Why Species?

Why Species?

Editors Note: This is a sneak peak into the research on created kinds currently underway.  Enjoy it. 🙂

 

Evolution is predicated on change. This change is postulated to occur by changes in genotype as well as mutational change. Darwin, the man credited with sparking the rise of evolutionary ideology, was motivated to consider these ideas by observing both the variety in the natural world and the among plant and animal breeders. Darwin himself was experienced with breeding pigeons and knew first hand how much variety could be obtained by breeding.  He viewed some of the wild varieties he observed on his voyage around the world as distinct species and thus when he wrote his seminal work, he entitled it On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of the Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. The lengthy title matched the book which postulated in detail about how species originated and how new species could arise from existing species. However, the book made a large assumption, that being that species should exist at all. This article will examine why species exist.

The late Ernst Mayr, perhaps one of the leading evolutionary biologist of the twentieth century, was also perhaps one of the greatest experts on species, hybridization, and speciation of his time.  He created the definition of species most biologists use today. In his book Animal Species and Evolution which set the tone for the study of species, he explained how Darwin and the early evolutionists viewed species.  After pointing out an issue that the early Darwinians recognized, Mayr wrote “This contradiction worried Darwin and the early Darwinians considerably. Since they considered inheritance to be blending, they had to assume that, owing to blending, one-half of the total variability would be lost in each generation. At the same time, the availability of an inexhaustible supply of genetic variation was one of the cornerstones of Darwin’s theory. These two assumptions were completely in opposition to each other. There seemed only one answer to this conundrum, a truly colossal rate of mutation.” Mayr goes on to point out that Darwin was wrong and inheritance is not blended, hence why the conundrum. However, the issue Mayr overlooks is that Darwin was actual right to expect a blended inheritance.

Ironically, as Mayr points out, the only person in Darwin’s day to have a clear knowledge of inheritance was Gregor Mendel, whose classic pea plant study was well underway when Darwin published his book. However Darwin, with his level of understanding, was able to comprehend a clear view of his own theory. Since all creatures evolved from a common ancestor in his view, he expected that they should all grade into one another.  Thus blending was one of the things that he expected. However, this went strongly against his proposal of nearly infinite variation. His escape hatch was proposing an equally infinite supply of inheritance changes, now called mutations.

Let us examine what descent with modification means in a purely Darwinian sense. Since evolution is supposedly a step-wise process of tiny changes leading eventually to new species, it was only reasonable for Darwin to expect species to slowly grade into one another.  This gradual, stepwise type of change would have logically led to a gradient of sorts, where there were no clear boundaries between kinds, let alone species.  Yet Mayr’s book spends his lengthy book arguing for a biological concept of species.

This is the difficulty then with harmonizing the knowledge of genetics available to modern science, and what evolution actually logically requires.  Genetics requires separate, distinct kinds and in some cases distinct genetic species.  Evolution requires gradual changes between species, with each of those changes increasing fitness for the environment the organism lives in. In this case, there should be a nearly unnoticeable difference between each species, both genetically and morphologically. Yet species, sometimes even subspecies, exhibit vast differences in morphology, behavior, and even genetics.  This is completely opposite of what evolution expects.

Speciation thus proves both a blessing and a curse to Darwinian evolution.  It was a blessing in that it allowed the idea to promulgate itself in the 1800s as many scientists and layman began to recognize that species were not fixed. However, what is logically required for Darwinian evolution is not what science observed.  Thus speciation actually is evidence against Darwin’s theory. For evolution to be true, it should not be possible for someone like Mayr to write a 600 plus page tome on species, since species should be largely indistinguishable from one another.

Evolutionists might counter that creationists have a similar problem.  However, this is incorrect. If, as is likely the case, the created kinds were created heterozygous for every trait, then variety is not an issue, particularly when epigenetics is considered. As populations isolated over time after getting off the Ark, enhanced variability would no longer have been available in the genome and certain traits would have disappeared, helping to define the species we observe in the world. When viewed from a creationist worldview, speciation makes perfect sense.

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