Dodging Darwin: How Ken Ham’s Ark is slowly embracing evolution

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By David MacMillan.

David has been fascinated by the creation/evolution controversy for many years. Growing up, he was fully committed to creationist apologetics. He purchased a lifetime charter membership to the Creation Museum and even had blog posts featured on the Answers in Genesis website. During college, he continued to actively pursue creation apologism as he earned a degree in physics, but began to recognize the mounting religious and scientific problems with young-earth creationism. His renewed investigation uncovered more and more misconceptions implicit in creationism, and he eventually rejected it as both theologically indefensible and scientifically baseless. He now writes extensively about young-earth creationism for several websites.

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Note added December 30, 2015: This article has been cross-posted at Naturalis Historia, the blog of Joel Duff. As David MacMillan notes below, in a comment, “He gets a slightly different readership and has attracted the attention of AiG before so it will be neat to see whether they deign to reply.”
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As the strict young-earth creationists at Answers in Genesis work to complete their Ark Encounter “theme park”, they have expended an impressive amount of energy organizing the millions of species of land animals alive today into a handful of small groups they call “baramins”. They claim these groups represent the original created kinds of which Noah would have brought pairs onto the ark. This consolidation of numerous species into single “baramin” groups is driven primarily by the space on Noah’s purported vessel. The smaller the menagerie the Ark was purported to have contained, the more feasible it seems, and so the “baraminologists” at Answers in Genesis have gone to great lengths to explain how the vast array of species today could have been represented by a relatively low number of ancestral pairs.

One well-known hallmark of modern young-earth creationism is the dogma of separation between “microevolution” and “macroevolution”. Although early opponents of Darwinian evolution categorically denied that speciation or natural selection were possible at all, advances in genetics and biology made this position completely untenable. In response, creationists (particularly the young-earth crowd) protested that while “microevolution” was a viable, observable process in biology which they accept as “change or speciation within a kind”, the notion of “macroevolution”, or “change between kinds”, remains impossible. These definitions beg the question by presuming such things as discrete “kinds” exist, but creationists are nonetheless insistent that while adaptation or speciation within a particular “baramin” is observable (and, indeed, necessary in order to account for the present observed diversity of life), there is never any overlap between separate kinds. Their most well-known example of “kinds” is the difference between cats and dogs, where they explain that the diversity of dog breeds is the result of “microevolution” from some original dog/wolf kind, but that dogs will never “macroevolve” into cats.

Unfortunately for the young-earth model, the push to minimize the number of animals riding on the Ark has exposed a major problem with this view. Ironically, this problem is perhaps nowhere more apparent than with the very clade (the technical/evolutionary equivalent of the term “kind”) to which cats and dogs belong: Order Carnivora.

The Answers in Genesis website has repeatedly posted large, detailed lists of various species, families, and orders with attempts to organize them into baramins. One of the largest such postings, by retired veterinarian Jean Lightner, organizes the majority of Order Carnivora into eight distinct “baramins”: felines, civets, dogs, hyenas, bears, weasels, mongooses, and red pandas.

MacMillan_Baramins_Fig_1_600.jpg

Figure 1. The eight major carnivorous “baramins”, as claimed by young-earth creationists at Answers in Genesis.

Baraminologists claim that hundreds of living species of carnivorans all descended from just eight ancestral pairs that survived the global Flood by riding on Noah’s Ark just a few dozen centuries ago. The creationist rule is simple: there can be dramatic variation within each of these groups, but no creature will fit between any of these groups.

Presently, the designers of the Ark project are working on the models which will go onto the Ark to depict each original pair. The problem arises when they imagine what each of these original “created kinds” must have looked like.

MacMillan_Baramins_Fig_2_600.jpg

Figure 2. This cartoon, featured in several of Ken Ham’s well-known presentations, depicts the creationist view of “microevolutionary” speciation. They explain: “You can breed wolves to get to chihuahuas, but you can’t breed chihuahuas to get wolves – variation in the genetic information has been lost.”

Answers in Genesis claims that “microevolution” is a fundamentally degenerative process: that adaptation and speciation can only take place as a result of information loss. This belief allows them to insist that all genetic information ultimately traces back to a divine author, rather than being generated by natural processes. Yet this requires that the “original created kind” be the ultimate representation of its clade, containing all possible genetic information. So, although only a few “original created kind” models for the Ark project have been completed so far, we can determine with relative ease what the “original” within each baramin is presumably believed to have looked like:

MacMillan_Baramins_Fig_3_600.jpg

Figure 3. Each species most likely to be identified by AiG creationists as representative of the “original created kind” within each of their “baramin” groups. The depicted representatives of Canidae and Felidae have specifically been identified by Answers in Genesis; others have been selected from the largest, most “advanced” extinct members of the clade or superclade known from full fossil skeletons.

The problem is obvious. Creationists claim that the various “baramins” all have intrinsic, essential differences that render them totally unique and distinct from one another, but the presumed ancestors of each of these groups are all very, very similar. In fact, if creationists were presented with only the eight “ancestral” species depicted above, they would likely group most or all of them into a single baramin based on their obvious similarities. There is more morphological and genetic variation within each of the terminal “baramins” identified by Answers in Genesis than there is within the collective group formed by their ancestors.

Of course, this is exactly what biologists expect. As “microevolutionary” adaptation and speciation accumulate, the variation in any group will eventually be exceeded by the variation within individual subgroups, so that each subgroup becomes far more diverse than the original group was to begin with. The accumulation of microevolutionary changes into the origin of entirely new families is the very definition of macroevolution.

For example, creationists currently consider foxes to be part of the “dog baramin” as shown above. However, if the Vulpes genus survives long enough, it will eventually diversify so much that creationists would no longer identify it as part of the “dog baramin” at all, and insist that it represents its own “created kind”.

Free from the contradictory constraints of creationist dogma, mainstream paleontologists ask whether all the carnivores above could have shared a single common ancestor. The answer? Absolutely! All these root species can be placed within the same kind (the technical term in biology is “clade”), tracing back to the miacids, a genus of small, arboreal placental carnivores which appear in the right strata and region to have been the ancestor of all modern carnivores. Together with a series of other known carnivores from various regions and strata, they can be used to trace the origin of the entire carnivoran clade:

MacMillan_Baramins_Fig_4_600.jpg

Figure 4. This reconstruction of the phylogeny of carnivorans matches independent lines of evidence from genetic, morphological, and fossil research, avoiding any possibility of “evolutionary assumptions” dominating results. The multiple dating methods used to verify the age and order of these species are also independent from evolutionary considerations and from each other. Though not depicted, the Carnivoran clade includes numerous other families, like skunks, raccoons, seals, and sea lions.

Contrary to how creationists define macroevolution, the above tree does not show “one kind changing into another”. Hyenas are not turning into dogs and bears are not turning into weasels; that is an elementary caricature. Rather, macroevolution happens as microevolutionary changes accumulate, until a group of species once small enough to be considered a single family or genus has split into multiple families of far greater diversity.

It almost seems it would be easier for creationists to claim a “super-carnivore” species which survived the flood as a single pair on board Noah’s Ark and thereafter multiplied into the many species shown above. Of course, they can’t do that, because they’ve spent the last sixty years insisting cats, dogs, hyenas, and bears (along with numerous other families) are all separate, distinct kinds which couldn’t possibly share a common ancestor. They would have to explain how a single common ancestor for all carnivores is really just “extended microevolution” if they wanted to keep insisting that “macroevolution” is impossible.

What’s more, they’re running out of time. Creationists believe in an Ice Age which ended about 700 years after the global flood, at which point most modern species most modern species would have had to already emerge. They must already propose an exponentially rapid burst of evolutionary speciation following the flood; there is no way they can fit a full 40 million years of adaptation and speciation into the 200-odd generations that would have spanned this period.

As the Ark Encounter project continues to develop, it will be more and more challenging for the artists to depict “Ark kinds” without making them look like they are all part of the same family. It seems that Ark’s enthusiastic depiction of the variation and speciation presumed to have taken place since the Flood may end up being the most obvious endorsement of “evolution” that Answers in Genesis could ever make.

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Image attribution:

Figures 1, 3, 4: Image License: Creative Commons - Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0, David MacMillan 2015

Fair use, criticism: www.AnswersInGenesis.org

Creative Commons or public domain:
The Wikimedia Foundation
The Smithsonian Institution
Mauricio Anton

197 Comments

Yep. The kinds thing makes no sense and never has… at least to anyone who has even a passing interest in the variety of species out there. Not to mention, who on the ark had all the venereal diseases.

I noted that there was one of the two exceptions (which they tell us about) to “kind”=family was with the family Bovidae. It interests me because the Bible tells us that in the time of Abraham, just a few centuries after the Flood, there was a distinction between cattle, sheep and goats, three species of bovids.

That seems to be one of the very few hints which one can gather from the Bible which one can draw on to to make distinctions needed for baraminology. Oddly, I didn’t notice any citation to the Bible for the results of this essay.

One important thing which the Bible has nothing to tell us, is the baramin of human beings. The Bible never uses the Hebrew word min (often translated as “kind”) in reference to humans. I don’t think that this essay names the human baramin, either. I don’t know what to make of this.

Tom, here is the same Jean Lightner that David refers to speaking about the bovine kind: From Lightner’s article (Identification of species within the cattle monobaramin (kind)):

“Alleged hybrids of cattle with members of another subfamily (Caprinae) and family (Cervidae) hint that the holobaramin (all organisms derived from the created common ancestors, whether known or not) could possibly include the entire family Bovidae and several, if not all, of the five other ruminant families.”

I’m writing about her views on this right now. Just in case some aren’t familiar with bovine classification the Bovidae includes: bison, buffalo, antelopes, gazelles, sheep, goats, muskoxen and all domestic cattle. There are more than 140 recognized living species and over 300 identified extinct species of bovines. Lightner is suggesting they all may be one “kind” but as you note, the Biblical evidence is wanting and could be said to work against this hypothesis since goats, sheep and cattle all seem to be clearly distinguished and understood as giving rise to more of the same when they reproduce.

But then she makes the mind-blowing statement that maybe five other ruminant families are also part of the same kind. Yes, she is willing to cosider that a giraffe, a deer, a goat and a cow all descended from just a single ancestral pair just 4350 years ago. Wow!

Re “One of the largest such postings, by retired veterinarian Jean Lightner, organizes the majority of Order Carnivora into nine distinct “baramins”: felines, civets, dogs, hyenas, bears, weasels, and red pandas.”

Mongooses got missed from the paragraph, and what’s the ninth “baramin”?

how does credibility work here? If this guy is credible, NOW, because he rejects YEC then why not before he did? why was he less intellectually and morally legitimate as a origin thinker? Why are not all his companions of like age and interests who embrace YEC not credible science investigators? Everybody does it i notice in these circles or general mankind. Anyways. There are problems here in some YEC stuff. I don’t think its just decay from a parent group , that allows diversity. In fact in these dog types I would include the marsupial wolf. Surely a change, increase in information to become marsupial, . I don’t think there was a simple dog type but some general creature that only included dog types. We only know there were kinds. THE KIND is speculation. Yet we can speculate. remember for YEC its desirable to shrink biology into small numbers because of the ark issue. YEC simply drags its heels in shrinking but is forced to it. Still they don’t like the marsupial wolf being another wolf anymore than evolutionism.

Mr. Byers gets one comment; please do not encourage him. Further comments by Mr. Byers will be sent to the Bathroom Wall.

This illustrates a few things -

1) They can’t stop slipping into rational thinking - or at least, trying to respond to it. All this “kind” crap is a response to the point that it would be “difficult to get every species on the ark”. But the ark is magic. Why not just say “Santa Claus can fit every species in his sleigh and Noah can fit every species on the ark - by a miracle, so there”? Why bother trying to reduce the number of species that Noah had to deal with? It’s so inconsistent. God can do anything but he can’t help Noah fit all the species onto his ark?

2) They have become, of course, massively “more evolutionist than the evolutionists”.

Yes, she is willing to cosider that a giraffe, a deer, a goat and a cow all descended from just a single ancestral pair just 4350 years ago.

3) Various anti-evolution factions have different sub-priorities. It’s always social and political but they have different ways of rationalizing. For the Ham types, the real obsession is a young Earth and literal Noah’s ark. For the ID types and probably some of the Kool Kristian Kids at places like Patrick Henry College, it’s about getting revenge for Edwards and Dover, or pretending to be trying to, by forcing evolution denial into public school no matter how much you have to laughably deny the religion. For the racists, it’s just about denying that grandpa was a monkey because there’s always somebody else they want to call a monkey (historically and perhaps currently this is probably the most common source of evolution denial).

Remember that bovids are “clean” animals, so they were represented on the Ark by 7 pairs.

how does credibility work here? If this guy is credible, NOW, because he rejects YEC then why not before he did? why was he less intellectually and morally legitimate as a origin thinker?

Without provocation, and at risk of being banned, I must offer this explanation.

The plain, and straightforward, answer is this: now he presents arguments that make eminently good sense - arguments that anyone with an understanding mind can follow and agree with.

Moreover, he has presented, and thus created, new information - something creationists insist is impossible after The Fall. Yet, Mr MacMillan has done it right before our very eyes.

Outstanding piece of analysis. Something creationists just don’t seem capable of.

The observed pattern, a nested hierarchy. is best explained by a branching pattern of speciation. Any attempt to explain the pattern in some other way will have to do a better job than that. The creationists have once again failed miserably, but now they will be asking that people pay for the chance to see their mistakes. What are they going to do when some bright ten year old points out their errors? Hell, even Byers says their wrong. (And that’s the way he would say it).

If I recall correctly, IAG basically just used taxonomic families for their “kinds”. Which is kind of interesting in and of itself. But that kind of breaks down with insects.

Of course, the whole thing breaks down considering fish, corals, cetaceans, and geography specific groups.

“As the strict young-earth creationists at Answers in Genesis work to complete their Ark Encounter “theme park”, they have expended an impressive amount of energy organizing the millions of species of land animals alive today into a handful of small groups they call “baramins”. They claim these groups represent the original created kinds of which Noah would have brought pairs onto the ark.”

I hope to see Ham in another debate in which he will summarize this “research” and his interlocutor will ask him, “How do you know? Were you there?”

… clade (the technical/evolutionary equivalent of the term “kind”) …

Izzatso? IANA taxonomist, nor more than a casual amateur student of creationist jargon, but I doubt those terms really match up functionally. F’rinstance, can’t scientists speak of a “clade” of descendants of Galapagos finches or East African cichlids, while creationists would have to lump those in with the bird or fish “kinds”?

Do these AiG models acknowledge extinct creatures - such as miacids (or do they only consider animals that are extant today or maybe went extinct very very recently such as the thylacine)?

Figure 2 is an excellent representation of one of the most conspicuous contradictions in ID/creationist pseusoscience.

Originally, Henry Morris’s “second law of thermodynamics” argument served multiple purposes in propping up the notion of “The Fall.” Everything is supposed to be running down into simpler and less durable states from the “perfection” they were supposed to have had before Eve ate the fruit. Lifetimes are getting shorter, rust and decay are all around, and everything is coming all apart. Disorder is the trend, and order, it is asserted, can’t be explained by science. Ham studied under Morris and Gish.

Yet, we also are told that “information” increases despite the second law. Thus the repeated “gotcha” question by ID/creationists, “Where did all that information come from?”

So what are we to make of “baramins; is that “conservation of “information?” Does “information” increase in “microevolution?”

One of the big problems with ID/creationism is that there are so many different sectarian agendas that have to be accomodated that various terms they invent take on multiple meanings that depend on who is defining them. Furthermore, not one ID/creationist, including Dembski, has ever been able to do an instructive calculation of “complex specified information” in any context that makes any sense.

The world is decaying since “The Fall,” yet information is increasing. Their deity has cursed the world into decay and at the same time increased its information content. Sometimes “information” is the same as what they think entropy is, and other times it is something their critics are required to explain in order to justify the appearance of order and complexity in the face of “the second law of thermodynamics.”

ID/creationist don’t have a clue of what they are talking about.

ID/creationism has been pretty much reduced to “razzle-dazzle” in order to keep its followers thinking something of substance is being discussed. If it is confusing, it must be because ID/creationist leaders are geniuses of the highest order of baramin.

Pierce R. Butler said:

… clade (the technical/evolutionary equivalent of the term “kind”) …

Izzatso? IANA taxonomist, nor more than a casual amateur student of creationist jargon, but I doubt those terms really match up functionally. F’rinstance, can’t scientists speak of a “clade” of descendants of Galapagos finches or East African cichlids, while creationists would have to lump those in with the bird or fish “kinds”?

Ah, but aside from horizontal transfer and hybrids between closely related species, clades can’t interbreed with each other. It’s just that subsets of a clade can become separate clades. Seems to me that that satisfies the requirement to produce their like kind (or however that was said), since as far as I know, the Bible doesn’t say that kinds can’t generate new kinds from within, just that they can’t cross breed with other already separate kinds. So the only problem that leaves is hybridization and horizontal transfer. Oh, and ring species. On second thought, maybe they do have a problem. :D

Re “Disorder is the trend, and order, it is asserted, can’t be explained by science.”

Funny thing about that is that stars running out of usable hydrogen could be taken as sort of analogous to that so called trend. But only on a much longer time scale, measured perhaps in hundreds of billions of years.

Then that dark energy thing might be an even closer analogy, but that’s on even longer time scale.

But, both of those are science.

So is this guy claiming to be an evangelical Christian, just going where the evidence leads him? I’m sorry but there’s one statement in here that destroys that image: ‘Noah’s purported vessel’. So does the author mean the ark didn’t exist at all? Then Noah probably didn’t either. So all genealogies including Noah, and references to Noah and the flood are wrong too? So then Jesus, the apostles and others, were mistaken from time to time? The thread keeps unravelling, bringing into serious question what this author actually believes and therefore what his starting assumptions are.

One other thing, his pseudo science which disproves biblical creationism doesn’t include a single reference. Seems to me a whole bunch of assumptions and hand waving. Wait, isn’t that what he accuses YECs of?

The analysis by David is great. But looking at Dr. Jean’s analysis, it doesn’t take much to find her flustered to do her job … enter the platypus kind:

“Some may question the need of putting a semi-aquatic creature on the Ark. Who really wants to bring a creature with venomous spurs on the Ark? Besides, extant platypuses aren’t exactly known for doing particularly well in captivity. … Times of resting on land appear essential to its well being. It seems unlikely that months of swimming in Flood waters would be conducive to the survival of this created kind. Therefore we will assume it was on the Ark.”

There goes a scientist assuming things, just like an evolutionist.

Anthony Whitney said:

So is this guy claiming to be an evangelical Christian, just going where the evidence leads him? I’m sorry but there’s one statement in here that destroys that image: ‘Noah’s purported vessel’. So does the author mean the ark didn’t exist at all? Then Noah probably didn’t either. So all genealogies including Noah, and references to Noah and the flood are wrong too? So then Jesus, the apostles and others, were mistaken from time to time? The thread keeps unravelling, bringing into serious question what this author actually believes and therefore what his starting assumptions are.

One other thing, his pseudo science which disproves biblical creationism doesn’t include a single reference. Seems to me a whole bunch of assumptions and hand waving. Wait, isn’t that what he accuses YECs of?

There are no assumptions and hand waving going on here; among those who know science there is an implicit understanding of what the evidence is.

I think the obvious back story here is that “the author” crossed a threshold that you and all other ID/creationists have never crossed in something like 50 years of apologetics; namely, he learned some real science rather than distorting it to fit prior committments to sectarian dogma. That takes honesty and courage. Those who know the real science recognize the evidence. YEC’s in particular don’t know any science.

Anthony Whitney said:

So is this guy claiming to be an evangelical Christian, just going where the evidence leads him? I’m sorry but there’s one statement in here that destroys that image: ‘Noah’s purported vessel’. So does the author mean the ark didn’t exist at all? Then Noah probably didn’t either. So all genealogies including Noah, and references to Noah and the flood are wrong too? So then Jesus, the apostles and others, were mistaken from time to time? The thread keeps unravelling, bringing into serious question what this author actually believes and therefore what his starting assumptions are.

One other thing, his pseudo science which disproves biblical creationism doesn’t include a single reference. Seems to me a whole bunch of assumptions and hand waving. Wait, isn’t that what he accuses YECs of?

Haven’t been here long, have you?

MacMillan isn’t trying to “disprove biblical creationism” here, nor does he need to. What he IS doing, very well and with an insider’s perspective, is analyzing an example of the desperate reaching for’ sciencey soundingness’ that YECs are willing to go to to prop up their fairy tale.

A fairy tale of universal genocide by an incompetent monster.

DS said:

The observed pattern, a nested hierarchy. is best explained by a branching pattern of speciation. Any attempt to explain the pattern in some other way will have to do a better job than that. The creationists have once again failed miserably, but now they will be asking that people pay for the chance to see their mistakes. What are they going to do when some bright ten year old points out their errors? Hell, even Byers says their wrong. (And that’s the way he would say it).

Might be interesting to use one of the cladistics analysis programs currently available to create a cladogram depicting “phylogenetic relationships” between baramins. Not that the results will have any scientific validity of course, just merely as a means of playing with the data.

Henry J said:

Re “Disorder is the trend, and order, it is asserted, can’t be explained by science.”

Funny thing about that is that stars running out of usable hydrogen could be taken as sort of analogous to that so called trend. But only on a much longer time scale, measured perhaps in hundreds of billions of years.

Then that dark energy thing might be an even closer analogy, but that’s on even longer time scale.

But, both of those are science.

The operative concept is condensing matter.

Because matter is recycled from exploding stars into later generation stars, the proportion of matter that is more complex than hydrogen is increasing; and in that time frame, complex things like us exist.

If eventually everything gets swept up into black holes that are sufficiently distant from each other so that they themselves don’t merge into even larger black holes, then “black hole evaporation” may eventually spit it all back out in the form of simpler particles.

Since we don’t have a good handle on what dark matter and dark energy are, it is a little premature to speculate on the future. By that time we’ll all be dead anyway.

Re “By that time we’ll all be dead anyway.”

Maybe, but so far, so good!

Henry J said:

Re “By that time we’ll all be dead anyway.”

Maybe, but so far, so good!

Yup; I’m with you on that! I’m enjoying it while I still can. We don’t get recycled in the same form.

Robert Byers said:

how does credibility work here?

Okay, let’s say he’s not credible. Please explain to us the real baramins used by Ken Ham and other YECs. If you’re claiming MacMillan is misrepresenting Ken Ham’s slides or general position on the subject, please tell us Ken’s real position or show us the slides Ken really uses, so we can compare them to David’s versions.

There are problems here in some YEC stuff. I don’t think its just decay from a parent group , that allows diversity. In fact in these dog types I would include the marsupial wolf. Surely a change, increase in information to become marsupial,

I kind of figured you would. That is not a compliment.

Actually I was wondering something similar, which is that there appears to be a large number of only-meat-eating species missing from their ‘carnivore’ baramin. However after further thought, the explanation is simple word confusion; order carnivora the biological grouping does not refer to ‘all meat-eating animals’ - its just two similar words (carnivora and carnivore) being used for two different categories.

We only know there were kinds. THE KIND is speculation. Yet we can speculate.

That is one of the reasons why creationism isn’t science; because after decades and decades of thought, you still refuse to do anything other than speculate. Nobody fashions testable hypotheses or goes out and tests other people’s hypotheses and reports the results. Various YECers still have their own idiosyncratic categories, with practically no empiricism used to decide on them (other than superficial observations like whether it looks like a wolf). Speculation without follow-up, for decades on end, is not science.

remember for YEC its desirable to shrink biology into small numbers because of the ark issue.

And this is another reason it’s not science. You take a religious doctrine point as an unquestionable axiom and arrange or select data to support it as needed. Real science doesn’t do that. And before you start in on an ‘evolution is religious doctrine’ spiel, note that scientists test and evaluate natural selection all the time, and often conclude it isn’t happening because there are other mechanisms such as genetic drift which are responsible for traits. So no, we do not take Darwinian evolution as any sort of axiom, because we consider other possibilities and often even accept that those other possibilities are correct. Do you ever do that with the Noah’s ark story? Accept that some other possibility is correct?

Anthony Whitney said:

So is this guy claiming to be an evangelical Christian, just going where the evidence leads him? I’m sorry but there’s one statement in here that destroys that image: ‘Noah’s purported vessel’. So does the author mean the ark didn’t exist at all? Then Noah probably didn’t either. So all genealogies including Noah, and references to Noah and the flood are wrong too? So then Jesus, the apostles and others, were mistaken from time to time? The thread keeps unravelling, bringing into serious question what this author actually believes and therefore what his starting assumptions are.

One other thing, his pseudo science which disproves biblical creationism doesn’t include a single reference. Seems to me a whole bunch of assumptions and hand waving. Wait, isn’t that what he accuses YECs of?

You’re right, he didn’t seem to include any references. However, there is a difference between his phylogeny and the creationist representation. There is no scientific evidence for their idea. They just decided what they wanted to believe and drew a cartoon trying to show it. The fact that tit didn’t make any sense or have any evidence to support it is obvious. There is on the other hand avast amount of evidence demonstrating the nested hierarchy. As David points out, this evidence is consistent between independent data sets. Here is one example:

Flynn et. al. (2005) Molecular phylogeny of the Carnivora. Systematic Biology 54(2):317-37.

The data set includes six different genes, three nuclear and three mitochondrial. It clearly demonstrates the nested hierarchy and separates the group into two major clades. The results are congruent with those obtained from morphological data. A detailed statistical analysis was also preformed.

So you see, there is ample scientific evidence to support the nested hierarchy. There is no evidence whatsoever to support the creationist fairy tale. That is the difference between real science and pseudo science. Deal with it.

Surely there exist drawings of these ancestral species, since Noah and his people had them aboard the ark. Talk about rationalizing in overdrive.…

On what basis do the creationists use the term “Order Carnivora”? Do they use it because it is a commonly accepted taxon? If so, they should be aware that it is accepted because it is monophyletic, thus they are implicitly assuming an evolutionary explanation. Do they use it to mean meat eating mammals? If so, they have once again employed an evolutionary explanation, since mammals are monophyletic. Do they mean all meat eaters? If so, why did they exclude meat eating worms, insects and plants? There is no reasonable explanation for their chosen scheme, except of course that it corresponds to their preconceptions. That is the antithesis of real science.

And Matt is correct. If there were a representative of every ancestral baramin on the ark, we would already have extensive knowledge about each and every one of them. So where is all of this data? Somebody had to feed these things, both before and during the magic flood. Somebody had to see them diverge, er I mean devolve. Where are the records? Enquiring minds want to know. What are they going to say when some bright ten year old asks this question?

Daniel said:

Ray Martinez said: I hold the exact position that science held prior to 1860.

The most interesting thing about this, is that the position of science prior to 1860 was that species did come into being naturally, they just didn’t know how and why. They already accepted the reality of extinctions, it had been almost 60 years since Cuvier proposed his Age of Fish, Age of Reptiles and his Age of Mammals, uniformitarianism was already the norm, the geologic column had begun its existence some 80 years before, the Earth was understood to be at least a million years old for at least 100 years, and the global flood had been accepted as a regional flood for some 50 years and then finally relegated to myth since the acceptance of the Ice Ages in 1840.

So in reality, Ray wants to go back to circa 1750

Ray doesn’t want to go anywhere near reality.

If he doesn’t accept anything since 1860, then he doesn’t accept Maxwell’s equations, for example. I guess he’s posting by the power of prayer.

Ray Martinez said:

Just Bob said:

Ray, it would help everybody, and help prevent our mis-attributing beliefs to you, if you would just give us a simple outline of exactly what your beliefs are regarding creation.

I hold the exact position that science held prior to 1860.

Were all present day species formed at that time and have remained ‘immutable’ since?

Question assumes the YEC view; the YEC view is TOTAL nonsense because it assumes the main claims of Darwinism true.

Prior to 1860 science held each new species created independently therefore each species was considered immutable. And science had very little to say about original creation since science, at the time, accepted earth tens of millions of years in age.

Well. There you have it. At least Ray has a refreshing (albeit unique) point of view, for a creationist.

Species were created by magic, and continue to be created by magic as “needed”.

That pretty much ends any conversation right there, and ends any pretense to believing in “science” of any kind, or even in a rational world capable of being understood by the human mind.

Got a tough problem you can’t solve? The answer is, God did it by magic, because He felt like it. Period. End of story. Deal with it.

Clearly Ray doesn’t believe in “science” as defined in 1860, or 1750. More like “science” as defined by the ancient Greeks in 600 BCE.

Relativity? Quantum mechanics? That’s right out the window. Ray probably doesn’t believe in GPS, since GPS relies on relativity to actually work. It’s all magic to Ray. Ray probably believes in the luminiferous aether, since that was mainstream science in 1860. Electrons, protons, neutrons are definitely out. According to Ray, there are only 63 naturally occurring elements, as those are all that were defined by science in 1860. There is no explanation for the Periodic Table except “magic”. There’s certainly no scientific explanation for electricity in Ray’s version of “science”. X-rays and gamma rays don’t exist for Ray. Plate tectonics? Not a chance. For Ray, earthquakes and volcanoes are magical acts of God’s displeasure with the gays in San Francisco. In fact, most of the world as we know it must be a complete mystery for Ray, since 1860 is when the advancement of human knowledge ceased.

BTW, Ray. Any comment on the Coywolf? Any goal posts you want to move to encompass more of your ignorance?

I don’t believe the dingo genome has been completely sequenced. But it has long been known that dingoes can mate with domestic dogs and successfully produce fertile offspring, but that they generally don’t, in the wild, because of different social habits apparently instilled by living in Australia for what is believed to be about forty thousand years. The sparse and generally harsh environment does not favour pack predation, and dingoes therefore are found as solitaries or mated pairs, not in packs, except where they have been joined by feral dogs. This can happen in agricultural regions where stock is watered by bores or dams.

So, until the full DNA evidence comes in, the question is moot. Are dingoes a separate species, or are they simply Canis familiaris? DNA evidence from a nearly complete sequencing of Neanderthal DNA demonstrated that Neanderthals were sufficiently genetically different to rate calling them a separate species, Homo Neanderthalis, rather than having the each-way bet of H. sapiens Neanderthalis. But the dingo is a bit closer to its parent clade than that.

This, of course, is exactly what evolution says would happen, and exactly what Ray thinks can’t happen.

phhht said:

Ray doesn’t want to go anywhere near reality.

If he doesn’t accept anything since 1860, then he doesn’t accept Maxwell’s equations, for example. I guess he’s posting by the power of prayer.

I guess he also doesn’t accept Mendelian genetics. Maybe he thinks it is atomic and unproven. Hey, that’s common ground with Byers. Who woulda thunk it?

Scott F said:

According to Ray, there are only 63 naturally occurring elements, as those are all that were defined by science in 1860.

Scott, please be fair. Clearly God created, by Special Creation, the elements beyond number 63, after 1860. And as God continues to create new elements in the future, Man will discover them in due time.

prongs said:

Scott F said:

According to Ray, there are only 63 naturally occurring elements, as those are all that were defined by science in 1860.

Scott, please be fair. Clearly God created, by Special Creation, the elements beyond number 63, after 1860. And as God continues to create new elements in the future, Man will discover them in due time.

While looking up that number, I discovered that “they” have actually found trace amounts of “primordial” plutonium. My understanding is that the reason we don’t find “natural” elements heavier than uranium is that their half lives are too short. If they actually were created, they have since decayed into lighter elements.

The existence of radioactive elements in nature is evidence that the earth is not infinitely old, for whatever that is worth.

Ray claims to be a Paleyite. Let’s consider this enhanced scenario: You are walking along a path and you encounter a stone, a watch, and a snake. Which are “intelligently designed”? Humans as godlike intelligent designer analogies make both watches and stones (from diamonds to countertops to building blocks), but don’t make live snakes. What pray tell can we conclude from this? See how many different explanations you are able to develop?

Could anyone familiar with the works of William Paley comment on this, from chapter 3 of Natural Theology?

One question may possibly have dwelt in the reader’s mind during the perusal of these observations, namely, Why should not the Deity have given to the animal the faculty of vision at once? … Why resort to contrivance, where power is omnipotent? Contrivance, by its very definition and nature, is the refuge of imperfection. To have recourse to expedients, implies difficulty, impediment, restraint, defect of power. … amongst other answers which may be given to it; beside reasons of which probably we are ignorant, one answer is this: It is only by the display of contrivance, that the existence, the agency, the wisdom of the Deity, could be testified to his rational creatures.

How does Paley’s suggestion not suffer from the same problem: Why should not the Deity have given to us the knowledge of the existence, the agency, and the wisdom of the Deity without the display of contrivance. Indeed, doesn’t the display of contrivance tend to imply difficulty, impediment, restraint, or defect of power, rather than omnipotence, omniscience and wisdom?

TomS said:

Indeed, doesn’t the display of contrivance tend to imply difficulty, impediment, restraint, or defect of power, rather than omnipotence, omniscience and wisdom?

Doesn’t it imply deceit?

phhht said:

TomS said:

Indeed, doesn’t the display of contrivance tend to imply difficulty, impediment, restraint, or defect of power, rather than omnipotence, omniscience and wisdom?

Doesn’t it imply deceit?

Ah, but to some fundies I’ve met, such deceit by god is a feature, not a bug. See, only the unsaved are deceived by things like fossils and the geologic column. Good, born again Christians, who know the Truth, aren’t deceived for a minute, and they smirk about being in on God’s little jokes that send the rest of us to Hell.

Scott F said:

prongs said:

Scott F said:

According to Ray, there are only 63 naturally occurring elements, as those are all that were defined by science in 1860.

Scott, please be fair. Clearly God created, by Special Creation, the elements beyond number 63, after 1860. And as God continues to create new elements in the future, Man will discover them in due time.

While looking up that number, I discovered that “they” have actually found trace amounts of “primordial” plutonium. My understanding is that the reason we don’t find “natural” elements heavier than uranium is that their half lives are too short. If they actually were created, they have since decayed into lighter elements.

Scott, Scott, Scott,

The reason they find “primordial” Plutonium is that it was recently created, in just the right amounts, in just the right places.

The reason we don’t find elements heavier than Uranium is that they have been created in extremely small quantities AND their half-lives are very short. They’re out there, recently created, and God allows them to form in high-energy cyclotron colliders, so that Man can discover them.

See how easy that was? (There’s no sense arguing with Ray.)

Just Bob said:

phhht said:

TomS said:

Indeed, doesn’t the display of contrivance tend to imply difficulty, impediment, restraint, or defect of power, rather than omnipotence, omniscience and wisdom?

Doesn’t it imply deceit?

Ah, but to some fundies I’ve met, such deceit by god is a feature, not a bug. See, only the unsaved are deceived by things like fossils and the geologic column. Good, born again Christians, who know the Truth, aren’t deceived for a minute, and they smirk about being in on God’s little jokes that send the rest of us to Hell.

Design is recognized in contrivance.

It is the mark of the limit of power to resort to design.

To make something according to a design is to follow rules.

TomS said:

Just Bob said:

phhht said:

TomS said:

Indeed, doesn’t the display of contrivance tend to imply difficulty, impediment, restraint, or defect of power, rather than omnipotence, omniscience and wisdom?

Doesn’t it imply deceit?

Ah, but to some fundies I’ve met, such deceit by god is a feature, not a bug. See, only the unsaved are deceived by things like fossils and the geologic column. Good, born again Christians, who know the Truth, aren’t deceived for a minute, and they smirk about being in on God’s little jokes that send the rest of us to Hell.

Design is recognized in contrivance.

It is the mark of the limit of power to resort to design.

To make something according to a design is to follow rules.

So God’s following rules in the design of life is another one of those deceits to send the great majority of mankind to Hell. For falling for God’s trick in making everything look evolved.

How does Paley’s suggestion not suffer from the same problem: Why should not the Deity have given to us the knowledge of the existence, the agency, and the wisdom of the Deity without the display of contrivance. Indeed, doesn’t the display of contrivance tend to imply difficulty, impediment, restraint, or defect of power, rather than omnipotence, omniscience and wisdom?

Such a silly dodge from as sophisticated a thinker as Paley. Reminds me of the theodicy, why does God allow evil? To give us free will, of course; if there were no evil then we would not be choosing what is good. OK, then, why does God allow misfortune? Why did Jacqueline du Pré contract multiple sclerosis at the beginning of what might have been an illustrious career? (Dating myself: make it Venus Williams getting Sjogren’s disease or Lou Gehrig getting ALS.) Did du Pré exercise free will? Did she choose between multiple sclerosis and a long career? Not at all. Evil and misfortune just are; no deity involved. Paley’s “contrivance” just is; no deity involved.

Contrivance, by its very definition and nature, is the refuge of imperfection. To have recourse to expedients, implies difficulty, impediment, restraint, defect of power. … amongst other answers which may be given to it; beside reasons of which probably we are ignorant, one answer is this: It is only by the display of contrivance, that the existence, the agency, the wisdom of the Deity, could be testified to his rational creatures.

Translation: nobody respects a deity who simply magics stuff into place. Not only is that an assertion without basis, but it denies omnipotence (wouldn’t an omnipotent deity be able to perform magic in a way that would garner respect? If God can’t do that, he’s limited.)

prongs said:

Scott F said:

prongs said:

Scott F said:

According to Ray, there are only 63 naturally occurring elements, as those are all that were defined by science in 1860.

Scott, please be fair. Clearly God created, by Special Creation, the elements beyond number 63, after 1860. And as God continues to create new elements in the future, Man will discover them in due time.

While looking up that number, I discovered that “they” have actually found trace amounts of “primordial” plutonium. My understanding is that the reason we don’t find “natural” elements heavier than uranium is that their half lives are too short. If they actually were created, they have since decayed into lighter elements.

Scott, Scott, Scott,

The reason they find “primordial” Plutonium is that it was recently created, in just the right amounts, in just the right places.

The reason we don’t find elements heavier than Uranium is that they have been created in extremely small quantities AND their half-lives are very short. They’re out there, recently created, and God allows them to form in high-energy cyclotron colliders, so that Man can discover them.

See how easy that was? (There’s no sense arguing with Ray.)

Oh. Sorry. I used the word “created” (underlined above). Only when I read your comment did I realize how that word could have been misunderstood on this thread.

What I meant to say was:

“If they [ elements heavier than uranium ] actually were created in the furnace of stars…”

I was always told that there were no “naturally occurring” trans-uranium elements. I had always assumed that meant that trans-uranium elements were not created naturally because there was some limit on what nature could create, similar (somehow) to “normal” stars not being able to create elements heavier than iron before exploding or dying, or whatever those kinds of stars do.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on December 29, 2015 2:52 PM.

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