The Kiwi Question
Sooner or later, every rational person comes face-to-face with one of those willfully irrational people known as creationists. Usually, before the rationalist can come to terms with the fact that so primitive an outlook could be alive and well this late in the history of science, the creationist will be on the attack. Within seconds, the rationalist will be struggling to avoid suffocating under a veritable avalanche of bogus data about bullfrog proteins, Neanderthal Man's arthritis, the impossibility of left-handed amino acids originating without magical intervention, the uselessness of only half-evolved eyes, the imperfection of the fossil record, and the supposed forgery of all known Archaeopteryx fossils.
Usually, rationalists can find some argument with which to repel the creationist's unnatural advances. Even so, the first encounter with a high-octane creationist can be rather disturbing, and it is not unusual for rationalists to spend several days thinking of better arguments they could have used.
Eventually, it becomes clear that the main error committed was to allow the creationist to seize the offensive. Why weren't the tenets of creationism challenged? Why wasn't the creationist made to provide evidence to support the more bizarre claims of Genesis geology or bible biology? Why wasn't the creationist put on the defensive?
Fortunately, persons finding it necessary to argue with creationist apologists (as at PTA and school board meetings) can put creationists on the defensive quite easily, simply by demanding evidence to support the fable of Noah's flood, the most vulnerable of creationist tenets. Actually, it is one of the few such tenets that is definable enough to be attacked at all! When attacking Noah's ark, however, it is imperative that novices not aim their torpedoes at the wrong end of the boat. All too often, beginners will ask how Noah could have shanghaied critters in all the far-flung regions of the earth and brought them back to be put into his termite-filled wooden boat.
"How did Noah get to
It goes without saying, even creationists without portfolio or stipend can usually make short shrift of this quibble.
"If you would spend more time reading the bible, and less time dreaming of evolutionary impossibilities," a reasonably adroit creationist would retort, "you would know the answer to your question. It says in Genesis 7:14-16, 'Wild animals of every kind, cattle of every kind, reptiles of every kind that move upon the ground, and birds of every kind - all came to Noah in the ark, two by two of all creatures that had life in them. Those which came were one male and one female of all living things; they came in as God had commanded Noah [hopefully, our evolutionist Lochinvar will point out that this contradicts Genesis 7:2, where Noah is commanded to save "clean animals" by sevens!] , and the Lord closed the door on him.'"
It will be pointed out that Noah didn't go out to get the animals - the animals miraculously were directed to come to him. You can't fight with a miracle. Even so, after playing their trump card - magic - many creationists will feel a bit embarrassed over having had to resort to such heavy weaponry so early in the war, and they will strain to find a less unfair argument. In this case, they don't need to think long.
"What makes you think that kiwis had to come from
Now of course, the evolutionist can point out that fossil kiwis have never been found outside of
"It is curious that evolutionists try to explain away gaps in the fossil record when defending their pet theory, but argue that the gaps are significant when used against scientific theories of creation! You can't have your cake and eat it too. If you can say that connecting links between invertebrates and vertebrates existed, despite the gaps in the fossil record, we can say that platypuses lived on the banks of the
There is, of course, a better way to expose the implausibility of the deluge delusion. As we have said, our hypothetical evolutionist has launched torpedoes at the wrong end of the boat. The dialogue should have been begun with a different question: "Do you mean to tell me kiwis actually are Turkish refugees?"
If the relevance of this question is not immediately obvious to the fundamentalist apologist, it should be pointed out that Noah allegedly parked his ark on some mountains (plural, according to Genesis 8:4!) in what is now
Not only did these unlikely travelers make it to such unlikely destinations as
"If these flightless birds now found on remote islands are descended from ancestral species capable of flight," our evolutionist might point out, "we can understand how they came to be where we find them. Only an evolutionary explanation - in some cases with help from continental drift over utterly un-biblical amounts of time - can explain these oddities of biogeography."
"Not at all," the creationist could reply. "We creationists accept the possibility of degenerative changes in the history of life. In fact, the story of Adam's fall and the beginning of the Second Law of Thermodynamics demand that if changes occur, they can only be down-hill. Flightless birds on desert islands are actually proof of creation."
"Birds eight feet tall and well suited to their ecological niche can hardly be considered degenerate," the evolutionist might reply, adding, "if all these strange birds and mammals now found scattered in the remote regions of the earth traveled out from Ararat along with the people, isn't it strange that no human culture outside New Zealand reveals traces of giant moa stories, no cultures outside Australia tell stories about kangaroos or platypuses, and no culture outside South America seems to remember the giant anteaters that slid down Mt. Ararat along with their ancestral tribesmen. It is also curious that the parasites that went along with the kiwis are found in kiwis, but on no other species of birds anywhere else on earth. Even more curious is the fact that none of these odd creatures is remembered in the bible!"
It could be pointed out that the feather louse Rallicola gadowi is found only on the kiwi Apteryx australis. Not only is this species of louse not found on any other birds outside
The problems posed by flightless birds and their parasites to the "theory" of Noah's flood are just a drop in the bucket compared to the problems posed by biogeography in general. Consider the mammalian fauna of
Thus, there were marsupial moles, anteaters, mice, grazers, carnivores, frugivores, etc. - not one of which can be found anywhere else in the world. If this highly diversified marsupial population has descended with modification (evolved) from one or a few primitive, generalized marsupials which reached
An even stronger case can be made if we compare the faunas of any two biogeographic provinces which have similar climates and geomorphological characteristics. It is probable that every type of habitat to be found in
If this be not evidence enough against the idea that a dormant volcano in Asia Minor is the center from which all the animal species of the world have dispersed, we may consider the problem of cavernicolous (cave-dwelling) species of animals. Many of these creatures are blind, and we can imagine the trouble they had reading road-maps while finding their ways to caves in
To put the last biogeographic nail in the coffin of creationism, we pass from our discussion of terrestrial biogeography to a consideration of aquatic biogeography. The most glaring proof that the flood myth in Genesis was the product of prescientific minds is the fact that Noah is said to have taken only air-breathing animals into the ark. Plants and aquatic animals had to fend for themselves. Now of course, delicate corals and salt-sensitive freshwater fishes could not have survived a world-destroying flood, and Noah would have had to have carried enormous numbers of aquaria (both freshwater and saltwater) in his nail-less boat of gopher wood. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that fishes were able to survive the muddy flood that snuffed out the rest of the world toward the end of the Egyptian Old Kingdom, we ask why it is that totally different species, genera - indeed families in some cases - settled out of the flood into the lakes and rivers of Australia, Africa, and South America.
Is it not astonishing that 170 species of cichlid fishes settled out of the biblical brine into
Of course, when one is prepared to admit magic as a plausible explanation for the oddities of the world around us, anything is possible - including the fauna of Barombi Mbo. But for creationists who have not surrendered reason completely, the argument from biogeography should be a convincing proof of the reality of evolution and the impossibility of Noah's flood.
Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7) www.beyondgenes.com