Something that evolutionists regularly bring up when they argue about origins is the fluidity of species. They argue that species change. Since species change over time, then if given enough time, species can evolve into new species. After enough species have changed, they theorize, entirely new types of animals can emerge. This fluidity of species was key to Darwin’s hypothesis in Origin of Species and remains foundational to the evolutionary theory taught in classrooms today. In this article, we will examine the fluidity of species concept and attempt to determine whether the idea is in fact evidence for the evolutionary hypothesis.
Evolutionists make a habit of trying to create a straw man. They make the claim that Creationists do not believe that species change. They then turn around and produce valid evidence that species do change, thus destroying the straw man that they had erected previously. The problem with this approach is I have yet to meet a creationist who disagrees with the fluid species idea. There may be a few, but there are evolutionists who believe life evolved in outer space too so neither side is immune to odd ideas. Very few scientists disagree with the idea that species have the ability to change. The disagreement comes when the degree of change is discussed. Evolutionists argue that there is no limit to the fluidity. They believe that a species can eventually, given enough time, become any other form of living organism. However, since this massive amount of change requires extensive periods of time, most evolutionists will admit we cannot observe it today because it happens too slowly. Creationists counter argue that there is a certain point beyond which the fluidity cannot pass. If pictured as a line, Creationists believe that variation can occur between and including two fixed points on the line. Where those fixed points are is subject to some debate and varies depending on the type of organism, but creationists believe no variation can occur outside the boundaries set by those points. The points themselves and everything between represent the creationist idea of an animal kind.
The word “kind” is not an invention of a creationist scientist. Rather, the use of the word stems from the use of the Hebrew word miyn which is found in the Bible on eighteen separate occasions. Of those eighteen occasions, five are in the first chapter of Genesis where God describes His creative work. Interestingly, the word “kind” never appears alone in Scripture. Instead, it always implies an animal or plant reproducing offspring like itself, such as “after his kind” or “after their kind”. Defining exactly where the boundaries of the miyn are for a given animal is difficult, but defining miyn as a general term is not difficult. The Bible does that for us. Deuteronomy 14: 14-15, in discussing birds forbidden to eat for the children of Israel, says “And every raven after his kind, And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,” Clearly the raven is a different kind of bird than the owl, hawk and others mentioned in that verse. Using the Linnean classification system, ravens, owls and hawks share the same taxonomy until they reach the family level. There ravens split off into Order Passeriformes. The hawk, night hawk and cuckow fall into Order Accipitriformes. It would appear logical then to assume that the order level of classification is where the Biblical kind falls. However, like many things in science, it is not quite that clear cut. Owls, which it would appear fall into the same kind as hawks, are classified in Order Strigiformes. This is a different order than the hawk. However, since man invented the Linnean classification system, it is fallible. It would appear that the Biblical kind hovers at or slightly above the order level. Once again, this gets tricky because it is birds used as an example. In mammals, the level of variation appears to stop at the family level, one level below order. So where exactly is the limit of variation? Since Noah took two of every kind on the Ark and the earth was repopulated with the variety we see today from that original pair, it is generally believed among creation scientists that the limit of a kind is found at the interbreeding mark. Thus if two creatures can mate and produce offspring, even sterile offspring, they are considered to be the same kind. This marker varies by kind, with some kinds having a much wider mark than others.
This concept of miyn or kind, is critical to understand the arguments present for and against evolution. When an evolutionist talks about observable evolution, he is almost certainly discussing fluidity of species, which I generally call speciation, and which some scientists call microevolution. Fluidity of species essentially amounts to change within the kind. A massively overused example is the huge variety of dog breeds that exist. All are dogs, but they come in a wide array of shapes, sizes, colors, hair styles, and temperaments. Creating these breeds is an example of fluidity of species. By careful breeding, dog breeders essentially created new species, or in this case subspecies of dogs. What they did not create was a new breed of cat. No dog breeder has ever been able to breed his dogs to a point where they became anything other than dogs. This is because there are limits to the variation available. Those limits are the boundaries of the miyn. Darwin himself recognized that dog breeders were creating new species and subspecies, and thus stumbled upon the fluidity of species concept, a concept which did not originate with him. Where he erred was his application of the concept. Darwin took the observable creation of new breeds of dogs, horses, cats and cows, and attempted to reason forwards. If given enough time, he reasoned, natural selection, another borrowed concept, could create entirely new types of organism. In so reasoning, he reckoned without the barrier of the miyn.
Scripture makes it clear that kinds are reproductively separate. Genesis 6:19-20 recounts God’s commands to Noah before he entered the ark. “And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.” Note that it is every kind that is to be kept alive, not every species. This is because species are fluid. Since they are derived from kinds, and able to change when two individuals with varying DNA mate, keeping every species alive was unnecessary. What was needed was the ability to regenerate those species that would be lost using a higher grouping of creature, one with a wider variety of options in its DNA than in the more specified species DNA. The answer was to take representatives of each kind. At the level of kind, each creature taken would have had enough genetic variation to create the less diverse species. Going back to our example of dog breeds, when a breeder creates a breed, he ensures that the offspring will always have a certain trait or combination of traits, long hair for instance. Once this trait is fixed in the breed, it cannot be taken away without the genetic input of a different breed. This is because once every member of the breed is born long haired, the DNA information for short or curly hair is no longer present. While this guarantees the desired long hair, it also limits the amount of possible variety in the breed. Only introducing new information by breeding in a different breed will increase variety again. This is why kind was Gods choice for the ark. It represented the broadest spectrum of variability available that did not cause the loss of any type of organism.
The fluidity of species is indisputable. However, since there are barriers that block the variations from going any further, fluidity is not evidence for evolution. The fact that the formation of a new kind has never been observed stands as a challenge to evolution. Species can and will change. New ones will form, and old ones may die off. However, until such time as the new species are able to bypass the boundaries of the miyn and create a new kind of organism, nothing has happened of any benefit to evolutionary theory. Instead species continue to pull from the same, ever decreasing pool of genetic information, which does not allow for them to form a new kind.