macro evolution??

31


Discussion by: Manjunath K
I have people arguing with me about evolution based on this linkhttp://www.seekingtruth.co.uk/evolution.htm
reasoning with religious people is so tough, they agree with micro evolution but not macro, but i cant find enough information or a website where it specifically  states and addresses macro evolution.

31 COMMENTS

  1. The phrase “macro evolution” is often tossed out there as a red herring with the ID/creationist crowd and is usually coupled with statements like, “We don’t see macro evolution! Nobody’s seen a cat turning into a dog!” And everybody nods because of course this is ridiculous.

    It’s all “micro” evolution. If they can accept one small change, how about ten? A hundred? A thousand? What happens when there are a hundred thousand small changes over many generations? All those changes add up until you get two different species. And from there, a dozen different species. Then new families. And finally something that doesn’t really resemble its ancestor so much at all.

    TalkOrigins also really digs into the topic and may help you out more. =)

    UC Berkeley also has something.

  2. “Macro-evolution” is just a creationist red-herring based on their inability to grasp small changes building into big ones over geological time scales.

    There is no fundamental difference between “macro-evolution” or micro-evolution”. It is just “evolution” studied over different time scales.

    When people refer to these terms as a “problem”, it usually indicates they never been taught proper biology, but have been fed pseudo-science from ignoramus websites or preachers.

    Here is the basic wiki explanation:-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microevolution#Misuse

    Microevolution is the changes in allele frequencies that occur over time within a population.[1] This change is due to four different processes: mutation, selection (natural and artificial), gene flow, and genetic drift.

    Population genetics is the branch of biology that provides the mathematical structure for the study of the process of microevolution. Ecological genetics concerns itself with observing microevolution in the wild. Typically, observable instances of evolution are examples of microevolution; for example, bacterial strains that have antibiotic resistance.

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    Microevolution over time may lead to speciation or the appearance of novel structure, sometimes classified as macroevolution.[2]

    Contrary to claims by creationists however, macro and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales.

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    Microevolution can be contrasted with macroevolution, which is the occurrence of large-scale changes in gene frequencies in a population over a geological time period (i.e. consisting of extended microevolution). The difference is largely one of approach. Microevolution is reductionist, but macroevolution is holistic. Each approach offers different insights into the evolution process.

    Macroevolution can be seen as the sum of long periods of microevolution, and thus the two are qualitatively identical while being quantitatively different.

    The misuse to involve “KINDS” of animals from Noah’s Ark (baraminology in creation-speak) is described below:

    Misuse

    In young Earth creationism and baraminology a central tenet is that evolution can explain diversity in a limited number of created kinds which can interbreed (which they call “microevolution”) while the formation of new “kinds” (which they call “macroevolution”) is impossible.[49] [3] This acceptance of “microevolution” only within a “kind” is also typical of old Earth creationism.

  3. You are being suckered into playing a game you can not win, nor can you break even; however, unlike the laws of thermodynamics, you can get out of the game. That is, unless you insist on playing or you can not escape. In the latter instance, the lot of you are either in heaven or hell and suffering identical reward or punishment. I am not an expert on the details, but assuming these are christians of some variety, wouldn’t they have to admit that either outcome is impossible based on their own beliefs?

  4. Put it back on them. Ask them to explain the mechanism that stops animals evolving sufficiently to change species. If they are proposing that god made things in ‘Kinds’ then that is a testable hypothesis. They need to show a mechanism that allows evolution only to a certain point and no further.

  5. it’s basically bullshit. ask anyone who uses this arguement ot define the difference in a scientific way and explain the mechanism that allows “little” but not “big” changes. the reason it’s popular is because it appeals to personal incredulity. can’t see microscopic things so microscopic changes don’t mean anything.

    as with all IDiots, the stumbling block is the concept of deep time. the Lenski experiments proove evolution but on a microscopic scale. this is because if you want to observe change within a human lifespan you need to work with an organism that will reprodcuce very quickly.

    best advice is though, ignore them. don’t argue with deniers, especially if all they can do is point to a single website for authority. at most suggest they may be on to something and ask them to get back to you when they’ve got something published through peer review

  6. As everyone else have already said, the idea of “macro evolution” is just a red herring. It’s the result of either an unintentional or intentional misunderstanding of the theory of evolution.

    When I spoke to a few Jehovah’s Witnesses who did not believe in evolution, they too said they accept micro evolution, but not macro. They said that there are boundaries between species which cannot be crossed. They claimed that genetic variation can happen within a species – that’s why for example humans look different – but the mutations and selection cannot go so far that these boundaries are crossed and that a species becomes so different that it’ll evolve into a new species. But what they can’t explain, of course, is where these boundaries come from. How do the genes decide that “we can mutate this far, but no further, otherwise our host species will turn into another one”? Why can’t tiny, micro-sized mutations together with selection produce macro changes over millions of years? What do they think will stop the accumulation of mutations in the long term?

  7. As everyone else have already said, the idea of “macro evolution” is just a red herring. It’s the result of either an unintentional or intentional misunderstanding of the theory of evolution.

    When I spoke to a few Jehovah’s Witnesses who did not believe in evolution, they too said they accept micro evolution, but not macro. They said that there are boundaries between species which cannot be crossed. They claimed that genetic variation can happen within a species – that’s why for example humans look different – but the mutations and selection cannot go so far that these boundaries are crossed and that a species becomes so different that it’ll evolve into a new species. But what they can’t explain, of course, is where these boundaries come from. How do the genes decide that “we can mutate this far, but no further, otherwise our host species will turn into another one”? Why can’t tiny, micro-sized mutations together with selection produce macro changes over millions of years? What do they think will stop the accumulation of mutations in the long term?

  8. Every scientific measurement can be framed against the natural world. God or spirits have not being verified in an objectifiable way. Everything we know is based on the natural world , it follows that life formed naturally as well. Ask them to point you to a single example of where ‘magic’ took place. They will not be able to do so. Either magic did it or life formed naturally.

  9. As SaganTheCat points out, it’s partly an inability to grasp the scale of deep time that’s the problem. I’ve made a spreadsheet which uses 1 row as 10 million years, and lays out the appearance of some animal groups since the beginning of the Cambrian. You’ll see Column D is Homo Sapiens, but you’ll need to zoom in to read it!
    Spreadsheet here:
    http://www.filedropper.com/phanerozoic

  10. A quick search for “ring species” should help find useful websites e.g.:

    Ring Species: Unusual Demonstrations of Speciation

    Ring species provide strong evidence for evolution causing the appearance of new species, demonstrating that many small changes can eventually accumulate into large differences between distinct species. Some critics of evolutionary theory think that evolution can only cause limited change within a species and cannot lead to the evolution of new species. Ring species show that they are wrong; variation between species is qualitatively similar, though different in degree, to variation within a species.

  11. Hand them the wonderful book “The Making of the Fittest” by Sean Carroll. After they invest time and thought into the processing and reading of the material, have them ask their question again. If they are not willing to invest time or effort; then your time and effort being spent on them is in vain.

  12. Never fight with an ignorant fool, they’ll pull you down to their level and beat you with experience. Ignoring them and letting them stew in their own juices is the only sane course of action.

  13. In reply to #9 by Nastika:

    A quick search for “ring species” should help find useful websites e.g.:

    Ring Species: Unusual Demonstrations of Speciation

    I like the example of gulls.

    A classic example of ring species is the Larus gulls’ circumpolar species “ring”. The range of these gulls forms a ring around the North Pole, which is not normally transited by individual gulls. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_species

    Alt Text . . .(Right click and select “view image”)

    Example of Ring species : the Seagull

    1 : Larus fuscus (en:Lesser Black-backed Gull)
    2 : Siberian population of Larus fuscus
    3 : Larus fuscus heuglini or Larus heuglini (en:Heuglin's gull)
    4 : Larus argentatus birulai (en:Birula's Gull)
    5 : Larus argentatus vegae or Larus vegae (en:East Siberian Herring Gull)
    6 : Larus argentatus smithsonianus or Larus smithsonianus (en:American Herring Gull)
    7 : Larus argentatus (en:Herring Gull)
    
  14. Some regard the question as a canard, and even deny the definitions of micro- and macro- as having any validity, since the two concepts are generally regarded as essentially the same, with one merely an expanded accumulation of steps culminating in varied genera, families and beyond. A somewhat crude analogy is the ‘steps-to-the-mailbox’ being compared with a walk from LA to NY (US cities), which I briefly touched on here:
    http://livinglifewithoutanet.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/intelligent-design-not-really/

    But it’s not that simple, and it’s much more than a ‘creationist’ tactic. If you’ve got some time, brew yourself a pot of coffee, sit back, and review the several hundred comments on these two blog entries. This discussion involves not just ‘creationists”, (a few, perhaps) but scientists as well, debating from several possible perspectives. Reality discerned, there just may be much more involved than mere ‘adaptive’ traits to explain the ‘greatest show’ on earth. Dig in, and enjoy!

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/a-world-famous-chemist-tells-the-truth-theres-no-scientist-alive-today-who-understands-macroevolution/

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/professor-james-tour-accepts-nick-matzkes-offer-to-explain-macroevolution/

  15. Lets keep it simple.

    If you want to look at “macro evolution” start here:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phylogenetic-tree

    Progress to here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_Life_Web_Project

    Those should give the lineage and big picture of the known various life forms (by orders, genera, species etc.) on Earth. All are descended from LUCA, with each branch leading to modern species.

    Obviously for a depth of understanding, the interrelationships, genetics, and physiological structures of individual genera and species need to be studied – right down to the tips of the branches for those specialising.

    …. .. And bear in mind with new species being discovered all the time, no scientists know it all -

    … . . but also bear in mind that IDiots know NOTHING of consequence or substance about evolution,

    . . . .. and creationists have yet to demonstrate the existence, or even the definition, of their “creator god”, let alone how it is capable of creating anything!

    My comment @2 makes clear the difference between the scientific “macro” big picture, and the pseudo-science misuse of the term.

  16. Catholics claim to accept evolution, but I came across [this] (http://www.oxfordtutorials.com/Dawkins%20Debunked%20Summary.htm) document (by Norman J. Lund Ph.D) being wielded with glee by ‘Catholic’ commenters on the Catholic Herald website. Titled “Dawkins Debunked: A Dozen Logical Fallacies in The God Delusion”, the document itself seems to be comprised purely of lies and fallacies about Dawkins’ alleged fallacies. One paragraph reads

    ”Composition (misapplication): This fallacy assumes that what is true of the parts of something must also be true of the whole. Dawkins commits this fallacy by treating evolution as a monolithic process, and refusing to distinguish between micro- and macro-evolution. No one denies micro-evolution. The evidence for adaptation and change within species is overwhelming. However, there is no such evidence for change between species (transmutation), nor for the appearance of life from non-life by natural processes (abiogenesis).”

    I pointed out that there is no barrier between microevolution and macroevolution, and that there is evidence of macroevolution, both in the laboratory and in the field. It cut no ice with the opposing commenters, but I thought it was worth arguing just in case some readers of the Catholic Herald were less stubborn.

  17. In reply to #16 by TreenonPoet:

    Catholics claim to accept evolution, but I came across [this] (http://www.oxfordtutorials.com/Dawkins%20Debunked%20Summary.htm) document (by Norman J. Lund Ph.D) being wielded with glee by ‘Catholic’ commenters on the Catholic Herald website. Titled “Dawkins Debunked: A Dozen Logical Fallacies in The God Delusion”, the document itself seems to be comprised purely of lies and fallacies about Dawkins’ alleged fallacies.

    When the Catholic establishment says “they accept evolution”, this is deception. What they do is to substitute the non-scientific – god-did-it-by-fiddling-with-it-to-create-man “Theistic Evolution” for Darwinian evolution. Many of them know nothing of biological evolution, although “theistic evolution” includes cherry-picked parts of this genuine science where humans are not involved.

    It should also be noted that this acceptance of “theistic evolution”, is fairly recent, and many older Catholics will have been indoctrinated in the earlier total denial of Darwininan evolution before the RCC (faced with irrefutable science), produced their fudged “theistic version” as a rear-guard action.

    Most Catholic apologists attempts at reasoning, are so full of appeals to authority, begging the question, and circular arguments, that their posing as “authorities” on logical reasoning is comical!

    Their arguments often take the form: ” Scientists do not recognise the theistic pseudo-science assertions in “theistic evolution”, so their thinking must be flawed” – as is anyone’s reasoning which does not go round the fallacious circle to arrive back at god-did-it-in-mysterious-ways!

    Various “flea books” have claimed to debunk Richard’s works, but these only have credibility with the ignorant sheeples exercising their confirmation biases.

  18. In reply to #16 by TreenonPoet:

    Catholics claim to accept evolution, but I came across [this] (http://www.oxfordtutorials.com/Dawkins%20Debunked%20Summary.htm) document (by Norman J. Lund Ph.D) being wielded with glee by ‘Catholic’ commenters on the Catholic Herald website. .
    One paragraph reads:-

    No one denies micro-evolution. The evidence for adaptation and change within species is overwhelming. However, there is no such evidence for change between species (transmutation), nor for the appearance of life from non-life by natural processes (abiogenesis).”

    This looks like a standard “creationist refutation”. – Some ignoramus makes a published assertion that there is “no evidence” ( – when there are university science libraries full of evidence) – and thousands from rent-a-parrot then repeat the claim with airs of authority!

  19. In reply to #17 by Alan4discussion:

    Agreed. The McGraths’ “The Dawkins Delusion” came up in the thread I mentioned. I asked for anyone to quote a single valid criticism of “The God Delusion” from that flea. Of course, none were forthcoming, but my hypothesis is that some readers of the thread (despite their confirmation bias) will notice that no readers seem capable of finding even one valid criticism in the McGraths’ book.

    If the argument that Manjunath K refers to is in public (such as in an online forum), I would discourage withdrawal from the argument.

  20. Something you might find interesting and relevant to your inquiry (ref. The Ancestors Tale by R. Dawkins):
    I am just now listening to an abridged audiobook of The Ancestors Tale by R. Dawkins, part 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siitJDsaGiQ&list=UUYcuhfXuhNiAwTbD_rKBMOQ&index=12. From 2:17:00-2:25:00 there is a discussion of the several decades of work by Peter & Rosemary Grant on the Galapagos island Daphne Major. In particular, this passage discusses changes in two species of medium ground finches that resulted from varying climatic conditions. It ends saying that “Peter Grant calculated that it would take only 23 bouts of 1977 style drought to turn (n.b. ‘not literally’) G. fortis into G. magnirostris”. This is described way to “visualize the origin of species and how rapidly it can happen”. I interpret this as meaning that no claim of speciation is made, so it might not be adequate ammunition for the debate you’re involved in.

    Anyway, I was curious if these were not actually the same species, if interbreeding would be possible. It seems that interbreeding between closely related species is not impossible and that the resulting hybrids are not necessarily completely sterile. In connection with this I found this paper, Darwin’s Finches by M. Hau and M. Wikelski http://www.princeton.edu/~hau/ReprintLinks/Darwin_Finches.pdf. Another reference is the book How and Why Species Multiply: The Radiation of Darwin’s Finches by Peter R. Grant and B. Rosemary Grant.

  21. In reply to #21 by whiteraven:

    Something you might find interesting and relevant to your inquiry (ref. The Ancestors Tale by R. Dawkins):
    I am just now listening to an abridged audiobook of The Ancestors Tale by R. Dawkins, part 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siitJDsaGiQ&list=UUYcuhfXuhNiAwTbD_rKBMOQ&index=12. From 2:17:00-2:25:00 there is a discussion of the several decades of work by Peter & Rosemary Grant on the Galapagos island Daphne Major. In particular, this passage discusses changes in two species of medium ground finches that resulted from varying climatic conditions. It ends saying that “Peter Grant calculated that it would take only 23 bouts of 1977 style drought to turn (n.b. ‘not literally’) G. fortis into G. magnirostris”.

    There can certainly be variation within a few generations – particularly in species which have a diverse gene pool and considerable variation.

    This is described way to “visualize the origin of species and how rapidly it can happen”.

    Speciation does not normally happen in big jumps. The developments go though a series of “varieties” and “sub-species” first. This is recognised in the “International Rules of Nomenclature “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International-Code-of-Zoological-Nomenclature which are used for classification.

    I interpret this as meaning that no claim of speciation is made, so it might not be adequate ammunition for the debate you’re involved in.

    The PROCESS OF SPECIATION can be illustrated without being complete. In island populations,geographical separation can initially keep the diverging species apart.

    Anyway, I was curious if these were not actually the same species, if interbreeding would be possible. It seems that interbreeding between closely related species is not impossible and that the resulting hybrids are not necessarily completely sterile. In connection with this I found this paper, Darwin’s Finches by M. Hau and M. Wikelski http://www.princeton.edu/~hau/ReprintLinks/Darwin_Finches.pdf.
    Another reference is the book How and Why Species Multiply: The Radiation of Darwin’s Finches by Peter R. Grant and B. Rosemary Grant.

    The inability to X breed is progressive as the species separate and become less closely related. See the example of the “Ring Species” of Gulls @ 13.

    • In reply to #23 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee:

      Do these religious people agree that the hour hand moves on their wristwatch, even though they’ve never seen it move?

      That’s not a valid argument as you can observe the hour hand moving.

      • In reply to #24 by Guptanator:

        In reply to #23 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee:

        Do these religious people agree that the hour hand moves on their wristwatch, even though they’ve never seen it move?

        That’s not a valid argument as you can observe the hour hand moving.

        I think that’s the point of the analogy! – you can see evolution happening S-L-O-W-L-Y if you observe over a longer period!

  22. Neil Shubin has an excellent book called, ‘Finding your Inner Fish,’ which Richard Dawkins references in his also excellent book, ‘The Greatest Show on Earth.’ Both these books are a great resource and fun to read.

    Shubin discovered a transitional fossil that he named Tiktaalik where the front flippers were found to have five digits, very similar to whales. Dawkins and Shubin both give great examples of undeniable macro evolutionary evidence in both human other animals.

    To aid your argument, this link is to a Harvard endorsed site with descriptive slides available for download http://tiktaalik.uchicago.edu/book-tools.html

  23. Although I did mention ‘macro’ evolution, I do realize that all evolution is in micro steps, but I use the word only to quench the argument put forth by some creationists that only believe bacteria are capable of evolution at the smallest scale and are unable to comprehend the time required for noticeable evolutionary change such as an arm, for instance.
    For example, eukaryotic cells containing mitochondria responsible for ATP production is believed an evolutionary symbiotic joining between smaller and larger prokaryotes. A small evolutionary change with profound impact as none of us would exist without them.

  24. The definition of “macro evolution” by Wikipedia is: “Macro evolutionary studies focus on change that occurs at or above the level of species, in contrast with micro evolution, which refers to smaller evolutionary changes (typically described as changes in allele frequencies) within a species or population.”

    If you want an example of macro evolution in progress go to http://www.ensatina.net . This is a genus that is complex and the evidence (DNA studies) show that there are a number of incipient species and that the species Ensatina eschscholtzi in breaking up into a number of species (macro evolution). It is a genus that some have estimated it is about 13 million years old, so don’t expect speciation to occur soon.

  25. Essentially the difference between microevolution and macroevolution is the number of generations being compared. Macro evolution focuses on the changes between species and micro focuses on the allele distributions within populations. Micro would be changes that produce new traits macro would be the same changes just added up and isolated for long enough to cause speciation.

  26. Lolz, this is always a funny one for me.
    They cannot logically accept ‘micro evolution’ but deny ‘macro evolution’.

    To oversimplify this, the difference between micro and macro is just the amount of time it takes and how many times mutations occur.

    It’s like they’re claiming to believe in grapes and decomposition but deny wine could form.
    But we have wine. lolz

Leave a Reply