[extropy-chat] Reverse Evolution ?

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Fri Mar 3 01:43:44 UTC 2006

At 08:00 PM 3/1/2006 -0500, you wrote:
> > Your
> > mission, should you decide to accept it, is to explain evolutionary theory
> > to the layman using the amount of text that would fit on one side of one
> > sheet of printer paper, using language not out of reach of the average
> > eighth grader.  Ready set go.
> >
> >
>How about:
>The currently-accepted scientific model of evolution was first laid
>out in Darwin's book On The Origin of Species Through Natural
>Selection. The Darwinian theory of evolution can be summed up in a
>number of simple postulates:
>(1) The members of any particular biological population will differ
>from each other in minor ways, and will have slightly differing
>characteristics of construction and behavior. This is the principle
>of "variation".
>(2) These variations can be passed from one generation to the next,
>and the offspring of those possessing a particular type of variation
>will also tend to have that same variation. This is the principle of
>(3) Certain of these variations will give their possessor an
>advantage in life (or avoid some disadvantage), allowing that
>organism to obtain more food, escape predators more efficiently, etc.
>Thus, those organisms that possess such a useful variation will tend
>to survive longer and produce more offspring than other members of
>that population. These offspring, through the principle of
>heritability, will also tend to possess this advantageous variation,
>and this will have the affect of increasing, over a number of
>generations, the proportion of organisms in the population which
>possess this variation. This is the principle of "natural selection".
>These principles are combined to form the core of the evolutionary
>model. The Darwinian outlook holds that small incremental changes in
>structure and behavior, brought about by the natural selection of
>variations, produce, after a long period of time, organisms that
>differ so greatly from their ancestors that they are no longer the
>same organism, and must be classified as a separate species. This
>process of speciation, repeated over the 3.5 billion year span of
>time since life first appeared on earth, explains the gradual
>production of all of life's diversity.
>(by Lenny Flank, as presented to middle-school kids, used with permission)

It leaves out "inclusive fitness," work of Hamilton and Haldane.  You 
really have to include http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inclusive_fitness to 
have the slightest chance of applying evolution to the subject of most 
interest to humans, namely humans.

Keith Henson

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