Whoops! Two or more species from one kind! Isn’t that evolution?

Some evolutionists certainly think so. After I participated in a creation-evolution debate at Texas A & M, a biology professor got up and told everyone about the flies on certain islands that used to interbreed but no longer do. They’ve become separate species, and that, he said, to a fair amount of applause, proves evolution is a fact—period!

Well, what about it? Barriers to reproduction do seem to arise among varieties that once interbred. Does that prove evolution? Or does that make it reasonable to extrapolate from such processes to real evolutionary changes from one kind to others? As I explained to the university-debate audience (also to applause), the answer is simply no, of course not. It doesn’t even come close.

Any real evolution (macroevolution) requires an expansion of the gene pool, the addition of new genes and new traits as life is supposed to move from simple beginnings to ever more varied and complex forms (“molecules to man” or “fish to philosopher”). Suppose there are islands where varieties of flies that used to trade genes no longer interbreed. Is this evidence of evolution? No, exactly the opposite. Each variety resulting from reproductive isolation has a smaller gene pool than the original and a restricted ability to explore new environments with new trait combinations or to meet changes in its own environment. The long-term result? Extinction would be much more likely than evolution.

Figure 22

Figure 22. Change? Yes—but which kind of change? What is the more logical inference, or the more reasonable extrapolation, from our observations: unlimited change from one kind to others (evolution), or limited variation within kinds (creation)? Given the new knowledge of genetics and ecology, even Darwin, I believe, would be willing to “think about it.”

Of course, if someone insists on defining evolution as “a change in gene frequency,” then the fly example “proves evolution”—but it also “proves creation,” since varying the amounts of already-existing genes is what creation is all about (Fig. 22).

If evolutionists really spoke and wrote only about observable variation within kind, there would be no creation-evolution controversy. But as you know, textbooks, teachers, and television “docudramas” insist on extrapolating from simple variation within kind to the wildest sorts of evolutionary changes. And, of course, as long as they insist on such extrapolation, creationists will point out the limits to such change and explore creation, instead, as the more logical inference from our observations. All we have ever observed is what evolutionists themselves call “subspeciation” (variation within kind), never “transspeciation” (change from one kind to others). (Fig. 22.)

Evolutionists are often asked what they mean by “species,” and creationists are often asked what they mean by “kind.” Creationists would like to define “kind” in terms of interbreeding, since the Bible describes different living things as “multiplying after kind,” and evolutionists also use the interbreeding criterion. However, scientists recognize certain bower birds as distinct species even though they interbreed, and they can’t use the interbreeding criterion at all with asexual forms. So, both creationists and evolutionists are divided into “lumpers” and “splitters.” “Splitters,” for example, classify cats into 28 species; “lumpers” (creationist or evolutionist) classify them into only one!

Perhaps each created kind is a unique combination of non-unique traits. Look at people, for instance. Each of us has certain traits that we may admire (or abhor): brown hair, tall stature, or even a magnificent nose like mine. Whatever the trait, someone else has exactly the same trait, but nobody has the same combination of traits that you do or I do. Each of us is a unique combination of non-unique traits. In a sense, that’s why it’s hard to classify people. If you break them up according to hair type, you’ll come out with groups that won’t fit with the eye type, and so on. Furthermore, we recognize each person as distinct.

We see a similar pattern among other living things. Each created kind is a unique combination of traits that are individually shared with members of other groups. The platypus (Fig. 9), for example, was at first considered a hoax by evolutionists, since its “weird” set of traits made it difficult even to guess what it was evolving from or into. Creationists point out that each of its traits (including complex ones like its electric location mechanism, leathery egg, and milk glands) is complete, fully functional, and well-integrated into a distinctive and marvelous kind of life.

Perhaps God used a design in living things similar to the one He used in the non-living world. Only about a hundred different elements or atoms are combined in different ways to make a tremendous variety of non-living molecules or compounds. Maybe creationists will one day identify a relatively few genes and gene sets that, in unique combinations, were used to make all the different types of life we see. It would take a tremendous amount of research to validate this “mosaic or modular” concept of a created unit, but the results would be a truly objective taxonomy that would be welcomed by all scientists, both creationists and evolutionists. We might even be able to write a “genetic formula” for each created kind, as we can write a chemical formula (a unique combination of non-unique atoms) for each kind of compound.

But why should we be able to classify plants and animals into created kinds or species at all? Stephen Gould,25 eloquent evolutionist and acrimonious anti-creationist, writes that biologists have been quite successful in dividing up the living world into distinct and discrete species. Furthermore, our modern, scientific classifications often agree in minute detail with the “folk classifications” of so-called primitive peoples, and the same criteria apply as well to fossils. In other words, says Gould, each type has a recognizable reality and distinct boundaries at all times and all places: “A Quahog is a Quahog,” as the title of his editorial reads.

“But,” says Gould, “how could the existence of distinct species be justified by a theory [evolution] that proclaimed ceaseless change as the most fundamental fact of nature?” For an evolutionist, why should there be species at all? If all life forms have been produced by gradual expansion through selected mutations from a small beginning gene pool, organisms really should just grade into one another without distinct boundaries. Darwin also recognized the problem. He finally ended by denying the reality of species. But, as Gould points out, Darwin was quite good at classifying the species whose ultimate reality he denied. And, says Gould, Darwin could take no comfort in fossils, since he was also successful in classifying them into distinct species. He used the same criteria we use to classify plants and animals today.

In one of the most brilliantly and perceptively developed themes in his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Denton26 shows how leaders in the science of classification, after a century of trying vainly to accommodate evolution, are returning to, and fleshing out, the creationist typological concepts of the pre-Darwinian era. Indeed, the study of biological classification was founded by Karl von Linne’ (Carolus Linnaeus) on the basis of his conscious and explicit Biblical belief that living things were created to multiply after kind, and that these created kinds could be rationally grouped in a hierarchical pattern reflecting themes and variations in the Creator’s mind.

“Actually,” concludes Gould,27 “the existence of distinct species was quite consistent with creationist tenets of a pre-Darwinian era.” (Emphasis added.) I would simply like to add that the evidence is also quite consistent with the creationist tenets of the present post-neo-Darwinian era. In Darwin’s time, as well as the present, “creation” seems to be the more logical inference from our observations.

But what about Darwin? He tried to explain “design without a Designer” on the basis of selection and the inheritance of traits acquired by use and disuse (pangenes), but Pangenesis failed. The neo-Darwinists tried to explain “design without a Designer” on the basis of selection and mutation, and mutations failed. The post-neo-Darwinists are turning to “hopeful monsters,” instead of simple mutations, and to “survival of the luckiest,” instead of selection. These new ideas have little basis in observation or scientific principle at all, and it remains to be seen whether the evolutionist’s faith in future discoveries will also fail.

One thing is for certain: if evolutionists had to prove their case in court, evolution would be thrown out for lack of evidence. That’s the conclusion of two insightful lawyers, Norman MacBeth (Darwin Retried28) and Phillip Johnson (Darwin on Trial29). Neither man is arguing for the Bible; both are simply writing in their field as experts in the rules of evidence and the rules of logic. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Phillip Johnson, Professor of Law at the University of California (Berkeley), challenge college students to weigh the so-called evidence for evolution and to consider alternatively the concept that life (and, hence, each of their lives) is instead the gift of Intelligent, Purposeful Design.

The evidence is forcing evolutionists to admit the severe inadequacy of mutation and selection, but these same processes are being picked up and used by creationists. What would Darwin say about that? Would he object to his ideas and observations being used in Biblical perspective? Darwin did muse occasionally about the role of a Creator. But, of course, we’ll never know whether he would be willing to consider the Biblical framework as the more-logical inference from our present knowledge of genetics and ecology. We can be sure of this, however: a man as thoughtful and devoted to detail and observation as Darwin was, would be willing to “think about it.”

References

  1. Gould, Stephen Jay, A Quahog is a Quahog, Natural History, August/September 1979. Also published in: Species Are Not Specious, New Scientist, August 2, 1979. Return to text.
  2. Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Burnett Books, London, chapters 5–9, 1985. Return to text.
  3. Gould, Stephen Jay, A Quahog is a Quahog, Natural History, August/September 1979. Also published in: Species Are Not Specious, New Scientist, August 2, 1979. Return to text.
  4. MacBeth, Norman, Darwin Retried, Gambit, Boston, 1971. Return to text.
  5. Johnson, Phillip, Darwin on Trial, Regnery Gateway, Washington D. C., 1991. Return to text.

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