The Most Important Theory in Biology

Abstract:

Evolution is both a fact and a theory: the most comprehensive explanation of the features and diversity of living things. It is the most important theory in biology, yet is surrounded by paradoxes. Despite the simplicity of its central concepts, evolution has a long history of misunderstandings. Despite its lack of moral or prescriptive content, evolution has been used to justify social policies that range from the admirable to the appalling. Despite the increasingly important role evolutionary principles and knowledge play in human biology, evolution is rejected by more than half the American public. Of all the biological disciplines, evolutionary biology has the most far-reaching philosophical implications and the most diverse applications to society. I will attempt to outline some of the major principles of evolution and illustrate its fundamental role in biological science and some of its many applications to human affairs.

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CU Center for Astrobiology