googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: BREAKING NEWS: Creationists Deny Evolution!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Creationists Deny Evolution!!

In my last post, I discussed the apology-for-evolution video, “What Every Creationist Must DENY.” My focus in that post was more on the failed logic seen in the video. However, in the midst of the video's bad arguments was this little gem: creationists must deny “macroevolution.” Isn't that hilarious? I mean, denying evolution is sort of a prerequisite to being a creationist, isn't it? So the video is right on one point – creationists deny evolution. Duh! Like the old saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Now the video did use the terms “microevolution” and “macroevolution” as things creationists must deny. Speaking as a creationist, I admit that I deny that evolution occurs at all – neither micro- nor macro-. However, creationists and evolution don't necessarily use these terms in exactly the same way so I thought I'd take a moment and explore them.

Microevolution typically describes variations in a population from one generation to the next (by the way, the video claimed creationists must also deny “variation”). The peppered moth study is a famous example of microevolution where the ratio of light/dark moths changed over the period they were observed. Since the variation occurred within a species, most evolutionists and many creationists would agree that the peppered moth study is an example of microevolution.

Some creationists also use the term “microevolution” to describe variations within a kind. Species like lions, tigers, leopards, and cheetahs are all members of a single “cat-kind” and are all descended from a common ancestor. The features that identify any particular species are merely different combinations of traits already present in the kind. A kind can become very diverse (cats can become lions, jaguars, and lynxes), but they are still the same kind. Therefore, many creationists use “microevolution” to describe variation within a kind. On this point creationists and evolutionists begin to differ since evolutionists consider changes that occur above the species level to be “macroevolution.”

What creationists do not believe is that one kind can change into another – like a dino changing into a bird or an ape into a man. This is what many creationists would call “macroevolution” This is what is meant when some creationists say they accept microevolution but not macroevolution. In the creation v. evolution debate, it is evolution at the macro-level (one kind changing into another) that is the point of contention. This is the defining difference between creationists and evolutionists.

As I've already said, I don't believe evolution occurs at all and I avoid using either term. I also heartily discourage other creationists from using them. “Evolution” is an equivocal term that evolutionists use to describe nearly any type of change in a population. By using the terms micro- or macro- to describe the change, the creationist opens the door to abuse because evolutionists are not careful to distinguish between the two. Consider this quote from Wiki:

Although creationists accept microevolution of varieties within a kind, they claim that macroevolution does not happen. To biologists there is no dividing line between the two, and in the modern evolutionary synthesis the same mechanisms are seen operating at various scales to cause both evolution within species and speciation at a macroevolution level or wider changes, the only difference being of time and scale.

One of the five lies evolutionists tell is that microevolution + time = macroevolution. To them, time is like a magic wand that can turn a frog into a prince via tiny changes. In the most famous example of microevolution (the peppered moth), birds would tend to eat one shade of moth, then the other shade as environmental factors changed. In the century since the study, what macroevolution has occurred among the peppered moths? Evolutionists usually say that 100 years isn't long enough for macroevolution to happen. Then let me ask you this: what microevolution has occurred? The ratio of light/dark moths has changed back and forth to a net change of ZERO! The change is not accumulating nor can it. If birds continuously ate one color of moth, it will never add new colors to the population no matter how long it occurs.

Evolutionists give no consideration to the type of change we observe. By their own admission, the only difference they see between micro- and macroevolution is time and scale. They believe the same mechanisms drive both and the accumulations of small changes (micro) will amount to big changes (macro) over time. Therefore, it makes no sense to an evolutionist when he hears a creationist say, “I accept microevolution but not macroevolution.” Thus, I discourage using the terms at all.

For evolution to occur, traits must be added to a population. For a dino to become a bird, for example, you need to add feathers. Natural selection (which the video also claims creationists must deny) removes traits from a population. Birds eating one shade of moth demonstrates one way traits can be removed. Therefore, natural selection is the opposite of evolution. The “little” changes we observe in populations (the removal of traits or the rearranging of existing traits) will never amount to anything. It would be wrong to call them microevolution.

Evolutionists suffer under the belief that you can turn a molehill into a mountain by continuously removing dirt; you just have to dig long enough! Creationists are a little smarter than that. We understand that not all change is equal. So hats off to the video for spotting it; creationists don't believe in evolution – not even a little. Thank you, Mr. Obvious!

Further reading:


Steven J. said...

It is true, of course, that creationists use technical terms from biology in different ways. Some of these are even correct (that is, they agree with the way biologists use the terms). Others assume that words can mean whatever they need to mean to make their arguments work, which strikes me as abusing the trust of fellow English-speakers who read creationists' writings.

Properly, "evolution" (when one is discussing biology -- like many English words, it means other things in other contexts) means "a change in the frequency of inherited variation in a population over time."

"Variation" means differences among individuals in a population at any given time. Some of these differences are caused by differences in genes; some are not (e.g. most variation in finger number among humans is not genetic, though some -- cases of polydactyly -- are).

"Microevolution" is evolution that does not result in a population splitting into two distinct species. "Species," in sexually-reproducing organisms, means populations with gene pools that are almost entirely isolated from other species; they normally will not or cannot interbreed with other species.

"Macroevolution" means evolution that does result in one species becoming two. Your depiction of "microevolution" shows a common ancestor giving rise to (I think) dogs, wolves, coyotes, jackals, and foxes; although dogs and wolves are often assigned to the same species, the others have been, since Linnaeus' day, regarded as separate species (in the case of foxes, modern taxonomy puts them in different genera in the same canid family).

"Kind" means a group of species for which even creationists cannot deny common ancestry. Among birds, "kinds" seem to fall (at least for young-earth creationists) at ca. the superfamily or suborder level, and so would definitely comprise the results of "macroevolution" as the term is usually used by biologists. For mammals, the human "kind" is usually restricted to genus Homo, but other "kinds" are placed at about the family level (e.g. the dog family Canidae, discussed above) or even the superfamily/suborder level (Todd Woods has proposed that the entire Caniformia, including dogs, bears, seals, etc. is a single "created kind," though I don't think many creationists agree with him).

The paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson proposed the term "megaevolution" for evolution of new genera and families. The term never really caught on, but if creationists are going to toss around references to the "dog kind," perhaps they should revive it. Then we could, e.g. distinguish among old-earth creationists (who typically deny both a global flood and macroevolution, but accept microevolution) from young-earth creationists (who need to keep the animal count on Noah's Ark down, and accept macroevolution but not megaevolution) from mainstream life scientists who accept megaevolution.

Anyway, "evolution" does not mean "any scientific result or theory that disagrees with my theology," and it is confusing and unhelpful to use the word that way. You do believe in microevolution; I'm pretty sure you believe in macroevolution, and you might as well notice and admit it.

Steven J. said...


"Change in the frequency of variations in a population over time" does not imply that the change is continuous or monotonic. Evolutionary change that cycles back and forth (whether moths becoming, on average, darker then lighter, or a lineage of horses becoming, over time, larger then smaller) is still evolution. Again, it is unhelpful when you keep making up novel definitions of commonly-understood technical terms.

Now, scale often makes a difference. One can readily imagine a "genetic space" in which clouds of viable genomes are separated from one another by large spaces in which no genome gives rise to an organism that is viable in any plausible environment, and there is no large space big enough to accomodate, e.g. both lungfish and humans, much less both dandelions and humans. The problem is not that evolutionists can't understand this idea; it's that they don't see that any such barriers actually exist. Especially, there's no obvious reason why lions and lynxes can be a single "kind," but humans and gorillas (which are slightly more genetically similar than lynxes and lions) "obviously" cannot share common ancestry.

By the way, I mentioned in my last reply that creationists, when they discuss mutation, generally try not to mention natural selection (which weeds out the multitude of bad mutations and conserves the much rarer beneficial ones), and when discussing natural selection try not to mention mutations. I was decrying this practice, not recommending it, and it is again unhelpful that you resort to it (especially when a significant fraction of your readership will notice the trick instantly).

Known sorts of mutations -- single-nucleotide substitutions, insertions or deletions of single nucleotides, duplication or deletion of entire genes, transposition of genes, insertion of retroviruses, etc. -- can over time change any genome to any other (this is a logical necessity of what DNA is and how it works). Incidentally, mutations that produce new colors in hamster fur have been observed; hamsters are not butterflies but I'm not seeing the problem in mutations producing new color morphs in insects.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

Thanks for your comments.

Your glossary of terms is interesting but hardly necessary. I'm familiar with these terms. Your definition for “evolution,” for example, has been cited on my blog many times. I've also said many times that it allows for horrible equivocation by evolutionists since it does not distinguish between ordinary, observed change from one generation to the next and huge, unobserved changes over time (like dino to birds). Creationists don't deny that populations change but they don't believe bacteria became birds. Since you call both “evolution,” I suggest it's evolutionists who are abusing the trust of fellow English-speakers.

You do bring up a point that has given me more than a little annoyance. Evolutionists have an elitist mentality which is sometimes expressed in their obsessive need to monopolize language. Please show me when evolutionists were endowed with the exclusive right to define terms. You not only want to refuse creationists the use of terms like “evolution” (except in a manner approved by you), but you also want to define the terms used by creationists (like “kind”). You're welcome to use terms any way you'd like (as though I could stop you). However, don't expect me to fall into lock-step. I'm very careful when I use terms to explain what I mean. Again, it's evolutionists who abuse the language – such as equivocating over the word, “evolution.”

In this post, I was talking about the terms “microevolution” and “macroevolution.” This post is already 2 pages long and there wasn't enough space to include mutations and natural selection. I've actually already started writing a post dealing with these subjects but I've also discussed them before on my blog. I'll have to look over some of my older posts but here's a link to one:

I'm thinking of still another post dealing with rapid speciation. I hadn't intended to turn my response to the video into a series but it may turn out that way.

Stay tuned and thanks for visiting.

God bless!!


Steven J. said...

I am making no claim that "evolutionists have an exclusive right to define terms." I am making a claim that communication works better when people agree to use words in the commonly-agreed-upon manner. You can stipulatively redefine "Statue of Liberty" to mean "grilled cheese sandwich" if you wish, but this only leads to confusion when you're arguing with people about what the statue is made of.

The point is that you clearly accept what other young-earth creationists call "microevolution" (though you insist, pointlessly and confusingly, that you do not), and you further accept some instances of what virtually all actual biologists call "macroevolution." It is a rhetorical vice to obscure this fact.

Oh, and if you disagree with my definition of "kind," offer your own. I am open to correction on this issue; I was trying to define the term as creationists actually use it.

You complain that by calling both the acquisition of penicillin resistance by E. coli and the acquisition of wings and feathers by archosaurs "evolution," evolutionists are "cheating" by implying that the latter is simply the accumulation of the former. But of course, by insisting on a distinction between "microevolution" (or "variation" or "changes within kinds") and "real evolution," you are implying that barriers to evolutionary change exist that you cannot demonstrate and cannot even coherently describe.

Oh, and if you had space to complain that natural selection can work only on existing traits, you had space to mention that mutations are supposed to add traits to the population. Your omission of this rather obvious point looks dishonest, not careless.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

If you are truly concerned for the precise meaning of terms, you would join me in denouncing the equivocal use of the word “evolution.” It's not my desire to blur the meanings of terms but to make them more precise. I have already made it clear that I acknowledge changes that evolutionists would call “microevolution” and even “macroevolution” but I refuse to identify them as evolution of any sort. The reason I do this is because it is the evolutionists who conflate the variations that we do see with the idea of common descent of all life from a common ancestor.

The changes we observed in the peppered moth could never amount anything except LESS variety among the peppered moths. I believe it is a blatant lie to call it microevolution and an even more egregious lie to suggest that over time that same type of change could become macroevolution. Curiously absent from your comments was any acknowledgment about this simple truth. Like I said, evolutionists give no consideration to the type of change. Never mind that the change in the peppered moths could not create anything. It's change and therefore it is “evolution.” You'll excuse me for not playing along with that lie.

Now, concerning natural selection and mutations, as I've said, I'll be blogging about this directly. In the meanwhile, I'll make these few remarks: Natural selection does not “create” new traits. Traits can become dominant in a population via natural selection but a trait must exist before it can be selected. Surely you would not expect anyone to believe natural selection can act upon traits that don't exist? Mutation is the only candidate that can add novel traits to a population and so is the real hero of evolution. Thus far, I've not seen a convincing example of mutations adding novel traits. If I ever see one, I might acknowledge that evolution is at least possible.

Stay tuned for more about this. God bless!!