Saturday, July 20, 2013

Evolution's Five Fundamental Assumptions—Are They Scientific or Philosophical? Part Five *

Assumption Five, part three:  Animals Not Part of God’s Original “Created Kinds” Imply Macroevolution.

The Bible reveals that God created animals “according to their kinds” (Genesis one). I believe this can be interpreted to mean that God created the prototypes of all the animals that ever lived. From those original “kinds” emerged all the amazingly diverse and distinct animals found in the fossil record and inhabiting the earth today. This would include animal species that were not part of God’s original created “kinds.”

Now, this raises a question that needs to be answered. If animals species exist today that were not part of God’s direct creation, does it mean that macroevolution is their origin? Or can the existence of new species of animals be accounted for through microevolution? Let me state this a little differently, I want to be sure you understand the issue.

According to the fossil record, animals existed in the past that no longer exist today. For example, horses in the fossil record are different than modern horses. Mastodons no longer exist, but modern elephants do. Saber-toothed cats are extinct, but lions and tigers seem to have taken their place.  So, if macroevolution doesn’t occur, how did the vast menagerie of creatures that inhabit the earth today develop?

In order to answer this, it will be helpful to understand what the Bible means by animal “kinds.” I believe animal kinds closely parallel what taxonomists classify as “family” (e.g. the dog family, canid; the cat family, felid; the horse family, equid, and so on). Certainly the original created kinds may have been broader categories or more restricted categories, but for our purposes here family seems to fit best. So in what follow, when I refer to “families” keep in mind I’m still referring to God’s created “kinds” (animal prototypes) spoken into existence in Genesis one.

When God created the original kinds (or families) of animals, He placed within each of them a gene pool. This is the total number of genes every individual in a particular breeding population of animals possess. A gene pool, then, contains all the genetic potential needed for a particular kind of animal to produce diverse varieties within its own kind. It also allowed them to adapt to different habitats (forests, savanna, deserts, and so on) as they followed God’s mandate to multiply and spread across the earth (Gen. 1:20-25). This included the ability to adapt to major climatic changes, such as the earth’s ice ages and interglacial periods—as well as the geographical transformations that likely followed the worldwide Flood. Animals which couldn’t adapt eventually became extinct, such as dinosaurs and the other extinct animals represented in the fossil record.

As these created kinds of animals multiplied and spread across the earth, groups within the families would naturally become isolated from one another. In doing so, the isolated groups became reproductively separated. Over time, as breeding became limited to just the members within isolated groups, natural selection (microevolution) allowed animals within the groups to develop the particular physical characteristic needed to adapt to their respective habitats. Eventually, genera and species emerged within the different created families. Thus, for example, the dog family today includes forest dwelling graywolves, desert dwelling kit foxes, African wild dogs, Australian dingos, and so on—yet they are all members of the dog family (canid). Dog breeders achieve essentially the same thing artificially when they eliminate (or enhance) certain traits by selective breeding. Although breeds are not the same as species, the outcome is the same in terms of remarkably different varieties—from tiny Chihuahuas to massive Great Danes.

What is crucial to understand here is that all these changes did not require macroevolution, just as it doesn’t in breeding differ varieties of dogs. Rather, it’s animal kinds (families) expressing their full genetic potential as they adapt to changing  environmental conditions—but strictly within the limits of their created gene pool. This is microevolution, and it never produces a new kind of animal. Extinct and modern canines have never been anything but canines. The fossil record does not reveal a half dog/half some other kind of animal. Nor does it reveal a pre-dog ancestor. The same can be said of every other created kind of animal.

In short, natural selection within created gene pools accounts for every change seen in every kind of animal on earth, extinct or modern. All the examples given by evolutionists to prove macroevolution are in reality no more than adaptions within specific gene pools. To say that natural selection requires macroevolution is simply wrong. It is a philosophical assumption of naturalistic evolution motivated by ideology; it’s not demonstrable science.

This concludes my series on “Evolution's Five Fundamental Assumptions—Are They Scientific or Philosophical?” I hope you found them helpful.  Since apologetics is not for everyone or for every witnessing encounter, my next series of blog articles (hopefully beginning in two weeks) will be on when to use apologetics and when not to. There are four approaches to evangelism (apologetics is only one), and we’ll explore all four and determine the right one to apply according to the situation.

*  This and the other blog articles in this series are copyrighted material and may not be reproduced electronically or in print. But feel free to link this blog to your own website, personal email list, or Facebook friends and groups. I explore the topic of this article in my books, Defending Your Faith (Kregel Publications) and The Christian Combat Manual (AMG Publishers). My sources are documented there.

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