I am among those biologists who features a soft spot for what exactly is budding in biology.
It truly is almost as if biology may be the one particular subject around the planet that may be constantly shifting.
However, more than the years, some words have turn out to be “blessed” and have grow to be part of the prevalent language of science and scientists generally. One particular such term is named “flaccid definition.”
This term was given to me by a bioethicist pal, Dr. Leslie Carpenter. She was pointing out that even though there are numerous words which can be practically meaningless without the need of their chicago style annotated bibliography proper definition, this particular word doesn’t fit into any on the categories. In addition, it does not have a dictionary definition, so it’s important that we realize what it suggests ahead of we get as well excited concerning the word.
Flaccid definition is usually applied for the biological sciences within a number of techniques. It can mean to use the word at a really leisurely pace and not take it to the subsequent level. It may imply to work with the word in an abstract or poetic method to describe an occasion.
And, needless to say, it can mean that the biological sciences ought to prevent a flaccid definition. Nonetheless, in terms of evolutionary biology, for instance, the word seems to match.
With all the items that we find out and the sorts of stories that we tell, it could be tempting to embellish a story, including the story in the 3 trilobites or the “clam-eating” aliens, and to incorporate them within the story of your rise of mankind. Nevertheless, the rise of humanity appears to be as a lot an occasion in the life of one particular person as it is in the life of a whole species.
The creation of humanity is usually a true story that fits within the parameters on the biological sciences. Without an evolutionary story, it truly is difficult to explain the life history of a person or of a species.
One of your problems with applying the word in an abstract way is that it truly is easy to misuse it. We can use it in an evolutionary technique to describe what happened, but we should nonetheless demonstrate that we are displaying a clear example from the end result.
Another difficulty with working with the word in an abstract way is that it suggests that we’re engaging in the scientific version of “theory.” When we use flaccid definition, we are as well close to an evolutionary story.
Of course, we never have to assume that we know all the information in an effort to do what we wish to do. We can nonetheless generate scientific stories that incorporate the type of scientific facts that is certainly discovered in a great textbook, but that may be far less abstract than what exactly is bubbling up from a well known biology book.
I believe that flaccid definition fits in to the biological sciences. It does not match well in to the social sciences or into common culture, but it does seem to fit well into the physiology of a person and into an evolutionary story.