Feedback: Ligers and wholphins

One thing that fascinates me about creationists is how frequently directly contradictory evidence to creationism is wildly proclaimed to be the death knell for evolution. Case in point is this article “Wolphins and Ligers what's next?” [Ligers and wholphins? What next?]

We did not claim that this was the ‘death knell for evolution.’  It’s not the sort of thing we would say, no matter how powerful the argument for creation or against evolution, because atheists (and their compromising churchian allies) have made it clear that they will continue to believe in evolution no matter what the evidence.  It’s as Professor D.M.S. Watson admitted years ago:

‘evolution [is] a theory universally accepted not because it can be proven by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible’ (Adaptation, Nature124:233, 1929).

So we are not naive enough to think that any article will be ‘the death knell of evolution.’

However, the article was not presented as a critique of evolution.  Rather, the piece primarily aimed at helping construct a creationist model of biology.  It dealt primarily with how we might determine what organisms represent descendants of particular original created kinds, using specific examples. The only areas that touched evolution related to countering misinformation propagated by evolutionism’s popularizers—that creationists believe in ‘fixity of species’, that ‘speciation’ is somehow proof of evolution, and that adaptation is somehow a problem for creationists.

The article is actually well done as far as enumerating the various animal hybrids, and I actually enjoyed reading it, but it is hardly a zinger for creationism, quite the opposite.

By stating that (for example) dolophins [sic] and killer whales are one created “kind” is utterly rediculous [sic]. Evolution naturally would suppose that related species may in some instances be able to reproduce together. Probably more telling is how the offspring produced are quite unique, and often have nothing resembling either species.

The offspring of hybridized species ‘often have nothing resembling either species’? This statement lacks any factual foundation.  Hybrids have many resemblances to the parent species.  If they didn’t, it would bring into question the whole concept of inheritance, of DNA carrying the information that specifies the characteristics of an organism.  The wholphin, for example, had a mixture of features; some dolphin and some false killer whale.  That is how zoologists usually recognize hybrids—mixtures of traits of both parents.

While it might not surprise biologists that some things hybridize, it is not a prediction of evolution.  Indeed, different ‘biological species’ are even defined as biologically (reproductively) isolated, so species should not hybridize.  Also, in the evolutionary time-frame, many species have supposedly been isolated for many millions of years.  The fact that they hybridize indicates that no substantial evolutionary change has occurred, consistent with the message of living fossils (see ‘Living fossils’ enigma), that things do indeed reproduce according to their kinds, as they were created to do so (Genesis 1). Alternatively, or also, the time-scale is wrong.

While animal hybrids are a bit of an oddity, plant hybrids are exceptionally common and furthermore their evolution is actually facilitated by hybridization.

Here is the old debating equivalent of the three thimble trick (of switching definitions of evolution)—construing any change as ‘evolution.’  Biological evolution supposedly explains how chemicals became life and how that ‘simple’ life transformed itself into all the living things on Earth. According to current Darwinian dogma, for major transformations to occur, there has to be isolation of breeding populations so they can supposedly develop different traits to one another.  Hybridizing would disrupt such an evolutionary process, by recombining traits together.  In fact, if new genes had evolved in isolation and then the species were reunited by hybridization, the new genes would likely be lost by genetic drift (remember that only 50% of a sexual organism’s genes are passed onto an offspring; and the fewer genes the parents have in common, the less an offspring will resemble one parent). How could hybridization possibly facilitate evolution (from one basic type to another)? Evolution is about the multiplication of species in different directions, not the recombining of them!

The critic seems to have missed a key point made in the article (and of evolution), that evolution of new basic types of organisms needs new genetic information to be added by a physical (non-intelligent) process.

To conclude the article is quite sophomoric, as is typical of creationist literature, and is out of sync with science.

Troy A. Heck

For a logical article on logic, see Loving God with All Your Mind: Logic and Creation (semi-technical).  And I suppose that ‘science’ means the science as proscribed by self-serving rules that exclude Creation, no matter what the evidence? See The Rules of the Game.

In summary, the main issues are these:

  1. ‘Speciation’ does not contradict Biblical Creation.  In fact, the Biblical Creation/Fall/Flood/Migration model implicitly predicts rapid speciation—see Speedy Species Surprise.
  2. Evolution (microbes to man) needs swags of new information to be added at successive stages.  No materialistic mechanism can add such information because coded information can only come from intelligence. Creation by a super-intelligent Creator is the logical deduction from the masses of information (specified complexity) seen in living things.
  3. Hybridization helps identify the descendants of the original created kinds, but it is of no help to evolution because it reverses putative evolutionary progress.
  4. That species supposedly separated by millions of years of evolution can hybridize speaks against the claimed reality of evolutionary change.
  5. Adaptation is not the same as evolution. Biblical Creation requires adaptation as animals and plants re-colonized the Earth after the Flood. But this occurred through recombination of existing genetic information and sometimes through degenerative changes (e.g., mutations).  It does not need new genetic information.

The article Genetic engineers unwind species barrier—but have they reversed evolution?, written since my one on wholphins and ligers, might help clarify some of these issues.  See also Q&A: Speciation and Creation.

Don Batten

Published: 3 February 2006