Re: Peppered Moths - in black and white (part 2 of 2)

Kevin O'Brien (Cuchulaine@worldnet.att.net)
Tue, 30 Mar 1999 09:13:35 -0700

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I think we need to be very careful about what we mean by variation.
=20
Since creationists now tend to reject "microevolution" as a legitimate =
form of evolution (claiming instead that "macroevolution" is the only =
true evolution) they also tend to use "variation" as a verb, to indicate =
any change in observable morphological traits within a population, while =
defining "evolution" as an increase in complexity or the creation of new =
structures/body parts or some other such schlock. Their definition of =
"variation" is of course by definition what evolutionists mean by =
"evolution", but by employing their false dichotomy and calling any =
change on the "micro" level "variation", creationists are able to =
successfully deflect debate to "macroevolution" while ignoring the =
significance, and fact, of "microevolution".
=20
Evolutionists, however, tend to use "variation" as a noun, to indicate =
the full range of possible observable morphological traits contained =
within a population. This use of the term "variation" is more =
appropriate, but it also is unconcerned with change. It doesn't care =
whether a trait is represented by 99.9% of the population or 0.1% of the =
population, just as long as at least one member of the population has =
it. Nor is it concerned with whether there is a change in the frequency =
of that trait, as long as the trait does not disappear entirely. As =
such, evolutionists define any change in variation as "evolution", =
regardless of whether that change is permanent or not.
=20
Now, of course speciation (the classifical evolutionary definition of =
"macroevolution") does require a more or less permanent change in =
variation, but to limit evolution to speciation (and thus =
"macroevolution") and to use "variation" as a substitute for "evolution" =
on the "micro" level, is to play into the hands of the creationists and =
play the debate game their way.
=20
Kevin L. O'Brien

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I think we need to be very = careful about=20 what we mean by variation.
 
Since creationists now = tend to reject=20 "microevolution" as a legitimate form of evolution (claiming = instead=20 that "macroevolution" is the only true evolution) they also = tend to=20 use "variation" as a verb, to indicate any change in = observable=20 morphological traits within a population, while defining = "evolution"=20 as an increase in complexity or the creation of new structures/body = parts or=20 some other such schlock.  Their definition of "variation" = is of=20 course by definition what evolutionists mean by "evolution", = but by=20 employing their false dichotomy and calling any change on the = "micro"=20 level "variation", creationists are able to successfully = deflect=20 debate to "macroevolution" while ignoring the significance, = and fact,=20 of "microevolution".
 
Evolutionists, however, = tend to use=20 "variation" as a noun, to indicate the full range of possible=20 observable morphological traits contained within a population.  = This use of=20 the term "variation" is more appropriate, but it also is = unconcerned=20 with change.  It doesn't care whether a trait is represented by = 99.9% of=20 the population or 0.1% of the population, just as long as at least one = member of=20 the population has it.  Nor is it concerned with whether there is a = change=20 in the frequency of that trait, as long as the trait does not disappear=20 entirely.  As such, evolutionists define any change in variation as = "evolution", regardless of whether that change is permanent or = not.
 
Now, of course speciation = (the=20 classifical evolutionary definition of "macroevolution") does = require=20 a more or less permanent change in variation, but to limit evolution to=20 speciation (and thus "macroevolution") and to use=20 "variation" as a substitute for "evolution" on the=20 "micro" level, is to play into the hands of the creationists = and play=20 the debate game their way.
 
Kevin L.=20 O'Brien
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