Re: Definition of "Species"

Date: Tue Feb 19 2002 - 23:24:26 EST

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    In his well-done lecture on species, David Campbell writes,

    << I think that this principally tells us not to claim that the Bible
     provides a limit on the possible extent of evolution in its
     use of "kind" or similar terms, as there is no definition of
     kind. In contrast, Huse cites Gish as declaring that kinds
     are roughly equivalent to a family. .....
     A study on an Australian aboriginal community that relied extensively on
    found that the correlation between what they had separate names for and what
    malacologists recognize as distinct species was very good. Species seem to
    be real entities, but how to define them?>>

    Most creationists define "kind" as a group of "animals" that can interbreed
    and produce fertile offspring. This can make a biblical "kind" a very wide
    category. The study of the Australian aboriginal community is just one more
    example of a proto-scientific people separating "animals" into "kinds" along
    the very same lines that modern biologists call "species." My examination of
    the meaning of "kind" (min) in Scripture in conjunction with the evidence
    from anthropology led to the following conclusion:

    With reference to very small creatures like insects, the biblical writer may
    well have defined mīn as referring more often to orders or families than to
    genera or species. With reference to water-dwelling creatures, the biblical
    writer may have occasionally thought in terms of phylum or class, and
    sometimes in terms of orders, especially for small creatures and "fish"
    without scales or fins, but more often in terms of families and genera and
    sometimes even in terms of species. As to reptiles and amphibia, mīn was
    probably defined sometimes at the level of genera and occasionally families,
    but most often at the level of species. With regard to birds and mammals
    larger than say a rat, mīn would be defined occasionally in terms of
    families, and sometimes genera, but usually (80-90% of the cases) would
    probably be in terms of species.


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