Defining evolution from Re: Evolution & Identity of the ID designer

From: bivalve (
Date: Tue Dec 03 2002 - 12:09:33 EST

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    >A very simple & broad statement of evolutionary theory is not hard to give:
    >Biological species change over long periods of time, with some
    becoming extenct and some new species arising from old. Various
    species are thus related to one another. Such ideas are, of course,
    not uniquely Darwinian.<

    More generally, it can also refer to changes within species as well.
    Thus, an even simpler definition would be a change in gene frequency
    over time. Both change within species and the transformation of one
    species to another have been observed repeatedly (see the latest
    Science for an example of the latter in yeast), so the claim that
    evolution happens is an observed fact. If offspring were always
    clones, or if they never showed any net trend, then evolution would
    be disproven.

    Note that this does not show that everything evolved from a common
    ancestor. The latter is a claim about the extent of evolution and
    requires other evidence.

    > The question of _how_ evolution takes place is of course more
    >difficult. But we would avoid a lot of wasted time & posturing if
    >we would agree that it _has_ taken place.<

    Of course, the extent is also a question, and this is really what is
    being questioned when people claim not to believe in evolution.
    Recognizing this would help avoid the fallacy of evolution equals
    evil atheism.

         Dr. David Campbell
         Old Seashells
         University of Alabama
         Biodiversity & Systematics
         Dept. Biological Sciences
         Box 870345
         Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 USA

    That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted
    Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at
    Droitgate Spa

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