Several questions on evolution, and mutation (rate)

Doug Yanega dyanega at denr1.igis.uiuc.edu
Sun Sep 1 20:26:22 EST 1996

In article <96Aug31.164609edt.1015 at neuron.ai.toronto.edu>,
radford at cs.toronto.edu (Radford Neal) wrote:

> In article <dyanega-3108961517380001 at catalpa.inhs.uiuc.edu>,
> Doug Yanega <dyanega at denr1.igis.uiuc.edu> wrote:
> >AU contraire. It is the most appropriate definition, as it is the genetic
> >level at which evolution operates; if a trait has no heritable component
> >(i.e., genetic), it cannot be involved in evolution. Whether evolution
> >occurs via natural selection, drift, mutation, or migration, the change is
> >at the genetic level. 
> You don't get it.  It is not possible to win a substantive argument by
> jumping up and down and insisting that words must be defined the way
> you want them to be defined. 

I get it just fine. It is equally impossible to win a scientific argument
by using a definition for a term that has not been used by scientists for
decades, and then attacking this straw man.

> No one will be convinced if you just redefine the
> word "evolution" to mean what you want it to mean and declare victory.

I am NOT redefining evolution, I am instructing the non-biologists here
what the accepted biological definition has been for much of this century.
This seems entirely fair and appropriate to me. If anyone here needs to be
more explicit, it is the critics who deny evolution occurs, as to what
THEY think evolution is. I strongly suspect there is no consensus among
these people, while there IS a consensus among biologists.

Doug Yanega     (dyanega at mail.inhs.uiuc.edu)
Illinois Natural History Survey, 607 E. Peabody Dr. 
Champaign, IL 61820  USA  (217) 244-6817 fax:(217) 333-4949
affiliate, University of Illinois Dept. of Entomology
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is
    the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick

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