Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Define evolution in one sentence!

Here's my stab at the challenge:
Evolution is the accumulation of changes over generations in a self-replicating system caused by heritable biases in the probability of self-replication.


Logan said...

Very nice.

I saw your video with your debate with Kent Hovind, pretty great.

I have a question though, is there anyway I could learn about evolution without having an upper level education in biology and whatnot, (I'm a senior in High School)?

Larry Moran said...

That's an interesting definition but it differs in some ways from mine.

One of the problems with your definition is that it specifies "accumulation" of changes when you could just as easily have evolution where changes are lost and the population becomes homogeneous.

Your definition doesn't mention populations leading to the conclusion that an individual can evolve. Is this intentional?

The phrase "heritable biases in the probability of self-replication" seems confusing. Did you mean to imply that evolution = natural selection, ruling out random genetic drift as a mechanism of evolution?

Anonymous said...

Hey Dude - nah, I think you're good. Probability of self-replication encompasses random and non-random phenomena... and doesn't distill evolution down to the micro->macro extrapolation. Although Geerat Vermeij might have a pick at why symbiotic events are not more obvious in the definition. ;)
Cheers and see you soon,

uba said...

–“Evolution is the fundamental and repeatable change in the order of DNA code that yields a new species that can not cross back with the previous species.” I think anything less than that is simple changes in the DNA pattern which already exists and is designed to allow variation in traits. Turning switches on and off is not evolution if the switches are already present. I can turn the lights on and off in my house and that does not make me a power plant or an electrical engineer.

camel lova said...

i think you did a very good job... im in 10th grade just learning about evolution and i think your definition is very fit... i looked it up to help me on a project thank you...

Arstood said...

Mine isn't so much a "definition" as an explanation of the process, but here it is nonetheless.
"When a self-assembling system capable of nearly perfectly copying itself is exposed to an environment with limited resources and virtually unlimited time, soon there will be more individuals then can possibly survive, leading to competition amongst slightly varied individuals, such that individuals with advantageous mutations survive at a slightly higher rate than individuals without those mutations, and a more than slightly higher rate than individuals with detrimental mutations."