Re: Natural Selection (was: Breast Size)

Jacques Guy (
18 Jun 1995 08:05:02 +1000 (Bryant) writes:

>You have (collectively) --or perhaps *I* have-- made the point about
>sloppy language being misleading, however. Specifically, I shouldn't
>have said that "I didn't say...TO..." when indeed I had! I should've
>said, "when I said...TO...I didn't mean...goal directed, etc."

>I do think that short-hand is inevitable and useful within a field,
>however, so long as everybody knows what the short-hand is really

"So long as everybody knows". The man-in-the-street does not know.
Creationists do not know. Everytime you use that misleading shorthand
you confuse the man-in-the-street and play into the hands of the
creationists. You confuse university students, many of whom are
unbelievably ignorant and mentally lazy, and prepare a generation
of believers in the teleological argument, that evolution is
purposeful, and next, that it is all part of Someone's Plan (tm).

>I.e., "thumbs evolved to grasp" or "infanticide is an adaptive
>cessation of investment" are shorthand for .... [snip]

No need for the long-winded sentences that followed. Simply say:
"as the thumb differentiated itself from the other fingers, grasping
became more effective" or "with the thumb, grasping became easier".

There is absolutely no justication for using the misleading "to",
only laziness, and that is not an excuse.