the course of time, the origin of species and lineages by descent of living forms from ancestral forms, and the generation of diversity

    Note that the first definition emphasizes genetic change. It commonly is referred to as microevolution. The second definition emphasizes the appearance of new, physically distinct life forms that can be grouped with similar appearing life forms in a taxonomic hierarchy. It commonly is referred to as macroevolution.


  • These can be summarized as you have with "Change in a population's genetic traits across generations" -- noting that this tends to emphasis the microevolutionary aspect over the macroevolutionary one.

    Enjoy.


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    This message is a reply to:
     Message 103 by Xaruan, posted 08-31-2007 5:03 PM Xaruan has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 109 by Xaruan, posted 08-31-2007 8:25 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

      
    Brad McFall
    Member (Idle past 3144 days)
    Posts: 3428
    From: Ithaca,NY, USA
    Joined: 12-20-2001


    Message 108 of 212 (419084)
    08-31-2007 6:07 PM
    Reply to: Message 106 by Xaruan
    08-31-2007 5:39 PM


    Re: extant vs extent
    Thanks for your "in real time" reply. That was greatly appreciated.

    I do know why I brought up extant ("present forms" - David Star Jordan vs "Earth's forms" - L. Aggassiz, but let me not make a side consequence of something that need not..., thanks again for your quick response..) as opposed to your use of 'extent' but now I can see more pointedly what you meant anyway.

    There is also an issue or problem or question if one is not having to say how "genetic" variation becomes available to the biologist's observation. It can be done in experiment or interpreted from surface counts etc. I see that this is not an issue for you note that , "anyone can accept that mutations or changes in genetics occur and..." so I see I was trying to read a little too hard into what you were thinking.

    Sorry for just being me.

    While thinking of evolutionary theory, the visualization in the theory gets more intricate than sticking one's eyes under a microscope to look at a bird feather hook, so if there really is an issue about how involved(involuted/evolved) the design of a non-designed object it should be finable in the theory even if not available in any combinations of viewed forms currently extant or extinct (and preserved in the fossilized 'record'), that is why I was asking as I did (given your clarification in this post).

    You have already made the particular discussion, with regard to your posts easier to follow, as you delimit that species as less complex than primates as a whole or inother words, evolution may be able to tinker in the junk yard to create a volvox but not much more than small pox. Ok, I get that(only I think that theoretical conversation entails consequences for that kind of transition in complexity etc).

    Dropping my own concern about time vs epigentic sequence vs ontogeny vs phlogeny, is one is reading Darwin (rather than Lamarck etc) who explictly stated that what he thought was not special creation then not only would the intensity be enough to FORM a new species but it would be from a continuum of causality that first occurred in non-single file line of effects of whatever it was that was back of the species itself.

    To say that there is no "force" to have 'possibly' done that seems inadequate to me but possibly is not actually, which is what any student of creationism is or can point out and thus short of a description of the actual forces acrosss the generations, the proximate web of mutations in the historical populations and a rational overarching theory you are correct the evolutionist in debate may be stuck having to argue for a more restricted exent, up to the limit of the readers comprehension of the science involved and the extant nature of scientific discovery.

    I do understand what you have said.

    A genetic change however entails life itself so it not really a simple thing to state whether the change occurrs in the population or generation or species etc.

    If I evolved from a worm it seems to me the same to say I evolved from gram positive bacteria and that these creatures are a differnt species than me seems rational enough for me. I see other reasons to disagree with the use of techonology by man than making this division in extent of occurance as you have but to each his own.

    Good luck on EVC.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 106 by Xaruan, posted 08-31-2007 5:39 PM Xaruan has not yet responded

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    Xaruan
    Junior Member (Idle past 4163 days)
    Posts: 8
    Joined: 08-31-2007


    Message 109 of 212 (419093)
    08-31-2007 8:25 PM
    Reply to: Message 107 by RAZD
    08-31-2007 5:45 PM


    Re: definition from scientific sources
    Revision #3.

    Evolution with common descent
    "Changes in a population's genetic traits across generations, which has resulted in the present diversity of species having originated from a common ancestor"

    Certainly, a definition is not meant to describe all the aspects of evolution, which is why I kept my original definition short and to the point. And the distinction of micro vs macro is more for the creationists' benefit. I may be going out on a limb, but I'm assuming most evolutionists are of the opinion microevolution implies macroevolution and that to make the leap from one to the other is without difficulty.

    Edited by Xaruan, : No reason given.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 107 by RAZD, posted 08-31-2007 5:45 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

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     Message 110 by Taz, posted 08-31-2007 9:39 PM Xaruan has responded

      
    Taz
    Member (Idle past 1403 days)
    Posts: 5069
    From: Zerus
    Joined: 07-18-2006


    Message 110 of 212 (419098)
    08-31-2007 9:39 PM
    Reply to: Message 109 by Xaruan
    08-31-2007 8:25 PM


    Re: definition from scientific sources
    Well, I'm going to just stick my nose in and comment on something without having read the entire thread (this is against my earlier position in another thread of course... I am a natural born hypocrit).

    Evolution is simply the change in allele frequency over time. What's wrong with this definition and why do we need to come up with another one?


    Disclaimer:

    Occasionally, owing to the deficiency of the English language, I have used he/him/his meaning he or she/him or her/his or her in order to avoid awkwardness of style.

    He, him, and his are not intended as exclusively masculine pronouns. They may refer to either sex or to both sexes!


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 109 by Xaruan, posted 08-31-2007 8:25 PM Xaruan has responded

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    Xaruan
    Junior Member (Idle past 4163 days)
    Posts: 8
    Joined: 08-31-2007


    Message 111 of 212 (419099)
    08-31-2007 9:51 PM
    Reply to: Message 110 by Taz
    08-31-2007 9:39 PM


    Re: definition from scientific sources
    Nothing wrong. I just stumbled upon this site, and saw this thread. Read the first few pages, read the last page, and I came to the conclusion that people were still arguing over how to define evolution (in this thread). So, I decided to put in my $0.02 by offering a pretty basic definition, not unlike yours.

    Edited by Xaruan, : No reason given.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 110 by Taz, posted 08-31-2007 9:39 PM Taz has not yet responded

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    Clark
    Inactive Member


    Message 112 of 212 (419115)
    09-01-2007 1:48 AM
    Reply to: Message 111 by Xaruan
    08-31-2007 9:51 PM


    Don't understand
    Why isn't common ancestry a part of the definition of evolution? I'm not seeing this point clearly.
    This message is a reply to:
     Message 111 by Xaruan, posted 08-31-2007 9:51 PM Xaruan has not yet responded

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    DrJones*
    Member
    Posts: 1822
    From: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Joined: 08-19-2004
    Member Rating: 7.7


    Message 113 of 212 (419117)
    09-01-2007 2:12 AM
    Reply to: Message 112 by Clark
    09-01-2007 1:48 AM


    Re: Don't understand
    Why isn't common ancestry a part of the definition of evolution?

    That falls more under the definition of the Theory of Evolution. What is being defined here is the mechanism of evolution, the process that produced the various species from the common ancestor.


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    This message is a reply to:
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    PaulK
    Member
    Posts: 14826
    Joined: 01-10-2003
    Member Rating: 3.7


    Message 114 of 212 (419121)
    09-01-2007 4:47 AM
    Reply to: Message 112 by Clark
    09-01-2007 1:48 AM


    Re: Don't understand
    To expand on the answer given by Dr. Jones, defining evolution means to define the process. Splits in a population producing a new species is a possible outcome of the process. Species produced in such a way would have a common ancestor. (Universal common ancestry, of course, should not be part of the definition - that is something that is determined by investigation into the historical course of evolution and is not a necessary consequence of evolution itself).

    So, if we are producing a short and comprehensive definition we would probably not mention even speciation, as it is merely a possible outcome. And common ancestry is even further removed. A fuller treatment might well include speciation and could even include common ancestry in the general sense.


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    Rrhain
    Member
    Posts: 6349
    From: San Diego, CA, USA
    Joined: 05-03-2003


    Message 115 of 212 (419123)
    09-01-2007 5:18 AM
    Reply to: Message 88 by Doddy
    08-31-2007 4:29 AM


    Doddy writes:

    quote:
    I must point out that creationists are generally fine with the formation of a new species or even a new genus. They just limit things to 'kinds'. No problem with wolves (Canis lupis) and coyotes (Canis latrans) having a common ancestor, but just no evolution outside of the dog 'kind'.

    But what is a "kind" and how does the genome know that it isn't allowed to evolve beyond that limit?

    Is a "fox" part of the "dog" kind?


    Rrhain

    Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.
    This message is a reply to:
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    Rrhain
    Member
    Posts: 6349
    From: San Diego, CA, USA
    Joined: 05-03-2003


    Message 116 of 212 (419124)
    09-01-2007 5:46 AM
    Reply to: Message 95 by Admin
    08-31-2007 9:51 AM


    Re: And now, a word from our topic...
    Admin writes:

    quote:
    when Vashgun began this thread he did suggest a definition. He wanted evolution limited to describing "observable change" in "living systems" and in an "observed time frame." He also wanted the definition to include no mention of mechanisms, which I assume would be things like cell division, mutation, natural selection and so forth.

    OK...so how does one respond to that? It would seem that the thread would become nothing more than a laundry list of posters saying, "I think evolution is defined thusly" if one isn't allowed to put forward the proposition that the definition is insufficient, flawed, impractical, or conflicting with other established facts or standards.

    While I can see a possible usefulness to such, I don't think the thread would last very long.


    Rrhain

    Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.
    This message is a reply to:
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    Rrhain
    Member
    Posts: 6349
    From: San Diego, CA, USA
    Joined: 05-03-2003


    Message 117 of 212 (419125)
    09-01-2007 6:19 AM
    Reply to: Message 103 by Xaruan
    08-31-2007 5:03 PM


    Xaruan writes:

    quote:
    I would say the strict definition of evolution should avoid explicitly stating "resulting in the development of new species"

    Oh? Why? Shouldn't the definition of evolution indicate if it is bounded in what it can accomplish?

    quote:
    Evolution implies how viruses and single-celled organisms were formed

    The problem is that an implication isn't an actuality when it comes to science. Yes, evolution provides us with some very wonderful possibilities for how life arose, but evolution is not dependent upon any particular method. Life could have arisen any way you wish: Chemically through abiogenesis, supernaturally through god zap-poofing it into existence, extraterrestrially through panspermia or alien seeding, interdimensionally through a rift in space-time, or any one of a host of possibilities I haven't mentioned. So long as that life did not reproduce perfectly from generation to generation, evolution is satisfied.

    So while the chemical nature of biology and the iterative structure of evolution certainly make us think that it might be possible to develop life from non-biotic reagents and spurs us to investigate that possibility, evolution doesn't really say one way or the other.

    quote:
    Further implications include the increase in cell size and complexity (eukaryotes)

    But that isn't an implication, that's an observation. It actually happened and evolutionary processes are consistent with such an outcome, but it isn't necessarily a forced outcome. After all, for most of the time this planet has had life, it was prokaryotic and unicelluar.

    quote:
    The necessary accumulation of heritable changes needed to account for the current number of species and their complexity could not have been reached in just the last 10,000 years.

    Again, that is an observation, not a definition.


    Rrhain

    Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.
    This message is a reply to:
     Message 103 by Xaruan, posted 08-31-2007 5:03 PM Xaruan has not yet responded

        
    Rob 
    Suspended Member (Idle past 3960 days)
    Posts: 2297
    Joined: 06-01-2006


    Message 118 of 212 (419263)
    09-01-2007 9:20 PM
    Reply to: Message 88 by Doddy
    08-31-2007 4:29 AM


    delete...

    Edited by Rob, : No reason given.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 88 by Doddy, posted 08-31-2007 4:29 AM Doddy has not yet responded

        
    Ihategod
    Member (Idle past 4141 days)
    Posts: 235
    Joined: 08-15-2007


    Message 119 of 212 (419310)
    09-02-2007 1:55 AM
    Reply to: Message 100 by Dr Adequate
    08-31-2007 1:05 PM


    Re: Denial, Definitions and Reality
    Yes, we realise that creationists exist.

    There are also people who "contest" the Holocaust, the Big Bang, the round earth, heliocentrism, and the fact that the law says that you have to pay income tax.

    Anything can be "contested", all you need is a crank and a soapbox.

    Aren't you a moderator? Why are you OT? And why are you presenting your opinion as fact?

    By cranks who know damn all about science.

    I rest my case. www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=14&t=1973&m=1 -->www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=14&t=1973&m=1">http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=14&t=1973&m=1


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 100 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-31-2007 1:05 PM Dr Adequate has responded

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    Ihategod
    Member (Idle past 4141 days)
    Posts: 235
    Joined: 08-15-2007


    Message 120 of 212 (419312)
    09-02-2007 2:02 AM
    Reply to: Message 108 by Brad McFall
    08-31-2007 6:07 PM


    Re: extant vs extent
    While thinking of evolutionary theory, the visualization in the theory gets more intricate than sticking one's eyes under a microscope to look at a bird feather hook, so if there really is an issue about how involved(involuted/evolved) the design of a non-designed object it should be finable in the theory even if not available in any combinations of viewed forms currently extant or extinct (and preserved in the fossilized 'record'), that is why I was asking as I did (given your clarification in this post).

    :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::confused:


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 108 by Brad McFall, posted 08-31-2007 6:07 PM Brad McFall has not yet responded

      
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