Not long ago, biochemist Larry Moran responded to an ENV article by Casey Luskin. Moran considered the question of whether evolution is guided or at least non-random (as the majority of the public believe) or, alternatively, whether it is unguided and hence random, as Moran and other evolutionists claim. Moran gives an explanation that he says is “so simple that even an IDiot should be able to understand it.”
His evidence is this, “There are tons of experiments proving that mutations are essentially random. (Let’s not get into quibbling about the meaning of ‘random.’)” While I appreciate Dr. Moran’s not getting into the largely senseless bickering over what “random” means, he misses the point in a very fundamental way. What we see in the experiments he relies upon is within-population variation based upon genetic shuffling and drift. These experiments are conventional and do not produce phenotypic innovation. The experiments that he does not rely upon — because they are non-existent — are undirected experiments that lead to serendipitous phenotypic innovation and speciation. Without speciation, there is no evolution. This means that if you study Species A’s genetic variation, drift, specialization and what-have-you over time, but at the end of the day you still have Species A, then you haven’t studied the mechanism of speciation, which is the mechanism of evolution. This seems pretty obvious and should prompt some introspection by Dr. Moran and likeminded evolutionists. That is, you cannot study building manufacture solely by studying the finished product: architecture. You must witness buildings being constructed.
This principle that you have to study the mechanism that you’re purporting to explain is recognized within manufacturing science. Quality pioneers Deming, Juran, and Shewhart all wrote of “common causes” and “special causes.” In the automobile industry, each component of a vehicle is somewhat different from the last component manufactured (due to common causes), but if something is left out of the assembly process (like the brake lines), that cannot be assigned to small variations in brake line thickness; a special cause is responsible. This is true of organisms as well. It is obvious that no two calves are quite the same, yet they’re still bovines. The common cause of random variation in organisms produces differences in height, weight, markings, etc. However, if Bossie the cow were to give birth to a different species such as a bison, it would be time to perk up and ask ourselves what has caused this unforeseen event. So far, whatever cause results in one species developing into another has remained unobservable and inaccessible to science.
“But wait!” Dr. Moran or one of his fellow evolutionists might object, “Evolution occurs slowly! It is unreasonable to insist that we study the actual mechanism via observation!” Well, they can believe this if they prefer, but the fossil record does not reflect this slow seamless continuum that Darwin proposed. This is why Eldredge and Gould argued for the concept of “punctuated equilibria.” Punctuation is indistinguishable from a special cause, but you can bet your last trilobite that it isn’t random.
The common cause, genetic drift and random recombination, is a well-established mechanism operating within species, but that’s not what the evolution debate is about. Of real interest is the special cause that brings about the production of a new species. Until that is studied, the only firm conclusion that we can draw based upon real life observation is that genetic drift and random recombination do not produce innovation and new species. Anyone who isn’t blinded by dogma should be able to see that.