Having spent considerable time reading several of the threads in this forum from start to finish, and several more part of the way through, I have
found - albeit not to my surprise - that a great many people differ quite radically from me where it comes to evolution.
Knowing this is not enough for me. I want to know how other people differ from me not only in their view of evolution, but in their understanding of
what it entails. I could of course create a spreadsheet of everything anyone has said about it, and find some arbitrary scale for my perception of
their acceptance of it as a concept before trying to work out the overall pattern but that would be time consuming and quite creepy, really, so I
thought it would be easier to tell you - as briefly and as specifically as I can - and then ask the key questions that I have concerning your
My understanding of evolution
boils down to three central concepts (please note, I have only recently tried stating my understanding of
evolution briefly, and so earlier versions of this in other posts do differ slightly):
1) Organisms have variable traits
2) At least some of the variation in trait is heritable (passed from one generation to the next)
3) Not all organisms reproduce as much as one another.
The three of these, together, indicate to me that the frequencies of different variations of a trait will not be uniform across generations, which I
take to be evolution. For evolution to continue indefinitely, a fourth point is required:
4) new heritable variations are generated over time
Which is effectively saying that I think mutation happens. Because I believe that evolution by natural selection is a major force in, well, nature, I
also include two more
5) A level of variation in reproductive output between individuals is as a result of selective pressures imposed upon individuals
6) Variation between individuals leads (in at least some cases) to differences in susceptibility to selective pressures.
So, basically, an animal that dies prematurely for any reason - or is in any other way reproductively hindered - will reproduce less than an animal
whose life continues uninterrupted, and some animals are better at avoiding death (by predation, disease, starvation etc) - for whatever reason - and
aspects of this are heritable.
And finally, for divergence of populations (I have stated elsewhere why the concept of species - and thus the concept of speciation - is flawed, and
would rather not go into it here. I will if forced, though), a seventh point:
7) variations may not affect reproductive output in the same way across a selective gradient
Which basically means that the "fittest" organism in a population will not stay the same if you move the population to a different environment. (e.g.
a bird that is white would be very well camouflaged on snow, but very easy for predators - and prey - to spot in a forest or on a grassland).
a) Do you believe that evolution occurs? (Please don't say something like "micro-evolution, not macro" because then I will have to explain why the
concept of a species is flawed, thus making the concept of speciation flawed, thus meaning that the division between micro and macro evolution has no
basis in biology)
b) If no, which of the above numbered points - please be specific - do you disagree with, and why?
c) Do you (regardless of your stance on evolution) feel that the above points do not accurately portray the concept of evolution, and if so, which
ones do you disagree with, and why?
Thank you for your time and attention,
PS - I recognise that this is based on the same premise as Romantic_Rebel's What are your
views on Evolution
, but as my interest is more in the specifics, I felt the need to start a new thread.
PPS - please note, everyone, that this is not about Darwin, or Hovind, or what anyone else has said concerning any specific evolutionary hypothesis.
This is about what I think, what You think, and where we differ. So please answer as such.
PPPS - as much as it is not my intent to belittle other people's beliefs, I am naturally argumentative. I will try to suppress this, but views that
differ radically from mine are likely to attract my particular attention. If your post does attract my particular attention, please note that it is
not my intention to offend.
edit on 8/12/2010 by TheWill because: point 5 is worded oddly, and seeing as I still have time to change this, I
might as well use it!