SPECIES, SPECIATION AND THE GENESIS KIND
By David N. Menton
St.Louis, MO 1987
In his "table talks", Martin Luther spoke of the Greek scholar Cicero's
proof of the existence of God:
"The best argument that there is a God - and it often moved me deeply - is
this one that he proves from generation of species; a cow always bears a
cow, a horse always bears a horse, etc. No cow gives birth to a horse,
no horse gives birth to a cow, no goldfinch produces a siskin. Therefore
it is necessary to conclude that there is something that directs
everything thus." (Luthers Works, No.5440, Fortress Press, Philadelphia)
As obvious as this principle of "like begets like" is in terms of human
experience, a central tenet of darwinism is that in the course of time, things
are very different.
Evolutionism seeks to account for the origin of ALL species,
past and present, from some single hypothetical primordial life form
by means of random change and natural selection. Many think that Darwin solved
the problem of the origin of new species with the publication of his book
'Origin of Species,' in fact, Darwin didn't even deal with the subject, much
less explain it.
This failure to address what was seemingly the central
question of his study stemmed from the fact that Darwin, like many of the other
English "transformation|ists" of his time, did not really recognize the species
as a discrete and real category of organisms. Rather, he extrapolated the
continuous, but limited, variation he saw among pigeons, finches, dogs etc. to
a vast and seamless continuum without limits among all organisms. Thus Darwin
could say in the first edition of his Origin of Species:
"I see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural
selection, more and more aquatic in their habitats, with larger and larger
mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale."
Wisely, this outrageous statement was deleted from all subsequent editions of
THE CONCEPT OF SPECIES AND THE GROWTH OF EVOLUTIONISM:
There were essentially two schools of biology in the 19th century which
we might call the "typological" or German school, and the "populational" or
British school. Most of the great German (and French) biologists of this time
viewed the species as a true type in nature and thus considered the
classification of living organisms to be hierarchal. Many of the British
biologists, on the other hand, focused on the variation among individuals
within a species and viewed the species as nothing more than a statistical
average of the population.
This in turn led many to conclude that the entire system
of classification of organisms was merely an arbitrary pattern imposed
on what was in reality a continuum. It is not surprising then that the concept
of the evolution of all living organisms, one from another, by continuous
gradual change and natural selection flowed from the British School, while
German and French naturalists were among Darwin's strongest critics.
WHAT IS A SPECIES:
The first problem, in discussing the origin of species is to define just
what a species is. Complicating the definition of a species is the use in
scientific literature of terms such as: neospecies, sibling species, incipient
species, subspecies and semispecies. Until nearly the later half of this
century, a species was considered to be any systematic unit classified as a
species by a competent systematist.
More often than not, morphology rather than ability
to interbreed, was considered the primary determinant of a
species. As a result of this approach, 10 potentially interbreeding varieties
of Red Foxes were divided into ten separate "species" on the basis of color and
geographical distribution. The Red Foxes are now considered to represent one
species, Vulpes fulva, comprising 12 "subspecies." Subspecies then is simply
another name for varieties that may have morphological differences as a result
of their geographical separation, but still can interbreed. Species showing
great morphological variation, thus having many subspecies, are said to be
Small rodents are among the most polytypic mammals; the southern
pocket gopher, Thomomys umbrinus, for example, has 214 subspecies! Homo
sapiens, on the other hand, is considered to be a monotypic species as there is
great reluctance, for obvious social reasons, to consider the various races of
men to be subspecies (unless they are extinct and can't fight back like Homo
The modern definition of a species proper tends to ignore morphological
differences or similarities and focus almost entirely on whether or not a
The evolutionist Francisco Ayala has defined a species
as "groups of interbreeding natural populations that are reproductively
isolated from other such groups." By this widely accepted definition, two
organisms could be morphologically and physiologically indistinguishable, and
even capable of being cross bred in the laboratory producing fertile offspring,
and yet be considered two different "species" by reason of their failure to
interbreed in nature.
Such populations are referred to as "sibling species."
By this definition of species there are over 6000 species of fruit flies
(Drosophila) in Hawaii alone! Many of these fruit flies are morphologically
indistinguishable and many do interbreed in the laboratory to produce offspring
of varying degrees of fertility.
Regrettably, the term species is not always used consistently today. The
nearly 150 varieties of strikingly distinctive dog breeds recognized by the
American Kennel Club are all considered to be members of the same species Canis
familiaris because they all can cross breed, yet the grey wolf (Canis lupus)
and the coyote (Canis latrans), themselves polytypic species, are considered to
be different species though they are known to interbreed with dogs.
Creationists have long felt a need for a classification that would include in
one consistent category all organisms that interbreed under any conditions as
well as obviously related animals that are currently reproductively isolated.
SPECIES AND THE BIBLICAL "KIND":
The Old Testament of the Bible employs the Hebrew word min 21 times to
speak of the "kinds" of animals.
In Genesis the created min were said to reproduce
each after its own kind thus suggesting strict reproductive limits.
It is not clear exactly where in our present system of classification we would
draw the line for a min.
All birds (the class Aves) are clearly not one min,
because in the 14th chapter of Deuteronomy we find min applied respectively to
the raven, the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk, the little owl,
the great owl, the water hen, the pelican, the vulture, the cormorant, the
stork, and the heron.
On the other hand, the species classification as used
today is perhaps generally more limited than the Old Testament min. It would
seem appropriate to include all dogs, wolves, coyotes, jackals and dingos as a
single kind or min, for example, though this group includes several different
In like manner, all true cattle of the genus Bos would represent one
kind since they can interbreed. This would combine seven species of cattle: B.
taurus (Texas longhorns, Herefords, and shorthorns), B. indicus (the zebu), B.
grunniens (the yak and grunting ox), B. Gaurus (the gaur), B. frontalis (the
gayal), B. banteng (the banteng) and B. sauveli (the kouprey) as all are known
to hybridize. B. taurus and B. indicus, for example, have been crossed to
produce the breed Santa Gertrudis, but is this a new species or an example of
evolution in action?
Even the African buffalo Syncerus caffer, the American
bison (Bison bison) and the European bison (Bison bonasus) can be crossed with
one another, and with true cattle, suggesting that all of these animals, though
representing different genus and species, could be considered to be of the
cattle kind or min. All varieties of horses, asses and zebras can cross breed
and in like manner could be considered a horse kind.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EVOLUTION, NATURAL SELECTION AND SPECIATION:
Many evolutionists sight subspecies and sibling species as examples of
"microevolution" implying that macro-evolution, like the presumed origin of
birds from reptiles, is merely "micro-evolution" writ large, though there is no
known evidence for this.
It remains a fact that no one has ever observed a
species evolve into another distinctively different organism of a higher
It is true, however, that new "species" have been produced in
the life time of human observers, if by species we mean only hybridization,
reproductive isolation or limited fecundity. In 1881, for example, Judge J.L.
Logan of California crossed a raspberry, Rubus idaeus, with a blackberry, R.
allegheniensis, to produce the loganberry, R. loganobaccus.
The loganberry breeds true with no
tendency to revert back to either parent and is one of many
examples of a true modern hybrid in plants. Hybridization among animals is
much more restricted than in plants in part because of their more specialized
mode of sexual reproduction.
Outrageous animal hybrid rumors are popular, such
as the scruffy dog "George" which appeared on the front page of the Denver
Post, and whose owners claimed was a cross between a Pekingese dog and an
Angora cat! Needless to say, this was never confirmed. It has been said that
it is possible to cross almost any boney fish (teleost) with another but this
is in reality only parthenogenesis, where an egg is induced to divide and
produce a haploid organism (one set of chromosomes) without the sperm
contributing anything to the offspring.
In classical darwinism it was speculated that new organisms would evolve
by a process of random change and "survival of the fittest," but this was a
circular argument which merely stated that those organisms which survive are
fit and that fitness is defined as the ability to survive.
tautology was replaced by the neodarwinian view which proposed that it was not
merely survival but differential reproduction that makes natural selection and
thus evolution work. It seems hopeless, however, to even attempt to explain
the origin or every individual protein, structure and trait of an organism's
phenotype or behavior in terms of differential reproduction.
Indeed, in recent
years, some have proposed that evolution occurs by a purely random process in
which natural selection plays no key role at all! This has resulted from the
observation that most of the genetic divergence between species observable at
the molecular level appears to be nonselective and thus nondarwinian. Modern
molecular biology has shown that only a small fraction of the total DNA of any
organism consists of unique sequences or genes, the rest is repetitive
sequences (repeated tens of thousands to millions of times).
In addition, it
has been found that the DNA and messenger RNA of many genes is interrupted with
"spacer" sequences called introns, which have no known function. These introns
must be cut out and the RNA molecule spliced before it is transcribed into
useful proteins. The connective tissue molecule collagen, the single most
abundant protein in nature, is known to have 50 such introns! The emerging
complexity of molecular biology and the architecture of the chromosome has not
really begun to be assimilated into evolutionary thought.
It has long been hoped that genetics would provide an understanding of the
actual genetic substrate on which evolution works but this has not been the
case. Attempts to explain evolution by "macromutations" have failed as have
the attempts to equate evolution with mere changes in the gene frequencies in
populations (population genetics). The evolutionist and population geneticist,
Richard Lewontin stated in his book 'The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary
Change' (1974), that:
"It is an irony of evolutionary genetics that, although it is a fusion of
Mendelism and Darwinism, it has made no direct contribution to what Darwin
obviously saw as the fundamental problem: the origin of species>" (p. 159)
The influential evolutionist, Ernst Mayer, seems to agree with this assessment.
In reviewing M.J.D. White's book 'Modes of Speciation,' Mayer commented:
"One of White's rather startling, but I think legitimate findings is how
little population genetics has contributed to our understanding of
speciation." (Syst. Zool. 27:478, 1978)
POSTULATED MECHANISMS OF SPECIATION:
Speciation is defined as the production of new, reproductively isolated
individuals or populations but even in this very limited sense, there is no
agreement on what the mechanism of speciation is. Some have even suggested
that there may be as many different mechanisms for speciation as there are
The reason for this is simple; although evolutionists are dead
certain that speciation has occurred and is now occurring, they can not
actually observe it in an unambiguous way. Ernst Mayer has pointed out that
this failure to observe speciation has led to limitless speculation:
"Speciation, except for polyploidy and some other chromosomal processes is
too slow to be observed directly. Therefore, the method of speciation
research must consist of an attempt to reconstruct the historical
precedents, derive from this reconstruction certain deductive
generalizations, and test their validity by proper comparative methods."
"There are nearly always several possible scenarios, and it is not
surprising that different authors may differ in the choice of their
explanations. Owing to the slowness of the speciation process, it is not
possible to study the same individual or population 'just before' and
'just after' speciation. By necessity there is some arbitrariness in the
sequence of events one postulates to have occurred." (in: Mechanisms of
Speciation, pp 1-19)
Ernst Mayer has proposed the widely accepted view that speciation must involve
the geographic isolation of a small "founder" population which for some reason
might show greater variability than its larger parent population. The bird
Tanysiptera galathea, for example, shows little geographical variation on the
mainland of New Guinea, but populations on the small islands off the coast are
so different they were considered separate species. Other evolutionists are
equally certain that speciation can occur without isolation from the main
Speciation has been classically attributed to natural selection among the
multiple alleles of a species, but this does not really produce anything new as
nothing can be selected that does not already exist in the gene pool of the
species. Other possible candidates for speciation are major chromosome
rearrangements such as translocations, fusions, deletions, inversions and gene
duplications. The problem is there is perhaps no way of knowing what genetic
events have played a role in initiating a new species.The geneticist and
speciation expert M.J.D. White has pointed out that:
"Speciation can only be detected post factum, when subsequent genetic
changes that have had nothing to do with the original dichotomy may have
accumulated. Moreover, to a considerable extent we do not know what we
are looking for." (in Mechanisms of Speciation pp 75-103)
The population biologist Alan Templeton makes the same point:
"It is virtually impossible to sort out which differences are actually
associated with the process of speciation and which are consequences of
evolution subsequent to the speciation process. Hybridization experiments
have shown this to be a real problem: Many species differences -
morphological, karyotypic, isozyme, etc.- contribute little or nothing to
reproductive isolation." (in; Mechanism of Speciation pp 105-121)
With the development of enzyme electrophoresis, a technique that can
simultaneously map out several proteins of an organism, it was hoped that we
might actually observe the genetic changes which are the basis of speciation.
Unfortunately, there appears to be little if any direct involvement of the
enzyme genes in speciation. Some species that are almost indistinguishable may
have quite different proteins (isoenzymes) and very different species may have
very similar proteins.Some sibling species of fruit flies can differ at over
half of all of their gene loci while the proteins of man and the Rhesus monkey
are 99% identical!
Even substantial differences in the arrangement and number
of chromosomes may occur among animals of the same species! For example, the
mole rat Spalax ehrenbergi, comprises four morphologically indistinguishable
populations which differ in chromosome number (52, 54, 58, and 60 chromosomes).
They prefer mating with individuals with the same chromosome number but they
are still all the same species and there are only 2 allelic substitutions per
100 gene loci.
THE FOSSIL RECORD AND SPECIATION:
It is now a generally accepted fact that species appear suddenly in the
fossil record without known ancestors and often disappear just as suddenly from
The fossil record lends no support to the idea that speciation has
had anything whatever to do with evolution. Most known fossil species appear
to be highly stable entities that remain unchanged, by evolutionary
assumptions, for tens of millions of years. Nearly half of the marine bivalve
mollusk species in the well represented fossils of the Cenozoic Era are
identical in structure to living forms.
Of those not having living
representatives, most are believed by evolutionists to have become extinct
rather than having evolved into some other species. The following fossil
species comprise at least 50% living species: marine gastropods younger than
3.5 million years old (myo), benthic foraminifera younger than 15 myo,
plaktonic foraminifera younger than 10 myo, fresh water fish and terrestrial
mammals younger than 7 myo and nearly ALL species of beetles younger than 2
For plants, fossil species which comprise at least 50% living species
include: seed bearing vascular plants younger than 4 myo, marine diatoms
younger than 12 myo, bryophytes younger than 10 myo and nearly ALL Miocene and
Pliocene species are alive today! These data suggest that for all species of
plants and animals, there has been little measurable change in nearly ten
billion generations! We may conclude that evolution by "speciation" occurs
only in a semantic sense and tells us nothing whatever about how we have come
to have lions and horses and chickens and cows and giraffes and dinosaurs etc.
Lewontin, R.C., The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change, 1974, Columbia
Mechanisms of Speciation, Progress in Clinical and Biological Research, 1982,
Alan R. Liss, Inc. New York.
Marsh, Frank L., Variation and Fixity in Nature, 1976, Pacific Press Publishing
Association, Moutain View, CA.
Lester, Lane P. and Bohlin, Raymond G., The Natural limits to Biological
Change, 1984, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI
Index - Evolution or Creation1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125 | 126 | 127 | 128 | 129 | 130 | 131 | 132 | 133 | 135 | 136 | 137 | 138 | 139 | 140 | 141 | 142 | 143 | 144 | 145 | 146 | 147 | 148 | 149 | 150 | 151 | 152 | 153 | 154 | 155 | 156 | 157 | 158 | 159 | 160 | 161 | 162 | 163 | 164 | 165 | 166 | 168 | 169 | 170 | 171 | 172 | 173 | 174 | 175 | 176 | 177 | 178 | 179 | 180 | 181 | 182 | 183 | 184 | 185 | 186 | 187 | 188 | 189 | 190 | 191 | 192 | 193 | 194 | 195 | 196 | 197 | 198 | 199 | 200 | 201 | 202 | 203 | 204 | 205 | 206 | 207 | 208 | 209 | 210 | 211 | 212 | 213 | 214 | 215 | 216 | 217 | 218 | 219 | 220 | 221 | 222 | 223 | 224 | 225 | 226 | 227 | 228 | 229 | 230 | 231