The Common Ancestor for the Australian Marsupial Dispersal?

Well, evolution is not a total explanation. So what exactly is the debate about?

Oh yeah…

7 posts were merged into an existing topic: Octopus not an Extraterrestrial

@anon46279830 (and @swamidass ), you’ll be happy to know that your posts have helped me identify why I have a problem tracking your views.

I earlier posts, you were discussing why you thought Australia’s marsupial evidence doesn’t convince you about Evolution. You see, I’m used to Christians who either favor “Evolution” that God doesn’t guide… or Christians who favor Evolution that God works through constantly - - the so-called “God-Guided” Evolution option.

It never occurred to me that anyone had developed a third option. So @swamidass, make sure you read his prior posting that I’m quoting here. It is a NOT chocolate or vanilla. It’s something completely different.

But before I get to my specific comments on this third option, I should point out that your third option really doesn’t embrace the Evolutionary camp in my “twin-edged” analogy. No… your position replaces that camp. Even though the camp already confesses “God’s Guidance”, it is still inextricably connected to the principles of “Common Descent” and the use of “Natural Selection” by God.

And so what I have been wondering about has been answered. And @swamidass, you should read for yourself why @anon46279830’s scenario is neither Milk nor Cream: it is half and half. He thinks the so-called term Macro-Evolution is really more applicable to plants, not animals. And rather than a chain of common descent, he sees a “chain of special creations”, with minor speciation occurring between the events of special creation: "Rather, God intervenes repeatedly after the creation of the universe. He has to create the templates or first examples."

Well, now that I’ve seen how complex your version of serial Special Creation is, we can discuss it out in the open.

Firstly, your Half-and-Half dairy substitute is not going to satisfy the Christians who believe there is too much evidence for Evolution (with Common Descent and Natural Selection) to be ignored. Why? Because you are ignoring the evidence, of course.

How so? Well, let’s go back to the Australia example. It appears that you are either going to say that the Tazmanian Devil, Marsupial moles and Marsupial Bandycoots are either “just variations of a single kind” - - or you are going to agree that they are significantly different, and so God created each template [ by means of special creation ] and evolution can proceed from each template.

I completely reject the first conclusion: I offered Australia as a laboratory set specifically because the three groups of marsupials are clearly and significantly different. You cant compare a ground-sprinting carnivore with a subterranean vegetarian mole and say they are “basically the same”.

And I reject the second conclusion even more energetically. Why would god use a bandcoot genetic template to create a mole? This genetic evidence tells us that either God uses natural selection and common descent as one of his tools for animal creation, or that he is intentionally trying to make us think he does.

So, am I happy now? No. I’m even more distressed than I thought I would be. Because you not only reject the evidence for common descent that unites all the animal phyla, you even propose that once God makes each template [by Special Creation] he then ignores the resulting minor evolution that might happen after each template is established.

This seems as such an utterly un-necessary position - for three reasons:

  1. I can’t imagine a hybrid position more complex,
  2. a hybrid position less supported by the natural evidence, and
  3. a hybrid position less popular with Christians who “adhere to the idea of
    Common Descent because there is no reason not to”.

@swamidass, I’ll leave you two to discuss more if you like. But I’m satisfied that I finally got the explanation that I was seeking all this time.

While @anon46279830 rejects Common Descent (except in the smallest pockets of species), he actually rejects God-Guided Evolution rather thoroughly - - since in his own words he says God doesn’t really need to do anything once he has made his long chain of Special Creations. The irony here is that he is actually more comfortable with un-guided Evolution, but only if it deals with minor variations - - because the big variations are due to God’s special creations of a sequence of Templates, rather than due to nature’s ability to create dramatic speciation by means of Natural Selection (with or without God guiding mutations and changes in the environment).

I am saying that we lack the controls/info necessary to determine which of those options or a third option actually occurred. Or it could be that they all radiated from a single ancestor as you propose simply using the methods God set up, but gaps bigger than that needed more direct Divine input.


The debate is about a third category of mixing “special creation” with “minor common descent”.

Even your compromise position of your scenario is not a “fit” for his approach.

All you are doing is re-stating the exact two options that I described - - both of which I completely reject.

You are a “third way” that doesn’t fit the natural evidence… but fits your view of the Bible just fine.

PostScript: Natural Selection and mutation (both of which can be influenced by God’s will) are perfectly able to generate the large and the small leaps we see in the fossil record and are consistent with what we see in the genetic evidence. And you reject that analysis, in preference to thousands of separate and specific “special creations”. I see these “special creations” as only occurring in Eden, with a limited number of animals that have already been created outside of Eden by means of God-Guided Evolution.

@swamidass I hope you can see why I hedged with the “unless provoked”!

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@anon46279830 (and @swamidass) , I can sure see why you hedged your statement.

Something was strange about how you were categorizing natural events… all without being willing to accept “macro-evolution” or “common descent” … so obviously we all needed to find out exactly what you were thinking about.


So which scenario do you prefer for the Cambrian period?

1] God engaging in serial Special Creations?

2] Alien virus installing some or all of its genetic sequence into key life forms?

3] Arrival of octopus eggs from deep space?


That said, such a situation could still involve natural descent, but that would not be where the key modification would come from. Take the gap between a fish and an amphibian. What if over the course of thirty or forty generations God acted to put just enough changes in each generation that they would still be able to be birthed and bred by natural means but each generation would also be further toward the amphibian end of things? This so that even though no amphibian was created out of thin air, or clay, one still had a very different creature though only forty generations removed from the fish. That result would be due to genetic engineering moving things a bit further along each generation. That is “descent with modification” but the modification that matters is via genetic engineering. So is that evolution, special creation and intelligent design all rolled up into one?


So, are you saying that God can nudge the mutations along (which is, after all, the point of God-Guided Evolution), until God’s evolution creates amphibians from fish?


Are you saying that the first amphibian must be one of God’s Specially Created templates?

Maybe you can define “God-Guided” evolution? I was thinking on the lines of the top one there and the example was a “might” not a “must”. To me, what I am describing here is both creationism and evolution. Just not evolution through strictly “natural” means. Whether we have the tools to detect the interventions is an open question. Perhaps we can only hope to find “anomalies” cause undetermined.

Well, until you posted your recent explanation, I was pretty sure we either had Godless Evolution, or God-Guided Evolution where crucial mutations (or even a series of mutations) were created in various genomes at just the right time… using Natural Selection and Common Descent principles to process the populations in question towards the desired, Divine, end points.

But then you established a second kind of Divine Engagement, which (while God-Guided) is not really Evolution:

  1. God Specially Creates templates at various times, from which minor evolution (not macro-evolution) may create varieties with no major or dramatic shifts in form/function.

  2. From a high-view of the process, this approach creates a fossil record that looks like Nature produce the big jumps in speciation (via Common Descent and Natural Selection) - - but it is not actually how it happened.

So… excluding any Young Earth options, we have three approaches for interpreting the fossils in an
Old Earth context:

1] Godless Evolution
2] God-Guided Evolution
3] Special Creation of templates for key shifts in Phyla, Class, Order, with room for minor changes via
Natural Selection. [< in other words, there is only Common Descent within kinds of animals, not
Common Descent leading from one kind to another kind.]


#3 best describes my beliefs, with the caveat about the mixed process which I outlined above.

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2 posts were split to a new topic: Octopus not an Extraterrestrial

If creatures came from the ark then the uniqueness of marsupial dominance in australia etc needs to be explained in YEC models.
i insist its easily explained by changing classification.
the marsupials are just the same creatures as elsewhere but adapted, in minor ways, with like triats called marsupial traits.
Thats why you have such glorious likeness in marsupisal lions, wolves, mice, etc with lions, wolves, mice elsewhere.
Its just that simple and obvious. likewise this concept has other examples in the fossil record.
another famous one being the Iipopterns (sp).


And you think this explains why ONLY mammals with such traits made it to Australia after the ark but BEFORE Australia drifted into the ocean?


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The creatures called marsupials are only a post flood adaptation. Its possible there were some befiore the flood but its just a minor change in reproduction mostly. A few other things also.
I think the change to marsupoalism was simply to increase reproduction rates. so those moving into S america also had it happen. there was timelines before the waters rose a little to stop migrations of creatures.
They were to obey gods command to refill the earth and be quick.
its so easy to see marsup[als as just tweeked placentals. no reason to invoke glorious convergent evolution to explain perfect similarity between types of "marsupials/placentals).
Reductionist science better explains this .
I did write a eassy called “Post Flood Marsupial Migration Explained” by Robert Byers. Just google.

No… @Robert_Byers… that is erroneous.

Marsupials in Australia can be traced back to mammals of the Dinosaur age… distinct from the mammals of the rest of the world.