Tuesday, June 10, 2008

God Is the Architect of Rapid Species Diversification!

Ever since visiting the creation museum on my way home from last year's herpetology meetings I've been on the "Answers In Genesis" mailing list spearheaded by the museum's mastermind Ken Ham. The latest mailing makes all the junk mail about creation DVDs worth it. In it, we are introduced to the field of "Baraminology", which involves the identification of the created kinds that traveled with Noah on his ark. Apparently most of these kinds "have diversified so that today they are typically represented by a whole family" (apparently God is a Linnean, if this doesn't convince the rank-free taxonomists to throw in the towel I'm not sure what will). It gets better when the author goes on to say that the presence of so many distinct forms from the original kinds over a relatively short period of time suggests that "diversification occurred very rapidly." Apparently they're up to speed on the latest literature. The evidence cited is Herrell et al.'s recent study of rapid evolution in lizards. The accompanying article is actually quite well-written and picks up on the major deficiencies of the study (e.g., the reliance on mtDNA alone to infer population history and the absence of convincing evidence that the observed changes are genetic [something the paper's author suggest without supporting]). Maybe Herrell et al. can get a grant to do follow-up work from the Discovery Institute?

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