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Darwin-L Message Log 6:5 (February 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<6:5>From phlkcs@gsusgi2.gsu.edu  Tue Feb  1 13:56:45 1994

Date: Tue, 1 Feb 1994 15:05:24 -0500 (EST)
From: "Kelly C. Smith" <phlkcs@gsusgi2.gsu.edu>
Subject: Re: what evolution is
To: Robert Brandon <rbrandon@acpub.duke.edu>

On Fri, 28 Jan 1994, Robert Brandon wrote:

> First a brief introduction.  I am a philosopher of biology at Duke.  My
> interests span most of population biology.
> Creighton asks when the identification of evolution with change in gene
> pool took place, and what, if anything, it had to do with the hegemony of
> molecular biology/genetics.  I've written on this ('Evolution' Phil. Sci. 45
> (1978),pp. 96-109).
> The earliest reference I found making this identification was Dobzhansky
> in 1937 (Genetics and the Origin of the Species).  Thus the definition in
> question comes out of, and is still current in, population genetics.  It is
> entirely independent of molecular genetics.
> My 1978 article attempts to give a genetic definition of evolution that is
> more satisfactory than change in gene frequency.  Nowadays I would prefer
> something like the following:  evolution is any change in the distribution
> of heritable characters over generational time.
>                                                                Cheers,
>                                                                Robert Brandon

Robert is absolutly right (and not just because he is my advisor).
Please note that I am being a good boy, Robert...
Kelly Smith

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