I think we need to be very careful about what we mean by variation.
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".
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.
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.
Kevin L. O'Brien
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