A better definition of 'evolution'?

A better definition of 'evolution'?

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Occasionally on this site I've noticed the following definition of evolution being given:

Evolution is a change of allele frequency through time in a population

( For example, from here)

Recently the following (From here):

The statement "evolution is driven by mutations" is very misleading if not simply wrong. Just have a look at an intro course to evolutionary biology!

In short, evolution is a change of allele frequency over time.

But mutations are important to evolution, and I feel must be included in the definition.

Here's why that concerns me: One group of evolution deniers, and others like them, use comments like these above to try and show a weakness in evolution.

With comments like:

“It is a bit of a trick played by using sloppy language. Evolutionists use adaptation, which is observed, to support evolution, which is an entirely different process. It is an example of bait and switch.”


“Next time someone says that evolution is an observed scientific fact make sure you get them to clearly define what they are talking about. They will almost certainly be referring to adaptation but want you to believe they have proved evolution. Don't be fooled. Sloppy language leads to sloppy thinking.”

Ok, I hate to give them 'air-time' by posting that, but perhaps it will cause us to clarify ourselves better. Answers like "a change of allele frequency through time" just end up feeding right into this kind of evolution-denial.

SO, here's my question Since there's a lot people here smarter than me: Can someone please offer up a stronger definition of evolution than just 'a change in allele frequency over time'?

In researching answers I found this on Berkeley's site:

“Biological evolution, simply put, is descent with modification. This definition encompasses small-scale evolution (changes in gene frequency in a population from one generation to the next) and large-scale evolution (the descent of different species from a common ancestor over many generations).”

I like that it goes beyond small-scale (which these others would just call adaptation). But this doesn't mention natural selection, and mutations; which I feel are important distinctions given the kind of comments these deniers make. Is there a reason Berkeley's definition didn't include those distinctions?

EDIT: Can someone explain the down-vote? I followed everything outlined under How to ask a good question

The focus upon definition of term is a rhetorical strategy often employed to confuse the issue, especially by laity when discussing technical matters. Word meaning and use are easily a source of ambiguity, confusion, contradiction and such that the appeal to the dictionary definition is often an appeal to false authority. At the very least it is worth pointing out that aside from etymology and morphology, empirical disputes are not settled by consulting Merriam-Webster.

"Evolution" is a fairly general concept and it can be useful when discussing technicalities to specify "biological evolution". For example, "water" might mean specifically "H2O" or generally "clear, odorless, tasteless liquid" or possibly might be used without qualification in distinguishing "potable water" from ocean water, et cetera.

Consider that the definition of term is not so much the pertinent legacy of biological evolution (pace Darwin, Wallace et. alii). The kind of explanation biological evolution uses is it's hallmark. In particular, biological evolution removed teleology (the study of purpose)) from biology.

For example:

A teleological explanation of biology:
1) This plant is photosynthesizing in order to survive.
2) This plants species is surviving.

A biologically evolutionary explanation of species:
1) This plant is photosynthesizing
2) Plant species which photosynthesize have an increased likelihood of survival.

Note that survival is still at play, but the argument is no longer circular. This is not to say that cause has been cited, however, the logical structure of the argument no longer "begs the question"

This is the one I use for my intro to biology students.

"Biological evolution is a change in the number of times specific heritable characteristics(aka genes) occur within a population over time."

Keep in mind this is a description of the definition{law} of evolution not the theory of evolution. And is just a diffrent way of stating, "Evolution is a change of allele frequency through time in a population"

I use this becasue the possibility of evolution in machines, epigenetics, and xenobiology is discussed and students have a difficult time separating genes and nucleotide sequences, and not every student will know what allele frequency means.

defining evolution with natural selection would be pointless and circular, since natural selection is part of the theory that explains how and why evolution happens (but not the only mechanism by which it operates). We do not define gravity by the proposed mechanism but by the observed behavior of matter.

If mutation stopped tomorrow evolution would continue, It would not end until there was no life left to vary. So using mutation to define evolution would be false.

Deniers will deny no matter how you change the definition, there is no reason to bastardize the science to try to please them. You would be better spending your time discussing things like ring species or asking them to define "kind." Likewise speciation is the outcome and subset of evolution and completely covered in the existing definition. If they have a problem with speciation let them argue with it, speciation is only one form of evolution. If nothing else it will encourage them to learn something about what they argue.

I think that any definition that is useful for explaining evolution to laymen must contain the concept of natural selection. Here's my version:

Evolution is a gradual change in organisms over many generations caused by the combination of (1) random variation in genes among individuals and (2) the fact that those individuals that best survive and reproduce will transmit their genes to the next generation.${}^1$

That random variation arises (in part) from mutations is just a detail, in my mind. The fundamental mechanism, which is very hard to deny, is that even though variation in any individual's genes are completely random, the combination of this variation with survival of the fittest will produce a strong tendency to adapt to the environment. If someone has difficulty accepting / understanding this principle, it's easy to setup computer simulations that demonstrate the effect hands-on. In my experience this convinces pretty much everyone.

The "bait and switch" argument on the page you link to is fundamentally flawed because there is no difference between what they call "adaptation" and "evolution". Both are evolutionary processes, resulting from variation and natural selection. It's just that these creationists are willing to accept some consequences of evolution, but refuse to accept all of them. This is just a rhetorical device that lets them accuse scientists of "equivocation" (which sounds pretty sophisticated). Also, there are the usual falsehoods: "no intermediate forms", "mutations do not generate new information", and evolution is "just a hypothetical philosophy without observational scientific support".

But then again, creationist do not really care about the scientific arguments --- they only pretend to do so because they know science has credibility. They are driven by belief, and arguing with them is usually pointless.

${}^1$ I am aware that this is not the most general definition one could give, as it does not encompass genetic drift and other mechanisms described by modern evolutionary theory. But I think it's an appropriate one for explaining evolution, as in the discussion brought up by the OP.


Despite the residual know-nothing-ism of recent years, this is exactly the proper moment for patience and gradualism in reopening sports, even outdoor events.

It also happened that the former Reform party accepted pragmatism and gradualism .

True conservatism is gradualism —the movement onward by slow, cautious, and firm steps—but still movement, and that onward.

He was on the Fourth of July a firm and earnest believer in the equity and efficacy of gradualism .

The more he thought the less did gradualism seem defensible on moral grounds.

To admit the principle of gradualism was for Abolition to emasculate itself of its most virile quality.

Garrison, consequently rejected gradualism as a weapon, and took up instead the great and quickening doctrine of immediatism.


The general theory of evolution holds to the following historical claims:

  • Abiogenesis: That life on Earth arose spontaneously from non-living chemicals into an as-yet-undescribed self-replicating protocell.
  • Common descent: That all organisms on Earth are related to each other, and descended from a single spontaneously-formed protocell [7] which occurred billions of years ago. [8][9]

The general theory of evolution should not be confused with biological evolution, which is simply the process whereby characteristics change within a population over time. That populations change through time is a demonstrable, repeatable, observable fact acknowledged by both creationists and evolutionists. However, the ability of mutations to generate new genetic information is unsubstantiated, and common descent is a historical claim based on unfalsifiable philosophical assumptions. Creationists dispute these aspects of the theory of evolution.

The theory of evolution is a violation of well established scientific and natural laws, such as the law of biogenesis and the second law of thermodynamics. Thus, evolution is neither scientific nor natural. On the other hand, special creation also falls outside the natural and scientific realms but suggests that there are no other adequate models for the origin of life.

Divergent Evolution

This is when your development starts at one place and splits in different directions. We start as the same species, but then as more generations develop, my group becomes good at one thing and yours at another.

Bird beaks are a good example for this one. One species of bird can develop in different directions depending on what type of food it eats. Their beaks develop different shapes after many generations. Charles Darwin used bird development in many of his scientific papers.

A better definition of 'evolution'? - Biology

Stands for "Long Term Evolution." LTE is a 4G telecommunications standard used for transferring data over cellular networks. It supports data transfer rates of up to 100 Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream.

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In order to use LTE, you must have an LTE-compatible device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or USB dongle that provides wireless access for a laptop. When LTE first became available in 2009, most devices did not yet support the technology. However, most major cellular provides now offer LTE and therefore most phones and other mobile devices are now LTE-compatible. Many devices, such as iPhones and iPad will display the letters "LTE" in the status bar at the top of the screen when you are connected to an LTE network. If "4G" is displayed instead, LTE may not be available in your area.

NOTE: LTE may also refer to LTE Advanced, a newer version of LTE that supports peak download speeds of 1 GBps and upload speeds of 500 Mbps (10x the speeds of standard LTE).

TechTerms - The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

This page contains a technical definition of LTE. It explains in computing terminology what LTE means and is one of many technical terms in the TechTerms dictionary.

All definitions on the TechTerms website are written to be technically accurate but also easy to understand. If you find this LTE definition to be helpful, you can reference it using the citation links above. If you think a term should be updated or added to the TechTerms dictionary, please email TechTerms!

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Principles of Evolution

What are the four principles of evolution? How are these principles being carried out in natural selection? The four principles of evolution by Charles Darwin are presented below.

Competition: Each generation produces more individuals in a given environment. These individuals, however, compete with each other for natural resources. Resources that make them survive and have a chance to pass on their genes to the next generation. Moreover, competition can either be intraspecific or interspecific. Intraspecific competition occurs among members of the same species. For example, two lizards of the same species compete for mates in the same area. This kind of competition is the common factor of natural selection that leads an organism to have better adaptation in the population. Another type is interspecific competition in which members of two different species compete. For example, predators of different species, in the same area compete for the same prey. This type of competition may lead the other species to go extinct. If that species is less adapted and gets fewer resources that the two different species need.

Heritable differences: Genetic or trait differences can be found within the individual in the population. These differences are apparent as both visible or invisible traits that can be beneficial or not. The variation then is preferred and essential, as it will provide a higher chance of species survival. Moreover, heritability is a concept that entails how much variation in a given trait is qualified for genetic variation. It is said to be specific from one population in the same environment and changed over time as circumstances change. Like for example, the melanism of the peppered moth in England. Industrialization produces air pollution to the area, soot from factories makes the tree darker. We know that formerly the peppered moth has a light color to blend the bark of the tree and lichens. In this case, dark moths became abundant than the light moths as the latter became vulnerable to predators.

Survival of the Fittest: Genetic variance of an individual tends to be well-suited to their environment for survival and reproduction. Fitness refers to advantageous traits- endurance, strength, speed, social skills, intelligence, etc. that help organisms to survive. Though forces affecting survival were not equally the same on individuals, there were always variations. These variations would confer fitness over the others. We looked again at the example of peppered moths the dark moth becomes more fit to the changing environment. As the dark moth fitness increased, it was able to survive and reproduce. While light moths decrease in numbers, fitness is not favorable for them. Fitness denotes survival and reproduction in a specific environment.

Descent with Modification: A formation of a new species from a common ancestor due to reproductive isolation. There is a diversion of genetic characteristics that allow organisms to emerge distinctly from a common ancestor. For example, a population of tortoises on Galapagos island has a longer neck than those tortoises that live on dry lowlands. The long-necked tortoises are selected because they could reach more leaves and access better food. When drought occurs, fewer leaves will be available in the islands. Those that can grasp more leaves have a better chance to survive than those who could not reach the leaves. As a result, long-necked tortoises are more likely to be reproductively successful. By then, the long-necked trait will be passed on, to their offspring. In time, only long-necked tortoises will be available in the population. Because traits are inherited, these traits will be represented in the next generation. It will then lead to change in a population over generations through a process called descent with modification.

Galapagos tortoise

Maternal Instinct And Biology: Evolution Ensures We Want Sex, Not Babies

Many women hear an ominous ticking of their 𠇋iological clock” when they reach their 30s, while others never hear it at all.

Some believe the compulsion to bear babies is biologically inbuilt – even suggesting women who refuse their supposed evolutionary duty are being selfish.

Others hold the view that this so-called “maternal instinct”, also referred to as �y fever”, has nothing to do with biology and is a social construct.

It’s unhelpful to explore this debate through a strictly dichotomous “nature vs nurture” prism. Both biology and culture likely contribute to our reproductive behaviour.

Reproduction doesn’t require any “inherited” preference to have children, since natural selection already favours mechanisms that result in reproduction, most significantly through the sexual urge.

But that version of the maternal instinct that relates to a mother’s ability and need to nurture and protect her child may indeed be hardwired, facilitated by the release of certain hormones and other necessary biological changes.

Sexual Urge

The exquisite diversity of past and present lifeforms comes from a single critical feature – reproduction.

Individuals genetically disposed to be indifferent to sex will theoretically be selected out of the population, in favour of those with a greater commitment.

It remains unclear whether the strong longing for a child, otherwise known as �y fever’, is driven by our genes or is a social construction. Sharon Sperry Bloom/Flickr, CC BY

This is a self-evident feature of the evolutionary process.

Imagine a population of people or animals who enjoy sex, where that enjoyment has a genetic basis. This would determine their reproductive success. Now introduce into this population those genetically predisposed to be sexually inactive.

These sexually inactive individuals will not produce offspring, so there will be no sexually inactive individuals in the next generation.

In other words, a genetic disposition to avoid sex will neither become established nor maintained.

Some argue the so-called 𠇋iological clock”, triggering an enhanced awareness of reproduction among childless women in their 30s, is natural selection at work. Maybe.

There is some evidence that fertility decisions may have a genetic basis. For instance, studies that looked at the age of first attempt to have a child in Finnish populations showed children had similar patterns to those of their parents.

But these only proved there is a genetic influence for when women decided to have a child, rather than whether they decided to at all.

We are notoriously susceptible to the influence of others (witness the broad success of advertising and, one hopes, education).

So, like many other aspects of human behaviour, it remains unclear whether the strong longing for a child – �y fever” – is driven by our genes or is a social construction.

Defying Biology

Until recently, sex and reproduction were inextricably entwined in all organisms. The discovery of contraceptive technology severed that nexus for one species.

With varying reliability, humans can now have sex without having babies. So in terms of biological evolution, a genetic preference for sexual activity is no longer equivalent to a maternal (or paternal) instinct to have offspring.

Through the contraceptive pill, humans have defied biology. Amber McNamara/Flickr, CC BY

There are many women in our society who aren’t interested in having children.

For instance, the number of US women between 34 and 44 who have never had children has increased by around 10% since 1976. And a survey of more than 7,000 Australian women between 22 and 27 years found nearly 10% didn’t want children.

My guess is that childless women aren’t necessarily sexually inactive – as natural selection likely dictates. But there may be little opportunity for selection to act on their personal choice.

It’s an impressive example of human behaviour defying biological evolution. But culture and technology have immunised humans from many selection pressures. Clothing, for example, allows us to inhabit cold environments unsuitable even for naturists.

Sex isn’t one of them though. Indeed, most cultures express more than a passing interest in sex – from the widespread inclusion of fertility rites in ancient societies to the almost unseemly obsession with sex in contemporary television advertising campaigns.

Nurturing Instinct

In many cases, successful reproduction requires care of the developing offspring. This is often, but not exclusively, undertaken by the mother.

Nurturing offspring is then a form of “maternal instinct”, as distinct from �y fever”. And nature has built in biological mechanisms to ensure this.

Nurturing offspring is then a form of ‘maternal instinct’, as distinct from �y fever’

For mammalian mothers, a demanding infant stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin, which in turn triggers a flow of milk.

Oxytocin is also implicated in a suite of maternal behaviours throughout pregnancy, strengthening a mother’s bond to her fetus, which impacts on the fetus&apos development.

The crucial, instinctive, nurturing response to feed the child, through the release of oxytocin, occurs only during pregnancy and after birth – otherwise the hormones don’t kick in.

For instance, virgin mice given oxytocin injections could learn to hear and respond to distressed calls of pups, something they were unable to do before the injections.

So it could be argued that the “urge” to have and nurture children is only ensured biologically through the urge to have sex, while the nurturing instinct is biologically inbuilt.

The so-called 𠇋iological clock”, then, may be ticking to a social key.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Science, Religion, Evolution and Creationism: Primer

The David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) invites the public to explore the depths of our understanding of what it means to be human in relation to the most reliable scientific research. The answers to the question, “What Does It Mean To Be Human?” draw on a variety of sources: scientific understandings of the biological origins and development of Homo sapiens, studies of social and cultural evolution, and global and personal insights from contemporary experience. It is in recognition of these broad factors that public engagement materials, events, and contributions to the Human Origins web site are being developed by the Broader Social Impacts Committee (BSIC) to support the exhibition in the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins.

Organized by the Museum’s Human Origins Initiative, the BSIC is a group of scholars and practitioners from a wide range of religious and philosophical perspectives, many of whom also have experience in the academic field of science and religion. This committee helps inform the Smithsonian about the range of cultural perspectives the public brings to the exhibit, considers ways the museum can encourage the public’s engagement with the science the exhibit presents, and helps equip museum staff and volunteers to participate in a respectful conversation where science intersects with cultural and religious interests. The committee recognizes the unique opportunity the subject of human origins offers for the exploration of challenging cultural topics, which in turn can inspire greater public interest in, and understanding of, science.

Thus, it is with input from the committee that the co-chairs have prepared this primer. It provides a brief introduction to issues that arise at the crossroads of science and religion, particularly in relation to the scientific accounts of evolution and human origins that are presented in the exhibit. The primer is organized around two broad topics: science and religion and evolution and creationism. A question and answer format is used to highlight common concerns for each of these topics. Cultural divides in the United States over the acceptance of evolution and scientific understandings of human origins make this interchange relevant. They also offer an opportunity to inspire a positive relationship between science and religion.

Science and Religion

Visitors to the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins bring with them many assumptions about science, about religion, and about their relationship. These assumptions may impact, positively or negatively, their willingness and ability to engage the scientific presentation of human origins. The questions below are offered as a guide to begin thinking about science and religion in the context of the possible interactions of religious worldviews with a scientific account of human evolution and origins.

1. What is science?

Science is a way to understand nature by developing explanations for the structures, processes and history of nature that can be tested by observations in laboratories or in the field. Sometimes such observations are direct, like measuring the chemical composition of a rock. Other times these observations are indirect, like determining the presence of an exoplanet through the wobble of its host star. An explanation of some aspect of nature that has been well supported by such observations is a theory. Well-substantiated theories are the foundations of human understanding of nature. The pursuit of such understanding is science.

2. What is religion?

Religion, or more appropriately religions, are cultural phenomena comprised of social institutions, traditions of practice, literatures, sacred texts and stories, and sacred places that identify and convey an understanding of ultimate meaning. Religions are very diverse. While it is common for religions to identify the ultimate with a deity (like the western monotheisms – Judaism, Christianity, Islam) or deities, not all do. There are non-theistic religions, like Buddhism.

3. What is the difference between science and religion?

Although science does not provide proofs, it does provide explanations. Science depends on deliberate, explicit and formal testing (in the natural world) of explanations for the way the world is, for the processes that led to its present state, and for its possible future. When scientists see that a proposed explanation has been well confirmed by repeated observations, it serves the scientific community as a reliable theory. A theory in science is the highest form of scientific explanation, not just a “mere opinion.” Strong theories, ones that have been well confirmed by evidence from nature, are an essential goal of science. Well-supported theories guide future efforts to solve other questions about the natural world.

Religions may draw upon scientific explanations of the world, in part, as a reliable way of knowing what the world is like, about which they seek to discern its ultimate meaning. However, “testing” of religious understandings of the world is incidental, implicit and informal in the course of the life of the religious community in the world. Religious understanding draws from both subjective insight and traditional authority. Therefore, some people view religion as based on nothing more than personal opinion or “blind faith,” and so, as immune to rational thought. However, this is an erroneous judgment. Virtually all of the historic religions include traditions of rational reflection.

4. How are science and religion similar?

Science and religion both have historical traditions that exhibit development over time. Each has places for individual insight and communal discernment. Analytic and synthetic reasoning can be found exhibited in both. Science and religion have been and continue to be formative elements shaping an increasingly global human society. Both science and religion have served to jeopardize and contribute to the common human good.

5. How can science and religion be related?

Typical assumptions about this relationship fall into one of three forms: conflict, separation or interaction.

A conflict approach assumes that science and religion are competitors for cultural authority. Either science sets the standard for truth to which religion must adhere or be dismissed, or religion sets the standard to which science must conform. For example, some atheists adopt this approach and argue that science reduces religion to a merely natural phenomenon. Conversely, some religious adherents, while claiming to accept science, will identify specific points at which mainstream scientific findings must be distorted or abandoned for the sake of religious convictions. Such an adversarial approach tends to rule out any constructive engagement between science and religion.

Individuals who prefer a separation approach hold that science and religion use different languages, ask different questions and have different objects of interest (e.g., nature for science and God for religion). By highlighting the differences between science and religion, conflict is avoided. While this approach allows a person to explore what science has learned about human origins without fear of conflict with religious beliefs, it also encourages that the science be left, so to speak, at the museum threshold so that it has no impact on other non-scientific explorations of what it means to be human. A consequence of separation is that the science of human origins can be viewed as irrelevant to what might be the deepest of human concerns.

It should be noted that it is true that science is practiced without reference to religion. God may be an ultimate explanation, but God is not a scientific explanation. This approach to science is called methodological naturalism. However, this method of isolating religious interests from scientific research is not an example of the separation approach. Historically, this bracketing out of religious questions in the practice of scientific inquiry was promoted by religious thinkers in the 18th and 19th centuries as the most fruitful way to discover penultimate rather than ultimate explanations of the structures and processes of nature.

A third possibility for the relationship between science and religion, one of interaction, at minimum holds that dialogue between science and religion can be valuable, more that science and religion can constructively benefit from engagement, and at maximum envisions a convergence of scientific and religious perspectives. Generally, this view encourages an effort to explore the significance of scientific understanding for religious understanding and vice versa. With this approach science remains relevant beyond the museum for many people who might otherwise ignore scientific findings.

Evolution and Creationism

The National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution has a responsibility due to its charter to provide the public with an opportunity to explore for themselves the most recent scientific understandings of the natural world, including human origins. However the question, “What does it mean to be human?” is generally recognized as one that does not belong solely to the realm of science. People are well aware that insights from the humanities, including the arts, literature and religious traditions, have much to say on this topic as well. For some people an evolutionary account of human origins may be greeted with skepticism because it challenges their particular religious commitments. In contrast, other people find their religious perspectives are deepened and enriched by an evolutionary understanding of human origins. Although the questions below recognize this range of perspectives, many of the questions reflect expectations that are especially characteristic of people from those religious communities that are skeptical about the science of evolution. Ironically, people in these latter communities often value science and seek scientific support for their particular religious commitments.

1. Do “creationists” necessarily oppose an evolutionary understanding of the history of nature and the origins of species and humanity?

No. In principle all members of the three western monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are “creationists” in that they believe the order of nature exists because a reality beyond nature, commonly called “God”, is the ultimate cause of all existence. In this sense of the word, many creationists accept an evolutionary understanding of natural history. However, at least four types of creationism can be identified, and each has a distinctive view of the evolutionary sciences and human origins.

“Young-Earth” creationists hold that the sacred text provides an inerrant account of how the universe, all life and humankind came into existence namely, in six 24-hour days, some 6-10,000 years ago. Human beings were created through a direct act of divine intervention in the order of nature.

“Old-Earth” creationists hold that the sacred text is an infallible account of why the universe, all life and humankind came into existence, but accepts that the “days” of creation are metaphorical and could represent very long periods of time. While many aspects of nature may be the consequence of direct acts of divine creation, at very least they hold that the very beginning of the universe, the origin of life and the origin of humankind are the consequence of distinct acts of divine intervention in the order of nature.

Theistic evolutionists also hold that the sacred text provides an infallible account of why the universe, all life and humankind came into existence. However, they also hold that for the most part, the diversity of nature from stars to planets to living organisms, including the human body, is a consequence of the divine using processes of evolution to create indirectly. Still, for many who hold this position, the very beginning of the universe, the origin of life, and the origin of what is distinctive about humankind are the consequence of direct acts of divine intervention in the order of nature.

Evolutionary theists hold that the sacred text, while giving witness to the ultimate divine source of all of nature, in no way specifies the means of creation. Further, they hold that the witness of creation itself is that the divine creates only indirectly through evolutionary processes without any intervention in the order of nature.

2. What will be the exhibition’s message to the majority (in some polls 53%) of Americans who do not accept evolution?

The exhibition’s main message is the same for all visitors namely, that the scientific study of human origins is an exciting and fruitful area of research that has provided us with a deeper understanding of both our connection to all of life on Earth and the uniqueness of our species, Homo sapiens. It is intended that those Americans who do not accept evolution will experience in this exhibition an open invitation to engage the science presented, explore the supporting materials, and participate in conversation with staff and volunteers without fear of ridicule or antagonism. Though the viewpoints of those who do not accept the scientific explanation of human origins are not affirmed in the exhibition, the personal importance of their perspectives is appreciated. What the exhibition intends to create is an environment for an enriching and respectful dialogue on human origins that currently can be found in no other venue.

3. Scientific theories change in the light of new discoveries. Why should we believe what science has to say today about human origins when it may change tomorrow?

The perception that scientists completely change their mind with each new discovery is mistaken. Although this has occurred occasionally in the history of science, it is relatively rare. Unfortunately, media coverage of advances in scientific research often sensationalize the “revolutionary” nature of new discoveries and are also likely to focus on the most controversial interpretations of new findings. What is frequently missed is the broad consensus among scientists in a field, like that of human origins research, which provides the basis for seeking new discoveries. For example, it is broadly agreed that the various characteristics that distinguish our species did not emerge all at once. Walking on two legs emerged before making stone tools, and both of these occurred well before the biggest increase in human brain size. All of these came before the origin of art and symbolic communication. Farming and the rise of civilizations occurred much later still. There is broad scientific agreement even in the light of the most recent fossil discoveries that these changes that define our species took place over a period of about 6 million years. Each visitor to the exhibition has the opportunity to explore both the latest findings of laboratory and field research as well as consider how the scientific community is using these to give a more complete account of human origins. Each visitor is also invited to consider how this account might inform their deepest religious understanding of what it means to be human.

4. What is Intelligent Design and does the exhibit address it?

Advocates of Intelligent Design (ID) hold that there are features of the natural world for which there are no natural explanations and that these features can be shown analytically to be the result of a designing agent. Although ID advocates seldom specify who the designer is, the logic of their argument requires that the designer be beyond nature, or supernatural. However, advocates for ID have not been able to show that their claims are genuinely scientific. While the scientific community welcomes new theoretical proposals, these must lead to active research programs that deepen our understanding of nature and that can find confirmation in either laboratory or field observations. Thus far, ID advocates have been unable to do either.

As an institution of informal public education, the exhibit cannot advocate a religious position. As a matter of public record, a US Federal Court has ruled that ID is not science but instead is a religious viewpoint (Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 2005). For all of these reasons it is inappropriate for ID to be included in a scientific presentation on human origins.

5. Still, some people believe that there is a scientific debate about evolution, and that advocates of ID represent one side of this debate. They wonder, “Why isn’t the Smithsonian presenting that side?” They see it as an issue of fairness and expect that ID should be presented equally.

As noted above, the scientific community does not recognize ID as a scientific position. Therefore, it is not one side of a scientific debate. At the same time, the exhibition does provide the visitor with genuine examples of how the evidence for human evolution is interpreted differently by different researchers, for example, in the construction of frameworks for understanding how prehistoric species are related to one another. Here different interpretations of the evolutionary data are presented. While there is lively debate about such alternatives and data is actively sought to discriminate between them, there is no scientific debate about the basic validity of the theory of evolution as the best scientific explanation for the expansion and diversification of life on Earth, including human life.

6. Does the exhibition identify the gaps in the scientific understanding of the origin of humans, gaps that can suggest that God played a role?

It is just such “gaps” in our understanding that fuel the scientific enterprise. It is the unresolved questions about nature that mark the fertile areas for new research, propelling the sciences forward -- including those related to human origin studies. Science, as a particular way of knowing, restricts itself to offering natural explanations for the natural world. When scientists find a gap in their understanding of nature, as scientists they cannot say, “Here is where God acts in some miraculous manner.” Instead, scientists seek to look deeper into nature to discover there the answers that fill the gaps.

It is worth noting that many religious persons take exception to a “God of the gaps” viewpoint, to the idea that the action of God in creation is limited to those areas where there are gaps in human understanding. Supporting materials being developed for the exhibition by the BSIC will help visitors discover resources from various religious traditions that explore religious views on the relation of God and nature.

7. How do people incorporate evolution into their religious worldview?

Religious traditions vary in their response to evolution. For example, Asian religious worldviews do not assume an all-powerful creator God and often see the world religiously as interconnected and dynamic. They tend, therefore, to engage scientific accounts of evolution with little difficulty. However, for Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions, the affirmation of a creator God in relation to the world has a central place. As noted in the discussion of various forms of “creationism” above, many individuals in these monotheistic traditions accept, generally, that God created the material world mostly by means of evolutionary processes. At the same time, some of these persons are committed to the view that there are a few specific acts of divine creative intervention: namely, at the very beginning of the universe, at the origin of life, and at the origin of humankind. However, as previously noted, others in the monotheistic traditions hold that God creates entirely by means of evolutionary processes without any intervention, even in the case of humans.

At least for theistic evolutionists and evolutionary theists the scientific exhibition on evolution and human origins stimulates the questions, “Where is God in the process?” and “What does it mean to be created in God’s image?” To the extent that such questions provoke a constructive engagement of scientific and religious ideas, they are an expression of an interaction approach to science and religion. There are many though, who adopt a separation approach to science and religion. For these individuals there is no need to raise religious questions in light of the science of human origins.

What Is Fixation? Psychology, Definition, And The Evolution Of Perspectives

Have you ever felt so focused on one thing that shifting your attention to anything else seemed impossible? Or have you ever been so stuck in one place that you were unable to move past it? If so, you may be experiencing fixation.

Being fixated means being stuck and not being able to move forward. It's similar to a vehicle that's stuck in thick mud, where the engine alone can't get it to move forward or backward. It takes a much stronger force to get it out of the rut and onto a smoother, more level path.

What is the Psychology of Fixation?

The concept of fixation dates back to Freudian research. In this research, Freud claimed that people get stuck in one stage of psychosexual development. The fixation psychology definition relates to having attachments to people or things that persist from childhood to adulthood. Freud believed that persistent fixations were due to unresolved issues in previous psychological stages of personality development. In other words, we can become obsessed and fixated on things because we get stuck somewhere in our growth and development.

The Evolution of Perspectives on Fixation

Sigmund Freud

Freud theorized that fixations caused people to focus on energies that create pleasure at an earlier stage of psychosocial development. He believed that one has to resolve an issue or conflict in one stage before it would be possible to move onto the next stage. But, because they were focused on creating pleasure, they did not always want to move past the stage where they would mature and focus on other energies.

Freud identified three types of fixations:

Freud stated that if someone couldn't get through an oral stage with the resolution, they would become fixated in the oral stage. The fixation would cause them to continue to seek oral pleasures such as biting their nails, chewing gum, and drinking excessively. Once they can resolve this stage, they can move on to the next stage.


Freud described the second stage of psychosexual development as the anal stage. This stage is primarily centered on children learning to control their bowel movements. Freud surmised that people who get stuck in the anal stage could become anal-retentive or anal-expulsive. According to Freud's theory, analretention may result from children whose parents or caregivers took a harsh approach to potty-training. The trauma they felt may have caused them to be overly obsessed with being tidy and orderly. On the other hand, people who are anal-expulsive may have had potty-training experiences that were lax, which turned them into adults who are messy and disorganized.

For the final stage, Freud determined that a phallic fixation was where children were apt to identify most closely with a same-sex parent. People who get stuck in the phallic stage may become conceited, pleasure-seeking, or sexually aggressive.

Freud also believed that children focused their energy on different areas of the body during various psychosexual stages. For example, during the anal stage, children gain a sense of satisfaction after being able to control their bladder and bowel movements successfully. It's vital for them to complete this stage before they can move to the next stage, or they'll become stuck in the anal stage. Freud also generalized about fixations. He claimed that if a certain stage of psychosexual development left a dominant impression on a person's personality, then they could develop fixations.

In the area of resolving psychosexual conflicts, Freud determined that resolving conflicts required a substantial amount of energy from the libido. For people who expended a large amount of their energy in trying to resolve a point in their development, the stage they focused on would likely leave a stronger impression on that individual's personality.

It's important to note that these are Freud's views, and many psychologists today disagree with his methods. A few other researchers have dabbled a bit in fixation psychology.

Melanie Klein

Melanie Klein focused her work on paranoid-schizoid and depressive behaviors. She connected parts of her work to the notion of fixation. She saw fixation as a pathological issue. She believed that people repressed memories by subliminally blocking them to protect themselves from having to re-experience painful memories. Because these memories have been blocked, people can become fixated on these events because they have not experienced any resolution.

Erik Erikson

Erik Erikson was another well-known researcher who attributed various areas of his work to fixation. Erikson believed that fixations that we have at earlier developmental levels help us understand our problems later in life. Erikson also connected fixation to libido theory, believing that our libido helps us to organize things mentally.

Eric Berne was a Canadian psychiatrist who developed theories around transactional analysis. These theories are based on the notion that our behavior and social relationships are a reflection of the interactions between parental or adult rationale and the childlike personality traits that we see in early childhood development. Berne suggested that particular games and scripts, along with physical symptoms were based in various zones and modes.

Heinz Kohut

Heinz Kohut primarily studied the concept of narcissism. He theorized that people who had grandiose visions of themselves were fixated on a normal childhood stage of development.

Other researchers have explored the role of fixation as it pertains to aggression and criminality.

What are the Treatments for Fixation?

Fixation psychology suggests that the general mode of therapy is to replace invasive and unwelcome thoughts with healthier thought patterns. As a result, most of the treatments for fixations involve helping the individual identify unhealthy or unhelpful thought patterns.

It's common for children to have oral fixations, such as trouble stopping sucking, biting, chewing, and putting things in their mouths. Children may need specialized help if oral fixations persist. Babies use oral fixations as a way to calm themselves down or explore the world around them. Oral fixations long past the infancy stage include side effects like drooling, poor eating, and terrible oral hygiene habits. They may also be underweight or overweight, lag socially, or have trouble separating from their parents.


The best thing to do for children living with oral fixations is to ask for an evaluation from an occupational or speech therapistto rule out developmental delays as the cause and then seek an appropriate course of treatment.

For older children, teens, and adults, fixations are more likely to take on the form of persistent thoughts. For adults, treatment focuses on practicing exercises to help control thoughts. There are infinite strategies to help guide your thoughts into healthier thinking patterns, and a qualified counselor can help you find the best strategies to help you.

Below are some of the more common thought transferring strategies that counselors might suggest.


Mindfulness is a process that guides you to understand how your mind and body feels at the moment. This gradually trains individuals to be more aware of what they are feeling or thinking about, so they can recognize unhealthy or unproductive thoughts and feelings before they become problematic. When done properly, this can be a preventative step.


Mindfulness can take a long time to practice, but distraction is an approach that an individual can take without any additional help or resources.

Grab your "to-do" list and get started on one of the projects. Read a book, go to a movie, or take a short trip to somewhere you have always wanted to go, even if you don't feel like it. Once your mind has switched gears, you may be able to stop fretting about issues you can't control. The only problem is that once the thought or feeling has become noticeable to the individual, they may have a hard time distracting themselves. As a result, this approach can work better when coupled with methods like mindfulness.


Think about some of the things that you like about yourself or your life. Write them down. Say them out loud. Affirmations can take the form of quotes, statements, affirmations, prayers, poems, or songs. This can help you focus on areas of your life that are positive and shift your focus away from the object of your fixation.

If the weather's nice, get outside and take a walk. There are numerous things to focus on as you walk. Notice the birds chirping, the sound of leaves rustling, the laughter of children playing, and thefeel of the sun warming your body. If the weather isn't in your favor, do a quick treadmill workout or put on some tunes and get your dance moves on. By focusing on the outside, it will be easier to change your mood on the inside.

There's also the bonus that exercise releases chemicals that trigger the reward center in the brain, making the person feel good.

Count Your Blessings

As bad as things may feel, there is always someone else who has things far worse. It's easy to get so engrossed in your head that you fail to remember all the things that make your life happy and complete. Thanksgiving isn't the only time to feel thankful for your friends, family, and the positive circumstances in your life. Spend a few moments thinking about all the things that you do have and write them down as a reminder.

Like mindfulness, this exercise can gradually train an individual to be more optimistic. The more time that you spend looking for things to be grateful for, the easier it is to find things without looking.

Phone A Friend

Life gets so busy that it's easy to put off getting together with friends. Call or text a friend that you haven't seen in a while and make plans to go out for a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. You could even just go out to enjoy a decadent dessert. Go somewhere that's quiet, so you can chat to your heart's content.

When times are trying and circumstances are bothering you, it's tempting to overthink things. Replaying things in your mind over and over is rarely a good investment of your time. We're constantly faced with situations that are out of our control. By taking steps to replace unhealthy thoughts with healthy thoughts, it will be easier to rid pesky fixations, so you can enjoy a greatly improved state of mind.

All of the above methods are approaches that can be employed with little or no outside help. They can be very helpful to people with mild fixations, but none of them will actually resolve the fixation. That means that for people with severe fixations the above steps may not be enough.

If a fixation is a symptom of a larger issue,anin-person or online counselor may be able to help. This gets them going in the right direction, so they can learn techniques to counter thoughts that can lead to fixation and address, with the guidance of a professional, the larger issue.

Try BetterHelp

BetterHelp is an online platform that can connect you with licensed professionals, and it is very affordable. Numerous therapists and counselors are ready to talk to you through messaging, phone calls, and even texting at a time that works best for you. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp therapists from people experiencing a range of issues related to childhood development.

Counselor Reviews

"Dr. Celosse is everything that a therapist can potentially hope to be. She's Plato's form of a therapist. Before I started my sessions with BetterHelp and Dr. Celosse, my life and my psyche were in complete disarray. I was struggling immensely and I was getting so frustrated that I saw no hope in sight. I though people around me were trying to help, but it was only by talking with Dr. Celosse that I have finally been able to make some grounds on myself. With just a few weeks of interaction with her, I have been able to make progress from my childhood that I never even thought I could escape. It is only with her help and with her guidance that I feel I am at this point. She is patient, kind, compassionate, hyper intelligent, thoughtful, loving, has a profound ability to listen, lacks judgement, philosophically oriented, incredibly intuitive and provides a safe space for someone to be. I highly recommend Dr. Celosse to anyone because I think she is one of the best therapists that I have ever come across. You would be lucky to have her in your life."

"Dr. Baggs has been very helpful in helping me deal with anxiety, and I've been overall satisfied with the experience. She's helped me work through and understand trauma from my childhood, as well as help me realize I'm on the right path to getting help and improving my life. Overall a very good experience."

Moving Forward

Fixations can distract you and prevent you from reaching your goals. The good news is that with a little mental training and possibly some help from the experts, anyone can get past their fixations and enjoy a fulfilling, healthy life. Take the first step today.

A better definition of 'evolution'? - Biology

  1. ? 4.5 billion years old
  2. ? 3 thousand years old
  3. ? 4.5 million years old
  4. ? 3 million years old
  1. ? On the Origin of the Species
  2. ? Survival of the Fittest
  3. ? Natural Selection
  4. ? Evolution for Dummies
  1. ? that produce offspring
  2. ? that do not fit into their environment
  3. ? that do not pass on their own genes
  4. ? that feed their young on milk
  1. ?
  2. ?
  3. ?
  4. ?
  1. ? Drinking too much milk
  2. ? UV light
  3. ? Chemicals in the environment
  4. ? Exposure to cigarette smoke
  1. ? better adapted
  2. ? better trained
  3. ? better workers
  4. ? better at camouflage
  1. ?
  2. ?
  3. ?
  4. ?
  1. ? Producing too many offspring
  2. ? Competition for the same resources
  3. ? Too much food available
  4. ? Producing too many young
  1. ? 3 billion years ago
  2. ? 4.5 billion years ago
  3. ? 1 million years ago
  4. ? 60 thousand years ago
  1. ? natural selection
  2. ? artificial selection
  3. ? unnatural selection
  4. ? choice
  1. ? the best explanation for a set of data or observations
  2. ? an educated guess
  3. ? known facts
  4. ? proof of a law or definition
  1. ? selective breeding
  2. ? natural selection
  3. ? acquired characteristics
  4. ? the Kennel Club of Ireland
Darwin observed the finches on the Galapagos island were similar in form except for variations of their beaks. He deduced that these variations were useful for
  1. ? getting food
  2. ? attracting a mate
  3. ? building nests
  4. ? surviving the cold
  1. ? Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace
  2. ? Charles Darwin and James Watson
  3. ? James Watson and Francis Crick
  4. ? Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson
  1. ? There is little variation within a population.
  2. ? The size of a population does not change much but it is restricted by limited. resources.
  3. ? Organisms produce far more offspring than can ever become adults.
  1. ? of the idea that humans are descended from an ape-like ancestor.
  2. ? he said some individuals would survive and reproduce, while others are killed off.
  3. ? over many, many generations, small changes in a population accumulate until a new species is formed.
  1. ? an explanation for our observations.
  2. ? a guess or a hunch.
  3. ? a prediction.
  4. ? a law that can easily be proved.
  1. ? Survival of the fittest
  2. ? Survival of the fattest
  3. ? Survival of the fastest
  4. ? Survival of the finest
  1. ? evolution due to survival of the fittest
  2. ? evolution due to natural selection
  3. ? extinction due to artificial selection
  4. ? extinction due to natural selection
  1. ? the theory of evolution
  2. ? the theory of natural selection
  3. ? the theory of fossilisation
  4. ? the Big Bang theory
  1. ? evolution due to organisms being better adapted to their environment, tending to survive and producing more offspring
  2. ? evolution due to survival of the fittest
  3. ? extinction due to successful adaption
  4. ? extinction due to organisms not adapting to their environment, and producing more offspring
  1. ? the slow change of a species over time
  2. ? changes that take place during an organism's lifetime
  3. ? where the best-adapted organisms are more likely to survive and breed

Watch the video: The 39 Steps 1935 High Definition HD. Without Ads (June 2022).


  1. Tighearnach

    I think this is a delusion. I can prove it.

  2. Martinek

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  3. Kenriek

    What interesting phrase

  4. Murisar

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