academic freedom Intellectual freedom Intelligent Design Science speciation

At Nature: Doubt and diversity are okay in science

Spread the love

This retired historian of science thinks it might even be okay to question the “biological ‘species’ concept”:

As a nonagenarian and former historian of science, I know that even foundational building blocks can be questioned. The unifying patterns of the periodic table are now seen, under closer scrutiny, to be riddled with anomalies and paradoxes (E. Scerri Nature 565, 557–559; 2019). Some scientists now wonder whether the concept of biological ‘species’ contributes more confusion than insight, and whether it should therefore be abandoned (see However, such a decision would affect conservation policy, in which identification of endangered species is crucial — so it is not just an issue for basic science.

Science students generally remain unaware that concepts such as elements and species are contested or are even contestable.

Jerry Ravetz, “Stop the science training that demands ‘don’t ask’” at Nature

Actually, the biological species concept is the foundation of Darwinism but apart from that, it is often conceptual clutter.

Perhaps conservation policy should focus on maintaining healthy ecologies and let the life forms sort out their relationships in their usual somewhat fuzzy way. They don’t owe it to us to prove Darwin right.

See also: A physicist looks at biology’s problem of “speciation” in humans

Follow UD News at Twitter!

16 Replies to “At Nature: Doubt and diversity are okay in science

  1. 1
    Mimus says:

    Actually, the biological species concept is the foundation of Darwinism

    I’m sorry, what?

  2. 2
  3. 3
    asauber says:

    Actually, you could say an unscientific concept of species is foundational to Darwinism


  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note: Darwin, because of the reductive materialistic foundation that his theory rested upon, denied that there were any true ‘species’. He held the the term species “as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience” and that it “does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms.”

    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    – Origin of Species: second British edition (1860), page 52

    In short, the Darwinist, because of his reductive materialism, is forced to deny the existence of ‘true species’,

    Darwin, Design & Thomas Aquinas
    The Mythical Conflict Between Thomism & Intelligent Design by Logan Paul Gage
    Excerpt: First, the problem of essences. G. K. Chesterton once quipped that “evolution . . . does not especially deny the existence of God; what it does deny is the existence of man.” It might appear shocking, but in this one remark the ever-perspicacious Chesterton summarized a serious conflict between classical Christian philosophy and Darwinism.
    In Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, each particular organism belongs to a certain universal class of things. Each individual shares a particular nature—or essence—and acts according to its nature. Squirrels act squirrelly and cats catty. We know with certainty that a squirrel is a squirrel because a crucial feature of human reason is its ability to abstract the universal nature from our sense experience of particular organisms.
    Think about it: How is it that we are able to recognize different organisms as belonging to the same group? The Aristotelian provides a good answer: It is because species really exist—not as an abstraction in the sky, but they exist nonetheless. We recognize the squirrel’s form, which it shares with other members of its species, even though the particular matter of each squirrel differs. So each organism, each unified whole, consists of a material and immaterial part (form).,,,
    One way to see this form-matter dichotomy is as Aristotle’s solution to the ancient tension between change and permanence debated so vigorously in the pre-Socratic era. Heraclitus argued that reality is change. Everything constantly changes—like fire, which never stays the same from moment to moment. Philosophers like Parmenides (and Zeno of “Zeno’s paradoxes” fame) argued exactly the opposite; there is no change. Despite appearances, reality is permanent. How else could we have knowledge? If reality constantly changes, how can we know it? What is to be known?
    Aristotle solved this dilemma by postulating that while matter is constantly in flux—even now some somatic cells are leaving my body while others arrive—an organism’s form is stable. It is a fixed reality, and for this reason is a steady object of our knowledge. Organisms have an essence that can be grasped intellectually.
    Denial of True Species
    Enter Darwinism. Recall that Darwin sought to explain the origin of “species.” Yet as he pondered his theory, he realized that it destroyed species as a reality altogether. For Darwinism suggests that any matter can potentially morph into any other arrangement of matter without the aid of an organizing principle. He thought cells were like simple blobs of Jell-O, easily re-arrangeable. For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes:
    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    Statements like this should make card-carrying Thomists shudder.,,,
    The first conflict between Darwinism and Thomism, then, is the denial of true species or essences. For the Thomist, this denial is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge. As philosopher Benjamin Wiker observes in Moral Darwinism, Darwin reduced species to “mere epiphenomena of matter in motion.” What we call a “dog,” in other words, is really just an arbitrary snapshot of the way things look at present. If we take the Darwinian view, Wiker suggests, there is no species “dog” but only a collection of individuals, connected in a long chain of changing shapes, which happen to resemble each other today but will not tomorrow.

    What About Man?
    Now we see Chesterton’s point. Man, the universal, does not really exist. According to the late Stanley Jaki, Chesterton detested Darwinism because “it abolishes forms and all that goes with them, including that deepest kind of ontological form which is the immortal human soul.” And if one does not believe in universals, there can be, by extension, no human nature—only a collection of somewhat similar individuals.,,,
    Implications for Bioethics
    This is not a mere abstract point. This dilemma is playing itself out in contemporary debates in bioethics. With whom are bioethicists like Leon Kass (neo-Aristotelian and former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics) sparring today if not with thoroughgoing Darwinians like Princeton’s Peter Singer, who denies that humans, qua humans, have intrinsic dignity? Singer even calls those who prefer humans to other animals “speciesist,” which in his warped vocabulary is akin to racism.,,,
    If one must choose between saving an intelligent, fully developed pig or a Down syndrome baby, Singer thinks we should opt for the pig.,,,

    Needless to say, if your materialistic worldview denies the existence of ‘true species’ in the first place, then for someone to write a book entitled “Origin of Species”, which is based on the premise of reductive materialism, then that book clearly is, to put it nicely, ‘not even wrong’.

  5. 5
    asauber says:


    You are totally correct. The title should have been, On Why There Is Some Variety.


  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:


    The title should have been, On Why There Is Some Variety.

    Or better yet, perhaps Darwin’s book should have been entitled, “Pops, Whistles, Babbles and other Random Noises from a Mindless Meat Robot” 🙂

  7. 7
    asauber says:


    Touche! 🙂


  8. 8
    Mimus says:


    Obviously I’m aware of Darwin’s book. I guess I have the advantage over you in knowing what’s in it and what the term biological species concept refers to .

  9. 9
    asauber says:


    Am I supposed to be impressed?


  10. 10
    Mimus says:

    Not impressive, but surely knowing what the term means would be a requirement for anyone wanting to talk about it? On reflection,I guess news is also ignorant of its meaning. Hard to see how she could make this mistake otherwise.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Mimus states,

    “I guess I have the advantage over you in knowing what’s in it (Darwin’s book) and what the term biological species concept refers to.”
    “surely knowing what the term (species) means would be a requirement for anyone wanting to talk about it?”

    I agree. To wit, Charles Darwin’s definition of the term “species”,

    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    – Origin of Species: second British edition (1860), page 52

    As unbiased readers can clearly see, Darwin was hardly being concrete in his definition of species. And the reason for his fuzziness in his definition of species is clear, the term species is an abstract property and/or definition of the immaterial mind that cannot possibly be reduced to any possible materialistic explanations. i.e. How much does the concept of species weigh? How long in the concept of species in millimeters? How fast does the concept go? Is the concept of species positively or negatively charged? etc.. etc..

    The term species, just like all other abstract properties of the immaterial mind, simply can find no grounding within materialism. The fact that the term species is an abstract definition that is created by the immaterial mind creates an irredeemable problem for Darwinists. You don’t have to take my word for it. A Darwinist admitted that “The most important concept in all of biology, (i.e. species), is a complete mystery”

    What is a species? The most important concept in all of biology is a complete mystery – July 16, 2019
    Excerpt: What is a species?
    The most famous definition of a species comes from the 20th century German-born biologist Ernst Mayr, who emphasised the importance of interbreeding. The idea (roughly) is that two organisms are of the same species if they can breed with one another to produce fertile offspring. That is why a donkey and a horse aren’t the same species: they can breed and produce offspring, but not fertile offspring.,,,
    But it wasn’t long before the problems with Mayr’s approach became apparent. The definition makes use of the notion of interbreeding. This is all very well with horses and polar bears, but smaller organisms like bacteria do not interbreed at all. They reproduce entirely asexually, by simply splitting in two. So this definition of species can’t really apply to bacteria.,,,
    In the 1960s, another German biologist, Willi Hennig, suggested thinking about species in terms of their ancestry. In simple terms, he suggested that we should find an organism, and then group it together with its children, and its children’s children, and its children’s children’s children. Eventually, you will have the original organism (the ancestor) and all of its descendents. These groups are called clades. Hennig’s insight was to suggest that this is how we should be thinking about species.
    But this approach faces its own problems. How far back should you go before you pick the ancestor in question? If you go back in history far enough, you’ll find that pretty much every animal on the planet shares an ancestor. But surely we don’t want to say that every single animal in the world, from the humble sea slug, to top-of-the-range apes like human beings, are all one big single species?
    Enough of species?
    This is only the tip of a deep and confusing iceberg. There is absolutely no agreement among biologists about how we should understand the species. One 2006 article on the subject listed 26 separate definitions of species, all with their advocates and detractors. Even this list is incomplete.
    The mystery surrounding species is well-known in biology, and commonly referred to as “the species problem”. Frustration with the idea of a species goes back at least as far as Darwin.,,,
    some contemporary biologists and philosophers of biology have,,, suggested that biology would be much better off if it didn’t think about life in terms of species at all.,,,
    One of the great discoveries of evolutionary biology is that the human species is not special or privileged in the grand scheme of things, and that humans have the same origins as all the other animals. This approach just takes the next step. It says that there is no such thing as “the human species” at all.

    This inability for Darwinists to define what the concept of species truly is within the materialistic framework of Darwinian evolution gives us a glimpse into a irredeemable, and catastrophic, defect within the Darwinist’s reductive materialistic framework.

    Darwinists ultimately seek to ‘scientifically’ explain everything in materialistic terms. i.e. Reductive materialism. And yet, if something is not composed of particles or does not have physical properties (e.g., length, mass, energy, momentum, orientation, position, etc), it is abstract, i.e., spiritual. Numbers, mathematics, logic, truth, distance, time, beauty, ugliness, species, person, information, etc.. etc.. all fall into that category of being an abstract property of the immaterial mind. It is amazing how many things fall into that ‘abstract’ category even though most of us, including scientists, (“scientists” also happens to be an abstract term itself), swear that they exist physically.

    This inability of Darwinists to ground abstract immaterial concepts within their reductive materialistic worldview leads to the catastrophic failure of Darwinian evolution as a scientific worldview. The main reason that Darwinian evolution winds up in catastrophic epistemological failure as a scientific worldview is that mathematics itself, (which is the very backbone of all science, engineering and technology), is an abstract concept that simply can find no basis within the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution.

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.

    Simply put, Mathematics itself, (as well as logic itself), exists in a transcendent, beyond space and time realm. A platonic immaterial mathematical realm of abstract concepts which simply is not reducible to any possible materialistic explanation.

    Platonic mathematical world compared to physical world – image

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Mathematics is certainly something we do. Is mathematics “included in the space-time continuum [with] basic elements … described by physics”?,,, What is the physics behind the Pythagorean theorem? After all, no actual triangle is perfect, and thus no actual triangle in nature has sides such that the Pythagorean theorem holds. There is no real triangle in which the sum of the squares of the sides exactly equals the square of the hypotenuse. That holds true for all of geometry. Geometry is about concepts, not about anything in the natural world or about anything that can be described by physics. What is the “physics” of the fact that the area of a circle is pi multiplied by the square of the radius? And of course what is natural and physical about imaginary numbers, infinite series, irrational numbers, and the mathematics of more than three spatial dimensions? Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature,,,
    Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.

    Simply put, Mathematics itself, contrary to the materialistic presuppositions of Darwinists, does not need the physical world in order to exist. And yet Darwinists, although they deny that anything beyond the physical world exists, need this transcendent world of mathematics in order for their theory to be considered scientific in the first place. The predicament that Darwinists find themselves in regards to denying the reality of this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics, and yet needing validation from this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics in order to be their theory to be considered scientific in the first place, should be the very definition of a scientifically self-refuting worldview.

    Moreover, to make this dilemma of ‘abstract immaterial concepts’ even more devastating to the Darwinian materialists, it turns out that atoms themselves are not the solid indivisible concrete particles, as they were originally envisioned to be by the Greek materialists, but it turns out that the descriptions we now use to describe atoms themselves, the further down we go, dissolve into “abstract conceptual tools for describing nature, which themselves seem to lack any real, concrete essence.,,,”

    Physics Is Pointing Inexorably to Mind
    So-called “information realism” has some surprising implications
    By Bernardo Kastrup – March 25, 2019
    Excerpt: according to the Greek atomists, if we kept on dividing things into ever-smaller bits, at the end there would remain solid, indivisible particles called atoms, imagined to be so concrete as to have even particular shapes. Yet, as our understanding of physics progressed, we’ve realized that atoms themselves can be further divided into smaller bits, and those into yet smaller ones, and so on, until what is left lacks shape and solidity altogether. At the bottom of the chain of physical reduction there are only elusive, phantasmal entities we label as “energy” and “fields”—abstract conceptual tools for describing nature, which themselves seem to lack any real, concrete essence.,,,

    In fact, according to quantum theory, the most fundamental ‘stuff’ of the world is not even matter or energy at all, (as Darwinian materialists presuppose) but is immaterial information itself

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information”
    (48:35 minute mark)
    “In the beginning was the Word”
    John 1:1 (49:54 minute mark)
    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT

    Thus, in irony of ironies, not even the material particles themselves turn to be are ‘real’, (on a materialistic definition of what is suppose to be ‘real’), but the foundation of reality itself turns out to be “abstract” immaterial information. As Anton Zeilinger pointed out in the above video link, this finding of information being the basis of reality fits very well into Christian presuppositions:

    John 1:1
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    This finding also puts the die-hard atheistic materialist in quite the dilemma because as Bernardo Kastrup further explains, to make sense of this conundrum of a non-material world of pure abstractions we must ultimately appeal to an immaterial mind. i.e. we must ultimately appeal to God!

    Physics Is Pointing Inexorably to Mind
    So-called “information realism” has some surprising implications
    By Bernardo Kastrup – March 25, 2019
    Excerpt: “To make sense of this conundrum,,, we must stick to what is most immediately present to us: solidity and concreteness are qualities of our experience. The world measured, modeled and ultimately predicted by physics is the world of perceptions, a category of mentation. The phantasms and abstractions reside merely in our descriptions of the behavior of that world, not in the world itself.,,,
    Where we get lost and confused is in imagining that what we are describing is a non-mental reality underlying our perceptions, as opposed to the perceptions themselves. We then try to find the solidity and concreteness of the perceived world in that postulated underlying reality. However, a non-mental world is inevitably abstract. And since solidity and concreteness are felt qualities of experience—what else?—we cannot find them there. The problem we face is thus merely an artifact of thought, something we conjure up out of thin air because of our theoretical habits and prejudices.,,,
    As I elaborate extensively in my new book, The Idea of the World, none of this implies solipsism. The mental universe exists in mind but not in your personal mind alone. Instead, it is a transpersonal field of mentation that presents itself to us as physicality—with its concreteness, solidity and definiteness—once our personal mental processes interact with it through observation. This mental universe is what physics is leading us to, not the hand-waving word games of information realism.

    Or to put it much more simply, as Physics professor Richard Conn Henry put it at the end of the following article, “The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.”

    The mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry
    The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.
    Excerpt: “The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.”
    – Richard Conn Henry is a Professor in the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

    Of supplemental note:

    The Darwinian materialist, in his rejection of God, simply has no anchor for reality to grab onto:

    As I have pointed out several times now, assuming Naturalism instead of Theism as the worldview on which all of science is based leads to the catastrophic epistemological failure of science itself.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft).
    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    – Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification – video – 39:45 minute mark

    Thus, although the Darwinist may firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science, indeed more antagonistic to reality itself, than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  12. 12
    Mimus says:

    A read a few paragraphs of this.

    Is there a non-material answer to the species problem? What are we missing out on that would allow us to define species neatly and universally?

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Mimus asks,

    Is there a non-material answer to the species problem?

    Well since the term ‘species’ is clearly an abstract immaterial concept of the mind that can have no possible materialistic explanation, then, if there is ever to be found an answer for the ‘species problem’, of course, that answer will necessarily have to be non-material in its solution.

    Mimus then asks,

    What are we missing out on that would allow us to define species neatly and universally?

    From my nose bleed section of watching ‘the game’ between Theists and Atheistic materialists, I would have to say that the main thing that Atheistic materialists are missing, (aside from the fact that any coherent abstract classification scheme must necessarily be non-material in its foundational basis), is that any coherent classification scheme for species must also necessarily start from the presupposition of ‘top-down’ creation of Theists, instead of the presupposition of ‘bottom-up’ evolution of Atheistic materialists.

    In fact, Carl Linnaeus, a Christian who sought to “to reveal God’s creation to mankind in an orderly manner”, and is considered the ‘Father of Taxonomy’, used a ‘top-down’ approach,,,

    The tree of life gets a makeover – Schoolroom kingdoms are taking a backseat to life’s supergroups By Susan Milius – July 29, 2015
    Excerpt: In 1735, Swedish physician and botanist Carl Linnaeus published the first edition of his classi­fication system for nature,,,
    In that early scaffolding, evolutionary relationships between organisms didn’t matter. Linnaeus was just striving “to reveal God’s creation to mankind in an orderly manner,” says archivist Gina Douglas of the Linnean Society of London. Charles Darwin wouldn’t nervously publish On the Origin of Species for another 124 years.

    “The Earth’s creation is the glory of God, as seen from the works of Nature by Man alone. The study of nature would reveal the Divine Order of God’s creation, and it was the naturalist’s task to construct a ‘natural classification’ that would reveal this Order in the universe.”
    – Carl Linnaeus

    Here is Linnaeus’s ‘top down’ classification scheme:

    Linnaeus’s Classification System
    In Systema Naturae, Linnaeus classified nature into a hierarchy. He proposed that there were three broad groups, called kingdoms, into which the whole of nature could fit. These kingdoms were animals, plants, and minerals. He divided each of these kingdoms into classes. Classes were divided into orders. These were further divided into genera (genus is singular) and then species. We still use this system today, but we have made some changes.
    Today, we only use this system to classify living things. (Linnaeus included nonliving things in his mineral kingdom.) Also, we have added a few additional levels in the hierarchy. The broadest level of life is now a domain. All living things fit into only three domains: Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya. Within each of these domains there are kingdoms. For example, Eukarya includes the kingdoms Animalia, Fungi, Plantae, and more. Each kingdom contains phyla (singular is phylum), followed by class, order, family, genus, and species. Each level of classification is also called a taxon (plural is taxa).

    Where Atheistic materialists run afoul of this ‘top-down’ classification scheme of Linnaeus is that , as Dr. Wells points out in the following video,

    Cambrian Explosion Ruins Darwin’s Tree of Life (2 minutes in 24 hour day) – video (2:55 minute mark)

    ,as Dr. Wells points out, Darwin predicted that minor differences (diversity) between species would gradually appear first and then the differences would grow larger (disparity) between species as time went on. i.e. universal common descent as depicted in Darwin’s tree of life. What Darwin predicted, via his theory, should be familiar to everyone and is easily represented in the following graph.,,,

    The Theory of Evolution – Diversity precedes Disparity – graph

    [dih-spar-i-tee] noun, plural disparities.
    1. lack of similarity or equality; inequality; difference:

    But that gradually branching ‘tree pattern’ that Darwin predicted is not to be found in the fossil record. The fossil record reveals that disparity (the greatest differences) precedes diversity (the smaller differences), which is the exact opposite pattern for what Darwin’s theory predicted.

    The Actual Fossil Evidence- Disparity precedes Diversity – graph

    Jerry Coyne’s Chapter on the Fossil Record Fails to Show “Why Evolution is True” – Jonathan M. – December 4, 2012
    Excerpt: Taxonomists classify organisms into categories: species are the very lowest taxonomic category. Species are classified into different genera. Genera are classified into different families. Families are classified into different orders. Orders are classified into different classes. And classes are classified into different phyla. Phyla are among the very highest taxonomic categories (only kingdom and domain are higher), and correspond to the high level of morphological disparity that exists between different animal body plans. Phyla include such groupings as chordates, arthropods, mollusks, and echinoderms.
    Darwin’s theory would predict a cone of diversity whereby the major body-plan differences (morphological disparity) would only appear in the fossil record following numerous lower-level speciation events. What is interesting about the fossil record is that it shows the appearance of the higher taxonomic categories first (virtually all of the major skeletonized phyla appear in the Cambrian, with no obvious fossil transitional precursors, within a relatively small span of geological time). As Roger Lewin (1988) explains in Science,
    “Several possible patterns exist for the establishment of higher taxa, the two most obvious of which are the bottom-up and the top-down approaches. In the first, evolutionary novelties emerge, bit by bit. The Cambrian explosion appears to conform to the second pattern, the top-down effect.”
    Erwin et al. (1987), in their study of marine invertebrates, similarly conclude that,
    “The fossil record suggests that the major pulse of diversification of phyla occurs before that of classes, classes before that of orders, orders before that of families. The higher taxa do not seem to have diverged through an accumulation of lower taxa.”
    Indeed, the existence of numerous small and soft-bodied animals in the Precambrian strata undermines one of the most popular responses that these missing transitions can be accounted for by them being too small and too-soft bodied to be preserved.

    “Darwin had a lot of trouble with the fossil record because if you look at the record of phyla in the rocks as fossils why when they first appear we already see them all. The phyla are fully formed. It’s as if the phyla were created first and they were modified into classes and we see that the number of classes peak later than the number of phyla and the number of orders peak later than that. So it’s kind of a top down succession, you start with this basic body plans, the phyla, and you diversify them into classes, the major sub-divisions of the phyla, and these into orders and so on. So the fossil record is kind of backwards from what you would expect from in that sense from what you would expect from Darwin’s ideas.”
    James W. Valentine – as quoted from “On the Origin of Phyla: Interviews with James W. Valentine” – (as stated at 1:16:36 mark of video)

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, this ‘top-down’ pattern in the fossil record, which is the complete opposite pattern as Darwin predicted for the fossil record, is not only found in the Cambrian Explosion, but this ‘top down’, (disparity preceding diversity), pattern is found throughout the fossil record subsequent to the Cambrian explosion as well.

    Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.
    Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.
    ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,,
    Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on.
    Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,,

    Günter Bechly video: Fossil Discontinuities: A Refutation of Darwinism and Confirmation of Intelligent Design – 2018
    The fossil record is dominated by abrupt appearances of new body plans and new groups of organisms. This conflicts with the gradualistic prediction of Darwinian Evolution. Here 18 explosive origins in the history of life are described, demonstrating that the famous Cambrian Explosion is far from being the exception to the rule. Also the fossil record establishes only very brief windows of time for the origin of complex new features, which creates an ubiquitous waiting time problem for the origin and fixation of the required coordinated mutations. This refutes the viability of the Neo-Darwinian evolutionary process as the single conceivable naturalistic or mechanistic explanation for biological origins, and thus confirms Intelligent Design as the only reasonable alternative.

    In Allaying Darwin’s Doubt, Two Cambrian Experts Still Come Up Short – October 16, 2015
    Excerpt: “A recent analysis of disparity in 98 metazoan clades through the Phanerozoic found a preponderance of clades with maximal disparity early in their history. Thus, whether or not taxonomic diversification slows down most studies of disparity reveal a pattern in which the early evolution of a clade defines the morphological boundaries of a group which are then filled in by subsequent diversification. This pattern is inconsistent with that expected of a classic adaptive radiation in which diversity and disparity should be coupled, at least during the early phase of the radiation.”
    – Doug Erwin
    What this admits is that disparity is a worse problem than evolutionists had realized: it’s ubiquitous (throughout the history of life on earth), not just in the Cambrian (Explosion).

    “The facts of greatest general importance are the following. When a new phylum, class, or order appears, there follows a quick, explosive (in terms of geological time) diversification so that practically all orders or families known appear suddenly and without any apparent transitions. Afterwards, a slow evolution follows; this frequently has the appearance of a gradual change, step by step, though down to the generic level abrupt major steps without transitions occur. At the end of such a series, a kind of evolutionary running-wild frequently is observed. Giant forms appear, and odd or pathological types of different kinds precede the extinction of such a line.”
    Richard B. Goldschmidt, “Evolution, as Viewed by One Geneticist,” American Scientist 40 (January 1952), 97.

    “In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.”
    TS Kemp – Fossils and Evolution,– Curator of Zoological Collections, Oxford University, Oxford Uni Press, p246, 1999

    “What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.”
    Robert L Carroll (born 1938) – vertebrate paleontologist who specialises in Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians

    Thus, as the fossil record itself gives abundant evidence for, any coherent classification scheme for the ‘species problem’ must necessarily start with the presupposition of ‘top-down’ creation. And then from that ‘top-down’ presupposition, the ‘species problem’ will at least have a realistic possibility for a coherent, and more or less concrete, solution, (instead of the ‘species problem’ basically being in complete disarray as it currently is because of the ‘bottom up’ presupposition of Darwinists)

    What is a species? The most important concept in all of biology is a complete mystery – July 16, 2019
    Excerpt: What is a species?,,,,
    Enough of species?
    This is only the tip of a deep and confusing iceberg. There is absolutely no agreement among biologists about how we should understand the species. One 2006 article on the subject listed 26 separate definitions of species, all with their advocates and detractors. Even this list is incomplete.
    The mystery surrounding species is well-known in biology, and commonly referred to as “the species problem”. Frustration with the idea of a species goes back at least as far as Darwin.,,,
    some contemporary biologists and philosophers of biology have,,, suggested that biology would be much better off if it didn’t think about life in terms of species at all.,,,


    Genesis 1:25
    And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    A few related notes. The ‘top down’ “operating systems”, (i.e. Gene Regulatory Networks), that tell the protein coding regions what to do, are now found to be ‘species specific’

    An Interview with Stephen C. Meyer
    TT: Is the idea of an original human couple (Adam and Eve) in conflict with science? Does DNA tell us anything about the existence of Adam and Eve?
    SM: Readers have probably heard that the 98 percent similarity of human DNA to chimp DNA establishes that humans and chimps had a common ancestor. Recent studies show that number dropping significantly. More important, it turns out that previous measures of human and chimp genetic similarity were based upon an analysis of only 2 to 3 percent of the genome, the small portion that codes for proteins. This limited comparison was justified based upon the assumption that the rest of the genome was non-functional “junk.” Since the publication of the results of something called the “Encode Project,” however, it has become clear that the noncoding regions of the genome perform many important functions and that, overall, the non-coding regions of the genome function much like an operating system in a computer by regulating the timing and expression of the information stored in the “data files” or coding regions of the genome. Significantly, it has become increasingly clear that the non-coding regions, the crucial operating systems in effect, of the chimp and human genomes are species specific. That is, they are strikingly different in the two species. Yet, if alleged genetic similarity suggests common ancestry, then, by the same logic, this new evidence of significant genetic disparity suggests independent separate origins. For this reason, I see nothing from a genetic point of view that challenges the idea that humans originated independently from primates,

    On Human Origins: Is Our Genome Full of Junk DNA? Pt 2. – Richard Sternberg PhD. Evolutionary Biology – podcast
    Excerpt: ,,, (Parts lists (genes) are very similar across all species, but how the parts (genes) are used is where you will find tremendous differences between species)

    Evolution by Splicing – Comparing gene transcripts from different species reveals surprising splicing diversity. – Ruth Williams – December 20, 2012
    Excerpt: A major question in vertebrate evolutionary biology is “how do physical and behavioral differences arise if we have a very similar set of genes to that of the mouse, chicken, or frog?”,,,
    A commonly discussed mechanism was variable levels of gene expression, but both Blencowe and Chris Burge,,, found that gene expression is relatively conserved among species.
    On the other hand, the papers show that most alternative splicing events differ widely between even closely related species. “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,” said Blencowe.,,,

    Widespread Expansion of Protein Interaction Capabilities by Alternative Splicing – 2016
    In Brief
    Alternatively spliced isoforms of proteins exhibit strikingly different interaction profiles and thus, in the context of global interactome networks, appear to behave as if encoded by distinct genes rather than as minor variants of each other.,,,
    Page 806 excerpt: As many as 100,000 distinct isoform transcripts could be produced from the 20,000 human protein-coding genes (Pan et al., 2008), collectively leading to perhaps over a million distinct polypeptides obtained by post-translational modification of products of all possible transcript isoforms (Smith and Kelleher, 2013).

    Excerpt page 137: The humans included in the next cluster (p = 1.91 x 10^-30) are remarkably similar in expressed proteins among themselves and strikingly different from all other animals. This supports the humanity of Neanderthals and Denisovans, as much as it contradicts evolutionary narratives about common descent between humans and apes. In conjunction with other lines of evidence of human morphological, cognitive, and genetic (including non protein coding regions) distinctiveness, it clearly demonstrates that the evolutionary ideas on the origin of man have no plausible scientific foundation (Tomkins, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018).

    Also of related note:

    Sweeping (mitochondria) gene survey reveals new facets of evolution – May 28, 2018
    Excerpt: Darwin perplexed,,,
    And yet—another unexpected finding from the study—species have very clear genetic boundaries, and there’s nothing much in between.
    “If individuals are stars, then species are galaxies,” said Thaler. “They are compact clusters in the vastness of empty sequence space.”

    The absence of “in-between” species is something that also perplexed Darwin, he said.

    This Could Be One of the Most Important Scientific Papers of the Decade – July 23, 2018
    Excerpt: Now we come to Dr. Ewert’s main test. He looked at nine different databases that group genes into families and then indicate which animals in the database have which gene families. For example, one of the nine databases (Uni-Ref-50) contains more than 1.8 million gene families and 242 animal species that each possess some of those gene families. In each case, a dependency graph fit the data better than an evolutionary tree.
    This is a very significant result. Using simulated genetic datasets, a comparison between dependency graphs and evolutionary trees was able to distinguish between multiple evolutionary scenarios and a design scenario. When that comparison was done with nine different real genetic datasets, the result in each case indicated design, not evolution. Please understand that the decision as to which model fit each scenario wasn’t based on any kind of subjective judgement call. Dr. Ewert used Bayesian model selection, which is an unbiased, mathematical interpretation of the quality of a model’s fit to the data. In all cases Dr. Ewert analyzed, Bayesian model selection indicated that the fit was decisive. An evolutionary tree decisively fit the simulated evolutionary scenarios, and a dependency graph decisively fit the computer programs as well as the nine real biological datasets.

  16. 16
    asauber says:

    “Not impressive, but surely knowing what the term means would be a requirement for anyone wanting to talk about it?”


    As BA77, points out, “species” is an abstraction. So I think the issue is someone like Darwin trying to do science with an imaginary vision of biology. Darwin has the issue, not me (or News).


Leave a Reply