Macroevolution & Microcreationism: Another Flaw in Intelligent Design Creationism by David Eller

A STANDARD TACTIC USED by creationists to attack evolution is to contrast microevolution (i.e., within species evolution, which they accept) with macroevolution (i.e., between species evolution, which they adamantly reject). Microevolution, they grant, may or does occur. But they assert that macroevolution either has never been observed or is theoretically impossible. They argue that while microevolution may be true, it is trivial, and the major claim of evolution — the evolution and emergence of species — is either unsubstantiated or false.

I argue in this article that creationism faces its own micro/macro distinction and challenge, and that ID has so far only focused on and made claims about microprocesses. Finally, I posit that whatever achievements microcreation may have made or may have imagined it made, these achievements neither strengthen the case for macrocreation nor weaken the case for macroevolution. Link

11 comments:

Larian LeQuella said...

I actually cover this at http://factsnotfantasy.com/evolution.php. Feel free to browse the rest of the page too for silly things theitards say when they try to think science.


* I can accept micro-evolution, but not macro-evolution.
That argument makes no sense. There is no such thing as micro or macro evolution in a scientific sense. They are both the exact same thing, one is just a matter of greater time. The terms were also manufactured in order to lend a false legitimacy to evolution deniers when it was even beyond their denialism to reject observed and proven instances of evolution happening. So instead of accepting a proven fact, the goalpost was moved.

Papalinton said...

Creationism [Intelligent Design] has an impressive historical record of being a science than can operate across several disciplines. It does most of its more telling research experiments and important investigative discoveries, not so much in science labs, but through extensive field studies, like state legislatures, boards of education, and in the country's various courts of law at different levels. It is truly inter-disciplinary.

For shame, Dr Eller for attempting to nip a budding area of science in the bud.

Cheers

Rob said...

The best way to handle this in discussion with creationists might be listing species within the same "kind" that bear a wide range of traits. Ask them how to define "micro" evolution meaningfully.

For example, if we just stick to fish, there are:
- fish with lungs (lungfish)
- fish with "hands" that they walk around the seafloor on instead of swimming (handfish)
- fish that climb out of the water to walk on land or climb trees ("walking fish" such as the mudskipper)

How exactly do you define the fish "kind" and at one point would micro evolution become macro evolution?

Microevolution is a meaningless term that pretends organisms falls neatly into specific groups. Branches in the tree of life are more blurry than the metaphor "branches in the tree of life" conveys.

@Papalinton
That's high-grade sarcasm, right? Took me a couple readings.

Breckmin said...

"There is no such thing as micro or macro evolution in a scientific sense. They are both the exact same thing, one is just a matter of greater time."

This fails to address the area of dispute.

Macro evolution and the emergence of new genes requires information.
It is information entropy that is the real area of dispute with respect to macro and micro evolution.

All biological information comes from an already existing template.

No meaningful discuss of the dispute on speciation can take place without addressing the lack of observation of new information being added to a genome without an already existing template.

Macro evolution fails at the sequence level - and until you address this area of dispute with creationists - you are not identifying the difference between speciation within genera and universal common descent theory.

Samphire said...

"Macro evolution and the emergence of new genes requires information."

Breckmin, please could you help me out here. So that I might respond to you more fully please would you define what you mean by "information".

For instance, when 10M years ago and more the ice-fish of Antartica evolved to swim in colder climes it lost the ability to make red blood (i.e. loss of myoglobin expression) but gained the ability to survive sub-zero temperatures by the development of antifreeze glycoproteins.

Was this process a loss or gain of information - or perhaps both?

Papalinton said...

Hi Rob

You got it in one. Tongue- in- cheek, the best I can.

Cheers

Chuck O'Connor said...

Yeah Breck,

Where did you study biology again? What level did you achieve?

I'm going to go with a real biologist in Jerry Coyne

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/michael-ruse-human-evolution-a-big-problem-for-christians/

Basically Breck, question everything, starting with your lack of education in biology yet your certainty that you can lecture us on it.

You are a fucking idiot and a glaring advertisement that christians are self-centered and superstitious egoists who can only find epistemic confidence in dishonest appeals to imaginary friendship.

I hope there is a hell so your obstruction of humanity-serving and useful science for the sake of pseudo-self-righteous-superstitious-intellectualism will land you an eternity of torture and torment.

Your mental illness is evil and stands in the way of ideas that actually help people.

zenmite said...

Some mutations add information to a genome; some subtract it. Creationists get by with this claim only by leaving the term "information" undefined, impossibly vague, or constantly shifting. By any reasonable definition, increases in information have been observed to evolve. We have observed the evolution of increased genetic variety in a population (Lenski 1995; Lenski et al. 1991)
increased genetic material (Alves et al. 2001; Brown et al. 1998; Hughes and Friedman 2003; Lynch and Conery 2000; Ohta 2003)
novel genetic material (Knox et al. 1996; Park et al. 1996)
novel genetically-regulated abilities (Prijambada et al. 1995)

If these do not qualify as information, then nothing about information is relevant to evolution in the first place.

A mechanism that is likely to be particularly common for adding information is gene duplication, in which a long stretch of DNA is copied, followed by point mutations that change one or both of the copies. Genetic sequencing has revealed several instances in which this is likely the origin of some proteins. The biological literature is full of examples.

No recognized theory of information (i.e., the statistical theory of Shannon et al, and the algorithmic theory of Kolmogorov, Chaitin, and Solomonoff) has a law of conservation of information. William Dembski and Werner Gitt have each invented their own nonstandard information theories, but neither of these theories is used in science or engineering, and their claims are not supported by the vast body of research into information theory.

Samphire said...

Chuck,

Your comment was very rude. Now poor Breckmin will be so offended (and rightly so) that he won't have the heart to respond to my enquiry.

For many years I've enquired of YECists what they mean by "information" and none has ever got back to me. Now, just when Breckmin was going to reveal all, he has been driven away by your astringent diatribe.

Thank you.

Softly, softly, catchee monkey.

GearHedEd said...

Breckmin said,

"...Macro evolution and the emergence of new genes requires information.
It is information entropy that is the real area of dispute with respect to macro and micro evolution."

PLEASE stop trying to impress us with your fractured ideas about science!

There is NO SUCH THING as "information entropy", and for you to toss that nugget into the air is proof that you are an idiot.

Entropy

Did you even read Eller's article? Did you read the comments? Do you know fact number one about the theory (science definition of theory!) of evolution? Or do you just go with the Discovery Institute's erroneous claim that "evolution is a theory in crisis"?

"The Discovery Institute is a conservative non-profit public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington, best known for its advocacy of intelligent design. Its Teach the Controversy campaign aims to teach creationist anti-evolution beliefs in United States public high school science courses.[2][3][4][5][6] A federal court, along with the majority of scientific organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, say the Institute has manufactured the controversy they want to teach by promoting a false perception that evolution is "a theory in crisis",[7] through incorrectly claiming that it is the subject of wide controversy and debate within the scientific community.[8][9][10] In 2005, a federal court ruled that the Discovery Institute pursues "demonstrably religious, cultural, and legal missions",[7][9][11] and the institute's manifesto, the Wedge strategy,[12] describes a religious goal: to "reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions"."

I say again:

"...the Institute has manufactured the controversy they want to teach by promoting a false perception that evolution is "a theory in crisis",[7] through incorrectly claiming that it is the subject of wide controversy and debate within the scientific community."

And your hero William Lane Craig is a Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.

I don't care how many PhD's the man has; if he supports this idiocy, he's an idiot by association.

Joshua White said...

Breckmin said,

"No meaningful discuss of the dispute on speciation can take place without addressing the lack of observation of new information being added to a genome without an already existing template.

Macro evolution fails at the sequence level - and until you address this area of dispute with creationists - you are not identifying the difference between speciation within genera and universal common descent theory."

Duplication mutations followed by a beneficial mutation to one copy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_duplication

I win.