Macro-evolution

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'''Macro-evolution''' and '''micro-evolution''' are terms sometimes used in a [[scientific]] context, but more often thrown around by [[creationists]] to get around some of the instances in which [[evolution]] has been observed. "Macro-evolution" means evolution on a large scale, while "micro-evolution" means evolution on a small scale. A common creationist claim is that micro-evolution has been observed, but macro-evolution never has.
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{{wikipedia}}
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{{talk-origins|http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/|29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent}}
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'''Macro-evolution''' and '''micro-evolution''' are terms that are sometimes used in a [[scientific]] context, but are more often thrown around by [[creationist]]s to get around some of the instances in which [[evolution]] has actually been observed. The basic idea is:
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*''Macro-evolution'' is evolution on a large scale.
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*''Micro-evolution'' is evolution on a small scale.
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Unfortunately, there is no clear dividing line between the "large" and "small" scales being referred to.
  
In science, however, there is no clear dividing line between the two.  To the extent that "micro-evolution" is a recognized term at all, it generally means change within species, while macro-evolution means change between species. Unfortunately for creationists, speciation '''has''' been observed in laboratory conditions -- scientists have successfully induced the evolution of new species that cannot breed with the original strains.
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== A problem of definition ==
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{{talk-origins|http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB902.html|Microevolution is distinct from macroevolution}}
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{{quote|Here’s what observation tells us: ''the surviving bacteria always stay bacteria''. They do not evolve into another type of organism. That would be macroevolution. Natural selection has never been observed to create new types.[...]Microevolution has been observed; but it cannot be used as evidence for macroevolution, which has never been observed.<ref name="enough-faith">[[I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist]]</ref>}}
  
While it is obviously the case that nothing can be ''directly'' observed when it occurs on a large enough scale (i.e., longer than a human lifetime), macro-evolution is well confirmed through various tests and models.
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A common creationist claim is that micro-evolution has been observed, but macro-evolution never has. In fact, if any type of evolution is actually observed, it is likely to be ''called'' micro-evolution simply because of that fact. Thus, in this sense, the terms have little use beyond anti-evolution apologetics.
  
==Biblical "Kinds"==
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In science, to the extent that the terms are used at all:
Creationists weasel around this inconvenient fact by talking about "macro-evolution" not in terms of species but in terms of "kinds."  But a kind is not a scientific notion, and creationists are notoriously vague when it comes to defining what it means.
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* ''Micro-evolution'' generally means change ''within'' a species.
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* ''Macro-evolution'' generally means change ''between'' species.
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The word ''species'' typically refers to a group of individuals that can interbreed with each other. So, for example, the huge variety of dog breeds that have resulted from hundreds of years of human influence would be an example of ''micro''-evolution, since different breeds of dog can still interbreed (though it may be physically awkward in some cases). However, since dogs and foxes, for example, cannot interbreed, the split of the two species from a [[common ancestor]] was an example of ''macro''-evolution.
  
* For instance, is a chihuahua the same kind as a Saint Bernard?
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Does this mean that speciation (a split of one species into two) cannot be directly observed? Certainly not. Speciation '''has''' been observed under laboratory conditions: scientists have successfully induced the evolution of new species<!-- in particular...? --> that cannot breed with the original strains.
* How about a chihuahua and a dire wolf?
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* How about a wolf and a house cat? They're both mammals and both in the carnivora family.
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In science, there is no clear dividing line between kinds beyond species (and even species can be a fuzzy term). So creationists cannot agree on what "kind" means -- except in the [[ad hoc]] sense that whenever it can be agreed that evolution is solidly proved between two species, they must not be the same kind.}}
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== Macro-evolution is indirectly observed==
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{{talk-origins|http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB901.html|No case of macroevolution has ever been documented.}}
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{{talk-origins|http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB902_1.html|There are barriers to macroevolution.}}
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{{talk-origins|http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB910_1.html|Fruit fly experiments produce only fruit flies}}
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{{talk-origins|http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB901_1.html|Range of variation is limited within kinds.}}
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The fossil record clearly shows macro-evolution occurred. Genetic analysis clearly shows macro-evolution occurred. Evolution does not predict macro-evolution on human time scales, so lack of evidence in this regard disproves nothing. Speciation has been observed. There is no known barrier for changes in a species to accumulate indefinitely (given an evolutionary time scale).
  
==External Links==
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== Biblical "kinds" ==
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{{main article|Baraminology}}
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Because speciation is an observed phenomenon, creationists like to redefine terms by talking about macro-evolution not in terms of species but in terms of "kinds."  But a ''kind'' is not a scientific notion, and creationists are notoriously vague when it comes to defining what it means:
 +
* Is a chihuahua the same "kind" as a Saint Bernard?
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* How about a chihuahua and a fox?
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* How about a wolf and a house cat? (They're both mammals, after all — and even in the same order, ''carnivora''.)
  
[http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/ 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent] at [[Talk Origins]]
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To some extent, the same difficulty arises in biological taxonomy above the level of species (i.e. genus, family, order, class, phylum and kingdom, to use the classical [[Wikipedia:Linnaean taxonomy|Linnaean system]]). However, biologists have spent hundreds of years fine-tuning the system so that new species can be fit into the "tree of life" on the appropriate branch to a great degree of precision. The same cannot be said for sort of "Biblical taxonomy" suggested by the word ''kind''.
[[Category: Science]]
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Creationists do not agree with one another about exactly what "kind" means, and have never proposed a rigorous definition. They only seem to agree on the [[ad hoc]] sense that whenever it can be agreed that evolution is solidly proved between two species, they must not be the same kind. This is an example of [[moving the goalposts]].
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==References==
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<references/>
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[[Category:Evolution]]
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[[Category:Creationism]]

Latest revision as of 17:49, 20 May 2016

Wikipedia-logo-en.png
For more information, see the Wikipedia article:
Talkorigins-logo.jpg
For more information, see the TalkOrigins Archive article:

Macro-evolution and micro-evolution are terms that are sometimes used in a scientific context, but are more often thrown around by creationists to get around some of the instances in which evolution has actually been observed. The basic idea is:

  • Macro-evolution is evolution on a large scale.
  • Micro-evolution is evolution on a small scale.

Unfortunately, there is no clear dividing line between the "large" and "small" scales being referred to.

Contents

A problem of definition

Talkorigins-logo.jpg
For more information, see the TalkOrigins Archive article:
"Here’s what observation tells us: the surviving bacteria always stay bacteria. They do not evolve into another type of organism. That would be macroevolution. Natural selection has never been observed to create new types.[...]Microevolution has been observed; but it cannot be used as evidence for macroevolution, which has never been observed.[1]"

A common creationist claim is that micro-evolution has been observed, but macro-evolution never has. In fact, if any type of evolution is actually observed, it is likely to be called micro-evolution simply because of that fact. Thus, in this sense, the terms have little use beyond anti-evolution apologetics.

In science, to the extent that the terms are used at all:

  • Micro-evolution generally means change within a species.
  • Macro-evolution generally means change between species.

The word species typically refers to a group of individuals that can interbreed with each other. So, for example, the huge variety of dog breeds that have resulted from hundreds of years of human influence would be an example of micro-evolution, since different breeds of dog can still interbreed (though it may be physically awkward in some cases). However, since dogs and foxes, for example, cannot interbreed, the split of the two species from a common ancestor was an example of macro-evolution.

Does this mean that speciation (a split of one species into two) cannot be directly observed? Certainly not. Speciation has been observed under laboratory conditions: scientists have successfully induced the evolution of new species that cannot breed with the original strains.

Macro-evolution is indirectly observed

Talkorigins-logo.jpg
For more information, see the TalkOrigins Archive article:
Talkorigins-logo.jpg
For more information, see the TalkOrigins Archive article:
Talkorigins-logo.jpg
For more information, see the TalkOrigins Archive article:
Talkorigins-logo.jpg
For more information, see the TalkOrigins Archive article:

The fossil record clearly shows macro-evolution occurred. Genetic analysis clearly shows macro-evolution occurred. Evolution does not predict macro-evolution on human time scales, so lack of evidence in this regard disproves nothing. Speciation has been observed. There is no known barrier for changes in a species to accumulate indefinitely (given an evolutionary time scale).

Biblical "kinds"

Main Article: Baraminology

Because speciation is an observed phenomenon, creationists like to redefine terms by talking about macro-evolution not in terms of species but in terms of "kinds." But a kind is not a scientific notion, and creationists are notoriously vague when it comes to defining what it means:

  • Is a chihuahua the same "kind" as a Saint Bernard?
  • How about a chihuahua and a fox?
  • How about a wolf and a house cat? (They're both mammals, after all — and even in the same order, carnivora.)

To some extent, the same difficulty arises in biological taxonomy above the level of species (i.e. genus, family, order, class, phylum and kingdom, to use the classical Linnaean system). However, biologists have spent hundreds of years fine-tuning the system so that new species can be fit into the "tree of life" on the appropriate branch to a great degree of precision. The same cannot be said for sort of "Biblical taxonomy" suggested by the word kind.

Creationists do not agree with one another about exactly what "kind" means, and have never proposed a rigorous definition. They only seem to agree on the ad hoc sense that whenever it can be agreed that evolution is solidly proved between two species, they must not be the same kind. This is an example of moving the goalposts.

References

  1. I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist
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