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Basic Worldview:
103 Science, the Bible,
and Creation



Origins - Section Three:
Evolution, Origin of Species


Origins - Section One: Introduction and the Basics
Origins - Section Two: Premature Dismissals
Origins - Section Two: Application of the Basics
Origins - Section Three: Creation
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Origin of Life
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Environment for Life 1
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Environment for Life 2
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Another Planet
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Origin of Species
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Speciation Factors
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Speciation Rates
Origins - Section Four: Time and Age, Redshift
Origins - Section Four: Philosophical Preference
Origins - Section Four: Cosmological Model 1
Origins - Section Four: Cosmological Model 2
Origins - Section Four: Dating Methods, Perceptions, Basics
Origins - Section Four: Global Flood Evidence
Origins - Section Four: Relative Dating
Origins - Section Four: Dating and Circular Reasoning
Origins - Section Four: The Geologic Column
Origins - Section Four: Radiometric Dating Basics
Origins - Section Four: General Radiometric Problems
Origins - Section Four: Carbon-14 Problems
Origins - Section Four: Remaining Methods and Decay Rates
Origins - Section Four: Radiometric Conclusions, Other Methods
Origins - Section Five: Overall Conclusions, Closing Editorial
Origins - Section Five: List of Evidences Table
Origins Debate Figures and Illustrations


Evolution on the Origin of Species: Introduction

As we began our expanded commentary section on the defining points of the theory of evolution, we stated that points 1, 2, and 3 would be addressed in the last 2 remaining sections of this article series. This left points 4 and 5 to be addressed in the expanded commentary on evolution. In the preceding segments we have covered point 4, which defined the current status of evolutionary theorization concerning the origin of life.  Consequently, in this segment, we turn to point 5, which defines the current status of evolutionary theorization concerning the origin of species.

Current evolutionary theory on the origin of species was defined as follows:

5) Although the production of a new or different organism from an existing organism occurs in steps that are too subtle and slow to be observed directly and although the fossil record likewise contains no intermediate or transitional forms, it is advanced that all the varieties of organisms on earth today are not reproductively static, but came into being as generations of offspring from one original organism changed over time into new and different types of organisms. Beneficial gene mutations are acknowledged to be the only potential automatic, routine source for the arrival of these new types of organisms. The frequency of beneficial mutations is acknowledged to be extremely rare. And although there are probability obstacles concerning any theoretical beneficial mutation being passed on through reproduction and accumulating in an order and association necessary for new functions to result, the arrival of every variety of organism, every trait, structure, and organ, and every gene on the planet today are attributed to the automatic, routine process of beneficial mutation.

There are 2 crucial parts of this definitional statement that will need to be established as acknowledged by evolutionary scientists and secular sources. One pertains to evidence and the other pertains to the explanatory mechanisms of evolutionary theory itself. Subsequently, we can also assess the theory of evolution on these 2 grounds. First, does evolution have a mechanism capable of even theoretically explaining and producing the origination of species? And second, does the observable evidence support the evolutionary pillar that there is an overall, universal continuum in which each species and even each different, general type of organism emerged from those preceding it or does the evidence indicate each different, general type of organism exists in a static condition, reproductively unrelated and isolated from one another? These are the questions, which we will address in this segment and which we will answer specifically through examining quotes from evolutionary and secular sources.

As we begin this examination of evolutionary theorization on the origin of species, perhaps the most important item to point out is the centrality this issue has to the entire theory. Darwin’s theory of evolution left out and did not discuss the origin of life.

The (from life), The origin of life, Hypotheses of origins – Although Darwin would not commit himself on the origin of life, others subscribed to Hypothesis 4 more resolutely, notably the famous British biologist T.H. Huxley in his Protoplasm, the Physical Basis of Life (1869), and the British physicist John Tyndall in his “Belfast Address” of 1874...The primitive atmosphere – Darwin's attitude was: ‘It is mere rubbish thinking at present of the origin of life; one might as well think of the origin of matter.’” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Instead, Darwin’s theory was focused on and defined as a theory of how different species come about. In fact, Darwin’s book publicizing this theory was titled, The Origin of Species.

Evolution, III DARWINIAN THEORY – A successful explanation of evolutionary processes was proposed by Charles Darwin. His most famous book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859), is a landmark in human understanding of nature.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Evolution, History of the theory of evolution – Darwin's theory. In 1858, Charles R. Darwin presented a joint paper written by him and Alfred R. Wallace, another British naturalist, that proposed a theory of evolution. This theory, in modified form, is accepted by almost every scientist today. It states that all species evolved from a few common ancestors by means of natural selection. Darwin developed the theory more thoroughly in his book, The Origin of Species (1859). The book became a best-seller.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

Although Darwinian evolutionary theory originated as a focus on the origin of species, even early on after Darwin’s theory was first circulated, the origin of life began to be included in the concept of biological evolution. Within a decade after the publication of Darwin’s theory on evolution, other evolutionary authors began to include the origin of life as part of the theory of evolution.

Life, The origin of life, Hypotheses of originsMost of the hypotheses of the origin of life will fall into one of four categories: ...[4] Life arose on the early Earth by a series of progressive chemical reactions. Such reactions may have been likely or may have required one or more highly improbable chemical events...Although Darwin would not commit himself on the origin of life, others subscribed to Hypothesis 4 more resolutely, notably the famous British biologist T.H. Huxley in his Protoplasm, the Physical Basis of Life (1869), and the British physicist John Tyndall in his “Belfast Address” of 1874. Although Huxley and Tyndall asserted that life could be generated from inorganic chemicals, they had extremely vague ideas about how this might be accomplished.

Consequently, modern evolutionary theory has come to include the “origin” or “formation” of life.

Evolution – Evolution is a process of change over time. The word evolution may refer to various types of change. For example, scientists generally describe the formation of the universe as having occurred through evolution. Many astronomers think that the stars and planets evolved from a huge cloud of hot gases. Anthropologists study the evolution of human culture from hunting and gathering societies to complex, industrialized societies. Most commonly, however, evolution refers to the formation and development of life on Earth. The idea that all living things evolved from simple organisms and changed through the ages to produce millions of species is known as the theory of organic evolution. Most people call it simply the theory of evolution.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

But, despite the inclusion of the origin of life alongside the issue of the origin of species, the changing of one species into another remains the central, defining concept of evolution, just as it has been since the beginning. As the 2 quotes below demonstrate, Britannica and Worldbook Encyclopedia both agree to fact that the origin of species is the central defining concept in evolutionary theory.

Evolution – theory in biology postulating that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations. The theory of evolution is one of the fundamental keystones of modern biological theory.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Evolution, Main ideas of evolutionary theoryThe theory of evolution consists of a set of several interrelated ideas. The basic idea states that species undergo changes in their inherited characteristics over time. There are two main types of change in organic evolution: anagenesis and cladogenesis. Anagenesis refers to changes that occur within a species over time. Because of anagenetic change, the forms and traits of many species today differ from the forms and traits of their ancestors. Cladogenesis refers to the splitting of one species into two or more descendant species. This branching process, also called speciation, can be repeated to create many species. Current evolutionary theory holds that all species evolved from a single form of life which lived more than 3 1/2 billion years ago. Over time, repeated speciation events and anagenetic changes have produced the more than 10 million species inhabiting Earth today.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

In fact, after Darwin’s Origin of Species was published, subsequent major works and steps in the theory of evolution continued to maintain focus on the origin of species. This is exemplified in the development of the mutation and synthetic theories of evolution.

In Darwin’s time, genetics were not understood and this left Darwin without a mechanism to explain the new traits and resulting changes in a species.

Evolution, III DARWINIAN THEORY – Thus, according to Darwin's theory, evolution proceeds by the natural selection of well-adapted individuals over a span of many generations. The parts of Darwin's theory that were the most difficult to test scientifically were the inferences about the heritability of traits, or characteristics, because heredity was not understood at that time. The basic rules of inheritance became known to science only at the turn of the century, when the earlier genetic work of Gregor Mendel came to light.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Evolution, History of the theory of evolutionDarwin had observed that the characteristics of organisms may change during the process of being passed on to offspring. However, he could not explain how or why these changes took place because the principles of genetics were not yet known. The genetic principles of variation and mutation filled this gap in Darwin's theory. Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk, had discovered the principles of genetics in the 1860's. Mendel's findings remained unnoticed until the early 1900's, when the science of genetics was established.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

When Gregor Mendel’s studies in genetics were “rediscovered,” this led to the new idea that genetic mutation was the cause of evolutionary changes. And this evolutionary theory became known as mutationism.

Evolution, History of evolutionary theory, Modern conceptions, The synthetic theory – The rediscovery in 1900 of Mendel's theory of heredity, by Hugo de Vries of The Netherlands and others, led to an emphasis on the role of heredity in evolution. De Vries proposed a new theory of evolution known as mutationism, which essentially did away with natural selection as a major evolutionary process. According to de Vries (joined by other geneticists such as William Bateson in England), there are two kinds of variation that take place in organisms. One is the “ordinary” variability observed among individuals of a species, which is of no lasting consequence in evolution because, according to de Vries, it could not “lead to a transgression of the species border even under conditions of the most stringent and continued selection.” The other consists of the changes brought about by mutations, spontaneous alterations of genes that yield large modifications of the organism and gave rise to new species: “The new species thus originates suddenly, it is produced by the existing one without any visible preparation and without transition.”

As discussion on the mechanisms for the origination of new species continued, the synthetic theory of evolution was developed. The synthetic theory of evolution combined Darwin’s natural selection mechanism with the mechanism of mutation championed by mutationism.

Evolution, History of the theory of evolution The synthetic theory was formulated during the 1930's and 1940's by a number of scientists, including four American biologists-Sewall Wright, George G. Simpson, Russian-born Theodosius Dobzhansky, and German-born Ernst W. Mayr-and two British geneticists, Ronald A. Fisher and J. B. S. Haldane. Their theory synthesizes (combines) Darwin's theory of natural selection with the principles of genetics and other sciences.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

Theodosius Dobzhansky, a main contributor to synthetic evolution, wrote a book entitled, “Genetics and the Origin of Species” further corroborating that the focus of evolutionary theory remained the origin of species.

Evolution, IV POPULATION GENETICS – Even while mutationism was replacing Darwinism, the leading evolutionary theory, the science of population genetics was being founded by Sewall Wright, J. B. S. Haldane, and several other geneticists, all working independently...Despite the mathematical support that was developed for this view of evolution, most evolutionists adhered to the theory of evolution by random mutations until the late 1930s. At that time Theodosius Dobzhansky, in Genetics and the Origin of Species, extended the mathematical arguments with a wide range of experimental and observational evidence.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Evolution, The synthetic theory – The main writers who, together with Dobzhansky, may be considered the architects of the synthetic theory were the zoologists Ernst Mayr and Sir Julian Huxley, the paleontologist George G. Simpson, and the botanist George Ledyard Stebbins. These researchers contributed to a burst of evolutionary studies in the traditional biological disciplines and in some emerging ones—notably population genetics and, later, evolutionary ecology. By 1950 acceptance of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection was universal among biologists, and the synthetic theory had become widely adopted.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Although in the decades after the publication of Darwin’s “The Origin of Species,” the origin of life quickly joined the origin of species as the 2 main pillars of evolutionary theory, the ongoing focus among evolutionists on identifying the mechanisms for the origin of species demonstrates that the origin of species has always been and still remains the core, defining concept of evolutionary theory. Because of its position as the core of evolutionary theory, it is utterly crucial for evolutionary view to have a very well-established and thoroughly evidenced explanation on how species originate. But to the contrary, our definition of evolutionary theory reflects that, in fact, evolutionary theory does not have an explanation that is either well-established or evidenced for how species originate. As a result, this definition may at first seem controversial and perhaps biased.

Consequently, in this segment we will now set about the task of demonstrating that the definition above is indeed an accurate definition of evolutionary theory on the origin of species rather than simply a biased misrepresentation. And like the preceding segments, we will accomplish this task by establishing the points of the definition from secular sources, evolutionary scientists, and mainstream scientific magazines so that the definition will not in any way rely upon creationist writings or characterizations of evolutionary theory.


Evolution on the Origin of Species: Evolution’s Mechanisms

As stated during the introductory portion above, our fifth definitional point for the theory of evolution addressed 2 critical issues, which need to be established as objective fact rather than a mere biased description. First, does evolution have a mechanism capable of even theoretically explaining and producing the origination of species? And second, does the observable evidence support the evolutionary pillar that there is an overall, universal continuum in which each species and even each different, general type of organism emerged from those preceding it?

In this segment, we will address the issue of the mechanism for speciation asserted by evolutionary theory. The second half of our definition of evolutionary theory on the origin of species states that there are probability obstacles that strongly negate evolutionary theories explanatory mechanism for speciation. (Note again, that while we are using the evolutionary term speciation, what really is at issue isn’t how variations may occur within an existing type of organism, but how new types of organisms originate.)

5) …Beneficial gene mutations are acknowledged to be the only potential automatic, routine source for the arrival of these new types of organisms. The frequency of beneficial mutations is acknowledged to be extremely rare. And although there are probability obstacles concerning any theoretical beneficial mutation being passed on through reproduction and accumulating in an order and association necessary for new functions to result, the arrival of every variety of organism, every trait, structure, and organ, and every gene on the planet today are attributed to the automatic, routine process of beneficial mutation.

We will now turn our attention to substantiating this definitional point from evolutionary and secular sources.

As indicated by the quotes in the introductory portion for this segment, the synthetic theory of evolution combined genetic mutation and natural selection as the main mechanisms for the origination of species. The quotes below demonstrate that modern evolutionary theory maintains this same position that the 2 mechanisms for the origination of species are genetic mutation and natural selection.

Evolution, Causes of evolutionary changeMuch evolutionary change results from the interaction of two processes: (1) mutation and (2) natural selection. Mutation produces random (chance) variation in the biological makeup of a species or a population-that is, individuals of the same species living in the same area. Natural selection sorts out these random changes according to their value in enhancing the individual's reproduction and survival.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

Evolution, The process of evolution, Evolution as a genetic function, The concept of natural selection – Evolution can be seen as a two-step process. First, hereditary variation takes place; second, selection is made of those genetic variants that will be passed on most effectively to the following generations. Hereditary variation also entails two mechanisms: the spontaneous mutation of one variant to another, and the sexual process that recombines those variants to form a multitude of variations.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Since these are the 2 mechanisms asserted as the cause of species origination according to evolutionary theory, we need to examine the extent to which these mechanisms are actually capable of producing new species. We’ll start with mutation.

Mutation is the mechanism that produces variety, specifically genetic variety. In fact, as the quotes below will state, mutation is the only mechanism in evolution that produces and increases variety. And without new variety becoming available you can’t get new kinds of organisms to originate from previously existing organisms.

Evolution, The process of evolution, Evolution as a genetic function, The concept of natural selection – The central argument of Darwin's theory of evolution starts from the existence of hereditary variation.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Evolution, The process of evolution, Evolution as a genetic function, The origin of genetic variation: mutations – Life originated about 3,500,000,000 years ago in the form of primordial organisms that were very simple and very small. All living things have evolved from these lowly beginnings. At present there are more than 2,000,000 known species, which are widely diverse in size, shape, and way of life, as well as in the DNA sequences that contain their genetic information. What has produced the pervasive genetic variation within natural populations and the genetic differences among species? There must be some evolutionary means by which existing DNA sequences are changed and new sequences are incorporated into the gene pools of species. The information encoded in the nucleotide sequence of DNA is, as a rule, faithfully reproduced during replication, so that each replication results in two DNA molecules that are identical to each other and to the parent molecule. But heredity is not a perfectly conservative process; otherwise, evolution could not have taken place. Occasionally “mistakes,” or mutations, occur in the DNA molecule during replication, so that daughter cells differ from the parent cells in the sequence or in the amount of DNA.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Evolution, The process of evolution, Evolution as a genetic function, The origin of genetic variation: mutations – The process of mutation provides each generation with many new genetic variations.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Evolution, Dynamics of genetic change, Processes of gene frequency change, Mutation – The allelic variations that make evolution possible are generated by the process of mutation; but new mutations change gene frequencies very slowly, since mutation rates are low.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Evolution, Evolution as a genetic function, Genetic variation in populations, The gene poolThe gene pool is the sum total of all of the genes and combinations of genes that occur in a population of organisms of the same species…The necessity of hereditary variation for evolutionary change to occur can be understood in terms of the gene pool. Assume, for instance, that at the gene locus that codes for the MN blood groups there is no variation; only the M allele exists in all individuals. Evolution of the MN blood groups cannot take place in such a population, since the allelic frequencies have no opportunity to change from generation to generation. On the other hand, in populations in which both alleles M and N are present, evolutionary change is possible.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Evolution, The process of evolution, The operation of natural selection in populations, Natural selection as a process of genetic change – Hereditary variants, favourable or not to the organisms, arise by mutation.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Evolution, III DARWINIAN THEORY – The parts of Darwin's theory that were the most difficult to test scientifically were the inferences about the heritability of traits, or characteristics, because heredity was not understood at that time. The basic rules of inheritance became known to science only at the turn of the century, when the earlier genetic work of Gregor Mendel came to lightThe discovery was then made that inheritable changes in genes, termed mutations, could occur spontaneously and randomly without regard to the environment. Since mutations were seen to be the only source of genetic novelty, many geneticists believed that evolution was driven onward by the random accumulation of favorable mutational changes.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Evolution, Causes of evolutionary changeFor natural selection to operate, two biological conditions must be met. First, the individuals of a population must differ in their hereditary characteristics...The second requirement for natural selection is that some inherited differences must affect chances for survival and reproduction.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

Evolution, Causes of evolutionary changeOnly such mutations can introduce new hereditary characteristics. For this reason, mutations are the building blocks of evolutionary change and of the development of new species.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

Evolution, Causes of evolutionary changeSome mutations, however, help organisms adapt better to their environment…This type of beneficial mutation provides the raw material for evolutionary change.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

As we can see, in evolution, mutation is what causes new genes, genes that never existed before, to form. In other words, mutation is a mechanism of addition without which evolution has no explanation for how new kinds of organisms come into existence.

And while mutation is the source of new genes, in contrast, natural selection does not add new genes or variety at all. Instead, natural selection simply takes the existing variety that was created by mutation and decreases it because individuals in the population with less advantageous genes fail to survive and reproduce. Over time, those non-advantageous genes are removed from the population. And this is the process known as natural selection.

Evolution, The process of evolution, Evolution as a genetic function, The concept of natural selection – The central argument of Darwin's theory of evolution starts from the existence of hereditary variation. Experience with animal and plant breeding demonstrates that variations can be developed that are “useful to man.” So, reasoned Darwin, variations must occur in nature that are favourable or useful in some way to the organism itself in the struggle for existence. Favourable variations are ones that increase chances for survival and procreation. Those advantageous variations are preserved and multiplied from generation to generation at the expense of less advantageous ones. This is the process known as natural selection. The outcome of the process is an organism that is well adapted to its environment, and evolution often occurs as a consequence.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Natural Selection – Natural Selection, in biology, the process by which environmental effects lead to varying degrees of reproductive success among individuals of a population of organisms with different hereditary characters, or traits. The characters that inhibit reproductive success decrease in frequency from generation to generation. The resulting increase in the proportion of reproductively successful individuals usually enhances the adaptation of the population to its environment.” – "Natural Selection," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Evolution, V THE SYNTHETIC THEORY Mutations are now known to be changes in the position of a gene, or in the information coded in the gene, that can affect the function of the protein for which the gene is responsible. Natural selection can then operate to favor or suppress a particular gene according to how strongly its protein product contributes to the reproductive success of the organism.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Evolution, Causes of evolutionary change – Much evolutionary change results from the interaction of two processes: (1) mutation and (2) natural selection. Mutation produces random (chance) variation in the biological makeup of a species or a population-that is, individuals of the same species living in the same area. Natural selection sorts out these random changes according to their value in enhancing the individual's reproduction and survival. Such selection ensures that variations that make individuals better adapted to their environment will be passed on to future generations. At the same time, natural selection eliminates variations that make individuals less able to survive.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

Evolution, The process of evolution, The operation of natural selection in populations, Natural selection as a process of genetic change – Natural selection refers to any reproductive bias favouring some genes or genotypes over others. Natural selection promotes the adaptation of organisms to the environments in which they live; any hereditary variant that improves the ability to survive and reproduce in an environment will increase in frequency over the generations, precisely because the organisms carrying such a variant will leave more descendants than those lacking it. Hereditary variants, favourable or not to the organisms, arise by mutation. Unfavourable ones are eventually eliminated by natural selection; their carriers leave no descendants or leave fewer than those carrying alternative variants.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Consequently, natural selection is a subtractive mechanism. It does not add new genetic information or variety but eliminates the weaker or disadvantageous genetic varieties from a population. It works on variety that already exists in a population. And for this reason, natural selection is completely compatible with and accepted by creationist theory. Creationism asserts that each species was created with an existing, very broad variety of genes and that natural selection works on that existing gene pool. (This function for natural selection in the creationist model is outlined by the gene pool illustrations in our expanded commentary on creation theory.) Evolutionists assert that each species emerges as new genes are formed by the mechanism of mutation and that natural selection then works on those new genes. But both theories include the mechanism of natural selection and agree on its function of ensuring a strong population geared for survival in the surrounding environment.

Therefore, the question is not whether a mechanism exists, such as natural selection, which will remove disadvantageous genes and traits from a population in a particular environment in order to keep that population as survivable and strong as possible. And as such, simply proving that natural selection occurs does not do anything to support evolutionary theory over creation theory since both theories acknowledge and incorporate natural selection into their respective models.

The question is “where did the original genes come from for each species in the first place?” Where the theories differ is on the source of the existing genetic variety.

In evolutionary theory, the only mechanism that produces anything new is mutation. Natural selection cannot produce new genes or new species (or new kinds of organisms). It makes sure that the new species that mutation produces are ones that are fit for survival. But as such, it only limits the process, limiting the process to the production of only survivable species. It does not cause that process.

As indicated by the quotes above, the origination of new species requires new genes. New genetic material is the very substance of new species (and new kinds of organisms). And, as the quotes above also indicate, the only way to get new genetic material is by mutation. Therefore, there is really only one mechanism to examine when considering whether or not evolution has a valid explanation for how species (and especially new kinds of organisms) originate. And that is mutation. It is mutation, not natural selection, which needs to be established as a viable, efficient, and frequent enough occurrence to produce enough new genetic material to produce new species and whole new types of organisms. Mutation alone is both the only mechanism offered by evolution that is even theoretically capable of generating new species as well as the pivotal factor determining which theory for the origin of species is the more viable. Furthermore, it must also be emphasized that without the production of new beneficial genetic material by mutation, natural selection will only operate exactly as described in the creation model, even as outlined in the gene pool discussion during our expanded commentary on creationism.

In order for the origin of species to occur by evolution, mutation must be a viable mechanism. If mutation is not sufficient to produce enough new genetic material that is beneficial, then evolutionary theory simply does not have a working mechanism for the origination of species (specifically new kinds of organisms) by automatic, routine processes. This is what is asserted in our fifth definitional point for evolutionary theory and, consequently, this is the very point that this segment is intended to establish from evolutionary and secular sources.

So, the fundamental question that needs to be examined is whether or not mutation is capable of producing new species (new kinds of organisms), and in fact, for producing all of the species (kinds of organisms) that we see today. For contrast’s sake, it should be noted that there are over 2,000,000 (2 million) species that we know about today and scientists estimate that there may be at least 10,000,000 to 30,000,000 (10-30 million) more left to be discovered.

EvolutionMore than 2,000,000 existing species of plants and animals have been named and described; many more remain to be discovered—from 10,000,000 to 30,000,000 according to some estimates.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

With that figure in mind, let’s examine what secular and evolutionary sources state about the likelihood, constraints, and efficiency of producing new genetic information and new species (new kinds of organisms) by mutation.

First, mutations, in general, are rare.

Evolution, The process of evolution, Evolution as a genetic function, The origin of genetic variation: mutations – The information encoded in the nucleotide sequence of DNA is, as a rule, faithfully reproduced during replication, so that each replication results in two DNA molecules that are identical to each other and to the parent molecule. But heredity is not a perfectly conservative process; otherwise, evolution could not have taken place. Occasionally “mistakes,” or mutations, occur in the DNA molecule during replication, so that daughter cells differ from the parent cells in the sequence or in the amount of DNA.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Evolution, XI MUTATIONS – Although the replication of DNA is very precise, it is not uniformly perfect. Very rarely, changes occur in DNA during replication, and the new piece of DNA contains one or more changed nucleotides. Such a change, known as a mutation, may take place in any part of the DNA.” – "Genetics," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Evolution, Dynamics of genetic change, Processes of gene frequency change

Mutation – The allelic variations that make evolution possible are generated by the process of mutation; but new mutations change gene frequencies very slowly, since mutation rates are low.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Second, most mutations are either harmful or neutral and irrelevant. Consequently, they are removed by natural selection because they either provide no advantage or provide a disadvantage.

Evolution, Causes of evolutionary changeMutations occur regularly but are usually infrequent, and most of them produce unfavorable traits…In most cases, such mutant genes are eliminated by natural selection because most individuals that inherit them die before producing any offspring.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

Evolution, XI MUTATIONS, A Gene MutationMost gene mutations are harmful to the organisms that carry them; the function of a complex system such as a protein is more easily destroyed than improved by a random change.” – "Genetics," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Evolution, XI MUTATIONS, B Chromosome MutationsThe substitution of one nucleotide for another is not the only possible kind of mutation. Sometimes a nucleotide may be entirely lost or one may be gained. In addition, more dramatic and obvious changes may occur, or the chromosomes themselves may alter in form or number…Sometimes a piece of chromosome will be lost from one member of a pair of homologous chromosomes and gained by the other member. One of the pair is then said to have a deficiency and the other a duplication. Deficiencies are usually lethal in the homozygous condition, and duplications are often soAnother kind of mutation occurs when a pair of homologous chromosomes fails to separate at meiosis. This can produce gametes-and hence zygotes-with extra chromosomes and others with one or more chromosomes missing. Individuals with an extra chromosome are known as trisomics, and those with a missing chromosome as monosomics. Both conditions tend to result in severe disabilities.” – "Genetics," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Gene – Mutations occur when the number or order of bases in a gene is disrupted. Nucleotides can be deleted, doubled, rearranged, or replaced, with each alteration having a particular effect. The mutation generally has little or no effect; when it does alter an organism, the change is frequently lethal. A beneficial mutation will rise in frequency within a population until it becomes the norm.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Because they are harmful or neutral and subsequently removed by natural selection, most mutations do not contribute to the origin of new species (or rather, new kinds of organisms).

Third, in order to contribute to the origination of a new species, a mutation must be beneficial, as opposed to harmful, lethal, or neutral and irrelevant.

Evolution, Causes of evolutionary changeSome mutations, however, help organisms adapt better to their environment…This type of beneficial mutation provides the raw material for evolutionary change.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

However, while mutations in general are rare and most come in the form of harmful and neutral mutations, beneficial mutations are even more infrequent than harmful or neutral mutations.

Evolution, The process of evolution, Evolution as a genetic function, The origin of genetic variation: mutations, Gene mutations – The consequences of gene mutations may range from negligible to lethal…Newly arisen mutations are more likely to be harmful than beneficial to their carriers, because mutations are random events with respect to adaptation; that is, their occurrence is independent of any possible consequences.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

We will cover more on the rarity of beneficial mutations below. For now, it is simply important to take note that beneficial mutations are the rarest kind of mutation.

Fourth, mutations are random and independent. Their occurrence is not determined by or related to any potential adaptive advantage, which would constitute foresight and teleology.

Evolution, The process of evolution, Evolution as a genetic function, The origin of genetic variation: mutations, Gene mutations – …mutations are random events with respect to adaptation; that is, their occurrence is independent of any possible consequences.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Evolution, III DARWINIAN THEORYThe basic rules of inheritance became known to science only at the turn of the century, when the earlier genetic work of Gregor Mendel came to lightThe discovery was then made that inheritable changes in genes, termed mutations, could occur spontaneously and randomly without regard to the environment.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

This severely limits the likelihood of getting a series of mutations necessary to produce any new functional structure or organ, since such items are controlled by more than one gene. The arrival of even 2 new beneficial genes that relate to one another in function is highly improbable and indicative of foresight and purposeful order in mutation.

Fifth, to contribute to the eventual production of a new species, a mutation must occur in an organism that actually produced fertile offspring, offspring which in turn reproduced.

"Evolution, Causes of evolutionary changeIf the parents produce a limited number of offspring, some of their genes may not be passed on." – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University.

Sixth, to contribute to the origin of species, mutation must occur in the gametes of an organism. Gametes are the reproductive cells of an organism.

“Evolution, The process of evolution, Evolution as a genetic function, The origin of genetic variation: mutations, Chromosomal mutations – The reproductive cells (gametes) are an exception; they have only half as many chromosomes as the body (somatic) cells.– Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

If a mutation is not present in the reproductive cells, it will not be passed on to the next generation and, therefore, cannot contribute to the origin of a new species.

Seventh, not all gametes contribute to an offspring. Chromosomes occur in pairs and each chromosome in a pair is different from its counterpart because each chromosome in a pair comes from a different parent.

"Chromosome, IV CHROMOSOME NUMBERIn the cells of most organisms that reproduce sexually, chromosomes occur in pairs: one that is inherited from the female parent, and one that is inherited from the male parent. The two chromosomes of each pair contain genetic information that corresponds to the same inherited characteristics.” – "Chromosome," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Each gamete, or reproductive cell, has only 1 of the chromosomes in the chromosome pair so that they have half of the number of chromosomes found in normal body cells. In humans, for example, reproductive cells have only 23 chromosomes, while normal body cells have 46. When gametes combine with the gamete from the other parent or gamete during fertilization, the newly formed cell then has a full set of chromosomes, half from each parent or gamete.

“Evolution, The process of evolution, Evolution as a genetic function, The origin of genetic variation: mutations, Chromosomal mutations – The reproductive cells (gametes) are an exception; they have only half as many chromosomes as the body (somatic) cells.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

"Heredity, Sex cells and reproductionSexual reproduction generally involves two parents, each of which contributes half the chromosomes to the offspring. Sexual reproduction starts with the production of specialized sex cells that are called gametes. Gametes-that is, sperm, pollen grains, and eggs-are produced in a process of cell division called meiosis. Meiosis results in the sex cells' having half the number of chromosomes found in the body cells. In human beings, therefore, meiosis produces sperm and egg cells that have 23 chromosomes each. In dogs, the number of chromosomes in each sex cell is 39. The uniting of an egg cell and a sperm cell, called fertilization, restores the full number of chromosomes. In human beings, the resulting cell, known as a fertilized egg, has 46 chromosomes, 23 pairs. One chromosome of each pair comes from the mother's egg, and the other from the father's sperm." - Worldbook, Contributors: Philip W. Hedrick, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Arizona State University, Robert F. Weaver, Ph.D., Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Kansas.

This removal of one of the chromosomes in a chromosome pair during the formation of the gametes occurs, not just in animals, but in most plants as well.

“Reproductive system, plantReproduction in plants is basically either asexual or sexual. Asexual reproduction in plants involves a variety of widely disparate methods for creating new plants identical in every respect to the parent. Sexual reproduction, on the other hand, depends on a complex series of basic cellular events, involving chromosomes and their genes, that take place within an elaborate sexual apparatus evolved precisely for the creation of new plants in some respects different from the two parents that played a role in their production…General features of sexual systems – In most plant groups both sexual and asexual methods of reproduction occur. Some species, however, seem secondarily to have lost the capacity for sexual reproduction. Such cases are described below (see Variations in reproductive cycles).” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Moreover, evolutionary scientists estimate that mutations in general (not specifically the rarer beneficial mutations) only occur in 1 out of 100,000 gametes to 1 out of 1,000,000 gametes.

Evolution, The process of evolution, Evolution as a genetic function, The origin of genetic variation: mutations, Gene mutationsMutation rates have been measured in a great variety of organisms, mostly for mutants that exhibit conspicuous effects. Mutation rates are generally lower in bacteria and other microorganisms than in more complex species. In humans and other multicellular organisms, the rate typically ranges from about one per 100,000 to one per 1,000,000 gametes.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

This means that the odds against any gamete with a mutation being involved in fertilization are typically between 100,000 or even 1 million to one in multicellular organisms. The likelihood is even lower for beneficial mutations.

Therefore, even if a mutation gives an organism survival advantage or reproductive advantage, that mutation will not pass on to the next generation and contribute to the origin of species unless it is on the actual chromosome from the chromosome pair that actually makes it into the specific gamete, which fertilized to form the offspring. In short, to contribute to the origin of species, a mutation must not only occur among the gametes in general but the mutation must be present in the specific individual gamete that participates in fertilization of the next generation.

Eighth, mutations are usually recessive and, consequently, do not manifest until or unless the other parent or other gamete also possesses the same mutation.

Evolution, XI MUTATIONS, A Gene MutationMutations are usually recessive, and their harmful effects are not expressed unless two of them are brought together into the homozygous condition. This is most likely to occur as a result of inbreeding, the mating of closely related organisms that may have inherited the same recessive mutant gene from a common ancestor.” – "Genetics," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Moreover, since most mutations are recessive and therefore will not manifest, they will not produce an advantage to the organism and, consequently, are likely to be removed by natural selection rather than being passed on to contribute to the origin of a new species. Although focusing on the need for environmental changes, the quote below nevertheless explains that, due to natural selection, the existing genes of a population are usually already geared for survival so that any new gene that does not produce an advantage, such as one that is recessive and does not manifest, will most likely be removed by natural selection. This leads to an additional factor.

Ninth, new genes, even beneficial ones, will be removed by natural selection unless there is an accompanying change to the environment.

VI SPECIATION Because all the established genes in a population have been monitored for fitness by selection, newly arisen mutations are unlikely to enhance fitness unless the environment changes so as to favor the new gene activity, as in the gene for dark color in the peppered moth. Novel genes that cause large changes rarely promote fitness and are usually lethal. The genes already established by selection are carefully adjusted to one another so their biochemical effects are coordinated.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Consequently, any new genes which are recessive and, therefore, do not actually manifest an advantage in the environment, are not going to contribute to the origin of species (or new kinds of organisms). Ultimately, this means that lightning must strike in the same place twice. Since mutations are recessive, in order to manifest and thereby contribute to the origination of a new species and avoid removal by natural selection, the following would have to occur. Although providing no competitive advantage because it does not manifest, a beneficial mutation would need to avoid elimination by natural selection for enough generations that the particular mutation would be distributed sufficiently throughout the population to the extent that two individuals mate, which were both carrying the mutation, and long enough for the recessive mutation to by chance end up in the particular gametes that fertilized the next generation. Only in this way could a generation arrive in which the beneficial mutation would manifest in an individual organism with only the 2 recessive mutated genes.

At this point, we’ve seen 9 facts that dramatically inhibit the possibility of beneficial mutation producing new species. Those factors can be summarized as follows. The quotes in the summary below represent statements taken directly from the excerpts above. First, “DNA is, as a rule, faithfully reproduced during replication,” and consequently mutations are “very rare.” Second, “gene mutations may range from negligible to lethal” so that “mutation generally has little or no effect; when it does alter an organism, the change is frequently lethal.” Third, as such, in order to contribute to the origination of a species, a mutation must be beneficial, adding an advantageous function rather than removing or harming existing functions. It is “beneficial mutation” that “provides the raw material for evolutionary change.” Fourth, “mutations are random events…their occurrence is independent of any possible consequences” and “without regard to the environment.” As such, to the extent that multiple genes are required for a new trait, structure, or organ, gene mutations are not likely to occur conveniently all at once or in the sequence necessary for development. Fifth, “If the parents produce a limited number of offspring, some of their genes may not be passed on." Consequently, to contribute to the origin of a new species, the mutation must occur in an individual organism that actually produces new offspring. Sixth, to contribute to the origin of a new species, the mutation must occur in the gametes, the reproductive cells of the organism. Seventh, to contribute to the origin of a new species, the mutation must actually be present in the exact gamete that participates in fertilization. And eighth, “Mutations are usually recessive,” and, therefore, whether beneficial or harmful, their “effects are not expressed unless two of them are brought together” during fertilization, which means that both gametes from both parents have to posses the exact same mutation. If this does not occur, no advantage will be manifested by the new gene, and as such, natural selection will work to eliminate the new gene from the population. Ninth, “newly arisen mutations are unlikely to enhance fitness unless the environment changes so as to favor the new gene activity” and as a result, without a change to the environment, any new gene, even a beneficial one, is going to be eliminated by natural selection.

All of these factors, particularly when considered collectively, indicate that the prospect of new species (new kinds of organisms) originating by beneficial mutation is untenable. The idea of a mutation occurring that is neither harmful or negligible but beneficial, occurring in an organism that survives long enough to reproduce, making it to the gametes, ending up in the gamete that participates in fertilization, being present through this process in the other parent or gamete involved in reproduction, this occurring with the right genes in the right order to develop structures and organs that are controlled by multiple genes, and having a corresponding change in the environment at just the right time when all this occurring is defies probability. With all these requirements, even if such a series of events did happen to coincide, the unlikelihood of each step and the further unlikelihood of all the steps would indicate the presence of foresight and teleological orchestration. Add to this that in order to account for all of the genetic variety that is produced in every living organism that exists today within 3.8 billion years this highly improbably series of coincidences must have repeated over and over again quite frequently.


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