Interestingly enough the idea of the slow evolutionary change brought on by continuous mutations in the gene pool has been disproven. The fossil record shows quite the opposite, species go unchanged for millions of years and then suddenly at a sudden event millions of new species suddenly appear. The new theory, called punctuated equilibrium tries to preserve the earlier theory of evolution I feel quite unsuccessfully. I am not a creatationist by any means, but there is lots of room for new exploration of “the origin of species”. I would be interested to hear any theoies your friend is kicking around. We may be at or near another such event with all that is going on, perhaps mankind is the new asteroid of past earth history.
My friend is not an expert in genetics, he is currently learning from those who are. His specific classification is as a taxonomist, but of the old school. There are a number of plants named after him, but he is blown away by what the geneticists are doing to the old biological classification systems. It’s all being turned upside down.
I have long been a bit skeptical of the extinction event we are supposedly in now. They seem to be extrapolating mostly based on habitat destruction or the wave of amphibian disappearances in the last couple decades. But, they identify very few actual species becoming extinct. That may be because they are extrapolating from estimated numbers of species based on what they think ought to be the concentration and diversity of species out there. IOW, there’s a lot of guess work going on here.
But, what do I know. I’m still frustrated that I can’t ID common trees in my neighborhood from bark patterns or twigs.