The Young-Earth Hyper-evolution Hypothesis: A Collection of Critiques

A pair of ?? on the Ark Encounter. I am not sure. I think they might from an extinct group but there was no sign. Visitors are left to guess what they were and might have become. There was also a pair of "walking whales" on the Ark which I recognize but I could not get a good picture of them. Photo: Joel Duff

A pair of ?? on the Ark Encounter. I am not sure. I think they might from an extinct group but there was no sign. Visitors are left to guess what they were and might have become. There was also a pair of “walking whales” on the Ark which I recognize but I could not get a good picture of them. Photo: Joel Duff

Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter presents it visitors with exhibits with odd-looking creatures and explains that just 4350 years ago these were the common ancestors of  animal species we know today.  How and when did this transformation of “kinds” into thousands of species happen? At present, the consensus among young-earth creationists is that Noah’s Ark contained far fewer species of land animals than exist today even when extinct animals are considered. Therefore they have concluded that the vast majority of species have come into existence, or evolved if you prefer,  since departing Noah’s Ark.  This proposal has variously been referred to as the post-flood rapid speciation, post-flood hyper-evolution,  accelerated evolution, radically accelerated diversification or hyper-evolutionary creation.

Over the past two years I have published numerous articles on this blog which have examined many aspects of these young-earth views of the origins of modern biological diversity.   Topics discussed include:  Is there a viable mechanism? Has rapid-speciation been observed in the past or the present?  What is a biblical “kind?”  Is this neocreationist model really just evolution by another name?  Is there any biblical evidence for rapid evolution of species?

Below I provide links to some of those articles along with a short description.

Ken Ham’s Darwinism: On the Origin of Species by Means of Hyper-Evolution Following Noah’s Flood – Here I take a big look at how Ken Ham and AiG are changing the landscape of young-earth creationists approach to biological diversity.

Is Ken Ham’s Rapid Post-Flood Diversification Really Evolution?  I look even closer at the words of AiG and Ken Ham and ask, how what they are saying is different from standard evolutionary theory and how is it the same but cloaked in different terminology.

Dodging Darwin: How Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is Slowly Embracing Evolution – Guest writer David MacMillan digs into how the Ark Encounter is going to present speciation within kinds and discovers that they are sliding down a slippery slope to accepting even more common descent than they already do.  What they are proposing has all the hallmarks of evolution of species over time but they try, unsuccessfully, to distance themselves from the implications of their own proposals.

Is Natural Selection the Same Thing as Evolution: Assessing Dr. Purdom’s Confusing Answer – Dr. Purdom attempts to explain how speciation by natural selection is not evolution with some very unorthodox interpretations.

The Great Genetic Bottleneck that Contradicts Ken Ham’s Radical Accelerated Diversification or Post-Flood Hyper-Evolution – One huge problem for Dr. Jeanson’s hypothesis that the original kinds were endowed with massive variation (heterozygosity) in the original creation is the problem of Noah’s flood which should have been a massive genetic bottleneck and thus destroying the variation needed for post-flood hyper-evolution to even have a chance of working.

Ken Ham’s Biblical Evolution: I have a Book that Says Otherwise – In the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate, Ken Ham said he had a book that proved his case regarding the age of the Earth. However that same book provides ample evidence that his hyper-speciation model is without merit.

A Creation Museum Speaker Asks:  Do Animals Evolve? A  Critique – AiG speaker Bryan Osborn explains the AiG view of what the limits are to animal evolution.   I review his general thesis by walking through some of the slides from his presentation.

Invoking Super-speed Evolution: The YEC Post-Flood Big-Bang of Bird Speciation  – How do YECs fit 10,300 bird species onto the Ark? They squeeze them into just 200 “kinds” which then rapidly evolved into the amazing diversity of birds we have today.

Ruminating of the Meaning of Noahic Kinds:  Are Ruminants Derived from a Common Ancestor?  – Are giraffes, gazelles, antelope and pronghorn all derived from a common ancestor?  Creation scientists aren’t sure but some have suggested it might be possible.  So just how inclusive can a kind be?  The definition seems to expand every time a creationist writes about it.

Testing YEC Hyper-Evolution from Common Ancestors: Comparisons of mtDNA Genome Diversity in Mammals –  Here I provide to compare how different some species of mammals are using mtDNA sequences.

Gyptodonts, Armadillos and Ken Ham’s Hyper-Speciation Model – Here I take a look at one group of strange animals from the western Hemisphere and ask if the hyper-speciation model makes any sense for this group.

In addition to these articles I would also highly recommend a recent article by David MacMillan that examines Dr. Jeanson’s attempts to provide a genetic explanation for rapid-speciation.  That article, Creationists evolve “new” arguments to explain genetic diversity, was published at Panda’s Thumb

Cover image:  A possible post-flood speciation hypothesis for the origin of ruminants.

A representation of a possible young-earth hypothesis for the origin of the members of the Order Ruminatia.  Other ruminants are not considered related to those in this group. Figure: Joel Duff, images from Wikipedia (see attributions at the end of the article).

A representation of a possible young-earth hypothesis for the origin of the members of the Order Ruminatia. Other ruminants are not considered related to those in this group. Figure: Joel Duff, images from Wikipedia.

Comments

  1. Christine Janis says:

    I think these are meant to be turtles that have not yet evolved a shell or a beak.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was what I originally thought when I saw them at the ark but now I’ve done some more searching and found an AiG image of it under construction and its seems that it may represent the fossil Cotylorhynchus which is a synapsid. How many people visiting to you suppose will know what that is!?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris Haven says:

    I’ve been thinking long and hard about how to understand the flood narrative in Genesis 6-9. I see it as teaching a kind of universality of coverage and death. But then, the geological, genetic and archaeological record just don’t fit. Do you think the answer is, as Paul Seely and others have suggested, divine accommandation? This view solves some issues, but seems to create others. How do we separate pre-modern cosmology (which is errant) from divine theological truths (inerrant)? It seems easier in theory than in practice, especially when you cosmology intersects with history and genealogy (e.g., death of all people, Noah is the new Adam, all people in the aNE are descendants of Noah’s sons, etc.). I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks.

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    • Why does everything in the Bible have to be divine truth and moral fables? Why can’t it include some plain old folktales and myths? The ancients did not distinguish these categories from history.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chris Haven says:

        Paul, thanks for the thought. I have no problem theoretically with that view, in that I don’t see why God couldn’t inspire folktales and myths. I have considered that approach seriously. The problem is that the later historical sections of the Bible (which most scholars would agree are making historical claims) refer back to the people and events in Genesis 1-11 as historical (in some sense). They thought the people really existed and that the events really happened. Adam and Noah are placed in genealogies (and, according to John Walton, there are no examples of mythic figures appearing in historical genealogies of any aNE peoples). Clearly Paul thought Adam was real, and Peter thought Noah and the Flood were real. Paul also thought that all men of his day came from one man (presumably Adam or Noah). So when one goes the “mythic” route, it has some pretty significant consequences throughout the rest of Scripture. Some scholars have taken this path and simply said Paul and Peter, for instance, were wrong (e.g., Peter Enns). Paul and Peter were men of their day, and thought like other men of their day. I personally cannot go there, because I think that completely guts the scripture of any authoritative teaching on any subject. How do we really know that Paul’s theological views are not just the product of Second Temple Judaism mixed with his own historical situation?

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        • The problem is that the later historical sections of the Bible … refer back to the people and events in Genesis 1-11 as historical (in some sense).

          Not as much as you would think. There is not a single reference in the former prophets nor the latter prophets to, say, Adam and Eve or Cain and Abel. There is but one reference to Noah in Hellenistic-era Trito-Isaiah (ch. 54) and one in Ezekiel whose meaning is ambiguous — it does not mention any flood. In fact, it is very easy to conclude that the Primeval History (Gen 1-11) is a very late document whose contents were unknown to the great majority of biblical authors.

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          • Chris Haven says:

            You are correct with respect to direct OT references to the early chapters of Genesis. I also have no issue with the possibility that Genesis 1-11 was added as the prologue to Genesis/OT much later. Inspiration is much more complex than many Christians realize. I also think these early chapters use various literary devices (e.g., hyperbole), and are nothing like modern historiography. However, there are still the problems of (1) there is no example of mythical (non-historical) figures appearing in aNE genealogies outside the Bible (according to Walton), and (2) NT authors believed that Adam and Noah and the flood were historically real.

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            • (1) there is no example of mythical (non-historical) figures appearing in aNE genealogies outside the Bible (according to Walton)

              If Walton says that, he’s mistaken. (And I find Walton frustratingly apologetical in general.) Mythical genealogies were a fundamental way for dynasties and nations to establish a national chronology and describe relationships with other nations. The Mesopotamian lists of antediluvian sages and kings are similar in certain respects to the biblical genealogies. Perhaps the real confusion is that ancient cultures did not really distinguish between mythical and historical ancestors.

              It is also clear that the biblical genealogies themselves have evolved and been adapted as needed (e.g. Seth’s genealogy being derived from Cain’s), and we see this process in action by observing the differences found between, say, Chronicles and the Pentateuch, or between the MT and LXX versions. Levin (2001) explains in detail how biblical genealogies were literary creations that fulfilled several roles.

              (2) NT authors believed that Adam and Noah and the flood were historically real.

              Again, you’re drawing a myth/history distinction that biblical authors didn’t necessarily make. Of course they thought Adam and Noah were real. And Jude thought Enoch was real enough to quote a “prophecy” by him from 1 Enoch. And Mark depicts Jesus as talking about the priest Abiathar as a historical individual — only he confuses the character with his father Ahimelech. Guess what: the NT writers didn’t know as much about history as we do, and they often made mistakes — even regarding their own scriptures.

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              • Christopher L. Haven says:

                Thanks for your comments again. As I understand it, there may be disagreements between scholars about the kings list in that some see them as real people with life spans having numerological significance. Does the fact that these kings and sages are said to have live thousands of years make them necessarily non-historical figures? If there a definitive answer to this question, I’d like to read up on it.

                Your comment was:

                “the NT writers didn’t know as much about history as we do, and they often made mistakes — even regarding their own scriptures.”

                I am curious if you are writing as an evangelical. If so, I wonder how you view inspiration and authority. If Adam and Noah are not real, what about Abraham? Paul references him as historical. What about Moses and the Exodus? How do we know Paul actually saw Jesus on the road to Damascus? Perhaps he was mistaken or deluded. In your view, what role does the Holy Spirit have in guiding the human authors to truth?

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                • Does the fact that these kings and sages are said to have live thousands of years make them necessarily non-historical figures?

                  There’s no particular reason to think any of them were historical figures. But I think a more suitable question to ask is, “is there any reason to understand them as anything but mythical characters?” Although I hate to link to Wikipedia, a perusal of the Sumerian kings should illustrate how ahistorical they are — especially the antediluvian ones. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_King_List

                  I am curious if you are writing as an evangelical. If so, I wonder how you view inspiration and authority.

                  I have an evangelical background, but since I began studying theology and biblical studies in earnest some years ago, I have changed most of my views.

                  Adam and Noah were certainly not real individuals. Abraham was probably a local folktale hero from the Hebron area who was expanded into a national hero of Babylonian origin during the Babylonian exile. The Exodus portrayed in the Bible is a mythical event that cannot be reconciled with the story told by the archaeological evidence, and its protagonist Moses is similarly mythical, even if a historical person lies behind the myths. (These are now the mainstream views of Old Testament studies.)

                  These are the origin stories and folktales of a people that were scattered across many nations (Egypt, Canaan, Babylon) and understood God in a variety of ways and by a variety of names — Elohim, Elyon, Shaddai, Yahweh.

                  The Bible is a wonderful book, and I appreciate it more now than I did as a creationist many years ago, but it is not really a history or science textbook. Creationism is just one of many errors that people arrive at when they misunderstand the Bible’s nature and purpose.

                  Liked by 1 person

  3. I am mystified by the lack of labels and explanation on these exhibits. Why was this done? Wouldnt it have been much more effective (from Ham’s POV) for visitors to say “look – the original ruminant kind that gave rise later to deer and cows and stuff”? What kind of museum lacks labels on their displays? I can only guess that whoever came up with these models, wasnt interested in being pinned down. What would be interesting, (and I think also doable) would be to produce the putative genomes of these creatures, which would simply be some combination of all extant genomes in the “clade” since the theory is that evolution proceeds only by gene loss. I wonder if anyone at ICR is doing that. Wouldnt that be fun.

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  4. I have a question regarding the diagram you made. In the literature on YEC speciaition, do they actually believe that this speciation occurred at the start of creation, and that only one branch was preserved? If so, wouldn’t this be a net loss of “information”, and result in the ruminant only representing one genetic line? …and if that’s the case, how could you call that ruminant the “kind” for the whole species?

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    • Excellent observation. That is exactly the problem that so far the creationists have ignored. Jeanson’s recent article makes no mention of the Ark when he talks about all the original variation being created at the beginning. I talk about this in one of my articles (the one about the bottleneck problem) but David MacMillan really gets to the problem with a better illustration in his article yesterday which is found here: http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2016/08/creationists-ev.html
      The only solution for the YEC would be that God preserved the variation supernaturally in one lineage that would be on the ark. But if we invoke the supernatural here why work so hard to make up all this naturalistic genetic models? It is so confusing reading the YEC literature right now because they are just grasping at any straw they can find.

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    • At least one creationist on this blog has not ignored this issue. I commented extensively about this topic on the bottleneck post that Joel referenced. There’s a great deal of discussion about some primary literature addressing the field in that post if you want to consider some other perspectives, Chris.

      What Joel refers to as “grasping at any straw” is, at least in some instances, an honest attempt to develop (or as he unfortunately suggests above, “make up”) a model of creation that fits the evidence. The creationist perspective really frustrates Joel, which frequently leads him to trivialize the view. He’s well informed and entitled to his opinions and his feelings of course, but I would encourage everyone to look into the creationist views for themselves before making up their minds.

      MacMillan’s article on pandasthumb is disappointing. His deck-of-cards illustration is unfortunately simplistic and doesn’t consider new research that has come out in the last few years (I’ve discussed said research in the bottleneck post). He also draws conclusions about genetic diversity which are simply false; for example, MacMillan states “Non-coding DNA has absolutely nothing to do with the generation of new species.” Noncoding DNA is known to be constrained (1-2) and it harbors a great deal of the variation known between species (3). It is thus ignorant to suggest that it has nothing to do with speciation. In fact it may very well hold a great deal of answers to how rapid speciation after the ark took place.

      Contrary to Joel’s assertion, creationists are not left with a single, supernatural explanation for how today’s species arose from single pairs of animals after the flood. He may disagree with the non-supernatural ideas out there, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, and it doesn’t mean they aren’t valid. On the bottleneck post I put forth research that demonstrates that each human sperm within a single organism contains a unique genome. Those unique genetic characteristics range from small mutations all the way up to whole chromosome deletions and duplications. Each one of these variants could conceivably contribute to post-flood speciation. Those animals may have had somatic chromosomes that mostly resembled their parents’, but their sperm contained incredible variation. Joel doesn’t agree that this variation would have been sufficient to create today’s species as he reasons that it would have been diluted in subsequent generations. He misunderstands the biological mechanism. The variation is replenished in each individual male by subsequent meiotic events that create highly variable haploid genomes from a diploid germline. Its not a one time allocation that is sorted into subsequent generations. Its regenerated in each male offspring. In effect, every male develops from a single diploid cell (with a genome mostly identical to its parents’), but due to staggering meiotic variation created during spermatogenesis, males have the ability to pass on seemingly limitless variation. This is not to say that each child receives the limitless variation, but each male parent can create offspring of limitless variety (i.e. the variation exists not in the individual progeny, but in the group of progeny that a male begets). Thus all children, save for monozygotic twins, could have substantially different genomes that have variants not represented in their parents’ genomes. Its apparent that there would have been significant variation in the progeny of the pairs of animals coming off of the ark, and its conceivable that this variation would have been selected to create the diversity that we see today. This is not a contrivance, its grasping at straws, and its not supernatural. Its peer reviewed biology that questions Joel’s position that says the notion of a genetic bottleneck makes the flood narrative impossible.

      1. http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v43/n5/full/ng.808.html
      2. http://genesdev.cshlp.org/content/30/2/191.full
      3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16136131

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      • David MacMillan says:

        Trevor,

        The deck-of-cards illustration was intended to be just that: illustrative, not rigorous. Jeanson and his AiG friends haven’t really provided a clear picture of how the genetic diversity purportedly present at Creation somehow managed to survive through to the postflood world. Did God create a single pair of each baramin on the sixth day, or whole populations? If the latter, did each of those holobaramins already contain distinct monobaraminic species, or were they all essentially the same species? Was the Ark Kind the result of a particular lineage that essentially cloned itself each generation, thus preserving the same genetic information present in the original creation, or was it a monobaraminic species which preserved only a subset of the genetic information of that holobaramin, or was it some sort of hybridized descendant which somehow contained all the genetic information of the holobaramin via reproduction between separate monobaramins?

        You claim that my statements about non-coding DNA are “simply false”, but you don’t actually show this; instead you simply make some completely unsubstantiated claims of your own. Non-coding DNA is certainly constrained, and it certainly represents significant interspecies variation (you’d expect this, given that it is the majority of DNA), but these facts do not in any way suggest that its existence provides sufficient explanation for rapid speciation. Speciation requires selectable allele frequency changes, which can only take place in coding DNA.

        As a side note, it IS possible that non-coding DNA could serve as a mechanism for rapid speciation, if the data were different. For example, suppose that different species within the same “kind” all had nearly identical DNA but with different segments being coding or non-coding. But that’s not what we see.

        In any case, Jeanson’s argument was itself different from what you’re proposing. He claimed that because constrained regulatory functions may exist within non-coding DNA, this somehow suggests a reduced barrier for speciation via allege frequency changes in coding DNA. It is a total non sequitur, and that’s what I was pointing out in my post.

        Your claim about the likelihood of rapid speciation by existing genetic variation is pure speculation with no more evidential basis than Jeanson’s arguments. You can discuss the details of reproduction all day long, but if your conclusion is still “so there’s a lot of variation here so I guess anything is possible” then you are just making an argument from personal incredulity. If you want to actually advance a realistic model, you’d need to explain what levels of genetic diversity can lead to immediate speciation within a few generations and point to actual examples of that today. Science without math is fiction.

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      • Hi David,

        Its a pleasure talking to you directly. As to your illustration, non-rigorous word pictures are fine as long as they don’t miss the mark by minimizing the reality of the larger picture that they are attempting to represent. Unfortunately, your illustration doesn’t capture the true essence of genetic variation and its sources. The aspects that your illustration are missing can be found among the details that I discussed, as you put it, “all day long” in my previous comment.

        You won’t get any arguments from me about the incomplete nature of current creationist models. If you read any of my recent comments here, you’ll see that I’m very honest that creationists have a great deal of work do to in making their models ready for prime time (e.g. parsing out the baraminic structure of early life, etc). But none of that is germane to the comments I made about your article. To that point, I’m not sure what more substantiation you are looking for. I gave primary literature references that I think both represent the larger body of knowledge and demonstrate that your statement about non-coding DNA is inaccurate. In my field, that IS the standard of substantiation. But if you can be more specific, I’ll gladly try to provide what you’re looking for.

        Surprisingly, in your response to my comment, you’ve made another strikingly uninformed assertion. You said, “Speciation requires selectable allele frequency changes, which can only take place in coding DNA.” To hold the view that speciation and selection of changing allele frequencies are only relevant within coding DNA, you’d have to overlook a large segment of the last 25 years of research in genetics. For example, microRNAs, my area of research, do not code for proteins but are very much labile to allele frequency changes nonetheless. That alone should put the issue to rest, but let’s consider the issue more broadly in case you want to argue that you weren’t excluding non-coding RNAs. The term “allele” has traditionally been synonymous with the term “gene.” But more recently the term “gene” has taken on a different, or perhaps expanded meaning. We now understand that discrete regions of protein coding DNA that we once called genes (and still do for simplicity in most cases), act as “subroutines” within a genomic computer program, modified by other programs and functions that aren’t necessarily inherited together due to their genomic distance. The idea that you suggest (i.e. only alleles have selectable frequencies and only protein coding genes are alleles) is way out of vogue; another instance of where you seem to be oversimplifying reality. Consider also the fact that the majority of the genome is transcribed (and we don’t know what that means yet) and you’ll start to understand that your view of an allele leaves a lot to be desired. Any nucleotide variation in the genome could potentially be selectable. It doesn’t have to fall within a protein coding region, it only needs to modify the fitness of the organism in some way. In my field of cancer genetics, we routinely interrogate the entire genome with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays in search of “alleles” that segregate with disease. We’ve identified thousands of such loci that do not fall within coding regions. Have a look at the first ten or so references in this paper and you’ll see what I’m talking about. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4288203/#B5. Any one of these loci could modify a disease phenotype such as cancer, and likewise any one could contribute to a speciation event.

        Let me respond to this statement of yours; “DNA is certainly constrained, and it certainly represents significant interspecies variation (you’d expect this, given that it is the majority of DNA), but these facts do not in any way suggest that its existence provides sufficient explanation for rapid speciation.

        I agree. It doesn’t suggest that non-coding DNA DOES provide sufficient explanation for rapid speciation, but it does indeed suggest that it MIGHT or at least COULD. And that was my point. Joel is championing the idea that rapid speciation is a genetic impossibility given the lack of genetic variation after a bottleneck, etc. I am not trying to put forth a model where I prove how it can be done. I’m providing a plausible mechanism that, if explored further and tested, could demonstrate how the genetic bottleneck could be circumvented.

        Also to this statement, “Your claim about the likelihood of rapid speciation by existing genetic variation is pure speculation with no more evidential basis than Jeanson’s arguments. You can discuss the details of reproduction all day long, but if your conclusion is still “so there’s a lot of variation here so I guess anything is possible” then you are just making an argument from personal incredulity.”

        My claim is certainly speculative (most hypotheses are on some level), and I mentioned above that I’m not trying to put forth a model on this blog, nor is it a requirement to have a complete model in place in order to demonstrate the faults in an opposing argument. Nonetheless, my claim is certainly not lacking evidence. If you go back to the bottleneck post, you’ll find that I referenced a number of primary literature sources that support my position, the most important of which was the Wang 2012 paper http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867412007891. What my argument was intended to do was to respond specifically to Joel’s assertion which states that there is not enough genetic variation to achieve rapid speciation. I demonstrated that there is actually a tremendous amount of variation possible which COULD enable such a phenomenon. As to your claim of personal incredulity, let me refine your unfortunate caricature of my position. I’d like to refine it rather than throw it out, because with some help, it could actually aspire to the acceptable structure of a scientific hypothesis. You suggest my disposition is “so there’s a lot of variation here so I guess anything is possible.” My disposition is actually, “Given the tremendous amount of variation demonstrated to be possible through meiotic division of germ cells, I hypothesize that such variation could provide the necessary genetic substrate through which natural selection could bring about rapid speciation.” Note how I’ve taken your cynical caricature and turned it into an actionable scientific hypothesis. I expect that this and other similar hypotheses will be tested by creationists in years to come.

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        • Hey Joel, would you mind correcting a mistake in my last comment? I messed up some italics. Starting with the line, “You suggest my disposition is…” until the end, could you replace it with the following? Thanks.

          You suggest my disposition is “so there’s a lot of variation here so I guess anything is possible.”” My disposition is actually, “Given the tremendous amount of variation demonstrated to be possible through meiotic division of germ cells, I hypothesize that such variation could provide the necessary genetic substrate through which natural selection could bring about rapid speciation.” Note how I’ve taken your cynical caricature and turned it into an actionable scientific hypothesis. I expect that this and other similar hypotheses will be tested by creationists in years to come.

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        • “your illustration doesn’t capture the true essence of genetic variation and its sources”

          Of course not. It wasn’t intended to. The creationist view of genetic diversity is a caricature of reality; describing their view or explaining it with graphics isn’t going to accurately represent reality. The point of that illustration was to show an internal contradiction: that however they’re representing genetic diversity, it introduces insurmountable challenges for their preflood/postflood model.

          “I’m not sure what more substantiation you are looking for. I gave primary literature references that I think both represent the larger body of knowledge and demonstrate that your statement about non-coding DNA is inaccurate.”

          I think my statement that non-coding DNA doesn’t participate in speciation was definitely overstated; you’ve pointed that out and others have as well. I appreciate the correction. This doesn’t, however, alter the validity of my conclusion. Jeanson brought up the functionality of non-coding DNA as if it magically enabled rapid speciation. It’s very transparent that this was simply a rehearsed talking point intended to flood his audience with “facts” about science even though it really didn’t have anything to do with his claim.

          Your speculative claim, which I asked you to substantiate, was “[non-coding DNA] may very well hold a great deal of answers to how rapid speciation after the ark took place.” How? That’s what I wanted to know. At the very least, you could suggest a mechanism of action, like “perhaps non-coding DNA triggers differential expression of subsets of the coding portion of the genome during utero, leading to heritable, selectable changes permitting rapid speciation without requiring significant changes to the genome”. Without at least a suggested mechanism of action, this is just a throwaway speculation.

          If your discussion of germ cells is this mechanism, then I apologize, but that discussion doesn’t seem to touch on the functionality of non-coding DNA. To be sure, non-coding DNA holds many of the differences between species within the same family, and I admit it is possible that speciation could result from changes in non-coding DNA as long as they were sufficiently selectable, but this doesn’t answer the question of how those changes could come about rapidly enough to permit the kind of hyperevolution demanded by the Flood model, any differently than in coding DNA.

          “To hold the view that speciation and selection of changing allele frequencies are only relevant within coding DNA, you’d have to overlook a large segment of the last 25 years of research in genetics. For example, microRNAs, my area of research, do not code for proteins but are very much labile to allele frequency changes nonetheless.”

          Still doesn’t make Jeanson’s argument any less of a non sequitur, but I stand corrected.

          “I’m not trying to put forth a model on this blog, nor is it a requirement to have a complete model in place in order to demonstrate the faults in an opposing argument.”

          This is just a side note, but I wanted to point out that this doesn’t really…work. The opposing argument isn’t really relevant; YECs need to explain how hyper-rapid speciation can take place within a constrained timeline. Common descent doesn’t directly come into play.

          “My disposition is actually: Given the tremendous amount of variation demonstrated to be possible through meiotic division of germ cells, I hypothesize that such variation could provide the necessary genetic substrate through which natural selection could bring about rapid speciation.”

          Well, Jeanson and Lisle admit that in the cases of those “kinds” represented only by a single pair on the ark, a maximum of 4 alleles was present for each locus. To be sure, there is “tremendous variation” in meiotic division of germ cells, but this doesn’t change the fact that you only have four alleles per locus to work without. How can that be sufficient for speciation on the order of roughly a thousand descendant species in only a few hundred years (again, that’s the constraint admitted by Jeanson and Lisle)?

          Your “disposition” isn’t really a hypothesis; it’s still just speculation. In order to rise to the level of hypothesis, you’d really need to propose some sort of mechanism for how a maximum variation of four alleles per locus could bring about this sort of rapid speciation via meiotic division.

          I’d also point out that the number of variants possible via meiotic division is potentially misleading. A single germ cell may be capable of producing “seemingly limitless variation”, but this variation still is limited to four alleles per locus across the population. And the number of “small mutations all the way up to whole chromosome deletions and duplications” is limited by population size. Suggesting mutagenesis as the mechanism for rapid speciation seems very similar to just allowing evolution generally.

          I suppose you could get around this by suggesting that mutations in non-coding DNA serve to switch coding DNA off and on rapidly. This way you get the benefit of rapid change via mutagenesis but avoid claiming that mutations generate new information. But this would be a very testable and very falsifiable claim.

          I’d also want to see evidence that a population with a maximum variation of four alleles per locus in coding DNA can actually sustain a speciation event. What would that be — a maximum variation of two alleles per locus?

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          • Thanks for the genuine response. I think I understand the purpose of your illustration now, and I’ll consider it in that light. The statement that you asked me to substantiate was not intended to be a statement of fact, but rather a statement of possibility based on the facts that I had just substantiated; i.e. non-coding DNA is constrained and harbors much/most of the variation between species. As a result, its reasonable to assume there might be many answer found there. I think that suggestion follows logically. But it was just that; a suggestion. And again, my hypothesis is not just speculation and it doesn’t require the proposition of a mechanism. Science isn’t done in such large leaps as you suggest. First we propose to show that something happens, THEN we show how it happens. A hypothesis doesn’t have to do both at the same time.

            I don’t think that YECs have done a good job of laying out why non-coding DNA is potentially such a large repository of functional variation, and how that may have translated into rapid speciation after the flood. As far a Dr. Lisle goes, he’s not a biologist so I wouldn’t expect him to be up on the latest research in the field of genetics, and I really can’t take his opinion as expert. I would expect more from Jeanson though; nonetheless the research that I’ve been discussing on this blog is very new, and it will probably take a younger generation of biologists who are not as dogmatized to really draw out its application. Case in point is the “four alleles” phrase that I’ve heard so many times in response to what I’ve been saying. Ultimately, I’m not here to defend any YEC arguments, but rather to discuss new ideas.

            The “four alleles” perspective is a reference to genetic inheritance, not genetic variation. In other words, its tells you about how the variation is packaged and transmitted, not how about much is there. The application of non-coding DNA and many other advanced concepts of genetics come into play when you consider how a gene is regulated. Non-coding DNA tells genes how often, how much and when to express, but It also tells them which form to express, as many genes have multiple splice variants. Sure, only four alleles are inherited, but each of those alleles contain instructions for variable gene construction and may be inherited within a different genomic context that allows it to express in variable space, time and function (and this doesn’t even require mutations). Furthermore, most of the regulation of gene function comes from outside of the traditional gene boundary (i.e. the non-coding DNA). Thus to understand the true magnitude of variation available to contribute to speciation, you have to consider the genome as billions of potentially functional nucleotides that may contribute to speciation. We know that at least millions of variants exist between some species, thus, all combinatorial permutations of millions of variants results in staggering levels of variation. YECs and non YECs alike have a huge task ahead of themselves to assign function and phenotype to those permutations.

            You said, “I suppose you could get around this by suggesting that mutations in non-coding DNA serve to switch coding DNA off and on rapidly. This way you get the benefit of rapid change via mutagenesis but avoid claiming that mutations generate new information. But this would be a very testable and very falsifiable claim.” I agree that its very testable and falsifiable, because Its a well documented phenomenon. Its already been tested. It wouldn’t even be meaningful to add a citation here as the field is so large. Just go to Pubmed.com and search non-coding DNA [title]. The variety of ways in which non-coding DNA functions to regulate gene expression staggering. 2016 alone has seen many exciting advances in the field.

            You also said, “I’d also want to see evidence that a population with a maximum variation of four alleles per locus in coding DNA can actually sustain a speciation event. What would that be — a maximum variation of two alleles per locus?”

            Again, the term “allele” is a reference to heritable units distinguished by local sequence variants. It is not a useful term for understanding the quantity of genetic variation as I’ve demonstrated above. And I think that you need to go back a read the Wang paper because it seems that you are still missing the fact that the meiotic variation is added after and in addition to the combination of parental alleles. Our new understanding in the last four years of meiotic variation that we’ve gained from sequencing single haploid cells demonstrates that new variation is being created in each offspring (this is in addition to the variation extant in each parental genome). As Wang 2012 put it, “this results in an enormous variety of new genomes being created in the gametes thereby enabling one’s children to add to the genetic diversity of the human race in a more complex manner than by simply mixing and matching entire parental chromosomes.” In other words, Wang disagrees with the idea that only four alleles worth of variation are available or that population is a limiting factor. The variation in our genomes is more than the sum total of our parents’ variation. There is indeed de novo mutation involved. But mutation in non-coding DNA is not akin to “new information.” It simply alters the use of current information to move traits towards different extremes.

            You want to see evidence that this mechanism can sustain a speciation event? I totally agree that that is the sort of proof that needs to be given for such claims. I hope that us YECs can figure out how to demonstrate provide it. But at the same time, recognize that you’ve just placed your finger on the very aspect of the theory of evolution that YECs find lacking. Where is the experimental evidence that demonstrates the ability of small mutations over long periods of time to generate macro-evolutionary change. Our model is only suggesting micro changes. You rightly ask for experimental evidence for these relatively small changes (compared to macro), and we rightly ask for evolutionists to recapitulate the speciation events that can create humans and chimpanzees from a single common ancestor for example. I don’t bring this up to throw it in the evolutionist’s face, but to point out that both creationists and evolutionists have a burden of proof that has not been met. A topic for another conversation I suppose.

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    • If you poke around on AiG’s website, you’ll note numerous examples (the header image at Jeanson’s article is one) of the “creationist orchard”, showing a series of originally-created parent kinds speciating out rapidly into individual trees before the flood, with only a single branch penetrating the flood to repopulate Earth on the other side.

      I must give AiG the benefit of the doubt and assume that these representations are qualitative rather than quantitative. Even so, it is clear that they believe in numerous antediluvian speciation events with only a single surviving line for each kind. It is unclear how they imagine all the genetic diversity of the original kinds could have been preserved.

      Jeanson suggests that the relatively short amount of time between Creation and the Flood would have enabled high/total genetic diversity to be preserved on the Ark. But this short amount of time works against him. AiG claims there may have been as few as just fifty “kinds” of dinosaurs to account for the 2000+ species known from fossil evidence. How can fifty “kinds” split into an average of 40 species each in just a few centuries while still somehow retaining enough genetic diversity in just ONE of those kinds to carry all the genetic information of that kind through the flood? These claims are intrinsically opposed to each other.

      AiG would be better off claiming that God created many separate species within each kind during the creation week and that “God brought the animals to Noah” actually means God orchestrated a massive global hybridization drive to combine all the genetic material from each separate species into a single representative pair for each kind.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. So, we may assume that Abel was not a shepherd (Gen 4:1 “Abel pastor ovium”), but a “proto-ruminant-herd?

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  6. Reblogged this on New Horizons and commented:
    Here’s a good resource highlighting why Creationists are forced to embrace post-flood hyper-evolution.

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  7. For anyone keeping score, Jeanson shot back at my review of his article, suggesting that I’m either being “deliberately deceptive” or otherwise “intellectually dishonest” because I challenged the explanations he gave in his original article and did not separately review a 29,000 word paper which he claims could have provided additional evidence.

    Naturally, Joel is also censured for his “unqualified and enthusiastic endorsement” of my post. And, Jeanson triumphantly explains, this is “poor scholarship” which immediately disqualifies “many of his other posts”.

    So forget all the criticisms and critiques provided by myself and Joel. Far be it from me to challenge the Mighty AiG without fully addressing every argument in every paper ever linked, posted, or mentioned on the AiG website. Clearly, our criticisms are universally without warrant.

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    • Protip: if Jeanson’s article had said, “[the ark pairs’] reservoir of DNA differences could have easily translated into a massive amount of morphological change, as demonstrated by the examples and analysis in my recent paper,” then he would have a leg to stand on. But, as I note, he instead brought up the functionality of non-coding DNA, as if the revelation of non-coding DNA’s function somehow serves to defend his claim.

      As my post discussed, this is unfortunately a very common tactic. Jeanson needs to give his lay audience some sort of soundbite that can be easily remembered, so he brings up the functionality of non-coding DNA (misrepresenting this function as something unexpected or unknown to the scientific community) to reinforce the idea that DNA can “do more” than “secular scientists” expect. The functionality of non-coding DNA doesn’t actually speak to the question of whether a single breeding pair on the Ark could have rapidly produced hundreds or thousands of species in only a few hundred years, but Jeanson’s lay audience doesn’t know this.

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    • Hi David,

      Personally I don’t find any dishonesty or deception in your arguments. My position is that your arguments do not fully capture the true complexities of biology and their application to the notion of rapid speciation. But I don’t mean to communicate that I think you’re being dishonest.

      With that being said, you seem to have an aversion to being fully informed and being held to a high standard of scholarship. I can’t imagine a professional researcher debating a colleague and suggesting that they’re focusing too much on details as you appear to be suggesting with your comment about me talking about reproduction all day long. Every detail counts and must be considered. Moreover, the excuse that your opponent required too much reading to fully understand his position would certainly be a red flag for any professional scientist considering the strength of your position. If Jeanson is deliberately trying to swamp you in irrelevant materials to distract you then I would call that unfair play. But I have personally given you relevant, primary literature sources for most all of my scientific claims, and I’ve asked you to read what I’ve already written regarding my position of previous posts relating to this topic, and you seem to be dissatisfied with such methods of substantiation and inconvenienced by the task of keeping up with the research.

      I hope that I’m wrong in my perception and that we can pick up where we left off in our other conversation. I’d very much like to hear your thoughts on my latest comment to you.

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      • To be sure, my criticisms of Jeanson’s paper do not fully elucidate and describe the totality of biology. But that’s because the YEC model doesn’t actually handle biology properly. I’m critiquing their model, not reality.

        I hardly imagine that one can speak unironically of “high standards of scholarship” in blogged discussions. That being said, my aversion is not to research or to detail, but to extreme verbosity and red herrings. You say, “every detail counts and must be considered,” but this is a fallacy. Some details are relevant, and some are not. Moreover, once the basic underpinnings of an argument have been shown to be faulty, it doesn’t matter how many details are discussed; the argument is still faulty.

        If someone is trying to convince you that the Twin Towers were brought down by explosives and they lead with “jet fuel can’t melt steel beams”, it doesn’t matter how many details of construction and explosives they consider, because their basic premise is faulty: the fire wasn’t purely jet fuel, and steel beams don’t have to liquefy in order to reach ductile failure.

        Do I think Jeanson is trying to swamp his detractors with irrelevant materials? Absolutely. His article offered the functionality of non-coding DNA in defense of his claim that rapid speciation is possible; it is this defense that I criticized. For him to turn and suggest that I should have ignored his argument and instead engaged an entirely separate paper he wrote is ridiculously silly.

        Liked by 1 person

        • David, I don’t accept the excuse that your criticisms are incomplete (and in my opinion, factually inaccurate) due to YECs dealing with biology improperly. That’s simply blame shifting. Moreover, the point of my critique of your comments was to demonstrate that you have misrepresented the aspects of biology that you are discussing. You keep changing the subject back to Jeanson and hiding behind claims of logical fallacy. I’m not sure why you don’t think you can be held to a high standard of scholarship on a blog. I expect that if you make a claim about a biological phenomenon that you back it up with peer reviewed evidence, and if your understanding of biology is called into question that you either acknowledge your mistake or explain why you disagree. I’ve given you literature precedents for all of my claims, and all I ask is that you explain the apparent misunderstandings that are obvious from your comments. I stand ready to have a gracious discussion about non-coding DNA and rapid speciation with the goal that we each understand the others’ position better and move the discussion forward. I’m hopeful that you and I will be able to do that.

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          • Maybe I was unclear. I’ll be more specific. The YEC model does not accurately reflect biological reality. Thus, explaining the internal flaws and contradictions in the YEC model will not really resemble biological reality either. That was the point of the playing card illustration.

            To be sure, this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be accurate when I’m talking about biology in general, nor when I’m actually comparing the YEC model to reality.

            Several people have pointed out ways that my statements were too absolute — like saying that non-coding DNA doesn’t have anything to do with speciation. It actually can. My point, however, was that the functionality of non-coding DNA is not a groundbreaking revelation which miraculously permits rapid repeated speciation; it’s entirely irrelevant to that particular claim.

            “I’m not sure why you don’t think you can be held to a high standard of scholarship on a blog.”

            I didn’t say that. I suggested there is a bit of irony in arguing for scholarship in a medium that by definition is not subject to peer review. Doesn’t mean I won’t strive to get my facts straight.

            I bring up Jeanson because he was the one I was originally critiquing. While I definitely overstated some of my claims about biology, I don’t think any of my critiques of his claims are inaccurate.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry – duplicating David.

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  8. I am just about to post about this in more detail at Panda’s Thumb, but it is also relevant to this blogsite:
    https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/why-dont-more-people-accept-the-young-earth-view-of-speciation/

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  9. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “A pair of ?? on the Ark Encounter. I am not sure. I think they might from an extinct group but there was no sign.”

    Don’t recognize them, but they LOOK like a couple of shell-less turtles. Like antediluvian turtles didn’t have shells or something.

    Like

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