McDowell, Rana and Swamidass: Livestreamed on Sunday

One issue with this is that we are not presenting competing perspectives. The conversation this sunday night should still be really interesting.

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I had thought it was the position of RTB that each species was separately created. Not so?

Yeah, we disagree about that for sure. There are disagreements between us. Rather, we are taking a cooperative approach with them to see how many of their beliefs could be consistent with the evidence.

Good luck on that. None of them, at a first approximation, at least none related to biology.

Addendum: it appears to be Hugh Ross’s position (don’t know if it applies to RTB as a whole) that both the Permo-Triassic and K-T extinctions wiped out, at least, all terrestrial life (possibly all multcellular life), and that new species were created following the extinctions to fill up the ecosystem, some of those species resembling previous ones.

I’m gonna be honest where things don’t work. I don’t think everything they put forward works.

From what I understand, RTB has a rather complicated view of what was specially created and what wasn’t. Progressive creation allows some natural speciation, but also argues for direct divine action at various points in the past.

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Can you find anything that clarifies that?

In response to a reader question on the RTB website, Hugh Ross had a longer response that I will extract a quote from. The whole response can be viewed here.

God frequently intervened throughout the creation days to design new kinds of life. However, He created each new species with a built-in ability to adapt to changing environments. Because definitions of “species” are so varied and broad, many so-called speciation events may merely be examples of adaptation.

The use of “so-called speciation” in his response doesn’t seem to support a mainstream scientific view of speciation, but I may have read from Fuz or @AJRoberts something that sounded more mainstream. I don’t really have the time right now to go searching, but I may give it a try later.

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RTB also includes a large range of views within it’s camp. They may even be open to including Christians that affirm evolutionary science. In fact, I am pretty sure that this is exactly the case.

What is your basis for being “pretty sure”?

Their reception of me this last January. Also writings from @AJRoberts that will be published in due course.

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Yes, Josh is right. This will either be in the book that drops in October and/or covered in the online bonus material that will publish at the same time. There are similar statements and concepts in this blog article too: What’s a Hemimastigote Got to Do with Progressive Creationism?


I found that article interesting but confused. If Hemimastigotes are a kind, why do they share so many idiosyncratic characters with other eukaryotes? Are the other various superkingdoms also kinds? Opisthokonts, for example; how would we tell?

Most relevant to this site, if your criteria for independent creation is (apparently) a very big genetic gap, then wouldn’t humans be part of a much larger kind? I’m not sure what the kind limit would be, but it would seem to include at least Opisthokonta.

There seems considerable disagreement. @AJRoberts allows for “kinds” as divergent as hemimastigotes, while Ross claims that each species of owl and (apparently) genus of insects is a separate kind. I’m guessing that they both agree that Homo sapiens, or perhaps just Homo, is a kind. Ross seems to base his understanding solely on the bible’s descriptions, while Roberts alludes to (but doesn’t operationalize) some kind of biological criterion.

Ross may be unclear on the meaning of “speciation”. The term refers to the evolution of reproductive isolation between two populations. It doesn’t refer to morphological change or adaptation, though speciation may result from adaptation to different environments, and speciation allows divergence between populations. I note in passing that as an astronomer he seeks to fit Genesis to astrophysics, while he seeks to fit biology to Genesis.


The big picture @John_Harshman is that they are okay potentially with a lot of evolution of new species. They don’t have a clear idea yet or consensus on what was a created kind or speciation.

The other big picture point is that, if scriptural concerns are attended, they are comfortable with quite a lot of common descent, even to the point we are discussing a position like mine.

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Roberts, perhaps. Ross, almost certainly not. Rana, no idea.

How much? Homo? Hominidae? Primates? Mammalia? Amniota? And can any two of them agree on how much or why?

I’m not talking about their personal beliefs, but about what they are willing to accept as a faithful position within their camp. That is a distinct issue from the positions that they personally hold

What do you know about what they’re willing to accept? Specifically, Ross.

That question has already been answered on this thread. Perhaps reread it.

Do you have anything clearer than “quite a lot”?