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Animals' exacting needs could have evolved after the flood (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Animals' exacting needs could have evolved after the flood (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CH521:

The specialized dietary needs of many animals might have come about only after the Flood via microevolution. Microevolution could also account for climate preferences, lack of dormancy, wild temperament, and other traits, meaning that Noah never would have had to face many of the challenges that would be posed by animals in their present form.

Source: Woodmorappe, John, 1996. Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study. Santee, CA: ICR, pp. 61, 116-117, 125, 134.


CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. It is ironic that someone opposed to evolution would invoke evolution as a magic wand to solve so many problems. The rates of evolution proposed by John Woodmorappe are far greater than the evolution rates that biologists propose to account for common descent of all plants and animals.

First of all we are talking microevolution not macroevolution. Furthermore these changes represent at best the same level of complexity and most likely a loss of complexity. Put another way the microevolution changes referred to by Woodmorappe represent a deterioration in the original kinds. Macroevolution of all organisms from a common ancestor requires an increase in complexity not just an increase in variety. Microevolutionary change at the same level or a loss of complexity no mater how fast or for how long will never produce the observed variety of organisms from microbes.

A good example of this is found among domestic dogs and cats. In both cases the various breeds represent a large amount of variety, but the breeds are inferior to the mutts in the sense of survivability in the wild. Among domestic dogs and cats the mutts are healthier than the breeds. Many of the breeds can not survive in the wild and some breeds need near constant medical help to stay alive.

The fact that modern variety with the various kinds are less healthy than the original is supported by the fact that the Biblical record shows than man lived about 10 times longer before the flood than modern man. It also shows a rapid decrease following the flood.

Woodmorappe (1996, 5-7) further proposed that all species evolved after the flood from representative genera or families aboard the ark. Since the evolution Woodmorappe proposed involves speciation and has no barriers to change, it is unquestionably macroevolution, not microevolution.

Woodmorappe's proposal does have barriers to change. Those barriers are increases in complexity, the changes do not produce increases in complexity. The key is understanding that modern varieties within kinds are just deteriorated copies of their pre-Flood ancestors. Talk Origins is stuck in their evolutionary mind set by failing to see the deteriorating nature of speciation. Speciation is a division of a unified gene pool into two parts, which reduces the total genetic variety available for mating among those species that reproduce sexually especially.

2. Rapid evolution requires populations that include lots of variation already; the evolution then proceeds via selection of existing variation. If there is little or no variation in the population already, nonharmful mutations must first occur to provide some variation, and evolution is much slower. According to the Flood story, all populations would have begun from just two individuals, making variation virtually nil. (Few populations would have had the capacity even to survive normal environmental fluctuationsl Simberloff 1988). The populations would not have had the genetic variation to allow microevolution of specialized traits to be common.

Wrong Talk Origins' claim is based on the purely evolutionary assumption that the observed variety arose only by accumulation of mutations over long periods of time.

It ignores the effect of small inbreeding population as animals dispersed after the Flood. Under such circumstance, it is easier for those mutations that do occur to take hold, thus greatly accelerating substitution rates. Furthermore the evolutionary model of diversification is dependent on beneficial mutations, which even if they occurred would be extremely rare. The creationist model of diversification is able to use the much more common and actually observed neutral and harmful mutations

When this factor is combined with genetic recombination, Natural Genetic Engineering and gene transfer, it is clear that the presently observed variety could have come about in the few thousands of years since the Flood.

Talk Origins' claim also ignores the deteriorating nature of speciation. The original kinds where generally more fit and capable of handling environmental fluctuations. When one starts from a smaller, fitter population, and consider all the sources of genetic variation, the observed diversity is quite possible in the time since the Flood.