Talk:Natural selection

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Important notice: If you wish to discuss or debate natural selection itself (as opposed to the article), you may do so at talk.origins. The Discussion page for Natural Selection is only for discussion on how to improve the Wikipedia article, pursuant to Wikipedia policy on talk pages. Any attempts at trolling, using this page as a soapbox, or making personal attacks, regardless of your ideological position, may be deleted at any time, as is the rule for all Wikipedia articles and talk pages.

In order to avoid rehashing the same discussions, some common points of argument may be addressed at Wikipedia's Evolution FAQ. Please visit that page first if you have any objections generally along the lines of "this article should include criticism of natural selection, or evolutionary theory". If your concerns are not addressed there, or if you have any substantive objections to the FAQ, you are free to bring up those objections on this talk page. However, please understand that currently the information in the FAQ is considered consensus and factually accurate.

Former good article Natural selection was one of the Natural sciences good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Evolutionary biology (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of WikiProject Evolutionary biology, an attempt at building a useful set of articles on evolutionary biology and its associated subfields such as population genetics, quantitative genetics, molecular evolution, phylogenetics, evolutionary developmental biology. It is distinct from the WikiProject Tree of Life in that it attempts to cover patterns, process and theory rather than systematics and taxonomy). If you would like to participate, there are some suggestions on this page (see also Wikipedia:Contributing FAQ for more information) or visit WikiProject Evolutionary biology
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Ecology  
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of the WikiProject Ecology, an effort to create, expand, organize, and improve ecology-related articles.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the importance scale.
 
Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team / Vital
WikiProject icon This article has been reviewed by the Version 1.0 Editorial Team.


Initial definition[edit]

I reverted the initial definition because the changes affected the meaning and connotations in slightly incorrect ways. The original wording was easier to understand and technically more correct. The word "function" is better than "result", because "function" allows for more complexity than cause and effect, which is what "result" implies. The term "differential reproductive success" is more technically correct, rather than "relative reproductive success" - (as used for example in [1]). The "interacting with" is important to include to emphasise the complex process of interaction that is occurring, rather than just the existence in the environment.Khaydock (talk) 18:09, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

I personally do not see the problems with "result" and "relative", which just seem simpler and less ambiguous words to me than "function" and "differential". And I do not see why you simply reverted all the attempts to make the word order better. But in any case we have to find some way to make this sentence better, surely? It is too long and complex. Behold:

Natural selection is the gradual natural process by which biological traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of the effect of inherited traits on the differential reproductive success of organisms interacting with their environment.

Can we split this up for example?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:25, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
Good idea. My aim was to get the issue of environment in at the outset, the wording can be improved and splitting the sentence is worthwhile. . dave souza, talk 19:42, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

The initial definition should be made more succinct to allow people to get a quick idea of what natural selection is. If they want a more scientific idea they can scroll down the page to get a detailed definition. --Baldwinwt —Preceding undated comment added 18:52, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Merge with "Selection"[edit]

Can someone merge this with Selection? Thanks! Peteruetz (talk) 15:07, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Less is more[edit]

I think this article would be better if it tried to say less.

There is too much history, and the history is botched and old-fashioned. If you can't be bothered to read current historical scholarship, then you shouldn't be writing about the history of this topic. It is simply mistaken to suggest that Dobzhansky established the idea that mutation supplies the material on which selection acts. This was established much earlier by de Vries, Bateson, and others. The most important scholarly work on this topic in recent decades is Gayon's _Darwinism's Struggle for Survival_, which argues that Darwin's conception of natural selection was mechanistically yoked to blending inheritance of masses of variations, that this is why the scientific world was correct to abandon Darwin's original view upon the discovery of genetics, and that early geneticists (de Vries, Morgan, etc) carried off "the most important event in the history of Darwinism", which was to reconceive a principle of selection for the Mendelian world that Darwin and his early followers had denied. When mechanistically oriented scientists invoke selection today, they are using the geneticist's principle. It is very important to understand that most of what evolutionary biologists read about their history is garbage-- a fetishistic view of Darwin and his influence peddled by what historian Peter Bowler calls the "Darwin industry", and a self-serving history of the 20th century "synthesis" peddled by Fisher, Mayr, et al. to make Fisher, Mayr, et al look good. Some earlier historians of evolution such as Provine and Allen clearly were drinking Mayr's kool-aid, and Provine has been very open about this, and about how the view that he held in 1971 (when he wrote his famous history of theoretical population genetics) fell apart within a decade (read his later works, or the Afterword to the 2001 re-print of his 1971 book). Generally historians have caught on to "Synthesis Historiography" and are trying to get away from it, but this article is just replaying old myths.

The tone of the article has a significant aspect of justifying and glorifying the concept of natural selection, whereas advocacy is not the job of wikipedia. Obviously this is not the place to debate with creationists, but the editor is mistaken if he thinks that substantive scientific and philosophical issues are out of scope. The nature of selection, and the operational legitimacy of the concept, are issues debated by professional philosophers (e.g., Fodor and Palmarini-Piatelli, to name a recent prominent example). The current article cites Daniel Dennett-- are you aware that this guy is like the Dawkins of the philosophers, an extremist who is very articulate and bombastic? It is obviously relevant to this article to address scientific views of the scope and power of selection as an explanatory principle. That is, what do scientists believe about the extent to which natural selection shapes the biological world? Finally, the concept of natural selection is obviously a matter of confusion among practicing scientists. The current article demonstrates this confusion. For instance, the example of penicillin appears to attribute the "development" of penicillin resistance to "natural selection", but then also suggests that selection only eliminated non-resistant individuals. Which is it? Does natural selection cause traits to arise? Wouldn't the world be a better place if this article pointed out the confusion rather than quietly exemplifying it?

I think the solution to this is just to scale back the article, try to say less, and try to be more careful about what is said. The point is not to undermine the concept of selection or to glorify it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dabs (talkcontribs) 13:15, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

Types of selection[edit]

I have rewritten this section to address the following concerns: (1) well-known types of selection such as stabilizing and directional selection were not included; (2) the section was lacking a well-described classification structure, to explain the ontology behind different types of selection (this is important given the bewilderingly large number of types of selection). I felt the only way to achieve these aims was via a complete re-write. I have kept the original figure describing selection in terms of life cycle, however.

I also would propose to remove the next section on “Sexual Selection” as redundant, but have left it as-is for now. Mikeweale (talk) 14:01, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

I've had no feedback so far. I'm going to go ahead and delete the "sexual selection" subsection as per my comments above Mikeweale (talk) 15:25, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't have time to see what's going on now, however you probably need a better edit summary than 'Delete "sexual selection" section'—why should that section be deleted? If there is a long reason, it should be placed on the article talk (here), and the edit summary could say "remove because xxx per talk" where xxx is a very brief reason and "per talk" is the clue that more can be seen here. Are you just saying the section is redundant, or is there a little more explanation somewhere? Johnuniq (talk) 01:15, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry to be unclear. The redundancy is created because "sexual selection" is also a "type of selection", and in a recent edit to the "type of selection" section I had added a paragraph on sexual selection (immediately prior the "sexual selection" section). I also had in the back of my mind previous comments in the Talk section which referred to this article being too long, which I agree with. In summary, removing this section was my attempt to make this article less verbose. A shorted version of this section now appears in the "types of selection" section, which makes more sense to me because it is indeed a type of selection, and if anyone wants to learn more about sexual selection they can of course follow the link to the main Wikipedia article on this subject. Anyway, my apologies for lack of clarity and I'll leave it up to you to decide whether to revert back to deleting the "sexual selection" section. Mikeweale (talk) 18:33, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Hey @Mikeweale, thanks for working on this article. My recommendation is to fold in the sexual section content into the types of selection section and edit the remainder into a short summary of our article on sexual selection. That allows you to reduce the redundancy somewhat while still retaining a pointer to what is one of the more important mechanisms for selection.

I would also encourage you to re-use the sources we have now in the sexual selection paragraphs or add new sources to the types of selection, as we want to make sure readers can verify the content in an article like this. Protonk (talk) 19:15, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Tidying up the last three main sections[edit]

The section on historical development is too long, and the last section on “The Genetic Basis of Natural Selection” lacks logical coherence and is very scrappy at present. I propose to start a new article on “Historical Development of Natural Selection”, which would allow this section to be substantially shortened. Note that, in my view, the historical development of natural selection is separate to that of evolution because, prior to On the Origin of Species, natural selection was primarily evoked as an anti-evolutionary mechanism, to keep species in their place, whereas evolution was primarily evoked as occurring through other (generally teleological) processes. I also propose to substantially cut down and revise the last section. I also propose to add a section on “Universal Darwinism” to the penultimate section (“Impact of the Idea”) Mikeweale (talk) 14:01, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

natrual selection[edit]

natural selection is undeniable fact of the universe.

but, natural selection works only if be properly designed.

  1. ^ Campbell Biology (9th Edition) [Color] [Hardcover] Jane B. Reece (Author), Lisa A. Urry (Author), Michael L. Cain (Author), Steven A. Wasserman (Author), Peter V. Minorsky (Author), Robert B. Jackson (Author)