Macroevolution vs. Microevolution
Macroevolution vs. Microevolution
Evolutionists blur the important distinction between micro and macroevolution. They work hard to make it seem like the two types of evolution are a continuous process, when really they are not. It is important for creationists to clearly understand and communicate this distinction. The key lies in understanding these processes at the molecular genetic (genotypic) level, as well as at the higher (phenotypic) level of tissues and organs. When we do, we can see clearly why microevolution happens all the time, whereas the kind of macroevolution theorized by Darwin never happened and never could. (In fact, some creationists are recommending that we try to get away from using terms like micro and macroevolution, and use terms like “variation” versus “evolution”.)
Microevolution is the occurrence of small inherited changes in a population. The classic example is Darwin’s finches, which show variations in size and shape over successive generations depending on the nature of their food supply. Many other similar examples could be readily cited, like the breeding of dogs or types of wheat. In Darwin’s day, the true nature of genes and heredity wasn’t known, so it was easy for him to suppose that little inherited changes could add up to big ones (like reptile to bird). However, the discovery of genes and how they work has shown that this is not so. Genes can impart great variety by combining in different ways, but genetic change cannot be pushed beyond a certain point. From generic dogs, we can breed big dogs or little ones, but we can’t turn a dog into an alligator. The important thing to remember about microevolution is that it always involves recombination or loss of existing genes. It never creates totally new genes from scratch. Microevolution makes variations within already existing kinds of creatures, not wholly new kinds. Creationists have no problem with microevolution.
Macroevolution, on the other hand, would require really big structural (phenotypic) changes in organisms. Genetically, it would require the creation of massive new arrays of information-packed genes from nothing but molecular gibberish. For example, the alleged evolution of the first cell calls for emergence of at least 300 highly complex, working genes from nothing but random, simple chemicals like methane and ammonia. Not even a small sequence of genetic code has ever been produced in this way, let alone 300 complex, interwoven genes working precisely together. Similarly, the theorized transitions from microbes to invertebrates, fish, reptiles, etc., call for added vast amounts of totally new genetic information at each stage. No process of genetic creation like this has ever been observed. Natural selection is powerless to create completely new genes from random chemicals.
To illustrate this idea, use a deck of playing cards to represent the gene pool of a created kind. The individual cards represent the genes. A standard 52-card deck of four suits can be shuffled and dealt into different sublets (hands) of great variety, just as genes are shuffled and recombined to create variations within kinds.
To show how microevolution works, deal out 5-10 cards to each “player” and have them select cards in their hands according to number, color, and suit. Then, unwanted cards can be returned to the remaining deck, reshuffled, and re-dealt. When the process is repeated a few times, the desired cards in the hand are concentrated. This is similar to the gene selection by which different variations within a kind are produced (like the Galapagos finches, or dog breeds).
The point is that any process of card selection cannot explain the origin of the deck (or creature) itself. Plus, it’s important to note that card selection causes other unselected cards to be lost from a hand. In the genetic world every species has a limited number of genes and chromosomes. When natural selection occurs, this means loss of information not gain.
So, let’s keep on calling attention to the vital difference between the two types of evolution – macro and micro. One postulates big changes; the other deals only in small changes. One has never been observed; the other has been observed many times. One requires creation of new genetic information; the other is only a recombination or loss of already genetic information. Most importantly, one denies the Creator, while the other shows the infinite creative genius behind the wonderful variety that we see in life.
By Dave Demmick, MD (Guest Writer)
This was published as an article in the November/December 2005 Think and Believe.
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