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  Topic: The Skeptical Zone, with Lizzie< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 26 2012,06:19   

Quote (Kattarina98 @ April 26 2012,03:49)
Over at Joe's thread they are still trying to explain to WJM that the use of "natural" and "artificial" selection was just Darwin's shorthand for "made by a breeder" versus "not man-made" selection - even Joe seems to have grasped that basically it's the same thing.

I'm wondering if the boundary between "artifical" and "natural" isn't actually quite blurry: For instance, global warming is man-made; so in a changing climate we might find some species die off, others thrive, others develop new features. Would you call this process "natural" or "artificial"?

We wrangled with this question last week in my senior seminar on hybridization. It's kind of sticky, but bears on things like conservation policy.

Near as I can tell, in a Venn diagram of artificial and natural, the former lies in some sense entirely within the latter. The distinction itself is completely artificial (ha! see what I did there?), and arbitrary. It's context-dependent. To me it seems that the boundary lies wherever you choose to place it in a given discussion, but where you place it should be very clear to everyone involved in that particular discussion to facilitate clear communication.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
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  1019 replies since Aug. 15 2011,22:52 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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