Sunday, 15 May 2016

Naturalis Historia: Invoking Super-Speed Evolution: The YEC Post-Flood Big Bang of Bird Speciation

Naturalis Historia: Invoking Super-Speed Evolution: The YEC Post-Flood Big Bang of Bird Speciation

"So there is a possible intermediate fossil between these two birds. Sure sounds to me like an admission that missing links do exist. So how can she say this when young earth creationists (YECs) always insist that intermediate fossils don’t exist? The logic goes something like this: Lightner thinks that it is possible that these two birds could be part of the same biblical kind thus both would have only been represented by a single pair on the ark. Therefore they must have evolved a single original pair and so there must be intermediate ancestors. So YECs do believe in missing links and even expect that they should find them in the fossil record.

So how do YECs know when to expect missing links? It is all based on their definitions of a kind. Intermediate fossils between foxes and wolves would be expected but a fossil that looks like an intermediate between a dog and a bear can’t exist (although there are plenty of such fossils) since the latter are members of different kinds that were created by special creation. YEC leaders consistently claim that no intermediate fossils exist and that there are millions of missing links between kinds but they use a set of definitions that apply only to creationists.

Intermediate fossils are expected and are just ancestors in kinds but by definition they don’t exist outside of kinds. Since YECs think that there was no coyotes, wolves or a foxes on the ark but some sort of intermediate of all of them, the first canines would be expected to not be like any canines alive today and thus would have been an intermediate species. As they changed over time they should have left some traces of their ancestors which showed their evolutionary change from one morphology (shape) to another.

YECs have a profound misconception of the nature of intermediate fossils as all intermediates are really between species not between higher levels of classification. There is no expectation of intermediate fossils between a living red fox and a coyote but there are plenty of fossils of extinct species of canines that lie along the ancestral chain of species that lead to either the fox or the coyote. I have written a whole series of posts (A Horse is a Horse of Course, A Horse is a Horse According to Answers in Genesis, and When is a Horse and Horse? A Species Definition Problem) on the YEC view of horse evolution in which I showed that among YECs there is disagreement about the horse evolution series. Some accept that all fossil horses represent a real evolution of the ancestral horse (a small dog-sized animal) that was on the ark into today’s modern species of horses. All those fossils that have been found are considered intermediates between that ancestor and today’s horses. Other YEC disagree because they believe that those fossil horses must be a different baramin/kind and thus by definition no intermediates can exist and thus deny the horse evolution fossil series and claim it has been misinterpreted by scientists."

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