RE: [asa] Re: microevolution (Baraminology)

From: Steve Matheson <>
Date: Sat Sep 20 2008 - 12:50:52 EDT

If you haven't already, you should examine the work of the BSG (website:, (, ) led by
Todd Wood at Bryan College. Their "Occasional Papers" are peer-reviewed and
generally quite well written. I think you'll find that these thinkers do not
necessarily assert that "macroevolution" *could not* have happened over
billions of years. Their rejection of "macroevolution" (i.e., common ancestry
at "higher" taxonomic levels) is motivated by a rejection of
"uniformitarianism" (or more precisely, an insistence on "catastrophism" as
extracted from the flood narrative) and their proposed explanation for "rampant
diversification and speciation" (their words) is in fact fully compatible with
large-scale evolution over longer periods of time. In other words, while they
don't believe that "macroevolution" occurred, they do postulate extremely rapid
evolutionary change in the recent past, and would have to acknowledge that such
forces acting over eons would yield rates of evolutionary change dramatically
faster than what is described by mainstream evolutionary theory.

Steve Matheson

>>> "Jon Tandy" <> 09/20/08 11:33 AM >>>



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: [] On Behalf Of
Duff,Robert Joel
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 1:56 PM
To: George Murphy;
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
“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 constrathese 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
“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
“ 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 ferttranslocations 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
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 s++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
R. Joel Duff, Ph.D, Associate Professor
Department of Biology






44325-3908 ( mailto:rjduff@uakron.eduPhone )
Phone: (330) 972-6077
FAX: (330) 972-8445


From: [] On Behalf Of
George Murphy
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 7:55 AM
To: Jon Tandy;
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.




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


Jon Tandy ( )



Thursday, September 18, 2008 11:38 PM


[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 chebe 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
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
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 12:51:25 2008

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