How did the incredible species diversity today manifest itself from just a few individual animals preserved on Noah’s Ark? How much speciation has happened? What are the mechanisms for young-earth speciation? Is there evidence that rapid speciation has occurred in just the past few thousand years? These are enduring questions that young-earth creationists have been wrestling with for 50 years. Here we look at one YECs proposal for the origin of present-day species diversity.
In the video linked below I read through and comment on a short article posted on the “New Creation” blog sponsored by Is Genesis History and authored by paleontologist Dr. Kurt Wise. While a stalwart young-earth believer, Dr. Wise is not afraid to think outside the typical young-earth box as exemplified by the standard model of young-earth creation science promoted by the “traditional” young-earth ministries such as Answers in Genesis. In this article, Dr. Wise is making his case that the rapid and remarkable ability of organisms to adapt to their current environment is the result of God’s hiding adaptive instruction sets inside His originally created kinds about 6000 years ago.
These hidden instruction sets managed to pass through–by some as yet defined mechanism–the creationist’ population bottleneck otherwise known as Noah’s Flood. Having survived the flood those organisms were fruitful and filled the new ecological environments in the new world as they rapidly–again by some unknown mechanism which is not just natural selection–make use of what was previously hidden variation (information?) since the creation but now manifests itself as what we might call novel adaptive traits.
Where is the information for these hidden traits (one could say, hidden species) stored in previously existing species or possibly even inside species today ready to be used to adapt into future species via that additional hidden variation? Is it to be found in the genomes (DNA sequences) of “kinds” as pieces of currently unused DNA code that is being preserved for future use? Or is the information coded in other molecules such as proteins or something else that we haven’t fully appreciated to this point? Dr. Wise infers that such hidden and as yet undiscovered information MUST exist (I look at some of the reasons he believes this to be so in the video) but admits that at this point: “Biologists still do not know where or how the variety was hidden, nor do they know how that variety was revealed.” This is an honest as well as rather stunning admission. It’s an admission the creation model can’t currently explain how biological diversity is encoded nor how it has manifested itself since the Flood but Dr. Wise is sure that such hidden information exists and we will eventually discover the processes by which that information is utilized.
I suggest that without any mechanism an appeal to “hidden variation” as an explanation for how rapid speciation could lead to filling the earth with millions of species not observed in the past, amounts to nothing more than a magic wand explanation for the present amount of species diversity. Hidden variation could be used to explain any scenario for the apparent evolution of species.
For example, a young-earth creationists could propose that whales were originally created with feet and walked off the ark. God knowing that there would be a vast ecosystem with few large animals hid variation within this walking land animal which was turned on – by an as yet discovered mechanism – and the animals expressed featured allowing it to be successful in the ocean. The feet were then allowed to experience genetic entropy (mutation buildup) thus eliminating the legs and feet because they were not longer needed. Because we don’t know how yet to identify where this hidden information is and how it will be expressed, no young-earth creationist would be able to argue that this scenario must be in error.
Appeals to “hidden” variation are yet another in a long line of speculative hypotheses that YECs have proposed in hopes of finding a post-creation process to explain the vast array of biological diversity that is so well adapted to the state of the present world.