Imagine hearing that scientists had managed to genetically engineer one species of living creature so that it could now successfully breed with a totally distinct species; i.e. whereas the offspring of this union are usually sterile, they are now fertile. Well that is exactly what a team of scientists from several British academic institutions have done (reported in the journal Nature)1—albeit with the humble baker’s yeast.2
This yeast is one of a group of six related species (all Saccharomyces) that are able to cross-breed, but form sterile hybrids. By ingeniously tinkering with the genome of this single-celled fungus, the scientists managed to ‘create’ a new strain that was able to form fertile crosses with a distinct, but similar species.3 This is the first time that this has been observed in these yeasts.4
In this cousin of the baker’s yeast, portions of its sixth and seventh chromosomes have apparently swapped places at some point in the past.5 This change did not involve the input of any new information—just a reshuffling of what already existed. Nevertheless, the researchers concluded that it contributed to the inability of the different species to interbreed, once the species formed.6 Believing this rearrangement of genetic information was ‘wrought by evolution’, one science writer claimed that the genetic engineers had actually succeeded in undoing what evolution had achieved!7 She even quoted a Ph.D. scientist from the brewing industry, claiming that fermentation failures were similarly due to ‘evolution in the vat’!
Apparently, when yeasts with new chromosome arrangements arise during the brewing of beer,8 they drop uselessly to the base of the vat. Now, this is hardly evidence for evolution. Who benefits? It’s certainly not the yeasts, which are now less fit to survive. As far as the brewers are concerned, these mutant yeasts are useless and the brewers have to start over with new yeast cultures.
Evolutionists often delight in pointing to such speciation as an example of evolution in action, thinking that this contradicts the creation account recorded in Genesis. Actually, far from supporting evolution, this example of speciation in yeasts confirms the accuracy of the Bible. Nowhere does Scripture teach the fixity of species,9 an erroneous belief that was held by several early biologists10 but which we know to be false today.11
Believing the Genesis account of Creation, the Flood and the Babel dispersion to be historically trustworthy, we would expect variation in living creatures, including man. In fact, a biblical model of the history of life would seem to require that speciation not only happens, but does so rapidly. The wolf kind coming off the Ark, for example, would need to have been able to rapidly diversify into the different ‘species’ seen today—the various types of wolves, jackals, coyotes and dogs, which are adapted to a wide range of different climates, from Arctic to tropical. These can hybridize, indicating that they came from the same original created kind12 (see pp. 19–22).
So known examples of rapid speciation in modern times are in perfect accord with the Bible—just variation within the created kinds—but a surprise to the evolutionists, who are wedded to their millions-of-years dogma.13 In addition, evolution from molecules to man would have had to involve massive additions of new information. However, all known examples of modern-day speciation (and the assumed speciation that occurred in the past in the case of these yeasts) involve a loss or reshuffling of existing information.
So if speciation is not evidence for evolution, reversing it obviously has nothing to do with undoing evolution. If all it takes to cause two species to become one is a reshuffling of genes, then a gene reshuffle presumably caused the original Saccharomyces species to split into isolated species. Since this involves no new information, it cannot legitimately be used as evidence that yeasts can become yaks, given enough time.
Examples like this one show that evolutionists are really clutching at straws. Past events are unobservable and unrepeatable, so trying to reconstruct vanished history is (for the evolutionist, at least), rather like investigating a crime for which there are no witnesses. Ironically, in a commentary on the yeast speciation paper (same issue of Nature), the author said, ‘Research into evolution is a bit like forensic detective work. Because it’s impossible to carry out million-year experiments, we instead look at what evolution has produced and try to figure out what happened and why.’14
This reveals the faith of the evolutionist, which can be summarized as follows: ‘We cannot go back in time to observe evolution happening, but although we weren’t there, we’re sure evolution happened. We just don’t know how or why!’
In stark contrast, the person who accepts that the Bible is the Word of God can say: ‘I wasn’t there but I know Someone who was and He has given me His eyewitness account of what He did and when He did it. Furthermore, He has revealed why He created, particularly His purpose in creating mankind.’
Of course, this will not prevent claims that a greater understanding of speciation mechanisms will show how evolution happens—in spite of the scientific and logical objections to the contrary. Ultimately, if a person chooses a worldview that redefines science to say that only natural processes have ever occurred, that person will be forced to the irrational conclusion that any change in the genome (even if it is downhill) is evidence of big-picture (uphill) evolution—the sort that supposedly changed single cells into scientists.