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Organisms come in discrete kinds (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Organisms come in discrete kinds (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 CH350:

The created kinds are distinct; evolution between them is impossible. "Creation of distinct kinds precludes transmutation between kinds" (Morris 1974, 216).

Source: Morris, Henry M., 1974. Scientific Creationism, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, pp. 13, 216-218


CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. Creationists have been unable to specify what the created kinds are.

This is mainly because it is impossible to completely reconcile a kind with the current classification system. One reason is because it is too easy for newly discovered varieties to be classified as a new species, genus, family or whatever. Creationists have fallen in to this trap before, by defining a kind as equivalent to species or genus. It seems that a kind is roughly equivalent to family but can some time be as narrow as genus or species. It may even include more than one family.

The problem results mainly from past efforts reconcile a kind with the current classification system, as such real research in to this area has sadly been neglected. It is a common trap in science. However progress is being made.

A kind can be defined as a group of organisms descended from a group of common interbreedable ancestors. Note that only the ancestors have to be interbreedable. The main key to is interbreedablity. Any two animals the can breed and produce offspring are the same kind. Sometimes one variety can breed with two that can breed with each other, in such cases all three are the same kind. Studies in this are have produced some interesting results. If a given kind has a sufficient number of varieties it should still be possible to ling all them through inter breeding. Unfortunately there may be cases were there no living variety capable of breeding between two groups. In such cases, genetic studies should provide a clue.

If kinds were distinct, it should be easy to distinguish between them. ... No matter where one sets the cutoff for how inclusive a kind is, there will be many groups just bordering on that cutoff.

Not necessarily one of the results of the increase in variety with in kinds would be blurring of the distinctions. Figure 1 shows the original kinds, and figure 2 shows the results of blurring by diversification. The likely hood of this is increased by the transfer of genes between kinds, and there is evidence to support it. This could easily occur by way of viruses.

Ck1.gif

  • figure 1.

Ck2.gif

  • figure 2.

Instead, we find a nested hierarchy of similarities, with kinds within kinds within kinds. For example, the twelve-spotted ladybug could be placed in the twelve-spotted ladybug kind, the ladybug kind, the beetle kind, the insect kind, or any of dozens of other kinds of kind, depending on how inclusive the kind is.

It is the standard classification system that is a nested hierarchy.


This pattern exactly matches the pattern expected of evolution. It does not match what creationism predicts.

Wrong, it is what creation produces given the vast variety within the basic kinds.

2. Fixity of kinds is based on the philosophy of Plato, not the Bible (Dewey 1910). Nowhere does the Bible say that kinds themselves cannot change and diversify. Reproduction "according to their kind" is entirely consistent with evolution, as long as it is recognized that kinds are not fixed.

This is a Straw Man, creationists not hold to this degree of fixity of kinds. It is readily accepted that there is vast diversify with is the kinds. Actually this statement is true, and it supports the actual claim.

3. Although major changes from one kind to another do not normally happen, except gradually over hundreds of thousands of generations, a sudden origin of a new kind has been observed. A strain of cancerous human cells (called HeLa cells) have evolved to become a wild unicellular life form.

These in no way qualify as a new kind of organism, nor are HeLa cells "a wild unicellular life form." HeLa cells have been artificially kept alive for years, in lab cultures. They are still human cells, but because of their disease, scientists have been able to keep them living in lab cultures.

4. According to Morris, fungi were not part of the original creation. They were not among the categories listed in Genesis 1, and as decomposers they would not have their form until after the Fall. Thus, Morris's own theology requires new kinds to originate after the creation.

This does not mean that they evolved from existing kinds of organisms. God simply created them as part of the curse of the Fall.