Macroevolution And Microevolution

I just received from another teacher a copy of your article regarding evolution (R. Moss, The Scientist, Oct. 13, 1997, page 7). Like author Robert Moss, I teach evolution in a religious-based college, but unlike him, I do discuss the evolution of species and man. I have never been cautioned about this topic and have actually been encouraged to present all the scientific evidence for evolution. Why have I been successful? I think it is because I get the definitions straight. I divide evolution

Dec 8, 1997
Gary Chiang

I just received from another teacher a copy of your article regarding evolution (R. Moss, The Scientist, Oct. 13, 1997, page 7). Like author Robert Moss, I teach evolution in a religious-based college, but unlike him, I do discuss the evolution of species and man. I have never been cautioned about this topic and have actually been encouraged to present all the scientific evidence for evolution.

Why have I been successful? I think it is because I get the definitions straight. I divide evolution of species into macroevolution and microevolution. Macroevolution refers to the origin of new species from previously existing species; microevolution refers to variations within a species. One must be careful not to depend on our knowledge of microevolution as "foolproof" evidence for macroevolution.

In Moss's use of essay-copying as an analogy for macroevolution, he argues that the only way to interpret the similarities in the mistakes is to assume that each student, in turn, copied from another student. However, the same results could be explained by assuming that each student copied from an original paper that, for some reason, was difficult to read in specific places (for example, ink smudged, photocopier dirty, and so forth). The essay-copying analogy is an excellent way to teach how an evolutionary tree is constructed using genetic similarities (and differences), but it may be too ambitious to use it as solid proof for macroevolution. Although a "believing" evolutionist would agree, the "unbelieving" creationist still needs solid proof.

Gary Chiang
Chairman, Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division
Redeemer College
Ancaster, Ontario
Canada L9K 1J4
E-mail: gchiang@redeemer.on.ca