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Creationists and ID proponents: What is the operational definition of "kind"?

When you say that "one kind cannot evolve into another" what exactly does that mean?

Can you give me the definition that creationists/design proponents generally use to determine whether or not two different organisms are the same biological "kind"?

For example, the biological definition of species says that two organisms are the same species if they are capable of producing fertile offspring. I can use that definition to determine whether or not two organisms I have are the same species.

What definition of "kind" do creationists use to determine which organisms are and aren't the same kind?

14 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I was actually going to ask this same question about kinds after reading someone else's answer to another question.

    I've often wondered how exactly they define the 'kind' for the purposes of what evolution is apparently allowed within.

    For example, in the dogs, there are several closely related species - including wolves, coyotes, and domestic dogs. Presumably, these would all be one 'kind', and allowed to have a common ancestor in this 'evolution within kinds' model.

    How about jackals? They're pretty close, but not quite as close. Are they the same kind? They sometimes can and do interbreed with domestic dogs.

    What about dholes? They're definitely dog-like, but not quite as dog-like as the wolf/coyote/dog group. Are they the same kind?

    What about maned wolves, bush dogs or raccoon dogs? Also canines, but not as definitively doggie.

    Where do foxes fit? Even within the foxes there are some distinct 'kinds'. Fennec foxes look less dog-like than say an arctic fox or red fox. The bat-eared fox has some very distinctive physiology, with unique auditory bullae. Are they still in the dog 'kind'?

    Maybe their 'kind' is on the level of zoological families - so there are the 'dog' kinds, the 'weasel' kinds, the 'raccoon' kinds, and the 'bear kinds'.

    This brings its own problems. Where do the pandas fit? They have features which are an admixture (one might even say 'transitional') between the raccoon kinds and the bear kinds (the red panda showing more of the raccoon kind features and the giant panda more the bear kind) - does the giant panda fit with the bear kind, and the red panda the raccoon? In which case, how do you define the difference between those kinds?

    Perhaps the bears, raccoons, and pandas all represent one kind? In that case, you have kinkajous and ringtails as the same kind (with the same common ancestor) as polar bears and grizzlies. Which brings in even more complications when you look at the similarities between the skeletons and skulls of the grizzlies and polar bears and compare them to the sea lions.

    I think the reason you don't see an operational definition of 'kind' from these people, is that such a definition ends up looking exactly like an evolutionary phylogenetic tree of the organism.

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  • 6 years ago

    Well, it's an interesting question, but there's a bit of a problem with it. The term "kind" is a reference to the Genesis creation account, which is relevant to Creationists but not to ID Proponents. ID doesn't use the term "kind" or have any specific concept of what that might be, nor do they care to. Creationism proceeds from the Biblical account to a conclusion about reality. ID looks at the world and infers an intelligent cause for certain features of it without the Bible ever entering into it.

    Now, what would Creationists (both Young-Earth and Old-Earth) consider to be a "kind"? Probably something roughly around the level of the Family classification (not Genus or Species). Of course, it must be kept in mind that the taxonomic classification system is ultimately an arbitrary construct laid on top of biological reality, so there's not much reason to think that a "kind" would in all cases have to be precisely equivalent to the Family classification. The main idea behind a creation-type model is that morphological disparity among living organisms will precede morphological diversity and that the subsequent diversity arises primarily through the *loss* of genetic information and function over successive generations.

    One final comment about the original question. You said:

    "For example, the biological definition of species says that two organisms are the same species if they are capable of producing fertile offspring. I can use that definition to determine whether or not two organisms I have are the same species."

    This isn't entirely correct.

    First of all, yes, you can use any definition to group organisms that match that definition, but the process is somewhat arbitrary. It doesn't necessarily tell us anything objectively true about biological reality other than how we've chosen to define groups of organisms.

    Second, a biological species is typically defined as a reproductively isolated group, but this does not necessarily mean that the group is not capable of producing fertile offspring with another group. There is no limit placed on the *reason* for the reproductive isolation. For example, two groups of virtually identical fish swimming in the same body of water but at slightly different depths will typically preferentially mate with those who swim at the same depth. In such a case, the two groups will be classified as separate species, even though it is known that they can produce fertile offspring. Also, a single population of organisms that get split into two groups as a result of some natural disaster will become reproductively isolated from each other and thus become two biological species. It is not *necessary* for there to be any significant morphological or genetic difference between two groups, or for them to be incapable of producing fertile offspring, in order for them to be identified as different biological species. So, like I was saying, even this particular definition of 'species' that you prefer doesn't really give us an objectively accurate place to mark the distinction between types of organisms at the species level. So far, the best suggestion I've heard of for an objective dividing line / definition of species is to organize them based on their orphan genes (i.e. protein coding genes they uniquely possess, not being homologous to genes in other organisms).

    Take care

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  • 4 years ago

    Definition Proponents

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  • Mary
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Science is a thing, not a person, therefore can not in itself be evil. Only human beings have the ability to be evil by choice. This includes scientists or any other human being (including people who claim to be believers in God) The only reason that scientists have not come out in favor of a supreme being that created whatever was necessary to get what we have now is because they can't prove it scientifically. Science has been able to go back in time by observing the universe at its earliest observable beginnings....but they have no idea whatsoever what caused it. Thus, it is not provable that God 'DID OR DID NOT' do it.

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  • 1 decade ago

    If Creationists understood anything about genetics, they'd realize that only a SINGLE gene needs to mutate to change morphology, hard-wired behavior, etc. It's the reason why a few % of DNA is the difference between us and chimps.

    Instead, they imagine that each new species has to evolve essentially from scratch (genetically).

    In short, these people actively shun the facts.

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  • Nomad
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Excellent question. Ken Ham uses this in his videos, however noone has ever said what "kind" really is. It looks like it is just a vast generalization of different species, to justify their beliefs, but im not really sure.

    A fox is not very closely related to wolves, and dogs, if you havent noticed. Neither are house cats with tigers and panthers, etc . Neither are moose elk deer and antelope. They are not in the same genus even. You are just generalizing everything.

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  • G
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Scientists recognize certain bower birds as distinct species even though they interbreed, and they can’t use the interbreeding criterion at all with asexual forms.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Pfft, obviously the animals put on the ark. Two of each kind. Just go look in your Bible, the answer is there.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It depends on what the argument is about.

    Edit: I assume Jeff S is referencing this:

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  • 1 decade ago

    if they ever saw a girl completely change blood type or something, than they'd believe in evolution. why don't they ever bear witness to 1 in 6 billion type of evolution occurances? it must not happen.

    uh oh......

    Source(s): EDIT: yes i am, viator! i don't get why i have seen no question on this either! i'd ask, but yamster doesn't think i should be allowed to ask questions.
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