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The term macroevolution is often abused (see the section "Misuse" in the Wikipedia article) by creationists who are referencing the biblical concept of immutable "kinds" of animals.

Is there a word or conveniently short phrase that could be employed to distinguish between evolution (both micro- and macroevolution) and the evolution of one "kind" into another?

Baraminology is a relevant topic that may be helpful.

Edit: I am definitely not asking for a new term.

The mental image conjured up by the term "macroevolution" (amoebas to apes) is much different from its actual scientific definition (anything changing at a taxonomical level). This seems to be the root of the problem.

I am looking for the way a scientist would describe grasshoppers-to-kittens "evolution" (This is what Creationists incorrectly use the term macroevolution to refer to), without including "speciation" which is what macroevolution really refers to.

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There's a meta thread on this: meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/1479/… – Pacerier Apr 13 at 22:43
up vote 8 down vote accepted

I think the short answer is "no." From the resources you provided, there is no equivalent concept of macroevolution in creationism, so there is no equivalent term. That is, it seems there is no "evolution of one 'kind' into another" in creationism.

Think of it this way. Macroevolution is speciation, or the divergence of a species into two distinct groups that can no longer produce viable offspring across species boundaries. This event is not a recognized possibility in creationism. Baramins ("Biblical kinds") cannot change.

However, I rather think that you might have meant microevolution, in which shifts can occur within species or baramins. In evolutionary biology, microevolution is the result of natural selection and genetic drift. An appropriate term that applies to microevolution that does not necessarily evoke "evolution" might be adaptation.


From your edit and the discussion in meta, it seems that you want to know what term an evolutionary biologist would apply to grasshoppers-to-kittens "evolution." I think this would be called transmogrification or transmorphing (shape shifting), and would be understood as something that could not happen in the real world.

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The evolution of a specific "kind" into another is "speciation". Speciation is a somewhat arbitrary line where biologists consider two species to have become distinct. This is what typically divides microevolution from macroevolution.

While maybe not directly answering the question, the misuse of "macroevolution" is the assertion that any empirical evidence we have only supports microevolution, and that macroevolution cannot be proven (paraphrasing). So, creationists are arguing that while changes within a species can occur, there cannot be speciation.

I don't think "speciation" is a creationist term, though...

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