Saturday, March 1, 2008

Aristotle, Kitts and Kinds

David B. Kitts has been quoted often in the origins controversy, especially in regard to the many gaps in the fossil record (lack of transitional forms). Kitts was a professor of Geology and later a professor of History of Science at the University of Oklahoma. Kitts was part of a debate with Henry Morris and Duane Gish in 1973. Kitts was a student of noted evolutionist George Gaylord Simpson (1902-1984) (
In an interview in 1981, Kitts said,
“Aristotle, to a greater extent than almost anyone we know about, relied upon his observations. He observed that individual members of a species do not persist, but kinds do persist. That is a pretty obvious fact about the world. If there is abundant empirical support for the view that species persist, why do evolutionists suppose they do not persist? Evolutionists have a very elaborate abstract theory that compels us to suppose that species do not persist.
Our reason for thinking that species do not persist is not our observation that they do not persist, but it is a theory that requires them not to persist. Whatever the observations that support evolutionary theory are, they are not the observations that one species turns into another.
Evolutionary theory compels us to see the fossil record as evidence of evolution. The paleontological record supports evolutionary theory if you presuppose evolutionary theory. It is consistent with evolutionary theory, but it does not compel us to accept evolutionary theory. The fossil record is consistent with and astronomical number of theories. The fossil record does not prove evolution; nothing proves evolution. Evolution is a scientific hypothesis. Anybody who says evolution is a proven fact is an idiot and deserves to be criticized.” [1]
When Adam named the animals of Eden preserve, these created kinds (or baramins) would reproduce similar organisms. All creatures born from these starting animals form essential types and natural kinds of biological entities. This is a relational property and involves the history of life. To discover these essential types today is a deep matter. One way to get close to the original kinds is to find out which hybrids produce fertile offspring (e.g. zebra and horse  zorse). Yet some species (a smaller division within kinds in most cases) are so much alike they must have come from the same critter made during Creation Week (or coming off Noah’s Ark). So the task of classification must be approached holistically (google “baraminology”).
Another method of taxonomy is to notice the special features of Yahweh’s creation. A woodpecker has a unique tongue that splits in two and curves all the way around its skull (to reach deep into trees). It also has a protective shock-absorbing tissue in its skull to deal with its jackhammer attacks on trees. Find these essential features and you’ve found a woodpecker.
Next, envision a giraffe which has special one-way valves in its blood vessels to keep the blood from rushing to its head when is leans over. There is also a spongy matrix below the brain to take up excess blood. Look for these ostensive properties and you’ve found a giraffe.
We may further admire the humble cactus. According to Jennifer Ackerfield, Cacti are special:
“There are several features which are found on all members of the family Cactaceae. All cacti have a succulent stem, inferior ovary, and unique structures called areoles. Areoles are a unique feature found in a wide number of positions on the cacti and are composed of two perpendicular buds. From the upper bud come the flowers and fruit or new branches, and from the lower bud come the spines.”

1) Personal interview on Oct. 7, 1981 (listen to MP3 above)

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