But the observed gaps aren’t limited to being between “created kinds” and the observed nested hierarchies extend far beyond “created kinds.” That would therefore falsify creationist models, correct?
If the basic premise is “God would separately create organisms so that they fall into a nested hierarchy” then it wouldn’t be very fruitful.
To give an idea of what I mean by first principles we can look at the evolutionary model. The first principles in this case are random mutations, selection, speciation, and vertical inheritance (among other mechanisms, but those are the main ones). Those are all mechanisms we observe happening right now. From those first principles we would expect to see a nested hierarchy if life evolved through those mechanisms.
So what are the mechanisms in the creationist model? Why would they necessarily produce a nested hierarchy and not some other pattern of shared and derived features?
Evolution predicts we’ll find the top phylogenetic tree arrangement. Creation of “kinds” predicts we’ll find the bottom arrangement.
The empirical data from the fossil and genetic records finds this arrangement
Which model is better supported by the evidence?
Roberts: Principles of Created Kinds
Hugh Ross has a bunch of material about this. I would quote some here for discussion but I’m really swamped this week.
To help this discussion along it might be useful to describe the problem a creationist model would need to solve.
If there is a creator who is creating “kinds” of organisms separate from each other, then what are the possible outcomes? At first glance, it would seem to me that a creator could invent new features, copy features from other species, and then mix and match new and old into a new created kind. For example, a creator could take the middle ear from mammals, the feathers from birds, and the gills from fish and use them to create a new kind. There are tons and tons of possible combinations of features from a multitude of species.
With that in mind, how does a creationist model determine which combination of features we should see and not see? What basic concepts does the model use to determine this? Is the proposed creation model the only possible model, and if so, why is one model chosen over others?
I would think that the creator is designing at the molecular level so his degrees of freedom regarding observable features is quite diverse.
Of course. An omnipotent Designer could literally do anything, produce any pattern. That’s why an omnipotent Designer is useless as a scientific explanation.
If we use humans as an example, there are lab strains of mice that carry jellyfish and human genes. Humans mix and match genes from different species.
That kind of arrgument kind of amuses me - one could easily turn it round, in the same circumstances, to say that science is a useless tool to explain the work of the Designer - and if there is such a designer, it would be our job to fit the methodology to his work, not his work to our methodology.
There are plenty of finds which had they been made would have scientifically falsified the theory of evolution. Finding the phylogenetic tree from the fossil record was highly discordant with the genetic data for instance.
What finds if made would scientifically falsify the claim an omnipotent Designer created life and all life forms?
You weren’t listening to what I said: on the assumption that an omnipotent designer had freedom to create as he chose, why would science even be an appropriate way of approaching it, let alone falsifying it?
Science studies the repeatable or predictable relationships between things, abstracted ideally into symbolic mathematical form, or verbal form where that is not possible. Properly speaking, it does not even investigate what gravity or atoms are, but only the regular relationships between them.
So it simply has no tools to understand what God might choose freely to create. If it could discern some pattern in the choices he made, it would still have no tools to decide whether those patterns arose from a designer, or some other entity like a disembodied law.
If it cannot discern a pattern, it still cannot, of itself, confirm or falsify agency, but only make a metaphysical choice between the two possible causes of contingency, ie chance or choice.
Perhaps it would be instructive to think about what could scientifically falsify the contingent choice the scientist might make between chance and design under those circumstances. Perhaps chance doesn’t exist - what scientific evidence would falsify such a claim?
We seem to be arguing our own conceptions, not the first Principles @AJRoberts mentioned. Here is a search on the topic:
She is probably pissed to find out even at RTB woman in science make much less than men in science. @Agauger has mentioned this and it probably true at DI and Biologos also.
Then you agree with what I first noted: an omnipotent Designer is useless as a scientific explanation.
That’s a question the creationists need to answer because they seem to be saying that they have a scientific model for how God creates.
Well, yes, on the same basis that I am useless as a scientifc explanation for this post. I would tend to blame the inutility on the science rather than the Creator, though.
I have not had time to engage a topic this encompassing. There are different creation models. The RTB one has been articulated in Ross’ “More Than a Theory” and Rana’s 2nd Edition of “Who Was Adam?”. I hope to get back to you on first principles, but I do not want to jump in in brief and get nit-picked for not submitting complete thoughts. I apologize for not having the time. Perhaps we can start with group-conversation about the inadequacies of over simplifying models. The trees offered by Timothy Horton would be an example where both trees (or all 3 if you like) are over-simplified for the sake of comparisons and to discount one model at the expense of another. The complex tree at the top may be closer to that representing a created kind. Only observations can determine which organisms are within diversification and adaptive ranges of each created kind and which are not, and would therefore fall into another created kind.
T_aquaticus’ comment is extremely helpful:
As is Bill Cole’s:
I can’t predict what the creator did or how he did it. Observations must be the key to even beginning to form answers to those kinds of questions. I think this topic will be extremely fruitful. But this is not what I was signing up for when I made a few comments about comments in response to Ann Gauger’s posts about Stephen Meyer. I find this both fascinating and frustrating, how the conversation gets moved or forced in a particular direction. I say that, without any animosity toward anyone. I think this will be a helpful conversation to have. BUT I don’t have time for the details right now. I feel bad about that. But that is what it is.
For the record, I didn’t move my post over to this thread and start this new branch of the conversation. Feel free to participate in any way you see fit (or not at all), and PLEASE don’t feel pressured to post. If nothing else, I would be more than willing to answer any questions you have about the topic.
I think one thing that might be helpful is to continue thinking along the line posited by T_aquaticus.
I want to throw out a few of my own thoughts without connecting them to RTB’s particular model… although they may be identical, I don’t want to have to fact check first to throw the ideas out here.
If we are starting with an Old Earth (I really don’t like this term) Creation model (I prefer progressive creation model), then the uninitiated need to understand several things about this.
- God created some organisms by fiat. (I do not know which ones.)
- God allows creation to continue through secondary causes which encompass adaptations and capacities for diversification built into living systems and some level of genomic plasticity.
- Much of evolution theory will overlap with creations that continue through secondary causes.
- God created progressively, in the sense that he was preparing Earth for sustaining thriving, advanced human communities. (microbial life precedes more complex life, photosynthetic life precedes oxygen respiration, creation of modern humans (A&E) ends God’s creation of kinds by fiat and leaves only continuing creation through secondary causes, adaptations and diversification.)
- He created ecosystems, not isolated individual organisms.
- Created kinds may only be able to be determined by examining extensive genetic relationships across entire genomes and comparing multiple different kinds of organisms simultaneously. (We do not have the data or computing power to do these types of comprehensive comparisons yet.)
- A “God did it” answer is not a scientific answer BUT it is an answer that can be consistent with scientific data based in rigorous human reasoning. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, this does not need to stifle scientific inquiry at all.
- I think the universality of the DNA code and roughly 20 canonical amino acids is intentional on the Creator’s part… because of his intent for humanity to steward and care for creation in all the technical ways we might be able to do so as science continues to advance our understanding.
- Most science can be done without any commitment to a LUCA or Darwinian-modified connections of origins of all of life to common ancestors.
- Asking where a fossil fits in a tree may be interesting, but I would argue, at least on one level, maybe not all that interesting.
- It might be far more fascinating to understand for example how similar yeast and fish and human proteins function similarly and differently. I don’t need any concept of any possible hierarchical historical account to ask relevant functional questions, or to be able to detect similarly designed proteins, regulatory elements, physiological or metabolic processes. And identifying these similarities AND differences are CRITICAL to steward creation well.
This is a start. Just to give you all something to think about from a progressive creationist model. I am willing to engage and want to when I can, but I’m not going to put out a billion little fires and I’m not going to try to defend this model on the basis of another model.
I think it’s helpful to remember there are a variety of (creation and non-creation) models for origins. There will be overlap between most models in some areas. Created kinds would be an overlap, but with far different outcomes perhaps, between YEC and OEC models. There is overlap between YEC and evolutionary models (perhaps in historical origin relationships of Homo hominids). And there are overlaps between OEC and evolutionary models (speciation, for example)… and yes, even some that would be contained in all three types, no doubt (e.g. microevolution, microbial evolution, molecular adaptations, epigenetic modifications, etc.).
I hope this doesn’t bring more confusion than clarity.
Roberts: Principles of Created Kinds