The “Good Creation” – Mimicry, Design, and the Young Earth Creationists Dilemma

Can you find the gecko in the picture to the right?  Yeah, it is that brown leaf-like things toward the top of the image.    I saw this image being used as the profile image for the facebook page “we  CAN and we WILL find 1,000,000 Creationists.”     The suggestion of course is that such an amazing design as this gecko is displaying could not have happened by chance.   It must have been created this way.  I think that 99% or greater of Christians sympathetic toward a YEC interpretation of Genesis would imagine this is exactly how God created these geckos to look.  Ironically most creation scientists don’t believe this gecko looked anything like this after the 6th day of creation.  Surprised?

I agree that this is a wonderful example of fantastic design and the awesomeness of the creation, but (and you knew that was coming) this same image presents a most perplexing, though often unrecognized, problem for the 24-hour YEC-type creationist.    The same person that created that facebook page doubtless believes that there was no death of animals before the fall and so why would this gecko be going to such efforts to mimic a dead leaf to avoid being eaten if it had been created this way prior to the fall?   You might think that the answer would be something as simple as this geocko and thousand of other animals that express incredible mimicry ability were created for aesthetic reasons rather than having the function to avoid being eaten which was not a fear prior to the fall.    But, no, I have never come across this explanation.  Rather, when pushed, the explanation, invariably,  from creation scientists is that these animals did NOT look like this in the original creation but rather adapted (eg. evolved) very quickly

Insect mimic of a eucalyptus leaf.

after the fall to develop these characteristic that providentially now help them avoid the wages of sin and death caused by the sin of man.   This is the great design they are talking about.  Biologically, these patterns of mimicry are amazingly complex but creationists claim that the genes to make these features were probably created by God in the original gecko kind (one that apparently looked very boring originally) and that after the fall, selection then acted on these genes to sort out the ones needed for their survival.  Based on all we know about  genetics today this is quite nonsensical but it a common argument employed to explain the hundreds of thousands of characteristics of plants and animals that are deemed to not be part of a “good” creation.

A quick example of what I could present as hundreds of examples from the creationists literature.   Here are quotes from two articles, both from Answers in Gensis, on Camels.  Both article discuss the amazing features of camels that make them adapted to extreme desert conditions.  But deserts in the YEC model didn’t even exist until after the flood and so deserts and all features of organisms to survive in a desert are would not be part of the original creation.  Here it is in their words:

The camel and its specialized equipment highlight the incredible design features which evolutionists must explain as the result of random mutations selected by the environment. The camel today is perfectly adapted to its unique desert environment, and it is hard to see how all the features it requires—long eyelashes, thick hair, wide padded feet, fat storage in the hump and sophisticated body temperature mechanisms—could have come by a gradual evolutionary process.  (Quoted from: Camels- confirmation of creation at Answers in Genesis: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v19/n4/camels-confirmation_)

So they are perfectly fit for the desert environment. This makes it sound like God created them with these amazing adaptions but its not that simple.  Look at a part of another article:

But how did the camel come to be suited for such a harsh, hot, sandy environment? A common misconception among evolutionists is that creationists believe God created each animal exactly as we see it today. But if this were true, many of the camel’s design features would have been at best superfluous in the “very good” world of the Garden of Eden.

In Genesis 1:24, God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds” (NIV). The original camel “kind” would have contained in its genetic code the information to produce “modern” camels, as well as their relatives, such as the llama. God, in His omniscience, may have placed in His original perfect creation everything it would need to survive in a world cursed by sin.

The camel’s extraordinary tale of survival in one of the harshest climates is a beautiful testimony to the foreknowledge and amazing creativity of an infinite God who cares deeply about His creation.

Here we find it explained to us that God’s foreknowledge of future deserts is why these creatures have the features they do but they would not have looked like this in the original creation.     You see that the gecko’s feature would have been “superfluous” in the original “very good” creation.  Therefore, selection on genes that apparently weren’t superfluous somehow caused these features “hidden” in their genomes to be displayed.   I really think this is a silly argument but it is found in the creationists literature all over the place now.  If the outward features of the organism would be obviously  superfluous wouldn’t the genes that make them also be? If the genes are not (which creationists are arguing that they must be there because they don’t believe any NEW information could be created after the original creative period) then why not simply say the geckos looked that way in the original creation and then those features “found their purpose” after the fall rather than call on some hitherto unknown genetic mechanisms of natural selection on steroids to explain how these organisms suddenly became adapted to all these new environments.

A katydid mimicking a dying leaf. There are thousands of insects that have features that make them look like plant parts. This is quite obviously an effort on their part to blend in and not be obvious to predators. In many cases individual insect species will take on the look of specific host species trees so that each species of insect will be different in different places in the world.

I hope the dilemma is obvious.  Creationist have a very particular view of what constitutes a “good creation” and as a result they are forced to provide many highly contorted explanations for any feature they deem as not “good.”   So any structure that even appears to be thorn or thistle can not be good and so could not have existed.  However,  since new genetic information could not have been created after the 6th day creation scientists are forced to say that God must have encoded plants with thorn and thistle producing genes that were somehow being suppressed prior to the fall.      I will leave it here for the moment but hope to explore in much more detail the origins of the YEC view of what is “good” and look at what the Bible actually says about the original creation and what it doesn’t say that YECs seem to imagine must be there.   I will also look at the kind of evolution that YECs are proposing with their explanation of adaptation of kinds to new environments.

For now you should marvel at these amazing creatures and their abilities to mimic other organisms.  They are part of God’s good creation.

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Comments

  1. Couldn’t they have been designed that way?

    • Well, that is what I find part of the irony of the YEC approach to organisms such as this. I pointed out that most Christians who lean 24-hour creation would simply look at these creatures as having been made this way but most YECs (those that are creation scientists and supposedly have thought about these issues more) can’t seem to accept this because they think that God making an animal with features fit for post-fall conditions would be deceptive. My point in this post and the my next one is that this gets to be a bit ridiculous when you follow the logic out further. For example, I suppose that if stripes on a Zebra are there to confuse lions chasing them (which I think is the “purpose” of the stripes) then the pre-fall zebra would have no use for them. The YEC would then not see the zebra as needing those stripes and say that they are related to horses kind anyway and so probably developed those stripes via natural selection after the fall introduced death into the world. I just don’t see why this is necessary. For the YEC, why not just say that God created animals with stripes and colors and weird features that just glorified God in their beauty and then after the fall those features became useful in other ways. For the YEC, the pre-fall world must have looked incredibly boring because most interesting features of animals and plants have functions to help them survive in a competitive world. I do believe God made these animals to look this way. This insistance that camels didn’t have adaptions for deserts or acacia trees didn’t have thorns only 6000 years ago doesn’t make any sense to me.

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  1. […] The “Good Creation” – Mimicry, Design, and Young Earth Creationism- How do creatures which mimic others (or the environment) reflect upon God’s creation? Check out this post which analyzes the question against the backdrop of young earth creationism. […]

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