While a literal ‘plain’ reading of the Genesis creation and flood accounts might reasonably supply a theological foundation for YEC, such an approach sidelines the applicable ancient near east [ANE] context. I contend here, however, that YEC has gone from Biblically based to what has bloated to an extravagant sanctum of dogma which eclipses and at times conflicts with scripture. Among these unjustified extra-Biblical assertions has established a conception of ‘created kinds’ which would be foreign to the original authors and audience, as well as most of church history.
YEC needed some way to deal with the number of animals in the modern global catalog, which is orders of magnitude larger than what would have been experienced by anyone living in the ANE. This represents a logistics problem for YEC, in terms of stuffing such a menagerie on the ark. The workaround concocted by YEC has been ‘created kinds’, followed by ‘ark kinds’. The notion is that modern species have radiated from a much more restricted number of kinds - a ferocious hyper evolution, although YEC prefers other terms. Scientifically or historically, this is not a serious proposal, but the question here concerns the validity of YEC’s Biblical interpretation.
There are plenty of YEC word studies attempting to adduce support for a taxonomic meaning to Biblical kinds, for example: this paper from Rahel Davidson Schafer, and this article from AiG. What is telling is that this preoccupation with kinds as ancestral seems to have entirely escaped the notice of theologians and thinkers through the history of the church until modern times. YEC castigates scholars who deviated from historic Biblical interpretations to accommodate the relatively recent discovery of geological age, but they have proven as open to novel interpretation of scripture in introducing manifold species as descended from created kinds. On this count, YEC is just as unable to appeal to any historical figure or church father. The whole idea is a recent invention.
I would contend that the Hebrew allows for nothing like created kinds as promulgated by YEC, based on both lexical and cultural considerations. Language expresses concepts germane to a people’s life and thought. Ancient people did not coin words for our benefit; there is no ancient Hebrew for neutrino or wifi. Speciation was outside the domain of their experience; kinds just referred to a bunch of animals that were always there. When they read the command to be fruitful and multiply, the plain reading would be that when horses mate, fouls result; and when cattle mate, calves result. When lions mate, the offspring are lions, not leopards, cheetahs, or housecats.
The lion, and not some ark kind, features in Jacob’s patriarchal blessing of Judah in Genesis 49:9
You are a lion’s cub, Judah;
you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
Similarly in the same passage, the donkey is distinguished from the horse, and Benjamin is described as a wolf. The point to this is that, apart from the abundant scientific and historical evidence, from the onset the Bible itself recognizes modern species throughout its entirety, always as distinct animals with Hebrew names. Specifically named creatures which are the same supposed ark kind include lions and leopards; horses and donkeys; foxes, wolves, jackals and dogs; osprey’s, eagles, and falcons; addax and antelope; four species of antelope are distinguished. Even allowing for some looser identifications, it is evident that closely related species are routinely called by name through the Old Testament. And the very opening act of Genesis provides the source of all these animal names as Adam himself.
YEC conveniently brushes off the original Adamic names as probably lost at Babel, so the Bible would not record what Adam called the protocat or other weird creatures which feature in their ark encounter, but the ancient Hebrews were familiar with pre-Babel proper names because their roots are related to common Hebrew words. This goes all the way back - Adam relates to earth, Eve to being the mother of all living, Peleg to divide - even names which are not necessarily relevant to the bearer’s character generally incorporate Hebrew roots. It is doubtful that the ancient Hebrews took these names to be fake, and there is no reason that they would have thought any differently for Adam’s naming of the animals.
YEC likes to claim the plain reading, literal high ground, but if the Hebrews, church fathers, and theologians down the centuries, thought that Adam named all the animals, there goes scriptural impetus for the baramin model. The whole arduous enterprise, with its central place in YEC apologetics, creation journal papers, theorizing on heterozygosity, and routine references like some accepted gospel truth, is all to protect YEC and not burst the ark with animals alive and extinct. It is an extraordinary anachronistic hermeneutic claim, made without any explicit scriptural or historical support.