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Discussion Topic-Do Scientific Facts Support Creation, Or Evolution?
It all depends what we meant by "scientific evidence."
Using the rules of mainstream science, there is overwhelming evidence for evolution. http://peacefulscience.org/evidence-and-evolution However, mainstream science does not take into account God's action. It is possible that God made us in a way that just appears to us as evolution. As the YEC Todd Woods writes:
Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well.
For example, As graduate student in 2005, the Chimpanzee genome was published, just five years after the human genome was sequenced in 2000. There were ten times more differences between human and chimps than between mice and rats. This turns out to be exactly predicted by neutral theory and confirmed with experiment. God could have placed undeniable evidence against evolution in our genomes. He did not. Why not? At the very least, disproving evolution was not among God's design goals. So at the very least, he did not care about disproving evolution as much as most creationists seem to care.
Evolution has also become a fundamentally important scientific finding to understanding biology in present day. https://biologos.org/blogs/guest/cancer-and-evolution
If one wants to believe that evolution is still false, the most coherent way forward is to explain why God made us in a way that is so easily mistaken for evolution. Why did he not leave clear and obvious evidence it was false? I've heard some reasonable answers from theologians. http://peacefulscience.org/category/projects/100-year-old-tree/ I think that leads to some plausible positions that make sense of Scripture and the evidence for evolution without accepting evolution.
On the other hand, If by definition no evidence for evolution is valid, then there certainly is no evidence for evolution. As AIG puts it,
By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. https://answersingenesis.org/about/faith/
Of course, if we use the rules of mainstream science, then the evidence for evolution is overwhelmingly strong. In mainstream science we do not read in our preset answers into science. We see where the evidence leads us on its own.
An assertion I have heard is that Evolution (macroevolution) is not really science because it is not falsifiable among other things...In many Creationist circles, it is stated that Evolution and Creationism are simply different belief systems that scientific evidence can support equally. Please not that in this one area I am using the term "Evolution" as the creationist umbrella term (you can check that out in the glossary under the letter "E").
At any rate, I would be interested in hearing what you think about the idea that evolution is not falsifiable...
Sorry for the delay.
First off, I am not using evolution the way you are. Evolutionism is a worldview that is not compatible with our faith. I think J.E.S changed the glossary too, though the defs need some work still =). It treats evolution as an alternative to creation. If you want to debate about evolutionism here, you will have to find some non-Christians to bring to the site. I will not defend that position; it is one with which I disagree strongly.
I affirm, instead, evolutionary science, which is the dominant paradigm for understanding the history of life on earth. It does not refer to the big bang or the first cell, but rather that scientific theory that we all descend from common ancestors. That theory is "evolution" as I understand it. It is best understood as "common descent".
Now is evolution as we define it in science (common descent) falsifiable? Absolutely. We are often testing hypothesis of how organisms descend from prior ancestors, and are often falsifying different proposals. In human evolution, there has been a large number of theories falsified over the years too. However, the larger claim that we descend from common ancestors with the great apes has not been falsified because there is so much evidence for it. None of this evidence demonstrates otherwise. Do not mistake "not falsified" with "unfalsifiable." The common descent of man is clearly falsifiable, but also clearly unfalsified at this time.
The common descent of man is a notion that is far more often asserted than proven. Homology certainly does not provide convincing evidence that all living things share a common ancestor. From an evolutionary perspective, it would make sense that similar structures would develop similarly in the womb. However, many similar structures develop from different groups of embryonic cells. For example, the forelimbs of the newt, lizard, and human develop from different trunk segments. And the kidneys of fish and amphibia develop differently than the kidneys of reptiles and humans.
Also, the similarity in the chemical make-up and function of cells in all living things is actually an argument against common descent. Extensive biochemical research has revealed that the simplest reason for biochemical homology is that all life requires similar inorganic elements, compounds and biomolecules; consequently, all life is required to use similar metabolic pathways to process these compounds. Most organisms that use oxygen and rely on the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins must use a citric acid cycle which is remarkably similar in all organisms. Furthermore, the metabolism of most proteins into energy produces ammonia, which is processed for removal in similar ways in a WIDE variety of organisms. Those who propose a "common ancestor" theory must explain why billions of years of evolution have not produced major differences in the biochemistry of life. The biochemistry of all life, even that allegedly separated by hundreds of millions of years of geologic time and evolution, is far too similar.
Geneticists have also determined that characters controlled by identical genes are not necessarily homologous and homologous structures need not be controlled by identical genes. Also, in the early 1900s, evolutionists believed there were about 180 organs in the human body that had no function. They claimed these organs were evolutionary leftovers—evidence that we shared a common ancestor with all living things. According to evolutionists, organs that played a role in more primitive life forms were not necessary in humans. However, this idea is now known to be false. Each alleged “vestigial” organ is known to have an important function, e.g., the appendix plays a vital role in the immune system, while the tailbone provides support for the muscles in the floor of the pelvis.
Having said that, the fact that species change is, of course, observable in nature and in the laboratory. We also read in Genesis 1 that the various plants and animals are created and reproduce “after their kind.” God created certain "kinds" (plural). He did not create a "kind" (singular) from which various kinds evolved over time from a common, hypothetical ancestor.
Deuteronomy 14 lists some of these biblical kinds and gives us some guidance in our understanding of the various kinds. Since various species can interbreed, we can conclude that those species are from the same created kind. The division is probably somewhere around the family level in our current classification systems. So, within the created kinds, we see changes in characteristics over time—or “descent with modification.” That is a commonality in the biblical and evolutionary understanding of life on earth. The disagreement comes in the amount and direction of that change.
SMS thanks for you comments.
I was the case for me when I was a YEC, you probably have not been exposed to the evidence yet. It is an overwhelming amount of evidence that we share common ancestry with the great apes. You do not have to agree with it, but it is better to understand what you reject than just rejecting a strawman right?
You've raise a great individual points, and I want to invite you to post one or two of them on forums designed for more detailed conversation. There is my recently launched forum, which JES is part of too, discourse.peacefulscience.org, and also the BioLogos forum, https://discourse.biologos.org.
See you there!
I think that a common problem for proponents of Evolution and Creation alike is the "Where do I start problem." I wish to compliment SMS for his comment as well, as it gives much specific evidence. I would encourage fellow forum members to not be afraid to post only some evidence concerning their views (as this discussion is going to focus on accumulating evidence for each position.) A good place to start may be listing your top 5 evidences for the truth of Creation or Evolution.
The most basic falsifiable test for evolution is phylogenetics. As a previous commenter noted, homology by itself is not evidence for evolution. Instead, it is the PATTERN of homology that is evidence for evolution, and that pattern is a nested hierarchy. Talk.origins has a great run down of what phylogenetics is, how it works, how it is scientific, and how it is falsifiable:
Start there and keep reading the following sections.
What it boils down to is that the only pattern of homology that evolution can produce is a nested hierarchy. You inherit characteristics from your ancestors and then add to them or modify them. However, you don't inherit characteristics from your evolutionary cousins because they aren't your ancestors. This means that characteristics stay on one branch of the tree of life, if evolution is true. Some good examples are feathers and middle ears. Feathers evolved in the bird branch of the tree of life and there is no way for that characteristics to make its way into the mammal branch because no mammal had a feathered bird as its ancestor. In the mammal branch we find that their middle ear has three bones, two of which evolved from jaw bones during their evolution from their reptile ancestors. No bird should have three middle ear bones because no bird had a mammal ancestor.
Therefore, if evolution is true we shouldn't find a species, living or dead, that had three middle ear bones and feathers. If you did find such a species, then you have a potential falsification for the theory of evolution.
Does creationism have anything similar to this test? No. Creationism can't explain why we see this nested hierarchial pattern. If species were created separately then there is no reason why a creator could not mix and match different characteristics, such as creating a species with three middle ear bones and feathers. This is why the nested hierarchy is evidence for evolution and not evidence for creationism.
This evidence also extends to DNA. When you compare genomes of different species those genome sequences produce the same nested hierarchies as those based on morphology. One might think that if two species look the same then they would have to have the same DNA, but this simply isn't true. Only a tiny portion of the genome affects how a species looks, and DNA which has nothing to do with how a species looks produces the same nested hierarchy as those based on physical characteristics. These are two independent pieces of evidence that agree with one another which is "smoking gun" evidence for evolution (and open to falsification too boot).
Even in the late 1800's when fossil evidence was scant, the observed nested hierarchy of living and fossil species i is what convinced the scientists of the time that the theory of evolution was accurate (along with other evidence like biogeography). It is the first evidence, the best evidence, and still can't be explained by creationism.
You have mentioned some interesting ways that Evolution can be falsified with nested hierarchy, among other things. Out of curiosity, do you have any potential falsifications pertaining to the fossil record?
The same falsification applies to fossils. If you found numerous fossil species with a mixture of mammal and bird features then they would falsify the theory of evolution. When we do find fossils with a mixture of features from two different groups of species they always fit into the already established tree of life, such as known fossils that have a mixture of mammal and reptile features, bird and dinosaur features, fish and tetrapod features, and human and ape features. ALL of the fossils we have fit the predictions made by the theory of evolution even though there are so many possible combinations of homologous features that could falsify the theory, and there is no reason why this should be if creationism is true.
Additionally, if you found mammal fossils in the earliest sediments, such as the Cambrian, then it would falsify the theory. The theory makes predictions about the emergence of species groups in the fossil record, and those predictions are easily falsifiable.
Continuing the theme of nested hierarchies . . .
Some may wonder why I say creationism can't explain a nested hierarchy. A great example would be organisms that are actually intelligently designed which would be organisms that humans have genetically modified.
One great example is the Glofish, a commercially available fluorescent GMO pet fish. The earliest versions of these GMO fish carried an exact copy of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from jellyfish. Let me stress this again, it is an EXACT copy of the jellyfish gene and it is found in a very, very different type of organism, a vertebrate fish. Humans took an exact copy of a jellyfish gene and moved it to a very distant cousin of the jellyfish. Finding a mish mash of genes that match all types of different life is what we would expect from species that did not evolve and were the product of creationism/ID/separate creation events. We would absolutely not expect to see a nested hierarchy as shown by the jellyfish gene in these GMO vertebrate fish that clearly violate a nested hierarchy.
Inanimate designed objects also don't fall into a nested hierarchy. For example, cars can have any combination of features from motors to radios to wheels to radios. Cars don't fall into a nested hierarchy because there is absolutely no reason for the designers of cars to put them into a nested hierarchy. There is no reason why they couldn't use a specific radio with a specific type of tire. GM could put the same engine in a sedan and a pickup while putting two different engines in the same sedan model. A Ford and Chevy sedan could have the the same tires while two different Fords of the same model could have different tires.
This is why creationism can't explain one of the most basic and ubiquitous features of eukaryote biology: the nested hierarchy. The nested hierarchy simply shouldn't be there if species do not share a common ancestor and did not evolve from those common ancestors. A common designer would not be limited to a nested hierarchy and would be free to mix and match any number of different parts, but that's not what we see. Instead, out of all the billions of possible patterns of shared features we only see the one pattern out of those billions that evolution could produce, a nested hierarchy.
Continuing on with the nested hierarchy theme:
One of the predictions made by the theory of evolution about the nested hierarchy is the match between the independent trees of DNA and physical characteristics. There are genes that have nothing to do with the way a species looks, yet the nested hierarchy for these genes matches the tree based on how the species' physical characteristics (i.e. morphology).
One example of such a gene is cytochrome C (cytC hereafter). This gene sits in the mitochondrial membrane and shuffles protons back and forth. It isn't involved in building legs, brains, kidneys, or anything else. There is no reason any designer would be forced to use a specific DNA sequence for cytC because there trillions and trillions of possible DNA sequences that produce cytC. Moreover, there is no reason that a designer would be forced to fit cytC into a nested hierarchy based on what species look like.
However, if evolution is true then cytC should fall into a nested hierarchy. Let's focus on just three species for the moment, and the tree they fit into:
The mouse and human are more closely related and they share a common ancestor at node 2. The chicken and human share a more distant common ancestor at node 1. Interestingly, the mouse and chicken share the same common ancestor at node 1. Therefore, the mouse and human are equally distant from the chicken because they share the same common ancestor, at least according to evolutionary predictions.
This evolutionary equidistance should be reflected in the genetics of these three species. This is where cytC comes in. If we compare the DNA sequence for the cytC gene in these three species we get the following similarities
Human v. mouse = 90.5% similar
Human v. chicken = 81.6% similar
You will notice that I left one out. What does creationism predict will be the % similarity between the mouse and chicken gene, and why? Does creationism even make such a prediction? Not that I know of. I don't even see why any of the cytC genes would need to be different between these three species, much less what the percentage differences should be.
The theory of evolution, on the other hand, does make a prediction. It says that the evolutionary distance between humans and chickens is the same as the evolutionary distance between mice and chickens since those branches all meet at the same common ancestor. Therefore, the difference between the mouse and chicken gene should be about the same as the difference between the human and chicken gene. Is it?
Mouse v. chicken = 81.9% similar
It is. You can check out the numbers yourself here:
If that link doesn't work, do a google search for Homologene, and then search for "cytochrome c human", choose the somatic gene, and then find the option for pairwise alignment.
The theory of evolution makes these types of super accurate predictions throughout biology, and creationism has no explanation for them. When I hear people claim that creationism can explain the same data I just don't know what to say because it is flatly false. I don't doubt the sincerity of people when they say that, but it only shows how unaware they are of the basic facts in biology.
T_aquaticus, I agree largely with you, but think a couple things should be tempered.
1. It is critical to accurately represent the data and what evolution predicts. It is not completely in nested clades. There is also, for example, noise caused by change in species which breaks the nested clade pattern. What we see in the data that fits in nested class (especially at a DNA level) but with exceptions caused by things like horizontal transfer. The pattern is nested clades but there are exceptions.
2. Nested clades do not disprove design, but the explain the data in a way that design does not. In science (as you know), we look for explanatory theories. Design does not tell us why we see the patterns we do, but common descent does tell us. However, this is not evidence against design. I, for example, would affirm that God designed us through common descent.
3. If one does not like common descent, what is need is a design principle that could equally (or better) explain the data. Such a principle has not been offered. The closest offered (other than common descent) is descent with divine modification (as we have discussed before).
4. Alternatively, ReMine suggested that we should see perfect clades in nature (but we do not), as this was how God would disprove evolution (see #1). However, he ended up being wrong, because exceptions to the rule of nested clades. This is expected in evolution, but not in his design principle.
So the actually story is closely related to your point, but it is important not to falsely present the data as anti-design or cleaner than it really is. Right now, however, common descent is the best explanation of the data. That is why Science affirms it, as it should.
A big thank you to Swamidass for those very constructive criticisms. Part of the difficulty in communicating science to the general public is remembering that they aren't scientists. Things scientists take for granted are not taken for granted in the lay public. For example, when scientists talk about data supporting conclusions the statistics behind that conclusion are tacitly implied. In any experiment there is going to be a ratio of signal to noise, and no data set perfectly matches the hypothesis, especially in biology where things are a bit "messy" and can produce noise in our analyses. What we look for is statistical significance (specifically, a phylogenetic signal), and that is definitely something I should have stressed in my previous posts, so a big thanks to Swamidass for pointing that out. His points about homoplasies, incomplete lineage sorting, and other evolutionary processes that produce imperfect clades are important to keep in mind.
However, when I use the word "design" I mean separately created species that don't share common ancestry. Conveying what you mean by a specific term is yet another hurdle in discussions like these. When creationists talk about common design they are not talking about characteristics or DNA inherited from a common ancestor which is why I put design and evolution on the polar ends of the spectrum. I am not saying that Swadimass' definition of design is wrong, only that it is a different definition from the one I am using.
To the YECs on this board, this is an excellent example of evidence for Common Descent, carefully stated by a leading scientist. Just published.
A big thank you to Swamidass for definitively explaining why nested hierarchies-while simultaneously being evidence for evolution-are not evidence against design!
The bigger question is what evidence would disprove design? If mountains of evidence for common ancestry and evolution through random mutation and natural selection are not evidence against design, then what would be? Is design an unfalsifiable position?
This gets to one of the fundamental reasons why inquiry into God's action is not considered in science. There is no way to falsify divine design, without have some sort of constraints from theology. But science is about Nature, not God. So we just set that aside and focus on nature. Science is blind to God; He lies beyond the streetlight.
I think the question is really meant to be posed differently. Stepping outside science for a moment, is there any evidence for design? Is there any evidence for God? I think the answer is certainly "yes."
Perhaps I should have been more specific. What would falsify the claim that species were created separately as described by Young/Old Earth Creationism?
As to the larger theological question, once we step outside of science what method do we use to test ideas and beliefs, and how do we differentiate between what can be used as evidence and what can not?
The claim that species (or kinds) were created separately is not a well specified claim on its own. It is easy to construct hypothesis under that claim that are falsified by the evidence, and hypotheses that are not falsified. One hypothesis that, it seems, is falsified: that God specially created each species in a way in order to obviously falsify common descent. That seems false.
Because of this, our confidence in special creation of species depends entirely on our belief that God did not use common descent, from (for example) Scripture. Genesis, however, does not dispute common descent, so I'm not sure how one could come to such confidence. The one exception to this (in my view) is the special creation of Adam and Eve, where one might plausibly believe that Genesis 2 teaches something special happened with Adam. Not that one must read Scripture this way, but I understand why some people do. Once again, our confidence here depends entirely on our confidence in Scripture and our interpretation of it.
Regardless, we do not consider God's action when we do science. So if God really did specially create species, this is just a place that science would be wrong.
Now, for the larger theological question, if God exists and wants to be known, we start by emphasizing that there is knowledge and truth outside of science. I would guess that you, for example, believe that racism is wrong (moral knowledge). I know that I love my wife and she loves me (relational knowledge). How do we come to these warranted beliefs? Logic, experience, conversation, and more. However, neither of these classes of knowledge are visible in science.
Next, I would observe that if the God that created the universe exists, we have no hope of finding Him on our own. Moreover, there is no reason to think that God would care a wit about us. A being of such infinite power need not be mindful of, and would not be accessible to us. The only way we could know He existed is if He wanted to be known, and chose to reveal Himself to us some how.
As for me, I found that God exists, is good, and wants to be known by revealing himself to all people by raising this man Jesus from the dead. To be clear, there is a lot of evidence for this event in history, including evidence established with history.. If it wasn't so crazy a claim (a man rising from the dead), we would say the evidence was overwhelming, but also not definitive.
It comes down to whether or not we want to see what lies behind the door. Eventually, I came to see Jesus, the living and risen Lord. It is hard to explain, but now I believe because I see Him. There is public evidence, but I also came to personal knowledge.
"The claim that species (or kinds) were created separately is not a well specified claim on its own."
Other than Swamidass's latest post, we have been getting into the idea that God individually created each different species...However, I would submit that God (instead of creating every individual species) created the different kinds (see "baramminology"). I don't know if "species" here is being used as a taxonomic term, or something else, but, knowing that new species (and potentially even genera) have indeed arisen since the creation, so saying that God created every species individually seems to set up a scientific straw-man of Young Earth Creationism (at least, as far as the creation of animals is concerned). So, T_aquaticus, the claim that " species were created separately as described by Young/Old Earth Creationism" has already been functionally falsified (assuming you mean that God created every single species known to man during the creation week)...! However, the original species that God created would have given rise to all the different species within the "kind" they represented. So, if this is what you meant there with species (as in, the original created species that represented their total "kinds/baramins,") then that claim has not been falsified, and you have not at all created the aforementioned straw man that I insinuated that you may have created ;).
In the sense "kind" is understood in YEC, it has been falsified. At least it is inconsistent with the evidence as we find it in nature. It requires evolution to be much more rapid than we can imagine.
There is excellent information about this here:
Baraminology was a great idea, because it attempts to clarify what a "kind" is. However, we just find so much diversity on earth, that too many species have to be grouped to be put in the same kind. This article is great...
And finally about the Ostrich...
Then again...God did not necessarily create only two of every kind of animal originally...Maybe he created many different species within every kind in the beginning...An interesting point, though.
I am still curious if anyone who accepts the separate creation of species or kinds could describe a potential falsification for their position. If not, it doesn't make much sense to say that the facts support their description of how the world was created since they have already decided beforehand that no evidence will change their mind.
As to evidence, I doubt many here would accept written accounts for the leaders and prophets of other religions. How many here accept the written accounts of Joseph Smith being given the Golden Plates? How many accept the account of Muhammad being taken up into heaven in a chariot as evidence? There are also accounts of people interacting with the Roman and Greek gods.
Another common piece of evidence put forward for evolution and common ancestry are endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). Part of the retroviral life cycle involves the insertion of the viral genome into the host genome, similar to copying text from one source and pasting it into the middle of another text. The Human Genome Project found just over 200,000 ERVs in the human genome.
An interesting fact about ERVs is that they insert nearly randomly into the host genome. One study found a 280 fold increase in insertions for a specific 500 base pair segment, but when you look at the overall probability at 1 in 10 million for any random 500 base pair segment, a 280 in 10 million chance really isn't that much of an increase.
We also find ERVs in other ape and primate genomes, including the chimp genome. When they sequenced the chimp genome they also found just over 200,000 ERVs. The theory of evolution would predict that the vast majority of these insertions are shared through common ancestry which means that the ERV insertions should be found at the same spot in the human and chimp genome. Is that what they found? Yep. Of the 200,000 human ERVs, less than 100 were not found at the same exact spot in the chimp genome. Of the 200,000 chimp ERVs, less than 300 were not found at the exact spot in the human genome. More than 99% of human and chimp ERVs are found at the same exact spot in each genome.
This can't be due to random insertion of viral DNA because that would only produce a handful of shared ERVs between human and chimp genomes out of 200,000 total insertions, not to mention the sudden viral load which could produce serious problems. The only explanation is common ancestry, other than God planting fake viral insertions into genomes in a manner that would purposefully mimic common ancestry. I really don't see how shared ERVs can be evidence for separately created species or kinds.
Swamidass writes: "In the sense "kind" is understood in YEC, it has been falsified. At least it is inconsistent with the evidence as we find it in nature."
I don't understand this statement. "Dog kinds" produce dogs and "cat kinds" produce cats. This is precisely what we see in nature. So, how is this "inconsistent with the evidence?" We don't see a cat and dog making a "dat." I don't see how how this Biblical definition of "kind" has been falsified, since this is what we see happening in nature all around us. It is just as God said in Genesis 1.
Genesis 1:11 And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth." And it was so.
Genesis 1:24-25 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds--livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. (25) And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Separately created kinds are inconsistent with a nested hierarchy. There is absolutely no reason why separately created kinds would fit into a nested hierarchy. As stated earlier, there is no reason why there couldn't be a created kind that has a mixture of mammal and bird features as one example. The same logic that applies to species also applies to created kinds. The only reason we would expect to see a nested hierarchy between what you classify as created kinds is if all living species are all part of a single created kind that share a universal common ancestor.
I think we went over this before. You are misinterpreting Genesis. In hebrew, it says "of many kinds" not "according to their kind." This is even argued by YEC scholars, http://www.atsjats.org/publication/view/39 . Do you care about what Scripture says or not? Why insist on a mistranslation? Perhaps at least engage the arguments offered by another YEC that indicate you are wrong in claiming Genesis limits reproduction to within "kinds"?
Setting aside the clear fact that this is NOT taught in Scripture, there is a bigger problem. No one has yet put forward a plausible theory of kinds (baraminology). The issue is in objectively defining these kinds in a way that: (1) makes sense with the evidence (genetic and fossil), and (2) groups enough species to gether that all kinds would all fit on the ark, (3) classifies chimps and humans in different kinds, and (4) finding a mechanism that allows all the species we know to form in just 4000 years (natural selection and other evolutionary mechanisms are not powerful enough).
As just one example, mice and rats are usually called the same "kind", and and chimps and humans are not. However, mice and rates are 10x more different than humans and chimps in our genomes. That means, based on the genetic information, if mice and rats are the same "kind" and could have arisen from a common ancestor, then the same is true of human and chimps. We are the same "kind".
That ends up being a major problem. There is no objective and evidence driven criteria by which to group species into kinds that does not also group humans with chimps as the same kind too.
This would be a major problem for literalism if "reproduction restricted to kinds" is what Genesis actually taught. However, Genesis does not literally teach this.
Created kinds is not inconsistent with nested hierarchies. However, nested clades are not explained by created kinds. While God could have just created us to look this way, the theory of "kinds" does not explain why. This is its fundamental deficiency in science, where we seek explanations. The problem is not inconsistency with evidence in this single point, but lack of explanatory power. Inconsistency with evidence arises elsewhere.
I would like to explain why I think nested hierarchies are inconsistent with separately created kinds. I agree with much of what you say, but I thought it was worth sharing my view on things as well.
If we look at the way humans design things we would see how much more effort it would take to fit human designs into a nested hierarchy. You would have to keep careful tabs on which characteristics you have used in which species, and put a lot of time and resources into making sure you don't combine characteristics in a way that would violate a nested hierarchy. On top of that, there is no benefit to forcing designs into a nested hierarchy. For example, if humans forced cars into a nested hierarchy then just the descendants of the first car with airbags would have airbags. Designers would have to come up with completely new safety features for each and every car model.
I can't see any reason why God's approach to designing created kinds would differ from the way humans approach designing things, at least in principle. A nested hierarchy is the antithesis of how intelligent beings would design things, and that is why I say that a nested hierarchy is inconsistent with separately created kinds. Perhaps there is some glaring logical hole in my reasoning, but that is how I arrived at this conclusion.
Well, Swamidass...For the sake of the argument, let's say that the hebrew is indeed translated "many kinds" instead of "according to their kinds" (although I tend to agree with S.M.S on this point). This would still not allow for evolution, as these "many kinds" were created, they were not, and then they were. It would not allow them to have come from prior organisms. As far as the baraminology point...
1-A plausible idea that I have heard propagated in some YEC circles is that when we find fossils, we often declare similar fossils to be new species, however, the two fossils could be the same species, but in a different stage of life (or exhibiting sexual dimorphisms). If taken far enough, this could drastically decrease the amount of fossil species we have discovered, and that goes right into point number 2:
2-With fewer species (and thus fewer kinds), two of every kind could fit on the ark!
4-Would rapid dispersion be sufficient (in a "darwin's finches" effect)? Or perhaps humans (Noah and family) used selective breeding to create new species etc...
These may be problematic answers, but I am nonetheless anticipating your thoughts on this!
Instead of imposing modern scientific interpretations on the text, it would be nice if we could first let the TEXT and the CONTEXT speak for itself.
The narrative of Genesis 1 follows a specific pattern of command and fulfillment. The phrase “and it was so” (wayehî kēn) indicates a state of completion at the end of most of the commands (see Judges 6:38; 2 Kings 15:12). Furthermore, God’s assessment that a given day’s work was “good” (ṭôb) means “wholeness” or “completeness” and never includes disease or death. Since each “good” assessment is soon followed by a new day, each created kind must have appeared without disease or dying and continued that way to the next day.
In this context, what does "min" (kinds) mean in Genesis 1? Look at Day Three, where God creates plants and trees after their kind (1:11–12). These appear to fall within three larger groups: “vegetation” (deše’, thought to be inedible by humans), edible vegetation (‘eseb), and trees (‘ēṣîm).
On Day Five, God creates the fish and fowl after their kind (Genesis 1:21). The text is clear. They did not evolve from a lower species; they were each fully formed, separate kinds capable of surviving and reproducing within the same kind.
On Day Six, God makes the land animals “according to their kind.” These animals include livestock (which may include cattle, sheep, goats, etc.), creeping things (which may refer to insects and spiders and, possibly, reptiles and rodents; see Leviticus 11:29–30), and the beasts of the earth (every other type of beast living on the dry land).
The term kind appears again in the Flood narrative. In Genesis 6:20, God instructs Noah to take on the Ark with him birds, animals, and creeping things, each “after its kind.” In Moses’ later dietary laws, the term mîn comes up again a number of times (Leviticus 11:14–29; Deuteronomy 14:12–19). Unlike the earlier passages, however, the use of mîn in the dietary laws strongly implies reference to varieties within individual species, perhaps subspecies and breeds. Besides referring to “ravens after their kind” (Leviticus 11:15), the laws associate kind with some very specific Hebrew names, many of which are found only once in Scripture (hapax legomena). These rarely used words may refer to well-known variations within familiar species.
In each of these cases, the precise meaning of the Hebrew word mîn must be based on the context. In other words, its meaning depends on the specificity of the terms to which it refers. When mîn refers to general classifications, as in “beasts” and “birds” in Genesis 1 and Genesis 6–7, kind is a more general biological category, such as the next biological level or two down in the Hebrew classification scheme. In contrast, in passages like Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, where it references very specific organisms, such as ravens and barn owls, min refers to more narrow groups, such as subspecies or breeds.
Although more studies need to be done, sound hermeneutics has shown us many things. For example, contrary to any evolutionary view, Genesis 1 makes it clear that no death occurred when God created all the original kinds. Also, we know that God finished creating in only six days, including the original kinds.
Now it is up to modern scientists and Biblical scholars, working together, to better understand the wonderful designs that the Creator placed within His original created creatures to enable their descendants to fill the earth so quickly—with such colorful variety—in the centuries following creation, and later after the Flood.
" For example, contrary to any evolutionary view, Genesis 1 makes it clear that no death occurred when God created all the original kinds. Also, we know that God finished creating in only six days, including the original kinds. "
I have always found it strange that people think there is an "evolutionary view". There isn't. There is a scientific evidence-based view. This is true for all scientific theories, and the theory of evolution is no different. You might as well talk about the modern Heliocentrist view, as if we can just choose whether Heliocentrism or Geocentrism is true. At some point we have to come to the realization that there is an actual real world out there with real evidence. This isn't about choosing some arbitrary and abstract idea to follow. Rather, it is about real world evidence and real world events.
If you insist that the Bible necessarily speaks of a young Earth, separately created kinds, and a recent global flood then the Bible is false. There really isn't any way around it. We can no more square the YEC interpretation of the Bible with the real world than we can a Geocentrist interpretation of the Bible with the real world. If you want to prove that the Bible wasn't written by the Creator of the Universe around us, then I can't think of a better way than insisting on a YEC interpretation of the Bible.
"If you insist that the Bible necessarily speaks of a young Earth, separately created kinds, and a recent global flood then the Bible is false." -- The only way a person can make this statement is if they deliberately ignore the scientific and historical evidence that SUPPORTS a young Earth, separately created kinds, and a recent global flood. By the way, discussing this evidence (and the attempts to re-interpret or dismiss this compelling evidence) is the whole point behind this web-site.
There is no evidence for a young Earth to ignore, separately created kinds, or a global flood to ignore. Both a young Earth and a global flood were found to be false clear back in the early 1800's, and no evidence has changed that. If you think I am wrong, then perhaps you could speak to JES about starting a specific thread where you can present evidence for a young Earth and see if it stands up to scrutiny.
Aquaticus may want to read through some of the comments that have been made on this site. There has been much compelling evidence presented that supports a young Earth.
Well SMS, T_aquaticus, this would be the thread for such evidence! Perhaps we can trawl the vast mountains of YEC evidence to procure an argument for scrutiny!
In skimming through the comments I don't see anything that even addresses geology, much less a young Earth. Perhaps someone could present the argument in a concise manner here?
One of my favorite pieces of evidence for a young earth (and the global flood) is the grand canyon, which is also a perfect example of evidence that is used by both sides of the Creation v. Evolution debate (umbrella terms). Many (probably most) young earth creationists believe in catastrophism as opposed to uniformitarianism, which means that we believe the world's geological landscape was formed quickly by natural disaster(s) as opposed to processes taking millions (if not billions) of years. Of course, our favorite example of a world-altering disaster is the global flood. Anyhow, back to the grand canyon.
We find fossils of marine organisms in some of the canyon's layers that are far above sea level. This is well explained by a global flood, as such an event would have carried these creatures inland. If I am not mistaken, such things are found in many other places in the world as well.
While on the fossils tangent, I would like to mention in passing the interesting prevalence of fossils created by floods and other aquatic events. An example of this is the dinosaur "death pose." Once again, the evidence interestingly lines up with a global flood.
Back to the geology of the grand canyon, the "great unconformity" has been explained as the marking of the beginning of the flat flood layers, as it would be the "line" created when the flood waters first advanced on the continent, depositing large amounts of sediment (and continuing to do so).
Last of all, some of the layers at the grand canyon can be traced all across the continent, and beyond, which would also fit nicely into the paradigm of a global flood.
Well, there is some geological evidence, which I hope I have managed to present in a concise (and hopefully not too unorganized) way! I am interested in hearing your thoughts on this, and hearing the problems you see with the flood paradigm!
Many evolutionists accuse creationists of “dismissing the findings of geologists” as if creationists are refusing to accept geological evidence. However, the fact is that the “findings” referred to are not really findings at all. Secular geologists have a tendency to ‘find’ what their presuppositions have assumed they will find. The discussion is often framed as “geologists” vs “creationists” as if scientists and geologists who hold a creationist worldview are not "real" geologists or "real" scientists. This is a false comparison and self-serving. By “geologists” and "scientists" evolutionary theorists mean those who agree with them, that is “evolutionary geologists”, who interpret the geological evidence according to a particular set of assumptions. Creationist geologists do not agree with those assumptions and interpret the evidence differently. Different worldviews evaluate the same evidence but come away with different conclusions.
1. The Earth's crust isn't static. It is moving. In some areas the Earth's crust is actually moving upward, which is called tectonic uplift. This is the case for the Colorado Plateau, and it explains why marine fossils are found at such high altitudes. You don't need a global flood in order to find marine sediments at high altitudes.
2. You don't need a global flood, a recent flood, or a young Earth in order to produce fossils. Local floods over the last billions of years will do the job.
3. You don't need a global flood, a recent flood, or a young Earth in order to produce flat layers of sediment. Such layers are currently being made in lakes, seas, and oceans without any global flood occurring.
4. No layer found in the Grand Canyon spans the entire North American Continent.
If people are going to claim that scientists are using faulty assumptions then they need to tell us what those assumptions are and why they are faulty.
The reason that young Earth creationists are not considered scientists is that they don't publish their YEC research in peer reviewed journals. Instead, they create websites where they misrepresent the science that other people do, or misuse scientific methods to trick their readers into thinking that those methods are not trustworthy. Commenters at this site seem like honest folk, and I have no reason to doubt their sincerity. The problem is that you are falling for a con, one run by creationist organizations.
Presuppositions are our most basic assumptions about the world. Presuppositions are things you take for granted: like your own existence, the reliability of your memory, your continued personal identity, moral laws, laws of logic, induction, and many others. Most people assume all of these things, but they don’t stop to think about why they assume these things.
Science actually rests on a large number of critical presuppositions/axioms. For example, a person must assume that his or her senses are reliable. What good would it be to do an experiment if my eyes do not accurately relate to me the results of that experiment? And what good would it be to have accurate eyes if light traveled erratically? We presuppose that light travels in an orderly way. What good would it be to do any experiment if the universe did not behave in an organized, logical fashion? We presuppose the universe continually behaves in an orderly, logical way. These are just a few of the presuppositions that are rationally necessary for science to be possible.
Many areas of science are mathematical in nature, and thus rely on mathematical axioms. But science requires induction. Suppose I set up an experiment and get a certain result. I expect that if I set up an identical experiment under identical conditions in the future I will get an identical result. But why should that be? Most people don’t stop to think about this; they just take it for granted. Why should it be that the future reflects the past in this way? In the Christian worldview, induction makes sense. God (who is beyond time) upholds the universe in a uniform way, and has told us that we can count on certain things in the future (Genesis 8:22). So, I’d expect to get an identical result to an identical future experiment, since God upholds the future universe in the same way He upheld the past universe.
But apart from the Bible, why should we assume that the future reflects the past? Since we’re all made in God’s image, we instinctively rely on induction. But how can a non-Christian assume that the future will reflect the past in his worldview? He might say, “Well it always has,” but this doesn’t in any way mean that it likely will continue to be that way in the future unless we already knew that the future reflects the past. In other words, when a person says, “Well, in the past the future has reflected the past, so I’d expect that in the future, the future will reflect the past,” he’s using a circular argument. (Think about it.) He’s assumed induction to prove induction. This is “begging the question” and isn’t rational.
Ironically, only the Christian can provide a rational explanation for the presuppositions necessary for science. A logical, orderly universe, a rational mind, reliable senses, mathematical axioms, induction, and logical laws are just a few of the presuppositions required by science that are provided by the Christian worldview, but which have no foundation in an evolutionary worldview.
There is a lot of presupposition and interpretation that goes on in science. Biology is an example. By examining evidence, the biologist has already presupposed that, at the very least, his senses are reliable. This presupposition would be held by essentially all scientists; otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to do science. Scientists have to interpret the data. The evolutionary biologist and creation biologist have different presuppositions regarding earth’s history. Therefore, they draw different conclusions when examining the same evidence. But which is a better scientific mindset? Consider the examples of vestigial organs and junk DNA. Secularists incorrectly assume that things are left over from the past, whereas creationists work from the presupposition that everything has (or had) a purpose.
Carbon dating is another example. Carbon dating is based on all the above presuppositions (axioms) and many others. It presupposes (1) that C-14 decayed in the past as it does today; (2) that the C-14 in the atmosphere of the past was the same as today; (3) that the system is uncontaminated; (4) the laws of probability; and (5) the equivalence of C-14 atoms, as well as the more abstract presuppositions listed above—induction, reliability of the senses, and so on.
By the way, carbon dating provides powerful confirmation of the Biblical timescale. Scientists have found C-14 in coal and diamonds that are supposedly millions of years old (or over a billion years old for the diamonds) in the evolutionary view. But C-14 has a half life of around 5,700 years—it decays to the point that it can’t be detected before even one million years have passed. Do you suppose that evolutionists are convinced by such evidence that the earth really is just a few thousand years old as the Bible teaches? Or do they simply dismiss such evidence and assume that there must be some sort of contamination (despite the lack of evidence of contamination) simply because of their presupposition that the earth is billions of years old or dismiss the credibility of the scientists involved without really addressing the issue at hand?
Clearly, presuppositions vastly affect our interpretation of evidence. The problem (for the secular scientist) is that science itself is based on Christian presuppositions. Science is possible because God upholds the universe in a logical, orderly way and because God made our minds able to think and reason logically and made our senses able to perceive the universe.
First, we don't assume that the laws of nature are the same through space and time. We OBSERVE that the laws of nature are the same through space and time. We observe that stars and galaxies operate under the same laws. If they didn't, then their luminosity would differ, their spectra would differ, and many other characteristics of stars would be different if the laws of nature were different through space and time. We OBSERVE that light operates in a lawful manner, we don't assume it. These aren't assumptions.
The one specific case you highlighted was 14C, so let's go through them:
1. For the decay of 14C to change you would have to change the fundamental nuclear forces found in nature. Any changes of those fundamental forces would be see in stars and in such deposits as the naturally occuring Oklo reactor. More info can be found here:
2. 14C dating is calibrated for known and measured changes in historic levels of atmospheric 14C. No scientist assumes that the production of 14C was the same in the past. You can read more here:
3. No scientist assumes that any sample us without contamination. They often use the ratio of 13C and 12C to determine if the sample still contains organic carbon. This is due to the fact that photosynthesis fractionates carbon isotopes, favoring the lighter 12C isotope over 13C. This causes terrestrial plant material and the animals that eat plants (and the animals that eat those animals) to be rich in 12C compared to abiotic carbon. Samples that are contaminated by environmental carbon will have a ratio closer to that found in the atmosphere.
4. If you con't have a reason to doubt the measurements made by scientists, then you are only rejecting them because they lead to conclusions you don't like. That is a form of special pleading.
I would also like to note that people have spoken of evidence FOR a young Earth. For this, you need to find evidence that should only exist if the Earth is young. You should also be prepared to describe the types of evidence that would be inconsistent with a young Earth, a recent global flood, and separately created species.
We can use criminal forensic science as an example of how evidence works. Let's say a forensic scientist finds fingerprints at a crime scene. He argues that the defendant would leave fingerprints at the crime scene so the fingerprints found at the crime scene are evidence of the defendant's guilt. Is that good evidence? No. Anyone would leave fingerprints at a crime scene. What you need as evidence are fingerprints that only the defendant would leave. On top of that, the forensic scientist should be able toe explain what type of fingerprint evidence would exclude the defendant. The same would apply to a young Earth.
How about Earth's decaying magnetic field?
The Earth's decaying magnetic field is like the Dow Jones Indistrual Average. It goes up and down all of the time. It even reverses direction, and has done so thousands of times throughout Earth's history. NASA appears to have a webpage on the subject:
Once again, there are multiple theories regarding the earth's magnetic field. There is the "Dynamo Theory" which you have just expressed, and there is the "Rapid-Decay Theory," which is pretty self-evident in meaning. I feel the need to note that, when predicting the magnetic field levels of Mercury and Mars, the Rapid-Decay Theory was shown to be more reliable than the Dynamo theory, in that Mars (I am not an expert on the Mercury business) was predicted (by Dynamo) to have a magnetic field, yet it did not (however, evidence was found that it did have a magnetic field at one point, furthering the cause of the Rapid-Decay theory.) To be fair, there was some way that the Dynamo Theory is better than the Rapid-Decay Theory, but I cannot remember it off the top of my head...
There we have it once again...A young earth perspective is not such an incoherent model of reality after all?
Since measuring of the magnetic field first began in 1845, the total energy stored in the earth’s magnetic field has been decaying at a rate of 5% per century. Archaeological measurements show that the field was 40% stronger in AD 1000. Recent records of the International Geomagnetic Reference Field, the most accurate ever taken, show a net energy loss of 1.4% in just three decades (1970–2000). Therefore, the field's energy has halved every 1,465 years or so. These are facts that are undeniable.
Scientists have proposed that the earth’s magnetic field is caused by a freely-decaying electric current in the earth’s core. The electric current naturally loses energy, or “decays,” as it flows through the metallic core. Based on what we know about the conductive properties of liquid iron, this freely decaying current would have started when the earth’s outer core was formed. However, if the core were more than 20,000 years old, then the starting energy would have made the earth too hot to be covered by water at its beginning. Thus a younger earth is supported and even plausible.
The facts just put forward on decaying magnetic fields appear to be false. It also appears that some are just stepping through well known YEC arguments based on falsehood.
The issue I have is not belief in YEC, but the reliance on falsehood to support it. This is not about presuppositions, but about honestly. To be clear, I am not accusing anyone here of lying. Rather, most YECs are just repeating falsehood they have heard from other. The God I know has no need for false witness.
"For this is the real problem with young-earth “creation science.” Their technical standards are so low that in any other area of science or technology, they would kill people. They are at times willing to tell outright falsehoods in order to support their position. They refuse to be held accountable to anyone outside their own echo chamber. And they show a cultish hostility to critique even from concerned Christians who share their stated goal of seeing the Bible upheld as the Word of God.
Most rank and file YECs aren’t even aware that this is an issue. When I tell them that science has rules, their natural tendency is to assume that I’m talking about a rejection of miracles. I have to make it clear to them what kind of rules I’m looking for, and that rejection of miracles has nothing to do with it. No arithmetic errors, no quote mining, no fudging of the data, no misrepresentation, the need for adequate peer review and replication, and so on. Basic standards of honesty and quality control — and furthermore, very much in line with what the Bible itself demands in terms how we handle weights and measures (cf Deuteronomy 25:13-16; Proverbs 11:1). I say that to break these rules in order to “fit Scripture” is neither scientific nor Scriptural."
Really all the arguments here run afoul of Deuteronomy 25:13-16. The author here lays out some key questions by which we can make this clear: https://howoldistheearth.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/an-examination-of-answers-in-genesiss-ten-best-evidences-for-a-young-earth/
1. Does it get its facts straight?
2. Does it actually place a specific numerical limit on the age of the earth at all?
3. Is it measuring the right things?
4. How well defined are the limits it places on the age of the earth?
5. Are its assumptions realistic?
6. How rigorously have the “rescuing devices” been falsified?
7. What are the sources of its data?
8. What is the extent of its data?
9. Have they received a level of scrutiny appropriate to their complexity?
10. How have they responded to critique?
It's ironic, but the same accusations of falsehood that are here leveled at creation scientists could more easily be applied to evolution theorists. Evolutionary philosophy asserts several falsehoods as scientific fact and makes many assertions that are simply scientifically unverifiable. In this information-saturated age of the internet you can easily find "facts" that agree with your presuppositions. J.E.S. made a point about the Grand Canyon, which I believe is an excellent example. Biblical creationists see the Grand Canyon as clear proof of a global flood. Secular evolutionists see it as an example of billions of years. We're both looking at the same data, but our differing worldviews and presuppositions have a tremendous impact on our differing conclusions. And yet, this obvious difference in worldviews (and the corollary presuppositions) is denied by some. Fascinating.
Re: Earth's Magnetic Field
The thing is, we have records of the Earth's magnetic field going back hundreds of millions of years. When lava solidifies, the crystals inside of it will align to the Earth's magnetic field, recording both its strength and direction. Those records show that the Earth's magnetic field has strengthened, then weakened, then flipped poles, then stregnthened, then weakened, then flipped poles, and so forth. This process has been repeated thousands of times. It has nothing to do with any theories.
In fact, I think I have discussed magnetic striping with you before. As the sea floor expands away from the mid-ocean rifts it produces new sea floor. When that sea floor hardens, it aligns with the Earth's magentic field. When we measure the magentic field in those rocks you get stripes running parallel to the ridges as the Earth's magnetic field strengthens, weakens, and flips.
Why shouldn't bad science be denied? Young Earth Creationism is bad science, as I already showed. There is nothing in the Grand Canyon that requires a recent global flood or a young Earth, and J.E.S. has not shown that anything in the Grand Canyon requires a recent global flood or a young Earth. How can you say that J.E.S. made good points when he made none at all? Where is the science demonstrating that the Grand Canyon is young? Where are the dating methods demonstrating that it is young? Where is the science demonstrating that these deposits could not have been produced by slow deposition and uplift?
I am also seeing the word "presupposition" rising its head once again. In the past, I have seen this word thrown around by young Earth creationists when they want to invent a reason to ignore good science. As stated before, if you are going to claim that scientists are using false presuppositions, show us what those presuppositions are and why they are wrong. As shown by previous posts on 14C dating, young Earth creationists often think scientists are using presuppositions when they aren't.
I didn't say "wrong" presuppositions, I said "different" presuppositions. Although, I do still suggest that evolution theorists do use some faulty presuppositions. See my post above on presuppositions. Presuppositions are certainly not an invention of creation science. They are simply a reality.