Talk:Evolution (disambiguation)

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Note Evolution is a theory[edit]

No, evolution is a phenomenon: "evolution by natural selection" (aka Darwinism) is a theory. --Calton 02:02, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC) Evolution is only a theory ,not all theories prove to be perfect or the truth or the whole truth you must include the Spiritual componant first that's fair and my advice from experience . Those first 2 long paragraphs are confusing. Can we just have a bunch of links instead, as we usually do on disambig pages? Uncle Ed 17:06, August 23, 2005 (UTC)

Also, this page is so exhaustive as to be exhausting. Can we have a subset which describes evolution as one of the terms used in the creation-evolution debate? Uncle Ed 19:31, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

The pokemon comment seems out of nowhere and should be removed or placed other than the introductory paragraph.

Theistic evolution[edit]

For the time being, I have added Theistic evolution under the Science section. If someone believes it would be more appropriate under the Other section (due to its Creationist associations), feel free to move it.

Ayla 18:11, 5 February 2007 (UTC)


There is a contradiction here. In the 'introduction' it is said that evolution is always not goal-oriented. But later the term evolution is applied to technological evolution. As far as I can see, the latter is goal-oriented. Should this contradiction not be expressively mentioned? Cayambe 16:11, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

This seems wrong:[edit]

<<In this sense, we may observe that a system transforms itself in another one. In opposite to design and control processes an evolution is caused by natural forces.>>

Automobiles designs have evolved and so have languages and many other things not by 'natural forces' Dontletmedown 19:20, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Evolution (term)[edit]

I find it somewhat disconcerting that there is a huge See also link, and that evolution (term) does not appear anywhere in this article.--04:27, 14 January 2008 (UTC)


The page opens with a MosDab which links to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Disambiguation pages which makes the claim that "things that have "evolution" in the title but aren't known as simply "evolution" should be in the See also or deleted from the page. See WP:MOSDAB." but in fact MOS:DABPRIMARY says something completely different and that we should be linking to primary topic issues at the top of the article and not shoved away in the see also section as claimed. What it says is "Since it is unlikely that this primary topic is what readers are looking for if they have reached the disambiguation page, it should not be mixed in with the other links. It is recommended that the link back to the primary topic appear at the top, in a brief explanatory sentence." I am therefore going to change the page on this basis. ♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 03:40, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Great! Thanks SqueakBox. I've followed your lead and my understanding of WP:MOSDAB. See what you think. Beyond refinements of this disambiguation article, the Evolution (term) article needs a good rewrite with references. TheProfessor (talk) 15:29, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Epipelagic, for your contribution to organization and completeness of this article. TheProfessor (talk) 22:05, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Introducing disambiguation list[edit]

Hi User:Apokryltaros. Thanks for your recent edit using the wording "Outside of science, the word 'evolution' is also sometimes used colloquially to describe:" As originally placed, this phrase was meant to introduce other uses (as is the common practice for other disambiguation pages), some scientific, some specific to other fields, some colloquial, and some in other realms. As it reads, it refers to Evolution (term), which as written emphasizes biological evolution and provides some history and usage in other fields. My suggestion is to not add spin, but rather to use the more common phrasing "Evolution and Evolutionary may also refer to:". It might make sense to move the entry Evolution (term) inside one of the lists below, though I favor improving that article with a clean rewrite based on solid sources. TheProfessor (talk) 01:39, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

For now, I amended it by appending it with "biological"--Mr Fink (talk) 01:41, 25 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for responding Mr Fink. That is better, but not accurate, in that the Evolution (term) article indicates that the primary use is Biological. Also, the term "colloquial" is clearly not appropriate, because many of the uses involve specific technical terms, including in other scientific fields and technology. Also, it is not really appropriate to make changes while it is under discussion. I suggest you read the current Evolution (term) article and offer your opinion. Please understand that I do not have a particular agenda, except that this be done thoughtfully. Incidentally, by training I have a PhD in Evolutionary biology, but that is not relevant here per se, except that I am familiar with literature and history concerning the term. TheProfessor (talk) 01:51, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

I propose the following text:

Evolution and Evolutionary may refer to:
Evolution (term), accumulation of change, continuous directional change, predominantly used in biology to refer to change over generations, and in other disciplines to refer to system change over time (including chemistry, economics, linguistics, astronomy, culture, philosophy, etc.).

TheProfessor (talk) 03:37, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

I am going ahead with the proposed change. Let me know if there is further discussion. TheProfessor (talk) 16:46, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

Completeness and organization[edit]

Thank you Epipelagic for your substantial effort with completeness and organization of entries for Evolution (disambiguation). There are truly an impressive number of articles that use the term "evolution" or "evolutionary", and the vast majority are about biological evolution.

A few points to consider:

  1. Organization: The organization of headings is by logic first and then alphabetical (for example placing "Fundamentals" as the first subheading under the heading "Biological evolution"). Fortunately often the logical organization coincides with the alphabetical order. If there is no clear logical preference, then alphabetical order is best. This will probably require a bit more tweaking, and there may be some different ideas about logic or which categories to make into subheadings.
  2. Alternate naming that includes term "evolution": At present, as far as I know, this list only includes articles that explicitly use the term "evolution" or "evolutionary" in the name of the article. Many articles have alternative names, often listed in bold in the article lede. It would make sense to include these articles as entries in this disambiguation list, or at least a key subset; however this would also make the list longer and potentially cumbersome (and also even more impressive). I suggest scouring the key evolutionary articles and adding what proves most appropriate.
  3. Evolution (term): At present this term is placed at the top after an introductory phrase. This is probably appropriate because this entry uses only the term "Evolution", with parenthetical disambiguation "(term)", and without other adjectives of modifiers. In a sense it provides the overall view of the use of the term "evolution" for all listings that follow. At present Evolution (term) is an incomplete article (mostly gutted of content and without references). In my opinion, a solid rewrite of this article, focusing on etymology, history, and usage, is a relatively high priority because this is a high profile positioning, and important to make available for Wikipedia users trying to understand usage of the term "evolution".
  4. Computation and computer science: As I understand "Evolutionary computation" is a subfield of "Artificial intelligence" in "Computer science". We need to be careful about articles that belong under "Computer science" or other "Non-biological evolution" topics.
  5. Religious views and controversy: These are currently listed as subheadings under "Biological evolution", and could appropriately be moved as their own separate headings; though I think they are good here. There is overlap, but the "Religious views" articles are broader in scope and not necessary about controversy (often about acceptance), whereas the "Controversy" articles specifically focus on controversy.
  6. Entry descriptions: All the entries require concise descriptions (sentence fragments, without periods or other punctuation at end). Help would be appreciated.

TheProfessor (talk) 17:20, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

I added biological articles with the term "evolution" or "evolutionary" in the title so we could see what was there. I'm not sure whether or to what extent a disambiguation page should strive for completeness. The relevant guideline is not very helpful. Contrasted with other pages such as Mathematics (disambiguation), it seems that this page is going out of control.
Instead of including such article, Physics (disambiguation) just lists them as in
We could similarly list them here as
There are other ways to summarise this information. One is to use categories, such as Category:Evolution. Another is the assessment statistics from a relevant project. Another is to use navigation templates. Yet another is to construct an outline such as Outline of evolution.
There are already two competing navigation templates for biological evolution, a sidebar {{Evolutionary biology}}, and a bottom template {{Evolution}}. It is now clear that both these templates are very incomplete. One of them should be made redundant. I would prefer to retain and expand the bottom template, as sidebars can become intrusive, and even objectionable when several projects have a claim on the same article.
We could construct a new outline article and seed it with the content built so far. I've canvassed WikiProject Evolutionary biology for wider input. --Epipelagic (talk) 20:26, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
Good points, Epipelagic. Yes, this page has grown more than I ever expected, and it would be valuable to reassess how to proceed, with consideration of guidelines and options. I think the page is good for now, and relatively easy to navigate based on headings and subheadings. The Physics (disambiguation) model could be a good alternative. Capturing this information in the bottom navigation template and retiring the sidebar makes sense to me. TheProfessor (talk) 21:42, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
While this list is impressive, the majority of the entries here should simply not be here, as they are partial title matches. This is a disambiguation page, not an outline or directory. It might be prudent to create Outline of evolution, in the format Outline of biology, but every entry here of the form "Evolution of ..." should be purged, replaced with simple All pages with titles containing "evolution" or similar as above. --Animalparty-- (talk) 23:39, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
I have gone ahead and boldly removed the entries. More pruning and cleanup can be performed. --Animalparty-- (talk) 23:48, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
Well that was certainly abrupt and puts us firmly in our place. --Epipelagic (talk) 00:04, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
Note also that there is Index of evolutionary biology articles, to add to the number of avenues (categories, templates, outlines, oh my!) --Animalparty-- (talk) 23:55, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Animalparty. I'll ponder this more, and may well agree. At minimum we should consider adding back part or all of Non-biological evolution list, along with Evolutionary computation. In terms of "boldly" removing all entries while we were having a discussion about how best to proceed, in the interest of civility, in this case etiquette and goodwill, along with recognition of the effort involved, it would better serve the Wikipedia community to move a little slower, perhaps join the discussion and get consensus, and then act. TheProfessor (talk) 01:24, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough, I've reverted my purge for the discussion. Cheers, --Animalparty-- (talk) 01:52, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks --Animalparty--. It does feel right to finish the discussion, and we don't have to draw this out. I suspect we may arrive at a similar solution. I'm grateful for your knowledge and boldness. Epipelagic, what are your thoughts, given that you put a lot of effort into this, and have thought about it carefully?
Well again, the current material could be used to start Outline of evolution (which is a "list of evolution topics"), and as SqueakBox suggests below, a link to that could be near the top of the dab page. Outline of evolution would overlap with Outline of biology, and would need a bit of thought. However, outlines rarely get a lot of views. More important would be refurbishing the navigation template, and making sure it is at the bottom of the relevant articles.

An idea[edit]

Perhaps we should have a page of List of evolution topics and link to that from the top of this dab page. ♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 02:16, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Such a page shouold also, of course, be linked to alongside the dab page at the top of Evolution itself. ♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 02:41, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
Sounds like consensus to proceed. So let's make the changes. On the disambiguation page we need to include Evolutionary biology, along with anything else also known simply as "Evolution", possibly Evolutionary computation and various of the "Non-biological evolution" list. TheProfessor (talk) 05:06, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Suggestion for Increased Accuracy[edit]

I'm suggesting the following change, to increase the accuracy of the page's opening statement.

Where is now says... Evolution is the change in traits of biological organisms over time due to natural selection and other mechanisms.

I suggest it be changed to say... In the context of biology, Evolution is the accumulation of change due to natural selection and other mechanisms, of traits inherited by successive generations of organisms.

My reasoning is that this revised statement does not imply that evolution is strictly a biological process, while it also more accurately describes the biological process.

I will attempt to show reasonable substantiation of this position with the following subsection.


DonaldKronos (talk) 00:19, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Regarding Evolution as the Accumulation of Change[edit]

The English word "evolution" is a noun form of the verb "evolve" which comes from a Latin phrase meaning to roll out. It was originally used to describe the unrolling of scrolls, and later the execution of practiced complex military maneuvers.

Use of the word expanded to include anything which happened as a progression. In that form it was later applied to the concept that an embryo tended to be indistinguishable in its early stages from an embryo of a more primitive but otherwise similar animal at the same stage, and it appeared as if the progression from primitive to modern was at least to some extent replayed in the embryonic development, metaphorically rolled out almost like a scroll.

Charles Darwin avoided the use of the word, using the word "evolved" only one time in his early editions of "On the Origin of Species" at the very end, but what he described in that book was, unmistakably, the mechanisms of biological evolution, so it was addressed as such by the religious community and scientific community alike.

In the sixth edition of On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin specifically addressed anti-evolution attacks against his theories, particularly by a clergy named George Mivart and so explained how his theories did relate to evolution and a bit of how evolution related to his observations as a naturalist with regard to biology.

Note that while Charles Darwin did use the word "evolution" as necessary in the 6th edition, he still for the most part avoided it, but biological evolution was very much what he was describing when he talked of descent with modification and how it was well known to have been guided by artificial selection in the case of domesticated life forms, which could be seen as parallel to the natural selection process.

I will now give several quotes of Charles Darwin from that 6th edition in support of my position that evolution, as it has best become understood thanks in large part to Charles Darwin, is indeed simply the accumulation of change. These are in the order found, stopping about half way through, with the last few shown having more to do with geological evolution than with biology.

There are many more passages I could also quote which further substantiate my position that "accumulation of change" is an accurately descriptive definition of evolution both in general and with regard to modern scientific theory within the field of biology, but I think this is more than sufficient to make my point and act as a starting point for discussion.

DonaldKronos (talk) 00:19, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Good, so there's no problem. The second and third lines of the lead already say:
Evolution may refer to:
  • Evolution (term), accumulation of change over time, as used in biology as well as in other disciplines
That is the general use of the term. The first line of the lead presents the more precise way the term has come to be used scientifically over the 150 years since Darwin wrote about it. --Epipelagic (talk) 13:26, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
The claim "Evolution is the change in heritable traits of biological organisms over successive generations due to natural selection and other mechanisms." is still misleading, and unfortunately many people do use Wikipedia like a dictionary... looking for a short definition rather than a detailed explanation. So yes, in my opinion, there is still a problem. One which can be easily corrected. None the less, I think you for your comment on the subject. DonaldKronos (talk) 21:44, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a dictionary --Epipelagic (talk) 00:57, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
Hi DonaldKronos. The sole purpose of a disambiguation page (WP:DAB) is to provide a list of existing Wikipedia articles that use the same term in different ways. Disambiguation pages are useful as navigation tools for users of the encyclopedia, in particular for a user to find a particular article about an intended topic (as well as to be able to peruse topics of other articles that use the term in other ways). When there is one main usage of a term, that usage is known as the "primary topic" and listed at the top. Other topics are listed below. Each listing has a link to the article and a brief descriptive sentence fragment about the way the article uses the term. These brief descriptions come from the articles. The usage of the term in a particular article is based on sources that are reliable and verifiable (WP:VER) -- it does not matter what opinion we as editors may hold about the topic itself, but rather what is written in the reliable sources. Again, what matters for Wikipedia editing (unlike original research or creative writing) is that we faithfully represent sources that are reliable and verifiable. Thus, the Evolution (disambiguation) page has a primary topic at the top, and then a list of additional articles. The primary topic links to Evolution and the description of the term comes from the article. "Evolution" in the sense of "biological evolution" is the clear primary topic based on modern usage (based on a vast number of verifiable sources), and other topics are secondary. Each of the additional listings concerning "evolution" has a link to the corresponding article and a summary that includes that article's use of evolution. The article Evolution (term) is one of many articles included in the list. This Talk:Evolution (disambiguation) page is only for discussing details of building the "evolution" disambiguation list, and not a forum for general discussion of "evolution" as used in the listed articles. Similarly, the Talk:Evolution pages is where to discuss building the article about the primary topic Evolution, again not a forum for general discussion of the article's subject. TheProfessor (talk) 03:23, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the clear description, TheProfessor, but there is still one issue that does not address, which is the issue I was attempting to encourage be resolved. For comparison, look at the top of the Rabbit_(disambiguation) page and note the brief description given: A rabbit is a mammal. It does not claim that a rabbit is an Eastern cottontail, or some other specific common species. Would there be any harm in making the description of Evolution not misleading? For example, by adding "in the biological sense" or "in the field of biology" or "as it pertains to biology" since the topic of the main evolution page is not evolution, but biological evolution, and people searching for "evolution" to see if it is "defined as biological" may be mislead by the way it is currently represented? DonaldKronos (talk) 20:49, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Dominus Vobisdu, as was discussed on Talk:Evolution, and encourage you to stop worrying about this small matter. Nobody is "misleading" anybody, and the descriptions are clear. For example:
Please have a good look at these and other disambiguation pages to better understand how this Encyclopedia works. The place to refine the description of "evolution" would be on the Talk:Evolution page, and only with a well-founded basis from verifiable sources, and typically to develop consensus. The long list of quotes from Darwin is unnecessary and inappropriate here, and Darwin's historical use of the term "evolution" and related language like "descent with modification" and "accumulation of change" belong in historical or background text. TheProfessor (talk) 06:00, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
While I thank you for your response, I still do not see how adding clarification would hurt anything TheProfessor. The examples you gave do not need such clarification. None of the articles you mentioned seems to have the problem of people frequently thinking that they are something they are not. The evolution article seems to be more or less constantly mistaken for an article on the Theory of Evolution (apparently interpreted several ways) rather than on the fact of biological evolution or process of biological evolution. It is obviously not all that clear to people even with the statement that it is about biological evolution, just what the page is about, and the disambiguation page starts out with a misleading statement. So yes, I think it is an issue which should be addressed. If my suggestion for how to address it is not acceptable for whatever reason, then please just leave my request unanswered until someone comes along who has a better suggestion. I could easily have just made the small change rather than suggesting it, and let it either stay or get reverted. I did not, because I understand that there is resistance in here to the idea of clarifying that "biological" is an adjective which qualifies what kind of evolution "biological evolution" is rather than "evolution" and "biological evolution" being synonymous terms. One is a qualified noun phrase with an adjectival modifier. The other is a noun, without an adjectival modifier. To say that evolution is biological evolution, is at best a misleading statement, and the fact that there is so much record of edits being made under erroneous assumptions of what the evolution page represents, should be a bit of a clue that I have a valid point. DonaldKronos (talk) 09:43, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
If I understand your concern, you still believe that there may be confusion by Encyclopedia users searching for "Evolution" other than the primary topic. In the Evolution article there is a clear statement "This article is about evolution in biology.", so there is no confusion. In the Evolution (disambiguation) the list of other articles clearly contains many non-biological uses of the term. I do not think you are going to make headway with the change you proposed. TheProfessor (talk) 20:05, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

I did a copyedit of the addition you made to the disambiguation list: Modern evolutionary synthesis. I think this probably does not belong on the disambiguation page, but rather in Outline of evolution, where other subtopics of evolution are now listed. I or others may decide to remove this here, because the Evolution article is in fact about the results of the Modern evolutionary synthesis. I have also considered whether Introduction to evolution, Macroevolution and Microevolution should also be removed, since strictly speaking they may not be different usages of the term (since most scholars agree that Macroevolution results from Microevolution over long periods of time, and of course the introduction article is the same usage). TheProfessor (talk) 20:20, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

The fact is, many people will not read beyond the first "definition" they see, because they are looking to use the site as a dictionary. As long as they are lied to at the beginning, correcting the lie deep into the page will NOT make the page honest. Simple fact. DonaldKronos (talk) 04:33, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Stating that "Evolution is the change in heritable traits of biological organisms over successive generations due to natural selection and other mechanisms." on this disambiguation page, is like stating that "Gravity is a natural phenomenon by which all physical bodies are attracted to the planet Earth." on the Gravity_(disambiguation) page. Sure, it's the kind most people think of, but it's NOT A TRUE STATEMENT by any means, because it is deceptive to those looking to see whether or not there is more to it than that. This would not be an important issue when clarified further into the page, if not for the fact that many such people are only looking to confirm their own misconceptions, and will quit reading upon such apparent verification. DonaldKronos (talk) 04:41, 27 February 2015 (UTC)