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Author Topic:   Definition of Evolution
Larni
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Posts: 3990
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005
Member Rating: 7.2


Message 196 of 212 (497673)
02-05-2009 1:02 PM
Reply to: Message 195 by pix1
02-05-2009 12:54 PM


Pretty much.

I always like change in allele frequency over time.

ABE: Welcome to EvC, by the way. Hope you stay and have a great time.

Edited by Larni, : Welcome mat.


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RAZD
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Posts: 20119
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 197 of 212 (497742)
02-05-2009 10:55 PM
Reply to: Message 195 by pix1
02-05-2009 12:54 PM


Welcome to the fray pix1

Is this succinct?

Yes, but ... you can have evolution without resulting in new species, natural selection operates on the phenotype rather than the genotype, genetic composition is not always expressed in the phenotype and ... so I would have said:

quote:
3. Biology
a. Change in the composition of hereditary traits in a population during successive generations, often as a result of natural selection acting on the variety of phenotypes in the population,
b. such evolution resulting in the development of new species, through the division of parent populations into reproductively isolated daughter populations, living in different ecologies, and
c. the formation of nested hierarchies that result in the pattern of historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.

Not quite so succinct ...

Enjoy.

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olivortex
Member (Idle past 3037 days)
Posts: 70
From: versailles, france
Joined: 01-28-2009


Message 198 of 212 (499611)
02-19-2009 12:20 PM


c. the formation of nested hierarchies that result in the pattern of historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.

This point is more and more discussed and i'm glad it is, because it's one more way of observing and explaining evolution.

Edited by olivortex, : lost letters! fu...rry keyboard

Edited by olivortex, : wow, i'm tired.


    
Sky-Writing
Member (Idle past 3411 days)
Posts: 162
From: Milwaukee, WI, United States
Joined: 03-12-2009


Message 199 of 212 (503790)
03-22-2009 9:43 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Ihategod
08-26-2007 9:45 PM


Evolution is
Evolution is observable change(s) in all living systems limited to the observed time frame.

Should be changed to "over time". Good scientific procedure requires that a process be reproducible and observable. However, in this case, the concept of "Evolution" generally extends well beyond the boundaries of good science.

Mechanisms should not be classified within evolution.

The reason being that science is incomplete,
(or wrong, as we say in the normal world)
and that including mechanisms is a recipe for disaster for the definition. Take Darwin for example. Good thing he didn't insist that orchard workers kids would have longer arms as part of his definition.

It should be acknowledged that theoretical science is separate from theological musings, and should not be coupled within a standard of a definition.

This should read that

"It should be acknowledged that theoretical science can be heavily biased by theological musings,
and therefore should not be coupled within a standard of a definition."

I burst out laughing when I read at "Talkorigins" that most of the confusion over definition is because scientists are illiterate. (In so many words.) I happen to know that scientists are MOST often, very good and practiced at explaining things in lay language, so clearly the problem is not that.


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 364 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 200 of 212 (503791)
03-22-2009 10:05 AM
Reply to: Message 196 by Larni
02-05-2009 1:02 PM


I always like change in allele frequency over time.

I think that's probably the shoddiest definition of evolution that gets kicked around; it is incomplete, it does not uniquely define evolution, it explains nothing and it completely fails to capture the grandeur of evolutionary theory.

It is incomplete because it does not make any mention of the mechanisms of evolution, or the historical reconstruction of evolution.

It does not uniquely define evolution because anything that changed allele frequency would be included - be it an utter randomly fluctuation or the subtle machinations of His Noodly Appendage.

It explains nothing because it does not include the reasons why allele frequencies change or the ways in which this produces change.

And, as a result of these failings, it completely fails to capture the grandeur of evolutionary theory; mentioning nothing of the overarching view of life it gives, the breadth of its explanatory power or the depth of evidence for this explanation.


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RAZD
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Posts: 20119
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 201 of 212 (503792)
03-22-2009 10:11 AM
Reply to: Message 199 by Sky-Writing
03-22-2009 9:43 AM


Re: Evolution is
Welcome to the fray -Sky-

Should be changed to "over time". Good scientific procedure requires that a process be reproducible and observable. However, in this case, the concept of "Evolution" generally extends well beyond the boundaries of good science.

The problem is that "evolution" is a term used for several processes, one of which is biological. The "definition" by Ihategod is missing the aspect of heredity, and without heredity biological evolution would not work. It also is missing where evolution occurs. The definition I prefer is

Evolution is the change in hereditary traits in populations from generation to generation.

I prefer generations to "over time" as this is a more appropriate measure for the time involved for any species.

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.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

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Larni
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Posts: 3990
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005
Member Rating: 7.2


Message 202 of 212 (503795)
03-22-2009 11:01 AM
Reply to: Message 200 by Dr Jack
03-22-2009 10:05 AM


I guess if you put it that way I should not have used it.

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Sky-Writing
Member (Idle past 3411 days)
Posts: 162
From: Milwaukee, WI, United States
Joined: 03-12-2009


Message 203 of 212 (503797)
03-22-2009 11:30 AM
Reply to: Message 200 by Dr Jack
03-22-2009 10:05 AM


I think that's probably the shoddiest definition of evolution [snip]..completely fails to capture the grandeur of evolutionary theory.[snip]...fails to capture the grandeur of evolutionary theory; mentioning nothing of the overarching view of life it gives, the breadth of its explanatory power or the depth of evidence for this explanation.

This post exemplifies the spiritual/religious component of Scientific "ism". It's as easy to imagine this commentary coming from a pulpit as it is from a classroom lectern.

Edited by -Sky-, : Added commentary.


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 364 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 204 of 212 (503799)
03-22-2009 12:49 PM
Reply to: Message 203 by Sky-Writing
03-22-2009 11:30 AM


This post exemplifies the spiritual/religious component of Scientific "ism". It's as easy to imagine this commentary coming from a pulpit as it is from a classroom lectern.

That's rather off-topic for this thread, perhaps you'd like to take it up here


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Percy
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Posts: 18842
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 205 of 212 (503801)
03-22-2009 1:19 PM
Reply to: Message 200 by Dr Jack
03-22-2009 10:05 AM


For me the grandeur is in the process itself and not upon the way it's described. I actually like describing evolution as changes in a population's allele distribution over time, though I think it's important to add its causes: mutation, allele remixing and natural selection. I also like Darwin's original formulation: descent with modification and natural selection.

--Percy


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 364 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 206 of 212 (503802)
03-22-2009 1:46 PM
Reply to: Message 205 by Percy
03-22-2009 1:19 PM


I agree that the grandeur is in the process, not the description; but if we're to try and define evolution should we not describe the important parts of that process? That it is important to add the causes is rather my point.

And I agree that Darwin's formulation of descent with modification and natural selection is a good starting point for a definition. Certainly I think any definition that omitted them is lacking.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16104
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 207 of 212 (503892)
03-23-2009 8:05 AM
Reply to: Message 199 by Sky-Writing
03-22-2009 9:43 AM


Re: Evolution is
Should be changed to "over time". Good scientific procedure requires that a process be reproducible and observable. However, in this case, the concept of "Evolution" generally extends well beyond the boundaries of good science.

Have you ever noticed how scientists disagree with you completely about what is or is not good science?

Have you ever pondered why it is that scientists disagree with you about science?

Something for you to think about, eh?


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CosmicChimp
Member
Posts: 306
From: Muenchen Bayern Deutschland
Joined: 06-15-2007


Message 208 of 212 (503939)
03-23-2009 4:16 PM
Reply to: Message 201 by RAZD
03-22-2009 10:11 AM


Re: Evolution is
Hi RAZD,

C'mon I've seen a few other definitions posted by you that put this latest, okay, definition to shame. :)

But, let me at least offer a slight (possibly better) variation on your theme.

RAZD writes:

Evolution is the change in hereditary traits in populations from generation to generation.

and then altered to:

quote:
Evolution is the change in frequency of heritable traits within a population from generation to generation.

It still seems to me though, that a few items are missing (like selection forces).

{ABE}Upon review, it seems an over-generalization to say that among all of the changes going on contributing to a species' evolution (like epistasis), that only heritable traits or hereditary traits are the ones "that matter" enough to be in the definition.

Edited by CosmicChimp, : No reason given.

Edited by CosmicChimp, : fixed for clarity


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 209 of 212 (503942)
03-23-2009 4:25 PM
Reply to: Message 208 by CosmicChimp
03-23-2009 4:16 PM


Re: Evolution is
It still seems to me though, that a few items are missing (like selection forces).

If we are talking about the term "evolution" as used in the phrase "Evolution by means of natural selection" then RAZD's definition would be perfectly adequate.

No?

The two are distinct concepts and I think it is worth defining each in it's own terms.


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CosmicChimp
Member
Posts: 306
From: Muenchen Bayern Deutschland
Joined: 06-15-2007


Message 210 of 212 (503943)
03-23-2009 4:28 PM
Reply to: Message 209 by Straggler
03-23-2009 4:25 PM


Re: Evolution is
Ah, yes that is true Straggler. Evolution as fact or Evolution as theory, two concepts.

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