Bora’s reference to popular misconceptions about evolution and RPM’s post which points to some of Francis Collins’ bizarre contentions in regards to human evolution (talk about “End of History”) got me thinking, how about I be a unifier and not a divider? If you had 10 words or less, what would you have the public master (and I mean internalize, not spit back as a creed) about evolutionary theory?
Here is my shot:
Differential fitness correlated with heritable variation results in evolution
This an attempt to condense Richard Lewontin’s “three conditions” for biological evolution:
(i) there must be phenotypic variation
(ii) the different phenotypic variants must be associated with different fitnesses
(iii) fitness must be heritable
Of course, this arguably neglects the important area of molecular evolution, where one could argue that neutral fitness dominates the scene and so evolution is driven by entirely different principles. Well, one step at a time…no need putting the cart before the horse & all.
Update: John Hawks has an answer (I was thinking along the lines of reproductive skew too!). And, it is in plain English, so all the better.
Update II: RPM offers pointed commentary.
Update III: Robert Skipper stands upon RPM’s shoulders. This is great! If you have a weblog and throw up something, give a shout on the comment board and I’ll hook you up with a link.
Update V: Alon sums up his genius.