Macroevolution and Microveolution Chart

Defining Evolution Part 2: Microevolution and Macroevolution

by / April 21, 2016

One of the most misunderstood concepts within the Creation and Evolution debate is how microevolution, macroevolution, and variation within a Kind compare to one another. The frequent use, and misuse, of these terms by supporters of either view calls for closer examination.

As with any of the definitions of evolutionary concepts, microevolution and macroevolution describe change. More specifically, they describe an amount of change within a biological organism. The terms were first used, in German, in 1927 by entomologist Iurii Filipchenko. It was used and popularized a few years later, in English, by Theodosius Dobzhansky’s work in developing the Modern Evolution Synthesis. It is sometimes claimed that creationists made these terms up to use in debates, but the historical truth is that these terms were made by evolutionists for descriptions of evolution theory.

Microevolution and Macroevolution currently have two distinct uses and definitions. The first set of definitions is composed of a more generic view of small scale changes and large scale changes respectively. This is the definition most commonly used in public debates. The more formal and scientific definition is that microevolution involves changes that occur below the species level while macroevolution involves changes at or above the species level. This effectively means that any changes in taxonomic classification, including speciation, are considered macroevolution in scientific writing.

The amount of variation expected within Created Kinds works on a different scale than either macroevolution or microevolution. This is because Created Kinds are determined by ability to reproduce rather than by similarity in appearance. The taxonomic rank for Kind strongly averages near the Family level. Using this average, all of the variation in the Created Kinds model is expected to appear below the Kind level [family rank] while the taxonomic ranks above that are considered non-existent.

The confusion within the Creation and Evolution debate stems from the fact that the variation expected within a Kind overlaps the entire range of microevolution and a small part of macroevolution when using the technical definitions of the terms. It is further confused when the general definitions of small scale and large scale changes are instead used to discuss the topic as this effectively (and unscientifically) moves the micro- and macro- evolution boundary from below the Species rank to roughly the Family rank.

Quite surprisingly, Creationists have sometimes said they agree with microevolution as changes that occur within a Kind and reject macroevolution as changes that would occur outside of a Kind. This is done in an effort to discuss the amount of variation that can occur. However, it is still surprising because using evolutionary terminology implies evolutionary processes which the creationist would not agree with. Microevolution and macroevolution are terms that should be limited in use to describing the Theory of Evolution and should be avoided in describing Created Kinds.

It is not uncommon for evolutionists to claim that Evolution has been witnessed. Generally, what this really means is that variation within a species (such as bacteria developing antibiotic resistance) or possibly even speciation (such as a fish developing into recognizable lake and stream forms) has been witnessed. Has evolution been witnessed? No … speciation is not proof of Evolution! This is because both the Creation and Evolution models allow for variation and speciation. Simply having variation does not state how it was produced. To prove one model or the other, one must look at what process caused the changes as the Evolution Model and the Creation Model expect (mostly) different processes to be involved.

As creationists, we should not be surprised to see variation and speciation occur. Do not let the terminology of evolutionary concepts fool you. The change that is actually witnessed, whether at a microevolution or macroevolution level, is not evidence of evolution, but only variation within a Kind.

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Todd Elder
Todd Elder has a deep desire to understand and experience Creation. As a Baraminologist, his current research includes developing the Katagenos Species Concept, the Natanzera Classification System, and the Floral Formula Method of determining Plant Kinds. As a Believer, he is also active as the owner of Scripture Advocate Publishing, founder of the Encouraging Life Children’s Mission, and director of the Creation Science League. As author and speaker, his books and seminar materials are designed to encourage a growing relationship with the Creator.

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