Hey ! I don’t have a story to tell today … so I’ll go right to answering your questions!
When I say speciation, I mean any changes in a population’s gene pool which, over time, may or may not involve God’s Guidance or Intervention in the processes of mutation and/or natural selection, and which would satisfy one of these descriptions below:
1] A Population that, after an elapse of thousands or millions of years, would lead to a consensus that the population (without consideration of any sub-populations may have split off from it) now represents a new species or kind.
EXAMPLE: The alligator population in North America seems to have persisted virtually unchanged for millions of years. But some scientists are careful to say that this does not mean that the earlier alligators are the same species as the current population. They may look the same, but there may have been lots of changes at the genetic level which render the two different groups reproductively incompatible… if one were to somehow ever put them next to each other. Conversely, there could be an animal population that has never branched off … but over time has changed enough that the current examples of the population look or act very differently from the earlier examples. This, of course, makes it easier to perceive the newer exemplars as a “new” species.
2] A Population that split into 2 or more sub-groups which, after an elapse of thousands or millions of years, the average individual from one sub-population is unable to mate with the average individual from the other sub-population to produce fertile offspring. They may or may not have different appearances and/or may or may not behave similarly.
3] A Population that split into 2 or more sub-groups which, after an elapse of thousands or millions of years, the average individual from one sub-population is ABLE to mate with the average individual from the other sub-population to produce fertile offspring - - but the populations have geographically or ecologically drifted apart and/or diverged to such an extent that the phenotype (biologically and/or behaviorally) have dramatically differentiated.
I’m not going to fall on my sword if someone wants to dispute . But Lions and Tigers are an example of this. I hear few people attempting to assert these two populations are the “same species”. They behave differently; have dramatically different appearances and anatomical markers, and live in very different ecosystem niches. And yet, nevertheless, we know that they can cross-breed, creating what some people call “Ligers”. I would argue (but not too zealously) that Lions and Tigers are on the very VERGE of classical speciation - - where a few more eons of gene pool divergence will eventually render them completely incompatible in the reproductive sense.
I know I have spent a lot of time and space on some of the details … while you may be more interested in how I account for God’s involvement in “speciation”. For me the difference is:
whether or not God’s guidance is using the population’s genetics as an inter-mediator to change the population or for creating different varieties and/or species.
The alternative, if God is not using genetics as part of the process, is that God makes a miracle!: >poof< !!! And now there is a new kind or a new species. I would not define this as speciation. I would define it as Special Creation.
NEXT QUESTION: Why have I left out Hugh Ross’s Reasons to Believe position? I looked around for a concise statement of that position. Perhaps you will agree the paragraph I chose is acceptable?:
Fossil Record and Biological Evolution
"Dr. Ross accepts the current evolutionary interpretation of the fossil record known as punctuated equilibrium. He believes that some animal species have appeared suddenly at various times throughout the earth’s billions of years when God directly intervened to create the “higher animals.” He leaves open the possibility that God used evolution to create the “lower animals.”
“When we examine the fossil record, we see a growing proliferation of life forms through time. . . A species suddenly appears, exists for a relatively long period of time with no significant changes, goes extinct, and much later is replaced with one or more distinctly different species. In the animal kingdom, at least, no evidence for any natural process or means of replacement exists. Likewise, in the Bible, God declares, that for the higher animals He directly intervenes in the natural order to create new species, and that these new life forms reproduce “after their kind.” In the book of Psalms, God speaks of His creating life forms to replace those that have died off.”
Rightly or wrongly, Dr. Ross is describing both of my options:
God goes >poof< ! for the higher animals.
God “… leaves open the possibility that God used evolution to create the ‘lower animals’.”
Since I adhere to the idea that the Bible is not intended to be used for a Literal understanding of where higher animals come from, I don’t need to suppose that God goes >poof< to create species or “kinds”. Though God may very well have gone >poof< to create the first living cells.
So I’m not making a point of leaving out Ross’s position. In fact, I suppose I could use him as the Poster Child for both ways that species can be created!
A) Special Creation and/or
B) “Speciation” through Evolutionary means.