The theory of natural selection
Darwin proposed that (taken from the BBC website):
- individual organisms within a particular species show a wide range of variation for a characteristic
- individuals with characteristics most suited to the environment are more likely to survive and to breed successfully
- the characteristics that have enabled these individuals to survive are then passed on to the next generation
This theory is called natural selection.
Upon this theory a whole molecules-to-man evolution has grown.
Although it is widely accepted especially by nontechnical popular science, there are objections by rational, highly qualified scientists.
These scientists have tried to speak out, but the sheer weight of the popular science which is propagated on virtually every nature and outdoors programmes on the TV has drowned out the other voices.
The evolution, or not, of bacteria
The BBC website then goes on to say that:
Bacteria can evolve quickly because they reproduce at a fast rate.BBC [i]
Mutations of bacteria produce new strains.
Some bacteria might become resistant to certain antibiotics, such as penicillin, and cannot be destroyed by the antibiotic.
The evolution of the bacteria is an example of natural selection and supports Darwin’s theory of evolution.”
That is a very sweeping statement, so let’s look at how resistance can arise:
A mutational loss or defect can cause resistance.Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria by Dr Carl Wieland [ii]
For instance, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the cause of TB, has
an enzyme which (as well as its other useful functions) changes the antibiotic isoniazid into a form which destroys the bacterium.
A mutation causes the loss of that enzyme and helps the pathogen withstand isoniazid. [iii]
To give another example:
the 4-quinolone antibiotics attack the enzyme DNA gyrase inside various bacteria. [iv]
An informationally insignificant mutation which results in the substitution of one amino acid by another destroys the enzyme/antibiotic interaction.
More commonly, resistance arises through mutational defects that cause the inactivation of genes which control transport through the cell membrane.
If the antibiotic is less efficiently taken up, it does not accumulate as readily to toxic levels.
Antibiotic resistance commonly arises in ways which have nothing to do with mutation.
For instance, in some microbes the antibacterial chemical, sulphonamide, works by blocking the ability to synthesize the vitamin folic acid.
If the bacterium acquires new DNA which bypasses the block to produce this vitamin, then sulphonamide will not work as well.
This pathogen is therefore resistant.
The question is, where did the new DNA come from?
It is now known that bacteria can obtain such DNA (which can be outside the chromosome, as a so-called ‘plasmid’) from other bacteria which already have this information.
This can happen through infection with bacterial viruses, through direct transfer from another bacterium during conjugation (‘mating’ of bacteria), or even directly through the cell wall.
This acquiring of resistance from another source is clinically very important;
note that it does not involve the appearance of any new, complex information which was not already present in the world.
Regardless of the form of resistance, when the population is no longer exposed to the poison, the tendency is for the more efficient, non-resistant types to do better.”
Do dogs prove Evolution?
Darwin proposed that given enough time the forces of natural selection could change the traits of species.‘Dogs Prove Evolution’ by Steven Potter, PhD, is a Professor of Pediatrics, in the Division of Developmental Biology, at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. [xiv]
The neck of the giraffe would get longer, to reach more vegetation, the gazelle could get faster, to better escape, and the cheetah could get faster, to better catch the gazelle.
The artificial selection that drove the evolution of dogs is simply natural selection on steroids.
It proves the principle, and shows without a doubt that evolution is true.”
The last sentence: “It proves the principle, and shows without a doubt that evolution is true.” sounds very final and authoritative, but that is only one side of the story.
Yes dogs can be altered in many ways and the results range from the tiny Chihuahua to the huge Irish Wolfhound.
The wolf ancestor did propagate into many different shapes and sizes, but none of them changed into, for example, a horse.
Scientific classification gives the wolf species as: Canis lupus which then has these subspecies:
- C. l. albus Tundra wolf
- C. l. arabs Arabian wolf
- C. l. campestris Steppe wolf
- C. l. chanco Himalayan wolf and Mongolian wolf
- C. l. dingo Dingo and New Guinea singing dog
- C. l. familiaris Domestic dog
- C. l. lupus Eurasian wolf
- C. l. pallipes Indian wolf
- C. l. arctos Arctic wolf
- C. l. baileyi Mexican wolf
- C. l. columbianus British Columbian wolf
- C. l. crassodon Vancouver Island wolf
- C. l. hudsonicus Hudson Bay wolf
- C. l. irremotus Northern Rocky Mountain wolf
- C. l. labradorius Labrador wolf
- C. l. ligoni Alexander Archipelago wolf
- C. l. lycaon Eastern wolf
- C. l. mackenzii Mackenzie River wolf
- C. l. manningi Baffin Island wolf
- C. l. occidentalis Northwestern wolf
- C. l. orion Greenland wolf
- C. l. pambasileus Alaskan Interior wolf
- C. l. rufus Red wolf
- C. l. tundrarum Alaskan tundra wolf
- Plus 14 extinct subspecies!
These are all in the Scientific classification of the family: ‘Canidae’ and a member of this family is called a canid:
…the canids consist of domestic dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes, jackals, dingoes, and other dog-like mammals, all of which are agreed by evolutionists and creationists to share a common wolf-like ancestor.‘Creationist modelling of the origins of Canis lupus familiaris—ancestry, timing, and biogeography’ by Cody J. Guitard
This is demonstrated by DNA comparisons [v] and the ability of the canids to hybridize (e.g. dog-wolf [vi], dog-coyote [vii], dog-jackal [viii], dog-dingo [ix], dog-fox [x], coyote-fox [xi], coyote-wolf [xii]) oftentimes producing fertile offspring—perhaps, one might suggest, rendering their Canis lupus subspecies classifications trivial.
It is entirely possible that following the initial domestication, domestic dogs freely hybridized not only with wild wolves but also with other canids. [xiii]
Creationists do not contest this scenario.”
Family: Canidae, Genus: Canis, Species:
So a lot of changes have gone on within the genus ‘Canis’ but this does not prove a molecules-to-man evolution.
All those different sized canids in all sorts of shapes, are still wolf like in structure and are therefore still within their ‘kind’:
Bible ‘kinds’ are not species
So what does the Bible say:
Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation:Genesis 1:11-25
seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.‘
And it was so.
The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.
And God saw that it was good.
And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.’
And it was so.
God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.
He also made the stars.
God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.
And God saw that it was good.
And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
And God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.’
So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.
And God saw that it was good.
God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.’
And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds:
livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.’
And it was so.
God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds.
And God saw that it was good.
So does that mean that ‘kinds’ are species?
The answer appears to be ‘no’.
The Hebrew word mîn occurs thirty times in Genesis, Leviticus and Deuteronomy and once in Ezekiel 47:10
In the ‘Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament’ it states:
Some have argued that when God created mîn (kinds), he thereby fixed the ‘species.’W. C. Kaiser, R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Chicago: Moody Press.
This is a gratuitous assumption because a link between the word mîn with the biologist’s descriptive term species cannot be substantiated, and because there are as many definitions of species as there are biologists.
In light of the distinctions made in Genesis 1, such as the distinction between herbs and grasses which are, however, members of the same class (Angiosperms), it is possible that in some cases the biblical term mîn may indicate a broader group, such as an order…
God created the basic forms of life called mîn which can be classified according to modern biologists and zoologists as sometimes species, sometimes genus, sometimes family or order.
This gives no support to the classical evolutionist view which requires developments across kingdom, phyla, and classes.”
Let’s look at two examples:
Any kind of black kite
The Hebrew word mîn (kind) occurs in Leviticus:
any kind of black kite”Leviticus 11:14
The black kite (Milvus migrans) is a medium-sized bird of prey in the family Accipitridae.
By saying “any kind (Hebrew: mîn) of black kite” it is saying:
“any subspecies of black kite”
Species: Milvus migrans
Subspecies: Milvus migrans migrans – European black kite
Milvus migrans lineatus – black-eared kite
Milvus migrans govinda – small Indian kite (formerly pariah kite)
Milvus migrans affinis – fork-tailed kite
Milvus migrans formosanus – Taiwan kite
Any kind of locust
The Hebrew word mîn (kind) occurs again in Leviticus:
Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper.”Leviticus 11:22
In Scientific classification, the order Orthoptera means “straight wings” and it comprises of grasshoppers, locusts and crickets, katydids and wētā.
The order is subdivided into two suborders:
Caelifera – grasshoppers, locusts and close relatives
Ensifera – crickets and close relatives.
So the Bible verse: “any kind (Hebrew: mîn) of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper.” must be saying:
“you may eat any grouping or genus of locust, katydid…“
The Bible word: “kind” (Hebrew: mîn) can mean subspecies, species, genus or family.
All variations appear to only occur within it’s ‘kind’, and I would say that was because God made everything ‘… according to their kinds’.
References open in new windows:
[iii] ‘The catalase-peroxidase gene and isoniazid resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.’ by Zhang, Y, Heym, B., Allen, B., Young D. and Cole, S, 1992. Nature, 358:591-593.
See also the popular report: ‘Paradise lost? Microbes mount a comeback as drug resistance spreads’ by Beardsley, T., 1992. Scientific American, 267(5): 12-13.
[iv] ‘Resistance to the 4-quinolones’ by Lewin, C. S., 1992. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 36:9-11.
[v] ‘A review of selected features of the family Canidae with reference to its fundamental taxonomic status’ by Pendragon, B., J. Creation 25(3):79–88, 2011
[vi] ‘Wolf-dog crossbreeding: ‘smelling’ a hybrid may not be easy, Mammalian Biology’ by Lorenzini, R. et al., 79(2):149–156, 2014
[vii] ‘Agouti sequence polymorphisms in coyotes, wolves and dogs suggest hybridization’ by Schmutz, S.M. et al., J. Heredity 98(4):351–355, 2007
[viii] ‘First evidence of hybridization between golden jackal (Canis aureus) and domestic dog (Canis familiaris) as revealed by genetic markers’ by Galov, A. et al., Royal Society Open Science 2(12):1–14, 2015
[ix] ‘Do female dingo-dog hybrids breed like dingoes or dogs?’ by Cursino, M.S. et al., Australian J. Zoology 65(2):112–119, 2017
[x] van Gelder, R.G., Mammalian hybrids and generic limits, American Museum Novitates 2635:1–25, 1977, p. 11
[xi] van Gelder, R.G., Mammalian hybrids and generic limits, American Museum Novitates 2635:1–25, 1977 ref. 16, p. 10.
[xii] ‘Studies of wolf x coyote hybridization via artificial insemination’ by Mech, L.D. et al., PLOS ONE 12(9):1–12, 2017
[xiii] ‘Canid hybridization: contemporary evolution in human-modified landscapes, Ecology and Evolution 2’ by Stronen, A.V. et al., (9):2128–2140, 2012
[xiv] Science Blog
[xv] Canis – Wikipedia