The First Principles of Created Kinds


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #42

I’m not sure why this is the case. It seems we do have the data and computing power for this. Do you mean you personally don’t have the necessary resources?

That I agree with, though with out precision on what is being claimed we can’t really assess if it is consistent with data or not.

Except the historical account helps immensely…


The problem would be why the created kinds fall into a nested hierarchy. What is causing that? For example, why do vertebrates, from humans to frogs to fish, fall into a nested hierarchy?

This is ultimately about the distribution of shared and modified adaptations among created kinds. Why do we see this type of pattern, and not some other? Why does everything with fur also have three middle ear bones? Why does everything with feathers also have flow through lungs? Why do we always find certain features together but not others?

If evolution is true, then this branching pattern is exactly the pattern we would expect to see. However, I have yet to see a creation model that predicts this same pattern. Instead, I often see creation models where they try to retrofit the actions of God so that they fit the observations. This is why I was asking for some type of first principles. For evolution, those first principles are vertical inheritance, mutation, selection, and speciation. If those mechanisms are active then they will necessarily produce a nested hierarchy (note: this also requires certain mutation rates and a few other factors, but this is generally true).

You mention that God would create ecosystems. The question that comes to my mind is why this ecosystem would require all animals with fur to also have mammary glands. Surely there are some other created kinds that could use these useful adaptations. Why do bats need a different type of wing than birds? Why can’t crocodiles have cusped teeth? Why does an ecosystem require a nested hierarchy?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #44

Ontology is also nested. Perhaps this is what was in the “mind of God.” I think this might be a plausible explanation for some of these features, but not all.

Roberts: Principles of Created Kinds
(Dan Eastwood) #45

@AJRoberts I started this new thread in part because I thought you would get picked apart in that other thread. The “Back Porch” threads are not moderated so strictly, so we should have a better discussion here (Conversation Category).

You are still severely outnumbered, which is why I’m hoping to limit to the description of the principles and consequences from your/RTB’s point of view. That’s going to be a little hard for some of us, myself included.
If there are problems, blame me first. :slight_smile:

As a general comment, I am aware that women tend to be treated worse on the Internet, and that discussion boards like this are male dominated. I expect all comments to be carefully considered, so that @AJRoberts doesn’t have to put up with any crap.

Yup. That was me.

That’s all we can ask.


I think that would be a promising starting point for a creation model, even if it isn’t successful in the end. It may run into problems with concepts like omniscience and omnipotence, but at least there is some biology to build from.

Roberts: Principles of Created Kinds
(S. Joshua Swamidass) #47

I think in this specific context, CD might be a bit of a biased term. It is easy to imagine an OEC model that has shared history, where species are created based on species already around. OEC and CD would just have different explanations for that shared history.

Roberts: Principles of Created Kinds
(T J Runyon) #48

Can you expand on this a little bit? Want to make I understand what you are saying.


If there were birds and mammals around, then why not base a new created kind on a combination of those two groups? This is the problem that keeps cropping up in my head.

(Timothy Horton) #50

Thanks for getting back to us. I understand you are just offering your thoughts, not any “official” position.

OK, we don’t know what the original created “kinds” were. Fair enough. Doesn’t that mean “kind” could be as broad as the “mammal kind”, or the “vertebrate kind”, or even the “eukaryote kind”?

Is there any mechanism or barrier in these secondary causes which keeps one kind’s descendants in that original “kind”. Can you hypothesize what such a mechanism or barrier would be?

You lost me on that one. We have the complete genome sequences for thousands of animal species. Is there any reason two can’t be compared? Seems like we’ve already done this for many species. What genetic sequence similarities or differences would indicate the same “kind” or different “kinds”? I’ll also note your proposed test is rather circular. How can you compare different “kinds” of organisms when determining the organism’s unknown “kind” is the point of the test?

Again thanks for any time you can spare with answers.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #51

If the modus operandi is to just add variation to an existing species, not merging two different species, this would not happen. It would look very much like, if not identical to, CD.

I think she is being 100% upfront that it would be a direct act of creation by God. She isn’t playing the ID game of calling it an unknown designer.

She didn’t mention barriers. As she has laid it out, she doesn’t need to posit them. She isn’t claiming “evolution couldn’t overcome a barrier.” She is rather just claiming that “God created different kinds.”

This is a strength of what she is proposing here. Rather than disputing the evolutionary account, she is offering another interpretation that might be valid (obviously to be determined with more inquiry). She has also explicitly stated that this is not a scientific explanation. I’d call it a science-engaged view that may or may not be true (we can be silent about this), but is outside science because it invokes God.

I’m spelling all this out because in this conversation @AJRoberts is avoiding all the typical pitfalls of ID and OEC, that are often more about attacking evolution than putting forward a different interpretation. I think this is a better direction. Our focus, I think, should be on determining if there is falsifying data, rooting out bad arguments for it, offering good arguments to replace them when we can, and seeing if it could work.

This appears to be one of the bad arguments for it, in my opinion.

(Timothy Horton) #52

I didn’t say she did Dr. Swamidass. I was merely ASKING for clarification on the stated position.

Are you so defensive about protecting your Creationist guests that we aren’t even allowed to ask questions? Good grief.


This is why I was focusing on first principles. Why would we think that a creator could only add new variation to existing species and not mix and match features from different species? It seems that the model is being changed to fit the observations instead of the model predicting what the observations will be. This creation model seems tautological.

I agree. Constructive criticism is going to be much more helpful in this thread.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #54

@Timothy_Horton nothing inappropriate about your prior post. Nothing defensive in my response to it.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #55

Ov vey, and they say evolution is complicated and hard to understand.

(John Harshman) #56

I’m still waiting for those promised first principles. It would be good if they included some slight notion of how we could tell where “kinds” end. Not much to talk about so far.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #57

I’m not sure what you mean by this @Timothy_Horton. If we take the “creation” model put here, and put it into a phylogeny program, it would still show a tree. Wouldn’t it?

(Timothy Horton) #58

That depends on what you define your starting “kinds” as.

With the standard Biblical / Noah’s Ark model it would show the bottom pattern. Each individual small tree is a created “kind” which then diverged into others of the same “kind”. There would be no reason to expect any connection between the “kinds”.

If you define “kind” at a much higher taxonomic level i.e. “the tetrapod kind” or “the eukaryote kind” then of course you’d get more of the accepted phylogenetic tree.

That’s why it’s critical we get a firm definition of “kind” and/or a list of the original “kinds.” But I suspect neither will be offered.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #59

From talking to people at RTB, I think there is large range of options being considered.

Some might be go as far as saying each of the kinds is defined by phyla, which might be why there is so much focus on the Cambrian Explosion. While I do not think the Cambrian Explosion (Radiation is a better term) is a problem for evolution, that might be outside the genetic streetlight, and it seems impossible that the fossil record would ever have enough resolution to tell us one way or another.

I wonder if there is a way to figure out what point we might to expect something different…

(Timothy Horton) #60

Why? The whole concept of “kinds” is based around the Noah’s Ark story. Creationists have had 1900 years to figure out what a “kind” is and they’re still considering a wide range of options?

The whole thing is just an academic exercise anyway, like trying to decide if The Flash could beat Superman in a foot race. :slightly_smiling_face:

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #61

Sure. If you, like me, have no problem with evolution, we are just working out a though experiment. Why not though? It can be fun :wink:.