Talk:evolve

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Doesn't the word "evolve" in common usage imply "toward something?" That is, is "evolve" telelogical? And therefore as problematic in a sense as "creationism?" Should it be better defined in such a way as to not be in any way teleological? Evolution as a scientific theory is typically aware of this problem and well written accounts will clarify that the direction evolution takes is due to the "happenstance" of the mechanisms involved. But, as Monday morning quarterbacks of science, it is obvious to us that it has been in a direction of greater complexity and the continual addition of new and interesting traits. The existence of a directing creator being irrelevant. The same explanatory power should hold in either situation.



It is toward something, but the misunderstanding in common usage is the idea that the "something" is some higher purpose. Rather, it is simply to be better adapted to the _current_ environment--to survive. There is no other "ultimate" purpose, so not teleological, right?

The only thing pushing toward greater complexity or "interesting" traits is that they provide the ability to exploit some aspect of the current environment that can provide a survival benefit (or to survive/tolerate some aspect that would otherwise kill you).

On another note, "evolve" in the chemistry sense is not represented here--to produce, give off, etc. ("evolve a gas").