What is the Difference Between a Baramin and a Clade?

Going back to my evolutionary biology capstone course in 1995 with Stephen Jay Gould’s text, a clade was a group of organisms believed to have evolved from a common ancestor.

What is the difference between this and the YEC term baramin? Thanks.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” Lewis Carroll

Baramin, according to wikipedia,:
“baramin (a neologism coined by combining the Hebrew words bara [created] and min [kind], though the combination does not work syntactically in actual Hebrew).”

Thus, baramin is a made up word, and can mean whatever the maker decides.
Clade, while not used a lot these day is more defined as a branch of the evolutionary tree, and is a bit more circumscribed.

The more interesting question to me is whether “kind” is also a made up word when used as a biologic classification, as to me it seems like it is just a word indicating variety, as in “What kind of soft drink do you want with that burger?”


Wow… I didn’t even know YECs had coined another term!


"… created “kinds” are purported to be the original forms of life as they were created by God. They are also referred to as kinds, original kinds, Genesis kinds, and baramin (a neologism coined by combining the Hebrew words bara [created] and min [kind], though the combination does not work syntactically in actual Hebrew). "

Dictionary Definition:
noun: “a newly coined word or expression.”
I’ve always wondered how long ago someone coined this “new word” to refer to “new words”!

“[The word Baramin] is promulgated by Young Earth Creationist organizations and preachers as a means to support their belief in the literal veracity of the Genesis creation myth as well as their contention that the ancestors of all land-based life on Earth were housed on Noah’s ark before a great flood.”

“Old earth creationists also employ the concept, rejecting the idea of common descent. In contrast to young earth creationists, old earth creationists do not necessarily believe all land-based life was housed on the ark, and some accept some evolutionary change within the given kinds has occurred.”

"In contrast to the scientific theory of common descent, these creationists argue that not all life on Earth is related, but that life was created by God in a finite number of discrete forms. "


I have encountered an Old Earth Creationist who endorses the “baramin” concept, and who has a home-made video on this concept. He is quite eloquent on the matter. But I asked him the following:

So what you are saying is that you reject the idea that God used genetics, mutations and a guided use of natural selection to create a 10 million year stretch of new creatures, but you do agree that we have genuine fossils, stretching back 10 million years, documenting the existence of some baramins, as well as documenting the existence of some populations who are “micro-evolutionary” off-shoots. But that any dramatic change in fossil remains should not be interpreted as macro-evolution by common descent, but must be interpreted as God’s newest “template” population for a brand new kind!

[I believe he agreed in all respects to the way I paraphrased his position.]

So then I asked him my concluding question:

Why would God “create from scratch” brand new “templates” or “kinds” of creatures, over the space of 10 million years, when he could actually just use evolution to do the same thing?

To insist that God **would never use Evolutionary forces to create new kinds of life", even if he has 10 million years at his disposal - - would be very much like someone saying that God avoids using evaporation to make rain clouds and rain … but performs individual rain miracles whenever rain is to happen.

I believe the fellow’s response was something along the lines that God doesn’t need evolution when he can just make a miracle.

I wonder what Augustine would have thought of this fellow…

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Good, thanks! I need to go back and read more on my cladistics definitions.

Very succinct summary at the end there. Good point. Not sure why he clings to that.

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The amount of variation in a baramin is limited to the amount necessary to prevent humans and other apes from sharing a common ancestor. That would probably be the biggest difference.


:slight_smile: thanks for the smile.

But… With enough variation to fit all the animals on the Noah’s Ark. A task with which…

A question I had is that the YEC’s don’t use the baramin “kind” to actually prove special creation, do they? Because that would imply the same sort of thing as saying that the existence of tribes of people (French, Maasai, Germans, San) proves that there was no Adamic ancestor (EC/evolutionists believe in a common ancestor, but further back than Adam).

I know that there are some who attribute language groups to a miracle the Tower of Babel, but don’t find that convincing. Language study is fascinating. There is even convergent evolution in languages, though it’s incidental and not really functional in origin, I think. (The Chadic African Hausa, “hannu,” is hand, but not likely from an English/Indo European common root, for example)

I don’t want to be snarky or unkind. I remember when I was YEC, remarking that at least people can acknowledge that we are not dumb–it takes a lot of research to fit the facts into what we believe. That is about when I started realizing that there were too many common threads running in the other direction. I believe that most YEC’ers are well intentioned and try hard to prevent what they see as a running away from God and righteousness–and a loss of salvation in the long run for those who are disenchanted. I now think God is much more understanding of the restrictions we are created with. However, I have great sympathy for those who try to read the Bible and science like this. It’s not their fault they have mistaken original understandings. The universe is an amazingly complex and beautiful place.

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I was recently reading up on the definition of baramins for a project. It is a non-scientific grouping somewhere along the line of order or family. YECs and some OECs see it as a boundary that cannot be crossed for reproduction and cannot be crossed by change over time. So they would only accept common ancestry within the baramin boundaries. The motivation for baraminology is not special creation, but accounting for all the diversity of modern life if supposedly all life forms except the ones that physically fit on the ark a few thousand years ago were destroyed in the flood.

Joel Duff has a lot of good stuff about it on the Naturalis Historia blog. There is a tab on hyper-speciation that looks at a lot of the creation science on the topic.


Thanks. That is helpful. I’ll look up his blog.
Wow–very thorough site. Thanks.

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@Christy (and to @Randy):

I would like your opinion on a related question. I guarantee that it is not intended as a “gotcha” question!

Have you ever asked a YEC why God couldn’t every once in a while apply “natural selection” on a “variant”
- - within a baramin category - - to establish a brand new “kind” by natural means? [Let’s caveat that he would only do this, if he ever did, during the phase of hyper-creation.]

Do you think most YECs could allow for God to do this, if God so deemed?
Or do you think most YECs would insist that God would never want to do that?

Again, I promise, no gotchas… I’m just trying to understand the YEC mind-set!

They don’t use baramins to prove special creation. Baraminology (yes, they have a field of study for baramins) is meant to give the false impression that there is some science behind their claims. YEC’s have been criticized for lacking an objective set of criteria for determine which species belong to a kind and which don’t, so they came up with some sciency sounding words to give the false impression that they had solved this problem.

NCSE appears to have a pretty good rundown of baraminology if you are interested.

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Good question. Were you YEC as a younger man? Just curious.
I think I was only worried about making sure it fit with my own understanding of the Bible. I wasn’t against evolution–just wanted to be sure that the earth was young, as I understood the Bible to say (I was even more comfortable with evolution once I realized it really was old. I had three influential professors–a geologist, a cell and molecular biologist, and a an evolutionary biologist who found a new species of mosquito in the Himalayas–who influenced me by very gently and kindly presenting the evidence. The first one got the brunt of my questions, but was kind and broke down my barriers to confirm that the world was old).
So–I really think that it was their kindness that convinced me that the truth wasn’t scary, and I could listen to it. Greg Boyd had the same experience. Apparently, his professor told the other students to stop criticizing Greg for his questions, saying that science is the best place to ask questions. Thanks.

Good link. Thanks. I think it’s Todd Wood at the Brian College. I’m going to have to read more on that page.

No, I haven’t asked and no, I don’t think they’d go for it. They are committed to special creation and biblical literalism. They believe the kinds were specially created to only “reproduce according to their kind.” God can’t violate his own word. I think OECs who are down with progressive creationism might be more open, but the whole baramin thing is an attempt to ultimately deny common descent. Natural selection isn’t the issue, look at all their claims of hyper-speciation. Common ancestry is their issue.

I don’t think getting YECs to change their mind on the science so they’ll see their Bible reading is wrong is usually an effective strategy. I think you have to change their approach to Scripture before they have permission to seriously consider what science says. Their science is and always has been a product of a Bible reading, not observations. So introducing competing observations or theories won’t matter. You need a competing way of Bible reading that allows for consideration of the competing observations. And if you can get them to read the Bible differently, you don’t need to accommodate their literalism like you are suggesting, something that is never going to work long-term.



I was never a YEC. However, I had the good fortune to know Prof. Karl Giberson in his college days when he was a wild-eyed, ridge-running Young Earth Creationist. I spent about 3 years in constant engagement with him, and even wrote a letter (that was answered!) to the late Henry Morris in pursuit of explanations for how a person could be a YEC.

Graduation came and went and Karl and I were no longer able to maintain the debate as consistently as we once did. He eventually began his career as a physics professor at an evangelical college. Then one day, years later, when I contactd him to ask him about some finding or discovery he simply said: “oh, I’m not a creationist any more. The more I taught physics, the less I was able to justify a Young Earth, let alone Evolution”. (< this is a paraphrase, since I cannot remember his exact words).

I was quite impressed that physics (or amplified geology) could do more to make a man see the light than any amount of debate could.

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A great description of where the roadblocks are, and the imprudence of running smack into the roadblocks instead of figuring out a way to walk around them.

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One other thought–given that it’s the actual system of belief that I thought saved me, I didn’t want any of it to tumble down. I was afraid that if Genesis collapsed, my salvation, as part of the Bible, would.

So–it’s all closely related to fear for losing salvation that I, as a YEC’er, argued for a narrow view of Genesis.

It took a very long time to decide otherwise. I think I got more comfortable with different understandings of God, and also with my own understanding of science, before I was ready to consider other interpretations of Genesis. I really think it was kind atheist/agnostic professors who helped me the most, at least in direct conversation. They were more Christlike than many Christians I’d met.

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