Evolution versus Variation
When Darwin's The Origin of Species was published in 1859, it was believed that he had put forward a theory that could account for the extraordinary variety of living things. He had observed that there were different variations within the same species. For instance, while wandering through England's animal fairs, he noticed that there were many different breeds of cow, and that stockbreeders selectively mated them and produced new breeds. Taking that as his starting point, he continued with the logic that "living things can naturally diversify within themselves," which means that over a long period of time all living things could have descended from a common ancestor.
However, this assumption of Darwin's about "the origin of species" was not actually able to explain their origin at all. Thanks to developments in genetic science, it is now understood that increases in variety within one species can never lead to the emergence of another new species. What Darwin believed to be "evolution," was actually "variation."
What is variation?
Variation, a term used in genetics, refers to a genetic event that causes the individuals or groups of a certain type or species to possess different characteristics from one another. For example, all the people on earth carry basically the same genetic information, yet some have slanted eyes, some have red hair, some have long noses, and others are short of stature, all depending on the extent of the variation potential of this genetic information.
Variation does not constitute evidence for evolution because variations are but the outcomes of different combinations of already existing genetic information, and they do not add any new characteristic to the genetic information. The important thing for the theory of evolution, however, is the question of how brand-new information to make a brand-new species could come about.
Variation always takes place within the limits of genetic information. In the science of genetics, this limit is called the "gene pool." All of the characteristics present in the gene pool of a species may come to light in various ways due to variation. For example, as a result of variation, varieties that have relatively longer tails or shorter legs may appear in a certain species of reptile, since information for both long-legged and short-legged forms may exist in the gene pool of that species. However, variations do not transform reptiles into birds by adding wings or feathers to them, or by changing their metabolism. Such a change requires an increase in the genetic information of the living thing, which is certainly not possible through variations.
Darwin was not aware of this fact when he formulated his theory. He thought that there was no limit to variations. In an article he wrote in 1844 he stated: "That a limit to variation does exist in nature is assumed by most authors, though I am unable to discover a single fact on which this belief is grounded."28 In The Origin of Species he cited different examples of variations as the most important evidence for his theory.
For instance, according to Darwin, animal breeders who mated different varieties of cattle in order to bring about new varieties that produced more milk, were ultimately going to transform them into a different species. Darwin's notion of "unlimited variation" is best seen in the following sentence from The Origin of Species:
I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more and more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale.
The reason Darwin cited such a far-fetched example was the primitive understanding of science in his day. Since then, in the 20th century, science has posited the principle of "genetic stability" (genetic homeostasis), based on the results of experiments conducted on living things. This principle holds that, since all mating attempts carried out to transform a species into another have been inconclusive, there are strict barriers among different species of living things. This meant that it was absolutely impossible for animal breeders to convert cattle into a different species by mating different variations of them, as Darwin had postulated.
Norman Macbeth, who disproved Darwinism in his book Darwin Retried, states:
The heart of the problem is whether living things do indeed vary to an unlimited extent... The species look stable. We have all heard of disappointed breeders who carried their work to a certain point only to see the animals or plants revert to where they had started. Despite strenuous efforts for two or three centuries, it has never been possible to produce a blue rose or a black tulip.
Luther Burbank, considered the most competent breeder of all time, expressed this fact when he said, "there are limits to the development possible, and these limits follow a law."31 In his article titled "Some Biological Problems With the Natural Selection Theory," Jerry Bergman comments by quoting from biologist Edward Deevey who explains that variations always take place within strict genetic boundaries:
Deevey concludes, "Remarkable things have been done by cross-breeding ... but wheat is still wheat, and not, for instance, grapefruit. We can no more grow wings on pigs than hens can make cylindrical eggs." A more contemporary example is the average increase in male height that has occurred the past century. Through better health care (and perhaps also some sexual selection, as some women prefer taller men as mates) males have reached a record adult height during the last century, but the increase is rapidly disappearing, indicating that we have reached our limit.
In short, variations only bring about changes which remain within the boundaries of the genetic information of species; they can never add new genetic data to them. For this reason, no variation can be considered an example of evolution. No matter how often you mate different breeds of dogs or horses, the end result will still be dogs or horses, with no new species emerging. The Danish scientist W. L. Johannsen sums the matter up this way:
The variations upon which Darwin and Wallace placed their emphasis cannot be selectively pushed beyond a certain point, that such variability does not contain the secret of 'indefinite departure'.
Confessions About "Microevolution"
As we have seen, genetic science has discovered that variations, which Darwin thought could account for "the origin of species," actually do no such thing. For this reason, evolutionary biologists were forced to distinguish between variation within species and the formation of new ones, and to propose two different concepts for these different phenomena. Diversity within a species-that is, variation-they called "microevolution," and the hypothesis of the development of new species was termed "macroevolution."
These two concepts have appeared in biology books for quite some time. But there is actually a deception going on here, because the examples of variation that evolutionary biologists have called "microevolution" actually have nothing to do with the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution proposes that living things can develop and take on new genetic data by the mechanisms of mutation and natural selection. However, as we have just seen, variations can never create new genetic information, and are thus unable to bring about "evolution." Giving variations the name of "microevolution" is actually an ideological preference on the part of evolutionary biologists.
The impression that evolutionary biologists have given by using the term "microevolution" is the false logic that over time variations can form brand new classes of living things. And many people who are not already well-informed on the subject come away with the superficial idea that "as it spreads, microevolution can turn into macroevolution." One can often see examples of that kind of thinking. Some "amateur" evolutionists put forward such examples of logic as the following: since human beings' average height has risen by two centimeters in just a century, this means that over millions of years any kind of evolution is possible. However, as has been shown above, all variations such as changes in average height happen within specific genetic bounds, and are trends that have nothing to do with evolution.
In fact, nowadays even evolutionist experts accept that the variations they call "microevolution" cannot lead to new classes of living things-in other words, to "macroevolution." In a 1996 article in the leading journal Developmental Biology, the evolutionary biologists S.F. Gilbert, J.M. Opitz, and R.A. Raff explained the matter this way:
The Modern Synthesis is a remarkable achievement. However, starting in the 1970s, many biologists began questioning its adequacy in explaining evolution. Genetics might be adequate for explaining microevolution, but microevolutionary changes in gene frequency were not seen as able to turn a reptile into a mammal or to convert a fish into an amphibian. Microevolution looks at adaptations that concern only the survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest. As Goodwin (1995) points out, "the origin of species- Darwin's problem-remains unsolved.
The fact that "microevolution" cannot lead to "macroevolution," in other words that variations offer no explanation of the origin of species, has been accepted by other evolutionary biologists, as well. The noted author and science expert Roger Lewin describes the result of a four-day symposium held in November 1980 at the Chicago Museum of Natural History, in which 150 evolutionists participated:
The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. …The answer can be given as a clear, No.
We can sum up the situation like this: Variations, which Darwinism has seen as "evidence of evolution" for some hundred years, actually have nothing to do with "the origin of species." Cows can be mated together for millions of years, and different breeds of cows may well emerge. But cows can never turn into a different species-giraffes or elephants for instance. In the same way, the different finches that Darwin saw on the Galapagos Islands are another example of variation that is no evidence for "evolution." Recent observations have revealed that the finches did not undergo an unlimited variation as Darwin's theory presupposed. Moreover, most of the different types of finches which Darwin thought represented 14 distinct species actually mated with one another, which means that they were variations that belonged to the same species. Scientific observation shows that the finch beaks, which have been mythicized in almost all evolutionist sources, are in fact an example of "variation"; therefore, they do not constitute evidence for the theory of evolution. For example, Peter and Rosemary Grant, who spent years observing the finch varieties in the Galapagos Islands looking for evidence for Darwinistic evolution, were forced to conclude that "the population, subjected to natural selection, is oscillating back and forth," a fact which implied that no "evolution" that leads to the emergence of new traits ever takes place there.
So for these reasons, evolutionists are still unable to resolve Darwin's problem of the "origin of species."