Walking Whales On Board Noah’s Ark: The Inevitable End-point of Creationists’ Post-Flood Hyper-Speciation Belief?

The diversity of life on earth today is staggering. Where did that diversity come from? How is that diversity maintained over time? How long did it take for that diversity to form? These are fundamental questions that biologists are interested in investigating.

Conventional evidence-based biological theories ascribe biological diversity to the diversification of life over long periods of time via numerous observable natural processes, resulting in the proliferation of species that we observe today. Modern Young Life Creationists (YLCs) believe that most of our present day biological diversity is the result of rapid speciation, via processes not yet identified, of a distinct and limited set of “Kinds”—populations of organisms that share no common ancestor and were supernaturally created no more than about 6000 years ago. This concept of rapid diversity formation was introduced most clearly in 1947* by Seventh Day Adventist’ Frank Marsh and had the effect of allowing for a greatly reduced number of organisms needed on Noah’s Ark during a worldwide flood. Prior to this, most anti-evolution creationists ascribed the diversity of living forms to direct fiat creation.

Just how limited was the total diversity within created kinds which represented the initial starting point of biological diversity? That is a question not often addressed in the YLC literature but there is one conclusion they all agree upon: each of the air-breathing land animals “Kinds” survived a global extinction event just 4500 years ago by catching a ride on Noah’s Ark.

YLCs have spent an enormous amount of effort generating estimates of how many air-breathing land animals were on Noah’s Ark. Many critics naively assume that creationists still believe that every species was preserved on the ark and therefore the total numbers of passengers should just require adding up how many species of animals are alive on Earth today and have gone extinct in the past. However, creation scientists believe that the Ark animals were only representatives of the original created “kinds” were preserved through a global flood and used to repopulate and bring biological diversity back to the earth.  

The evolution of cats according to Answers in Genesis. One created cat “kind” evolved into the cats we have today. The original image in full size is found here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/assets/images/articles/am/v5/n2/cat-kind-chart.gif

So, how many species have formed since this flood? That all depends on how a “kind” is defined. It is common to hear Ken Ham and other YLCs speak of hundreds of canine species diversifying from a single ancestral pair of canine progenitors on Noah’s Ark just 4500 years ago. Over a 1000 species of finch from a pair on the Ark? No problem! (see: Invoking super-speed evolution to squeeze 10,000 bird species onto Noah’s Ark) Lions, tigers and your house cat from a common ancestor? Just a matter of genetic sorting, we are told. 

Just how far this evolution of new species from a starting pair of ark kinds can go is not clear but over the years YLCs have gradually expanded their definition of a kind to be more and more inclusive. For example one Answers in Genesis article makes the following statement regarding canines: The diversity certainly increased among the kinds that left the Ark: we find at least 153 post-Flood species in the dog/wolf family alone (the wolf is only one genus of 57), which arose from the first parents on the Ark.  A kind therefore may be akin to a what taxonomists call a “family” but possibly even an “order” (eg. all ungulates, or all carnivores etc..) in some cases.

As time passes, more and more species are claimed to have evolved from fewer common ancestors (possible fewer than 1000 total kinds; see: Ark Encounter Common Ancestors: The Increasing Inclusiveness of Biblical Kinds) to the point where some YLCs have pushed back against this increasing acceptance of more and more descent from common ancestry (e.g. this article from Creation Today suggests that not all canines are evolved from a single ark kind but rather represent several separately created kinds of canines).

The pressing question YLCs are grappling with is how to identify and define clear boundaries between different “kinds” of animals. They speak of discontinuities between kinds such as cats and dogs but in many cases they have had difficulty identifying clear discontinuities between groupings of animals (see: Dodging Darwin: How Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is Slowly Embracing Evolution). One place that we see this struggle is with mammals that are adapted to living in aquatic environments.

A whale of a problem

One fixed principle that YLCs adhere to is that Noah’s Ark only had to preserve pairs of air-breathing land-dwelling animals. But what about air-breathing mammals that don’t live entirely on land today? What about cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), pinnipeds (seals, sea lions and walruses), sirenians (manatees and dugongs), and sea otters. How did they survive a global flood? The answer, according to YLC sources, is that all other animals—including whales—had no guarantee of surviving the great deluge and were left to whatever God-given characteristics they had to survive (eg. insects surviving in egg cases, coconuts floating on the water etc.), though no mechanism is offered for such survival, given that, if most of the geologic column were suspended in the water at some point, it would be little more than watery mud.

The Ark Encounter theme attraction in Kentucky provides the typical young-earth response. It suggests that Noah did not have to concern himself with cetacean, seals, or manatees because they were not land-dwelling animals that would not need protection from a Flood. This is reflected in the artwork of the Ark Encounter and their literature. For example below is a picture I took while visiting the Ark Encounter in which Noah’s Ark is depicted as serenely floating on clear ocean water over the highest mountains. The contradictory (eg. violent covering of many dinosaurs but calm flood conditions for most aquatic vertebrates and fragile organisms such as jellyfish) depiction of the Flood conditions notwithstanding (see: The Ark Encounter – Depicting a Real Flood with Unrealisitic Images), notice what is swimming in those waters: a large whale, a plesiosaur (a sea reptile), a mosasaur (a sea reptile), and less clearly a dolphin amongst the fish.

A fairy tale depiction by Answers in Genesis of one of the events during the Flood year.  Photo: Joel Duff on the Ark Encounter, July 15th, 2016.

But Answers in Genesis ignores a big problem: fossils of seals, walruses, dolphins, whales, manatees, and sea otters are never found in rocks most YLCs, including AiG’s own geologist, believe were deposited by a global Flood. Fossils of these animals only appear in the very uppermost portions of the geological column. Those rocks are usually considered by YLCs to have been deposited in local catastrophes in the centuries following the global flood such as during an Ice Age—and most importantly, in the centuries after animals had departed from Noah’s Ark.

If all of these aquatic mammals really did exist prior to the Flood, are we to believe that none of them were buried in that watery catastrophe but then died and were preserved in massive numbers in other circumstances in the centuries following the Flood? Similarly, how did a massive chaotic flood killed all the sea reptiles but no sea mammals? This makes no sense. After all, countless sea reptiles are found fossilized in presumed global flood rocks. If they lived side-by-side with many cetaceans, pinnipeds and sirenians—as the Ark Encounter depicts—how did the former all die in the flood and the latter all survive?

Troy Lacey, writing for Answers in Genesis, provides the biblical argument for whales, and presumably other marine mammals, existing as they are today from the very beginning.

“But what does Scripture tell us? That God created all sea creatures on Day Five of Creation Week. Whales did not evolve from a terrestrial (or semi-aquatic) ancestor, but were created fully functional as marine mammals within their kinds.”

But how does Mr. Lacey know that whales are sea creatures? Sure, they look like sea creatures now but YLCs don’t believe that any animal look the same as when it was created. They believe that most have undergone radical changes reflecting changes in a new environment brought about by Adam’s sin. Notice that the creation account does not use a specific term for whale. Given that there is no fossil evidence that whales existed before the Flood, wouldn’t it be more consistent for the YLC to argue that Noah’ carried a pair of walking animals on the ark that then adapted to a marine environment after the Flood?

The sea creatures that the Genesis account refers to could have been sea reptiles for which the Flood geology record contains abundant evidence. Pinnipeds, sirenians, sea otters etc. all have fossil records that suggest they had ancestors that were more adapted to land than to water. Combined with the lack of evidence they existed prior to the Flood why should YLCs continue to insist that God made seals and whales as they appear today?

I’ve suggested for several years that the new emphasis of YLCs on radical post-flood speciation could erode previous young-earth claims insisting that whales were never land animals, especially if one considers the lack of evidence of whales in Flood fossil record.

My speculation was confirmed while reading Issues in Creation, a YLC journal on baraminology. I came across this fascinating article by Kurt Wise (recently featured as an expert on Paleontology in the film Is Genesis History) in which he discusses the origin of all the mammal “kinds.” In his paper, Mammalian Kinds, how many were on the Ark?, Kurt Wise recognizes the big problem for YLCs that I just pointed about above: based on where he believes the Flood/post-flood geological boundary is, there are NO whale fossils in Flood sediments. All evidence of the existence of whales dates to after the Flood. Wise recognizes this fact and he even recognizes the strength of the fossil evidence that the first whales in the fossil record had legs. This leads him to the following speculation:

“…some of the animals which are aquatic or marine today may not have been aquatic at the time of the Flood. The marine and sea otters, for example, are members of the mustelid (weasel) family and their aquatic character is likely to have been revealed after the Flood. The whales might turn out to be another example… Vestigial legs and hips in modern whales confirm legged ancestors of the whales existed only a short time ago. It is possible that the purely marine cetaceans of the present were derived from semi-aquatic or even terrestrial ancestors on the ark.”

Let’s acknowledge that Wise is allowing himself to follow the evidence here and when he combines the evidence with his commitment to a young earth he is forced to conclude that it is possible Noah took two walking whales on board the Ark.

Answers in Genesis has placed a replica of a “walking whale” fossil called Pakicetus on their Ark Encounter theme park. However, they state that this whale is not a real whale but rather a separately created “kind” of animal that was partially adapted to living in the water like a sea otter or seal. Because it couldn’t have survived a year in the water it must have been preserved on Noah’s Ark but then quickly went extinct after the Flood.

However, the only Pakicetus fossil for which this animal is known is found in rocks that many YLCs, including Kurt Wise, believe formed after the Flood.  So why does Answers in Genesis, The Ark Encounter and Troy Lacey (a Bible student, not a scientist and certainly not a paleontologist like Kurt Wise) believe that Pakicetus is not the walking whale that Noah preserved on his boat? Their decision about what Pakicetus was seems completely arbitrary rather than based on any evidence. After all, they have a tool at their disposal to explain away the evidence that no sea-living whales existed before the Flood. They could just say whales are degenerate walking animals that lost information and devolved into a sea-living creature. A positive spin on the evidence might be that God preserved in the walking whales the genetic information to allow them to adapt to the ocean after the Flood possibly as a compensation for allowing the extinction of sea reptiles that used to inhabit the marine habitat (see: When Marine Reptiles Ruled the Seas). Likewise, they could use the same logic to explain the existence of sea otters, seals and manatees.

Of all the sea mammals, sea otters should present the simplest example for the YLC of a mammal that had a land-loving relative from which it evolved. But even this has been a source of confusion among YLCs (see: Mixed Messages Over the Origin of Sea Otters at Answers in Genesis).

Kurt Wise has taken the hyper-evolution rapid-speciation young-earth model of the origin of biological diversity and pushed it nearly to its logical end. Consistent with his ideas about the possible origin of whales from walking ancestors, he lists seals and sea lions together with bears as having a common ancestor on the ark. This is akin to evolutionary biologists proposing that seals are nothing but marine-adapted bears. They adapted to the sea much as we see polar bears becoming more adapted to a marine habitat today, and still retain features such as vestigial toenails.

The very similar black bear (left) and harbor seal (right) skulls.  Harbor Seal skull (https://www.pugetsound.edu/files/resources/6219_HarborSeal_sideangle1large.JPG) and a Black Bear skull (http://www.headhuntertaxidermy.com/sell_skull/bear_skull_page2/16.JPG).

Will all YLCs eventually embrace the scale and pace of evolution that Kurt Wise does? Probably not, but we have and will continue to see see more and more YLCs proposing that deeper and deeper branches do exist in the tree orchard of life.

Addendum: After writing this article I found an earlier reference to Dr. Wise where he speculates about how much biological change has occurred to the ark kinds and how whales once had legs. On page 219 of his 2002 book Faith, Form and Time he states:

Some of the changes that have occurred among organisms seem to be evidenced in vestigial structures (feathers that had a strong function in the past but now seem to have reduced function or no function at all) and genetic throwbacks (past structures that appear spontaneously in a small percentage of offspring in the present”).  Hip and leg bones that appear in some foetal sperm whales, for example are vestigial structures.  They suggest that modern whales might be descendants of whales in the past that had hind limbs. In a rare number of births, a horse is born with multiple toes.  This is a genetic throwback, suggesting modern horses might be descendants of horses in the past that had more than the single toe that modern horses had.

The latter reference to horses fits with Todd Wood and few other YLCs that have argued that the evolutionary horse series in which a smaller three-toed horse evolved into the modern equine species we have today is an accurate reflection of the history of equines except that this diversification from a multi-toed small ancestor occurred in just a few hundred years after the Flood rather than over a 10 million year period.


Cover image: Painting of Ambulocetus from Hans Thewissen’s lab.  Ambulocetus was more adapted to living in the water than land but did have real legs.  It has many features in common with today’s whales compared to other land animals.

Editing provided by LC

Comments

  1. At some point, an increasing scope of evolution within kinds is bound to run into conflict with the “macroevolution” claim that new complex features cannot evolve, but only the “microevolution” of pre-programmed variability. That boundary may be fuzzy, but it seems to me that walking whales are pretty clearly past it. As a consequence, a distinction also seems to be shrinking between a “young-earth creationist” idea that “walking whales” could be “pre-programmed” with the ability to “create” blowholes and blubber and an “evolutionary creationist” idea that an originally created lifeform could be “pre-programmed” with the ability to “create” all the kinds of life we see today.

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    • Well said. I see this tension in the YEC literature all the time though it is rarely acknowledged. One paper talks about the otters irreducibly complex features that God must have made from the beginning while another talks about their being part of a family of animals and were able to “adapt” to living in the sea because God have them the ability to express these wonderful new traits. They seem to want to eat their cake and have it too.

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  2. Speaking of cake… there seems to be a lot of cognitive dissonance among YECs, but Wise’s proposal seem to take that modern whales evolved from walking land animals since the Flood seems to takes the cake. On the one hand he faces the evidence for limbs in whales, and yet seems to fully not grasp (or realize the implications of) how numerous and massive the differences between four-legged land animals and whales are, and that to acquire all those adaptations within a few thousand years would require far more extensive and rapid evolution than even any “evolutionist” would allow. In short, what he is proposing seems not only what seems like macro-evolution, but an extreme form of it, and in the process contradicting a lot of what other YECs say about limits to change.
    This is not meant to be an anti-Wise post. In fact, I like Wise, and the fact that he often corrects other YECs on things they misunderstand or misrepresent. And for many years I thought he was too smart and honest to not eventually come around to an OE position, However, apparently I underestimated his powers of rationalization and the fierceness of his commitment to YE. Some of his writings seems to imply that he holds YE mainly for religious reasons, which always puzzled me, since even many Biblical scholars don’t see YE required by the Bible, and he obviously is familiar with a lot of geologic and paleontological evidence that does not bode well for YE. I assume he is also aware that even ICR’s RATE project authors acknowledged that far too much radioactivity is recorded in the geologic record to be compatible with YECism, without inventing multiple ad-hoc miracles (which would make creationism anything but scientific). One would think that all this would prompt Wise to consider that just maybe his YE commitment is misguided. I still have hope that he eventually will. In my youth (long since gone, ha), I myself tried to make YECism work, but like Glenn Morton and others, as I got into the field more and saw a lot of relevant evidence first-hand, it soon became clear that much of that evidence flew directly in the face of YEC claims

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  3. “Wouldn’t it be more consistent for the YLC to argue that Noah’ carried a pair of walking animals on the ark that then adapted to a marine environment after the Flood?” But I think they would regard that as unbiblical because land mammals and sea creatures (whales being such even though they are mammals not fish) were separately created according to Genesis 1 and must therefore be different and completely unrelated ‘kinds’.

    In the case of eg Pakicetus (which I was going to mention before I saw that you did too), most YECs would probably insist that the creatures were land-dwelling or primarily so (but that is controversial) and therefore (after they were represented on the ark unlike totally aquatic lifeforms) they did NOT hyper-speciate or hyper-evolve within ‘kinds’ into any of today’s whale species – but presumably into something else in the land-dwelling wild animal ‘kind’ (something now extinct perhaps): https://answersingenesis.org/aquatic-animals/fossil-evidence-of-whale-evolution/

    However, I note how Kurt Wise considers the fossil evidence and suggests possible post-flood evolution within mammals of some extinct land creature with legs into whales. But you can easily conclude from Genesis 1 that whales and eg Pakicetus were totally separate ‘kinds’ even if they were/are both mammals. As you say “Their [AiG’s] decision about what Pakicetus was seems completely arbitrary rather than based on any evidence”. I think it’s based purely on a ‘plain’ reading of Genesis 1 – in isolation.

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    • wowfunny251 says:

      Somewhat of a tangent, but it is unlikely that the creation day five hebrew phrase “tanninim haggedolim” means “whales” or “sea mammals”. It may not even refer to a sea animal. The meaning of “Tanninim” is debated/unclear but is used to refer both to land and sea animals, and haggedolim just means “large” in this context.

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  4. One typo: I think you mean “as yet unidentified” or “not as yet fully identified” in the second paragraph. :)

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  5. Although not the main thrust of the post, your comment of the Flood waters being a “watery mud” is something I had not considered and an excellent point.

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  6. Wise’s piece brings back memories. I was part of the “team” that presented papers (in Cambridge and in Kentucky) that ended up together in that Origins volume. My task was to present on the meanings of “kind” in Genesis. I warned Todd Wood (as editor and leader of the project) that my conclusions would not support baraminology. To his credit, he asked me to do it anyway. I was pretty new to the science side of YECism, so it was an eye opener to hear and read about their position. Wise and I had some fierce exchanges during the editing stages of those papers, but he and Wood treated me well and allowed published my paper anyway.

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  7. So it seems that creationists believe that 99% of species that ever existed evolved, so to speak, many times faster than he speed of light, then almost all of them went extinct a few centuries after the flood, and after that no more evolution took place. No mechanism is proposed for the hyper-evolution, the extinction, or the cessation of evolution.

    Does even Ham spell it out like that? Do they maybe think the ice-aged caused the mass extinction? If god were going to wipe out 99% of animals anyway, why not save himself the trouble and jut do it with the flood?

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    • Hi Joel, I like your article on hyperspeciation at:  https://thenaturalhistorian.com/2017/10/05/walking-whales-on-board-noahs-ark-the-inevitable-end-point-of-creationists-post-flood-hyper-speciation-belief/

      I agree that their hyperevolution notion is not at all consistent with the fossil record. There is also a huge genetic problem they seem to be ignoring or not aware of. That is, it is impossible for pairs of animals representing broad groups like families to have diversified into all the species we see today through genetic “reshuffling” alone, because such pairs could not hold nearly enough alleles to account for all those that exist within populations within families, or even general and species today. Either such alleles were generated through mutation and natural selection (which is macroevolution and “new information” any way you slice it–something they have always denied occurs), or else “kinds” are not nearly as broad as they claim, which brings them back to the problem of insufficient room on the Ark.  Ironically, while some YECs are arguing for rates of post-Flood evolution far faster and more dramatic than any mainstream scientist allows, others like Walter Brown are still claiming that little if any speciation occurs.  For more details on the allele problem, please see my article: http://paleo.cc/ce/ark-gene.htm

      Thanks! Glen Kuban

      From: Naturalis Historia To: gkpaleo@yahoo.com Sent: Sunday, November 12, 2017 7:07 AM Subject: [New comment] Walking Whales On Board Noah’s Ark: The Inevitable End-point of Creationists’ Post-Flood Hyper-Speciation Belief? #yiv1024530873 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1024530873 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1024530873 a.yiv1024530873primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1024530873 a.yiv1024530873primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1024530873 a.yiv1024530873primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1024530873 a.yiv1024530873primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1024530873 WordPress.com |

      The Serapion Brotherhood commented: “So it seems that creationists believe that 99% of species that ever existed evolved, so to speak, many times faster than he speed of light, then almost all of them went extinct a few centuries after the flood, and after that no more evolution took place. ” | |

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  8. Could I ask for a source on the amount of soil which is believed to have been dislodged by the flood. I’m not certain about whether it would be correct to say what the water was like without knowing how much soil and water was involved. Thanks.

    Im guessing the hyperspeciation thing may get some backing with the fitness increase decay observed in E. coli?

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    • Thanks for your comment. I don’t have a exact source handy but given what YEC say are rocks deposited by a global flood and they represent at least 1 mile thick average over the whole earth you could take that mile and multiply by the total surface area of they earth and get a very large number. Since the total depth of water wouldn’t be that much more it is not unreasonable to infer that the water would have been filled with sediment. Just imagine looking though waters of the Mississippi River.
      Not sure how any fitness increase decay would increase the likelihood of fast rates of speciation. It is difficult to scale up the types of changes seen in a simply haploid organism to that of a diploid for which most loci experience far lower fitness coefficients.

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      • I found this as the earliest response to the “hyper-speciation” charge (right under one of your blogs actually: http://rkbentley.blogspot.com/2012/08/is-creationism-belief-in-hyper-evolution.html?m=1
        Thoughts?
        Merry Christmas if that’s not too papist for you,
        Felix Zamora.

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        • Merry Christmas to you. I’ve read that article before and have read some of the original articles on fox domestication. Overall, I have to say the fox example doesn’t really provide an example of hyper-speciation and probably works as a counter example. It is important to remember that phenotypic/morphological change is not always related to genotypic change. Just because an animal looks and acts differently doesn’t mean that a lot of change has really happened. The underlying genetics of domesticate foxes is barely different than wild foxes. These foxes are clearly still red foxes and not a new species just like domesticated dogs are still wolves an not a new species. So we can take the variation in a wild species and segregate the variation into small distinct pools in which just a few alleles cause large morphological changes but the overall genome is still 99.9999% the same. On the other hand if these were really distinct species they would probably be much more different genetically. foxes and wolves are more different genetically than humans and chimps so they are really quite different. To change a ancestor into a fox and wolf is a serious amount of genetic divergence. To change a fox into a domestic fox is a very minor change and is done so with intent not naturally so is far less impressive than the change between something like a kit fox and red fox which are way more different than each other. I should also add that wolves, domestic dogs and foxes are all mentioned early in the Bible and thus it is hard to explain how they could come from a common ancestor in the recent past.

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  9. Alexander Young says:

    Bear in mind, the Young-earth creationist shift has not been because they are coming around to the idea of evolution, or that the evidence for evolution is compelling them. It’s because their model for Noah’s flood and the origin of carnivory demands it, otherwise it clearly falls apart at a glance.

    This is demonstrated by many Old-earth creationists like myself who are not shifting towards evolution like the YEC are. Most (again, like me) still hold that evolution doesn’t go beyond what we would call the species or genus levels.

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    • “evolution doesn’t go beyond what we would call the species or genus levels.”

      Can you tell us what stops it?

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    • Alexander, you call yourself an old-earth creationist, but say YECs are shifting toward evolution because “their model for Noah’s Flood…” demands it.

      Out of curiosity, do you reject a global Flood? Do you accept mainstream dating? Fossil succession? Natural selection? If the answer to even most of those questions is yes, I’m curious why you don’t take the next step and accept macro evolution as well. Why would God create in a long series of creations (if that’s what you believe) which just happen to look like evolution?

      You say that most old-earth creationists like you “still hold that evolution doesn’t go beyond what we would call the species or genus levels.”

      On what basis do you say that? Do you know of any polls on it, or what each major YEC group now holds? Maybe you’re right, but if so, I think it may be just a lag effect from many lay YEC not keeping on top of current YEC writings. AIG seems to be the most influential YEC group today, and they are actively promoting “rapid post-Flood speciation,” along with the idea that a “kind” often representing a family or even higher taxonomic group. Traditionally, ICR and other groups seem to be deliberately vague on that question of what constitutes a kind, but I suspect with time they’ll get on board with AIG. It will be very interesting to see how ICR depicts “kinds” in their new Discovery Center (it’s supposed to open this spring). At any rate, I’m curious why you believe that a kind would never go beyond a genus level. What would prevent changes beyond that level?

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      • Alexander, I should also have mentioned that CMI, who shares some common history with AIG, has traditionally argued that a kind is probably close to a genus (eg, Sarfati, 1997, J. of Creation), but in recent years seems to be joining AIG in suggesting that kinds are probably more like families, or something between a genus and family, as J Lightner did in a 2008 paper on the “cattle” kind: https://creation.com/identification-of-species-within-the-cattle-monobaramin-kind,
        Likewise, in a 2004 J. of Creation article Phillip Bell argued that all modern and fossil horses are the same kind, stating, “all species of living horses, as well as those that have become extinct since the Flood, are descendants of the two members of the horse kind that God brought to the Ark”. That implies the horse kind is larger than a genus, or again, something between a genus and family, though it’s not clear where he draws the line between prehistoric horses and non-horse ancestors.
        https://creation.com/resurrecting-a-prehistoric-horse
        Another article by Don Batten on the CMI website (Creation, 2000) suggests that in some cases a kind can be even larger than a family. Batten writes:” “If the hybridizing species are from different genera in a family, it suggests that the whole family might have come from the one created kind. If the genera are in different families within an order, it suggests that maybe the whole order may have derived from the original created kind.”
        In the early 1990’s Todd Wood, Kurt Wise, and a few other YECs started writing a lot on “baraminology”, and seem to have had quite a bit of influence on other YEC leaders and authors, whether or not much has trickled down to lay YECs. Early on Wood they seemed to do more debating over what criteria they should use to identify “kinds” than putting their ideas and methods to the test. However, Todd has attempted to do this with some birds and primates, comparing certain key morphological characters. His results yielded some baramins as narrow as species and genera, but many others at the family level or higher. So his overall conclusion was that despite “bias in group and character selection” presenting firm conclusions, “at the present time it appears that the family is an approximation of the created kind.” (CRSQ, 2006, vol 43): https://creationresearch.org/current-status-baraminology/
        So, at least 3 major YEC groups (AIG, CMI, and CRSQ) have published articles in recent years suggesting that “kinds” are generally similar to families,. Although ICR seems to continue their tradition of not making firm statements on the issue, even Henry Morris suggested decades ago that kinds could be broader than species, as did even earlier YEC authors such as Geroge M Price and Frank Marsh.
        So overall, it looks like the trend is for most YEC authors to view most Genesis “kinds” as something larger than genera. Extreme examples would be our friends Peer and Robert B, who seem to think some kinds can be as large as orders or even classes. Alexander, do you know of any current YEC authors still arguing for species or genera?
        Joel, you’ve obviously done a lot of research on YEC claim about hyperspeciation,, What’s your assessment of whether a consensus is developing among YECs, and what it’s settling on?

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        • OK, Walt Brown is one YEC who still argues against any kind of speciation, making the taxonomic level of a “kind” largely moot. He seems to have a following among some lay YECs, but most YEC leaders (especially at AIG) have strongly criticized his “hydroplate theory” and many of his specific claims, as have I. See: http://paleo.cc/ce/wbrown.htm.

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      • wowfunny251 says:

        I’ll use numbering to try and give a more concise response.

        Like most OEC, I do not interpret the Flood Of Noah as a global event. A real, historical event? Yes. Global? No.
        Simply put, I reject Macro-Evolution because I find the arguments put forward against it by (for example) the Discovery Institute, Reasons To Believe, God And Science, and even some young-earth creationists far more compelling than the counter-arguments from places like Biologos and Talk: Origins. And furthermore, I simply find it impossible to believe on a fundamental level that a random confluence of chaotic forces could possibility produce the elegant, molecular, fine-tuned, self-replicating machines that lifeforms represent. That really is like finding a watch in a desert and concluding a rare natural process of erosion produced it. Sophisticated machines are not built by blind chaotic forces.
        As for what “stops” evolution, I wouldn’t agree with that wording. It assumes that natural selection and random mutation together are an unlimited, infinitely powerful force of creation. But again, they are just mindless forces of nature. Sure, an already highly sophisticated self-replicating machine can make use of them to adapt itself. Birds can adjust beak sizes, moths can adjust pigmentation, viruses can tune themselves to the organism they are invading, etc. But that is a far cry from a sea-sponge like organism giving rise to everything from jellyfish to lions. It is an unwarranted extrapolation.
        As for why God would create over long periods of time, the same question could be asked why would God take six 24-hour days? He could do in a single instant. God is unlimited in resources, time, knowledge, and patience. 6 days, 6 billion years, or 6 googleplex years costs him no differently.
        I’m don’t think that God did create in a series that looked like evolution. Rarely in the fossil record do you a sequence that matches what Evolution would have predicted. You often see long periods of no/little change being suddenly interrupted by sudden, drastic shifts in ecosystem. You see large “gaps” where no evolutionary intermediates can be found. You see sequences that are out of order. You see weird, mixed trait organisms that don’t clearly fit into the evolutionary tree.

        I think that God created many different ecosystems over vast eons of time, each composed of a different set of organisms built for their place and time. And because the environment they are built for changes over time, and there is a “progression” from one ecosystem to another, it is possible to read evolution into the fossil record in hindsight.

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  10. Alexander wrote: “I think that God created many different ecosystems over vast eons of time, each composed of a different set of organisms built for their place and time. And because the environment they are built for changes over time, and there is a “progression” from one ecosystem to another, it is possible to read evolution into the fossil record in hindsight.”

    I someone who has spent much of my life studying fossils and tracks in the field, after having tried hard to make YECism work, I can testify that your comments simply do not match what is found in the rock record. We can look at any group of organisms and follow their patterns through time (from stratigraphically lowest to highest horizons, and they consistently show successions (with lots of branching off course) that are compatible with evolution and make no sense in YEC or PG, unless God wanted to fool us into thinking life evolved. Take fish for example. The earliest ones are jawless and armored types, then some jawed forms and shark-like forms, then bony fish, with fish overall looking more like modern forms as one goes stratigraphically higher. Similar patterns exist with amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, and mammals. Even if we look at just one group of mammals like whales, we see a pattern that fits evolution and not other views. After all, God could have created whales in the Devonian, or camels in the Ordovician, or perch in the Cambrian, or a million other ways that would violate evolution, but we never see that. Lets take another example: whales. If evolution did not happen, what do you imagine, that God decided for kicks to create some creatures only in the later stages of Earth history that look a little whale-like, then some creatures with more whale-like features, and finally ones that looked more and more like modern whales. And some modern whales still show atavistic leg bones. But they didn’t evolve?
    Or take human evolution. Is just a coincidence that we don’t find any primates until well into the Cenozoic, then some ape-like forms, then some hominids, and then, the higher you go stratigraphically, the more like modern humans the most human like hominids appear. Yes, there is branching, but that’s the overall pattern, and again and again, it fits evolution and makes no logical sense in other views. These patterns are well known to working geologists, paleontologist, and fossils collectors (including many Christian ones), which is why over 99% of us accept evolution and an old earth. We can’t all be blind, stupid, or in some gigantic conspiracy.
    And yes, there are many intermediates, at the expected horizons, even though one can’t expect them all to be there, for reasons I suspect you know. Why are some classic intermediates like Tiktaalik and Archaeopteryx found where we’d expect them to be, when they could be virtually anywhere in the geologic record?
    All of this leads me to ask: have you spent much time in the field, studying or collecting fossils or and their geologic context? I strongly encourage you do to so, or at least Art Strahler’s book Science and Earth history, which may be the single most comprehensive work outlining the major patterns of fossil succession and how they support evolution.
    In my youth I tried hard to make YEC work, and considered PG as well. However, the more time I spent in the field, the more clear it was that the evidence supported evolution and an old earth, and did not make sense in other views (even tho I still allowed that God worked transcendently through evolution). Many others I know (including Glenn Morton, whose writings you may know) had similar journeys.
    If you still believe God created in a series of creations over long time periods, please explain how you identify how many of these creations were there, and at what times or geologic horizons? Did God wipe out existing organisms and start over each time (wouldn’t that be obvious in the fossil record?), or is it an additive thing? Do you not accept major extinction events like the K-T (now called K-Pg) extinction which appears to have natural causes, and where life forms seemed to have filled empty niches and diversified over a period of time? Why would God need to create again, if he allowed organisms to have the ability to adapt — using mutation and natural selection, and other mechanisms. As far as your saying you can’t believe it all happened by chance. Every time I hear this cliché (usually coming from YECs) it really grates on me, because you have to know that natural selection is NOT a random process. And as far as how the first life arose, yes, there is a lot to be learned about that, but more and more clues are being found. Even if God created the world and first life by fiat, it would not discount all the evidence that it evolved afterward.

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    • wowfunny251 says:

      The earth has changed over time. You would expect God to create organisms for the time period they are living in. You do see different creatures living at different time periods, and sometimes showing a progression one type of creature to another type. I think this makes perfect sense given that the earth has changed over time, sometimes gradually, sometimes rapidly. You wouldn’t expect God to create modern creatures in the Cambrian because modern creatures aren’t designed for a Cambrian world.

      You asked if God wiped out and re-created and why don’t we see evidence of this, my answer is that we do. That’s what we see with mass extinctions, a large portion of the world’s life wiped out and suddenly being replaced with new life in explosion/radiation events. This in addition to the fact that there is such a diversity of life in the fossil record, it isn’t surprising that for most modern creatures, you can draw an evolutionary line from an earlier form to a modern form. Just as it’s easy to make the stars in the sky into constellations.

      And natural selection is indeed a random, mindless force. It is the result of random chaotic forces such as weather, predation, climate, etc. acting on organisms. There is no intelligence, there is no mind. That’s the point, some survive and some don’t, the ones that do are more successful/viable. It can be observed to cause adaptation in already elegant and highly sophisticated self-replicating machines (life). But it isn’t a creative designer. It is a mindless, random, chaotic force. I do believe it is absurd to say that a mindless force of nature designed sophisticated machines.

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      • Wowfunny (WF) wrote: “The earth has changed over time. You would expect God to create organisms for the time period they are living in. “
        That’s a tautology, since the in the Progressive Creation (PC) view God creates both the organisms and the environments. That means there is no reason why he could not create modern fish in ancient oceans, modern plants in ancient forests, etc. As it is, in every single group of organisms that has left a significant number of fossils, we see patterns that fit evolution, and which could and would have refuted it in any number of other patterns.
        WF: You do see different creatures living at different time periods, and sometimes showing a progression one type of creature to another type.
        Every period of the fossil record shows different organisms from the ones before and after it, and in every group of organisms preserved as fossils, we see a succession of forms over time that fits evolution well, but not YEC or PC. In those views, there is no reason why we should not see a lot of patterns incompatible with evolution, or at least a lot of “out of place” specimens, but we don’t. The handful of alleged ones have been well refuted. A lot of intermediate forms have also been documented, consistently at expected geologic horizons.

        WF: This makes perfect sense given that the earth has changed over time, sometimes gradually, sometimes rapidly. You wouldn’t expect God to create modern creatures in the Cambrian because modern creatures aren’t designed for a Cambrian world.

        We’re back to the tautology or circular reasoning. There’s no reason modern-type fish could not have existed in Cambrian seas if God wanted to make the seas and fish in them compatible. Same goes for modern plants in ancient forests, or ancient mammals long before the Cenozoic. God could have created any period with any kind of life, with most patterns having no compatibly with evolution, yet the ones we see fit evolution. There is not even one good example to the contrary, even though I could list thousands that would be– from Cambrian rabbits to Permian elephants to Devonian whales. But nothing like that is ever found, even though God could have created anyway he wanted. Instead all the patterns are consistent with evolution. I doubt that’s a coincidence, or the result of God being a prankster.

        WF: You asked if God wiped out and re-created and why don’t we see evidence of this, my answer is that we do. That’s what we see with mass extinctions,

        Yes is, but those extinctions are by all evidence the result of natural events and processes, such as the K-T impact. And by all evidence the diversification of the survivors was a natural process too, not due to God creating a new set of organisms.

        WF: “a large portion of the world’s life wiped out and suddenly being replaced with new life in explosion/radiation events.”

        Any explosion of new life is only in geologic terms (still typically involving millions of years—not an instant new creation as progressive creationists seem to believe. Originally I thought you were arguing for a PC position similar to Alexander, but your term “radiation” suggests you accept that life speciated through natural means after mass extinctions. That’s good, because if we look closely at the fossils after extinction events show, they indicate that life did not start with a whole new creation, or entirely new and different life forms, but with survivors filling lots of newly vacated niches. This can happen relatively quickly on a geologic scale, but far slower than YEC timetables allow, or which wojld fit a PC view of repeated but instant creations.

        WF: This in addition to the fact that there is such a diversity of life in the fossil record, it isn’t surprising that for most modern creatures, you can draw an evolutionary line from an earlier form to a modern form. Just as it’s easy to make the stars in the sky into constellations.

        I’m not sure what you are arguing here. Yes there is a diversity of creatures in the fossil record, and again, they appear in patterns through time consistent with evolution. As far as constellations go, I am again not sure what your point is. Do you believe God placed starts in specific configurations to look like certain objects (such as the Big Dipper?) or mythical figures (like Orion?). More likely they are more likely just reflections of the human tendency to see patterns in almost any collection of objects.

        WF: And natural selection is indeed a random, mindless force.

        No offense, but you seem to have bought into simplistic YEC cliché’s about natural selection. It can be considered “mindless” in that it does not require a direct intelligent force (though one is free to see God’s hand working in some transcendent way, or having originated the process), but it is also not entirely random. What happens is that when organisms leave offspring, those that sometimes have a mutation or variation allowing a better adaptation to their environment survive in larger numbers, and therefore pass the trait along. This is what makes it a selective rather than random process. As these changes accumulate, major adaptations and the formation of new species occur. See: https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_32

        WF: “is the result of random chaotic forces such as weather, predation, climate, etc. acting on organisms. “

        Those can be aspects of an environment, not “natural selection” itself. In fact, you’ve left out a key aspect of natural selection: the genetic variations/mutations on which it acts. Put another way, natural selection is essentially the preferential survival of occasionally adaptive mutations, which is what makes it selective, not random.

        “There is no intelligence, there is no mind. That’s the point, “

        Actually, you are missing an important point. Just because something is not “intelligent” doesn’t make it random. For example, wave action can sort objects by size and density, but has no inherent intelligence. Solutions on a piece of paper will sort their constituent chemicals into different bands in a non-random result (a process called chromatography), with the pattern involving no intelligent input—just the physical properties of the paper and the solution. In fact, it will occur even if someone spills a solution on the paper—it’s just a natural sorting process. Natural selection happens to be natural sorting process that involves the genes of organisms and their offspring and the environment in which they live.

        WF:“some survive and some don’t, the ones that do are more successful/viable.

        Now you’re on the right track. As Darwin argued, and has been confirmed many times since, when an organisms produces offspring those that tend to survive in greatest numbers are those with variations or mutations that help them adapt to their environment. That’s what makes the process no random and “adaptive.”

        WF: “It can be observed to cause adaptation in already elegant and highly sophisticated self-replicating machines (life).

        Yes, but it could have, and by all evidence natural selection was involved in helping turn initially small single celled organisms into more complex ones over time–essentially the living machines you allude to. You can believe that God directly and instantly created the first life forms or even “basic kinds” of already sophisticated plants and animals if you like, and as many creationists believe; however, the fossil record suggests otherwise. Moreover, even Genesis says that God commanded the sea and earth to bring forth living creatures, which sounds more like an indirect process (evolution) than instant and direct creation. Few creationists seem to give that much thought.

        “But it isn’t a creative designer. “

        Not in the sense you mean, but the key is that it can produce new and adaptive traits, and things that have the appearance of design. It could even reflect God’s transcendent work, but doesn’t mean he did it instantly and directly. To make a rough analogy, every snow flake appears to be an incredibly intricate and sophisticated structure, which has every appearance of something directly designed. But we know that the flakes are crystals formed through the basic properties of water whereby freezing causes it to crystallize (with the patterns dependent on other small variables). In this case there is no natural selection involved (since they don’t reproduce) but the point is that the mere appearance of design does not always imply a direct supernatural creation.

        WF: “It is a mindless, random, chaotic force. I do believe it is absurd to say that a mindless force of nature designed sophisticated machines.”

        I agree it’s absurd to say that, because it is not how natural selection works. Again, NS can act on random mutations, but that action is selective rather than random, for reasons already explained. It’s fine to see God working through the process in some transcendent or planned way, or to believe God create the first life and its properties, but the role of natural selection in speciation has been well established (as even some YECs acknowledge), and the fossil record shows that there has been a long and complex succession of life on earth.
        Granted, many YECs insist that natural selection can never produce changes beyond those of a created “kind” but the fossil record seems to show otherwise, and they have trouble even agreeing on what the basic kinds are. Some are now suggesting that “kinds” can be as broad as families or orders, which seems to imply a lot of evolution. Moreover, they seem to base their dogma about limits to change from the phrase “after their kind” in Genesis. But even taken literally that term can have other interpretations. It could just mean that the organisms started off from basic starting points, and then reproduced “after” them, without necessarily implying strict limits, or any limits, to the amount of change and adaptation.

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        • wowfunny251 says:

          To be clear, I am both Wowfunny251 and Alexander. Wowfunny251 is an old pseudonym from years ago. These accounts are confusing. Not sure why it’s listing my name differently on the same thread.

          Yes, natural selection is “selective”. But it isn’t intelligent. A hurricane is selective in that it destroys some structures far more easily than others. But ultimately, what evolution is teaching is that mindless, chaotic forces (planet formation, climate, weather, tides, etc.) came together to build a massive diversity of sophisticated machines. I do not buy that, you cannot get sophisticated machines without an intelligence behind it.

          The reason the Discovery Institute doesn’t nail down a clear history of life is because they are made up of a variety of views. They are simply united in that they all share the view I stated above, that random mutation and natural selection are not remotely sufficient to explain the diversity of life. There is nothing wrong with that, you don’t have to know exactly what really happened to reject one particular option. I don’t know exactly how big the universe is, but I know it isn’t small enough to fit in my hand. I didn’t list them as supporting progressive creationism, I listed them as providing arguments against evolution that I found more compelling than the rebuttals.

          And because you bring it up, I (along with most progressive creationists I know) am convinced of plate tectonics, star formation, planet formation, natural climate change, etc. I don’t think God supernaturally and instantly created a series of environments over billions of years. I think that God supernaturally “filled” or “populated” naturally occurring environments with lifeforms. Replacing the lifeforms as they (suddenly or rapidly) became no longer suitable for the changing environment. In doing so we can reap the benefits of all the natural resources they left behind.

          I don’t think God only uses supernatural processes, I think he uses both natural and supernatural processes. So the K-Pg mass extinction being caused by a large meteor is no problem for me. I’m actually open (though far from convinced) to universal common descent. God may have supernaturally altered pre-existing lifeforms to produce new ones.

          Lastly, I do not view evolutionists as deluded, ignorant, or irrational. I think that in a vacuum, evolution is the best available option to explain the diversity of life. But if you are a Christian, believing in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, then you accept that there is a God who can and does intervene in the physical world supernaturally. If you start with the God of the Bible in your worldview, then I think the best conclusion is different. But most in the field either don’t, or hold to a paradoxical view that they must roleplay as atheists when doing science.

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  11. Alexander, you mentioned the Discovery Institute, apparently as an example of a group that supports your Progressive Creation view. However, I knew some (such as Paul Nelson) who were YECs, while others such as Behe seemed to be more of a theistic evolutionist than a Progressive Creationist, since he accepts “common descent.” With others at DI, seem to just argue against “materiallism” or “Darwinism”, even though the latter can cover anything from rejecting evolution altogether to just not agreeing that traditional mechanisms of evolution correct or sufficient. As Laurence Moran, who commented on his Sidewalk blog writes (and I agree): “One of the most frustrating things about the current crop of Intelligent Design Creationists is that it’s impossible to pin them down on what they really think happened in the history of life. We know that some are Young Earth Creationists…Other Intelligent Design Creationists seem to believe in a different form of creation but who knows what it is? Take Stephen Mayer, for example, you can read his books from cover to cover and still not know what he thinks about the history of life.”
    Why do you think this is? It seems like I.D. proponents might gain more respect if they were more frank about what exactly they believe about earth history. Do you have any insight on about what proportion of the people at DI are YECs, progressive creationists, theistic evolutionists, or something else. Do you know any individuals there and what they believe (other than those mentioned above). I always got the impression that most were YECs or T.Es, but I’m open to any insights or inside info you may have.

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  12. Alexander, thanks for clarifying that you are the same as WowFunny.
    You wrote: “Yes, natural selection is “selective”. But it isn’t intelligent”

    Who said it was? I specifically said it wasn’t intelligent, but that didn’t mean it was “random.” Nor does it preclude a transcendent or background intelligence. Did you not understand my explanation?

    Alexander (A): “But ultimately, what evolution is teaching is that mindless, chaotic forces (planet formation, climate, weather, tides, etc.) came together to build a massive diversity of sophisticated machines”

    As before, you are leaving out an important element from that list, and perhaps the most important one: genetic mutations, on which natural selection often acts.

    A: “I do not buy that, you cannot get sophisticated machines without an intelligence behind it.”

    You can buy what you want, and I am not saying God is not ultimately behind the laws and principles of the universe, including natural selection, but again, that process is neither intelligent nor entirely random. And yet it has been shown in experiments and observations to produce new features and new species. I’m sorry if you still disregard that, and insist on still seeing it as an entirely random process.

    Alexander: “The reason the Discovery Institute doesn’t nail down a clear history of life is because they are made up of a variety of views.”

    You’ve missed my point. I didn’t ask why the organization doesn’t take a stance as a whole, but why most of their leaders and authors don’t clarify precisely what they believe about earth history.

    A: “They are simply united in that they all share the view I stated above, that random mutation and natural selection are not remotely sufficient to explain the diversity of life.

    Actually, I don’t think that’s entirely true in all cases. At least one of their vocal spokesmen, M Behe, says he accepts “common descent”; he also seems to accept natural selection acting on genetic variations as a valid and even key mechanism of evolution, including at levels above species (I’ve read some of his books). I think the only thing they all share is their abhorrence of naturalism/materialism, and the general idea that “intelligent design” is somehow behind all life. Granted, some do rail against “Darwinism,” but others besides Behe seem to accept it to at least some degree (assuming one allows, as even Darwin did, that evolution is not inherently anti-God).
    As far as the “diversity” of life goes, even most YECs today (including some at DI) agree that life diversified widely after the Flood (apparently by natural means). Curiously though, many can’t seem to agree on whether natural selection was involved, or in what way, or to what extent. Even at AIG, some say it was one of mechanisms, others say it had little or no role, or that it’s only function is to weed out bad variations. A couple of the Commentators here (like Peer and Robert) suggest that major chromosomal changes and even “hopeful monsters” drive evolution, but don’t explain how, especially without natural selection, they are likely to be adaptive (especially in the short time they have available), or what triggers them at the right time, or allows them to be preferentially passed along,

    Alexander: “There is nothing wrong with that, you don’t have to know exactly what really happened to reject one particular option.”

    Perhaps, but again, I think it would be useful, and improve their credibility, if after trying to tear down mainstream ideas, if they explained just what they want to replace them with, and presented positive evidence for any alternate model. Behe has tried to present some evidence for “irreducible complexity. But even if his evidence were convincing, it would not point to a specific alternate model, and as it, the few alleged examples of IC he presented have been strongly refuted, even by other Christian workers like Ken Miller. In fact, the IC argument seems to backfire. After all, if so many living structures or systems were irreducibly complex, he and others should be able to cite countless clear examples. Yet they can’t even cite a few compelling ones. That does not prove that life was not designed, especially in transcendent ways, but does suggest that trying to demonstrate supernatural design empirically may be misguided and very difficult at best.

    Alexander: “I don’t know exactly how big the universe is, but I know it isn’t small enough to fit in my hand.”

    I think that’s a poor analogy, since we have lots of evidence that evolution s real, and can produce changes in organisms, and ones a lot bigger than your hand.

    Alexander:” I didn’t list them as supporting progressive creationism, I listed them as providing arguments against evolution that I found more compelling than the rebuttals.”

    This is why I asked how much direct study of the fossil and geologic evidence you have done. I;m sorry, but it doesn’t sound like you have a good understanding of the fossil and geologic evidence, and neither do many of the people making the anti-evolution arguments. Again, I work with that evidence on a regular basis, and can testify that the overall patterns of the fossil record are indeed supportive of evolution, but make little sense from a YEC or PC perspective. The vast majority of working geologists, paleontologists, and biologists agree. How many YEC paleontologists can you even name? Sometimes the majority ends up being wrong, but when over 99% of workers in some field agree, I think it’s highly significant, and makes it highly unlikely that we are all wrong, especially when we are looking at many lines of evidence in these fieds. Moreover, alleged secular bias (which both ID and YEC people like to go on about) can’t explain that, because millions of these workers are Christians and other theists.

    Alexander: “And because you bring it up, I (along with most progressive creationists I know) am convinced of plate tectonics, star formation, planet formation, natural climate change, etc.

    Fine, but only a minuscule portion of people who accept all those things are Progressive Creationists, especially among earth scientists. Even if you could name a handful of exceptions, it still begs the question of why so few earth scientists (including many Christian ones) don’t support PC, even though they are the ones who work most directly and regularly with highly relevant evidence.

    Alexander: “I don’t think God supernaturally and instantly created a series of environments over billions of years. I think that God supernaturally “filled” or “populated” naturally occurring environments with lifeforms.”

    I didn’t think you were suggesting God repeatedly created inorganic aspects of new environments. However, I assumed that you like other PC advocates (such as Hugh Ross, one of the few I am familiar with) hold that God created in a series of supernatural interventions or episodes over geologic time, no? This still leaves many questions, if you have the time to respond to some:

    Do you believe like some other PCists that there were several episodes of creation over geologic time, corresponding to the days of Genesis?
    If so, when were each of these creative episodes, and how do you know?
    What organisms were created in each, and how do you identify them?
    Was the entire biosphere created anew each time, or were some organisms carried over from previous periods, and which evolved or radiated to fill new niches? Do you not think that natural selection can even produce new genera?
    If natural selection combined with genetic drift and other mechanisms can produce new species and genera (as even most YECs believe, and I assume you too accept), why could it not produce higher taxa?
    Why would so many look increasingly like modern ones as you go up the stratigraphic record if this does not reflect evolution?
    When it comes to human evolution, why would hominids look increasingly like modern humans as one goes stratigraphically higher, if we did not evolve from the earlier forms? Do you think some or all hominids were directly created?
    Where do you draw the line between humans and non-humans, and on what basis? Many YECs claim all are either “fully human” or “fully ape” but this is readily dispelled by the fact that they can’t agree among themselves on which is which (confirming that many have intermediate features). And again, why would God create hominids with intermediate features, and in geologic horizons that gave the appearance of evolution, if we did not evolve?

    Alexander: “Replacing the life forms as they (suddenly or rapidly) became no longer suitable for the changing environment.

    Why would the life forms became no longer suitable, if as evidence indicates, and even most YECs allow, organisms can adapt to their environments?

    So why would they all need to be replaced after an extinction event, which never kills off all life.
    More specifically, are you suggesting no animals survived the K-Pg impact. The fossil evidence indicates many did. Why could they not have reradiated into the vacated niches (as again, fossil evidence supports. Moreover, the diversification seems to have happened over millions of years in many lines, so where and when was the supernatural intervention?

    Alexander:: “In doing so we can reap the benefits of all the natural resources they left behind.”

    What resources that who left behind? Again, it’s clear from fossil evidence that many small animals both terrestrial and aquatic survived the K-Pg boundary, and then diversified afterward. So why assume there was a sudden and supernatural creation of organisms?

    Alexander: “I don’t think God only uses supernatural processes, I think he uses both natural and supernatural processes.”

    That’s fine, but when natural processes (even if originally ordained or started by God) are sufficient to account for what observed evidence, why evoke supernatural ones? Even in your everyday life, whenever a natural explanation will suffice, or even when something unusual happens and you don’t fully know why, do you jump to the conclusion that a miracle happened?

    “So the K-Pg mass extinction being caused by a large meteor is no problem for me.”

    Glad to hear, but again, why is it a problem to accept that the organisms that survived diversified into open niches, as the fossil record supports?

    Alexander: “I’m actually open (though far from convinced) to universal common descent. God may have supernaturally altered pre-existing life forms to produce new ones.“

    Glad to hear the first part, but I don’t know why you think the second is needed or likely, since natural selection can explain why the first organisms evolved and diversified into many new forms over tens of millions of years (even if you believe God created the first organisms.

    You seem hung up on NS being a totally “random and chaotic” process, even though it’s not, as I’ve tried to explain, and has been confirmed with many observations and experiments.
    .
    Alexander: “Lastly, I do not view evolutionists as deluded, ignorant, or irrational. I think that in a vacuum, evolution is the best available option to explain the diversity of life.

    We don’t have a vacuum. We have lost of compelling evidence for that argues for evolution whether one believes in God or not, and whether one sees him working behind the process or not.

    “But if you are a Christian, believing in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, then you accept that there is a God who can and does intervene in the physical world supernaturally.”

    Believing that God is the ultimate creator, or that he can and did intervene in the physical world at times, is a far cry from assuming that he directly intervened with multiple major creative episodes during Earth history, especially when lots of evidence suggests otherwise, and when the Bible does not dictate a PC or YEC view.

    Alexander: “If you start with the God of the Bible in your worldview, then I think the best conclusion is different. But most in the field either don’t, or hold to a paradoxical view that they must role-play as atheists when doing science.”

    I don’t think that’s fair to the millions of sincere, hard working scientists, many of whom are Christians or other theists, who conclude that the lots of compelling evidence supports an old Earth and evolution. It’s not “role playing” as atheists, but simply reasonable and logical, to accept the abundant evidence for an old Earth and evolution, instead of unnecessarily assuming that God engaged in repeated supernatural interventions.

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  13. Alexander, when I asked how many YEC paleontologists and geologists can you name, I meant how many PC (Progressive Creationists) you can name in those fields. As it is, I don’t know any PC authors or leaders who do, and the only YEC paleontologist I know well is Kurt Wise. However, even he has intimated that he is a YEC mainly due to his Biblical views, not the bulk of scientific evidence. So I’m curious if you know of others, and why you think the vast majority of Christian earth scientists reject both YEC and PC, if the evidence were really in favor of either?

    Like

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  1. […] of gills, and terrestrial olfactory features (so many, in fact, that one leading creationist has suggested that whales really did evolve from terrestrial mammals, after they got off the ark of course). Meanwhile, creationists can only shrug in the face of this […]

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  2. […] whales (and other cetaceans) evolved from terrestrial mammals. Creationists, on the other hand, almost unanimously believe that whales are their own “created kind”, and so did not have any […]

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