Are Ruminants Derived from a Common Ancestor? Ruminating on the Meaning of Noahic “Kinds”

What do giraffes, cows, sheep, antelope, and deer have in common?  Foremost, they all share a specialized digestive system that includes a four-chambered stomach that allows them to obtain nutrients and energy from vegetation that is inaccessible to most mammals.  This ability and other shared morphological traits are used by scientists to classify all of […]

Dodging Darwin: How Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is Slowly Embracing Evolution

As the strict young-earth creationists at Answers in Genesis work to complete their Ark Encounter “theme park,” they have expended an impressive amount of energy organizing the millions of species of land animals alive today into a handful of small groups they call “baramins.” Creationists insist that while adaptation or speciation within a particular “baramin” is observable (and, indeed, necessary in order to account for the present observed diversity of life), there is never any overlap between separate kinds. Unfortunately for the young-earth model, the push to minimize the number of animals riding on the Ark has exposed a major problem with this view.

Is Ken Ham’s Rapid Post-Flood Diversification Really Evolution?

I ended my previous article, Ken Ham’s Darwinism, with the following observation: Ken Ham has fully embraced Post-Flood Rapid Evolution as a mechanism of creating the amazing variation we see today. As he slides further down the slippery slope into the rabbit hole of radical accelerated evolution he has now become, ironically, more accepting of naturalistic […]

Plants and the Biblical Definition of Life: What is Life – Part II

Are plants alive? Ken Ham seems to think so since he refers to “animal or plant life in outer space.”  But what does he mean by alive?  I think he has only a secular scientific definition of life in mind when he makes these statements.  I wonder if he even knows that his own website […]

Testing The Creationist’s Hyper-evolution Orchard: Canines, Felines and Elephants

Last week I pointed out that the Bible provides no support for Ken Ham’s contention that massive numbers of species have formed following their departure from Noah’s ark 4500 years ago (YEC Biblical Evolution: I Have A Book That Says Otherwise).  Now I’m following up with “observational” evidence from DNA sequences to test whether the […]

Canine Transmissible Tumors: Seeking Immortality By Becoming a Parasite

Cancers are cells that have forgotten who they are supposed to be.  They become independent brats in the body, hogging resources and dividing uncontrollably.  The problem, from the cancers perspective of course, is that being a spoiled brat may bring short-term rewards, like lots of progeny and freedom from having to behave like the cell […]

Invoking Super-Speed Evolution: How to Squeeze 10,000+ Bird Species onto Noah’s Ark

There are about 10,000 species of birds alive today.  Almost 200 additional species have gone extinct since the year 1500 and there are innumerable fossil species of birds in the geological column. One of the persistent challenges for modern young earth creationists is how to fit the diversity of life on the Noah’s ark.  Answers […]

They Have the Gene but Blood is Not Sweet Nectar to the Vampire Bat

In my class yesterday I reviewed a paper selected by my students that explored the sweet tasting abilities of bats.  We learned that most, but not all, bats can taste sugar like other mammals.   I did not know much about mammalian taste receptors (that is one problems with letting students pick the topics!) and I […]

NH Notes: A Trunk and Tusk-Challenged Fossil Elephant

I have been thinking about Elephants the last couple of days and may write more about elephant following in the vein of my recent posts on horses.  For now I just want to introduce you to one really weird extinct elephant.  I call it an elephant because of its obvious similarities but just like with […]

Equines of the Bible: Horse Series Part V

Thus far in this series  about horses we have we have explored some of the  interpretations of the fossil record of horses and demonstrated the difficulty of defining the boundaries of species of modern horses.   We have seen that evolutionary theory and most modern young earth creationists propose that the domestic horse, the donkey […]

Horsing Around with Genetic Sorting: Horse Series Part IV

Last time I looked at horses I noted there were differing opinions about the significance of the fossil record or horses and how it should be interpreted.   Among creationists, Wood and associates clearly see the horse fossil record differently than Sarfati and Molen.  So what are the later not seeing that Wood et al. […]

The New Zealand Flora: Flightless Moas as Agents of Natural Selection

Plants aren’t just helpless victims of herbivory. They find ways to fight back against those voracious animals that can ravage them in short order.   Plants can produce toxins, spines, thorns, glass crystals in their cells and many other defenses but all of these defenses require a significant allocation of energy.   That energy could be spent growing new […]

In Search of the Equine Common Ancestor – Horse Series Part III

As we saw in the last installment of this series, When is a Horse a Horse?, horse species today appear to represent divergent genetic units that naturally do not interbreed on a regular basis.  Therefore each of these lineages of horses is acting like a species as defined by the biological species concept.  This raises the […]

When is a Horse a Horse? The Species Definition Problem

In my introduction to the origin of horses I suggested that a horse is a horse of course, unless of course it isn’t a horse. But how do we know when we have stretched a horse beyond being a horse?   Although I talked about the definition of horses in the context of creationist’ theory, I […]

A Horse is a Horse, Unless of Course it Isn’t a Horse

Creationists are becoming more and more likely to view the origin of horse species and other large groups of similar species as the result as descent from a common ancestor albeit via mechanisms and at rates which may not be recognizable to evolutionary biologists. But where does does variation in a kind end and a new kind begin?