Stranger Things–Creationist’ Views of Speciation and Natural Selection in the 1980s

Today, young-earth creationists are actively promoting a new model of the origin of the diversity of life on Earth.  This speculative view borrows a number of elements found in any typical evolutionary biology textbook. For example, modern YECs claim that most and possibly all species alive today—except humans—are related to numerous other, though not all, species via common ancestors though they seldom use such language. They further claim that the act of speciation from those common ancestors has occurred via observable and testable evolutionary mechanisms such as genetic drift and natural selection (again, usually without using words like “evolutionary”). For example, they believe that all canine species shared a common ancestor less than 4500 years ago. Likewise they claim that chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas also shared a common ancestor.  If that sounds like a radical evolutionary proposal, it is! And it is a wave of new creationists that are making these claims.

Previously, I have provided evidence that this proposal of rapid speciation or hyperevolution as an explanation for much of our current biodiversity has existed among academic literal six-day creationists for nearly 100 years (The Origin of the YEC Hyper-Speciation Model of Biological Diversity).  So the idea of some common ancestry of animals and rapid evolution is not a new idea. However this is not a topic that many creationists cared to talk about and received scant reference or discussion for the first 50 years of the last century. It wasn’t until the 1990s that we find explaining biological diversity via rapid evolution within “kinds” becoming an important point of open discussion in YEC circles and more importantly having seeped into their popular literature which the average Christian non-scientists would see. 

Figure from “Biology God’s Living World” show Marx and Hitler anxious to get some of Darwin’s “Dishes.”

Today, YEC leaders are continuing to tell their followers that evolution is impossible (see:  Young-Life Creationists—Who are the People that Believe they can Replace Darwin?) and at the same time assuring them that many new species have formed over time and not only does this speciation happen but it happens much faster than evolutionists have ever believed was possible.  The Ark Encounter and Creation Museum are on the front lines in making these claims.  And it appears that they have made great strides in convincing their audience that the formation of new species from a shared ancestor is just fine and that it occurs via naturalistic evolutionary processes.

Ken Ham and other YEC leaders are quick to claim that they have always believed that biblical “kinds” are not to be equated with species (except for humans), but rather much larger groups sometimes categorized as genera or families. However, those, such as myself, that have read large portions of the historical YEC literature recognize that the young-earth belief in speciation from common ancestors is often not clear in early literature and much of the popular creationist’ writing explicitly denies these ideas.  So while some leaders may have believed that speciation happens, those ideas were not evident to their followers and many popularizers of creationism in the 1950’s to the 1990’s.

How was speciation portrayed in the 1980s?

What was the typical teenager taught in Christian School or home school in the 1980s about evolution and the origin of biological diversity in particular?  I’ve examined one of the post popular textbooks of the time to see how the authors summed up the consensus view of what creationism was promoting at the time.  Below I quote selections from the text to give you a flavor of how confusing their messaging was with respect to what young-earth creationists believed then and now. 

This textbook is “Biology God’s Living Creation” and was first published in 1986 by aBeka books as a ministry of Pensacola Christian College.  This text, now in it’s fourth edition and vastly updated, continues to be used in schools and homes today. The original version lists four authors of which only one, Keith Graham, finds his name on the text today.  I have been unable to unable to find out anything about Graham though presumably he has a background in biology. I say this because the other three authors of the first edition were 1) a kindergarten teacher who subsequently had a career helping to produce many aBecka materials, 2) a general editor who helped write many non-science books, and 3) a church history teacher for the Bucer Institute. 

So it doesn’t appear as if the authors had extensive training in biology or even science.  It is clear to me from reading the portions of the text that interact with evolution that they appear to have obtained most of their knowledge from other creation science materials.  Regardless of the problems this may have created with the quality of the text it does help us in one way: it provides us with a stereotypical outlook on the topic of evolution from non-experts who were taught their views by creationist writers.  This is helpful because it tells us that what they wrote was probably the impression that most people had from the creationist materials available to them at the time. It also helps us to see just what the next generation of creationists would be experience.  Those creationists are now in their 50’s. It is quite likely that this textbook and others like it from this time period shaped the views of parents that are now taking their kids to the Creation Museum and The Ark Encounter

Below I quote material (all bold words were bold in the text itself) from the textbook (I’m looking at a 1995 reprint edition) and make some observations.

Quote #1: On the limits of biological science

“The limits of biology. True science is limited to that which is observable and repeatable in the natural world; science cannot tell us who God is, what man is, or how everything got here.  Biologists have a legitimate science as long as they observe and measure living things, including man’s physical body; but because many of them are not Christians, they are blind to spiritual reality as taught in the Bible. Many biologists take what they know about life and speculate on matters outside the realm of science, such as human behavior and the origin of life. 

Science is limited to discovering and formulating God’s laws of nature and using them to benefit mankind.  Biology, then, is limited to finding God’s design in the physical part of the living creation and applying that knowledge to help man dominate the earth.

Although it does not explicitly address speciation and evolution I included this quote to set the stage for the style of presentation in the text.  Take special note of the second paragraph and what science is for. In their minds science is limited discovering things that benefit mankind. And then we see in the next paragraph that this benefit takes the form of helping “man dominate the earth.”  This dominion language was quite popular at the time. I think the same perspective is still common but the words used are more cryptic in modern texts. 

Quote #2:  Does breeding show that new species can form by selection?   This quote comes from a list of scientific evidence that Darrow introduced at the Scopes Trial and the textbook summarizes this way:

“(6)  Plant and animal breeding.  One witness argued that because man can bring about new varieties of plants and animals through scientific breeding (artificial selection), this proves that new species were brought about by natural selection.  This argument is very simplistic: new breeds are not the same as new species; new breeds are brought about by intelligent guidance, not by chance, and they revert to their original form after several generations if they are left to themselves.”

Here we see the first resistance to natural selection as a viable process for causing speciation.   The suggestion is that making breeds is possible (but only because we are purposely doing so) but species cannot be produced by speciation because even breeds go back to some original state (presumably their created state?). 

Quote #3: Does geographic distribution of plants and animals support evolution?

“(7)  Geographical distribution.  At the time of the Scopes trial, evolutionists thought that the way plants and animals are distributed across the earth proves evolution.  Evolutionists do not talk about geographical distribution very much today; the facts of distribution support the Biblical account of the Creation and the Flood very heavily.“ 

This one is weird though it may be an artifact that the authors of this chapter in the 1980’s are reaching back to repeat arguments made fifty years earlier.   But even so, since when do biologists not talk about geographical distribution as being an evidence that organisms have changed over time? Ironically, today’s creationists would look at geographic distribution and claim it IS evidence that new species have formed. They would say that the reason Hawaii has thousands of species that don’t exist anywhere else in the world is because a species of plant or animals migrated to Hawaii and then was subject to natural selection, mutations and genetic drift and evolved into many new species on Hawaii.   Yes, the odd distribution of plants and animals is a strong signal that organisms have changed in different places on earth.

Quote #4:  Natural selection and peppered moths (page 359)

 “But survival of the fittest or natural selection is not evolution.  It does not explain how new life forms or how one type of organism can change into another type or how an organism can develop new organs.  There were always light and dark peppered moths; only their ratio in the general population shifted. No new type of moth, not even a new color, evolved.  Furthermore, the light and dark peppered moths can mate and produce fertile offspring. This means they are of the same kind—another indication that a new kind did not evolve.” 

This is a quote that we almost could have gotten from a modern YEC text except the flavor here suggests that a “kind” is being equated with a “species.”  Over and over in the book there is an emphasis on changes happening within species but that no species has been shown to become another species. Sometimes the word “kind” is used instead of species.  Nowhere do the authors ever define what a biblical “kind” is other than as things that are similar to each other and more different than other things (yeah it really is that vague). However, seeing the number of times that it is said that species cannot become other species one is left with the strong impression that each species must therefore be a “kind.”  Except when it isn’t as we will see in another confusing passage.

I’ve also included the figure to the right which is from the same page. In it we see a magician pulling two moths from a hat and the kid says “but they’re the same species” indicating an association of species with kind.  The message is that changing traits doesn’t make a new species and implies that it can’t make a new species under any circumstances.  

Quote #5: Evolution of insect resistance to pesticide?

The point to be learned is not that non-resistant flies evolve into resistant ones; they do not. The lesson is that only those which already possessed this inherited resistance survived and passed their resistance on to certain of their offspring.  No new species are formed.”

They get that natural selection happens and they are right that this one change doesn’t make one species into another but they seem to be implying that those changes could never amount to differences that would accomplish speciation (the splitting of one species into two).  This is not definitive evidence that they don’t believe speciation could happen but what do you think that a teenage reader is going to come away thinking their position is on speciation?    

Figure from “Biology God’s Living Creation.”  The impression given here is that any unschooled farmer can tell you that mutations don’t make new species just variation within species.

Chapter 15 of the textbook is a lightly edited version of an anti-evolution booklet,  “Why I accept the Genesis Record” published in 1959 by physics teacher Dr. John Raymond Hand.   Hand exposes evolution by listing thirteen barricades or faults that should prevent us from accepting evolutionary theory.  Several of these involve problem with the origin of species. 

Although written in 1959 the authors of the aBeka text are willing to repeat the claims made at that time and so we must assume they considered these criticisms of evolutionary theory to still be valid in 1986.

Quote # 6:  Barricade Number 3: The formation of species lines

“And God created great whales, and every living creation that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, AFTER THEIR KIND, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that is was very good.  –Gen. 1:21

Evolution—any sort of development in animal life—would of necessity depend on breeding.  Evolution is postulated as a change in the inheritable characteristics of life forms. Unquestionably environment, climate, and food will influence individuals, but such changes are not inheritable.  For example, climate might cause a rabbit to grow a heavier coat of fur; food can determine whether it will be a fat and sassy rabbit or a thin and skinny one. But such changes disappear with the individual.  They cannot be transmitted to the progeny, and in any case the animal will still be rabbit. However, if it were possible to cross-breed a rabbit and a wildcat, the progeny would be an animal that was neither rabbit nor wildcat but something that had modified characteristics of both. Every cross-breed would further those characteristics so that the individuals instead of differentiating would “amalgamate.”  How then could definite species line be formed? They couldn’t, of course. In the course of time, instead of having a number of clearly differentiated species, you would have one kind of animal partaking of modified characteristics of all—in other words, a mongrel.”  

I’m not sure how much more clearly they can imply that species can’t change and that species boundaries are quite firm. Surely the reader is given the impression that species boundaries are the same as “kind” boundaries, especially since the Genesis 1:21 is quoted above the text and the phrase “after their kind” is placed in all caps.  

But now things begin to really go off the rails.  It appears that species are fixed and immutable (at least not able to change into other species) but on the very next page Professor Hand speaks of the lack of transitional fossils.  He uses an example of primates. He states that no transitions have every been found between lemurs, monkeys, apes and humans and then make the statement: “we will admit that we do have these four modern kinds and they do have similar characteristics.”   He then goes on to talk about the gap between these kinds and equates that gap as the gap between great apes and humans or monkeys as if the great apes were a single “kind.” 

This is very confusing, he talks about species as if they are immutable and can’t change from one to another but then on the next page acts as if all thirty species of lemurs are members of the same “kind.”  Does he really think that all the lemurs are one kind? Even the Ark Encounter divides the lemurs in to two or three “kinds.” Hand seems to be terribly confused about so many basic aspects of biology he may just not realize that they he is contradicting himself from one section to another, but it is frustrating when one is trying to pin down just what he believes about the limits of a biblical kind.

The back of the book provides a definition but it is not very helpful: “A group of organisms that can freely interbreed in nature: although often identified with the taxonomic species, the Biblical kind may refer to a species, genus or family in some cases.”  The confusion comes if you say that species can’t change into other species but that a kind could be a family.  Then you still haven’t said if God created many species in a kind right from the beginning or if there was one species in a kind originally and then that kind experienced lots of speciation events.  The latter is what modern creationists imply has happened but at this time many creationists may have believed that God made the canine “kind” and it included many species of canines each of which haven’t changed much since their creation. Would that also imply that each species had to be on Noah’s Ark?  I’m not sure. You can see this in the figure below where they show dog breeds having formed since creation but deny that different “kinds” of carnivores have evolved during that time.

A portion of a figure from the textbook: Biology God’s Living Creation. Notice that the text says “many varieties of dogs..” rather than “many species of canines…”   The “dogs” are confusing. It appears to show a wolf and many breeds of domestic dogs but what about he white one? Is that an arctic fox or another dog breed? Based on the text I’m included to think it is a breed.

Quote #7:   Barricade Number 5:  What stopped the evolutionary process? 

“Cross a horse with a donkey and you get a mule the first generation, not in 50,000 years.  Bring a man from the tropical jungles of Africa to our temperate climate and watch the results. You will not have to watch very long, either.  The first winter, he will hug the furnace and freeze. The second winter, he will get along very well with a heavy overcoat. The third winter, you will find him in the open, his coat off and his sleeves rolled up, working as if he had been born in the snow.  Reverse the process. As a missionary who has gone to the tropics. For a year or so, they suffer severely with the heat. At the end of their first term, they come home and freeze to death on the fourth of July. 

The fact is that animal life adapts itself very quickly to any sort of changed conditions. Any school boy knows that this is true.  He also could tell you with absolute assurance that, if any anthropoid, gorilla or otherwise, were ever evolved into a man, the change was completed in from five to ten generations at the most, not in 50,000 to 50,000,000 years as evolutionists would have us to believe.”

This section is so stunning I don’t know what to say.   What was he thinking when he wrote this and why did he think it was helping make a positive case for creationism?  Who knows?! 

Quote #8:  Barricade Number 6  The sterility of hybrids.

“A true hybrid is a cross between individuals of distinct species.  Let us remember that changes of individuals within a species can be induced by breeding, but such changes do not change the species.   They only develop varieties within species. 

…. In this connection I would also call your attention to the fact that there are no natural hybrids.  Individuals of different species simply do not cross naturally. Wild horses and wild asses ran side by side on our great western plains for many years, and yet there were no wild mules.  Men have forced crosses between some of the large cats, the lion and tiger, for example, and yet these beasts roam the same jungles and never mate.” 

Wow, this is very different than the message we hear from AiG and other YECs today. They are constantly reminding us that all felines are the same kind because there are known hybrids among them which proves they all come from the same source.  This also contradicts statements about all lemurs and all great apes being one kind just a few pages earlier as that would imply that all lemur species and all great ape species are interfertile which they are not. 

The author follows this up with a quote by Russian biologists (Leo S Berg, Bureau of Applied Ichthyology, Leningrad) to support their point about hybridization: 

“Hybridization, with the most insignificant exceptions, is successful only when crossings are confined within the limits of one species. It thus leaves the limits of the Linnean species intact.  Lastly, in animals hybridization rarely ever occurs: it is rare in mammals, birds and reptiles.”  

I find it a bit weird that the author would need to quote a Russian biologists to find support for his view that hybridization doesn’t happen.   I don’t know how to interpret this line of logic other than he believes that species cannot be transformed into other species and thus each species is a “kind” since it can’t hybridize with other species. 

Quote #9:  Barricade Number 11  The constant number of species.

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. –Col 1:16,17. 

Although scientists discover and name an average of 5200 new species of plants and animals each year, all agree that the actual number of species on the earth has remained constant since the Tertiary Period.  Evolutionists admit that this is true. This is difficult to understand. No, it is impossible to understand if we accept the evolutionary hypothesis. That hypothesis states that all life has been evolved from a single form to form all the various orders, families, subfamilies, genera, species and varieties, as we have them today.  If that statement were true, the number of species would of necessity be a constantly and regularly increasing one. Any schoolboy can figure that problem. Yet the evolutionists declare that life has developed from a single form to some two millions different forms, and then with the next breath they admit that the number has remained constant.  Both of these positions just cannot be true, so, as it is simple to show that the number of species has remained constant, we will have to reject the premise of evolutionary change.”

Wow! The number of species has remained constant since the Tertiary?  Really? Who says? I might respond that every schoolboy should also be aware of the concept of extinction and that speciation and extinction rates do not have to be equal thus the number of species alive at any period of time is apt to fluctuate. 

Quote # 10:  A final word of warning

At the end of Chapter 15 we finally learn a bit more about the author of the quotes above. He wraps up the chapter with a personal perspective:

“This is where the real harm lies. Our young people are not being led astray by real scientists but by the pettifoggers and demagogues; the ambitious high school teacher with an inferiority complex who wants to attract attention; the energetic reporter who wants to fill his column, and the aspiring scientific tinkerer who envisages a place among the elite.  These are they who are working the damage to our young folks, and I can speak with some knowledge on this point because for a number of years I was one of them.

But I believe that I have said enough to show you that evolution has no answer to the riddle of life.  I realize that my own exploration of the field has been limited. Again I remind you that I am not a scientist. I am a layman as far as science is concerned.  I do not seek argument; I want an answer. Until science can provide me with one that will satisfy me as well as the one which I have found not only without its help but actually against its efforts to confuse me—until then I shall stand my ground.  There are enough uncertainties in life without making life itself an uncertainty. Thus I stand upon the answer that accounts for everything and explains everything: “In the beginning God created….”

I will just say that his description of science and the scientific arguments he makes in this chapter do demonstrate very clearly that he is a layman he doesn’t even appear to be self-taught other than consuming creation science materials. 


If you know the YEC literature then you will be aware of how YECs have been increasing been embracing a number of evolutionary principles.   But what about the average person who simply goes to a creation conference or has been told by their pastor or elder they must be anti-evolution but know nothing more?  What if all they know about creationism is what they learned in their high school science textbook? It would not be surprising if you are confused about what a kind is and what creationists believe about speciation rates or even the possibility that new species can be formed over time you are not alone. However I think you will agree that the way these authors from the 1980’s talk about species and biological diversity is quite different than what we hear today.  

This figure comes from an aBeka text book from 1986 (Biology God’s Living World) which was one the most popular Christian school and home school texts at the time. What I find curious about it is that the image on the left which is labeled superstition is how I once imagined that God created Adam on the 6th day. Here this is labeled as “superstition” but I have to imagine that most people when they read that God formed man from the dust of the ground if they try to imagine what that would have looked like this image might represent exactly what they think happened. Rather than superstition isn’t this what YEC believes think actually happened? If not this, what do YECs actually think that forming Adam from the ground might have looked like?

Editing kindly provided by MC

50 thoughts on “Stranger Things–Creationist’ Views of Speciation and Natural Selection in the 1980s

  1. I think part of the confusion is that creationists are using a binary rather than a hierarchical “classification.” That is, either you are in the same kind or you aren’t. That way, every lemur species could be its own kind, and if that’s true, it follows “a fortiori” that lemurs and humans are different kinds. A biologist would say that if each lemur species is a kind, then the set of all lemurs is a super kind, but creationists aren’t interested in the kind/super kind distinction. For creationists, saying that all lemurs are a kind doesn’t contradict the claim that each lemur species is also a kind, whereas for biologists, it does.

    Creationists have a good reason to avoid hierarchical thinking, because once you start noticing the hierarchical pattern of similarity among living things, then evolutionary family trees become hard to avoid

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  2. This is a juicy investigation, definitely adding that to the chapter in the new book on baraminology, as further evidence as to how their apologetics has “evolved” over time regarding speciation acceptance, and how their vagueness still leads to grassroots creationists denying speciation within their frame,

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  3. I was raised in an A.C.E. school in the 1980s-90s with hardcore creationist texts not unlike the Abeka one. The merest hint of speciation was utterly rejected by their dogma. Every species of canid from dogs to foxes to hyenas was a separate creation at Eden that found independent refuge on the Ark.

    Interesting that you mention Hawaii. The trigger that first made me realize evolution was true was an issue of American Scientist that had an article about the evolution of spiders in the Hawaiian islands. They explained it so well I could not help but agree that evolution and speciation had occurred, and the floodgates were opened.

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    1. Thanks for your post, Paul D. It’s always encouraging to hear from people who have been raised in an atmosphere of scientific ignorance and misinformation, but managed to set themselves free from this.


    2. Just a small note, but hyenas aren’t canids: they’re in their own ‘kind’, allegedly related to the cat/mongoose side of the Carnivora.


      1. Curiosity based question:
        “allegedly related to the car/mongoose side of Carnivora.”

        It sounds like you have a different viewpoint and I am intrigued. Any chance I can entice you to elaborate?


        1. You never before met anyone who queried the official line that cars are members of the Carnivora, Tom B? Remarkable, isn’t it, but there are a few heretics, despite the incontrovertible evidence of the names, one so obviously derived from the other!


        2. Reading Sally’s comment I realise that the long reply I made to this never appeared. Maybe it was because it had a link to a paper in it.

          Anyway, to summarise: the order Carnivora has long been divided into two suborders — Caniformia (dogs, bears, raccoons, weasels, skunks, seals, etc.) and Feliformia (cats, civets, mongooses, hyenas and euplerids [Malagasy carnivores]). As far as I know hyenids have never been classified with canids, despite superficial similarity and mistakes made by non-specialists (such as David Attenborough in “Life of Mammals”).

          This classification was originally made based on anatomy (mainly features of the braincase, especially the ear region), and is now confirmed by molecular biology. Hyenids are most closely related to the mongooses + euplerids.

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          1. Not sure what happened there. One link shouldn’t be a problem. I just searched through the comments and I don’t see one from you that is pending and not approved.


              1. Owing to the vagaries of WordPress, or this particular site, or something, I am unable to “like” other people’s posts until I have posted something myself, so I might as well use this space to commiserate over your lost post. In my experience, it is always the long posts, over which one has expended much labour, that are liable to go missing.😩


          2. Dr. Janis,
            Thank you for your reply. To quote my medical students and residents (who grew up with Harry Potter) I view each of your posts as “catching the golden snitch”.
            At the risk of being annoying, any chance you would reattempt the link that got lost?
            The reason I ask is that I have heard of the mongoose-hyena connection and more distantly cats (not cars- thank you sallyhawksworth😁). I was not aware there was much of any question amongst scholars regarding that connection and so was intrigued by your suggestion that hyenas were only allegedly related to the mongoose/cat side of Carnivora.
            Or am I missing something in your reply (which I suspect is most likely)?

            P.S. My preference that the far superior Caniformia remain free of the degenerate Feliformia- with attendant hyena/mongoose ugly step cousins- has nothing to do with my interest.


            1. ‘To quote my medical students and residents (who grew up with Harry Potter) I view each of your posts as “catching the golden snitch”.’

              Many thanks for this sentiment!

              ‘I was not aware there was much of any question amongst scholars regarding that connection and so was intrigued by your suggestion that hyenas were only allegedly related to the mongoose/cat side of Carnivora.’

              Apologies, that was totally me being snarky at the YECs thinking that any family could be related to any other. But don’t forget that the Feliformia, for all of its faults, includes the totally wonderful Eupleridae.


              1. I’m disappointed, Tom B., that you disrespect the wonderful cat family. Shame on you. But I’m also intrigued by Christine’s post. So weasels, and the rest of the mustelids, are more closely related to dogs and bears than they are to mongooses, who in their turn are more closely related to tigers and hyenas than they are to weasels? Isn’t convergent evolution wonderful? How about meerkats then?


                  1. Thanks. I missed this till just now. Well, there you go.

                    Do the baraminology brigade class mongooses in a kind of their own, or do they lump them in with other creatures (which?) as descendants of some Ark pair? I presume the authors of Genesis would have classed mongooses and their ilk as “unclean” if they had ever run into them – which I guess is unlikely, but not as unlikely as their running into penguins or kangaroos – so the baraminology crowd must be stipulating one pair of Arkly ancestors rather than seven.

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                    1. As far as I know, baraminologists consider every family of Carnivora to be its own independent baramin, so meerkats and mongooses would be the ‘Herpestid’ baramin (a completely separate creation from, say, civets or weasels).

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  4. That was long even for summer reading.
    Yes creationists have a moral nd intellectual right to figure out/change ones mind about how kinds did change. Yes there are mechanisms as we all must agree as just looking at people when we all agree we all came from a original breeding single p[population and not that long ago.


    1. EVERYONE has a moral and intellectual right (indeed a duty) to try to figure stuff out and to change their minds if they find convincing evidence that they had been mistaken before, Robert. Quite a number of former YECs have done this when they realised that they had earlier been fed a lot of misleading supposed information, or became aware, through later education, of other things that they had not been told at all by their YEC parents and teachers and pastors. My hope is that others will do so as a result of reading blogs like Joel’s, or some of the other scientist posters here.

      The trouble with the sort of mindchanging among YECs about the course of earth’s history that Joel documents is that whatever new story they come up with, or however much genuine science they try to borrow and mangle while shoehorning it into their narratives, it will never make sense, or be internally consistent, unless they are prepared to accept that the earth is billions of years old, and that there never was a panglobal flood, and this they refuse to do for doctrinal reasons. Baraminology is no more genuine science than astrology is.

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    2. And Robert, given the track record both of Marsh when he started baraminology in the 1940s (when there was already too much data, fossil and biological, for him to account for in the kinds, and vastly less than what we have on the table now) and the new baraminology of the last twenty years (that has shown a great aptitude in flushing taxa and genetic data down the drain to sustain their kind mythology), I expect that resolving of the matter not to happen. Your model is not true; they’re never going to make the data fit. And you, lunging around in the grassroots apologetics department, are only wandering around in quest of a holy grail that is never going to exist for you to grasp.


  5. “Likewise they claim that chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas also shared a common ancestor.”

    Can I have the reference(s)…? Thanks.


    1. Several but the clearest is Jean Lightner’s Mammlian Ark Kinds article She puts them all in the same “kind.” The signage at the Ark Encounter (the authoritative Word:-) puts them in the sam kind. The textbook I talk about in this article implies it as well saying the “great apes” are a kind even though they previous section of the text implies many species of other families are kinds. I’ve seen the claim several other times in the lit though I don’t have other specific articles right at hand but the Lightner article should prove that this is a common belief. Yes, I know it is is really crazy given the lack of hybridization data and the genetic and morphological gulf between gorillas orangutans.

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      1. Lightner is a fascinating example of how loosy-goosy kindology has become (she’s strictly not a baraminologist, since she I don’t think she uses their specific analytical tools). Ark Encounter has apparently relied on her efforts for some of their kind designations, including the birds (where she lumps finches and their close relatives into a baramin, 1200 of them just since their kind flapped off the Ark at Ararat). I think many grassroots creationists, or ones steeped in the apologetic tradition you survey in your post, would be shocked if they actually tried to catch up with the higher echelon creationist positions.

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        1. Lightner’s article on the kinds of mammals is certainly fascinating, as Lightner imports the standard evolutionary biology families wholesale. So we find the greater panda with the bears (no hybridization). Lightner gives all Madagascar carnivores as the family Eupleridae – a family fully constituted on DNA phykogenies. Any convergence between creationism and evolutionary biology consists of this wholesale cribbing of evolutionary science.
          The problem for Lightner would be why she seemingly accepts all evoluton as based on phylogenies up to the family level, but rejects the orders that have been derived using exactly the same methods.

          Liked by 2 people

      2. So, in fact evolutionism and creationism are now coming closer and closer. This is exactly I was expecting when I wrote my book over 10y BP. They have to come together, since biology demands for it. The mechanisms for speciation are also described in my book. They are non-Darwinian, frontloaded and TE-driven. No novel information (“genes”) are required. Contrary to Darwinian mechanisms, which depend on random mutations and selection, grand evolutionary speciation events are regulatory and predetermined. It is the TEs and the rearrangement of chromosomes that release the novel phenotypes. The cyclids are a good example here. 500 species, all niches occupied, in only a few thousand generations. Yes, Lightner might be right in that the great apes all be descended from one common ancestor.


        1. ‘The cyclids are a good example here. 500 species, all niches occupied, in only a few thousand generations.’

          Why use cyclids [sic] as a particular example here when the Young Life model demands this for every family of organisms?

          ‘Yes, Lightner might be right in that the great apes all be descended from one common ancestor.’

          She is indeed right, as long as humans are included. Even Linnaeus understood that.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I agree he cylclids are indeed an fascinating group of species. But, as I think Janis is implying, it feels like the exception trying to prove the rule. We would need examples showing that fast evolution occurs in every group and that slow evolution is the outlier before we should consider cyclid speciation rates to be the norm.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Therein lies the problem, Joel. The same baraminological tools that connect up species & genera within a family (the usual and historic level of “kind”) can’t in principle stop the giant connect the dots game as more fossil and genetic blips come up on the scope. And always that ticking bomb of human origins. The abject failure of baraminologists to even try and parse their way through the therapsids, or deal comprehensively with species rich groups like the bats, is symptomatic of a methodology that can’t keep humans separate from the apes without a heavy dose of double standard.

              To borrow their terminology, all life is one gigantic baramin, with vast lineages of monobaramins since the origin of life, and no separately created ones, only naturally branching lineages. None of that of course squares with the Genesis cartoon (let alone resolve the difficulties of booking the space on Noah’s Ark, another of their non-negotiable and contradictory imperatives), though the YECers will keep at trying, despite the risks of hilarity and conflict that must arise the more data they either try to deal with or (much more common) simply ignore.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. I posted on this but it seemed to disappear.
              The cyclids( I think the famous fish in the African lakes) are a great example for how speciation worked back in the day. It would only be about 4 thousand years ago. A few entered these lakes, and with no interfrerence, exploded in diversity quickly. indeed not likely any more speciation since. on a probability curve its unlikely they are a special case. only what is special is the segregated place they live in never allowed competition. they show how biology actually works in ability to change bodyplans.
              Funny why my comment before never lasted. is it me? i have recently got a new computer.


              1. By all means write your monograph on the “cyclids” (AKA cichlids), clarifying how many alleged kinds there are among them (or whether they are monobaraminic, and if so, what is their larger baramin), and their historical biogeography within the hypothetical Flood model, so we can all see clearly what manner of chronology you have in mind for them. And regarding speciation rates, you could devote some time to explaining in what respect this does not also account for the emergence of our own Homo sapiens species from the erectus bunch.

                And was any of this going on before or after the Egyptians built the Great Pyramid? Please offer your accounting (which you would be a pioneer of, since nobody on your creationist side seems capable of getting that rigorously specific, including Kurt Wise, Andrew Snelling, Steve Austin, John Woodmorappe, Todd Wood, etc.)

                Liked by 1 person

              2. ONLY four thousand years ago, Robert? Four thousand years is two thirds of the time since the creation of the universe, according to Bishop Ussher’s famous chronology, as accepted by most young earth creationists till recently, when some started to claim that perhaps the earth might have been around for TEN thousand years or so. What is YOUR opinion on the age of the earth, BTW?

                Let’s see. If we combine Ussherian chronology with modern scientific dating of cichlid evolution and do a simple subtraction sum we arrive at the interesting proposition that one family of small freshwater fish have spent twice as long evolving into separate species in a few lakes in Africa as it took for the entire universe to originate, the solar system to form, life on earth to begin and all the lineages of Cyanobacteria, the creatures of the Burgess Shale, trilobites, ammonites, dinosaurs, birds, mammals etc to rise in turn and mostly go extinct: the same time, approximately, as there has been between the days when Jesus and Julius Caesar were alive and the present day. – two thousand years. Yes?

                Absurd, isn’t it? But that’s the sort of absurdity to be expected when someone imports data measured according to one system into a completely different and incompatible system. And that’s what creationists, even the ones who have reluctantly come round to the idea of an Old Earth, insist on doing when they cherry pick some of the findings of modern science and insert them into a framework based on a narrative of created “kinds” all surviving a worldwide flood on a single wooden boat built by a family of modern humans, and then diversifying into all the species currently to be found on the earth.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I’ll try again. however my posts are not getting thropugh sometimes.
                  i picked 4000 to hit about 2000BC. after the flood AND AFTER earth upheabals. like the ice age and general issues with flooding in Northern africa.
                  Then these fish went into these lakes and within years or a few decades radiated in a great diversity. then it was over. only now are tghose remaining. No bodyplan changes have happened since.
                  In the fossil record a sudden explosive radiation can be seen. i say these fish are not a special case but the true case. they only are impressive now because of the segregated lakes they live in never allowed competion or predation except among themselves.


                  1. Let me commiserate with you, Robert, as I did with Christine, on the vagaries of the internet, and this annoying tendency of posts we have worked particularly hard on to go missing in action. Still, you can at least console yourself with the thought that you are not alone, and are not being specially targeted by malignant evolutionist saboteurs either, since Christine’s long post also failed to appear, and her views are diametrically opposed to yours. Perhaps, it occurs to me, it was length itself that caused the glitch. When I have had problems myself it has usually been some particularly long post that has been the victim.

                    Anyway, re your last reply to me, I think you have failed to understand the point that I was making. Whether four thousand years is considered a short or a long period of time depends on the frame of reference. For a historian specialising in written documents, or technological development, it’s a very long time indeed. Practically everything she is concerned with is more recent than four thousand years ago. But for a palaeontologist four thousand years ago is quite recent, and for a geologist (unless his name is Andrew Snelling and he’s writing in a YEC publication rather than a scientific journal) four thousand years is only a tiny snippet of the total age of the earth, considerably less than a millionth, in fact.

                    So thank you for specifying that IYO 2,000 BC, the approximate date when you think the already existing cichlids started – and quickly finished- evolving into their different species, was after the Flood and the Ice Age. (Squarely in YEC fantasy “history” then, since according to the geologists, apart from Snelling, there have been many different ice ages and floods, but none that covered the whole earth.) Now perhaps you can tell us how long 2,000 BC was after the formation of the earth, and how long after the first life on earth. IYO. Let’s see where it fits in your total timeline, so we can understand whether you are envisaging everything that happened on earth prior to that date as having happened in roughly 2,000 years or 4,500,000,000 years. You can see, I am sure, that there is something of a difference between the two figures. So which comes nearer to your estimate?


                    1. I knew it was either my new computer or occasionall things like this on this blog. no conspiracy was imagined. Its off subject about timelines. however its 6000 for creation week and so no time before. 4500 years ago since the flood and 4000 or so, etc, for last important events in earths upheavals.
                      so 2000 BC was about when a few cichlid fishes found thier way into the African lakes. Say 50 years later there was a glorious diversity and it was over. since then only attrition to them.
                      they remain, not as a abberation, but a revelation as to the true equation . they are not weirdly unique but the norm. Only predation/extinction has not happned in these segregated areas.
                      Likewise in the fossil record one will also find these great diversitys.
                      ts an innate ability and not from selection on mutations.
                      thats why these fish are very interesting. Also on a probability curve its unlikely they are special.
                      they are a great clue.


            3. What is the rule? Darwinian rule….? Millions of years of selection of random mutations? The cychlids are not the exception, they are the norm. All speciation is fast. And how it works is known since at least 50 years. It is the genome, the karyotype, which holds cryptic information, which can be released immatediatle through the activity of tranposable elements. Speciation is nothing but regulatory and alterantive gene expression. As soon as you start to nrealize the karyotype is a road map for builing phenotypes, and TE are determining how information is materilaized, you will understand how the genomes work. The problem here is that the science, and the cristian scientists posting here, adopted the false Darwinian creed. Huxley knew: “Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed”. Leaving darwinism is understanding biology. Also read Behe’s latest book.


          2. The point is, everyone BELIEVES that biology is Darwinian. It is believed Darwinian because it has been taught as such since 150 years. Biologists, particularly christian biologist must start to think again and not blindly follow the darwinians, whose ideas have been tested and found wanting. Fact is biology is NOT Darwinian. Evolution, i.e. the process of adaptation, is a frontloaded unfolding information process prescribed in the genomes and predetermined by laws, which we are only now beinning to unravel. These laws are partly genetic, partly epigenetic, but fully informational and as such immaterial. How it works is explained in my 2008 book “Darwin Revisited”.


          3. “She is indeed right, as long as humans are included. Even Linnaeus understood that.”

            We know now (from genetic comparisons) that humans have at least 10% unique information in their genomes compared to chimps and the great apes. So, why should humans be included in the great apes? Isn’t it clear in our information age that Linaeus and Darwin are completely outdated? Should we not start to reanalyze biology? Why do you follow 18th and 19th century naturalists and not current biology? Considering the novel findings of our days, it is only logical that all biology must be reinterpreted. Biology is not Darwinian. It is saltational and predetermined.


            1. ‘Why do you follow 18th and 19th century naturalists and not current biology? ‘

              I am indeed following current biology, Peer. Phylogenomics confirms the relationship of humans to other great apes — humans are placed in the same family as chimps and gorillas. Your notions of how biology and speciation work are your own, and are not part of any current biological ideas (except perhaps among a few creationists).


              1. Phylogenomics is based on data selection. Phyloinformatics shows humans and great apes cannot share a common ancestor by evolution, only by devolution.


                1. What is the difference between phylogenomics and phyloinformatics? I think my colleagues here would consider them one and the same.

                  How can data be managed and analysed if there is no selection?

                  And can you find a peer-reviewed scientific paper that documents your claim that humans cannot share an ancestor with other great apes by evolution? Or that they do share a common ancestor by ‘devolution’?

                  Liked by 2 people

                2. The science endeavors to address all the available data, and to productively lead to new data to further clarify the matter. Antievolutionism, by contrast, involves rampant data avoidance (as may be observed to investigating what is and is not filtered through their various little apologetic mills), hence is a non-starter on the competitive “Here’s what we think happened” field.


        2. A few days ago my brother and I took my great nephews, aged seven and eight, to Monkey World, the celebrated primate rescue centre in deepest darkest Dorset. There was certainly plenty of corroborative evidence, in both physiology and behaviour, that all the great apes, including the ones who had paid to go in, and the ones that ran the Centre, are descended from a common ancestor. There was plenty of evidence, likewise, that the lesser apes, the gibbons, shared a more remote common ancestor with them, and that the various monkey species, rescued from the pet trade or experimental labs, shared a more remote ancestor yet with with the apes, and the delightful ring tailed lemur troop shared a still remoter ancestor with all these others. The resemblance of my great nephews, playing and occasionally squabbling, on a huge climbing frame and slide complex, to the excitable chimp troops, or the orang utan orphans, enjoying very similar equipment, was particularly striking. Charles Darwin noticed much the same thing when he studied his own children, and a young orang utan female which had recently been acquired by London Zoo.

          So where do YOU draw the line, Peer, and why? Are you prepared to agree that humans fit snugly into the great apes family, more closely related to chimps than either are to orang utans, which is what the genetic evidence tells us?


  6. Well, of course your post is utter twaddle from the POV of any actual history or science, Robert, but thank you for so straightforwardly confirming that you are actually claiming that the earth Is a mere six thousand years old, and that two thousand years or less after life first came into existence, into which period you slot the Noah’s Ark narrative, the cichlid ancestors, finding themselves isolated in their lakes, underwent rapid evolution (for fifty years, you say) into their present various species, since which time, approximately four thousand years, they have ceased to evolve at all.

    Now I wonder if Peer, who lays claim to some real scientific education, though I can’t remember if he told us where he acquired it, will be equally candid about the timeline that HE is postulating. Do you agree with Robert, Peer, about the age of the earth? And the rest of his timeline?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Off topic but quite interesting. I also read that post and found the references to the potter and clay and most interesting way of thinking about the topic. Wish I could go deeper than that but it would require a lot more thinking than I can devote at the moment.


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