Students are often taught about some observable change in a population of animals, and told it’s an example of evolution. An example would be moths changing color based on the color of the trees they are sheltering on. The idea is that moths which are closer to the color of the tree trunk are less likely to be eaten by birds, so they are more likely to be the parents of the next moth generation. The next generation has more moths that are this safer color, because of genetics, and then soon most or all of the population has virtually changed color.

This is not the same as evolution.

Here’s why:

The moth example shows moths adapting to their environment. The genetic information for a full range of moth colors already exists in the moth’s genes. The moths don’t turn purple, they just shift to a shade that is within the range of colors already specified by the moth DNA.

Evolution, the way the theory explains it, is a different animal. Evolution calls for new genetic material to be introduced. A fish is born with legs, where all previous fish didn’t have DNA for legs, for example. This is not something that has been observed, either within living populations or in the fossil record.

We see examples of natural selection, which is a better term than micro-evolution, all the time, and it doesn’t contradict the Bible. The Bible says God created plants and animals “according to their kinds.” (Genesis 1:11, 21, and 24). No one knows for sure what “kinds” are, exactly. Science classifies living things according to groups: the largest groups are kingdoms, such as the plant and animal kingdoms; then there are phyla, classes, orders, families, genera and species. But these are artificial classifications, devised by man. Are “kinds” the same as “species” or not? We don’t really know.

In high school biology, I learned that species was defined as organisms that had the same characteristics and could produce fertile offspring. An example, to clarify, was given: a horse and a donkey can apparently have a baby, but the offspring won’t be fertile, so it’s not a new species. Dogs are all one species, because different breeds can still, well, breed.

But, again, these are artificial distinctions made by man. Where do you draw the line between two populations of moths who look the same but can’t interbreed because one lives in Europe and the other lives in America? They are isolated by geography, but they could interbreed if brought together. These are the kinds of questions biologists face, but God already knows the answer. He created the various kinds to reproduce after their kinds. That doesn’t mean all the grandbabies will be identical, but it does mean that an elephant momma won’t give birth to a baby zebra. And it does mean that a blond woman can give birth to a dark-haired child. The variation will be within the genetic differences for that kind. The baby will be the same kind as the momma. No new kind will arrive that has characteristics that are not in the genes of the parents.

This is the kind of distinction we need to explain to our children, so when someone teaches them that moths changing color is an example of evolution, they understand why it’s not true.