Weird words

  • 26 May, 2017
Sometimes scientists use words that are too complicated. So here we have a small section in which we explain, with common language, some of the concepts they use in their texts.


Epigenetics is defined as the study of the mechanisms that regulate the expression of genes without a modification in the DNA sequence. Establishes the relationship between the genetic and environmental influences that determine a phenotype (features of expression of the individual, physical and behavioral).

Epigenetics acts as a bridge between genes and the environment. Some environmental factors, such as nutrition or chronic stress, can initiate chemical processes that lead to changes in the epigenome.

ad hoc

It is a Latin expression that literally means “for this.”
Indicates that a solution is used for a specific problem or purpose and, therefore, is not generalizable for other problems.


Evolution (Theory of Evolution)

Theory according to which the diversity of life on Earth comes from a physical and chemical process from a common ancestor. This process includes species, populations, individual and molecular organisms (molecular evolution). In other words: All life on Earth comes from a last universal common ancestor that existed between 3800 and 3500 million years ago.

Charles Darwin with his book The Origin of Species, published in 1859, formulated this theory, arguing that life was evolving through small modifications, successive, over millions of years, randomly (which means, “arbitrarily”, or “by causality”). He called this process “natural selection.”


Natural selection

Natural selection is the differential reproductive success. Explained in simpler words: If we have a certain population group, and there are individuals who, by certain characteristics, have more offspring, we will say that these individuals have a “differential reproductive success” in relation to others. These are, therefore, those that will tend to perpetuate themselves, while the others will become extinct.


Teoría del Diseño Inteligente (TDI)

Darwin affirmed, in chapter VI, section “Modes of transition” of his book The Origin of Species that: “If it could be demonstrated that there was a complex organ that could not have been formed by small, numerous and successive modifications, my theory It would be completely destroyed, but I can not find any case of this kind”.

The Intelligent Design Theory maintains that current science has found (after more than 150 years of the edition of Darwin’s book), many cases of organs of irreducible complexity that destroy, therefore, Darwin’s thesis. The result of the set of studies on the cell – studies of life at the molecular level – and the study of cosmology provide enough data to be able to affirm that life and the universe were planned and structured with engineering, design and fine tuning.

The universe and life, therefore, according to this theory, can not be the result of a non-directed process like natural selection, but the result of the action of an intelligent cause.

To situate ourselves a little more, we quote the own definition given by the Sociedade Brasileira do Inteligente (TDI) on its official website:

“The theory of intelligent design is the science of detection-or not-of intelligent design. That is, it is the scientific study of patterns in nature that can refer to or discard the action of an intelligent mind as the cause of an effect. The TDI is, therefore, the science that proposes to establish when, before an effect, we are scientifically authorized to infer if the first most probable cause of this effect – the Universe and Life – would be the action of an intelligent mind or that of natural forces not guided”.

See the full text WHAT IS TDI?

Synthetic theory

Currently, the theory of evolution combines Darwin’s proposals with some aspects of genetics; that is why it is called modern synthesis or “synthetic theory”.

According to this theory, evolution is defined as a change in the frequency of the alleles of a population throughout the generations. This change can be caused by different mechanisms, such as natural selection, genetic drift, mutation and migration or gene flow. Synthetic theory currently receives the acceptance of much of the scientific community, although, with the advance of scientific knowledge, there are increasingly more substantiated criticisms in the sense that this theory can not explain the complexity of life and the universe.

In the measure of the progress of this project, we will expand this section, according to the comprehension difficulties that, together, we detect.

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