Biologist Dr. Todd Wood explains how the diversity of animals is related to God’s original creation of ‘created kinds.’
DEL: So Todd, what got you interested in biology?
TODD: I’ve always been interested in biology. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t. I remember three or four years old going to the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago and the Detroit Zoo and being pulled around in a little red wagon and my parents and looking at all the animals. It was amazing and it’s just an amazing thing and I just sort of knew there was always going to be these kind of creatures in my future somehow.
DEL: Todd, when we walked around a zoo like this the first thing is just the beauty of all of these creatures. But that beauty seems to be found in that diversity. There’s just so much difference, beautiful difference in all those creatures and yet there’s something similar about them. As a biologist what do you see when you see all of these creatures?
TODD: Yeah when I look at this, these lions specially, I’m seeing cats myself. And all the other cats they have here at the zoo, tiger and the leopards, they all have this underlying catness to them. It’s really apparent. It’s really apparent when they start playing, right? And so you’re seeing them lick themselves or clean themselves or you’re seeing them playing with some sort of ball or something. And they look…
DEL: They’re just like a cat.
TODD: They look like a cat. I mean this is like kittens play around and they do that sort of thing And so for those kinds of things – scientists would put that into a family called felidae and I would understand the felids to be representatives of a single creative kind. So the continuity, the similarity that is so significant that I’d say these guys have all descended from a single pair of critters that was on the ark and that eventually generated all the different sort of cats that we have today.
DEL: Well Todd, how do we get all of that diversity? They’re cats but they look different.
TODD: Yeah they definitely look different. That’s a good question. Where do we get all this diversity? So for an evolutionist of course they would argue that it’s natural selection, many years of mutations and changes. But for creationists I’m looking at this thinking these designs are already built into whatever cat came off the ark with Noah and over time then those characteristics have been expressed as the cats have dispersed and spread out over the world.
DEL: just like we see in dogs, all kinds of dogs.
TODD: Dogs are a great analogy. In a few hundred years we’ve taken essentially wolf like creatures and turned it into all these crazy breeds of Chihuahua and St. Bernard and German Shepherd. And I think that’s kind of what’s going on here with the cats. There’s within that cat that came off the ark, those two cats that came off the ark, they had all the potential necessary to generate the various forms of cats that we have today. It’s just a matter of breading it out and dispersing the cats around the world. And as they went then then you have the lions and the tigers showing up later on.
DEL: So originally the cat and the original dog, there was a lot of potential then within them, genetic potential.
TODD: Huge genetic potential all programmed inside of these critters just waiting to come out.
DEL: So over time in the breeding that we’ve done with dogs we’re basically just kind of separating some of those genes out, is that right?
TODD: Yeah. So there’s all that potential that’s in the dog kind and the dog genome and whatever it is that gets expressed as we sort of tease out different parts of various genetic traits and combinations. You get Dalmatians and whatever. That’s the same sort of thing that’s happening here with the lions.
DEL: So rather than all of these different species being an accident it appears that it’s coming from really an elaborate design.
TODD: Absolutely. And it’s not just a design like God designed and created the lion. It’s God created something that could make a lion. So it’s more like a multi tool or a Swiss army knife where you’ve got all of these pieces that you can just pop out whenever you need them but it’s all just one thing. That’s exactly what I think God created cats to be like. You have these traits that can come out when they’re needed so we can see some of these variations come out even today. So you take a lion here, you cross it with a tiger you’ll get a liger. But that thing will be much bigger than either of its parents. So those are traits that come out. And the beautiful thing is even amidst all this variety and variation in generating diversity you can still end up with this cat. So you end up with a liger that’s a real cat, it works. It’s not like these are broken things or degenerated things. They’re the real deal. The amount of design that we’re talking about here is way more than just God making one critter fit for one place. It’s making a critter that can make other critters that are fit for places that we’ve maybe not even encountered before. And it’s just an amazing design. It’s so much bigger than what we used to think of as design.