Monday, July 7, 2014

New papers on created kinds

There are three new papers on created kinds published today in a special issue of the Journal of Creation Theology and Science Series B: Life Sciences.  Each provides an important new perspective on biology, apologetics, and creationism.  See them all at the JCTS website for free!

What's the deal with created kinds?  Genesis 1 records the origin of creatures during creation week, and the phrase "after its kind" (and variations thereof) is used to describe the creation of all plants and animals.  Creationists have long understood these "kinds" as something like categories of species.  Within each kind, species descend from those originally created organisms, but there has been (and indeed could be) no evolution from one kind to another.  Creationist biologist Frank Lewis Marsh coined the technical term baramin for the created kind, and Kurt Wise introduced baraminology as a coherent method of identifying baramins.

Baramins and their members are very much the lynchpins of creationist biology.  Design, natural evil, speciation, and biogeography all make sense only within the context of the baramin.  These three papers illustrate how important they are.

Paul Garner opens the issue with a new look at woodpeckers.  The woodpecker has long been a "textbook example" of God's design, with numerous remarkable adaptations that make pecking wood possible.  Without those traits, the woodpecker's brain would be addled after only a few pecks.  In Paul's new paper, he shows that these classic woodpeckers, with their amazing designs, belong to a baramin that includes species that aren't so well-adapted.  How can this be?  Paul suggests that woodpecker designs were only inherent in the original creation.  The designs emerged later in history, as organisms adapted to life after the Fall (and birds started eating bugs).

Newcomer M. Aaron provides a preliminary look at the baraminology of a weird family most of you have never heard of: Caseidae.  Caseids are "mammal-like reptiles" (synapsids) and are considered to be representative of the evolutionary stage when mammals evolved from their nonmammalian reptiles.  Aaron concludes that they represent a unique baramin unto themselves and therefore aren't related to either reptiles or mammals.

In my own paper, I discuss the methods of identifying baramins, based on two different studies: one of raccoons and one of possums.  Whereas I could not clearly identify the raccoon baramin, I found the possum baramin to be comparatively obvious.  Neither of these studies should be considered definitive declarations on raccoon or possum baraminology, but they both help us to sharpen our ability to recognize baramins.

These papers are available now for free at the JCTS website.

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.