Tuesday, June 06, 2006
BSG Conference: Day 1
One of the main things that I really finally understood about baraminology that hadn't quite hit before, is that baraminology classification is not about descent. You could feasibly have two members of the same baramin which never ever shared a common ancestor. For a simple example, just imagine God creating two identical asexual organisms at creation. Their descendents will never share a common ancestor, yet it is obvious that they would be of the same "kind". Thus, baraminology classification is entirely about continuity and discontinuity, and only uses descent in the sense that hybridization is fairly good evidence of continuity.
The historical method of determining baramins by hybridization was shown to have several failing features, including:
- How do you know when a hybridization is successful? Obviously a reproducing organism is a success, but what about a sterile one? What about one that was conceived and carried but aborted?
- Hybridization doesn't apply on asexual organisms
- Hybridization can't be tested on fossils
- Hybridization test can be hard to justify on rare or endangered species
- Species that hybridize are members of the same kind, but the converse is not true
- "After its kind" is not a reproductive command
And thus statistical baraminology is a useful tool for these many cases that cannot be resolved by hybridization tests.
Anyway, I'll ask Todd tonight if I can post the URL and a tutorial to the software.