Concepts of evolution and life

Evolution as internal dynamics in the short-term and long-term. Definition of evolution regarding the concept of life.

Book front cover of the Conditional Evolution of Life. Seahorse and goldfish.



Author: José Tiberius




2.a) The definition of evolution

If we ask ourselves what evolution is, a good idea would be to consult a dictionary. The General Dictionary of the Spanish Language gives the following definitions:

  1. The action of things developing or transforming by gradually passing from one state to another: the ~ of species; the ~ of a theory, of a policy
  2. The effect of things developing or transforming by moving progressively from one state to another
  3. p. ext. Movement, change or transformation, in general: the evolution of a dance
  4. Movement, change of troop or ship formation for defense or offense purposes
  5. Fig. - Change of conduct, purpose, or attitude
  6. BIOL. - Derivation of the species from living organisms, from others already in existence, through a process more or less gradual and continuous
  7. PHILOS. The hypothesis that attempts to explain all phenomena by successive transformations of a solitary original entity

The first characterization of things developing and transforming themselves from one state to another is the gradual pace; if it were fast or accelerated, it would be the concept of revolution.

The second observation is there are two primary meanings: 1) “The action of things developing...” and 2) “The effect of... “. The first refers to the internal dynamics of things that makes them develop or transform. The second relates to its external appearance that is nothing else but the external perception of the effect or result of internal evolution.

Sphinx of Egypt (2620 BC) Museum of the Louvre
Sphinx of Egypt 2620 BC. in Paris

Together with the two primary meanings of evolution, internal and external, there are other specific acceptions. In point 6), there is an especial mention of biological evolution. The definition only adds the long-term for the typical dynamics of the species. It is explicitly talking about the Darwinian Theory and its subsequent adaptations; that is, the specific type referred to in point 2).

The general idea of the evolution of life in biology is different from the above two central concepts of development. In standard biology, it refers to the external perception of the changes or transformations and limits itself to a long-term process.

For the general theory of the Conditional Evolution of Life –CEL–, the concept of evolution refers to both short-term and long-term internal dynamics. Development in the long-term would not be just the addition of changes but instead the differences in each generation.

The next section will explain the consequences of one focus or another of evolution.