|As of September 29, 2007, this article is a very good article. (compare to current).|
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You may see the vote that promoted the article here.
Reducing sentence length sometimes help.[change source]
1 sentence Evolution is the observation that living things change from generation to generation - children do not look exactly like their parents, and so on - and the theory that explains why.
- 3 sentences
- Evolution is the observation that living things change from one generation to the next. For example, children do not look exactly like their parents. These changes can add up over many generations and lead to very big differences in living thing.
The stumbling word is "generations" or do I not give our audience enough credit? Should it be attacked from that angle? RR--188.8.131.52 22:29, 22 September 2007 (UTC)
- Hmm. Is there a simpler word or phrase? If there is, we should use it, if there isn't, we could explain it. Adam Cuerden 23:37, 22 September 2007 (UTC)
Evolutionary theory and design argument are not the same I had an idea! And it uses Gould! Adam Cuerden 23:58, 22 September 2007 (UTC)
Nice job on the re-write. I didn't think it was possible to keep it simple yet maintain accuracy. I guess Dr. Seuss did it ---- but your topic was a bit more challenging. I attempted a few edits--- then deleted since I saw no improvements. Finally settled for a reference so you wouldn't feel alone in the project. What age group do you think it hits. I'm guessing middle school (US) maybe 8-14?
- Rather agressive attacks on your views at the creation page. I noticed you keep the high ground and held back -- alot. The issue is debated to death in Wikipedia --- it doesn't suprise me that it would be even more vicious here. You are, after all, "brain-washing" their young. I predict the screams for "proof" will make this a very hard article to keep simple. If you ever get a chance to hear Ken Ham or read his books targeted for the elementary aged kids, go for it. He is the master at tailoring his text and content to the young reader. In fact, we might get an idea of style from his work. Of course we will need references --- he just snatches random text from the bible. Anyway --- great job. --Random Replicator 18:42, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
Number generations and gender plurals....[change source]
In a family, a child, its siblings (that is, its brothers and sisters), and its cousins are one generation. Its parents, aunts, and uncles are another, and its grandparents are a third. Even photographs of all these people at the same age would not show very many people who looked exactly the same. This is the fact of evolution: A family, like all groups of living things, is changing from generation to generation in small ways, and these changes can add up over many generations and lead to very big differences. --21:52, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
Possible re-write[change source]
"Natural selection says that since children aren't exactly like their parents, some of them might have some slight advantage that makes them better able to live where they live. Since they have an advantage, these ones are more likely to survive."
- Natural selection says that children are not exactly like their parents. Some of the children may be different in ways that make the better able to live, grow-up, and have children of their own. --Random Replicator 01:12, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
- You could insert a heading where it begins to discuss "natural Selection". This would shorten the lead or break up the first section reducing the intimidation factor. --Random Replicator 01:15, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
I instead moved the paragraph about wings out of the lead: we explain natural selection both in the lead (short) and the article (long), because it's so important to understand. Using headers would just make it look like we were repeating ourselves.
I also added a history section, upon request. Sheesh, that was harder than it should've been. May want to wikilink some of the scientists, but I don't feel up to making stubs after that 4-hour work. Adam Cuerden 21:35, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
I create fossils[change source]
The last issue is to be deleted, science prove nothing, in the word of Popper, on scientist falsify (or discredit) older theories --Penarc 14:26, 14 October 2007 (UTC) iN THIS PÀRAGRAPH: However, evolution is one of the most successful theories in science, and has been found useful for all sorts of research. None of the other proposals explain things, such as fossil records, as well. So, for most scientists, evolution is not in doubt if SCIENTISTS BELIEVE THIS, then there is no more episteme, only doxa. --Penarc 23:28, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
- I'm sorry, I don't know what you're trying to say. Adam Cuerden 13:19, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
Extreemly Generalized Statement[change source]
"None of the other proposals explain things, such as fossil records, as well."
This sentence is claiming that no one else has any alternative explanation whatsoever, right or wrong. There's been other ideas for the fossils' forming. Take the flood of Noah, for example. Or the concept of a meteor making 'em.--^^Upper Hands^^ 10:20, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
- No, it says that evolution, so far is the best theory to explain things like fossil records. Creationist thinkers generally have a hard time telling why certain animals are no more, and others still are. This is especially the case for animals that died out before there were any humans around. --Eptalon 10:32, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
- This goes to show that this is a subject that there is much debate about it; there are obviously opposing opinions in this, so in these cases we are especially obliged to try to steer the most neutral course and present cited facts, but avoid telling any one group their opinion is wrong, and the other opinion is right. Blockinblox - talk 12:41, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
- Except that the statement in question isn't an editorial; it's an accurate representation on the general acceptance of the theory within the scientific community. It also gives three references, which is quite a few for a simple four-sentence paragraph. Furthermore, I'm not sure what you think "goes to show that this is a subject that there is much debate about." If you're talking about Upper Hands's comment, I don't see how a comment on wikipedia should serve as evidence of scientific debate on a topic. If you're referring to the creationist views mentioned by Eptalon, they are mentioned in the paragraph above the statement in question and are not evidence of any debate within the scientific community. 184.108.40.206 (talk) 20:21, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Made some changes[change source]
After being a Wikipedia reader for several years, I finally decided to be bold, make an account and make some changes to this article. I teach a few ESL Biology classes and the existing article wouldn't make much sense to them. I figured other readers would feel the same. In my opinion this article still needs work. It gets pretty wordy at times and I had trouble following it even as a native English speaker.
I also want to mention that there was some stuff written about ostriches that made no sense whatsoever to me. I rewrote it but won't be offended if it gets changed again. I don't know what it was trying to say and I'm not an ornithologist so my statement may be inaccurate.TeachBioCA (talk) 04:13, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
unfortunately, I think this article might no longer qualify as VGA; there is one red-link (item 7 of the Criteria). Also I feel that it could be omre ocmprehensive; It could say that when Darwin published his book, he had no idea about what Mendel had done with the peas (that was only re-discovered in 1900); In my opinion, there should be at least a link to an article about those laws (I think I wrote something stubbish). If you look at the EnWP article, there are also some talks and links about the "creationist"/"theistic" models.
- That article is Mendelian inheritance; probably still is a little complex though. --Eptalon (talk) 21:06, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
- While we are at it, the following could/shouldin my opinion be mentioned (for comopleteness sake):
- Mendelian laws (or the fact that about 30 years after Darwin had published his work on the origin of species that that of Gregor Mendel (an austrian monk experimenting with different kinds of peas) was rediscovered; nevertheless, mucxh of Darwin's approach is still valid even though he did not know about Mendel.
- There is a lengthy section in the EnWP article about deistic/theistic/creationist/intelligent design views; we could perhaps extend our section a little (with references, please) to quell these doubts
- Cp-evolution/co-operation/antagonism between species (If I am a parasite on some host, and my host evolves, I need to adapt as well); This seems to be currently researched; I am not a biologist..
- Perhaps one or two sentences on how evolutionary thought led to Eugenic models (Fracis Galton); Social Darwinism
- A word of how the mondel is currently applied by computzer scientists (called Genetic algorithms)
- While we are at it, the following could/shouldin my opinion be mentioned (for comopleteness sake):
Todo list[change source]
- Merge the controversy section into the Debates section
- Fix those red-links
This is a fairly misleading section because it doesn't make it clear because it shows an american bias - sure there are people, for example, in the uk who don't agree with the concept of the evolution but the current situation certainly could not be described as "controversial". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Allemandtando (talk • contribs)
- As far as I know, very few people outside the US question evolution. Darwinian Evolution/Mendelian inheritance is the best science has come up with; believing that some higher being created the world (and ultimately Man) is a 'belief' - it does not follow what is called the 'Scientific method'. The disputes in the scientific community are probably how to tweak certain parameters to be able to model evolution better, and not whether evoultion per se should be abandoned. If I understand the US case correctly, it is mostly about being able to teach some religious education in the schools (They completely separated church and state). --Eptalon (talk) 14:20, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Genetic drift[change source]
I have sought for a while for a good concrete example of genetic drift, but not come up wit a good one. Eye colour also crossed my mind, but was discarded. When people talk about sexual attraction, eye colour often comes up. This implies that eye colour playes a role in sexual selection. This probably also explains the wide variety of eye colours in humans. So, while many animals have eye colours that make them minimally conspicuous in their normal environment, humans have great variety of colours because it is attractive to have an uncommon eye colour. Both are plausible effects of natural selection, so eye colour is not an example of genetic drift. --Ettrig (talk) 16:28, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Scientific theory[change source]
Scientific theory should be linked as one word, not two. The corresponding article on "scientific theory" explains what is meant by a scientific theory and how it differs from a layperson's understanding of the word "theory". Cesarsalad (talk) 19:43, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Evolution as fact and theory[change source]
The current article describes evolution as a theory, which is incorrect. Evolution is a fact, and natural selection (the means by which evolution occurs in "the wild") is the theory. Should this be changed or would it impinge on the simplicity of the article? Wanted to get opinion on this before changing the article. --Thehollyhopdrive (talk) 21:49, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
- You are free to change the article, any way you see fit; Natural selection is something that can be observed (in theory, you see that a certain feature in a species makes it better able to procreate, because it is better adapted to the niche where it lives; Evolution in that context would be something abstract (all the features combined, over zillions of generations). Personally, I am unsure how you would express this (while making sure ot use the terms consistently). But be bold, and try; we can alwayas fix later on. (Not alos:I am not into biology)--Eptalon (talk) 22:52, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
- Evolution is both a fact and a theory. The fact of evolution are the scientific observations of changes in frequency of various genes within a population. The theory of evolution explains all the changes and differences of species that we see around us, including natural selection, genetic drift, and selective breeding. It is correct to say that evolution is a scientific theory and a fact. HiEv (talk) 02:47, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Concerns on "Current areas of research" section[change source]
I'm a bit concerned about the "Current areas of research" section as it is now. It uses the phrase "is not fully understood" for the first two items, but that's the case for all areas of research. The use of the phrase seems to imply that we know very little about those things or that they are even a mystery to us, when we actually know quite a bit about these things already. The worst was the third item, which currently reads:
- Evolution can explain that through many small changes some individuals of a species are better adapted than others, and have a bigger chance of bearing offspring. There is a field of study called macroevolution that wants to explain how some changes above the level of a single species or gene pool can happen. Currently, people cannot explain why evolution above the species level happens at the speed it does.
"Macroevolution" isn't really a field of study, evolutionary science is a field of study, and "macroevolution" is just the result of "microevolution" over large periods of time. Saying that the "field" of macroevolution "wants to explain" the evolution of species, suggests that it can't explain it, and the next sentence almost says science can't explain it if you miss the "at the speed it does" on the end. I'm also unaware of any serious scientific problems explaining the speed of the evolution of species, so I'd like some recent scientific sources supporting that claim.
In short, I think the section needs a rewrite to make it clear that these aren't unexplained mysteries, instead that they are accepted science where further details are being uncovered. (I'd do it myself but I'm unsure of my ability to stick to basic English here and I'd like someone else to see if they see these problems as well, or if it's just my bias.) HiEv (talk) 03:15, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
I have begun a series of revisions with the object of making this article:
- 1. easier to read
- 2. easier to understand
- 3. more accurate in certain parts
- 4. less discursive in parts.
I ask for a certain amount of tolerance over the next week so that you can see the whole picture. I've started at the top by rewriting the intro, and shortening it. The two topics I've introduced are both chapters in the Origin, and -- without being slavish -- I feel the old guy had good reason for this! Macdonald-ross (talk)
I've cut this incomprehensible and inappropriate end section:
- "Evolution can produce highly optimized processes and networks. This has many applications in computer science. In Computer Science, evolution is only simulated with evolutionary algorithms and artificial life. The work of Nils Aall Barricelli in these fields started in the 1960s. Alex Fraser continued to work on these ideas. He published a series of papers on the simulation of artificial selection. Artificial evolution became a widely recognized optimization method as a result of the work of Ingo Rechenberg in the 1960s and early 1970s. Reichenberg used evolution strategies to solve complex engineering problems. Genetic algorithms in particular became popular through the writing of John Holland. As academic interest grew, dramatic increases in the power of computers allowed practical applications, including the automatic evolution of computer programs. Evolutionary algorithms are now used to solve multi-dimensional problems better than software produced by human designers. It can also optimize the design of systems."
- Fraser AS (1958). "Monte Carlo analyses of genetic models". Nature. 181 (4603): 208–9. doi:10.1038/181208a0. PMID 13504138.
- Rechenberg, Ingo (1973). Evolutionsstrategie - Optimierung technischer Systeme nach Prinzipien der biologischen Evolution (PhD thesis) (in German). Fromman-Holzboog.
- Holland, John H. (1975). Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0262581116.
- Koza, John R. (1992). Genetic Programming. MIT Press. Unknown parameter
- Jamshidi M (2003). "Tools for intelligent control: fuzzy controllers, neural networks and genetic algorithms". Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences. 361 (1809): 1781–808. doi:10.1098/rsta.2003.1225. PMID 12952685.
Some ideas[change source]
Here are some basic ideas, I don't know if they can or should be fitted in:
- Lamarckism already had a theory ('use and disuse') on why organisms change. I don't know when Lamarck published it, but if I look at when he lived, it must have been roughly 100 years before Darwin. Lamarck did of course not know about Genetics, Mendel did his experiments with peas in the 1860s.
- Does it make sense to describe what happened after Darwin (i.e. present some of the ideas of Haldane, Wright and Fisher) in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as later developments, or do these findings add little to the "basic ideas"?
- Thank you for the sensible and helpful questions. This version is written for non-experts, so if the thoughts occur to you, then they are automatically worth considering!
- Lamarck (1744–1829) was one of Darwin's most important precursors. He was perhaps the first to put forward a coherent theory of evolution, though his evidence for it was not nearly so complete as Darwin's evidence. Also Lamarck's suggested mechanism for how evolution took place was refuted by modern genetics, whereas there is plenty of evidence for natural selection. In short, I think I must mention him, as long as I can write something simpler than this!!
- The most important development of evolutionary thought since Darwin was the modern evolutionary synthesis. As it happens, I was the original contributor of the section which has arrived on Simple, but here it is too dense. I will try and write a simplified version for this article. Regards, Macdonald-ross (talk) 12:02, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Rhetorical Question[change source]
- Simple is a special kind of encyclopaedia: it is for people whose grasp of English is limited. To achieve this, we need to write basic English! This has two main angles. The sentence structure should be simple, with few sub-clauses. Verbs should be in active voice where possible. Words should be from a restricted vocabulary; technical words need explaining or linking. This is our prime responsibility. Believe me, it's difficult enough! Addressing the reader directly is one way of engaging their interest. Everything that makes an article interesting makes the reader's task easier. Rhetorical questions should not be ovedone, but they are a legitimate tactic. Galileo, who was a serious scientist, wrote his best work in the form of a dialogue! (Dialogue concerning the two chief world systems). We haven't gone that far, yet... Of course, articles must be accurate. That we all agree on. But far more important than out-of-date linguistic shibboleths is the need of the readers for prose they can understand. Macdonald-ross (talk) 06:50, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
- Active voice: The cat ate the mouse, rather than the mouse was eaten by the cat. Using the simplest verb form.
- Shibboleth: A custom, doctrine &c., which distinguishes a group of people. From Hebrew: 'an ear of corn', used as a test of nationality for its difficult pronunciation. Oxford Shorter English Dictionary.
"Abusing evolution"[change source]
I don't think eugenics has much to do with evolution, whether or not it's an abuse. Also, I don't think it has much to do with racism. Its real connection is with selective breeding of animals. The page becomes simpler, shorter, easier to read without this rather involved discursion. So I reckon it should come out, and some of the contents transferred to eugenics. There's no end of social ideas that some have tried to link to evolution, but why here, when we need the space for science? Evolution is not any kind of social theory. Macdonald-ross (talk) 17:01, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
- I think the "big problem" we have is that the "idea" of evolution gave rise to a number of other theories; Spencer tried to apply it to other fields of science (most notably, economics and sociology); If I am informed correctly, Galton started his ideas about Eugenics based on what Darwin and others had said about Evolution; I think I have not even mentioned Friedrich Nietzsche (whose idea of the master race probably came from either Specer's or Darwin's... - While we do not have to give it great depth (which is hopefully done in the annex article), we still have to mention these tendencies for the sake of "completeness" (required by the VGA criteria). Another option would be to "demote" the article, e.g to GA, and then re-promote once you are done with the changes; but I guess that would be up to the community to discuss. --Eptalon (talk) 18:15, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
- Go ahead and change as you see fit; Oh, the whole of "social Darwinism" was started by Darwin's ideas, but I guess we say that elsewhere. Before you venture in there though, be warned; There was a time when basing oneself on evolution was "chic", it would probably be best to do cherry-picking and leave the bulk of explanation to the annex article mentioned. To my knowledge, there is a lot of the ideas of "social Darwinism" which people picked up to develop ideologies of nationalism (and ultimately racism) on. At least where I live, writing about such things has become dangerous, so it should be done very carefully. But that's definitely beyond the scope of this article...--Eptalon (talk) 20:07, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Later 20th century?[change source]
Hello, can this section be extended, perhaps by adding two or three more sentences? - Are there any "easy to describe" discoveries about evolution, that were made in the second half of the 20th century? - Alternatively, can we move the "section title" up a little, so that more text is covered? - It may be just me, but a section title for one sentence (with ref) looks a little odd...--Eptalon (talk) 12:39, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
- I am not a biologist, but reading the enwp article, it looks as follows:
- All of these are taken from en:Current research in evolutionary biology--Eptalon (talk) 13:15, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Enough's enough![change source]
There are good reasons, I think, why we should not try to cover every problem and every question that has ever been brought up on evolution! It is better to cover a reasonably central set of topics as well as we can. Even that is difficult to do well. Also, we should bias towards those problems which have largely crystallised. This is an encyclopaedia, not a current events programme! We should draw a line here, at any rate for the moment, or we shall get as long-winded as enWP. Macdonald-ross (talk) 19:27, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Is there any proof to back up the statement, "We know that living things have changed over time, because we can see their remains in the rocks. These remains are called "fossils". So we know that the animals and plants of today are different from those of long ago. And the further we go back, the more different the fossils are." I have not seen this to be true and I'm questioning the statements validity. TheMan (talk) 03:04, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
- See reference numbers 4, 5, and 6. Katerenka Talk 03:10, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
"According to Darwin, the basic question of evolution is, how do species evolve? That is why he named his book On the Origin of species." What this tidbit means to say is "how does one species evolve from another?" Not, "how does one species change over time." It reads like the second.
- Even though this is unsigned, it raises an interesting point. Darwin thought species mostly evolved by changing directly into other species, a process called 'anagenesis'. We think something a bit different. We think the stimulus for a new species is usually the splitting of an older species into two, which then change (gradually or rapidly) so that at some point they cannot interbreed with each other. This is called 'cladogenesis'.
- In Darwin's mind, the decision to call a population a 'species' was a human decision along a continuum; we think species have a reality (because of the interbreeding criterion) even though there are examples where the decision is arbitrary (as with ring species). So there are definite points where modern thought differs from Darwin, but the text actually did represent his thought quite well. And the idea of 'changing allele frequencies' as being evolution is rather tricky. Certainly, when evolution occurs, allele frequencies change. Whether we want to define evolution that way is something still under debate. Macdonald-ross (talk) 22:04, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm currently improving the refs to support the text, but I fear we may need to do a larger reorganisation as well. What's running through my mind is to put the main body of the text under these headings:
- Evidence for evolution
- Basic mechanism of evolution (includes modern evolutionary synthesis)
- Modern topics
- Social stuff
- If I look at the "Social stuff" section, I think we should take the following approach:
- Some people disagree with the idea of evolution as it is described here:
- A group of people fully disagrees and has come up with creationism/intelligent design
- There are groups that have tried to make evolution fit their religious beliefs, they have come up with theistic/guided E.
- The catholic & anglican churches have said there are ok with it
- If I take this approach, then the Controversy section is covered above, except for the last sentence ("Despite this..not in doubt")
- The other "uses" (Racism/Eugenics/Social Darwinism) are quite coherent; I don't know though if thry really fit where they curretly are.
- The section "what evolution is used for today" does not fit at all where it currently is [Above indented comments by Eptalon]
- All social stuff is now packaged together in section 8, and changes have been made to get a consistent, cooler, style of prose. Macdonald-ross (talk) 10:10, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
- Agreed. And I have made some parallel changes to the text of the linked article Social responses to the idea of evolution. So far I have not acted on the idea that we should shorten the 'social' section (now #9) in the evolution page. Anyway, Thanks for your thoughts so far. Macdonald-ross (talk) 10:56, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
before we shorten anything (or move stuff into annex articles) we need to agree on the general layout. Note that I just moved the section "away", it may not necessarily be where it best fits. --Eptalon (talk) 11:00, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
Social ideas[change source]
Looking at the later section 'Social ideas which invoke evolution' I feel it is not central to the page, and much could be hived off into Social responses to the idea of evolution. Macdonald-ross (talk) 21:37, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
Sequence of the middle part[change source]
I think the next issue is how to reorganise the middle sections, present sections 3 to 6 inclusive. The underlying principle might be historical.
- Explain Darwin's main proposals
- Explain the new synthesis, and why it was necessary
- Introduce some of the questions and topics which have interested biologists since the synthesis
This is a fairly natural arrangement which should suit most readers. It should be possible to keep the article from growing too much, but it will probably get to around 80KB. Macdonald-ross (talk) 15:14, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
- Progress report: now the sequence is more or less right, using material which was already in the article. Sections still need work, especially to make sure all sections, however small, have suitable references. Macdonald-ross (talk) 06:47, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Progress report[change source]
The article's hit 80KB as predicted. Many refs have been added: no sections are without a ref, and few paragraphs. There are, I think, no main technical terms without a link or explanation. Many examples and explanations have been changed, and all 'main article' links have been checked for mutual consistency. Some of those needed adjusting. The content overall has been checked against the main textbooks. It is perhaps worth mentioning that these texts run to 7 or 800 pages, and are designed for "upper undergraduate and beginning graduate classes" (Futuyma). Our version is far shorter, and simpler. I should probably pause a bit to let others comment.
The list of topics from Nature could be cut; the link gives the complete free-access text of the original. Lastly, I think the 'social stuff' at the end is in better shape, and I don't plan to change it further. The audio version is now quite useless, so it has to go. I would be keen to have it redone (just the intro). Macdonald-ross (talk) 07:26, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
Necessary to say "evolution is a fact"?[change source]
Why do we need to have a sentence saying "that evolution has taken place is a fact, because it is overwhelmingly supported by many lines of evidence"? It's not like with other historical and scientific facts we say "X is a fact because it is supported by evidence". This seems redundant. --DrCruse (talk) 15:01, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
- The text follows many precedents. The theory of evolution can be discussed in two parts: the first part is whether it happened; the second part is how it happened, including what mechanisms caused it to happen. The text correctly treats the first part as fact, and the second part as ongoing theory. (Futuyuma D.J. The case for evolution. p170). The two sentences at the end of paragraph 3 show this first part/second part distinction. In any case, since creationists have gone on with "evolution is just a theory", the phrase we use is needed. Macdonald-ross (talk) 17:37, 3 August 2014 (UTC)