Native Creationists - How has creationism changed? (Wood v. Duff/MacMillan)

Just finished watching Todd Wood’s plenary presentation at Origins 2020, linked here on Wood’s blog.

Wood says he was inspired by our paper on postcreationism, published this past May. He reviews the history of creationism in a lot of detail, from the origins of modern science through the present, and predictably concludes that he is not a postcreationist at all, but rather a “native creationist” who is simply building on a firm framework.

Interesting for a lot of reasons. First, the history of creationism was very good. Ham and Mortenson and others from AiG love to gloss over the history and act as though a strict six-day creationist synthesis was always the default even long before The Genesis Flood. That, of course, is just not true, and while Wood doesn’t appear to be directing his presentation toward AiG in any way, it is a very effective foil to their notions. It’s hard to maintain the idea of YEC as historically monolithic in the face of all his evidence to the contrary.

There are a few minor disagreements…for example, I don’t think his characterization of the Galileo Affair was entirely accurate, but I can let that slide. I wouldn’t have expected complete agreement, of course.

I was disappointed, however, that he really sort of just stopped when he came to modern creationism. The whole point of our article is that this modern hyperspeciation view espoused by Jeanson (and, to some extent, Wood) is a qualitative departure from the creationism that solidified around Morris and Whitcomb, as well as the neocreationism that came after it. If Wood argues he was a “Native Creationist” from the beginning, he needs to look closely at whether the evolving acceptance of expansive common ancestry is actually aligned with the “native” creationism he grew up with. We argue (convincingly, in my view) that it is not.

On issues of flood geology, modern creationists may cling with surprising tenacity to the pillars laid by Morris and Whitcomb, but there is not much left of the creationist biology of that era.

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Give Dr. Wood some credit here too. It does not seem he accused you of research misconduct.

But I was inspired mostly by the name “postcreationist,” because it first made me laugh but it also made me start thinking. How do modern creationists relate to their forebears of recent memory? I recall meeting Henry Morris and Duane Gish, but my take on creationism is definitely a bit different from theirs. As I thought about it, I realized my generation grew up after all the disputes of the early twentieth century. I never gave day-age creationism or gap theory creationism a second thought. That freed me up to attend to other matters like created kinds or hominin fossils.

@Joel_Duff and @David_MacMillan, this is worth thinking about:

In my circles it made kind of a splash, and there have already been rebuttals posted and other rebuttals are being composed. And there’s plenty to be mad about I suppose, mostly because I don’t recognize myself in this paper at all.

First off, congrats for making a splash, but why doesn’t Todd recognize himself in the paper? What did you guys miss?

Yes, that was gratifying.

The paper uses the Ark Encounter as its primary example of postcreationism, and since Wood does not necessarily agree with AiG in all things, it’s unsurprising that he doesn’t immediately recognize himself in the paper. He is cited at various points, sometimes for background and sometimes in exemplary fashion, but we definitely focused closely on the Ark Encounter and the work of Jeanson and Lightner and so forth.

It’s also very possible that he is focusing too much on our characterization of the movement and not enough on the qualitative changes in dogma that we discuss. The bottom line is that this new acceptance of broad common descent is far, far beyond what traditional creationism would have accepted. And that doesn’t seem to be addressed at all.

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Todd Wood may not have an expressed position on hyper-evolution, but he’s a direct academic descendant of Kurt Wise, who is possibly the most hyper-evolutionist of them all. So I’m suspecting that he may fit.

So Wood is one who has actually followed the evidence in a fairly consistent fashion, concluding, among other things, that H. naledi was in fact a human relative. It is the only reasonable interpretation of the available evidence, but it does tend toward a broader view of common ancestry. That isn’t surprising…from our perspective, ALL the evidence tends toward a broadening of common ancestry.

What Wood isn’t doing is trying to seek out broader common ancestry in an effort to make the Ark story more palatable. He’s actually following the evidence. Which is part of the thrust of our paper. If you try to follow the evidence, it only leads in one direction.

That’s perhaps too strong a statement. He follows the evidence…up to a point.

Well, he follows the evidence within a pre-suppositional framework. That framework isn’t one he is able to challenge, but he still has to follow things to their logical conclusion.

One of the things that is deeply hypocritical about Answers In Genesis is that they don’t necessarily follow the same set of rules as they work through things. Their commitment is not to a presupposition framework, but to power and control, and so they are much more likely to fudge. For Kurt Wise and Todd Wood, on the other hand, it is much more of a close following of the evidence within this overarching paradigm.

One good example is how Kurt Wise deals with the human chromosome 2 fusion. The folks at Answers In Genesis try desperately to deny that there is a fusion there, insisting on lots of nonsense about functional genes and unknown variations and possible designs. Wise, on the other hand, simply says “Yep, there was a fusion event here. God must have originally created humans with one more chromosome and then the fusion happened at some point after creation.” It’s following the evidence honestly within a controlled paradigm.

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42 posts were split to a new topic: Native Creationists and Chromosomal Fusion

Can you please provide some references?

It was the subject of one of his lectures at Origins 2020. I didn’t see it but heard about it from @Joel_Duff.

Yes, it is an obvious fusion. Anyone arguing otherwise is simply grasping absurdities.

The reason it is very good evidence for common ancestry is not just that it is there, but that common ancestry predicted it in advance.

Just to quickly unpack why the prediction of the Human Chromosome 2 fusion is so important.

All great apes have 24 chromosome pairs, except for humans, which have 23 chromosome pairs. This is a problem for common ancestry. If we are close relatives of other great apes, then we should have the same number of chromosomes as them. That’s just plain problematic. In fact, it’s problematic enough that it poses a real challenge to common descent, one that strikes at the heart of the neodarwinian synthesis. The close relationship between humans and chimpanzees was predicted on the basis of fossils and morphology and biogeography and many other lines of evidence. If that turns out to be wrong, it means that there is a fundamental problem with our view of descent and ancestry.

The only solution is a chromosome fusion event. That’s the only way that humans and chimps can share a recent common ancestor: the ancestor must have had 24 pairs, and somewhere along the human line of descent, there must have been a fusion that became fixed in the population. It’s a really specific prediction. One of the human chromosomes must match two chimpanzee chromosomes exactly, with a fusion marker in the middle. That’s the only way. If there are not two adjacent chimpanzee chromosomes pairs that match one human chromosome pair with a fusion marker, common ancestry is toast. Everything falls apart.

Now, the Special Creationists don’t have this problem. If God made humans from scratch, he simply could have made them with a different number of chromosomes. There’s no reason for any of the chromosomes to match those of other great apes. Of course there COULD be a fusion event; God could have originally created humans with 24 pairs that fused into 23. But also maybe there isn’t.

Then, after this prediction was made, we discovered it in 1991. Human chromosome 2 is extra-long. It has the telltale markers of fusion, with two centromeres and embedded telomeres. Its two sides, on either ends of the embedded telomeres, match two chimpanzee chromosomes exactly. You can see it for yourself:

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This didn’t falsify special creation, because you can’t falsify special creation, not in this way. God simply could have created them in any way he wanted. But what it did do is prove that the predictions of common descent hold up. Time and time again, common descent makes specific, defined, testable predictions that could falsify it, and time and time again it is proven reliable.

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I pop over to Todd Wood’s blog once in a while, and he has earned my respect. He seems committed to being as honest as he can within the boundaries he has drawn. This blog post is a great example:

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That was the blog post that originally freed me up to actually look honestly at the evidence. I was still just as much of a YEC as him at the time but it gave me courage.

Chromosomal fusions are not TERRIBLY different from any other mutation. Typically coding genes remain unscathed and in many cases you still have full reproductive capacity.

Here are some articles you can start with:



https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/evo.12481
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This discussion of the chromosome 2 fusion is wandering off topic and I’m not sure how informative it is at this stage.

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I would say it ought to be split off but @colewd doesn’t appear to have any intention of paying attention to the discussion.

I agree it could be a fusion sight. What I am saying at this point it is not definitely a fusion site.

@colewd it definitely looks like a fusion site.

Now what?

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Yes, it is definitely a fusion site.

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Time to move all the chromosomal fusionstuff to a new topic?

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