Recently, we noted an upcoming Royal Society meeting: Sexual selection in extinct animals. An alert reader writes to say,
On linking to the Royal Society website referenced in the Uncommon Descent post, we find this:
“Sexual Selection: patterns in the history of life. Theo Murphy International scientific meeting organised by Dr Rob Knell, Dr Dave Hone and Professor Doug Emlen. Sexual selection is potentially an important driver of macroevolutionary processes like speciation and extinction, but this has rarely been tested using the fossil record. This meeting will bring biologists and palaeontologists together to discuss sexual selection’s role in macroevolution, how to detect it in extinct animals and how to measure its influence on the history of life across geological time.”
This is the Royal Society (Knell, Hone, Emlen) using the term “macroevolution” twice — yet another useful rebuttal to cite the next time someone asserts that the terms “macroevolution” and “microevolution” are terms used only by ID advocates and “creationists.”
Our reader probably means this sort of thing:
There is one particular aspect of evolution that needs to be given specific attention: the somewhat artificial distinction between what is called “microevolution” and “macroevolution”, two terms often used by creationists in their attempts to critique evolution and evolutionary theory. (Austin Cline, Thoughtco, 2017)
Yes, but it’s different when they do it. When science goes post-modern, terminology becomes politicized. A term means one thing if the Royal Society uses it but another if the hapless reader uses it. What matters now is whether terminology authenticates the beliefs of those in a position to demand authentication of their beliefs.
See also: How naturalism morphed into a state religion