• On Diversity – A Reply to Answers in Genesis

    The denizens of Answers in Genesis have published… something… in their vanity press “peer-reviewed journal”. Though I guess peer-reviewed is fair since idiots wrote it and, presumably, fellow idiots thought it valuable.

    The paper is here (and I wouldn’t click on the link because AiG is known for installing tracking cookies). It’s written by Dr. Nathaniel T. Jeanson and Dr. Jason Lisle and the title is “On the Origin of Eukaryotic Species’ Genotypic and Phenotypic Diversity”. It’s curious that the authors put “Dr” in their names on the paper. That’s very unusual. Of course, Lisle is trained as a astrophysicist and having read some of his previous work, he’s not a polymath.

    Anyway, I don’t want to get into the authority or lack thereof of the authors themselves. I just mention it because of how out of the norm it is. “We’re smart. We have Ph.D.s. Therefore our paper is good.” Or something like that.

    Honestly, there’s not much to this “paper” except that they are promoting a scientific “explanation” and “predictions” for a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) model. It’s really the same as any apologetics article, the only difference is that it has been tarted up to look like a real peer-reviewed paper. As my rural cousins say, “It’s just lipstick on a pig.”

    Their “predictions” are nothing more than taking the known information provided by actual science and doing some meaningless math to make their numbers match what science shows. What’s truly funny is that they forget their own Bible when doing this math, showing that they really are just making shit up.

    In the section about “Human Haplotype Block Predictions”, they use a 6000 year estimate to determine how many haplotypes could be present in humans. They forget that their model requires Noah’s Flood and thus, the actual time frame is less than 6000 years (probably more like 4000 years, depending on which made up numbers you prefer). Yet the authors, ignoring the massive bottleneck in all species, gets the correct answer. The correct answer being the number of haplotypes present today.

    Before that section, they even discuss the Flood and say it occurred about 4500 years ago.  Oops.

    The assumptions that are made in this paper are absolutely staggering. Assuming that all extinct species are already known. Assuming that the K/T boundary is the Flood boundary (which results in the question “Where in the pre-Flood Bible are dinosaurs mentioned?”). I won’t even get into the major issues with the Flood itself.

    Here’s another great example of idiocy.

    Phenotypic change on various timescales. The wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) develops from a single cell to a sexually mature adult in less than three years, undergoing massive phenotypic transformation in the process. By contrast, over the course of 4365 years, the 37 cat species that exist today arose from a common felid ancestor—a much smaller level of phenotypic change. Thus, producing extensive phenotypic species diversity in a few thousand years is not an unreasonable postulate.

    Except of course, they are comparing the growth and development of an individual to the evolution of multiple populations of mostly non-breeding species. I’ve discussed cat evolution several times (here and here). So, it’s a topic that I know something about.

    One thing that the authors utterly fail to mention is that there are a lot more felids than the 37 extant species (it’s even worse for canids). There are over 29 extinct genera, each with multiple species. Homotherium for example, has 15 species… all of which appear AFTER the K/T boundary and thus, in the authors reckoning, after the Flood. Which means that all these species appeared and then went extinct in less than 2000 years. I say that because there is no written history of them in any cultural writing of the last 2,000 years.

    It gets even worse for the authors (if that’s even possible). Their work flies directly in the face of all other creationist and ID works.

    The authors claim to reject evolution as a viable mechanism for species diversity.

    The failure of Darwinian evolution as an explanation for the origin of species does not imply that the answer to this long-standing debate is found in the species fixity model.

    Which is interesting in and of itself. They (like all creationists) constantly refer back to Darwin as if he was the high priest of evolution and if he was wrong, then all science for the last 150 years is somehow also wrong.

    Yet, they are using evidence from evolutionary biology to promote their idea. Curiously, their idea to explain species diversity is simply evolution… with a creator.

    Their explanation on how all this is possible is “Created Heterozygosity and Natural Processes” (CHNP).

    Like the latter, the CHNP hypothesis proposes that diploid individuals were created heterozygous, and that natural processes since this event (including recombination, gene conversion, mutation, natural selection, etc.) have distributed and/or added to the original created genetic diversity, thus producing the genotypic and, consequently, phenotypic diversity we observe today.

    In other words, organisms were created by God and then evolution took over, resulting in the diversity of life we see around us.

    In fact, the authors explicitly state this.

    In other words, our model invokes a single, biblically-justified miracle of creation during the Creation Week, and then invokes observable natural processes thereafter.

    I’m not sure how that would go over in ID circles. The problem is that ID (and early creationists) push so hard that evolution is wrong. Evolution cannot work. Evolution doesn’t have the time to create new species.

    Yet, two Young Earth Creationists disagree with this and say that, Yes, evolution does work. What’s more, because the Created Kinds where created, then diverged, evolution works.

    But it wasn’t any form of evolution that any biologist would accept. This is Hyper-Evolution. This is the kind of evolution that results in thousands of different species in just a few thousand years.

    Consider the following:

    What’s interesting is that domestic dogs, a single species in family canidae has a greater phenotypic diversity than all other members of canidae combined. What that means is that dogs display a greater variety of physical differences from other dogs than the differences between all other canid species.  For example the Fennec Fox (smallest non-dog canid) is less different from a gray wolf (largest non-dog canid) than a pug is from a great Dane.

    Now, that level of diversity had to happen AFTER the ark. So, the entire diversity of Canis familaris had to happen in much less time, because Canid familaris had to evolved from the ark-canid first, then diverge.

    Of course, then we have to wonder about all the fossil canids, of which there are more than 140 unique species, ranging from the ancestal raccoon dog, the dire wolf, and ancestral coyotes and foxes. So, we’re talking less than 4,000 years for all the species to appear and then go extinct and go extinct so quickly that there are no human records of their existence.

    We’ll not talk about the obvious issues of why things like dire wolves (which are about 25% larger than gray wolves and much more muscular) are only found in North and South America… meaning that the ark canid would have to get to the Americas, then diverge, then go extinct… all in less time than humans have actually been breeding dogs.

    And we’ll further not talk about the cultural depiction of dogs in epic poems and history that are dated from 4000 to 12,000 years ago.

    Thus, speciation on the young-earth timescale is not only plausible; it is quickly becoming scientifically superior to any other explanation for the origin of the rich diversity of life on this planet.

    Which is utter bullshit. Even if you create a just so story to explain Hyper-Evolution. It still doesn’t do anything for any other issues with Young Earth Creationism.

    Still, it’s pretty funny to see two YECs promoting evolution as valid. I think someone should start promoting this article to the various ID groups and watch their heads explode.

    Category: CreationismEvolutionfeaturedScience


    Article by: Smilodon's Retreat

    • im-skeptical

      The beauty of science is that so many diverse fields all fit together to give us a comprehensive framework of understanding. You don’t get to pick and choose which bits you want to incorporate into your belief system. You can’t ignore geology and chemistry, and all kinds of other things that make up this framework.

    • KeithB

      And don’t forget the radiation of the marsupials. Was there just one proto-marsupial? Was it all post-flood?

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        My understanding from AiG (not that I try too hard to understand them) is that the taxonomic Family is roughly equal to a kind… so about 15 types of marsupial on the boat.

    • Christine Janis

      “Phenotypic change on various timescales.”

      Really? So cats don’t develop from a single cell like frogs do? Who’d have thought?