quote I will attempt to demonstrate that the same mechanisms that produce reversions in leuB- organisms will also cause deleterious mutations in very important and vital genes as well as mutations which do not change the fitness of offspring. end quote
You might want to look at your phrase "fitness of offspring". As offspring are, by definition "fit" simply by being there, then "fitness" is not a quality "of" offspring.
If, instead, you argue that success of reproduction of the offspring makes them fit, then i) success of reproduction doesn't necessarily incur advantage to the species, and ii) clearly, if the offspring do not reproduce then the parents reproductive success cannot be regarded as "fitness" or success.
The best option I think is to drop the word "fitness".
quote If you don't understand the concept of fitness, that is no reason why biologists should abandon it; that's a sign that you should try harder to understand it. What is it about this concept that is giving you trouble? unquote
Many disciplines have flags. That the word "fitness" should be meaningless yet purposeful appears to present us with a contradiction.
We can begin to break the contradiction by noting that flags are like mandala's, invocational devices whose meaning is not derived from the context in which they are delivered.
If the flag "fitness" is assumed to be a semantic/syntactical device, that is, with context dependent meaning, the assumption quickly unravels on inspection.
So my advice is to use the flag "fitness" only as a flag - as an inspirational, promotional metaphor aimed at those not familiar with the subject. I don't think biologists should court favour with the "term" fitness. That would be very risky, as my analysis showed.
quote As Dr Adequate implies, fitness has a well-defined meaning in biology. I can see that you're defining a "fit" offspring as one that has survived birth, but in biology fitness is measured by an organisms ability to generate offspring, or in genetic terms, to propagate its genes. Wikipedia has a good article on biological fitness. It actually calls it, and correctly in my view, "a central idea in evolutionary theory," so the odds are small that you're going to persuade evolutionary biologists to abandon the concept. unquote
As you can see from the rest of my initial post, I addressed the reproductive aspect of the "definition". But an excursion into reproductivity doesn't change the often tautologous, and always meaningless use of this term, which, I have argued in the post above this one, is a necessary condition of the "word" being employed as a syntactically disconnected (independent), promotional metaphor - a flag or mandala.
Many disciplines have these flags. For example, psychology uses "disorder", among others.
I wasn't able to follow your instructions for quotes. Do I have to type in a code? How do I easilyiest get or assemble the material that I want to quote?
quote Sounds like a different topic. If you want to discuss biological terminology and the errors therein you might consider proposing a new thread over at Proposed New Topics unquote
It isn't a different topic to enquire about the significance of a key term in that topic. It's significance is, rather, key to the whole topic. Surely so.
However, if by "the topic" you mean just the original post, then I agree with you. But the original post had some problems that cast a shadow on its own case, and these needed examining. My examination used an example taken from many other, similar problems in that original post.
We cannot take what we read for granted. A post isn't just factual, it is conceptual, and in the latter the origin, I argued, was found lacking.
[qsPerhaps you could explain how it is lacking? Are you saying that fitness is not a factor in the propagation of a genome?qs]
I argued aginst the use of the term fitness. Unfortunately, the term is well-entrenched in biology. I suggested that biology could be better expressed without it.
Here are the reasons I gave: "Fitness of offspring" -- As offspring and/or their parents are, by definition "fit" simply by being there, then fitness is not a quality "of" offspring or their parents. As this is a grammatical, semantic point, then we can replace offspring and parents with any X. X can be genomes, for example.
As the OP appeared to select biological/chemical facts by using the framework of fitness, then it threatened his enterprise with a tautology. (Fitness can't be a quality "of" a life-form, or "of" X; if fitness is the presence of X. All we end up saying is that fitness is the name of X. )
(also note, if you argue that success of reproduction of the offspring makes them fit, then i) success of reproduction doesn't necessarily incur advantage to the species, and ii) clearly, if the offspring do not reproduce then the parents reproductive success cannot be regarded as "fitness" or success. )