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)

Goal-oriented[edit]

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)

MOSDAB + PRIMARY[edit]

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 a title 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.

Discussion?

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.

46 quotes from the 6th edition of On the Origin of Species

Quote: "We shall thus see that a large amount of hereditary modification is at least possible; and, what is equally or more important, we shall see how great is the power of man in accumulating by his selection successive slight variations."

Quote: "The explanation, I think, is simple: from long-continued study they are strongly impressed with the differences between the several races; and though they well know that each race varies slightly, for they win their prizes by selecting such slight differences, yet they ignore all general arguments, and refuse to sum up in their minds slight differences accumulated during many successive generations."

Quote: "Let us now briefly consider the steps by which domestic races have been produced, either from one or from several allied species. Some effect may be attributed to the direct and definite action of the external conditions of life, and some to habit; but he would be a bold man who would account by such agencies for the differences between a dray and race-horse, a greyhound and bloodhound, a carrier and tumbler pigeon. One of the most remarkable features in our domesticated races is that we see in them adaptation, not indeed to the animal's or plant's own good, but to man's use or fancy. Some variations useful to him have probably arisen suddenly, or by one step; many botanists, for instance, believe that the fuller's teasel, with its hooks, which can not be rivalled by any mechanical contrivance, is only a variety of the wild Dipsacus; and this amount of change may have suddenly arisen in a seedling. So it has probably been with the turnspit dog; and this is known to have been the case with the ancon sheep. But when we compare the dray-horse and race-horse, the dromedary and camel, the various breeds of sheep fitted either for cultivated land or mountain pasture, with the wool of one breed good for one purpose, and that of another breed for another purpose; when we compare the many breeds of dogs, each good for man in different ways; when we compare the game-cock, so pertinacious in battle, with other breeds so little quarrelsome, with "everlasting layers" which never desire to sit, and with the bantam so small and elegant; when we compare the host of agricultural, culinary, orchard, and flower-garden races of plants, most useful to man at different seasons and for different purposes, or so beautiful in his eyes, we must, I think, look further than to mere variability. We can not suppose that all the breeds were suddenly produced as perfect and as useful as we now see them; indeed, in many cases, we know that this has not been their history. The key is man's power of accumulative selection: nature gives successive variations; man adds them up in certain directions useful to him. In this sense he may be said to have made for himself useful breeds."

Quote: "If selection consisted merely in separating some very distinct variety and breeding from it, the principle would be so obvious as hardly to be worth notice; but its importance consists in the great effect produced by the accumulation in one direction, during successive generations, of differences absolutely inappreciable by an uneducated eye--differences which I for one have vainly attempted to appreciate. Not one man in a thousand has accuracy of eye and judgment sufficient to become an eminent breeder. If gifted with these qualities, and he studies his subject for years, and devotes his lifetime to it with indomitable perseverance, he will succeed, and may make great improvements;"

Quote: "In regard to plants, there is another means of observing the accumulated effects of selection--namely, by comparing the diversity of flowers in the different varieties of the same species in the flower-garden;"

Quote: "A large amount of change, thus slowly and unconsciously accumulated, explains, as I believe, the well-known fact, that in a number of cases we cannot recognise, and therefore do not know, the wild parent-stocks of the plants which have been longest cultivated in our flower and kitchen gardens."

Quote: "A high degree of variability is obviously favourable, as freely giving the materials for selection to work on; not that mere individual differences are not amply sufficient, with extreme care, to allow of the accumulation of a large amount of modification in almost any desired direction. But as variations manifestly useful or pleasing to man appear only occasionally, the chance of their appearance will be much increased by a large number of individuals being kept. Hence number is of the highest importance for success."

Quote: "Over all these causes of change, the accumulative action of selection, whether applied methodically and quickly, or unconsciously and slowly, but more efficiently, seems to have been the predominant power."

Quote: "These individual differences are of the highest importance for us, for they are often inherited, as must be familiar to every one; and they thus afford materials for natural selection to act on and accumulate, in the same manner as man accumulates in any given direction individual differences in his domesticated productions."

Quote: "We have seen that man by selection can certainly produce great results, and can adapt organic beings to his own uses, through the accumulation of slight but useful variations, given to him by the hand of Nature. But Natural Selection, we shall hereafter see, is a power incessantly ready for action, and is as immeasurably superior to man's feeble efforts, as the works of Nature are to those of Art."

Quote: "But the variability, which we almost universally meet with in our domestic productions is not directly produced, as Hooker and Asa Gray have well remarked, by man; he can neither originate varieties nor prevent their occurrence; he can only preserve and accumulate such as do occur."

Quote: "How fleeting are the wishes and efforts of man! How short his time, and consequently how poor will be his results, compared with those accumulated by Nature during whole geological periods!"

Quote: "It is also necessary to bear in mind that, owing to the law of correlation, when one part varies and the variations are accumulated through natural selection, other modifications, often of the most unexpected nature, will ensue."

Quote: "Natural selection acts only by the preservation and accumulation of small inherited modifications, each profitable to the preserved being;"

Quote: "Lapse of time is only so far important, and its importance in this respect is great, that it gives a better chance of beneficial variations arising and of their being selected, accumulated, and fixed."

Quote: "And here the importance of the principle of benefit derived from divergence of character comes in; for this will generally lead to the most different or divergent variations (represented by the outer dotted lines) being preserved and accumulated by natural selection. When a dotted line reaches one of the horizontal lines, and is there marked by a small numbered letter, a sufficient amount of variation is supposed to have been accumulated to form it into a fairly well-marked variety, such as would be thought worthy of record in a systematic work."

Quote: "But these breaks are imaginary, and might have been inserted anywhere, after intervals long enough to allow the accumulation of a considerable amount of divergent variation."

Quote: "Natural selection acts exclusively by the preservation and accumulation of variations, which are beneficial under the organic and inorganic conditions to which each creature is exposed at all periods of life."

Quote: "f we take as the standard of high organisation, the amount of differentiation and specialisation of the several organs in each being when adult (and this will include the advancement of the brain for intellectual purposes), natural selection clearly leads towards this standard: for all physiologists admit that the specialisation of organs, inasmuch as in this state they perform their functions better, is an advantage to each being; and hence the accumulation of variations tending towards specialisation is within the scope of natural selection."

Quote: "In some cases variations or individual differences of a favourable nature may never have arisen for natural selection to act on and accumulate."

Quote: "But when man is the selecting agent, we clearly see that the two elements of change are distinct; variability is in some manner excited, but it is the will of man which accumulates the variations in certain direction;"

Quote: "I mean by this expression that the whole organisation is so tied together, during its growth and development, that when slight variations in any one part occur and are accumulated through natural selection, other parts become modified."

Quote: "An extraordinary amount of modification implies an unusually large and long-continued amount of variability, which has continually been accumulated by natural selection for the benefit of the species."

Quote: "The cause of the original variability of these characters is not manifest; but we can see why they should not have been rendered as constant and uniform as others, for they are accumulated by sexual selection, which is less rigid in its action than ordinary selection, as it does not entail death, but only gives fewer offspring to the less favoured males."

Quote: "All being mainly due to the species of the same group being the descendants of a common progenitor, from whom they have inherited much in common, to parts which have recently and largely varied being more likely still to go on varying than parts which have long been inherited and have not varied, to natural selection having more or less completely, according to the lapse of time, overmastered the tendency to reversion and to further variability, to sexual selection being less rigid than ordinary selection, and to variations in the same parts having been accumulated by natural and sexual selection, and thus having been adapted for secondary sexual, and for ordinary purposes."

Quote: "Whatever the cause may be of each slight difference between the offspring and their parents--and a cause for each must exist--we have reason to believe that it is the steady accumulation of beneficial differences which has given rise to all the more important modifications of structure in relation to the habits of each species."

Quote: "Therefore, I can see no difficulty, more especially under changing conditions of life, in the continued preservation of individuals with fuller and fuller flank-membranes, each modification being useful, each being propagated, until, by the accumulated effects of this process of natural selection, a perfect so-called flying squirrel was produced."

Quote: "It is a significant fact that even in man, according to the high authority of Virchow, the beautiful crystalline lens is formed in the embryo by an accumulation of epidermic cells, lying in a sack-like fold of the skin; and the vitreous body is formed from embryonic subcutaneous tissue. To arrive, however, at a just conclusion regarding the formation of the eye, with all its marvellous yet not absolutely perfect characters, it is indispensable that the reason should conquer the imagination; but I have felt the difficulty far to keenly to be surprised at others hesitating to extend the principle of natural selection to so startling a length."

Quote: "In many cases we are far too ignorant to be enabled to assert that a part or organ is so unimportant for the welfare of a species, that modifications in its structure could not have been slowly accumulated by means of natural selection."

Quote: "From the fact of the above characters being unimportant for the welfare of the species, any slight variations which occurred in them would not have been accumulated and augmented through natural selection. A structure which has been developed through long-continued selection, when it ceases to be of service to a species, generally becomes variable, as we see with rudimentary organs; for it will no longer be regulated by this same power of selection."

Quote: "But the case is not here put fairly. It is admitted by most evolutionists that mammals are descended from a marsupial form; and if so, the mammary glands will have been at first developed within the marsupial sack. In the case of the fish (Hippocampus) the eggs are hatched, and the young are reared for a time, within a sack of this nature; and an American naturalist, Mr. Lockwood, believes from what he has seen of the development of the young, that they are nourished by a secretion from the cutaneous glands of the sack. Now, with the early progenitors of mammals, almost before they deserved to be thus designated, is it not at least possible that the young might have been similarly nourished? And in this case, the individuals which secreted a fluid, in some degree or manner the most nutritious, so as to partake of the nature of milk, would in the long run have reared a larger number of well-nourished offspring, than would the individuals which secreted a poorer fluid; and thus the cutaneous glands, which are the homologues of the mammary glands, would have been improved or rendered more effective."

Quote: "At the present day almost all naturalists admit evolution under some form. Mr. Mivart believes that species change through "an internal force or tendency," about which it is not pretended that anything is known. That species have a capacity for change will be admitted by all evolutionists; but there is no need, as it seems to me, to invoke any internal force beyond the tendency to ordinary variability, which through the aid of selection, by man has given rise to many well-adapted domestic races, and which, through the aid of natural selection, would equally well give rise by graduated steps to natural races or species. The final result will generally have been, as already explained, an advance, but in some few cases a retrogression, in organisation."

Quote: "Everyone who believes in slow and gradual evolution, will of course admit that specific changes may have been as abrupt and as great as any single variation which we meet with under nature, or even under domestication. But as species are more variable when domesticated or cultivated than under their natural conditions, it is not probable that such great and abrupt variations have often occurred under nature, as are known occasionally to arise under domestication."

Quote: "Hence, in order that a new species should suddenly appear in the manner supposed by Mr. Mivart, it is almost necessary to believe, in opposition to all analogy, that several wonderfully changed individuals appeared simultaneously within the same district. This difficulty, as in the case of unconscious selection by man, is avoided on the theory of gradual evolution, through the preservation of a large number of individuals, which varied more or less in any favourable direction, and of the destruction of a large number which varied in an opposite manner."

Quote: "It will be universally admitted that instincts are as important as corporeal structures for the welfare of each species, under its present conditions of life. Under changed conditions of life, it is at least possible that slight modifications of instinct might be profitable to a species; and if it can be shown that instincts do vary ever so little, then I can see no difficulty in natural selection preserving and continually accumulating variations of instinct to any extent that was profitable."

Quote: "No complex instinct can possibly be produced through natural selection, except by the slow and gradual accumulation of numerous, slight, yet profitable, variations."

Quote: "Hence, we may conclude that under domestication instincts have been acquired and natural instincts have been lost, partly by habit and partly by man selecting and accumulating, during successive generations, peculiar mental habits and actions, which at first appeared from what we must in our ignorance call an accident."

Quote: "As natural selection acts only by the accumulation of slight modifications of structure or instinct, each profitable to the individual under its conditions of life, it may reasonably be asked, how a long and graduated succession of modified architectural instincts, all tending towards the present perfect plan of construction, could have profited the progenitors of the hive-bee?"

Quote: "Hence, I can see no great difficulty in any character becoming correlated with the sterile condition of certain members of insect communities; the difficulty lies in understanding how such correlated modifications of structure could have been slowly accumulated by natural selection."

Quote: "I have, therefore, discussed this case, at some little but wholly insufficient length, in order to show the power of natural selection, and likewise because this is by far the most serious special difficulty which my theory has encountered. The case, also, is very interesting, as it proves that with animals, as with plants, any amount of modification may be effected by the accumulation of numerous, slight, spontaneous variations, which are in any way profitable, without exercise or habit having been brought into play."

Quote: "Therefore, there is no real difficulty, under changing conditions of life, in natural selection accumulating to any extent slight modifications of instinct which are in any way useful."

Quote: "With sterile neuter insects we have reason to believe that modifications in their structure and fertility have been slowly accumulated by natural selection, from an advantage having been thus indirectly given to the community to which they belonged over other communities of the same species;"

Quote: "On the other hand, in all parts of the world the piles of sedimentary strata are of wonderful thickness. In the Cordillera, I estimated one mass of conglomerate at ten thousand feet; and although conglomerates have probably been accumulated at a quicker rate than finer sediments, yet from being formed of worn and rounded pebbles, each of which bears the stamp of time, they are good to show how slowly the mass must have been heaped together."

Quote: "So that the lofty pile of sedimentary rocks in Britain gives but an inadequate idea of the time which has elapsed during their accumulation."

Quote: "The most skilful geologist, if his attention had been confined exclusively to these large territories, would never have suspected that during the periods which were blank and barren in his own country, great piles of sediment, charged with new and peculiar forms of life, had elsewhere been accumulated"

Quote: "Lastly, many great deposits, requiring a vast length of time for their accumulation, are entirely destitute of organic remains, without our being able to assign any reason:"

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)