Jackson Wheat: Two Debates on Common Descent

Hello, my name is Jackson Wheat, and I had a discussion/debate with Kevin Anderson a couple weeks ago. Here is the link if you want to watch:

The topic was universal common ancestry (UCA); however, we barely discussed this topic during the debate. Anderson focused his opening largely on a few experiments, mostly involving flies and bacteria, and as I am a rather unskilled debater, I focused my rebuttal and a large portion of our discussion on the topics he brought up rather than the debate topic itself. When the conversation did finally turn to UCA, we either ran out of time or Anderson would never agree to relatedness among any organisms. For example, he would not agree if the Galapagos “finches” Geospiza magnirostris and G. conirostris were related, even though Answers in Genesis typically states that the “family” taxonomic level approximately equates to a baramin. Both “finches” are members of the family Thraupidae as well as the same genus. My intro was never discussed except by Anderson casually disregarding all fossil evidence, which must be strange for his colleagues at AiG like John Whitmore who have published in the secular literature on fossils.

I had another debate on UCA the next week, in which I do feel UCA was discussed more:

So, if I could impart one piece of advice, which I need to follow myself, it is keep the creationist on topic. In the creationist worldview, there is homology among closely related organisms, but beyond those organisms, any perceived homologies are just “common designs.” But what is the point at which this occurs? There is, as far as I have seen in the creationist literature, no answer to this. That question must be hammered during debates on UCA. Aron Ra has outlined this argument and termed it the “Phylogeny Challenge” (see his YouTube video). In total, my interaction with Anderson was very congenial, and I do certainly need to work on my debating skills.


Thanks @JacksonWheat1.

I also saw this interesting video on hummingbird evolution that you put together. I’m curious @John_Harshman and @Herman_Mays’s thoughts on this. Seems really interesting!

Tell us a bit more about yourself too.

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It’s futile to get creationists to define the limits of “kinds”. I’ve tried for years. Such methodologies as they have, which are seldom actually applied, are also seldom justified by any argument. Thus no two creationists can agree even when they try to delimit; witness the disagreement about which fossils are humans and which are apes. Anderson seems worse than most, being unwilling to admit that interbreeding congeners are in the same “kind”.

Nice video. I have three quibbles. 1) I have problems with the brief discussion of paleognaths; the age of divergences within the group is not the primary evidence for original flight. Instead, it’s the presence of the flying tinamous nested within the flightless ratites. 2) the tree of Strisores (or Cypselomorphae) is more resolved than we really have good data for, though the part he talks about is fine. 3) It looks as if, when he’s talking about the humerus of some fossil bird, he’s showing a figure of the coracoids of various species.

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Here’s what that swordbilled hummingbird looks like feeding. Taken in Peru.