There is nothing sacred about definitions. We can define a word how we like for our own purposes, provided we do so clearly and unambiguously.
at least according to Richard Dawkins...
Suppose I have a sentence:
Habitat selection studies provide an insight into resource selection function of animals (RSF).
My problem with this sentence is that word "function" evoke some deep mathematical background, for example some sort of complex mathematical formula. For the purpose of the article (not hard-core math used) I have temptation to replace "function" with "pattern".
Would it be tolerable? What is the native speaker view? Do the animals select the features of their environment according to function or may I say some pattern?
Are these words interchangeable?