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How is it possible for people to believe in Micro Evolution and not Macro Evolution?

I have heard this concept from several religious individuals but never a true answer. I don’t understand how you can be convinced evolution is evident within a species but not on a larger level.

Posted: June 25th 2007

SmartLX www

I have a simple answer. It’s because they were told to.

The distinction between the possibility of micro- and macro- is only made by creationists; evolutionary biologists dumped it a century ago. When too much evidence for recent microevolution emerged to ignore, creationists retreated and redirected their attack towards macroevolution, for which there was far less (they claimed no) evidence.

The rationale is the plausible-sounding declaration that, for example, a dog will never give birth to anything but another dog. This is true for a single generation, but over millions of years one family of dogs could breed shorter and wider until their descendants were more similar to wombats than to current dogs. At some stage before that they would lose the ability to mate with other dogs, and it would be high time to declare them a new species.

Jack Chick, Ray Comfort and many other evangelists still hold this halfway position on evolution. They’re behind the 8-ball, though, because there are recent examples of speciation too.

Posted: November 13th 2007

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flagellant www

Although Evolution is a process that has continued over millions of years (macroevolution), there are examples of change (microevolution) which scientists have observed over very short periods. The best-known is antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Creationists largely accept this as irrefutable evidence of species modification.

However, because macroevolution takes place over millions of years, it is impossible to observe the changes taking place, in particular the development of new species. Instead, scientists have to rely on indirect evidence of these changes. These include examination of the fossil record, where transitional forms between species are being found all the time. Anyone who considers the evidence amassed is unlikely to reject the evolution argument; there is just so very much generally consistent evidence.

Just as there are differences between religious ‘beliefs’, so too are there differences among evolutionists. For example, it is unclear to what extent macroevolution is simply a series of many microevolutionary steps. It is outside the scope of this facility to discuss detailed evolutionary arguments. There is some interesting material on the following sites that may help with definitions and in persuading sceptics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microevolution
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroevolution
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/macroevolution.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

One can only marvel at the volume of evidence, compared to the simplistic “God did it”. Note the information on transitional forms, the sort of information that creationists say is simply not there.

Posted: June 26th 2007

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Akusai www

I know, it’s silly, isn’t it?

At the risk of making an awful analogy, it’s almost like believing that someone can walk but not that he can run.

I think the simplest answer (leaving aside the apologetic flummery you’ll hear from a creationist) is that they believe microevolution because it is right in their faces and it can hardly be denied. In the lifetime of human civilization, we’ve taken wolves from the wilderness and turned them into chihuahuas and pugs.

They reject macroevolution not because of any particular rational quibble with it, but because they have a priori decided that it cannot be true. The Bible says so. They may throw around pretend evidence or (irony of ironies) say that macroevolution is “pseudoscience” because it cannot be tested in a particle accellerator, but really, they deny it because their religion tells them they must. It’s as simple as that.

I once walked a creationist (of the old-Earth variety) through all the steps of (a simplified version of) evolution, from transcription errors during meiosis and initial embryonic cell divisions to selection pressures over long periods of time, and he said he agreed that every single component part of evolution happened, but he didn’t agree that evolution itself happened. This is like agreeing with every single premise of an argument but rejecting the conclusion. If you agree that all the premises are true, you are bound by reason to accept the conclusion.

Their acceptance of “microevolution” coupled with their denial of “macroevolution” is simply gross irrationality, made all the more plain when you realize that, in biology, there’s no distinction. Evolution is evolution. Micro- and macro- are the same thing.

How can people buy one and not the other? Once you shut off your mind and accept “eternal truths” without question, it’s actually quite easy.

Posted: June 25th 2007

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brian thomson www

I don’t know – not having asked anyone with such a belief – but my theory has two parts to it:

  1. The evidence for micro-evolution is in our faces in the world today, with the evolution of new forms of diseases: avian influenza, MRSA, highly-resistant TB, etc. Only a true hard-headed apologist would deny what is happening in that area today – though I do see some doing exactly that.
  2. The evidence supporting macro-evolution is evidence from thousands and millions of years ago, because the relatively long life cycles of animals (compared to bacteria) makes it a very slow process. This brings that theory into direct conflict with “young earth” creationists. These are the people behind the “Creation Museum”, for example; the ones who deny the evidence and try to poke holes in the methods used to gather it by e.g. refusing to accept that results from carbon-dating can be valid at all (even allowing for error).

Posted: June 25th 2007

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