Discovery Institute Clouds the Issue of Speciation

Check out this post over at intelligent design headquarters. Let’s take a close look at a couple of things they say.

 Today, evolutionary biologists are puzzled about something equally bizarre: why are eels so full of speciation? One biologist recently said on ScienceDaily, “How can you have seven species of the same fish eating the same thing and, quite literally, living under the same rock?” Under evolutionary biology, one would expect to find some mechanism—perhaps a geographic barrier like a large expanse of open ocean—responsible for the reproductive isolation that generated the new “species.”

They are trying to cast doubt on evolution by showing that scientists have found something they didn’t expect to find because our current understanding of evolution would have predicted the opposite.  This is the argument from ignorance or incredulity which basically says, I can’t understand, or it doesn’t make sense, therefore, evolution must be wrong.  They continue;

“Speciation” doesn’t necessarily imply evidence for the creative power of the Darwinian mechanism, for one can achieve reproductive isolation without undergoing any dramatic degree of biological change. In many cases, the differences between “species” can be very small, or even trivial. For example, many of these eel species have essentially identical body plans, niches and habitats, feeding habits, and many other traits such that their primary differences appear to be size, coloration patterns, occasional variations in ornamentation, and small genetic differences. But no matter how you slice it, they’re all eels.

If an evolutionist tells you to accept Darwinism because of evidence of “speciation,” be sure to find out exactly how much biological change is documented in said instance of “speciation.” In virtually all examples of speciation I learned about in school, the amount differences between the two species were trivial, and it was only unwarranted over-extrapolations from humble data which lent support to the grander claims of neo-Darwinian evolution that random mutation and natural selection can produce large-scale biological change.

Just because two species are very similar doesn’t imply that speciation isn’t evidence for evolution.  As organisms begin to branch off into two different species they will be very similar to begin with, but as time progresses they begin to diverge more and more.  We see this in the fossil record. 

If an evolutionist tells you to accept Darwinism because of evidence of speciation, they aren’t a very good scientist.  Evolutionary theory does not stand or fall on one line of evidence alone.  What they will tell you is to accept Darwinian evolution based on the totality of evidence, and that speciation, when taken into consideration with all the other lines of evidence, is just one more reason that evolution is a sound theory.


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