The Theory of Evolution is that all the diversity of life is explained by a synthesis of several validated theories on how hereditary traits in populations change from generation to generation. (Italics added for emphasis)
I think you should state or make more clear the "several validated theories" that you refer to so that there is no ambiguity to creationists or students of evolution in what you mean. This may seem cumbersome but I think it will bring more validity to your definition if you keep vague words out.
quote:biologist Michael Lynch wrote -"Clarification of the phylogenetic (ie. ancestor-descendant) relationships of the major animal phyla remain an elusive problem with analyses based on different based on different genes and even different analyses based on the same genes yielding a diversity of phylogenetic trees."
I would like to see your source for Michael Lynch's quote you use. I have read most of what Michael Lynch has wrote and don't remember this quote. When I do a Google search all I get is links to ID misinformation.
I found the source in question. It is funny because if you search the entire quoted section with the "(ie. ancestor-descendant)" part you are directed to ID websites, but when you take it out you will hit Michael Lynch's paper. You can review the actual paper at this link
Here is the abstract of the paper.
Michael Lynch writes:
Given the uncertainties in the fossil record and the paucity of informative morphological characters, there is still considerable uncertainty as to the phylogenetic affinities and times of origins of essentially all of the phyla of animals. A multilocus analysis of amino-acid sequence data for mitochondrial genes suggests that the major triploblast phyla began diverging approximately 630 million years ago. These results support the hypothesis that the so-called Cambrian radiation of animals actually initiated about 100 million years prior to the Cambrian, as the fossil evidence suggests. In addition, phylogenetic analysis supports the monophyly of animals, an early (~900 million years ago) branching off of the cnidarian lineage, the monophyly of deuterostomes and protostomes, and the inclusion of nematodes in the protostome lineage. The results of this study suggest that, with appropriate levels of taxon sampling and a focus on conserved regions of protein-coding sequence, complete mitochondrial genome analysis may be sufficiently powerful to elucidate the genealogical relationships of many of the animal phyla.
Lynch goes on to say in the paper after the first quote above on page 323 on the 3rd paragraph on the right of the page,
Given the substantial evolutionary time separating the animal phyla, it is not surprising that single-gene analyses yield such discordant results. Under such circumstances, the statistical noise associated with the substitution process leads to a high probability that phylogenetic analyses based on different molecules will yield different topologies (Philippe et al. 1994; Ruvolo 1997)...
The phylogenetics of the animal and even the eukaryotic common lineage is still fuzzy due to difficulties in molecular biology techniques and the lack of funds to sequence all of these organisms genomes. The fuzziness is not due to the lack of evidence supporting evolution. It will take some time and money to resolve these difficulties, but this is hard when there is such hostility toward evolution. Recently a faculty member in the department that the university I was at was denied funding for a study on evolution because as the grant reviewer said, "It would only give answer in evolution."
Anyway, imagine my surprise when I found this quote by Michael Lynch used out of context. When you use a quote that is describing the limitations in a study you should follow with why those limitations exist. I'm sure you just copied and pasted the quote from a third party website, but in the future I urge you to search out the primary source to get the facts straight.
You can read more about Michael Lynch and his research at his website.
Edited by mobioevo, : found the source and it was used out of context.
The Theory of Evolution is that all the diversity of life is explained by a synthesis of several validated theories on how hereditary traits in populations change from generation to generation; it includes theories on how change is enabled, and it includes theories on how changes made within each generation are selected.
I still don't like this definition because (1) it is still ambiguous due to the use of the phrase "several validated theories on how hereditary traits in populations change from generation to generation." What are these theories on hereditary change? If I were to give this definition to a group of students in an evolutionary biology course they would look at me with a dumb look. You and I may know what the theories for hereditary change are but not everyone else does.
(2) You theory only covers life while hereditary change can cover non-life such as viruses, transposable elements, and other non-living but biological systems.
Maybe it would be better to drop the whole "Theory of Evolution" phrase and stick with just "evolution." Using the "theory of evolution" phrase is like saying, "the theory of cell biology," or "the theory of physics." Maybe in the 1500's it was useful to use the term "the theory of physics" but now it is unnecessary. In the same way, the term "theory of evolution" is unnecessary.
If you are interested in diversity of life maybe you should define the theory of biodiversity instead, which would include evolution in its definition.
I checked out the link and find the previous definition. Maybe I lost the point of this thread if you already defined the "theory of evolution.'
I still feel the best way to communicate about evolution is to speak in the way other scientists talk. This is good practice so laymen, whether they believe in evolution or creationism, are not confused if they talk to other scientists outside this forum. I find the confusion of evolution in the general public most troubling. For decades evolution was hidden in the universities as scientist discovered all types of cool and interesting things, but they were not communicated to the general population Thus, today we have people that think evolution requires natural selection, a single common ancestor, or even that evolution disproves a Creator. You really need years of training to understand evolutionary theory in its current form and using a different vocabulary than scientist use today will just make this education gap between evolutionary biologists and the public wider.
This is why I don't think defining the "theory of evolution" is not a good thing to do. By having a divergence in the layman lexicon and the scientific lexicon, there will continue to be more confusion. It would be better to just explain what evolution is and how it can happen in models that use natural selection and/or genetic drift, than to get obsessive on what the theory clearly defines.
quote:The Really Big Lie is this--that evolution itself is equal to and synonymous with the darwinian "ToE". Meaning that to 'believe' in 'evolution' is to believe in "the" ToE. As if evolution would not, could not exist, if "the" 'ToE' were not to be fully accepted as an article of faith.
I'm not sure what you mean here because, like I said in a previous post, the term "theory of evolution" really has no meaning. I understand what this thread is for because so many people use this statement, "the theory of evolution," as if it had some valuable meaning.
For example cell theory was developed in the 19th century after the use of the microscope. A lot of biologists doubted that the fundamental unit of life is a cell, but with mounting evidence with the advancement of microscopy technology, all the naysayers eventual relented and accepted the cell theory.
I use this as an analogy to the theory of evolution. Evolution was also formed in the 19th century, but took more years to hash out the details. First it was thought that natural selection could only produce change, but we didn't understand the hereditary mechanism that produced this change. Even before the structure of DNA was discovered, scientists understood that gene frequencies could change without selection acting on it. Eventually after we started to get a better idea of the genome, scientists theorized that most change in the genome may be due to neutral change and thus having no selection pressure acting on that change. Today when scientists study evolution they do not study the theory of evolution. If they find genetic diversity between two species, for example, they will study whether that change is due to selection or drift. Conducting an experiment showing "theory of evolution" exists would be pointless, and the researcher would be laughed out of the grant.
What we have now is many different factors affecting evolution. Just as a cell biologist may study the details of a cellular process, an evolutionary biologist may study the details of an evolutionary process. The underlining theories, cell and evolution, are not debated because they are considered principles, facts, and laws.
I've read many times on this forum that the theory of evolution predicts a singe-common ancestor that formed from a non-living thing. This is incorrect. Based on observations from the how evolution works and the current data from cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry do scientists make hypothesis about the origins of life. Discovering that an intelligent life created the first living thing or that there were multiple creation of life forms from non-living things will not falsify evolution, nor will it falsify the other disciplines of biology. What a discovery that that will do is falsify the origin of life hypothesis, which the data would be added to the other observations and a new hypothesis would be born.
quote:Another form in which this "Really Big Lie", [that evolution _is_ "the" one and only, "ToE"], is promoted by darwinists and creationists is through their mutual insistence that the "Intelligent Design" theory of evolution is not a hypothesis wrt evolution's causal mechanism, , and so adapt [re-design] themselves to those purposes. That is, lifeforms that were intelligently designed by themselves and by their own forebears. Many, a vast number of, intelligent designers.
I have no idea what you are trying to say in the above quote.