Yes, I do think there is a callous goddess roaming around waving a magic wand.
Activation of genes, not mutations. The act of activating genes is not a mutation in the DNA itself.
A change takes place. By the broad definition preferred by many, any and all changes are mutations
Your right, it doesn't take very long. From the first paragraph from wiki on epigenetics
"In biology, the term epigenetics refers to changes in phenotype (appearance) or gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence, hence the name epi- (Greek: over; above) -genetics. These changes may remain through cell divisions for the remainder of the cell's life and may also last for multiple generations. However, there is no change in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism; instead, non-genetic factors cause the organism's genes to behave (or "express themselves") differently."
The cause should not be confused with the mechansims. The causes in epigenetics are non-genetic - life responds to circumstances in the manner it is programmed to respond.
The correctness of the last sentence depends on what they mean by "underlying". Information may be retrieved from "junk" DNA, for example. Indeed, "junk" DNA is known to be responsible for much of the regulation.
The first thing to notice is that it refers to changes in the phenotype, not the genotype. Second, it states that "there is no change in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism". Thus, no mutation has occurred.
Certainly there is a change of some sort when a gene is activated. That you choose at this time not to call such changes "mutations" is good, for they are not random accidents.
So let me get this straight, you claim that I haven't found a single definition of mutation. And instead of spending a minute correcting me and ending it, you decide to proclaim that since I haven't provided us with any definition "why should [you] find [any]?"
Huh? People who have provided no definition come to me demanding definitions and I'm just supposed to be a good little slave and fetch them? Obtain authority first, then give orders.
Anyway, here is a definition from the free dictionary
a. A change of the DNA sequence within a gene or chromosome of an organism resulting in the creation of a new character or trait not found in the parental type.
b. The process by which such a change occurs in a chromosome, either through an alteration in the nucleotide sequence of the DNA coding for a gene or through a change in the physical arrangement of a chromosome."
Or in other words, a change in the genotype.
There's a big difference between a change which happens by design and one that happens by mistake.
And if you'd scrolled just a teence down the page you'd have found the broad, all-encompassing definition:
"3. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Genetics) a change in the chromosomes or genes of a cell. When this change occurs in the gametes the structure and development of the resultant offspring may be affected See also inversion "
This is the new definition which intentionally includes changes due to recombination and epigenetics in order to muddy the waters, and give people the impression random mistakes are responsible for adaptations which are known to be pre-programmed.
Since this matches your "in other words" definition far more closely than the definition you'd have us believe you derived it from, I have no confidence you'll be employing the term consistently.
That would be nice, unfortunately my dorm room is a mess right now and I can't seem to find it. Maybe in a few days after I clean up I'll be able to retrieve it and we can settle this little dispute once and for all.
Personally I'm not into etymology, although my roommate is a genus in that area, and the small doses I get from him are really fascinating. However, I'm not too concerned with the original definition as opposed to what the word actually means today in relevant fields. If you have a different definition of "mutation" than the one I provided please share it.
"What the word actually means" varies from evolutionist to evolutionist and from minute to minute in many cases.
I maintain that any attempt to trick people into believing random mistakes are behind things known to be the result of pre-programmed devices is deceptive, wrong, and subject to exposure when I'm in the area.
Anyone with half a brain can understand that random things don't repeat like clockwork. If the same individual wins the lottery every other month, something's going on. Yet time after time we see bacterial adaptations which do repeat like clockwork presented as "evidence of evolution". Even if one didn't know the first thing about epigenetics or recombination, any objective observer would smell a rat and realize something's going on. There has never for one single day been any excuse to believe the hype.
Even the methods are a giveaway. We don't see anyone attempting to feed bacteria glass or inert gases, do we? If they really believed bacteria can evolve to digest anything, we'd see such. No. They always look at what bacteria can already eat, and put some twist on it. If you had your choice, would you live on fish heads and rice, or a pure insect diet? You can
adapt if you have to.
Likewise, when they "evolve" resistant bacteria, they don't administer a lethal dose and just kill off the whole group. No; they expose them little by little. It's been known forever that life develops resistance to many poisons when small enough doses are administered. That's why alcoholism works, among other things.
Do any of these adaptations hold? Read "the literature" and see how they must be preserved in isolation because they always revert back to "wild type" as soon as they get a chance. That's a clue!!! Clues don't come much bigger or more obvious.
We're told again and again new kinds of life have been evolved.
I don't think it's the creationist who's struggling with the definition of 'kind' on these occasions.