Biology Magazine

Creationists Use Miracles to Explain Why Their Predictions Fail

Posted on the 09 May 2016 by Reprieve @EvoAnth

Answers in Genesis has their own journal in which they publish all of the research done by creationists. Not surprisingly, it all vindicates creationism. But whilst the ultimate conclusion of this work might favour creationism, not every aspect of it does. Many of their predictions fail.

So how can they continue to cling to creationism when their own science fails to support it? By invoking miracles!

Perhaps the most blatant example of this is a recent paper called "On the Origin of Eukaryotic Species' Genotypic and Phenotypic Diversity". Or, to use a slightly less wordy description, how did all the species alive today evolve when they weren't all taken onto the ark?

Cargo cult science

This paper deals with a problem present in every aspect of young earth creationism: the young earth. Put simply, there isn't enough time for all the stuff that has happened to have occurred within the last 6,000 years.

For instance, there hasn't been enough time for asteroids to take on their present behaviour. For trillions of stone tools to be produced. For the countless ice ages documented in the earth's history to have come and gone. Or, in this case, for all the species alive today to have evolved.

After all, under the creationist model there was a fairly massive population bottleneck in the form of Noah's flood. Only 14 animals of each "kind" (and in some cases less) were taken on the Ark. From those 14 individuals, every variant present within that kind had to emerge over the next few thousand years. Every cat - from the a puma to the tabby - had to evolve from 14 individuals within a handful of generations.

This paper attempts to explain away this issue by appealing to "created diversity". When God created those kinds, he made them have heterozygous. That way they had two copies of each gene, so double the diversity could be created at once. This pre-loaded these kinds; allowing them to bounce back after the flood.

This invocation of miracles makes this borderline nonsense - although the authors insist otherwise.

Regardless, there are countless other reasons why this explanation is just absurd. But I won't delve into them much further as the topic has been covered by numerous other sources. If you are interested in the "science" (and I use that term loosely) behind this paper feel free to read this.

But before moving on I just have to post one of the crazier parts of the paper.

For example, the wood frog develops from a single cell to a sexually mature adult in less than three years. In contrast, the origin of the various cat species in the family Felidae from a common ancestor on board the Ark took over 4000 years. Since any two felid species have far fewer phenotypic differences between them than do an amphibian egg and an adult frog, producing a wide range of species morphologies in a few thousand years is comparatively simple.

Failed predictions

Whilst all of this did give me a good chuckle, it's not the main reason why I wanted to write this. As I mentioned, not all creationist predictions are vindicated. Which happens in this paper more than most. So how do they reconcile the repeated failure of creationism with their ongoing belief in it?

The general thrust of the "explanation" for diverse species is that it has two major causes. One is natural evolution. The other is the aforementioned created diversity. As part of this, they make several predictions about how much could be explained by natural evolution alone. Basically, they calculated how many mutations should have occurred within each "kind" over the bast 6,000 years. This is then compared to the actual number of mutations.

Things start of well. The number of mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) does match their predictions.

However, after that things begin to fail. Badly. The number of mutations which have occurred in the nuclear DNA vastly dwarfs those which would have occurred in the last 6,000 years; under their model. In fact, their predictions fail by orders of magnitude.

And this isn't just the case with humans. All of their predictions about the mutations in nuclear DNA for the different "kinds" examined fails. In short, like I said. Under the creationist view there simply isn't enough time for all of this to have happened.

This is where things get interesting. When faced with this disconnect between creationism and the evidence, how do these creationists respond? By invoking miracles.

In short, the evidence always plays second fiddle to the ultimate conclusion: Creationism. When the predictions and the data don't line up, it's hand waved away with miracles.

I find this a very intriguing insight into the young earth psychology.

tl;dr

Creationists made some predictions about how many mutations could have happened in the last 6,000 years. They don't match up with the actual number of mutations. This disconnect is explained away with miracles.


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