What’s a Hemimastigote Got to Do with Progressive Creationism?

By @AJRoberts Perhaps she can give us a few minutes here at PS discussing.


@AJRoberts I vote that the term “kind” be dropped and “Basic Type” “type species” and “type” be adopted. I mean kind just sounds… stupid. And kind of childish. Type species sounds a little more scientifically rigorous

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I found this paragraph from the article quite strange, especially the portion I’ve placed in bold font:

This current hemimastigote study does not compare genomes; it compares concatenatedgene sets from existing eukaryotic sequences and extensively culled transcriptome sequences. Nevertheless, it provides enough data to indicate that a new supergroup of organisms exists that are “always distantly related”8 to other known eukaryotes. Certainly, this finding can be fit into an evolutionary interpretation of the data. However, researchers do so with statistically based inferences, a degree of subjectivity, a degree of uncertainty, and speculation, as indicated by the authors, methods, and supporting phylogenomic analyses. 9Evolutionary interpretations are always possible. However, the data in this study suggests that an independent hierarchy of organisms has been discovered and is now partially described. It also highlights some possible molecular archetypes such as Golgi and cytoskeletal proteins and additional proteins involved in membrane trafficking.

So does the use of “statically-based inferences” make all science suspect because of the “degree of uncertainty” and “degree of subjectivity?” Am I misunderstanding her argument?

Also, here’s an argument I had not expected:

My response is that it really should be no surprise that life shares common design at molecular levels, not because evolution is necessarily true or because God was limited in imagination or by designated physical laws of this creation, but because God’s providence provides for our stewardship of creation as vice-regents bearing his image and entrusted with creation’s care. Because all life shares common building blocks and similar biological processes, we can study a variety of organisms and gain knowledge that allows us to discover true biological (metabolic and physiological) features about ourselves and other organisms where direct study would be ethically prohibitive or physically unfeasible.

Interesting. Yet, that wouldn’t explain why that “common design” fits so neatly into nested hierarchies. It certainly doesn’t explain why it fits so neatly into common descent patterns. (Despite the popularity of the argument, I’ve never found “common design” and “common descent” to appear all that similar. However, it does constitute an argument which sounds very convincing to those with limited familiarity with the differences.)

Kind words @AJRoberts for us my friend:

As part of my work for RTB, I occasionally venture onto science-faith and apologetics online discussion sites. One site, called Peaceful Science, seeks to bring scientists from all faith persuasions into discussions about various origins models, including RTB’s progressive (old-earth) creationism model and evolutionary mainstream models. Needless to say, we don’t interpret some scientific data the same way, especially when it concerns origins. Discussions can be challenging!

So of course, I don’t want to drop the term “kind” :smile:. Also this is an attempt to start answering some questions from @John_Harshman. I’m curious what he thinks of it.

Let me also voice my support of this too:

And regarding our current topic, I’m also skeptical that phylogenomic analyses actually show that all life is related by common descent.

I agree on this one. We can get to boundary conditions quite easily that start to challenge this conclusion. For example, if we found life on other planets, what becomes of UCD? Such is the perils of “universal” claims.

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Note we also covered the Hemimastigote here: What a Newfound Kingdom Means for the Tree of Life | Quanta Magazine.

This looks strong on the surface but you don’t need all animals to share the same building blocks and biological processes to accomplish this. We only need a portion of all animals to share the same building blocks and processes as us. Common ancestry is still the best explanation for this.

Note: I know these were @AJRoberts words and not yours @AllenWitmerMiller

Yes, but “type species” already has a meaning in biology. Appropriating it for “kind” would only cause confusion.

I think we need a progressive creation model. What do we expect the data to look like given such a model? How does it differ from the expectation of common descent? It seems quite clear to me that all eukaryotes are related by common descent, given that nested structure. As Roberts’ reasons for whatever she sees in the data, why should God care if we can understand how hemimastigotes work?


It would certainly help a great deal in enabling an analysis of that position.

I would apply a triple-underline font to that question if I could.

Amen to that.

For decades now various Christian apologists have been saying “The Creator loves variety.” If that is so, would we expect to see a lot more variety among those separate de nova lineages if progressive creation is the reality ? (Perhaps we would expect many more types of nucleotides, alternative codon translation tables, additional body-plans for bony creatures, and even silicon-based or boron-based life. Yes, I can think of good and bad reasons for each of those, but that doesn’t stop me from wondering why everywhere we look we see more and more evidence for Common Descent. I don’t believe that the Creator is trying to fool us with so much nested hierarchy all over the place—and a new kingdom doesn’t seem to me to challenge Common Descent at all.)

POSTSCRIPT: And what about things like shared ERVs coming up in “embarrassing” places, such as on the Homo sapiens sapiens genome? I could ask the same of various “broken” genes. And what about human chromosome 2?

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