Frequently in discussions between evolutionists and creationists, a central point of disagreement revolves around the origin of species, of which evolution claims to be the primary engine. Creationists deny that evolution is capable of such a feat, and even deny that species as a proper classification of organisms. In keeping with Biblical text, they instead adopt kind, or more properly baramin as the proper distinction between different types of organisms, and deny evolution the power to create this level of distinction.
The problem with both classification schemas is that they are both based on either vague or arbitrary criteria. In the case of baramin, the Bible gives no detailed description of what distinguishes one ‘kind’ from another or any criteria by which to measure such a distinction. As Genesis is not a detailed science text, such criteria are not expected.
However the term ‘species’, despite its long history and centrality to both biology and evolutionary theory, fairs no better. In fact the species problem is a long recognized issue in biology. In the simplest terms a species is an interbreeding population which is reproductively isolated from other populations; in reality populations are in constant flux, and despite years of relative isolation populations often find ways to interbreed.
And the problem gets worse when considering the prehistory of life; indeed, a recent analyses of dinosaur ‘species’ found that up to a third of the dinosaur species may in fact not be species at all, but instead be different age groups and sexes of the same type of dinosaur.
Such a finding also underlines the weaknesses of fossil interpretation when investigating life’s past. Indeed, this has the potential to call into question much of the supposed record of evolution said to be found in fossils, which purports to demonstrate the gradual appearance of species over time.
As someone who favors intelligent design and who is a critic of evolution, I don’t necessarily have a dog in this fight. Indeed, I think it is better to focus on the origin of information, body plans, living systems and capabilities rather than quibble over classification schema that are virtually impossible to actually define. But I have found, clarity is rarely the goal of such discussions.