Galapagos Finches: Do They Prove Darwinism or Creation? 

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     Today I would like to share with you the news from my trip to Galapagos Islands. These enchanted islands have made a permanent impression on my mind. I was walking in the foot steps of Charles Darwin, watching the finches flying around the bushes, the giant tortoises crossing my paths, and iguanas making sneezing noises. The most terrific experience was when I was swimming in the Pacific Ocean along with sharks and whales. There were times I said to myself, ‘Am I going to survive this?’

     First let us start with finches. I came across many different species of birds in these islands. They well adapted to the unique circumstances of these islands. Charles Darwin visited these islands in 1835 as part of his around the globe journey in HMB Beagle. He collected many specimens of these birds. The circumstances change rapidly in these islands. Darwin observed the impact of these changes on the life of the birds. 

     I went to the Islands wondering whether I might see the finches Darwin saw. To my surprise, I saw the birds as soon as I came out of my hotel room. They started to eat my breakfast as soon as it was served. They travel hundreds of miles between the islands. One of the most beautiful sights was to watch the birds on the shore plucking seeds and fish with their long beaks. I spent a few days walking in the bushes observing their feeding habits. I was paying attention to their beak size. While walking on a trail, I saw finches with long beaks on my right side and finches with short beaks on my left side. These finches with different beak sizes live in the same area. Known as Darwin’s finches, they became an icon for evolution. 

    One day I thought of going to Daphni Major. This island became famous through the work of a research couple, Peter and Mary Grant. I stayed in a house motel in Porto Ayora, on the island of Santa Cruz. I woke up in the morning and took a road trip and later a boat ride to Daphni Major. It is located just north of Santa Cruz Island. It is a small island, its area is just 1.9 square miles. On my journey to the island,I saw many different species of birds: Darwin finches, blue footed boobies, frigate birds and martinis. Darwin collected many bird species in the Galapagos. They were analyzed by a paleontolist named John Gould. He looked at the mocking bird specimens and concluded they were from three different islands. In Darwin’s England, people believed in the fixity of species. They would not change over time. But Darwin was looking at the change among the mocking birds of different islands. It was a great realization for Darwin. He described it as ‘confessing a murder’. 

     Now let me tell you some thing interesting. This will clear up a misconception about Darwinism. It’s the mocking birds,  not finches which convinced Darwin about evolution. That is not to say finches had no role in his thinking. Darwin posited that one original species came from South America and evolved into 13 different species on different islands of the Galapagos. Darwin theorized a linear evolution based on these observations. The theory of evolution says that dinosaurs evolved into birds and these birds will evolve into an entirely different species in the future. There has been so much research on these finches in the last few decades. 

Peter and Rose Mary Grant from Princeton University have been doing field research on Daphni for the last three decades. There are 4 species of finches on Daphni Major. The Grants have been keeping meticulous records of these birds and their living conditions: their body size, their beak size, their body shape, their location, their eating habits, and their mating habits. 

    The Grants arrived in the Galapagos in 1973 and chose Daphne Major by 1975 to conduct their research. From 1975 to 1978, there was a substantial decline in the rain fall. The finches ate all the small seeds with soft shells. There were only large seeds with hard shells. Only the birds with large beaks survived this calamity because only they could crack open the hard seeds. You can guess what happened. The birds with large beaks survived and multiplied because they could eat the hard seeds. The birds with small beaks declined because they could not eat the hard seeds. Overall the size of the beaks increased in the finches. The average beak depth of medium ground finches increased about 5 percent. In 1983, El Nino brought heavy rains to the Galapagos.  Again there were small seeds with soft shells. The birds with small beaks started to have a plenty of food supply. They multiplied in numbers. The Grants observed these changes within a few years. 

     In Scientific American in 1991, Peter Grant wrote, ‘repeated directional selection at this rate with no selection in between droughts would transform one species into another within 200 years.’ But you see, it has been around 200 years since Darwin visited these islands and we are still waiting. There are no new species. The finches from different islands still mating with each other and producing hybrid finches. They are going through a cycle. Beak size increases with drought, decreases with rains. They are still finches. When Darwin visited these islands, there were 13 species of finches. Today we still have the same 13 species. 

    Iguanas: I came across many iguanas as I went around these islands. They look ugly but they display great adaptive powers. We can see adaptive radiation in them. Based on their living conditions, they went through different changes over the years. There were times I was scared to walk near them but  I was relieved to know that they are herbivores. Marine iguanas are the only lizards which can survive in the sea. They changed into 44 different species. After they come out of the chilly waters of the ocean, their dark skin helps them absorb the sun light to provide warmth. We can see a white mask on their faces. This is due to accumulation of salt on their faces. The iguanas absorb lot of salt into their bodies and they have special glands in their bodies to excrete this salt from their blood. 

     Another animal which caught my attention is the tortoise. The Galapagos tortoises are the largest living species of tortoises. They also live hundreds of years, up to 170-180 years. It is possible that some of these tortoises we see today were seen by Darwin himself. Darwin took some tortoises to England. A Galapagos tortoise named Harriet was reportedly collected by Darwin and taken to England. Then a retiring captain of HMS Beagle took it from England to Australia. Finally it ended up with Steve Irwin, the great ‘Crocodile Hunter’ and zoo keeper. 

We see these tortoises on seven different islands. Some have dome shaped shells while the others have saddleback shapes. We hear anecdotes that say, just by looking at the shape of their shells, we can identity the island of origion for each tortoise. I heard one story in which the governor of Galapagos looks at Darwin and says, ‘Mr.Darwin, the Spaniards can tell you which island it came from just by looking at the shape of its shell’. The reality is even experts fail to connect the tortoises to islands based on their shell shape. There are gradations from dome shape to saddleback shape. There are 5 different species of tortoises on the island of Isabella alone. How is that even possible? Isabella is volcanically active island. The huge lava fields separated these tortoises and fomented the change. Out of 15 species of tortoises, four species became extinct. We see adaptive radiation in tortoises. The tortoises from highlands possess larger body size compared to the tortoises from low lands.  

     On the Island of San Cristobal, I visited the Interpretation Center. How do we interpret the observations we have made on these islands? Charles Darwin made many observations here. How did he interpret them? He saw the finches and their beaks. He saw the tortoises and their shells. He saw the iguanas and their dwellings.  He saw the sea lions and their habits. Then he said, this how natural selection works. It can create complex organisms without a Creator. That is a tall claim. When you make a claim you should present the evidence. Darwin said, this is the evidence that there is no Creator. This is the evidence that living beings can become more evolve over time. I also made some observations while walking in the footsteps of Darwin. 

I saw finches. Some finches have long beaks. Some finches have short beaks. 

Darwin saw finches. They are still finches today. 

He saw tortoises. They are still tortoises today. 

He saw iguanas. They are still iguanas today. 

He saw sea lions. They are still sea lions today 

He saw sharks. They are still sharks today. 

     We are not seeing reptiles becoming birds and mammals. Reptiles are staying as reptiles, birds staying as birds and mammals staying as birds. No, folks. Darwin’s finches do not prove evolution. Author Ann Coulter said, “The Galapagos finches are evidence of nothing but the evolutionists’ ability to make up stories”

     I agree. Darwin and his followers are great fiction writers. All you need is one big stone. Give time. DNA, insects, butterflies, kangaroos, giraffes, elephants, cheetahs, dinosaurs, Albert Einstein..they all walk out one by one. That is not science. That is fiction. There is no Creator in Darwin’s theory. The birth of humanity is an accident. A genetic mutation. The Bible does not support such a view. It talks about a God who loved us before the foundation of the world. 

Ephesians 1:4 says, 

‘God hath chosen us in Christ

 before the foundation of the world’

                                Ephesians 1:4

Darwinism says natural selection. 

Nature selected you. 

Bibles says divine selection. 

God selected you. 

     Darwinism says there is no Creator, God has no interest in you. We have seen Darwin’s finches. Darwinism says the finches came without a Creator. They survive without a Creator. 

Nature feeds them, not God. 

In Matthew chapter 10, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said these words, 

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?

And one of them shall not fall on the

ground without your Father. 

But the very hairs of your head are 

numbered. Fear ye not, therefore; 

ye are of more value than many 

sparrows.”  Matthew 10:29-31 

Look at these small birds. You say they are so cheap. Two small birds cost only a penny. Yet, not even one of those little birds can die without your Father knowing it.  God even knows how many hairs there are on your head. So, don’t be afriad. You are more valuable than a flock of birds. 

    In Darwin’s theory, those finches have no Creator. The have no sustainer. They are at the mercy of the nature. But Lord Jesus says, those finches have a Creator, those finches have a Sustainer. Not even a single finch does fall to the ground without the knowledge of God. God knows the number of hairs on your head. So, don’t be afraid. The Bible talks about a God who has intimate knowledge about every of us. So, these finches should be called God’s finches, not Darwin’s finches. 

    Then I also explored the sea life around the Galapagos. I put on some snorkeling gear. Rented a GoPro camera and wore it around my neck. Even before I jumped in the water, some sea lions caught my attention. Three beautiful sea lions swimming in a rhythmic unison! They were swimming so fact I thought they might run into me. Each sea lion can weight up to 200 kilograms. They can swim 10-15 kilometers in the ocean. They rely on fish for their food. During El Nino, when the quantity of the fish declined, the body size of the sea lions decreased. After the El Nino, the quantity of fish increased, and the body size of the sea lions increased. What Peter Grant and his wife witnessed in the finches during the El Nino is also seen among the sea lions. 

     One afternoon, I was snorkeling near Daphne Major island. A huge shark came underneath me. It was a terrifying experience for me. But I took a deep breath and enjoyed the view of the shark swimming in the deep ocean. There are 37 species of sharks around the Galapagos. 

    Let me summarize and conclude this message. As I traveled across the Galapagos Islands, I came across many beautiful animals and birds. They have been changing but there is a limit to their change. Molecular biologist Jonathan Wells says the key word in Darwinism is Extrapolation. The change is happening like a wave, little bit up, little bit down, little bit up, little bit down. Evolutionists draw a straight line of extrapolation over this wave.  But extrapolation has no place in science. 

The finches will stay as finches

The sharks will stay as sharks

The Sea lions will stay as sea lions

The dolphins will stay as dolphins

The tortoises will stay as tortoises. 

That is the genius of the Creator. 

 

     He wrote their genetic code to adapt to their circumstances. So, there is absolutely no evidence for Darwinian evolution any where in and  these islands. In fact, what we see on these islands point us to a great Creator God and his ingenuity. He created us, loved us, came to this world in the person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, died for our sins and rose again from the dead to give us the hope of eternal life. 

    I hope you come to the knowledge of your Creator and Redeemer, Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

Paul Kattupalli MD 

info@doctorpaul.org

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