Evolution has been the central pillar of Biology for the last 150 years. In fact, the introduction of Evolution into Biology has caused a Biological Revolution.
Before evolution became the thing to consider, Biologists were reduced to collecting and classifying. Any kind of difference allowed a new species to be named and of course, the name of the discoverer would live on. No associations, no interesting things were seen in the data other than what was needed to distinguish that species from all the others.
With Evolution, there is reason to study and compare certain aspects of one species with another because it is thought to relate historically. Similarities suggest to the evolutionary biologists that certain common hereditary elements were passed from some common ancestor. On the other hand differences are attributed to the separate lines of descent that have occurred since they separated. It is thought that these changes are what has established the new populations.
So a simple comparison of two species might result in helping to form new theories of species origin and divergence. Thus it is easy to see that the evolutionary paradigm has been extremely successful in suggesting novel experiments that can generate very interesting results.
Evolutionary thinking is so successfully strong in the theories involving the various fields of biology that many considered that nothing in biology will make sense without evolution.
Is there an alternate to the Biological Revolution?
Most Creationists have viewed the fixity of species to be a central pillar of creationary thought. This view however, falls in the face of documented change in the formation of new species.
In fact Creationists need faster change than Evolutionists for us to see the world as it is today after 6000 years (4500 years since the flood). How could all the hundreds of thousands (or more) of species that are now living, have fit in Noah's Ark? It is my opinion that they can not! Not if we use our present understanding of what constitutes a species.
However, if precursor species (Genesis Kind) existed on the Ark during the flood, then it is possible to fit all the animals into the Ark of Noah. After the flood, these precursor species would have spread throughout the whole world giving rise to the hundreds of thousands of presently living species in the world.
The representatives of each Genesis Kind (each precursor species) that was saved in the Ark must have been the seed that was used to generate the much greater numbers of species that we now have in the world. Some flood survivors speciated and flourished, others died out. Some were able to survive in one area, others in other areas. Many died out as the regional climates changed and settled into their present patterns. Sort of a "differential survival" process.
How could these species have appeared so fast after the flood? It usually takes at least several tens of thousands of years for a single species to form. Yet, the Bible seems to suggest a much shorter time since the flood. Less than 4500 years! In addition, most species have been the way they are today for some time (more or less). This forces the time of change to be an extremely short period of time, shortly after the flood.
In looking around for possibilities, we are not without answers. In today's world, there are conditions that dramatically speed up the process of speciation. One set of conditions that is well known to promote fast change, is the process of Island speciation. According to Ernst Mayr's Populations, Species, and Evolution (1970) there are five main factors that optimize for rapid speciation. Island speciation exhibit all five of these factors.
- small populations
- open niches
- low predation
- low competition
If a mating pair of a certain species is forced by a storm away from its usual location to some isolated island in, lets say, the Pacific ocean; They might be lost and/or worn down enough to stay at the new place, rather than to try to get back where they should be located. Since few survive such a trip, there is little competition on the island.
So they begin a family where they are presently situated. Their DNA, the genes of the two parents, will be the only gene pool that is available to that lone pair. However it doesn't end there. Since only a limited number of offspring are successfully born to that first family, there will be a genetic loss in the very first generation born on the island due to sampling errors of genetic recombination.
Let's explore this genetic loss. If only one offspring is born, then 50% of its genetic makeup comes from its father, 50% comes from its mother. What happens to the 50% of both father and mother that is not used? It is lost. The offspring has a full complement yes, but it does not have the variability that is inherent when having two complete sets of genes as was the case with the parents.
The parents came from the mainland, from a genepool that had a rich variety amongst its members. Most had DNA which were different from their neighbors. This would not be the case with this new island population.
If sampling errors continue to occur on the island, generation after generation, then this variable nature of their DNA will be lost. Interbreeding then will cause the members of the small population to be more like each other since there will be no new variation to supplement the loss that is caused by the sampling error problem.
Now, if a second offspring is born it will also have 50% from both mother and father and again half of the genetic material will not be transferred. So 50% is lost to that one individual as well. However, we now have two new individuals instead of one, the likelihood is that the same DNA is not lost in both individuals. After all, would you expect the babies to be exactly alike? On the other hand, we would not expect the two offspring to contain the full complement that the parents had either. Even though that possibility exists, the probability is very low for that to happen. So we might expect some differences in their genetic makeup.
Therefore, the more successful offspring there are in each generation, the smaller the genetic loss due to sampling error, would result. However, If conditions are harsh and certain individuals don't make it, Then this could cause the numbers of the population to stay low thus giving rise to a continued condition where a high rate of genetic loss, generation after generation, is experienced until each new individual starts inheriting the same set of genes. Thus they become virtual clones of each other.
In this example, Natural Selection usually selects those individuals in any population that are better suited with their environment. However, the heterozygous nature of genetics which enables many species to adapt to new conditions has been mostly lost. So the possibility exists that this small population may not make it. There is little remaining difference for Natural Selection to select for. It has "run out of steam".
In this process of loosing genetic variability, that group becomes a new species. It is new and different through the loss of genetic material. It may ultimately survive or it may not survive at all. There are limits on the adaptability of species. Natural selection can only push so far.
Species found on isolated islands often have defective abilities brought on by mutation, chromosomal aberrations, recombinations, viruses, et. cetera. One fish, an island species, cannot see, but since it lives in a cave where there is no light, it is not needed. Some birds are flightless, but they may be able to use their wings now for swimming. Or their size may change, their bill may be changed where it can now survive in a different niche.
These small populations are now living in rather limited ecosystems. The predators are largely absent. Thus the capabilities that they needed on the mainland to protect themselves are no longer needed. Hence, examples of lost vision, or loss of flight, etc. are actually examples involving successful island species.
In addition, flightlessness can be a positive advantage on islands for birds with medium strength flight, because it reduces the risk of being blown out to sea (so it is selected for!). Strong fliers don't need it (and couldn't survive flightlessness), nor do little fliers who stay low in storms. The flightless cormorant is the famous one.
The Galapagos Islands are the home of many groups which are different from the mainland. They are native to the islands. Also the species of one island is different enough from lets say an island ten miles away that they could be considered different species.
A classic example of the Galapagos islands is the finches. Each island seemed to have a different species of finch. They filled unusual niches that other families of birds, not found in the Galapagos. Each island had their own characteristics: small differences in color, pattern, and size, but with major variations in behavior, in habitat, and in food habits. Again the bills were very different; Anything from finchlike bills for seed cracking to slender ones for insect gathering.
Other famous examples of speciation among isolated islands is the Hawaiian honeycreepers which could be related to the American honeycreepers. The speciation of the Hawaiian honeycreepers resulted in bills that are very unusual. They range from a short, heavy finchlike bill to a long slender, strongly down-curved beak, or the beak may be twisted or they may look like a parrot or parakeet.
Various Authorities agree that these differences we see in the Galapagos and Hawaii could have occurred very quickly. Its the isolation that appears to play the greatest role in the formation of species on remote islands due to the sampling errors of genetic material as mentioned earlier.
To many of you readers, this process I am describing sounds like ordinary Evolution. Basically, it is. A type of "Evolution" does seem to occur, at least at the species level. However there are some basic differences that need to be noted if we are to understand the difference. We will look at them later.
From my experiences
described on this
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Jesus is truly
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save us from this
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In addition, I have
found, much to my
delight, that science
within the creationary paradigm, works!
It is an exciting
thing to explore our
a different perspective
than everyone else.
Often new possibilities are
realized when this
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And when I see
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I am working in
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it is down right
Did speciation occur quickly under the conditions following the Flood?
Could the conditions for quick change on isolated islands be a model for the quick postulated sweeping changes that must have occurred after the flood?
Looking at possible scenarios, what conditions might we expect to occur after the flood that would promote quick genetic change? We might expect harsh conditions. We might also expect low population numbers, isolation, low competition and low predation in an unpopulated world with open niches. All of these factors are the major causes for the rapid speciation rates found in island speciation.
The Ark carried two of a kind (if they were unclean) and seven of a kind (if they were clean). The clean animals were used by man for food and for sacrifices to God. So to have a few more of the clean animals around seems appropriate.
Two and seven of a kind are very low numbers for survival and remember, they are to survive in a world where the foliage, just after the flood, is just growing up for the first time. There are no fully mature ecological systems already in place. The whole world was probably extremely unstable Biologically.
We are also told that Angels led the animals into the Ark. They could have also helped led the migration from the Ark to repopulate the whole world. Who knows, there are many questions that are left unanswered. Did the animals migrate in small groups? Did they, from time to time separate into even smaller groups and thus go their separate ways? If these ideas are possible, then this process of distributing the animals after the flood could have taken many generations to complete.
The low numbers resulting from the spreading of the animals throughout the whole world could have lasted for quite some time. This would result in having small isolated groups of animals all over the world. Each population, having an extremely small gene pool. Thus they would suffer the same kind of genetic loss as is described today in isolated islands through sampling error of recombination. All of the conditions needed for island speciation were present in the Earth shortly after the flood.
Another feature of this speciation process, is that each group would lose a different portion of the original genetic material. Natural Selection would ensure that each group would be well suited to their new habitat. Thus, the various groups would start developing different behavior patterns and features that would distinguish them from other groups. So after awhile, they would start looking, acting, and living differently then they originally did. Thus the variation as seen today in the world, could have developed quite quickly.
Most examples of island speciation is the result of genetic loss. They lose the function of wings, eyes, etc. Even changes that are thought of as positive, the changing of bills on birds could also be a loss of certain genes or the modification and control of already existing genes. However, it is also true that major genetic changes such as: mutations, chromosomal aberrations, recombinations, viruses, et. cetera have also influenced the end result of speciation. This is a topic I wish to explore more fully in the future.
Is there a price to pay when a species adapts to its environment?
According to how I presently view things, the original precursor species had a powerful ability to adapt. However, once they adapted to their new environments through the loss of genetic material, they then lost that ability to adapt to other changes in the future.
Each species by adapting to its new environment, has committed itself to its new environment. The degree of that commitment is dependent upon how much genetic loss of variation was felt during the adapting process. In some species, like the cheetah, the DNA of one individual is so much like any other individual of their species, that they are essentially clones of each other (some do not think that the Cheetah will survive because of this genetic problem).
There seems to be a trade-off between increasing the survivability of a species to live in a specific locality, and being able to adapt to future changes in the environment. In today's world, man is often destroying habitats that contain animals, etc., that fill small finely tuned niches. Once that habitat is destroyed, the animals, etc., die. These animals are no longer able to adapt to the kind of changes in the environment that their predecessors had faced.
The question to ask: Are we forcing nature to change too quickly or have most species lost the ability to adapt to large changes as has occurred in the past?
Animal types or species are able to adapt to changes in their environment. However, there is a limit to their ability to adapt, thus they become unfit when natural selection forces them to the edge of survivability. When they reach that limit, that group becomes extinct. Evolution of course, suggests that genetic drift through the mutation process, increases genetic variability. Thus it is thought to reverse the lessening of variability found in the gene pool of a population due to the selective pressure of speciation. Mutations, and other genetic changes, according to the theory, allow a population to gain new adaptability for future changes in the environment by creating new vital genes that become useful to the species. Genetic drift is even thought to reverse the increase of entropy that is expected in closed systems.
The evidence is lacking; however, to show that new genes do arise from genetic drift to such an extent that the increase of entropy is reversed. It is true that Creationists believe that genes change and that genetic drift occurs. However, to actually produce a greater lever of "order" from random interactions (thus decreasing entropy as will be seen in later discussions) is what causes Creationists to object.
Most mutations that change the phenotype of individuals usually result in defects. Of course, some of these defects might allow for better niche survivability. For example, those with sickle cell anemia are somewhat immune to malaria. However those with the disease still die an early death. So its a case of how you want to die.
How might speciation be viewed differently from a Creationary perspective than an Evolutionary perspective?
The basic difference between evolutionary speciation and speciation as viewed by some Creationists is that of Entropy.
Entropy is a measure of disorder. The Evolutionist sees order and purpose as coming out of disorder. More specifically, the Evolutionists sees that the increase in entropy does not have to proceed if outside energy is added to the system constructively, thus allowing useful work to be done. So Entropy would be decreasing in the speciation process according to the Evolutionary viewpoint. Both natural selection and the processes that bring about genetic variability are seen as being able to produce a higher state of order than previous species. The progression of speciation is seen as a road of progress where better and better species evolve.
It is easy to see how those holding an Evolutionary viewpoint could use an extrapolation of the evolving speciation process to include the idea that all the species on our world had ascended from an initial simple cell. Hence the process of having new species evolve and form is called an evolutionary process.
Creationists would see disorder (entropy) as increasing since the original creation of our world. The original creation is viewed as the pinnacle of what is achievable, and that things have been running down hill ever since. With this view, speciation would be seen as a degradative process where genes and/or the function of genes is lost. At best, natural selection etc. may slow down the downward spiral as it would only preserve the strong individuals. The weaker individuals would not be able to survive as successfully. As time continues species would become more homozygous in nature as well.
It is easy to see that the question of entropy is extremely important in determining whether the evolutionary process of Evolution or the degradative process of Creation would prevail.
Before the flood I would imagine that genetic variability would have been much greater than today. Once the flood occurred, however, most of the gene pool was destroyed, life was allowed to continue using only a few individuals of each "Kind" to repopulate the Earth. Each Genesis Kind is thought to have been potentially the source of quite a number of modern species. So I would expect genetic variability to be much less today than before the flood.
It would be extremely interesting to eventually compare fossilized DNA with present day organisms. However the level of the degradation of the DNA itself prevents this possibility. The only types of fossil DNA which seemed to have been preserved are that of bacteria, blue-green algae, etc. These simple organisms are not thought to have experienced the same kind of conditions as the other animals experienced after the flood.
Gene mutations, genetic recombination and the changes in chromosome structure and number are usually thought to be sufficient to resupply a population with genetic variability. However, it must be realized that in a Biblical scenario, there is just not sufficient amount of time to allow for any great amount of change. This is especially true for mutations. In addition, Creationists question the ability of mutations etc. to actually be a powerful enough factor to generate new functional genes with new usable attributes. Indeed, most if not all mutations have proved to be a destructive force in the struggle for survival on this world.
If the time factor is much shorter than is realized by the scientific community, we might expect some indications in the speciation process that would warrant a shorter time.
- No time for random mutation activity. Instead most mutations are made by a enzyme mediated mutation process.
- Speciation might not be complete. If species are brought back together, they might mate as if they were of the same species.
Mutation activity is the subject of present research and will be reported to you at a later time.
The subject of speciation is a hotly debated topic even without the added factor of adding Creationary viewpoints to the mix. Dr. Karen Jensen who spent a little time in the Galapagos islands indicated to me through personal communication that researchers at the Darwin Station on Santa Cruz Island, the second largest Island of the Galapagos, brought finches from the various islands to the big aviary at the Station. She heard that almost all the different finches ended up interbreeding! So although they were morphologically distinguishable when separated, they were able to interbreed, and so their species designations are brought into question. If anyone finds documentation of this, I would be interested to hear from you!
So it seem, for whatever reason, the species barrier between the various Galapagos finches are weak.
How does degradative speciation fit in with the Molecular Data?
This is the subject of on-going research. For the last six years or so, I have been studying evidences that the DNA code itself is degraded from what originally existed when God created the world. The research is not out yet; However, below you will find links to various topics that will help to introduce the research.
You will find some simularities to the subjects that are addressed on this page, but you will also find much added detail that make these pages more informative.
Does the 2nd law of thermodynamics describe the change in entropy of living organisms which are the most complicated machines on Earth?.
Pseudogenes most likely are the result of degradation. They have lost their original created function. So, If true, some parts of the cell might not have a purpose.
What would be the nature of the degradation in organisms? Would Island Speciation throw some light on this question. The Bible seems to suggest a few definite ways that man has degraded.
How do pseudogenes form? Links to both a creationary and an evolutionary review paper provides a proper background of the issues. Three research options are explored to explain the difficulties.
Various Questions Explained Concerning The Speciation of Man
The first question:
What did Eve look like?
It would seem that L and the daughters L1 etc would have some similar physical characteristics.
I cannot find what they are.
We have more to say on what Noah's progeny looked like than Adam and Eve's progeny. When God confused the languages at the tower of Babel, each family group, or each group that now had the same language, went off to their separate ways. At that point they migrated to different parts of the world and at times splintering off producing some related groups of people in the world.
In addition we know from genetic studies that these groups did not interbreed with each other for some time. It was probably because of the language differences that they stayed separate and distinct all those years. It's amazing but this possibility was even suggested at a scientific meeting by people studying the history of man in the field of Molecular Genetics. It was not a majority position but it was mentioned to the consternation of some present at the meeting. Because they right away recognized the possible Biblical connection to the idea that language differences could have kept the people groups separated throughout history since the tower of Babel.
Today, we can see the results of what happened, because we have all the people groups of the world for our study. They all come from the different original language groups that were formed at the tower of Babel. It is amazing to see how different each group is from each other.
So each group had offspring like themselves, and sampling errors were introduced because they were a smaller groups of people. Thus, each group in time, became more like each other, thus they formed what we consider today to be their own race of people.
The genetics of these people, before they divided at the tower of Babel, must have been quite different than today. In today's world, interbreeding Europeans, for example, have European-looking offspring. They are all very similar since the genetics of man has become much more homogeneous. In other words, the genes of man today are much more like each other. Thus there is less ability for us to produce the vast variability that could be produced by early man. Genes have been lost because of the same kind of genetic sampling errors as is found in Island Speciation which is discussed on this web page.
So, all these different shapes and sizes of mankind that are found in the world today, have originated from six people who were on Noah's Ark, the three sons of Noah and their wives. The ability to produce this kind of variability is just not with us today. The genetics of man today is too much like each other to produce the same kind of variability. The only way to produce greater variability. in today's world, is for different people groups to intermarry. Hybrid vigor is a benefit of such a marriage.
Because of the things that we can see in the human population today, and because of the type of speciation discussed on this page, we can surmise that the genetics of early man, was much more heterogeneous than today's population of people. So their must have been much more variability in the genes allowing the progeny of these early people to be quite variable.
Now, let's look at your question: Since Adam and Eve were the original pair in the Garden of Eden, I would surmise that their progeny could have been even more capable of variability than is now found in the progeny of Noah. The reason is quite simple. There could have been some sampling errors introduced into the genetics of man before the flood, and more specifically before Noah came to be. God's people were a small part of the population of the world before the flood. Thus there could have been some sampling errors induced into the genetics of the smaller group that followed God at that time.
I believe you should keep in mind these kinds of things as you try to determine what the physical characteristics of these early people actually were, before the flood. I think they could have been quite variable, which, if true, should make your job much harder to determine.
The second question:
I read an article [on a certain website] stating the horse, donkey, and zebra are of one species and I think I believe that. But when I brought it up on the forum thread they about laughed me off the web. Some creationist wanted to disown me and some evo's were thanking me. I know breeding plays a big part in all this but all three have cross bred, same species right(?).
Donkeys and horses are different species and they have different numbers of chromosomes (I am using the term "species" as most scientists today would use the term. I'll tell you what I mean below). The horse has 64 chromosomes and a donkey has 62 chromosomes. When a male horse and female donkey are mated, the offspring is a mule and it has 63 chromosomes.
Now you are right that being able to breed does help determine a species. However, in this case there are complications. Because horses and donkeys have different numbers of chromosomes, and because the DNA is organized just a little differently, that means there are some problems. When the DNAs of the two animals come together, the DNA must be alike. They must be organized in the same way. This allows the DNA to organize and to line-up or pair-up with each other in the Biological process called Meiosis. (Look up Meiosis on the Web and see what they say.)
Obviously, if the two animals are of the same species, then the DNA will be organized in exactly the same way and they will have the same number of chromosomes as well. So they would have the same order and organization of genes and everything else that we don't know about.
However, if the DNA of the two animals are just a little different, then there can be a little difficulty when the DNA of the two animals tries to pair-up, thus aligning themselves to each other in the Meiosis process. If there is some trouble in getting completely aligned, then the offspring might have problems such as being infertile. This is what happens when a horse and donkey are mated. Now, there is a small number of mules and hinnies (mostly hinnies) that are even fertile but most are infertile.
Zebras and horses are also mated to produce a zorse. However, most zorses are sterile. In addition, zebras are also mated with donkeys to produce a zeekonk. Most zeekonk are also sterile. So, it seems that all three (horse, donkey and zebra) are closely related species. Not the same species but three different species that are very much like each other. They could be closely related species from a creationary perspective, in that they could all be from the same original species, from the Ark, that I would call a Genesis Kind (See below).
However, the mating of animals that are even more different than the examples we are looking at, the chromosomes will then have even more trouble coming together in the aligning process and in that case the offspring might not even be viable.
A Possible Problem with Scientific Terms
Now, scientists who study different areas of science, might at times, have a more difficult time discussing various things of science because the terms they use, might be different even though they might use the very same word. The different fields of science might never get together on a lot of things to ensure that all the terms were actually the same terms. So, to a certain extent, they just make their own terms.
The same problem can exist between creationists and evolutionists. You must realize that not all creationists think the same way. Now you may have misunderstood the author of that article. You need to go back and try for a clearer understanding of what was presented.
However some, I think, may possibly classify a species as those species or groups that came out of the Ark as a species. So a species could possibly be defined in reference to the time of the flood. Since that time, these animals have migrated in all directions and many of the animals have changed through the years. The animals in Asia will change differently than those in America. Today's scientists would classify them as different species but originally, they were one species that came out of Noah's Ark. This page describes this kind of species which I call a Genesis Kind.
So, you would probably not expect an evolutionist to agree with the reasons why a creationist might call the horse, donkey, and zebra a single species. Creationists and Evolutionists do not think the same way. Their terms might sound the same but they can mean different things. You need to read that article to find out what the man is thinking. Most likely, an evolutionist will not agree with the logic that the creationist made in determining whether they are all the same species or not.
So, the word species among some creationists may be different than the usual evolutionary scientist.
I personally use two terms.
1) Genesis Kind - I use to denote groups that originally came from the Ark. At that time they could fully interbreed.
2) species = I use today's understanding of being able to interbreed today. You must also realize that there are many reasons why two animals may not interbreed. It may be because their DNA is too different, it may be because they physically cannot come together anymore, and also, it may be because of behavior differences. They just can't get together. There have been arguments among evolutionists about these reasons of not being able to interbreed.
The horse, donkey, and zebra, I think, could have come from the same original Genesis Kind. I don't know for sure but it is a possibility and I am guessing that what the author was really saying is that horses, donkeys, and zebra are probably of the same Genesis Kind. (NOTE: The person who asked this question answered my e-mail saying that I was right. The article was describing "the same originally created 'kind' as specified in Genesis 1")
Some time ago, I found that horses actually have the genes for producing stripes just like the Zebra. But the genes are defective. They are pseudogenes. So horses could very much be related to zebra. That tells me that the two could indeed be from the same Genesis Kind; the same species at the time of the flood that came out of the Ark.
Another difference between horses and zebras is that zebras are very wild and they cannot be domesticated very easy at all. But horses adapt very easily to domestication. They have to be broken in etc. but the problems are nothing like what would be experienced with a zebra.