This is another gem of creation science from Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.
AIG’s new essay is Bird Speciation from the Flood to the Present. It was written by Dr. David W. Boyd, Jr., a name we haven’t encountered before. This seems to be his first article for AIG. Google indicates that someone by that name teaches zoology at Bob Jones University, so that could be the author. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Ornithologists estimate the diversity of living bird species in the entire world to be around 10,380. … That number almost doubles the number of extant mammal species (5,416) and is almost 3,000 more than extant amphibian species (7,509).3 The number of reptile species is the closest to the bird number with a current count of 10,272 extant species. Because most of these vertebrates are terrestrial, we have about 33,500 different species of terrestrial vertebrates on earth today. I am leaving out the aquatic vertebrates (mainly the fishes) because they would not have been represented on the Ark (33,200 fish species have been described, and the implications of that are important for creation scientists who are trying to model the diversity of all life from the Flood to the present).
Okay, that’s a lotta species. How did we get from whatever was on Noah’s Ark to what we have today? Boyd explains:
The answer to this question is more easily answered once we distinguish between biblical kinds and species.
Scientists who accept the biblical account of creation and the worldwide Flood compile evidence from Scripture, genetics, the fossil record, hybridization data, and morphological characteristics to suggest that God created many kinds of birds that began radiating and diversifying over the world after the worldwide Flood destroyed the earth about 4,500 years ago. These birds included both flying and non-flying birds.
Yes, that’s the creationist view of things. Let’s read on:
One of the key factors to keep in mind when interpreting the evidence from genetics, the fossil record, and so on is that all scientists interpret the evidence through the lens of their worldview — their foundational belief system. A scientist with a materialistic worldview has to account for the first bird; it would have to be the ancestor of all birds. Models of speciation and radiation for events like that would need millions of years.
Silly materialists! Boyd continues:
A scientist with a biblical worldview has to account for the different species of birds found today in each created bird kind from the Flood to the present. Models of speciation and radiation for those events would only need thousands of years.
That’s much better! Here’s more:
Dr. Jean Lightner [whoever that is] has conservatively estimated that birds are comprised of about 196 created kinds. If we round that up to 200 bird kinds, we could account for all 10,380 extant species by each species diverging into two species just once every 750 years — just six times (200 to 400 to 800 to 1,600 to 3,200 to 6,400 to 12,800). That would even give us 2,420 more bird species to account for some extinction events. That is a very simplistic view and does not account for many variables, but it does provide us with a quick way to estimate if simple speciation (doubling) could account for all the birds we have today.
Wow — it works! Boyd devotes several paragraphs to the subject of speciation. This is typical:
Some of the varying traits can help individuals within a species to thrive in certain environments and pass on those thriving alleles to their offspring more than individuals with other traits. Because of these differences, different geographic populations can arise which no longer interbreed. If that separation of populations last for many generations (say 750 years!), then the populations might have diverged enough so that, if they came into contact, viable offspring would be impossible. That would mean that the first species has undergone speciation and at least two species now exist. If populations can thrive in many environments, then after enough time, one species could actually become many species.
All it takes is 750 years! Moving along:
To some people, what I just described sounds too much like evolution. The evolutionary process definitely includes the idea of speciation, but the formation of species in response to geographic (or habitat) differences is consistent with a biblical worldview.
As long as it doesn’t involve the evolution of a different “kind.” That could never happen! Another excerpt:
When the birds were released from the Ark, they faced a new environment with quickly developing habitats. Birds could migrate quickly from the location of the Ark in all directions. As they were faced with different environments, their inbuilt genetic variability allowed them to diversify and adapt to these environments, forming different populations of the same bird kind.
No doubt about it. At the end of the article, he compares the creationist view with that of the sinful evolutionists:
Evolutionary scientists argue for a South American origination for all flying birds. The evidence they use is interpreted through their worldview and might be satisfactory to them; however, creation scientists argue for the northern regions of the Middle East.
Just as it says in the bible. Another comparison:
Evolutionary scientists argue for one ancestor to all flying birds — a descendant of the dinosaurs (that means if you are consistent with the evolutionary worldview, by the way, that birds are reptiles).
What fools! One last comparison:
Creation scientists argue for many different bird kinds that could fly from their creation on Day Four, as Genesis 1 clearly describes. Evolutionary scientists need millions of years, while creation scientists can show that within a few thousand years, the birds we see and enjoy today diversified from those birds that came off the Ark.
That was great! Ignoring the problem of such extremely rapid speciation, it makes sense. After all, birds could fly to their various habitats — well, probably not penguins, but creationists never mention them. On the other hand, as we’ve observed before, there’s a big problem with animals that can’t fly — like kangaroos (how did they get to Australia?), and the tree-dwelling three-toed sloth, which somehow migrated across the ocean to South America. Perhaps AIG will deal with those in a later article. But we doubt it.
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