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Author Topic:   Who Owns the Standard Definition of Evolution
K.Rose
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Posts: 140
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Member Rating: 3.8


Message 1 of 697 (914853)
02-05-2024 7:55 PM


Can anyone provide a concise definition of Evolution, one that would find concurrence amongst most/all serious evolutionists, and one against which all descriptions of Evolution should be calibrated? "Natural selection" and "survival of the fittest" are woefully lacking, of course, and explanations of evolution that require an essay or a book lose focus of the fundamental mechanics of evolution. Two or three sentences, perhaps a paragraph, should be enough to provide an overall but thorough definition.
I suspect that the everyday layman's nebulous understanding of Evolution can be summed up by Zallinger's "March of Progress", sadly, and until there is a standard definition to which all can refer the Evolution debate will meander pointlessly.

  
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Message 2 of 697 (914855)
02-06-2024 7:41 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Who Owns the Standard Definition of Evolution thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
Tangle
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From: UK
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(5)
Message 3 of 697 (914858)
02-06-2024 8:26 AM


The most widely accepted definition of evolution among scientists is the gradual change in heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations, driven by natural selection, genetic drift, mutation, and gene flow. It is the process by which species adapt to their environments and diverge from common ancestors over time.
The general public's understanding of evolution can vary, but a commonly accepted definition is the idea that species change over time through a process of natural selection, leading to the development of new species from ancestral ones.
However, there are also varying degrees of acceptance and understanding among different segments of the population, with some holding alternative beliefs or misconceptions about the concept.
There you go. Took about a minute. Thanks Chat GPT.

Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London. Olen Suomi Soy Barcelona. I am Ukraine.

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


Replies to this message:
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Theodoric
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From: Northwest, WI, USA
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(3)
Message 4 of 697 (914859)
02-06-2024 8:56 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Tangle
02-06-2024 8:26 AM


Are we going to have some troll time now?

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


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K.Rose
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Posts: 140
From: Michigan
Joined: 02-02-2024
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 5 of 697 (914870)
02-06-2024 4:15 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Tangle
02-06-2024 8:26 AM


Thank you, Tangle.
I won't disagree with your first couple of sentences, but I'm looking for a more technically-based definition. Something like:
1. The first life form sprang forth from non-living matter.
2. All life-forms have developed from this first life form.
3. Successive, more complex life forms developed over great periods of time due to random, non-directed mutations.
4. Inferior mutations disappeared due to the observable process of natural selection, or survival-of-the-fittest, while the more robust mutations continued evolving.
5. The succession of ever-more complex, adaptable mutations has thus far resulted in the highest life form, modern man.
6. Evolution continues today.
This is my own hi-level understanding of Evolution. I welcome any corrections/improvements.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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 Message 7 by Tangle, posted 02-06-2024 4:29 PM K.Rose has not replied
 Message 8 by PaulK, posted 02-06-2024 4:36 PM K.Rose has not replied
 Message 9 by nwr, posted 02-06-2024 4:44 PM K.Rose has replied
 Message 13 by AZPaul3, posted 02-06-2024 6:00 PM K.Rose has replied
 Message 15 by Theodoric, posted 02-06-2024 6:34 PM K.Rose has not replied

  
Percy
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Message 6 of 697 (914872)
02-06-2024 4:26 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by K.Rose
02-06-2024 4:15 PM


K.Rose in Message 5 writes:
1. The first life form sprang forth from non-living matter.
Abiogenesis isn't part of the theory of evolution.
2. All life-forms have developed from this first life form.
This is a possible implication but not part of the theory itself.
3. Successive, more complex life forms developed over great periods of time due to random, non-directed mutations.
Increasing complexity is a possible outcome of evolutionary forces like competition and differential reproductive success but is not part of the theory itself.
4. Inferior mutations disappeared due to the observable process of natural selection, or survival-of-the-fittest, while the more robust mutations continued evolving.
Close enough.
5. The succession of ever-more complex, adaptable mutations has thus far resulted in the highest life form, modern man.
All life is a product of evolution. "Highest life form" isn't a scientific term, but it would be accurate to say that humans are an extremely successful species that inhabits a very broad range of environments.
6. Evolution continues today.
Yes.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
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Tangle
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Posts: 9530
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.9


(1)
Message 7 of 697 (914873)
02-06-2024 4:29 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by K.Rose
02-06-2024 4:15 PM


K.Rose writes:
I'm looking for a more technically-based definition. Something like: ...
Ah, sorry, you're in the wrong shop, try next door.

Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London. Olen Suomi Soy Barcelona. I am Ukraine.

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by K.Rose, posted 02-06-2024 4:15 PM K.Rose has not replied

  
PaulK
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(1)
Message 8 of 697 (914874)
02-06-2024 4:36 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by K.Rose
02-06-2024 4:15 PM


People get confused about the meaning of “random” in this context. We had one poster here who got it wrong and accused scientists of gross dishonesty over it. (Creationists love accusing others and hate admitting fault). There are biases in the process and some people think that means “non-random” (although that’s wrong too).
Undirected is better. Maybe it needs expanding to deal with complications - but then you get into explaining stuff like the SOS response

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nwr
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From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.1


(1)
Message 9 of 697 (914876)
02-06-2024 4:44 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by K.Rose
02-06-2024 4:15 PM


K.Rose in Message 5 writes:
Something like:
​You are unlikely to get that.
I'll give my personal comments. Others may have different points of disagreement.
1. Evolution and Origin of life are to separate things. There could have been origin of life without evolution. Or life might have always existed in some form. It is generally agreed that origin of life has not been explained.
2. Again, this is too simplistic. We do not have a good definition of what we mean by "life".
It is conceivable that it all started with some chemical reactions that we would not consider to be life, but might have been a precursor to life. Precursors to life could have originated multiple times, and what see as life today could result from several different precursors.
3. We don't have a good definition of "more complex".
4. It isn't clear what "inferior" means here. Whether a mutation is beneficial depends on the environment. A succession of changes in the environment may have been an important driver of evolution.
5. Again, we have a difficulty with "complex". And we have a difficulty with "highest life form". It is not clear what those terms would mean.
6. Hooray -- I can agree with this one.

Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by K.Rose, posted 02-06-2024 4:15 PM K.Rose has replied

Replies to this message:
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Omnivorous
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Message 10 of 697 (914878)
02-06-2024 5:08 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Theodoric
02-06-2024 8:56 AM


Theodoric writes:
Are we going to have some troll time now?
I'm staking a claim to the Standard Definition of Evolution (copyright pending). Nobody else has. It's mine.
Every time a creationist uses the term, i.e., abuses it, ka-ching!
Where reason fails, pain might work.

"If you can keep your head while those around you are losing theirs, you can collect a lot of heads."

Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.
-Terence


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Tanypteryx
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Posts: 4500
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 4.7


(2)
Message 11 of 697 (914879)
02-06-2024 5:17 PM


I have always liked RAZD's definitions of evolution.
Message 7
RAZD:
The process of evolution involves changes in the composition of hereditary traits, and changes to the frequency of their distributions within breeding populations from generation to generation, in response to ecological challenges and opportunities.


Stop Tzar Vladimir the Condemned!
What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python
One important characteristic of a theory is that it has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie
If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --Percy
The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq

  
K.Rose
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Posts: 140
From: Michigan
Joined: 02-02-2024
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 12 of 697 (914883)
02-06-2024 5:39 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by nwr
02-06-2024 4:44 PM


Thank you all for your input.
We could conceivably define Evolution by agreeing on all of the things that Evolution is not, but it seems there should be a readily available concise definition. Maybe one that is maintained by some accepted authority on Evolution?
Is there such an authority? I suppose there will always be disagreement on some of the finer details, but to whom/what can we appeal to reconcile some of the more fundamental aspects of Evolution, e.g., what is random/complex/inferior/life/etc.?

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Tanypteryx, posted 02-06-2024 6:34 PM K.Rose has replied
 Message 37 by nwr, posted 02-07-2024 12:22 AM K.Rose has replied
 Message 334 by Dr Jack, posted 02-12-2024 9:29 AM K.Rose has replied

  
AZPaul3
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Posts: 8593
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


(2)
Message 13 of 697 (914884)
02-06-2024 6:00 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by K.Rose
02-06-2024 4:15 PM


Can anyone provide a concise definition of Evolution, one that would find concurrence amongst most/all serious evolutionists, and one against which all descriptions of Evolution should be calibrated?
No. There is a very consistent set of definitions across the discipline but no one definition is cut into the marble and etched in gold.
Read Ernst W. Mayr. Learn that name. He has defined evolution many times in many ways.
... but I'm looking for a more technically-based definition.
Why? You looking for something to rant and rail against?
This is my own hi-level understanding of Evolution.
As you can see from the responses your understanding leaves a lot still to be learned. Understanding evolution at anything but the pop-culture soundbite level takes years of study. Takes a lot of work to understand the numerous processes involved in biological evolution. Most on here have been at this for decades.
What do you hope to learn, find, achieve with this question? How can we help?

Stop Tzar Vladimir the Condemned!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by K.Rose, posted 02-06-2024 4:15 PM K.Rose has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by K.Rose, posted 02-06-2024 7:07 PM AZPaul3 has replied

  
Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 4500
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 4.7


(1)
Message 14 of 697 (914887)
02-06-2024 6:34 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by K.Rose
02-06-2024 5:39 PM


K.Rose in Message 12 writes:
but it seems there should be a readily available concise definition. Maybe one that is maintained by some accepted authority on Evolution?
Why does it seem there should be, to you? Can you point to a single "accepted authority" on the other major scientific fields? Why should there be one for biology?
Is there such an authority? I suppose there will always be disagreement on some of the finer details, but to whom/what can we appeal to reconcile some of the more fundamental aspects of Evolution, e.g., what is random/complex/inferior/life/etc.?
Many universities offer series of courses that cover biological evolution and there have been many textbooks written on the subject.
You want a few simple sentences to define one of the most complex processes in nature. How would a more detailed, simpler definition be more useful than those already provided? It's interesting that biologist seem to be able to communicate just fine using the definitions we already have and are not clambering for "better definitions."

Stop Tzar Vladimir the Condemned!
What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python
One important characteristic of a theory is that it has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie
If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --Percy
The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by K.Rose, posted 02-06-2024 5:39 PM K.Rose has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by K.Rose, posted 02-06-2024 7:34 PM Tanypteryx has replied

  
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 9276
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 15 of 697 (914888)
02-06-2024 6:34 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by K.Rose
02-06-2024 4:15 PM


Wrong

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by K.Rose, posted 02-06-2024 4:15 PM K.Rose has not replied

  
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