Is there hard evidence for macro-evolution?

(Scott Canion) #1

Isn’t looking for scientific evidence for creation the same thing as looking for scientific evidence of resurrection? Once I accepted Jesus’ resurrection, accepting that God created the heavens & earth, and that he will one day remake them into new heavens and earth, wasn’t too difficult. My problem with evolutionary theory, is I haven’t seen any hard scientific evidence for macro-evolution; mostly philosopically-based arguments, similar to creationists arguing for intelligent design, or presumptions that because micro-evolution is real that therefore macro-evolution must be as well. Are there resources on your site that deal with this connundrum?

A Geological Response to the Movie “Is Genesis History?”
(Christy Hemphill) #2

This thread had lots of info, if you can wade through the rabbit trails: Definition of evolution and the distinction between micro/macro

(Phil) #3

Welcome to the forum, Scott. I think you have some great questions, and while there are resources on the site that answer them far better than myself, will try to throw a few thoughts out there. To me, it is not the same, as the scientific evidence for deep time and for evolution is merely looking at the mechanism though which God has worked, observing the physical creation he has placed before us. It is no different than explaining how hurricanes form, or rain falls. Whereas, with the resurrection, it is a miraculous event that defies observation and explanation.

One thing that confuses me that you brought up is the statement:

Personally, I see no philosophically based arguments for evolution and deep time, only observational ones. Could you give me an example of a philosophical argument for evolution?

A Geological Response to the Movie “Is Genesis History?”
(Christy Hemphill) #4

I moved this question to its own topic so you hopefully get more interaction with it.

(Jay Johnson) #5

Ummm, not trying to be sarcastic, but the “hard evidence” is the fossil record and the science of geology. The evidence is literally all around us.

(Mark D.) #6

I don’t see why accepting one should oblige you to accept the other. Is this just a matter of bible inerrancy for you?

I’ve never understood why macroevolution has been such a stopping point for so many. I don’t think macroevolution is even anything in itself apart from a long chain of microevolution events. So if you accept microevolution -provided you accept an old earth- why not accept that these can add up to the degree necessary to account for macroevolution?

(George Brooks) #7


The Shell Oil company has sponsored science literacy in geology and in particular some of these pages produced by University of California/Berkeley:

[Master List of Different Modules]

Some modules are better than others for teaching principles of Evolution to a resistant audience:




Understanding how the pieces of the fossil puzzle fit together allows the paleontologist to imagine the earth as it was millions of years ago. Introduce the activity to the students by telling them that they are all paleontologists and have found many different fossils. Based upon those fossils, they will have to draw a map showing what environments were present in a certain area more than 70 million years ago. (Note: This activity will use drawings of fossils. When available, actual fossils should be used to replace the drawings. In an ideal case, only actual fossils would be used. See the list of fossil sources at the end of the lesson.)





Purpose: Students will make a paper model illustrating the concept of sea-floor spreading and the development of symmetrical magnetic “stripes” on either side of a mid- ocean spreading center.
Suggested Student Grouping: Students work as individuals.
Framework Integration: Themes: Patterns of change: over time, new sea-floor is created by the upwelling of magma at mid-ocean spreading centers; old ocean floor is destroyed by subduction at deep sea trenches. Science skills and processes: Inferring from a model. Integrating with other disciplines: Physical science: dipole magnets and magnetic fields; convection. Oceanography: topography of the ocean floor. Life Science: animals found at hot-water vents on the ocean floor.



ISLAND BIOGEOGRAPHY and Evolution is an activity about the evolution of three species of lizards on the Canary Islands. It is designed for high school biology students. Its purpose is to demonstrate to students that evolutionary problems are complex, and solutions may involve data from various disciplines of science. First, students must arrive at different phylogenetic solutions using only geographical and geological data. Then, students compare the morphology of the species involved, arriving at a more traditional solution to phylogeny. Finally, students deduce a phylogeny based on genetic distance using DNA sequences from cutting edge biotechnology.
The strength of the activity is its depth and interdisciplinary approach. This activity reinforces the interdisciplinary nature of modern science. Students utilize real data from real scientists. Students apply the principles of evolution in their reasoning to make use of this data from geology and biological science. This activity originated at Princeton University in the summer of 1995 while I was a participant in the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation Institute on Biology. Though now modified, it was written as part of a biology module on evolution called “Evolution: A Context for Biology.” My original intent was to write a similar activity on Galapagos Finches, but that proved to be too complex and DNA mapping data had yet to be published.
For purposes of this publication, I have placed the student activity in the beginning followed by teacher information and my discussion of possible solutions.






PALEONTOLOGY, AND in particular the study of dinosaurs, is an exciting topic to people of all ages. Although most attention in today’s world focuses on dinosaurs and why they became extinct, the world of paleontology includes many other interesting organisms which tell us about Earth’s past history. The study of fossils and the exploration of what they tell scientists about past climates and environments on Earth can be an interesting study for students of all ages.
Teaching about Earth’s history is a challenge for all teachers. Time factors of millions and billions of years is difficult even for adults to comprehend. However, “relative” dating or time can be an easy concept for students to learn.

(Jay Johnson) #8

This might be good info for the Homeschool Forum, since they are lesson plans

(Matthew Pevarnik) #9

Here are a few nice fossil sequences found on this site that documents birds to dinosaurs, turtles getting their shells, manatees and whales independently going back into the sea and more:

A nice graphic demonstrating how we only find certain types of ancestral horses in different geological strata that show small changes over time leading to a very different species than when you started:

We see many many possible transitions within the fossil record. Here’s one plotting cranial capacity leading up to modern homo sapiens:

Here’s a paper outlining the evolution of terrestrial hoofed mammals:

A similar type of paper outlining the evolution of the first land walking animals from what we knew in 2009:

It turns out that many such ‘macroevolutionary’ changes aren’t really that big, they are often just either repurposed or expressed differently:
Deep homology and the origins of evolutionary novelty

(George Brooks) #10


@pevaquark’s recent post inspired me to find an illustration like this:

As you will note, I include the journal article that produced the illustration and the URL for finding the original exhibit should you need to.

Please notice that the entire exhibit focuses on small and large mammals … most of which would have been to large or noticeable (according to Evolutionary Science) to have emerged while dinosaurs were around to snap them up as a quick snack!

During the age of Dinos, most mammals were the size and shape of shrews, and would have hid out of sight from the reptilian predators.

Once the dinos were gone, new branches of the mammalian family true could emerge in relative safety. And so we see the tree branches just APPEARING and heading in a new direction.

But imagine translating this phylo-tree to the world view of a Young Earth Creationist? Instead of most of the branches just beginning to differentiate about 100 million years ago, all these branches would have been timed with all the other drowned animals - - say about 4500 to 5000 years ago?

And when we look at the emergence of recognizable forms (something that looks like an early elephant? or an early rhino? or an early Horse?) they would have been on the small size … and over time, many of them would have increased in size as a general trend.

So imagine how odd it is, then, that all of these developments show up in the flood stacks of sediments … but only ABOVE the K/T Boundary above which not a single dinosaur fossil can be found!

Conversely, none of all these larger mammals can be found BELOW the K/T barrier!

How do YECs explain the appearance of all these different mammals … all drowning in the very uppermost layer of the flood sediments… even when some dinosaurs could have easily kept their head above the waters longer … and where marine reptiles could have swam in the flood waters just as easily as the whales did.

This is your hard evidence… that few YEC’s choose to discuss…

(George Brooks) #11

Or maybe, @Scott_Canion, this is an easier one to work with:

Notice that the “first insects” don’t show up until sometime in the Devonian period… sometime more recently than 410 million years ago.

This is based on the fact virtually no insects have been found drowned in the Global Flood sediments older than the Devonian period… a period where there were no land animals at all.

If the Global Flood was global and recent… wouldn’t we find insects in virtually all sedimentary layers?

Or what if we looked for the first WINGED insects … which Evolutionists don’t think appeared until sometime more recent than 325 million years ago… after the start of the Pennsylvanian period.

Shouldn’t we find winged insects along with all the non-winged ones? Or at least with the first reptiles of the prior period called the Mississippian period?

And if we return briefly to the post I made just a little earlier … where are all the dead HUMAN skeletons (or their fossils)? We would have expected thousands and thousands of human remains in the Nile Valley… where the water would have caught humans quite low, topographically speaking, along with all those other animals that supposedly existed just 5000 years ago!

(Stewart Hough) #12

Many evolutionists do deny macroevolution, prescribing to Darwin’s “natura non facit saltus.” Believing only microevolution is all that is required to account for all organism change over time is just as problematic as what macroevolution contends: that fundamental genetic, even extreme change is possible, running counter to Darwin’s phylogenic gradualism through natural selection/mutation and selection. Many endorse macroevolution, but the lack of a viable genetic path to incorporate body plan modifications does not support it. The lack of transitional evidence, just as Darwin worried, persists, and refutes macroevolution.

You are correct, there is no verified scientific evidence for macroevolution, it is really untestable speculation to fit an ideology of naturalism, not true science. What caught my attention was your comment about “creationists arguing for intelligent design”, ID, only through “mostly philosophically-based arguments.” There are very clear philosophical, even theological and Christian issues that intelligent design invokes. Science has no viable basis to denigrate ID as not science, given its widespread use in many fields: archaeology, geology, anthropology, biomimetics, forensics, psychology, SETI, astrobiology and in engineering areas. ID is early, not well funded or developed, actively opposed by ideologies that adhere to the Lewontin Mandate of naturalism.

More importantly, the most clear evidence for ID is DNA: the most complex, multi-level coded, homochiral structured, intelligently designed and irreducibly complex information system in the universe, bar none. Further, microevolution is mutation or change in the genetic code that has bee clearly identified as adaptation of an organism over time. This implies an intelligent design in DNA that can provide such compensation. Given that DNA in each organism is unique, it can adapt to change over time and incorporates quality control to remove many errors that may occur, it is hard to not consider this evidence of intelligent design.

(Shawn T Murphy) #13

Dear Stewart,
Thank you for the articulate distinctions between macro and microevolution. For me, none of the aforementioned belief systems have a solid theory for the reason behind life and its intelligent design. I have my own theory as to why the universe was designed more than 13.7 billion years ago, but I would like to hear yours. Do you have one?

(Matthew Pevarnik) #14

They do? Like who?

What kinds of ‘extreme changes’ are you imagining? Do you have any papers showing what kinds of changes are required at the genetic level and then a demonstration that no known mechanisms can account for such changes. Keep in mind beyond single point mutations (which can cause significant differences) there are many other mechanisms behind genetic change (this article curtesy of @sfmatheson highlights some of the mechanisms with examples) :

Oh? Again no references but incorrect claims.

I literally showed dozens of examples above and then you state this myth again. My favorite short video on the topic:

Let’s start here for now if you want to support your claims please try to do so where possible.

(Steve Schaffner) #15

The two halves of your sentence deal with unrelated concepts. Macroevolution is any large-scale evolution, often taken to be any evolution above the level of the species, i.e. it includes speciation. The concept implies nothing at all about the rate at which this change occurs. Your quotation from Darwin address saltationist views, which are entirely about the rate of change. All evolutionary biologists accept macroevolution, although they disagree about the extent to which it involves processes not relevant to microevolution.

(Stewart Hough) #16

Thank you for your comment. Regarding the age of the universe, my understanding of what science has discovered, aligned with what can be discerned from scripture about God, persuades me that, because God is not limited to time, is not in a hurry, defined the laws of physics to operate in a fine-tuned manner, and began a process for creating all reality, the length of time necessary for all this to progress is the effect, God’s decree and design being the cause.

The physics of the universe’s nature, creation and progression over time is extremely fine-tuned and makes a more rapid pace of the universe’s evolution more chaotic and intensive, jeopardizing the formation of stars and galaxies, which are key to everything materialistic, just as the rate of expansion had to be finely tuned. And, if the rate of the universe’s evolution was too slow, then the rate of expansion would risk the formation of stars and galaxies from the contrary perspective.

I believe this is analogous to the progression of life - God knew if life formed too quickly, then requisite terraforming and bioformng for progressively complex lifeforms, leading to humankind, would have not worked the way he wanted…

Thank you, regards…

(Mark D.) #17

I just saw this on another website and couldn’t help think it belonged here. Makes the task of finding all the transitional fossils seem more and more like that faced by Mickey Mouse in Fantasia.

It is unfortunate that it says “creationist” rather than "young earth creationist.

(Bill Wald) #18

(I think)The nature of the evidence is primarily statistical and and thus not intrinsically “scientific.”

The limits (?) of science were argued in the early 1900’s by Whittgenstein and Karl Popper. I agree with Popper’s first arguments that if a statement can not be falsified, then it can not be claimed to be true (scientifically or logically). Anthropology and such should be classified as an art, not a science.

Second, arguments about about missing links . . . logically, every time a missing link is claimed to be found, two new gaps in the chain are found.

Third, if anyone ends up in Hell (only) because he takes the wrong side of this dilemma, then I might be happier with my friends in Hell.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #19

Not sure what you mean.

The limits of science? While it’s lovely what philosophers of science have to say, generally speaking they are not actively involved in the actual science themselves. To pull philosophers to dismiss loads of intermediate fossils and the like doesn’t make much sense to me.

Hmm. Here’s one of the worlds leading anthropology journals:

Which of those articles from their most recent issue are best though of as ‘art’ and not ‘science?’

Is that a good argument against common descent or not?

Fair enough, merry Christmas!

(Stewart Hough) #20

With respect, the “two halves” are not “unrelated concepts,” rather dogmatically differentiated to avoid objective discussion of their essence. Macroevolution as any “large-scale evolution” is not coherent: there is no large-scale evolution verified in any organism because of the phylogenetic gradualism mandated by the natural selection mechanism that is the engine of evolutionary change. Macroevolution certainly would apply to speed but as well as to extent of change. The speed of supposed macro change must be instantaneous as incomplete changes of a partial level are mutations that organisms detect and destroy. Single genome changes dependent on subsequent coordinated, related changes have never been verified, and have been modeled and mathematically estimated to be only possible beyond the timeframe for species existence due to probabilities given by the unguided, undirected, random nature of mutations and selection.

The last sentence reads like the typical faith-based declaration that as long as you believe the ideological foundation, miniscule departations will be tolerated.