Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Are the Terms "Micro-Evolution" and "Macro-Evolution" a Creationist Fabrication?

A common claim repeated by Darwinists is that the terms- 1) micro-evolution- the genetic changes within and among populations 2) macro-evolution- the evolution of biological categories above the level of species- were simply created by creationists and have no meaning outside of creationism.

As Jonathan Wells, in his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design explains:

In 2005, Darwinist Gary Hurd claimed that the distinction between microevolution and macroevolution was just a creationist fabrication. Asked to review proposed science standards requiring students to study evidence both for and against Darwinism, Hurd wrote to the Kansas State Board of Education: “I am confident that there are qualified commentators who will have pointed out the absurdity of differentiating ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ evolution-terms which have no meaning outside of creationist polemics.”

However, is it indeed true that the terms ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ evolution originated with the creationist camp? Wells continues:

“Hurd represented himself as an expert on evolutionary biology, but the distinction between microevolution and macroevolution was first made by evolutionary biologists. In 1937, Theodosius Dobzhansky noted that there was no hard evidence to connect small-scale changes within existing species (“microevolution”) to the origin of new species and the large-scale changes we see in the fossil record (“macroevolution”). Since “there is no way toward an understanding of the mechanisms of macro evolutionary changes, which require time on a geological scale, other than through a full comprehension of the micro evolutionary processes observable within the span of a human lifetime,” Dobzhansky concluded: “For this reason we are compelled at the present level of knowledge reluctantly to put a sign of equality between the mechanisms of macro- and macroevolution, and proceeding on this assumption, to push our investigation as far ahead as this working hypothesis will permit.”

Further, in 1940, Berkeley geneticist Richard Goldschmidt published a book arguing that “the facts of microevolution do not suffice for an understanding of macroevolution.” [1]

So, we can safely conclude that the terms ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ evolution were not made up by creationists.

Admittedly, the terms have been used and abused by those on both sides of the debate; however, this only serves to remind one that in any discussion regarding the term evolution, it is imperative that one clarifies his or her terms.

Courage and Godspeed,


1. Jonathan Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, p. 55-56.


Mike Felker said...

Hey Chad, what i've found to be far more useful in defending creation than using the "micro" and "macro" terms is in discussing the type of change. In other words, its not necessarily the size of the change that matters, but the type and direction of the change. Here's an example:

On a windy island, beetles with wings are less likely to survive given that they could be blown off the island into the sea. However, a mutational change could cause beetles to be born without wings, thus contributing to their survival. And over time, natural selection would result in there being more wingless beetles than winged.

Would this be a macro or micro change? Well, there is no denying that winged beetles and pretty different than wingless ones! And it could be reasonably inferred that this is a macro change.

But is this the type of change that is necessary for evolution to make progress? Not at all, because what we have is a loss of genetic information. Even if the mutational changes are massive; if it results in a loss of information, then you'll never make progress! In other words, bacteria will never evolve into people by losing information.

So, to me, its not about large or small. Its about demanding evidence from evolutionists that new information is added to the genome via random mutation or some other mechanism. And until evolutionists can give us even "micro" examples of new information being added, we should have no reason to think that evolution is a viable theory.

Chad said...

Hello Mike,

I appreciate your thoughts and they are great.

I actually usually don't use the terms; however, recently I quoted Bill Craig as questioning evolution on a "marco-level" and ended up partially defending the differences of the terms.

I completely understand and agree with your assessment! Your approach to the argument is the way to go, no doubt!

Finally, the purpose of this post was to simply highlight the fact that the terms were not created by creationists, as some have asserted. I wasn't trying to endorse using the terms in an argument.

It's great to hear from you!


Human Ape said...

I invite you and your anti-science readers to visit my blog to listen to Ken Miller explain what you are missing. Then perhaps somebody can tell me whether or not they were convinced by Miller, and why.

I'm interested in evolution-deniers because I don't understand them. They are extremely numerous, and they are completely wrong about everything. Not something I can ignore because it's too strange.

Here's the post that I was talking about:

If there's anything that might make Christians understand that denying evolution is a waste of a life, it is this speech by Ken Miller.


Chad said...

Human Ape aka bobxxxx,

Do you still believe that all Christian’s should be eradicated from the earth?

Thank you

Chad said...

Dear Readers,

If you are interested in:

1. Quote mining
2. Name calling
3. Being monitored by the critical thought police
4. Being told that you should die
5. Foul language

please visit Human Ape aka bobxxxx’s “Neo-Darwinian” blog.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Nylon-philic bacteria could not and did not exist prior to man-made nylon, which did not exist prior to man. Seems like great evidence to support macro-evolution since it created a new Flavobacterium very much different from anything before.

Isn't this reasonable evidence?