“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” Genesis 2:19 KJV
From the time of Adam until now, man has worked to group and classify the plants and animals. In so doing, there have been many questions. What are the limits of a Created Kind? How much variation is possible with a Kind? What is the difference between a Created Kind and the species we see today? One of the primary goals of Baraminology, the study of Created Kinds, is to distinguish the groupings and limits of the Created Kinds which are described in the book of Genesis. A second goal is to demonstrate that plants and animals do not all descend from a single common ancestor, but rather were created as distinct fully formed Kinds.
Methods of Delineating Kinds
The best method of recognizing a Created Kind is found in successful hybridization. Since members within a Kinds are able to reproduce, the ability of two plants or animals to reproduce or hybridize should be an obvious indicator of an original Kind. The drawbacks with this method are the difficulties with actual observation and testing. One of the difficulties of defining kinds by reproduction is that different species seldom come together to reproduce. The odds are not in their favor because they can be from different continents or they are active during different times of the day. Sometimes, they are even enemies in the wild. They do not favor each other in attracting a mate because of these barriers. Therefore, hybrids between different species and breeds within a Kind often occur only in captivity, such as zoos and aquariums, where they are confined together.
One of the simplest methods of determining Kinds was introduced by Roger Sanders with the concept of the Cognitum. A cognitum is a grouping of creatures that seem to naturally go together by use of the senses. The general differences between cows, horse, and pigs would be enough evidence to the senses to tell that they belong to different kinds. This is similar to what is called the ‘Adam Test’, the idea that Adam was able to recognize and distinguish the different types of creatures, probably quite simply by visual sight and without a complicated process. Caution must be used, however, because this type of grouping can be both inside and outside of a Kind. For example, one would likely group all of the birds together because of their feathers, yet this is much greater in scope than a single kind. Although imprecise, it is useful where other data is lacking.
Almost every part of a plant can be used to help determine a Created Kind, but among the Angiosperms, the flowering plants, it is the flowers themselves that may be most useful. Todd Elder has introduced the Floral Formula as a means of determining flowering plant Kinds. The floral formula uses the morphological structures including the sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils. The various combinations of these characters representing the individual Created Kinds and can be expressed in a mathematical formula.
In an attempt to determine Created Kinds without reproduction or for use with the fossil record, some have turned to statistical analysis. David Cavanaugh introduced the Analysis of Patterns (ANOPA) technique. This technique makes characteristics of the animal a distinct statistical dimension which is placed into a multi-dimensional space. It is later simplified to a three dimensional grid. Different kinds should come out to different spaces on the grid and show the distinct groups. Todd Wood has developed the use of multidimensional scaling (MDS) which also statistically measures the distance between one Kind and another. This method has typically shown a large distance around the rank of Family which strongly suggests that the most common comparison of a Kind with modern taxonomy is the Family level.
A unique concept within Baraminology is the idea of Discontinuity which was introduced by Walter ReMine. Discontinuity is described as “large scale morphological gaps and the absence of large-scale phylogeny”. Simply put, this means that there are big differences in appearance and no common ancestral lines. This is an important concept because the Theory of Evolution has no place for discontinuity. In fact, quite the opposite is true in that Evolution must look for connecting / continuous relationships. This work also brought the phrase ‘successive approximation’ in as studies come closer and closer to the proper boundaries of created kinds.
Taxonomic Comparison of Kinds and Species
People typically want to know what taxonomic level is equated with the Created Kinds. This is a poor and overly simplistic question. Historically, our taxonomic system began with comparative morphology (appearance), went through a phase of following derived characteristics, and recently has begun focusing on genetics. The concept of Created Kinds is based on breeding capability. These are two different systems and they do not necessarily equate to each other. Simply put, Kinds do not equate to any one taxonomic rank.
Although the term Baraminology did not exist in his time, Carolus Linnaeus was a believer who thought the Creator must have used an orderly system in creation. The modern, and now evolutionary, taxonomic system using binomial nomenclature is based on Linnaean taxonomy. He based his early work on characteristics and he tried to define a species / kind as organisms that could interbreed among themselves, but not with other organisms. Later he included hybridization and realized that the species level was too narrow and suggested the Genus level might represent Kinds. By the end of his life, he recognized at least some groups may go to the Family level.
In many ways, evolutionary taxonomy has taken over the Linnaean Classification system by adding assumed ancestral connections. The Linnaean Binomial Nomenclature had been in use for nearly two centuries with the lower taxa ranks and was doing quite well before Evolutionism added the higher taxa ranks. It is these higher ranks which lack supporting evidence, from both biology and the fossil record. Also, it is becoming obvious that the current evolutionary concept of species does not function well and that the creationist concept of Kinds fits what we observe much better.
To illustrate the point better, I turn to the standard statistical bell-shaped curve. Many are familiar with this curve in regards to receiving grades (A, B, C, D, F) in school. Most people will receive a C grade, a few will receive either a B or a D grade, and rarely will someone receive an A or F grade. Similarly, most of the Kinds equate with the Family level, a few with the Genus or Super-Family level, and rarely it will equate with the Species or Order levels. For example, evolutionary taxonomy currently holds 14 families of turtles. Simple studies into hybridization connect many of these families together and suggest there are 5 Kinds of turtles [possibly less dependent on further research].
Science should follow where the evidence leads. The classical study of morphology (the physical appearance of a species) used in classification was well on its way to finding the distinctions of the Created Kinds. Today, this work can continue with the added benefits of a greater collection of data from fossil and genetic research. Taken together, the boundaries of Created Kinds is becoming more clear and our understanding of the Eternal’s creation is growing.
For More Information:
- Methods for Defining Baramin
- Baraminology—Classification of Created Organisms
- Hybrid Plants and Animals Display Variation within a Kind