nlandau at eden.rutgers.edu
Tue Sep 3 15:25:06 EST 1996
arthurc at crl.com (Arthur Chandler) writes:
> My dictionary gives a definition to this term in such a way as to imply
>it is a working concept in biology:
> Biology. Degeneration as distinguished from evolution.
> Is this term an often-employed construct or model in biology? And does
>it imply that evolution means a kind of progress?
> Thanks for any help you can provide.
Never heard the term used professionally, myself.
Evolution is not defined as "progress." It is defined as a change in
gene frequency in a population over time. If the frequency of people
with tails in a human population increased over three generations,
for example, this would be evolution. This despite the fact that
there exists a popular notion that the loss of the tail was a
progressive development for primates.
Evolution cannot "run backwards." It is not a directed phenomenon,
although it can proceed in a given direction at a given time.
Divest yourself of teleological thinking, and the kosmik truth will
seem less muddied. Well, if you are a nihilist, anyway.
Dept. Biochemistry and Microbiology
More information about the Microbio