Saturday, October 25, 2014

Speciation Requirements

As one of the most important scientific icons of the day, organic evolution permeates our 21st century consciousness. The term evolution is most commonly used in connection with organic evolution, the widely accepted belief that “every individual alive today, the highest as well as the lowest, is derived in an unbroken line from the first and lowest forms.” The previous quote was uttered by August Weismann (1834-1914), an important German evolutionary biologist. Evolutionary biologists today regularly voice identical beliefs. In public school and secular college science classrooms this is the accepted belief du jour. The impact on our young people and the culture at large has been breathtaking. Some evangelical organizations and individuals now accept evolution and disparage concepts of intelligent design and creationism, joining hands with secular scientists and liberal theologians who have countenanced evolution for many years.

The Biblical Hebrew terms for create have several interpretations ranging from fashioning from nothing to organizing, shaping, or forming previously existing material.   Evolution described by Darwin and his followers is not meant to convey the intent of scripture writers. The naturalistic evolutionary production of several million species of animals and plants in hundreds or thousands of incremental developmental steps beginning with a primitive common ancestor is a theoretical process beyond the understanding of many in our culture. The action just described is an idealized “bottom-up” process of development from non-life, to simple life, to complex contemporary life. This hypothetical and inferential scenario consists of a sequence of events supported by little or no observational reality. Rather, it is supported primarily by a theoretical concept—organic evolution—which has acquired cachet as accepted “scientific” reality.

Evolution of each species is supported by the scientific principle of cause and effect, a fundamental relationship in the field of natural science. The principle is sometimes termed “causal adequacy.” When we observe an attractive, beautifully integrated, functioning species of any one insect, bird, mammal, or plant, we could assume the existence of an extended sequence of specimens stretching into the past with unlimited historical information concerning its genealogy. In our fantasy we imagine a pictorial review of this process. The review would consist of millions or billions of sequential images of the ancestors of our recently highlighted post subject, the familiar praying mantis tenodera sinensus. This species is but one of over a million classified species. If our imaginary video review became reality, it would not be science fiction. The record would be a treasure to the community of evolutionary science!

Continuing our journey of fantasy, evolutionary scientists should be able to identify the nexus moment when our praying mantis species transitioned from an ancestral species. How would such a transition from one species to another be observed? Would all the necessary changes in morphology and physiology be observed at once? Would the changes be observed in one specimen or in all species specimens in unison? Beyond the startling visual changes from one generation to the next, how would we account for acquisition of new genetic information and replacement of old genetic information? Many other questions cry out for answers from our fantasized video projection.

Evolutionists must offer hypotheses to account for production of new species. The literature is filled with multiple explanatory hypotheses. Gradual changes are not an artifact of the fossil record. New species appear suddenly and fully formed. These phenomena have been termed “the trade secret of paleontology.” When they disappear from our planet due to extinction, they do not manifest significant morphological changes over their lifetime. In the case of sudden appearance of multiple novel phyla which characterize the Cambrian Explosion, the hypothetical problem for evolutionists posed by our video review fantasy becomes far more intense.

We have quoted Stephen C. Meyer’s account of the necessary steps in the transition of one species to another several times in past posts. We repeat a passage from 6/21/12 entitled “Evolution or Creation Miracles” 

Moreover, the sudden radiations of major new phyla after extinction events are more characteristic of miraculous creation events than of the classic theoretical evolutionary scenario. Stephen C. Meyer details the transition of Species A to Species B: Such transitions would involve the simultaneous production of new proteins, then new cell types, followed by new tissues, new organs, new body parts, and finally, a new organism. Transitions between major phyla would entail even more startling changes to body plans. The relatively sudden appearances of fish, amphibians, birds, and mammals after extinction events have been carefully detailed. The miracle scenario is far easier to grasp. In terms of a familiar figure of speech we might say the miracle of the  creation process may be far easier to “wrap our arms around” than a naturalistic theory involving many complex contingencies.