Register to reply

Succinct Definition of Biological Evolution

by Murdstone
Tags: biological, definition, evolution, succinct
Share this thread:
Murdstone
#1
Aug28-14, 04:37 PM
P: 37
Anyone exposed to academic rigor would find the use of the term "biological evolution" to be rather vague.

There is something about Darwin and common descent and then it starts to get somewhat vague.

Is there a definitive definition of "biological evolution"?

I offer this in the spirit of Niels Bohr - "Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge".
Phys.Org News Partner Biology news on Phys.org
Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses
Me, my neuroprocessor, and I: Preparing for a hybrid world
Australian mosquito appears in California
aroc91
#2
Aug28-14, 08:59 PM
P: 166
Evolution is the change in allele frequencies (or you could just say change in general, because epigeneticss is also a part) in a population over time. There's no need to be any more specific for the same reason dictionary writers don't feel the need to define words within a word's definition. If you need more clarification, you can look deeper into it elsewhere.
Ophiolite
#3
Aug29-14, 02:10 AM
P: 288
Moreover, the term biological evolution is typically used to distinguish it from the evolution of stars, or planetary systems, or the universe itself. In those contexts evolution means the changes that occur over time to the respective systems.

I sense that the need for the phrase biological evolution has arisen, in part, to counter creationists who conflate these terms and use faulty logic based on that conflation in an attempt to discredit biological evolution. Adding the adjective helps to, rightly, separate them.

aroc91 has given the current, generally accepted definition. Palaeontologists would tend to use a somewhat different one, since they can view only phenotypes, not genotypes.

However, I would suggest that a precise definition is unnecessary. We do not have a precise definition of life, yet we are able to recognise it in many forms and study it in immense detail. So to with evolution.

DiracPool
#4
Aug29-14, 02:49 AM
P: 611
Succinct Definition of Biological Evolution

Succinct Definition of Biological Evolution
"Descent with modification." How's that for succinct?
Ophiolite
#5
Aug29-14, 03:46 AM
P: 288
Very good. It incorporates the concept of allele frequency and phenotype changes, thus satisfying biologists and palaeontologists respectively, while demonstrating that old Charlie had a knack for a nice phrase.
DiracPool
#6
Aug29-14, 03:49 AM
P: 611
Quote Quote by Ophiolite View Post
Very good. It incorporates the concept of allele frequency and phenotype changes, thus satisfying biologists and palaeontologists respectively, while demonstrating that old Charlie had a knack for a nice phrase.
Gotta love good ole' Charlie.
Ryan_m_b
#7
Aug29-14, 04:36 AM
Mentor
Ryan_m_b's Avatar
P: 5,490
Quote Quote by DiracPool View Post
"Descent with modification." How's that for succinct?
Descent with modification under environmental attrition is one I've heard several times before. It's a good, brief and encompassing definition. Offspring are slightly different to parents, the environment means that some of them get to reproduce more. That's the fundamental of it.
Ygggdrasil
#8
Aug30-14, 02:04 AM
Other Sci
Sci Advisor
P: 1,400
Quote Quote by Ryan_m_b View Post
Descent with modification under environmental attrition is one I've heard several times before. It's a good, brief and encompassing definition. Offspring are slightly different to parents, the environment means that some of them get to reproduce more. That's the fundamental of it.
This is a good definition for natural selection, but natural selection is just one mechanism by which evolution can occur. Genetic drift, founder effects, and bottlenecks can all cause evolution but are not driven by environmental attrition. Personally, I would favor the definition as changes in allele frequencies over time. It gives no information about how or why evolution occurs, but it is a perfectly fine description of what occurs in evolution (though one could argue that it captures mostly microevolution and not macroevolution).
DiracPool
#9
Aug30-14, 02:31 AM
P: 611
Quote Quote by Ygggdrasil View Post
Genetic drift, founder effects, and bottlenecks.
I like that one too, got a nice ring to it, succinct, pithy, and concise..And it even rhymes!
Ryan_m_b
#10
Aug30-14, 07:33 AM
Mentor
Ryan_m_b's Avatar
P: 5,490
Quote Quote by Ygggdrasil View Post
This is a good definition for natural selection, but natural selection is just one mechanism by which evolution can occur. Genetic drift, founder effects, and bottlenecks can all cause evolution but are not driven by environmental attrition. Personally, I would favor the definition as changes in allele frequencies over time. It gives no information about how or why evolution occurs, but it is a perfectly fine description of what occurs in evolution (though one could argue that it captures mostly microevolution and not macroevolution).
Of course, but if we're being succinct then we're not going to cover everything. A succinct definition is only really going to be needed with people unfamiliar with the subject matter, in which case natural selection is the best place to start and build upon that.


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Dirac's Quantum Mechanics - the definition of the time evolution operator Quantum Physics 4
Ecosystematic Evolution (symbiosis in the importance of evolution) Biology 5
Definition of The Biological Sexes Biology 6
Is the evolution of our technology and medicine leading to de-evolution ? Biology 1
What is the biological definition for survival? Biology 3