RE: [asa] Re: microevolution (Baraminology)

From: Jon Tandy <tandyland@earthlink.net>
Date: Sat Sep 20 2008 - 11:33:41 EDT

Joel,

 

Thanks for this excellent summary. This is further information to what I
have read elsewhere and to which I was writing originally, concerning YEC
arguments which tangentially (and as you say schizophrenically) try to
accept very rapid evolution beyond the species level over the last 6000
years. At the same time they try to say that a greater amount of evolution
("macroevolution") couldn't have happened over a much longer period of
geological time. This seems like an interesting subject to pursue - does
anyone know of a book/resource where this acceptance of the principles of
evolution in YEC writings is further elucidated and exposed?

 

Jon Tandy

 

From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of Duff,Robert Joel
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 1:56 PM
To: George Murphy; asa@calvin.edu
Subject: [asa] Re: microevolution (Baraminology)

 

With respect to the discussion on microevolution I recently wrote the
following to a few friends as a commentary on present YEC work on what they
call bariminology and thought it might be useful here. Under the umbrella
of bariminology YECs have been gradually incorporating more and more of what
is standard micro evolutionary theory but also defining much if usually
considered macroevolution and attempting to redefine it under their
definition of microevolution. In addition to the detailed example below
there are recent articles about how all goat and sheep species are all one
baramin and thus arose from a single pair of a few individuals. All those
divergent characters are not just the result of sorting variation but are
now admitted to be the result of new mutations (thought carefully not called
new information!) that were quickly selected for by environmental
conditions. Below I do a quick review of a paper from the latest issue of
the ARJ from AIG.

 

In the latest issue of the Answers Research Journal I found the following
article:

"Karyotype Variability within the cattle Monobaramin." Jean K. Lightner
(Independent Scholar).

 

The author attempts to explain how all the members of the cattle monobaramin
(ie. A creationist' monophyletic group) can have disparate chromosome
numbers and evidences of multiple translocated portions of chromosomes. The
authors struggle to balance the perceived need for a "perfect" genome in the
original created kind with the effects of the fall on the genome itself and
the extent to which the original creation was prepared to produce all the
variation we see today from only a single original species kind. The
article is fascinating and reveals just how contorted the logic of
creationist becomes when constrained by these questionable assumptions about
created order and results of the fall. Below I quote passages from this
article and include comments (JD):

 

"However, I have argued that species within the genus Bubalus should be
included within the cattle monobaramin based on a study which yielded hybrid
embryos which developed to the advanced blastocyst stage (Kochhar et al.
2002). I suggested that this stage indicates development past the maternal
phase and requires the coordinated expression of both maternal and paternal
morphogenetic genes (Lightner 2007a)."

 

JD: The author believes there was one created cattle kind that gave rise to
domestic cattle, water buffalos and other similar ruminants. Her argument
for the inclusion of water buffalos (Bubalus) as having the same origin as
other cattle is that hybrid embryos can be formed. Obviously the assumption
here is that life begins at the first cell and if there can be union of
cells that survive even if only to a later embryonic stage then there must
be sufficient identity between the organisms that they must be related by
common ancestry (created kind). I wonder if she has bothered to apply his
reasoning to the literature and see where that would take her in terms of
what other groups of organisms she would have to accept as having a common
origin based on embryonic hybridization.

 

"Given that in the beginning God commanded the creatures He created to
reproduce and fill the earth, it would seem that variation that poses a
significant barrier to reproduction within a monobaramin has developed
subsequent to Creation, and may very likely be post-Curse. It could be
argued that some variation, such as rob (1;29), was actually created because
it does not always significantly impair reproduction and perhaps it never
would in a perfect pre-Fall world. However,we see de novo tranlocations
today. Additionally, many similar inferred translocations discussed would
impede reproduction between certain members within a monobaramim."

 

JD: Summarizing: God created an original kind that must have been able to
reproduce very efficiently in the pre-fall world. After the fall, we see
translocations (rearrangements in the chromosomes that include even entire
chromosomes being attacked to one another or split in half) that impede
reproduction and thus they must be part of the fall effect. But look below,
some translocations are not part of the fall but are Gods plan.

 

"Since translocations have been identified in animals of normal phenotype,
it is highly doubtful that chromosomal fusions are merely accidental
occurrences that can be attributed to purely chance events. In addition to
the breaks in the chromosomes (which may be somewhat random), these
rearrangements require important mechanisms that repair breaks, silence a
centromere, and apparently adjust the amount of constitutive heterochromatin
over time in a way that maintains viability."

 

JD: This author seems to be schizophrenically attempting to define random
and designed processes. In the next section she seems to want to say that
natural selection doesn't happen but then proceeds to describe how it does
happen. Very strange! Start in the first sentence. A normal animal has
been shown to have large translocations but by some sort of unspecified
definition it is still normal and therefore is like God's good creation and
therefore this translocation could not happen by mere accident and can't be
due to "purely chance events." Since breaks have to be fixed and
accommodated in the genome in a supposedly complex fashion this is further
proof of design although the breaks can apparently be "somewhat random." ???
What does it mean that the breaks may be random but the fusions are no mere
accident? This is really peer reviewed??

 

" Furthermore, these translocations can become fixed in different
populations. This implies that there is some purpose and benefit to them.
Although they may come at a cost (usually reduced fertility in
heterozygotes), chromosomal translocations may provide a degree of
plasticity that is necessary for animals to adapt in a sin-cursed world.
Perhaps certain harsh environments or marginal diets trigger chromosomal
fragility which may result in translocations. These may allow for certain
new gene associations that are beneficial to the animal. Other animals not
carrying these traits may not do as well and perhaps choose to move
elsewhere. The few animals carrying the rearrangement may be better able to
exploit a particular environment. Thus essentially the founder effect helps
the translocation to become established within the population. Therefore, it
appears plausible that chromosomal rearrangements are the result of designed
mechanisms that provide a source of variability that allows animals to adapt
in our fallen world."

 

JD: Here is where it gets really contorted. These translocations (read as
"mutations") can become fixed in populations. Fixed means that after a
mutation occurs at some point that mutation may find its way into the entire
population and now become the new genetic condition. (eg. The gaur has 58
chromosomes and the bison has 60 so if they both came from the same kind -
read common ancestor! - then an individual in that common ancestor must have
had a mutation that resulted in either condition and then that mutation
spread through a whole population resulting in the formation of the division
between the species). Second sentence: If a translocation (mutation) gets
fixed in a population by definition it is beneficial/purposeful. However
(third sentence) there may be some small cost which was not part of the
original plan of creation but necessary in the sin-cursed world. Then the
environment (read as "nature") may cause these mutations which may result in
some new beneficial features. How are these new beneficial features chosen
to survive? Well, those animals that weren't blessed with the new
beneficial mutations may not do as well (read as "are less fit") and may
choose to move elsewhere. Funny, rather than say they may not survive, the
author simply refers to animals simply choose to move to another location
where there genes are better adapted to that new environment. There is such
a reluctance here to suggest that there could be negative consequences of
having gene combinations that were actually part of the original "normal
animal" and thus could die as a result of their genetic condition.

 

So these chromosome re-arrangements (mutations) are designed to be a source
of variation but those variations are somehow fixed based on the interaction
with the environment (natural selection). It sounds like she is just
talking about mutations and natural selection but attempting to make it
sound as if there is a design element that somehow makes it different than a
standard evolutionary explanation.

 

The peer review in this supposed "research journal" is not surprisingly very
relaxed. Terms are poorly defined and the articles consist of large amounts
of speculation or assertion that is left unreferenced in many cases. The
most shocking speculation comes in a footnote at the very end of the article
in which the statement is made:

 

"The Bible does make it clear that man does not share a common ancestor with
other animals, but it does not provide information on the original karyotype
in man or created kinds. The possibility exists that all mammals may have
been created with essentially identical karyotypes (i.e., the same
chromosome number and banding patterns).

 

I was floored by this suggestion given the great variation in chromosome
number today. The author seems to be suggesting that massive chromosome
number and structural changes have occurred to animal groups over a short
period of time. This is pure speculation but I believe that part of the
reason for this suggestion is that the author may feel that it could take
some pressure of explaining the chromosome similarities between man and
chimps. Rather than common ancestry it is yet more evidence that all
animals are part of the same design.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
R. Joel Duff, Ph.D, Associate Professor
Department of Biology
University of Akron
Akron OH 44325-3908
rjduff@uakron.edu <mailto:rjduff@uakron.eduPhone>
Phone: (330) 972-6077
FAX: (330) 972-8445
 <http://www.uakron.edu/colleges/artsci/depts/biology/faculty/duff.php>
http://www.uakron.edu/colleges/artsci/depts/biology/faculty/duff.php
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  _____

From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of George Murphy
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 7:55 AM
To: Jon Tandy; asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] Microevolution

 

Jon -

 

The initial assumptions you cite are manifestly flawed even before we get to
any considerations about the implications just what constitutes
microevolution or its implications. Just for starters -

 

a. If this is understood to rule out evolution then it also rules out any
change at all.

 

b. "Kind" is not identical with the modern concept of "species."

 

c. This is false. For one thing it depends on the environment. The sickle
cell mutation has beneficial features for populations in areas with high
incidences of malaria.

 

d. This would make sense only if we had no traits in common with apes (from
whom, of course, we didn't descend).

 

Connecting with our earlier discussion of the Reiss affair, it would be much
better to challenge the basic theological and exegetical assumptions of YECs
than to try to make inroads via scientific arguments.

 

Shalom
George
http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm

----- Original Message -----

From: Jon <mailto:tandyland@earthlink.net> Tandy

To: asa@calvin.edu

Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 11:38 PM

Subject: [asa] Microevolution

 

It seems that most of those today who are anti-evolution based on a literal
reading of Genesis are willing to accept "microevolution" (which they define
as variation within species or possibly change between species, but not at
higher levels). This morning I thought about several claims, which I think
are generally held. The first, second and fourth claims are religious, the
third is scientific (not saying that any of the claims are necessarily
correct).

 

a. If God declared his creation "good" and "finished" in the first two
chapters of Genesis, then evolution's claims that species can adapt and
change over time contradicts a literal reading.

 

b. God created the various "kinds" and told them to reproduce "after their
kind", which is taken to mean that there can't be change between species.
They continue to reproduce according to how God created them originally.

 

c. All mutations are detrimental.

 

d. Evolution of humans from apes and other animals with common traits as
humans puts humans on the level of animal, and nullifies the special of
humans who were made "in the image of God".

 

 

However, given that microevolution is accepted by creationists, what does
microevolution entail?

 

1. Species can mutate from their originally created "good" condition. This
means that the creation was not "finished" in Genesis 2, but continues to
adapt and develop over time.

2. Natural selection along with mutation can be observed to cause species to
develop in beneficial ways for their perpetuation, which means that natural
selection must be accepted by anti-evolutionists as a viable mechanism for
positive change within or between species.

3. This means that not all mutations are necessarily detrimental or "bad".

4. If a given species can change over time so that it produces entirely
different "kinds" of entities, to me this undercuts the whole idea of
animals always necessarily reproducing "after their kind" (meaning within
the same originally created "kind").

5. Just as humans share common, apparently inherited characteristics with
other animals, humans are also made of the same atoms and chemicals as all
the rest of creation. If chemistry and particle physics don't contradict
the special "image of God" nature of humanity, then why should common
biological elements be considered any differently?

 

Thus, acceptance of microevolution (which is tacitly acknowledged by most
creationists) requires acceptance of the possibility of beneficial mutations
and natural selection and fundamental change from God's originally created
"kinds". Acceptance of the common chemistry within the human species is
equivalent to the common elements of biology. Thus, all the above arguments
against macroevolution seem to be contradicted by logical comparison with
microevolution.

 

Does this line of reasoning make sense?

 

I realize this still doesn't answer the belief that "kinds" include not only
species but genus and maybe even family, and some allow for microevolution
within groups larger than the species. In response it is asserted that the
creationists' definition of "kind" is ad hoc and inconsistent, meaning
simply "all the areas in which I don't want to admit the possibility of
macroevolution."

 

And of course another line of evidence is the biological data showing not
only change between species, but between families, orders, and even phyla.

 

Jon Tandy

 

 

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Received on Sat Sep 20 11:34:52 2008

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