Invasive organisms are much decried in the public eye. They are blamed for everything from habitat loss of native organisms, to directly hunting and killing endangered animals. With such a nasty public image, everyone knows that invasive species are bad and should be gotten rid of right? Wrong. Why is it that invasive species are so bad? In this article, we will examine invasive species in light of the origins debate and attempt to determine how they should be viewed from a Biblical perspective.
Invasive species are found wherever man has traveled. Australia has invasive mice, foxes, toads, and numerous other species. North America has invasive kudzu plants, zebra mussels, stink bugs, and numerous other organisms. European invasive species include milkweed, American minks, Egyptian geese and bullheaded catfish among others. Africa is afflicted with invasive bluegills, several species of gecko, mallard ducks, barn owls, and a large number of other species. Asia has bullfrogs, rabbits, wild sheep, and other animals and plants. South America has beavers, red dear, brook trout and giant African land snails among other invasive species. These are just some examples of animals showing up where they do not normally live.
Not all invasives are necessarily bad. Sometimes, they have little to no effect on their habitats. Occasionally, they even have benefits. For example, Asiatic sand sedge, a small beachfront plant, while having a negative impact on native species on the eastern seaboard of the United States, also is believed to be functioning as a dune stabilizer. An Asian ladybug species is known to prey on numerous crop pests as well. Two insects that prey on eastern hemlock trees also serve as counterbalances to one another and, when they both infect a hemlock tree, the tree actually does better than it does with just one present. There are dozens of other such examples in the literature that could be cited. The point is, invasive species are not always bad. Sometimes they can be very helpful.
However, the perception of invasive species is that they are massively bad for the environment. This is what shows up in the nature documentaries and what the scientists regularly pronounce in the popular science media. And there are quite a few negative invasives. Cane toads in Australia are poisonous and, since they are non-native, most Australian animals can’t eat them, which allows them to take over habitats suitable for them and out-compete native frogs and toads. As these species become less frequent in the habitats, the predators that depend on them to survive, are forced to either adapt to new diets, which may not be possible or go extinct. Obviously, this is not the preferred outcome. This has prompted local, state, and federal governments to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to eradicate or at least try to eradicate invasive species. I have to ask….why?
Don’t get me wrong. I do not want native species to be pressured into extinction. As a huge animal lover, I have no desire to see organisms go extinct. The loss of diversity makes nature slightly less enjoyable. That said, government officials making decisions on invasive species are not scientists. They take advice from scientists on what to do. Science is dominated almost exclusively by an atheistic evolutionary worldview which believes that death is the ultimate evolutionary arbiter. After all, natural selection ensures that the weak are weeded out so why should we care if an invasive species wipes out native ones? They are just proving natural selection to be true and enforcing the path of evolution by eliminating the weak. Why then do evolutionists insist on saving endangered species and fighting invasive species? They are being logically inconsistent.
As Christians, we were given a mandate in Genesis which has not been repealed. Known as the dominion mandate, we were given charge of the earth and all that lives here, to be good stewards of it. Being a good steward means making sure that we take good care of what we were entrusted. That does not mean saving all the kinds. In a fallen world, some kinds are pests and a hindrance to man. Things like mosquitos carrying disease come to mind. Wiping out the disease carriers is perfectly right. However, some mosquitos are not disease carriers and thus there is no need to wipe them out. Kinds that can be saved and do not harm man should be saved if possible. While this is good to do, from a Biblical perspective, the needs of man should be put first. Man is made in God’s image and thus has a special, privileged place in creation that makes his needs superior to the other creations. Thus ultimately, invasive species should be fought, provided they are not providing man a benefit because we want to be good stewards of creation. Evolutionists have no logical reason to fight invasive species. We, as creationists, can be consistent in being conservationists.
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Papers we reviewed:
Click to access woottonetal2005.pdf