Sounds preposterous? Think about it.

If you've seen pokemon or played the card game long enough, you'll see that the pokemon move up through points and levels (similiar to XP and user levels here on E2).

If the pokemon reach a certain level, they evolve. For example, Pikachu evolves with a lot of bright light and in seconds into Raichu. Most pokemon have 3 evolutionary states, some have 2, or only 1. Most aficionados of the series know very well who evolves into what and when. Check your pokedex.

I guess the point of the nodeshell title that I'm filling in is that Pokemon evolution is not real. Real evolution takes thousands upon thousands of years, and natural selection to take its course, as told by Charles Darwin. What Pokemon calls 'evolution' is really 'metamorphosis' but the Game Boy display is only 20 characters wide. Therefore any scientific realism is discarded, and in a few years, a few of the less savvy students will be confused in high school Biology.

Learning something fantasy and calling it the same name as the boring, real thing, probably isn't a good idea. Imagine primary school science class:

Teacher: Now, evolution takes place over thousands of years-
Student: But that's not what happened in Evolution the movie! Or in Pokemon!

Ah, this will confuse the younger kids. A single organism doesn't evolve during its lifecycle, let alone the two or three times you see squirtle do it on TV.

--Just filling in a nodeshell...

Note to The Alchemist: Evolution is defined as a change in a species from generation to generation.

...not very well.

Evolution is best defined as "change through time" - so any structure or object can 'evolve'. It so happens that biological systems reproduce themselves and therefore (tend to) evolve by natural selection.

Do pokemon reproduce themselves?
Yes, but the cartoons tend to gloss over these 'messy' details, unsurprisingly. Presumably, the pokemon evolve by mutation and selection, but the members of a 'species' do seem to be very similar, if not identical. This would make the generation of variety difficult for types. On the other hand, consumer devices are reproduced by us, and changes made (again, by us) to the new copies are selected by market forces.

Butterflies and Metamorphosis
However, natural selection is not the only 'evolution' (in the broader sense) that organisms undergo. Many creatures make radical changes to their bodies that can be considered to be a type of evolution. Indeed, if we use this broad definition, all organisms undergo the evolution known as 'ageing' - as well as the many that go through development from an embryo. Of course, for digimon, the transformation is reversible!

So what?
It doesn't have to be true that car adverts ("It's evolved!") and cartoons only help confuse these scientific issues. It's also possible to use examples from popular culture to explain some of the difficulties of science. There will always be a tension between the popular use of a term, and the scientific use. 'Evolution' is such a word, as is mutation - and many others. If we don't want to end up speaking different versions of the same language (using the same words, but meaning different things) I think that resolution of such clashes is quite important.


Note to mr100percent : no it isn't.

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