Copied from: Debunking Christianity
It is not a problem for us to rationalize why certain animals do not appear in certain parts of the world. Why, for example, does Australia have such an unusual fauna, including so many marsupials? Marsupials are, of course, known elsewhere in the world. For example, opossums are found in North and South America, and fossilized marsupials have been found elsewhere. But in many places, climatic changes and other factors could lead to their extinction.
It’s not a problem. See? It just isn’t. Hey, look over there, there’s an opossum. The Young-Earth Creationist doesn’t even deal with the fact that animals cannot migrate long distances through deserts or ice fields without dying first. They adapt to conditions in the location which they exist and if the ecology changes in that location and they cannot complete their life cycle, they die. There’s no attempt there to explain how a koala bear, who can only eat Eucalyptus leaves could travel from Turkey to Australia without going extinct first. There’s no attempt to explain how an aquatic species like a duck-billed platypus could complete its life cycle during the “mini-Ice Age” that followed the flood while all the water was frozen. The truth of the Genesis account is simply asserted and no explanation is given for these problems.
The lack of great marsupials in other continents need be no more of a problem than the lack of dinosaurs. As with many species today, they just died out—a reminder of a sin-cursed world. One proposed theory is that marsupials—because they bore their young in pouches—were able to travel farther and faster than mammals that had to stop to care for their young. They were able to establish themselves in far-flung Australia before competitors reached the continent.
Yes, kangaroos managed to get all the way from Turkey to Australia bearing their tiny live young from a founder population of two (2) individuals and the reason they got there is because they were faster than the cheetahs, gazelles, horses and other slow placental mammals who were bogged down by the need to care for bigger offspring. I really can’t imagine an adult finding this explanation compelling. But it has to be compelling if you can’t give up the Bible.
At one level, the authors realize this is one of their weakest positions. They know these explanations will not satisfy a critical reader. The article ends in the following way:
We must not be downhearted by critics and their frequent accusations against the Bible. We must not be surprised that so many people will believe all sorts of strange things, whatever the logic.
I believe this is not even intended to be ironic. Yet the unintentionality of it makes the irony drip off it even more. They continue:
Starting from our presupposition that the Bible’s account is true, we have seen that scientific models can be developed to explain the post-Flood migration of animals. These models correspond to observed data and are consistent with the Bible’s account. It is notable that opponents of biblical creationism use similar models in their evolutionary explanations of animal migrations. While a model may eventually be superseded, it is important to note that such biblically consistent models exist. In any event, we have confidence in the scriptural account, finding it to be accurate and authoritative. The fact of animal migration around the world is illustrative of the goodness and graciousness of God, who provided above and beyond our needs.
Notice that only if they start from the presupposition that the Bible is true can they find any reason to believe the Bible. However the models do NOT correspond to the observed data unless you consider a model that can be torn apart by a teenager who’s seen a couple of shows on Discovery channel to be valid.
The authors are to be scolded for foisting off such poor explanations to an uncritical fundamentalist audience. Commenters like Rick and DSHB should demand more of them.
Comments under this post on Debunking Christianity:
Kangaroos got from Mt. Ararat to Australia using their powerful tails as propellers. The mama kangaroo carried the koalas in her pouch, and the duck-billed platypuses rode on the papa kangaroo’s back. No problem.
From a blog discussion I enjoyed with a charismatic:
-Why are Kangaroos in Aus?
-Well there is one perfectly reasonable explanation for kangaroos being isolated to your part of the world – Australia. After Noah’s Ark I believe people got a great idea: boats. I think the very logical explanation for kangaroos in Australia is that people took them there in boats. Animals were very commonly used in trade in ancient times. Perhaps someone living in Australia had a hankering for marsupials and traded away for them? However the true point really is: I don’t know why kangaroos ended up there and neither do the evolutionists, creationists, and big bangists.
So, there we have it: boats. Oh, and marsupial fetishism by indigenous Aussies.
You guys are making a huge mistake yet again. Your using logic to displell an illogical beleif.
God can do anything.
He could load the ark at a rate of thousands of animals a second. He could, since as we know there are no new animals, make sure every kind was present, down to every kind of beetle and ant (which alone would make for a huge arc)
He could enusre they all made it to their new homes and didn’t need food for years, after all what would the predators eat? Why do we still lions and zebras? Wouldn’t the 2 lions eat the 2 zebras in month (If not week)? He could make sure no one mentioned any of the animals that where suppose to be discovered later where kept secret, despite all those people seeing them.
He could even make enough water to cover the world all just disappear. Heck he can even make a story of a king in desperation to avoid a flood hop onto a trading barge and sail down river for three days into an epic. Oh and throw in a couple centuries later disaster of tidal waves into the true tale.
See logic never works in these cases. Otherwise the whole house of faith might shake. Anyone else hear cards failing?
That was a really great post! You are absolutely right, that logic does not work for many of them. But for some, me included, it does get through. I am sad that until this year I had never heard of ANY of the major criticisms against Christianity. I am so glad that there are people (like Evan) willing to piss Christians off by telling them the truth. My deconversion took a long time, but it did eventually sink in.
And not a single fossil to mark the journey…
I’ve heard Hovind tell stories like this before. What a great image of a wave of Australian fauna struggling across India, some animals that can only survive in deserts, some only in shallow ponds, some only in specific varieties of Eucalyptus trees, all banding together to survive the jungles and high-mountain passes of the Himalayans, all apparently possessing some map of where they should live and despite this hardship, none of them dying. What can I say, it’s precious.
What can you do to debate with someone like that? They’ve obviously decided that reason no longer applies to them.
This is a really funny (and telling) passage from the AiG (Answers in Genesis) article:
The principal error of this view is that it starts from supposed scientific anomalies, such as the fossil record, rather than from Scripture. This has led to the proposals among some Recolonizers, but not all, that there must be gaps in the genealogies recorded in Genesis 5 and 11, even though there is no need for such gaps. Indeed the suggestion of gaps in these genealogies causes further doctrinal problems.
The principal problem, you see, is begin with and considering the EVIDENCE, in AiG’s view.
Young earth creationists are actually saved by their own folly when it comes to the fossil question, here. If the marsupials did “hop” from western Asia all the way to Australia over just a couple thousand years, then we would not expect, statistically, to find a single fossil recording that fact. The numbers of individuals and the timeline are both too small to expect that enough marsupials lived and died along the way to leave enough fossils that we might reasonable expect to find one. It’s perverse, but that’s how just making ridiculous stuff up to fit religious dogma goes. If God “poofed” marsupials over to Australia, that wouldn’t leave any fossils, either. So, really, the lack of marsupial fossils across the Himalayas can just be seen as a testimony to God’s “poofing power”!
When your explanations include a God that can do anything, any time, for any reason, then there are no ridiculous explanations (except the ones that don’t need God).
Don’t want to be belligerent on the fossil question with you, but in fairness to their preposterous ideas, if they were true, we wouldn’t expect taphonomic evidence for 10,000 mile trek by a small group of animals over just a few centuries. As I mentioned above, real science hypothesizes the migration of some marsupials (like the Virginia Oppossum) over great distances and formidable territory (from current Australia through the current horn of Africa through current South America to current North America). It just places that process within a reasonable and generous time frame — millions of years, where populations wouldn’t be moving more than just over the next hill over any given generation, and for many, many generations, not moving at all toward their ultimate (current) destination.
“If the marsupials did “hop” from western Asia all the way to Australia over just a couple thousand years, then we would not expect, statistically, to find a single fossil recording that fact.“
Here we hit two unpleasant problems. If the animals established stable, breeding populations along the route then they would need to survive and thrive in each of the intermediate environments which, if this isn’t preposterous enough, would have to go unnoticed and unrecorded by any local inhabitants. If the animals moved quickly then we have no problems with remains or fossils but have an Herculean marathon by animals that have a natural territorial range measured in tens of metres. If the animals moved slowly then the locals should notice them. Remember that we’re not talking about a migration which occurred millions of years ago, but a few thousand years ago, within the range of written records. If the migration was slow enough that the animals took several generations, we should expect to find not fossils but living ancestors!
Your right that if they moved fast enough and in small enough numbers that we shouldn’t expect to find much, but when the numbers drop and the speed increases it stops being a natural explanation and becomes a magical ‘poof’. I know, I know, most of AiG is essentially a magical ‘poof’ explanation, but their goal appears to create the illusion that these events were natural and not magical.
We’re agreed, the various scenarios a creationist might advance in the constraints of 6,000 years across 10,000 miles all fall down badly. One can see why they often just resort to “poof” answers. You’ve got an omniscient, omnipotent God on your side, why bother with the problematic features of migration. Supernatural transport cleans the problems right away!
As for this: I know, I know, most of AiG is essentially a magical ‘poof’ explanation, but their goal appears to create the illusion that these events were natural and not magical.
That’s putting it quite charitably, yes, indeed.
This is a post that I found particularly relevant to my situation. Up until the end of last year I considered myself to be a born-again Christian. I was an active member of one of the many African- and Caribbean-majority Pentecostal churches that have sprung up here in London. One weekend I was away on a retreat with fellow-minded friends when the after-dinner conversation turned to Genesis. I proposed that the stories in Genesis were not literally true but were allegories. My companions insisted that all the events had actually happened. I posed the question “how did kangaroos get from Australia onto Noah’s Ark?” One of my friends, a doctor, replied that they walked there. I laughed loudly at this ridiculous answer, glancing around the table only to find my friends looking bemused at my reaction. I remember thinking to myself “these people are insane!” The conversation continued onto other aspects of the Bible, such as Adam and Eve and the genealogies of Jesus. I was told that all of the Bible was true or none of it was, otherwise I would simply be picking and choosing which parts to believe. I understood that argument, but inside I knew that not all of the Bible could be true. I went away, did my research, and found the various inconsistencies in the Bible (including in the genealogies). It is amazing how quickly my faith began to unravel. Suffice it to say that I never went back to church, and now consider myself to be a sane, rational member of the human race.
Umm, help me if i missed something as i am kinda new to thinking about this stuff in any serious way, but if god could poof the animals onto the ark and poof them back into their habitats or make them ‘evolve’, i mean, differentiate, so fast into many species from a common ancestor that had to be poofed to and from the arc, and if god could poof all that water into the clouds to make all that rain and then poof it away again, well, and don’t laugh if this is obvious, but why did he need the ark and the flood in the first place. would it not have been more efficient to just poof away all the bad stuff he was trying to get rid of with the flood waters? this seems like a lot of poof-work to do something in a roundabout way that could have been direct-poofed, well, directly out of existence.
Yes, “God goes poof” is indeed the last refuge of the creationist, and it comes in many guises. One of the best examples I’ve come across is the following gem, by John Hartnett, in an article proposing a way of reconciling the apparent great age of starlight with the Genesis account (thanks to Reynold of Skeptic Friends who pointed me to the EvolutionBlog’s nice fisking of the current Conference on Creationism):
A new model, of a type similar to Humphreys’, has been described that allows billions of years to pass in the cosmos but only 24 hours on Earth during Day 4. In this model, the laws of physics are suspended while creation is in progress and enormous time dilation occurs between Earth clocks and astronomical clocks. This solves the light-travel-time problem faced by creationist cosmology and makes all astronomical evidence fit the Genesis account. No non-physical requirements are placed on the model.
In other words, if there’s a problem, God can poof it. Of course, ID suffers from, er, rejoices in the same powerful methodology.
Young Earth Creationist: For one, there were neither lions or zebras on the ark, but rather ancestral “kinds” that were likely common to many feline and horse breeds we see today.I have heard of this absurd, rationalization before. What lengths the creationist will go to protect their idiotic, feeble, beliefs. Because they know two of every species couldn’t have fit on the ark, they have to start slicing and dicing. Creationist couldn’t possibly account for the hundreds of thousands of species of dogs, alone, so then they have to assert, one ancestral kind (canidae) went aboard the ark. Which begs the question, was it the chihuahua, that took on this burden and after 6,000 years, it produced this:
Side-striped Jackal, Canis adustus
Golden Jackal, Canis aureus
Coyote, Canis latrans (also called Prairie Wolf)
Gray Wolf, Canis lupus (2.723 Ma to present)
Red Wolf, Canis lupus rufus (3 Ma to present)
Domestic Dog, Canis lupus familiaris
Dingo, most often classified as Canis lupus dingo
New Guinea Singing Dog, Canis lupus hallstromi
many other proposed subspecies
Black-backed Jackal, Canis mesomelas
Ethiopian Wolf, Canis simensis (also called Abyssinian Wolf, Simien Fox and Simien Jackal)
Genus Cynotherium †
Sardinian Dhole, Cynotherium sardous †
Dhole, Cuon alpinus or Canis alpinus (also called Asian Wild Dog)
African Wild Dog, Lycaon pictus (also called African Hunting Dog)
Indian Mute Dog, Indocyon caribensis † (also called Caribbean Dog)
Cuban Dhole, Cubacyon transversidens †
Short-eared Dog, Atelocynus microtis
Crab-eating Fox, Cerdocyon thous
Genus Dasycyon † ?
Hagenbeck Wolf, Dasycyon hagenbecki † ?
Genus Dusicyon †
Falkland Island Fox, Dusicyon australis †
Culpeo, Pseudalopex culpaeus
Darwin’s Fox, Pseudalopex fulvipes
Argentine Grey Fox, Pseudalopex griseus
Pampas Fox, Pseudalopex gymnocercus
Sechura Fox, Pseudalopex sechurae
Hoary Fox, Pseudalopex vetulus
Maned Wolf, Chrysocyon brachyurus
Bush Dog, Speothos venaticus
unnamed bush dog species, Speothos pacivorus †
True foxes – Tribe Vulpini
Arctic Fox, Vulpes lagopus
Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes (1 Ma to present)
Swift Fox, Vulpes velox
Kit Fox, Vulpes macrotis
Corsac Fox, Vulpes corsac
Cape Fox, Vulpes chama
Pale Fox, Vulpes pallida
Bengal Fox, Vulpes bengalensis
Tibetan Sand Fox, Vulpes ferrilata
Blanford’s Fox, Vulpes cana
Rüppell’s Fox, Vulpes rueppelli
Fennec Fox, Vulpes zerda
Genus Urocyon (2 Ma to present)
Gray Fox, U. cinereoargenteus
Island Fox, U. littoralis
Cozumel Fox, U. sp.
Genus Otocyon (probably a vulpine close to Urocyon)
Bat-eared Fox, Otocyon megalotis
Raccoon Dog, Nyctereutes procyonoides
And if you were to just take one of these sub-families, for instance domestic dogs this sub-family has thousands of DOG BREEDS A-Z That one dog on the ark had a massive undertaking — can anyone say MYTH?
A Young Earth Creationist: said “Theistic evolution is dead. That was an early mistake of the church over 100 years ago to go down that road. YEC (Young Earth Creationism) is the coming wave, and growing.”I know very few evangelical Christians who are YEC advocates. In fact there are quite a few OEC advocates. Most of them are satisfied knowing that God created everything and let him worry about the details. I’m sorry so many YEC Christians have to try to fit God into their pocket.
If he exists he is much greater than any of them could imagine.
After the flood, when the waters had poofed back into the oceans, then each of noah’s 8 sons (of course it was the sons -womens lib hadn’t been created yet) built another boat out of the trees that died in the flood and each one took some of the animals to a different one of the 8 continents. That explains why animals appear only on one continent. Each one picked the animals he liked and took them. That personal preference explains why there are similar animals on that continent. isn’t it obvious?
Young Earth Creationist: “Skeptics often claim, “The Bible is not a science textbook.” This, of course, is true—because science textbooks change every year, whereas the Bible is the unchanging Word of God—the God who cannot lie.”
It should read:
Skeptics often claim, “The Bible is not a science textbook.” This, of course, is true — because science textbooks change every year, whereas the Bible is the perfect book for people who are too lazy or illiterate to pick up a science textbook and grapple with the accompanying math. Such people are equally disinclined to actually read the Bible, being generally content to sit back and listen to someone “interpret” it while making the listener feel complacent and good about having the mental and social maturity of a 5-year-old. The Bible is the ultimate bedtime fairy tale and is especially good with a glass of warm milk.”