Creationists whine a lot about the difference between macro and microevolution, as if there really is a difference. Saying you believe in microevolution but not macroevolution is kinda like saying you accept inches but not yards. Despite this well-established scientific fact, it is the purported “impossibility” of macroevolution that underlines nearly all creationist criticisms of evolutionary theory.
David Eller of the Skeptic Society brings us a very intriguing criticism of the Intelligent Design movement‘s own failure at providing a viable theory to account for both change from species to species and change within a single species. He starts with summarizing the problems creationists would face by rejecting microevolution:
A more likely answer, however, is that ID creationists do not deny microevolution because they cannot deny it. It is perfectly obvious and incontrovertible that it happens. We see variations in traits, even wholly new traits, emerge in existing species routinely and ordinarily. Bacteria and viruses (micro-) evolve new drug-resistant strains. Insects (micro-) evolve into new types. We humans have even artificially (micro-) evolved dogs and cats, for instance, into a plethora of different breeds, and with genetic technologies we stand on the verge — or have crossed the verge — of (micro-) evolving all kinds of plants and animals. It would require a suicidal degree of stupidity to deny that microevolution happens rather often and easily. Scientific creationists insist, however, that such events have nothing to do with and lend no credence to macroevolution.
Eller goes on to point out that all Intelligent Design arguments (blood clots, bacterial flagella, the eye, etc.) are really just microcreationist arguments, and (apart from being untenable themselves) can not be usefully applied to questions of macrocreation.
One of the many serious charges against microcreation is that it does not offer any specific mechanisms for the creation process. If a flagellum or an eye or a clotting system is designed, how is it designed? A claim is not scientific or theoretical merely by taking factual topics as its subject; a scientific or theoretical answer must suggest some mechanisms or means by which those facts came about. Just saying, “It is designed” says nothing. What are the steps in the design process? How is that design implemented into real physical matter? If such questions cannot be answered at the microcreation level, then it is useless as a premise for the macrocreation level.
I’ve made these criticisms before, but this is a nice way of turning a creationist argument on it’s head and applying it to creationism. Especially in the conclusion:
For, in the end, microevolution is nothing more than descent with modification over the short term, and macroevolution is descent with modification over the long term. Put another way, macroevolution is merely the accumulation of microevolutionary changes. The only difference between them is time-scale. The same thing cannot be said about microcreation and macrocreation.
The whole article is kick-ass, and I suggest you check it out. Skeptic was one of the first magazines I turned to in my “re-education” that presented the facts in a responsible way, so naturally I always make it a point to recommend it to anyone who values the truth.