YECs and Speciation

(Jay Nelsestuen) #1

A common caricature of Young Earth Creationism (which I believe is even present on the BioLogos site; I may have to double check) is that they believe all animals, plants, and especially human beings were specially created more or less in their present forms 6 to 10 thousand years ago. However, as I read modern-day YEC literature, they appear to be moving farther and farther away from this belief. In fact, a whole field of study has been created by the YECs called “baraminology,” which comes from the Hebrew words “bara” and “min,” meaning “create” and “kind” respectively.

Essentially, God created a number of kinds of animals (corresponding roughly with the genus classification, though some might extend it upwards to family), which then rapidly evolved through speciation after the flood to arrive at the vast array of species we have today.

This is certainly a step in the right direction, but I am concerned that perpetrating the above caricature of YECism is somewhat dishonest, because many prominent YECs have conceded the point that yes, speciation does occur and has occurred on a spectacular level. See here, for example:

Your thoughts?


Millions of YECs are unaware of “descent from baramins” (which is actually a hyper-speed macro-evolution.) So if they pay attention at the Ark Encounter, they will be amazed to see bizarre imaginary creatures in the ark stalls.

Incredibly, I’ve talked to excited visitors to the Ark Encounter showing photos of the entire family touring the ark----and they totally failed to notice that their “fixed species” belief was not reinforced. (One such family even denied it when I told them what Ken Ham teaches. They said, “That’s not in the Bible! And Ken Ham only teaches what is in the Bible.”

That explains why most polls of Americans still show that a huge percentage still believes " all animals, plants, and especially human beings were specially created
more or less in their present forms 6 to 10 thousand years ago." What they leaders says hasn’t yet reached the masses.

(Jay Nelsestuen) #3

It is true that the average rank-and-file YEC is unaware of recent developments within YECism. Still, though, my point stands: if we want to argue against the best and brightest that the YECs have to offer, then we can’t afford to mischaracterize them. BioLogos, I suppose, goes for the people in the pew rather than the hot shots who spend millions on Ark replicas, so perhaps they are not so misguided.

(Christy Hemphill) #4

Is bariminology really the best and brightest of YEC?

(Jay Nelsestuen) #5

Baraminology, perhaps not. But it is being pushed by some of their best and brightest scientists, however misguided they may be. That is what I meant.


Dr. Todd Wood is a YEC with a semi-relevant PhD. (At least it is in biology.) He pushes it strongly, based upon what I see in his blog. So, considering how few prominent Young Earth Creationist have PhDs in a relevant field, I’d say that he qualifies as among their “best”.


The concept of hyperspeciation from source ‘forms’ has existed in the YEC literature for many years. I think it was originally proposed as a means to fit all the terrestrial animals into Noah’s ark.

Baramins are pretty much the concept of Biblical kinds that was repackaged in the 1990s.

(Larry Bunce) #8

The reasoning behind current biodiversity’s having evolved in a few thousand years would seem to be “if they want evolution, we’ll give it to them in spades, and at the same time keep a literal interpretation of Genesis intact.”

The fact that widespread super-rapid evolution has never been observed is no problem for YECs, because they believe that evolution as taught in mainstream science is mere idle speculation also.

(George Brooks) #9


I’m eager to discuss it with a YEC!

I can pretty much picture the conversational arc:

  1. The Arc is loaded with representative pairs for all the genus’s of currently living terrestrial animals we recognize today,

  2. When the Ark released all these animals, the genus “adapted” itself to all sorts of ecological niches.

  3. So, the YEC will claim, Rapid Adaptation, but almost no change from one “Kind” to another “Kind”.

It’s pretty similar to our recent discussions with “NonLin”. He rejected the idea that 2 samples from a single population could ever “change” into any “kind” different from the parent population.

And the "Alaska vs. Florida Rabbit’ scenario (which I think is about as good as it gets!), he dismissed because he felt artificial insemination could render the two populations compatible.

The only way I could conceive of making a dent in his dismissals was to point out that the only way a population can achieve “dramatic difference” is for the population to no longer be able to exchange genetic variation with the population that represented the original “kind”. He said that I was being ridiculous.

(Larry Bunce) #10

I just had an idea reading this thread-- if God regretted having created mankind, wouldn’t it have been easier for God to have killed off the whole earth and just re-created everything after the flood?

(Joel Duff) #11

Yes, the non-expert YEC in the pew still believes that what they see around them are what God created in the Garden with some possible modifications like thorns and spines. I see these students in my class. You are right though that the YEC leaders have embraced something far different than this view. I talk about it going back 20 some years but Todd Wood has convinced me that this has probably always been the position of the YEC leaders since the 1920s at least but that biological diversity was so rarely discussed that we don’t really notice it in the literature until after Henry Morris in the 1950s.

Anyway, I believe Biologos does recognize that YECs believe in speciation. I have written about it myself for Biologos. I have also written extensively about “hyper-speciation” on my blog and have a page dedicated to the articles relating to this topic.

(Jay Nelsestuen) #12

Ah, so you are the Natural Historian! I didn’t realize. I appreciate your website for the clarity it brings to some issues. Thank you.

(Joel Duff) #13

Hi Jay, yes, that is my alter ego. I’ve written every article there except, ironically, the one you linked to which was by David McMillan as a guest author.

(George Brooks) #14


However, if you read the recent postings of two particularly zealous YEC’s … they would pretty much deny to the death that speciation happens at all… even when it comes to the animals freed from the arc.

They don’t even believe the word “speciation” is explanable.

They say: who cares if a creature becomes a different species if they look identical to each other?!

They say: you can’t define Common Descent if there isn’t speciation.|

They say: you can’t define speciation, if there is no Common Descent.

They are all over the map. And they will not be trifled with… because Speciation is not real.

(George Brooks) #15


It would have been easier to have released the Destroyer (from the Exodus story) than to kill millions of living things in the hope of purifying the human race.

(Joel Duff) #16

I see some denials but from the YEC establishments such as AiG, CMI, ICR, and even most of the other fringe groups speciation has become standard fare for explaining modern post-flood biological diversity. Now, some of them don’t like to use the word speciation and so they use alternative terms like “diversification” or " genetic disentanglement" or “genetic sorting and morphological adaptation” But these are just code words for descent with modification with the exception that those modifications mostly due to rearrangement of pre-existing variation not mutations. But even mutations are begrudgingly accepted by many (Todd Wood, Jeanson, etc.) now.
I’m sure a poll of the average person in the pew would reveal a high percentage who believe that God made the species we see today. Ken Ham and others are working hard to re-educate their followers without making it seem like they have made any big changes. To be fair, post-flood speciation (diversification) of kinds into many different species has been part of the YEC view for almost a century but it hasn’t been until the last few decades that they have begun to talk and write about it.

(George Brooks) #17


We need to be ready, then, with these assertions by main-stream YEC’s… when we get the loonies posting here…!!!

Thanks for the heads up!!!

(system) #18

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