Nature and God: The Continuous Creation of Species

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by 2cents, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. an interesting read:

    Nature and God by L. Charles Birch

    Charles Birch is a biologist specializing in genetics, and resides in Australia. He is joint winner of the 1990 International Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.. His teaching career includes Oxford, Columbia and the Universities of Chicago and Minnesota, as well as visiting professor of genetics at the University of California at Berkeley and professor of biology at the University of Sydney. Professor Birch has blazed new paths into the relationships between science and faith. Published by Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1965. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


    "The Continuous Creation of Species

    The story of evolution is not simply a record of past events. It is going on now before our eyes. The modern study of evolution is a study of a dynamic ongoing process that has never stopped, so far as we can judge. It is not a case of taking the picture of a process that has now come to a standstill. The picture is constantly changing. Every time an insect becomes resistant to a new man-made insecticide, or when a bacterium becomes resistant to a new antibiotic, we witness evolutionary change. The locomotive of evolution moves much faster than Darwin ever dared to dream. We can measure its rate over matters of one or a few generations. For fruit flies this is a matter of weeks, for bacteria of hours. Fifty years ago it may have been true to say that no man had ever witnessed evolution. Today many of us witness evolution day by day in our laboratories. By the nature of the case, the changes which we can observe over short periods are mostly changes within the species and not transformations of one species into another. The anti-evolutionist is quick to point this out and commonly adds that man has never witnessed the transformation of one species into another. The contrary is true. The plant Raphanobrassica is famous because it was the first species produced by man from two pre-existing species.5 It is completely fertile, but quite infertile with either parent species. By any definition it is a good new species. There are now dozens of such cases amongst plants. It is, of course, a relatively rare experience for man to witness the production of a new species. In the normal course of events that is something that takes millions of years to complete.

    The panorama that modern evolutionary theory presents is one of a continuity of transformation of first life over some 2,000 millions of years into some 500 million or more species, most of them now extinct. There is good indirect evidence that it all stemmed from something which might have resembled the viruses we know today. At the very heart of the enduring nature of nature is change and instability. It was Darwin who gave us the clue to how the changes were wrought."

    mmmhhh... raphanobrassica... aka rabbage...

    "Raphanobrassica is a genus that contains all of the various artificial hybrids bred from the species of the plant genera Raphanus (radishes), and Brassica (cabbages, kale, brusselsprouts, kohlrabi).

    The first example of Raphanobrassica was created by the Russian cytologist and follower of Trofim Lysenko, Georgi Dmitrievich Karpechenko, in 1927-28, when he crossed the radish, Raphanus sativus, with the common cabbage, Brassica oleracea. Karpechenko's plan was to create a "vegetable of the Proletariat," that would have the edible root of the radish and the flavorful leaves of the cabbage. As luck would have it, the resulting offspring was the result of an allopolyploid mutation, where both gametes had double the number of chromosomes, and were incapable of being crossed back with either parent."