Rebuttal to the Ohio Science Standards - Part 3

Teach the Controversy:
The definition of microevolution cannot be extrapolated 
to explain macroevolution.
by Patrick Young, Ph.D.



















Grade Ten Science Standards

Evolutionary Theory

20. Recognize that a change in gene frequency (genetic composition) in a population over time is a foundation of biological evolution.

Teach the Controversy Response –

While this has become the accepted definition of evolution by most of the pro-evolution community, it is woefully inadequate to explain evolution as a whole. While there is little controversy that this standard can serve as an adequate mechanism for adaptation and variation within species (microevolution), it falls far short of the mark when attempting to explain simplicity to complexity and the formation of other new species (macroevolution).

In 1980, a group of leading geologists, paleontologists, ecologists, population geneticists, and molecular biologists decided to assemble at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History and participate in a conference titled: Macroevolution. A summary of this event was written by Roger Lewin and appeared in the November 21,1980 issue of Science magazine. The goal of this conference was an attempt to understand the mechanism of macroevolution as it related to Modern Synthesis theory. Modern Synthesis was a term that originated from the evolutionist Julian Huxley in 1942 which states 1,

  1. point mutation within structural genes is the source of variability in organisms
  2. evolutionary change is the result of a shift in the frequency of genes within a population.

Re-reading the grade10 Ohio science standard number 20 mentioned above, one finds it obvious that the writers are embracing Huxley’s theory of Modern Synthesis as an overall "foundation of biological evolution." If the science standard writers were only attempting to explain microevolution (adaptation and variation within species), this definition would be valid and without controversy. However, with other Ohio science standards mentioning the perceived "unity of the species" via natural selection, it is obvious the writers are attempting to propose this as an exclusive definition for evolution. The question then becomes, is this definition they state as, "a foundation of biological evolution" adequate enough to explain both microevolution (adaptation and variation within species) and macroevolution (simplicity to complexity and the formation of new species).

The participants in the Macroevolution conference appear to be sharply divided on this. Roger Lewin states in his summary,

"The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No2."

It is an indisputable claim that there is universal agreement that "a change in gene frequency in a population over time" is a valid definition for microevolution. In fact, the participants in the Macroevolution conference all agreed that shifting gene frequencies within a population "have been termed microevolution 3."

Where the controversy rages is whether this definition can be extrapolated to include the unobserved process of macroevolution. Since the evolutionists have said no, the Ohio science standards should also say no.


1. Lewin, R. 1980. Evolutionary Theory under Fire. Science 210:883-887.
2. Ibid
3. Ibid

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