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Author Topic:   Why creationist definitions of evolution are wrong, terribly wrong.
RAZD
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Posts: 20254
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Joined: 03-14-2004
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Message 78 of 205 (546807)
02-13-2010 11:05 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by Arphy
02-13-2010 10:15 PM


epic fail of creolution daffynition
Hi Arphy,

Maybe it could be rephrased like this
"Evolution is the biological mechanism which allows us to understand (or perhaps, make sense of) the natural history of living things as found today and in the the fossil record (according to a secular interpretation of the fossil record)"

This is still not a definition of what evolution is, but rather it is a statement of what the process of evolution explains if you use a proper definition of evolution (ie the change in frequency of hereditary traits in breeding populations from generation to generation).

I think this is a reasonable definition of the function of evolution in secular science, ...

In this you would mirror what Berkeley has to say about what evolution explains:

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.

The definition is descent with modification (eg Darwin's formulation), and evolution by this definition "helps us to understand the history of life."

This also says nothing about whether evolution must "progress" towards an imaginary pseudo goal of "increased complexity" or not.

Likewise one can say that gravity can be roughly defined as the attraction between masses, and this helps us to understand how our solar system functions. We don't need to include the orbit of Uranus in our definition of gravity, as it is something that exists regardless of the definition of gravity, and it is explained by the definition of gravity.

therefore I think both definitions are valid:
Evolution, as it is strictly intepreted in technical terms, deals with the suggested mechanisms for the progressive development of more complex lifeforms from simpler ones.

and
evolution is the change in frequency of hereditary traits in a breeding population from generation to generation.

Except that the creationist "daffynition" (see below) does not explain the diversity of life, as noted in Message 22:

Let's call your website definition by a more appropriate name: "creolution" (the creationist misinterpretation of evolution)

Creolution: - is the progressive development of more complex lifeforms from simpler ones by various suggested mechanisms.

Evolution: - is the change in frequency of hereditary traits in breeding population from generation to generation.

... and see how "creolution" compares with evolution in their ability to explain the diversity of life around us and what biologists study:

Comparison by ability to explain:CreolutionEvolution
Peppered mothsnoyes
Galapagos finch beaksnoyes
Wing/wingless/wing/wingless walkingsticksnoyes
Pelycodus speciationnoyes
Asian greenish warbler ring speciesnoyes
Therapsids with two jaw jointsnoyes
Whalesnoyes
Parasitesnoyes
Why apes are still livingnoyes
Why cyanobacteria are still livingnoyes
Human eye versus octopus versus combinationnoyesThe human appendix & vestigial organsnoyes
Convergent evolutionnoyes
Hominid bipedality before brainnoyes
Chronological stratigraphic layers of foraminiferanoyesCommon descentnoyes
Nested hierarchies of descentnoyes
Neutral driftnoyes
Coelacanthsnoyes
.........
Direction to evolutionyesno
Purpose for lifeyesno
Abiogenesisyesno

I could go on, and I expect many people here can provide many additional examples where creolution fails to explain what evolution explains, but I think that should be sufficient to demonstrate the absolute failure of creolution as a viable alternate formulation of evolution.

Now if you think creolution can explain any one of those items where a "no" is in the creo column, then proceed to do so ... without using the change in hereditary traits in breeding populations from generation to generation. If you have any doubts about evolutions ability to explain any of the items where there is a "yes" in the evo column, then ask.

If you think that evolution should explain items where there is a "no" in the evo column, then ask. Note that the actual lack of direction and purpose in biological systems shows that, not only is a system that explain direction and purpose unnecessary, it gives the wrong impression.

Any explanation of the diversity of life as we know it, from the life around us, to history, prehistory, the fossil record and the genetic record that fails these simple tests to the extent that your website definition does, does not qualify as "statements that were made to appeal to laypersons in an abbreviated way," but either evidence of a poor grasp of reality, intentional falsehoods, delusional distortions of reality, or profound ignorance. Your choice.

So no, creolution does not help us "to understand (or perhaps, make sense of) the natural history of living things as found today and in the the fossil record" as it fails in each one of these tests, and these are but a few of the examples that could be brought to bear.

That is epic fail in the explanatory department.

From Definitions, Daffynitions, Delusions, Logic and Critical Thinking.:

quote:
Definition: common usage, clearly set out and easily verified by some credible source or other (dictionary, encyclopedia, etc)

Daffynition: not common (daffy) usage, not verified by any credible source, usually false or misleading or just plain irrlevant.

If you are addressing the validity of a science then you use the terms as defined in the science.

If you don't use the terms as defined in the science then you are not addressing the science.


It's that simple.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : creolution instead of it for clarity


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by Arphy, posted 02-13-2010 10:15 PM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 79 by Arphy, posted 02-13-2010 11:19 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20254
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 81 of 205 (546812)
02-13-2010 11:36 PM
Reply to: Message 79 by Arphy
02-13-2010 11:19 PM


Re: epic fail of creolution daffynition
Hi Arphy,

But the thing is it may not have to but according to secular natural history overall IT DID!

The instances of increased complexity are explained by both, the instances of decreased complexity are only explained by the real definition of evolution.

So if it's 51-49, overall you are correct, but the creolution definition only applies to 51% of all the diversity of life, while the evolution definition applies to 100% of all the diversity of life.

Given the overwhelming amount of bacteria in the world 51% may be optimistic.

But the thing is it may not have to but according to secular natural history overall IT DID!

Are you sure? I'm not. It could well be that the "more complex" forms of life only account for 30% of the biomass.

So no, it does not help us "to understand (or perhaps, make sense of) the natural history of living things as found today and in the the fossil record" as it fails in each one of these tests
What??? now i'm confused. Are you saying that evolution does NOT "help us to understand (or perhaps, make sense of) the natural history of living things as found today and in the the fossil record". Wasn't quite ready for that comment. Not sure what to do with that. Please explain.

Sorry, it is creolution that fails, "it" refers to creolution not evolution. I've edited the post to make this clear, thanks.

Enjoy.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 79 by Arphy, posted 02-13-2010 11:19 PM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 84 by Arphy, posted 02-14-2010 12:28 AM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20254
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 90 of 205 (546850)
02-14-2010 10:10 AM
Reply to: Message 84 by Arphy
02-14-2010 12:28 AM


Re: epic fail of creolution daffynition
Hi Arphy,

I really don't see much difference in the definitions: ...

That is because you are only looking at the part of evolution that conforms to your understanding of creolution, and you are ignoring the parts that are different.

Confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance.

Yet I think that an increase in complexity is the defining feature of secular natural history, therefore I think it is valid to mention it, ...

Curiously what you think is irrelevant to the fact that science defines the terms in science. Science does not need to add observations about natural history to the definition of evolution.

so tell me, why do think berkley felt it necessary to include the sentence "Evolution helps us to understand the history of life." in their definition? Because according to you this shouldn't be part of the definition of what evolution is

It isn't, they didn't. Read the paragraph again:

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.

Let me parse that for you.

Read the beginning of second sentence: "This definition encompasses ... "

This tells you that the definition is limited to the first sentence: "Biological evolution, simply put, is descent with modification."

The second sentence tells you that this definition is applicable to the whole diversity of life: "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)."

The third sentence summarizes what the application of this definition does: "Evolution helps us to understand the history of life."

Also notice that "increase in complexity" is not mentioned at all on that page, nor the next (which begins a new section on patterns):

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIHistory.shtml
The History of Life: Looking at the Patterns

nor the next page

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.../evo101/IIAFamilytree.shtml
The Family Tree

So they have discussed the formation of family trees and the whole history of life without mentioning "increase in complexity" at all.

In fact I can get through the whole section on definition (1 page), patterns (6 main pages 18 subtopic pages), mechanisms (7 main pages 38 subtopic pages), microevolution (3 main pages 3 subtopic pages), speciation (4 main pages 11 subtopic pages) and macroevolution (3 pages 3 subtopic pages), without "complexity" being mentioned at all, to say nothing about whether it must increase or not.

One would think that if this concept really really really was absolutely critical to understanding evolution that it would at least be mentioned somewhere in those first 97 pages teaching you about evolution at the most basic (101) level, yes?

Don't you wonder why it isn't?

Perhaps - just perhaps - it is not mentioned because your impression of what is important to evolution is false, and your impression is false because it is based on creationist definitions that are false.

Is this any different from what me or your creationist source did?

Yes, because the real world definition of evolution does explain the diversity of life and the creolution daffynition fails to do this.

Yes, because there is no mention of complexity in the real world evolution definition, nor in the application of that definition to the study of life around us.

Yes, because there is no mention of progression in the real world evolution definition, nor in the application of that definition to the study of life around us.

Is this any different from what me or your creationist source did?

Curiously, Berkely also includes a section on misconceptions about evolution, including one on progressive development:

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/...e/misconceps/IBladder.shtml

quote:
Misconception: “Evolution is like a climb up a ladder of progress; organisms are always getting better.”

Response: It is true that natural selection weeds out individuals that are unfit in a particular situation, but for evolution, “good enough” is good enough. No organism has to be perfect. For example, many taxa (like some mosses, protists, fungi, sharks, opossums, and crayfish) have changed little over great expanses of time. They are not marching up a ladder of progress. Rather, they are fit enough to survive and reproduce, and that is all that is necessary to ensure their existence.


Is this any different from what me or your creationist source did?

Yes, because the real world definition of evolution does explain the diversity of life, and the creolution daffynition absolutely fails to do this.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
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Rebel American Zen Deist
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This message is a reply to:
 Message 84 by Arphy, posted 02-14-2010 12:28 AM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 91 by Arphy, posted 02-14-2010 5:29 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20254
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 94 of 205 (546908)
02-14-2010 8:31 PM
Reply to: Message 91 by Arphy
02-14-2010 5:29 PM


Re: epic fail of creolution daffynition
Hi Arphy, still having trouble?

In Message 90 we see that "progressive development" is a common misunderstanding of evolution.
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/...e/misconceps/IBladder.shtml

We also see from a review of the first 97 pages of the Berkeley 101 course on evolution, that "complexity" is not a critical element of evolution.

Let's remove them from the creationist daffynition and see what is left:

quote:
(From The Myth of Abiogenesis (a creationist webpage):

Evolution, as it is strictly interpreted in technical terms, deals with the suggested mechanisms for the progressive development of more complex lifeforms from simpler ones.


So we get: Evolution, as it is strictly interpreted in technical terms, deals with the suggested mechanisms for the development of lifeforms from ones.

That's kind of meaningless, so let me add two words:

So we get: Evolution, as it is strictly interpreted in technical terms, deals with the suggested mechanisms for the development of (descendant) lifeforms from (parent) ones.

And this still is not evolution, strictly speaking, but much closer. This still gives a false impression, that evolution can occur within individual organisms rather than in the whole population, and it says nothing about changes to hereditary traits.

So you see, this "definition" is so bad it cannot be corrected by a few word substitutions: it needs to be thrown out, discarded, placed on the scrap heap and forgotten.

Allow me to take a slightly different take on the issue.
What is your definition of an evolutionist?

Someone who understands evolution, has investigated it and the evidence for it in an open-minded skeptical manner, and found that it is a valid concept for explaining the diversity of life as we know it, from the world around us, to the fossil and genetic record.

Now if I walked up to someone on the street and told them I was an evolutionist, what would they assume ...

You mean do a "Jay Leno" poll of ignorant, misinformed or undereducated people* so they can show that they are ignorant, misinformed or undereducated? The logical fallacy of the appeal to popularity of an opinion?

Curiously, science is not decided by popularity polls or public opinions, no matter how well informed.

Bottom line, the creationist daffynition is wrong, terribly wrong, and it damages the understanding of people regarding the real world evolution.

Enjoy.

* I realize that these polls are generally edited to show only the most ignorant, misinformed or undereducated people for the sake of humor, that anyone with a sane response is not included in the show, but jeez it must be pretty easy to come up with enough on short notice, or these faux polls would not be done.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by Arphy, posted 02-14-2010 5:29 PM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 97 by Arphy, posted 02-14-2010 9:38 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20254
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 126 of 205 (547037)
02-15-2010 10:13 PM
Reply to: Message 97 by Arphy
02-14-2010 9:38 PM


Re: epic fail of creolution daffynition
Hi Arphy,

It's rather fascinating to watch someone insist on being wrong.

That the evolutionist definition of evolution is inadequate in explaining the actual use of the word in our society.

Curiously it works very well in explaining the actual use of the word in science. Let me repeat that definition from Berkeley again:

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.

Let me put this in my words:

Biological evolution is the change in frequency in hereditary traits in breeding populations from generation to generation.

This explains the evolution within species populations, and how species adapt to different ecologies or go extinct.

This explains how sub-populations living in different ecologies, can diverge, creating varieties within species.

This explains how varieties can sometimes diverge enough to prevent interbreeding between sub-populations, creating new species.

This explains how nested hierarchies of common ancestry can form.

When we look at the fossil record, we can see this same pattern of nested hierarchies based on the morphological changes in traits in the different ages of fossils, and see how they form a tree of life pattern of relationships, so evolution helps us understand the history of life as shown in the fossil record.

When we look at the genetic record, we can see this same pattern of nested hierarchies based on the genetic changes in genes in the different species, and see how they form a tree of life pattern of relationships, so evolution helps us understand the history of life as shown in the genetic record.

So in your definition of an evolutionist (i.e. someone who believes in evolution) it is vital that that person believes in secular natural history.

Natural history is the evidence of life on earth, it is neither secular nor religious, it is fact.

Yet you are also saying that natural history is something completly seperate from evolution.

Because they are.

The fossils are there regardless of belief, regardless of what you think about them. The physical and geological relationships to age are also fact, and if you want to argue about this, see Age Correlations and An Old Earth, Version 2 No 1.

The genetic record is also there, regardless of belief or opinion.

So yes the evidence of life in the past is different from evolution, and one does not depend on the other to be valid.

The natural history pattern of life could have been entirely different, and evolution would still be the change in hereditary traits in breeding populations from generation to generation.

Evolution could be wrong, and the natural history pattern of life would still be composed of the fossils and rocks and genetics.

Because if an evolutionist is someone who believes in evolution and evolution is defined as "change in frequency of hereditary traits in a breeding population from generation to generation" then strictly speaking I am an evolutionist. But this clashes with your definition of an evolutionist. So either your definition of evolution is wrong (or inadequate) or your definition of a evolutionist is wrong.

Curiously, I would pick "evolutionist" as being the weaker definition, as it is a construction by creationists to name people that are opposed creationism, a catch-bag for anyone arguing against the pet belief of the day.

I would say your definition of evolution is inadequate.

Or you are leaving out part of the definition of evolutionist I gave to create a strawman argument.

Message 94: Someone who understands evolution, has investigated it and the evidence for it in an open-minded skeptical manner, and found that it is a valid concept for explaining the diversity of life as we know it, from the world around us, to the fossil and genetic record.

That's more than just understanding the process of evolution. It is also understanding how the process of evolution explains the evidence of life on earth.

We can also consider what it means to be an evolutionary biologist, and that would include understanding on another whole level from the basic "evolutionist" understanding, and get into the biological details, actual measuring and documenting of changes in hereditary patterns, etc.

So I can be an evolutionist and yet not be an evolutionary biologist.

So you can understand the process of evolution and yet not be an evolutionist.

So go on, kick and scream all you want, but just realise that your definition of evolution is different from the uneducated masses and you will just have to live with that.

Once again this is the fallacy of the appeal to popularity, because no matter what the public thinks they can be wrong. Certainly if their opinion is based on false and misleading information then any conclusion or opinion they have will be worthless.

Likewise, you can keep on, kicking and screaming all you want, but just realize that when you want to discuss evolution in an intelligent and informed manner with a biologist, that you will then need to use the definitions as used within the science, otherwise you will not be talking about evolution, and they will not be talking about what(ever) you are talking about.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
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Rebel American Zen Deist
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This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 20254
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 128 of 205 (547041)
02-15-2010 10:36 PM
Reply to: Message 117 by Percy
02-15-2010 8:17 AM


Re: To My Fellow Evolutionists
Thanks Percy, for another perspective.

What I don't understand is why evolutionists are so hot on excluding common descent from the definition of evolution. I, personally, prefer to include common descent as additional detail after first providing a very brief definition of evolution, ...

This is precisely what the Berkeley University definition does:

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.

... but I'd be perfectly happy with a thoughtful definition that included it.

Which is what the University of Michigan definition does:

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.

A full explanation of evolution requires that we link these two levels.


As you can see, this gets rather bulky and unwieldy for general discussions.

What I don't understand is why evolutionists are so hot on excluding common descent from the definition of evolution.

One of the problems I have is that speciation is not inevitable nor necessarily a result of evolution, but it is what defines the pattern of common ancestry - for without speciation there would only be one species.

Evolution explains speciation and the subsequent formation of nested hierarchies, but common ancestry does not explain fluctuations of hereditary trait frequencies in population.

Enjoy.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 117 by Percy, posted 02-15-2010 8:17 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
RAZD
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Posts: 20254
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 133 of 205 (547168)
02-16-2010 9:56 PM


ICANT Daffynition of "macroevolution" = "transformation" of individuals
From Message 27 of the Rapid Evolution in Lizards thread:

Creos look at macroevolution as transmutation or when one critter becomes a totaly different critter.

And as this is not something that is NOT included in the whole science of evolution, it remains a creationist fantasy, based on a false definition of "macroevolution," and it doesn't matter what such creationists think, because they are wrong, terribly wrong.

To my knowledge this has never been documented, and no evidence presented in favor of such an event. It must be accepted by faith that all the little changes over a long period of time can accumulate to the point that it has to take place.

And real world evolution predicts that you will never see this "transformation" occur, no matter how long you wait. In fact, seeing such an instance would tend to disprove evolution than validate it.

Evolution does not occur within individual organisms, it occurs within populations of organisms, from generation to generation, with variations in their hereditary traits while they remain breeding populations. All evolution occurs within species.

Before speciation evolution contributes to the development of variation within species.

After speciation evolution contributes to the divergence and differentiation between the daughter species, but this occurs by evolution within each daughter species.

Note that in Message 15 ICANT was asked to define macroevolution:

"Micro"evolution is a fact.
"Macro"evolution is an assumption.

Can you please provide a definition of these?
...
Macroevolution - as used by scientists, biologists, and evolutionists - is the change that occurs after speciation, as daughter populations become more diverse over time due to microevolution - as used by scientists, biologists, and evolutionists - within each species. In both cases the changes are due to descent with modification or the change in frequency of hereditary traits in breeding populations from generation to generation.

There is massive amounts of evidence of this type of change in the fossil record. You've seen it. Every transitional fossil is evidence of macroevolution - as the term is used by scientists, biologists, and evolutionists. The Transitional Fossils Show Evolution in Process thread discusses such transitional fossils.

Therefore, either your definitions are different - and you are looking for evidence of something that is not relevant to evolution as used by scientists, biologists, and evolutionists, or you are in denial of the evidence.

At that time ICANT posted several times without really defining what he meant:

Message 26: Short form
Micro evolution, changes that occur in species.
Macro evolution changes that occur above species.

Message 42: Macro evolution is defined by Berekely as the changes above speciation.
I don't have a definition that I have not read here or on a site that was referenced here.

And yet now we see him saying that it is transformation of individual organisms into hopeful monsters.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : clrty


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RAZD
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Message 134 of 205 (547174)
02-16-2010 10:23 PM
Reply to: Message 132 by Dr Jack
02-16-2010 5:40 AM


evolution as a process, as a theory and as a science
Hi Mr Jack,

Except that definition of biological evolution doesn't explain a single one of those things.

The change in hereditary traits in breeding populations from generation to generation does not explain the observed changes Peppered Moth populations? Really?

The Theory of Evolution includes (most importantly) natural selection as a mechanism of change, and it includes common descent.

Yes, but here we are talking about the process of evolution. The theory of evolution and the science of evolution are applications of this process as part of the explanation of the diversity of life.

There are many mechanisms that assist this process, natural selection is one. Neutral drift may be just as important in developing the variety within species to enable them to take advantage of new opportunities, opportunities that would not exist if only natural selection operated and only adapted traits to specific ecologies occurred. There can also be environmental factors, density of oxygen, salinity, temperature, etc that can affect the development of the phenotype.

The Creationist definition is weak, because it includes increasing complexity in the definition, which the ToE does explain and does predict but it isn't required or directional. But implying you can boil evolution down to change in allele frequency and still retain it's extraordinary explanatory power is simply untrue.

The definition of the process of evolution does not need to provide the "extraordinary explanatory power" of the theory of evolution, it just needs to explain the difference between one generation and the next: the hereditary traits expressed in the populations have changed.

From this simple definition of the observed fact of evolution we can proceed to look for the mechanisms that cause this.

From this simple definition of the observed fact of evolution we can theorize that this can explain the diversity of life as we know it.

Enjoy.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 132 by Dr Jack, posted 02-16-2010 5:40 AM Dr Jack has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 135 by Dr Jack, posted 02-17-2010 3:39 AM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20254
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 136 of 205 (547191)
02-17-2010 4:48 AM
Reply to: Message 135 by Dr Jack
02-17-2010 3:39 AM


Suggest a better definition then
Hi Mr Jack

Correct, a change in hereditary traits is merely an observation. To explain the observed changes in Peppered Moth populations you have to invoke natural selection.

You say we need to invoke better survival and breeding of those that are better fit to their ecology as the mechanism that causes the change in the frequency of hereditary traits in the breeding populations from generation to generation? This does tend to bring us back to Darwin's original formulation as descent through modification, by natural selection of favoured races.

Is natural selection always present when there is change in the frequency of hereditary traits in the breeding populations from generation to generation? Or do we exclude those situations from evolution per se (like Mayr) but then need to address them to explain the fossil or genetic record when they occur? Mutation, neutral Drift, stochastic factors in founder populations, developmental factors, etc?

One could say that evolution is the change in the frequency of hereditary traits in the breeding populations from generation to generation that tends to produce better adaptation to the ecology or evolution is the change in the frequency of hereditary traits in the breeding populations from generation to generation in response to the opportunities of ecology -- would that help?

Only the most naive of creos would claim that genetics are static across generations; what they're arguing with are the grander claims of evolution.

True, their argument is with common descent, not with evolution per se. Can you say how adding natural selection to the definition of evolution assists in that part of the debate?

Don't we then have to add mutation as the source of variation? Without mutation, natural selection accomplishes very little more than oscillations in proportions of traits.

I'll be happy to expand the definition if it is an improvement to the description of what the process of evolution involves while not getting excessively wordy. A lot of this has already been discussed on Definition of Evolution, see Message 212 for my summary on that thread.

And I'm still curious as how your course discusses this when you get to it.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : added, subtitle change


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 135 by Dr Jack, posted 02-17-2010 3:39 AM Dr Jack has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 137 by Dr Jack, posted 02-17-2010 6:19 AM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20254
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 138 of 205 (547202)
02-17-2010 6:40 AM
Reply to: Message 137 by Dr Jack
02-17-2010 6:19 AM


Re: Equivocation diminishes evolution
Thanks again Mr Jack,

The course defines Biological Evolution per se much as you do, but it goes on to define the Theory of Evolution to include such things as common descent and natural selection.

I'm still interested in how it says this. Both Berkeley and UMich go on to discuss how natural selection and common descent come in to the picture after discussing what evolution is, and I'd like to see how similar they are.

The problem I have with your definition of evolution is not the definition itself but the equivocation of this small, trivial part with the whole of the Theory of Evolution. When we talk about evolution, we're not usually meaning it in the trivial sense of population change but rather talking about the grand spread of the Theory of Evolution.

Which is why I am often careful to distinguish between process, theory and science. A lot of this has already been discussed on Definition of Evolution, see Message 212 for my summary on that thread.

Arguing that Creationist definitions are wrong because they're talking about the Theory of Evolution ...

Are they? Often they seem to flip back and forth without clarification between process, theory and science as if it is all one thing. I don't see the definition in why use a wrong definition? (Message 1) from the creationist site as being about the theory so much as the process, but that could be my interpretation.

Certainly we see that the creationist complaints are related to the macroevolutionary process/es, and that seems to be where the big gripes are.

Enjoy.

ps - note I was editing my last post while you replied.


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This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
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Joined: 03-14-2004
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Message 139 of 205 (547235)
02-17-2010 1:51 PM
Reply to: Message 135 by Dr Jack
02-17-2010 3:39 AM


What about another definition? (* revised)
Hi Mr Jack, (Arphy, Percy, etc)

Correct, a change in hereditary traits is merely an observation. To explain the observed changes in Peppered Moth populations you have to invoke natural selection.

What about:

Evolution is the * change in the proportions of hereditary traits within breeding populations from generation to generation in response to the ecological opportunities.

Personally I like this, as it adds a little more focus on what and why the change takes place, where the previous definition was fairly random appearing in terms of the changes, and this implies natural selection, as well as shows that it is a response mechanism to adapt to ecological opportunities (good or bad).

One can then go on to explain that:


  1. various mechanisms are involved, like natural selection, mutation, neutral drift, developmental factors etc.
  2. this can (but doesn't have to) result in speciation and thus the formation of nested hierarchies of descent from common ancestor populations, as speciation depends on some additional mechanisms that affect evolution in different populations (separation, population dynamics, behavior, etc).
  3. "microevolution" is focused on the evolution that occurs within a species population or sub-population.
  4. "macroevolution" is focused on the divergence of daughter species as they evolve independently from their common ancestor population, and on the formation of nested hierarchies as the daughter populations become parent populations to new daughter species.
  5. all evolution occurs within species, and thus the "large changes," "transformations" and "hopeful monsters" that the creationists usually label "macroevolution" are in actuality the accumulated changes by "microevolution" over many, many generations.
  6. "transitional fossils" are intermediate stages of fully developed species that show forms intermediate between their ancestral populations and their descendant populations.
  7. the Theory of Evolution (ToE) is that evolution and speciation are sufficient to explain the diversity of life as we know it, from the world around us to the fossil record to the genetic record.
  8. the Science of Evolution studies the diversity of life, the progress of evolution in the world today, the various mechanisms that cause evolution and speciation, and whether the fossil record and the genetic record are explained by the mechanisms of evolution and speciation.

The creationist daffynition quoted in why use a wrong definition? (Message 1) does not lead to this level of explanation, whether they mean the process, the theory, or the science, and thus if fails to describe evolution properly in any way.

Enjoy.

* -- edited to delete "adaptive" as unnecessary to definition, if it is in response to ecological opportunities then it is adaptive. Previous version was (with deleted word in bold):

Evolution is the adaptive change in the proportions of hereditary traits within breeding populations from generation to generation in response to the ecological opportunities.

This tends to exclude neutral drift, whereas neutral mutations are still allowed with response to ecological opportunities.

Edited by RAZD, : clrty

Edited by RAZD, : ,

Edited by RAZD, : revised definition


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This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 141 by Tanypteryx, posted 02-17-2010 4:38 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20254
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 142 of 205 (547281)
02-17-2010 8:32 PM
Reply to: Message 141 by Tanypteryx
02-17-2010 4:38 PM


Re: What about another definition?
Hi Tanypteryx,

I keep forgetting to show your dragonfly pictures to Dad. Of late, all visits are tied up talking about their new house construction and the decisions that need to be made. Fun times: he doesn't have a clue about modern materials ...

I think creationists see "macroevolution" as some separate (above the species level) process rather than microevolution continuing on in daughter populations.

Yeah, that's why I included (e) to head that off (if possible).

Another wrong definition of evolution that I see creationists use over and over is:
Arphy in Message 91 writes: that over many generations bacteria turned into humans

Bacteria have never turned into humans! There are literally millions of transitional species between the earliest single celled organisms and all modern species. "Over many generations" does not even begin to to describe the reality.

Yeah, "the old goo to you, via the zoo" (gotta love the alliteration, even if it is wrong), this is the other example in the OP. Creationists always seem to assume that humans are a necessary result, because that is what creationism tells them.

"Over many generations" does not even begin to to describe the reality.

More like billions and billions of generations.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
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This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
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Posts: 20254
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 145 of 205 (547489)
02-19-2010 6:25 PM
Reply to: Message 143 by Dr Jack
02-18-2010 3:50 AM


revised
Hi again Mr Jack,

Exactly why it's equivocation. You'll note the claims RAZD makes for evolution's explanatory power (in the post I replied to ). The simple change definition of biological evolution has no explanatory power.

What about the revised definition:

Message 139 (revised): What about:

Evolution is the change in the proportions of hereditary traits within breeding populations from generation to generation in response to the ecological opportunities.

Does that answer your criticism?

To respond to a faulty Creationist definition such as "Evolution, as it is strictly interpreted in technical terms, deals with the suggested mechanisms for the progressive development of more complex lifeforms from simpler ones" which is clearly talking about the ToE ...

I don't think it is that clear that they are talking about the ToE at all. This is the context of the original creationist definition:

quote:
The concept of abiogenesis is not evolution, per se. Evolution, as it is strictly intepreted in technical terms, deals with the suggested mechanisms for the progressive development of more complex lifeforms from simpler ones. Abiogenesis deals with what comes before - the origination of those very simple lifeforms from non-living chemical antecedants. However, because it is part and parcel with the whole naturalistic scheme of evolutionary science, abiogenesis can rightly be said to fall under the broader rubric of "evolution" as the term is commonly understood in lay discourse, and certainly the concept must be dealt with in any discussion concerning origins.

Looks to me like he is talking about the science of evolution, starting with an attempt at a general definition of evolution. I can insert the above definition of evolution into this paragraph and it makes sense:

The concept of abiogenesis is not evolution, per se. Evolution, as it is strictly intepreted in technical terms, is the change in the proportions of hereditary traits within breeding populations from generation to generation in response to the ecological opportunities. Abiogenesis deals with what comes before - the origination of those very simple lifeforms from non-living chemical antecedants.

At least he got the part about abiogenesis not being evolution correct at the start (even though he goes on to ignore this).

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : /


we are limited in our ability to understand
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Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
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This message is a reply to:
 Message 143 by Dr Jack, posted 02-18-2010 3:50 AM Dr Jack has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 147 by Dr Jack, posted 02-20-2010 6:33 AM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20254
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 148 of 205 (547632)
02-20-2010 9:23 PM
Reply to: Message 147 by Dr Jack
02-20-2010 6:33 AM


Re: revised
Hi Mr jack,

Does that answer your criticism?

Yeah, it's a better definition.

Agreed.

Evolution is the change in the proportions of hereditary traits within breeding populations from generation to generation in response to the ecological opportunities.

Now I'll move forward again, and state that the process of speciation is explained by different evolution of sub-populations in different ecologies when a lack of genetic feed-back to the whole species population results in reproductive isolation of sub-populations.

Then that the Theory of Evolution can be briefly stated as the hypothesis that the diversity of life can be explained by the processes of evolution and speciation. This should apply equally to either definition of evolution, creationist or evolutionist, if the definition is adequate.

Now we can revisit the question of explaining various observations and see if these are indeed adequate:

Message 22:

Creolution: - is the progressive development of more complex lifeforms from simpler ones by various suggested mechanisms.

Evolution:* - is the change in frequency of hereditary traits in breeding population from generation to generation in response to the ecological opportunities.

... and see how "creolution" compares with evolution* in their ability to explain the diversity of life around us and what biologists study:

Comparison by ability to explain:CreolutionEvolution*
Peppered mothsnoyes
Galapagos finch beaksnoyes
Wing/wingless/wing/wingless walkingsticksnoyes
Pelycodus speciationnoyes
Asian greenish warbler ring speciesnoyes
Therapsids with two jaw jointsnoyes
Whalesnoyes
Parasitesnoyes
Why apes are still livingnoyes
Why cyanobacteria are still livingnoyes
Human eye versus octopus versus combinationnoyesThe human appendix & vestigial organsnoyes
Convergent evolutionnoyes
Hominid bipedality before brainnoyes
Chronological stratigraphic layers of foraminiferanoyesCommon descentnoyes
Nested hierarchies of descentnoyes
Neutral driftnoyes
Coelacanthsnoyes
.........
Direction to evolutionyesno
Purpose for lifeyesno
Abiogenesisyesno

I could go on, and I expect many people here can provide many additional examples where creolution fails to explain what evolution explains, but I think that should be sufficient to demonstrate the absolute failure of creolution as a viable alternate formulation of evolution.

* with new definition revision

Do you not agree that these observations are explained by evolution as now defined?

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
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This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 149 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-21-2010 10:56 AM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20254
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 150 of 205 (547678)
02-21-2010 4:59 PM
Reply to: Message 149 by Dr Adequate
02-21-2010 10:56 AM


reading or misreading?
Hi Dr Adequate,

For one thing, it now actually excludes neutral drift, which is on your list.

How so?

If a neutral mutation occurs and it is not selected against (by definition), then it has taken advantage of the neutral selection to get passed on. The ecological opportunity of non-selection allows the neutral mutation/s to continue. (Note this is one of the reasons I took "adaptive" out).

For another thing, it still doesn't explain the "nested hierarchies". We need the initial condition of common ancestry to do that.

And common ancestry is explained by the isolated evolution of daughter populations taking advantage of different ecologies to evolve in different paths. When the ecological opportunities to maintain gene flow are lost, then speciation (and hence common ancestry) can occur.

Finally, you make it sound a lot more Lamarckian than Darwinian.

???

This is another of the reasons I took "adaptive" out as it was too directional, but how does the rest become selection of aquired traits?

Evolution is a response mechanism, and it responds to the opportunities (good or bad) for life that are presented by the ecology the organism population inhabits and the variation/s available by living or dying (one possible response, of course, is extinction).

The definition of evolution shouldn't explain things. The Theory of Evolution should. That's what theories do.

I suggest you go back and read Message 148

quote:
Agreed.

Evolution is the change in the proportions of hereditary traits within breeding populations from generation to generation in response to the ecological opportunities.

Now I'll move forward again, and state that the process of speciation is explained by different evolution of sub-populations in different ecologies when a lack of genetic feed-back to the whole species population results in reproductive isolation of sub-populations.

Then that the Theory of Evolution can be briefly stated as the hypothesis that the diversity of life can be explained by the processes of evolution and speciation. This should apply equally to either definition of evolution, creationist or evolutionist, if the definition is adequate.

Now we can revisit the question of explaining various observations and see if these are indeed adequate:


bold added for emphasis.

The definition of evolution shouldn't explain things.

A definition is an explanation of what the word means.

That theories explain things does not mean that they are the only explanations, that other things cannot be explained without theories, such as what the facts are and why they are facts. The definition of evolution explains what the process of evolution is, and this explains why the process is a fact and not a theory.

Theories explain why things are, not what they are.

The Theory of Evolution should. That's what theories do.

And, curiously, that is what the Theory of Evolution does do, when the proper definition of evolution is used, and what it does NOT do when an improper definition of evolution is used.

So you see that the proper definition, the proper explanation of what evolution involves, is critically important to the explanatory power of the theory.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 149 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-21-2010 10:56 AM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
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