Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
First Published 14 August 2005
This five page article, originally produced for the 2nd International Conference on Creationism in 1990, seeks to explain why animals on different continents are so different from one another, despite their having originated from one place, the disembarkation point of the Ark in the mountains of Ararat.
The article points out that the science of biogeography, or the study of distribution and migration of biological life forms, was largely started by creationists. The reason for this was to explain the distribution of animals after the Ark. It was a science born out of necessity to prove a young earth. As with all young earth creation science claims, the people who work on research topics related to young earth claims are biased, and therefore you have to take what they say with a grain of salt, and critically examine all their research.
Methodology (Page 7)
Woodmorappe limits his study to land vertebrates who were on the Ark, excluding birds and bats, which can migrate at will, and whose fossil records are not complete. To his credit, he also states that he assumed only naturalistic causes for the migrations, ruling out the possibility of supernatural intervention to guide the animals to their present localities.
The author accepts microevolution to explain the multiple species. For instance, if a deer migrated to America, there it could have evolved into the various deer species, such as caribou, moose, antelope, etc. This rapid speciation after the Flood is a unique feature of young earth creationism, and the changes to species is far faster (presumed) than what even evolutionists propose. In essence, young earth creationists require hyper-evolution in order for their Flood model to work. For more on this, see this article.
Woodmorappe also excludes all extinct animals from his study. No problems here. There is a problem, however, in that he assumes the continents were fixed, and no continental drift occurred. This only causes more problems for him. He must explain how Australian marsupial species arrived in Australia, to the exclusion of the rest of the world. His explanation for this is unique (and a bit funny, as you will see).
Analysis (Page 8)
He gives some numbers showing distribution of Orders on the continents. The numbers look nice, but are unimportant to the study. This is a common young earth trick...throw out some statistics to impress the readers, even though the statistics themselves are insignificant. They do become significant, however, for this rebuttal, and we will come back to them briefly.
Factors in Post-Flood Distribution of Land Vertebrates (Page 8)
The factor he lists are:
1. Splitting of faunas in the Middle East. In other words, there was ample time for species to diversify and form new species through microevolution prior to departure from the Middle East. This rapid speciation in the 300 years from the Flood to the Tower of Babel shows how young earth creationists eagerly accept microevolution. In addition, you should note that none of these facts that Woodmorappe speculates about are supported by observation...this is merely a "possible scenario" that he gives. It is not supported by any evidence outside of Woodmorappe's mind.
2. Sweepstakes Routes. Woodmorappe will show that due to geographic and climate conditions, there were specific routes of animal migration which had to be followed.
Ice Age and Climate (Page 8)
Naturally, Woodmorappe only accepts the young earth view that there was only one ice age, immediately following the Flood, despite the fact that the geologic record shows many ice ages. Using this one ice age, and the maps on page 9, he paints a picture of animal migration routes from the Ararat region, showing that these "sweepstakes" routes, or highways for migration, had to be followed. There are two routes after the flood...into Africa, and into Southeast Asia and Australia. He says this causes an immediate bifurcation of faunas, and explains why the tropical faunas of Africa, Asia, and South America (later) have little in common. However, this statement makes no sense. If there were only two routes, to Africa and Southeast Asia, then the same faunas would have been taking these routes, since the starting point (Ararat) contained the same fauna. The faunas of Africa and Southeast Asia should be identical, not bifurcated. He gives no reasons or data to answer this problem...we must merely trust his statement. This is typical of young earth creationist work. YECs must simply trust the researcher, and they usually do, without checking out the facts.
He argues that as time passes, new routes open up to Europe and America (via the Bering land bridge). He says this explains the unique species in these locales. What he is implying is that since there was a specific gap of time between the opening of the sweepstakes route to Africa/Asia, and the sweepstakes route to Europe/America, this gap of time allowed additional new species to evolve at Ararat. When these sweepstakes routes opened up, the species migrating were substantially different from those who left earlier for Africa and Asia. Again, this theory does not stand up to scrutiny.
First, the sweepstakes routes to Africa and Southeast Asia are still open. The same animals migrating now to Europe and the Americas would also be migrating to Africa and Southeast Asia. Why, then, are there no grizzly bears, or other unique North American species, in Africa? There should be, but they are not there.
Second, remember the analysis with the number of Orders which are present in each continent? If all animals originated from Ararat, then the Ararat region would contain all Orders, and as you move away from Ararat, you would get less and less Orders present. The numbers do not reflect this. Unfortunately, the chart given (Table 1) does not break out the number of Orders present in the Ararat region. No doubt this would damage Woodmorappe's argument, so it is not present.
He alludes to it in the claim that 81 of the 112 families are present in the continents proximate to Ararat. This includes Europe, Asia, Africa, and possibly Australia (remember, he includes Australia in his first "sweepstakes route). Excluding Antarctica due to the low biodiversity there, these continents represent 68 percent of the land on our planet with land vertebrates. If the organisms on these continents evolved (or were created via Progressive Creationism), we could expect these continents to contain 68 percent of the planet's Orders. Doing the math, 81/112 = 72 percent. This is a fairly close match for the evolutionary/progressive creation model. However, if ALL animals originated from Ararat, we should see close to 100 percent of these animals represented in the Ararat region, however, 28 percent of them are missing. The numbers more closely support evolution/progressive creation.
Anthropogenic Introductions (Page 9)
This is where it starts getting interesting (funny). He says one major factor ignored so far in this equation of animal migration is human migration. After the Tower of Babel, mankind spread throughout the world. He claims that they probably took animals with them. I have no problem with this. Man would have taken domesticated animals for his own use, such as cattle, dogs, etc. To this, he expands it to include game, such as used for hunting and food. He says "Post-Babel humans were actually in a position to bring along with them (and introduce to other continents) a much greater diversity of living things than would later be the case." He goes on to say that humans at Babel, knowing that other areas of the world lacked vertebrates, would have been even more eager to take them along. Very interesting.
Land Vertebrates with Peculiar Biogeographic Distributions (Page 9)
Here, he goes into a couple of examples which cause apparent problems with this model. In the intro paragraph, he mentions camels, and specifically the fact that there are wild camel herds in Australia, where they have been introduced. He mentions that this is in contrast to their native North Africa and Middle East, where he claims the wild camel herds are now extinct. However, this is extremely misleading. While it may be true that wild camels are extinct in the Middle East and Africa, they are not extinct to this region. Hundreds of thousands of domesticated camels still exist in Africa and the Middle East. They went from being wild to domesticated...they are not extinct.
Australian Marsupials (Page 10)
The first example he discusses is the most critical against the young earth explanation. He argues it down to the fact that there are only 17 families (including five extinct) that comprise Australian marsupials. Here's where it gets funny. He says "It would have been no great difficulty for a post-Babel adventurer to have brought with himself seventeen pairs of marsupial kinds from the Middle East to Australia." He goes on to say, "...if some of the descendants of Noah's family had grown accustomed to marsupials near their respective homes in the Middle East region, they would thus have the motivation to take marsupials with them." In fact, I have seventeen pairs of marsupials in my house...they are really handy! They carry things all over the house for me in their pouches! If you believe this, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona that I would like to sell you!
I have an even better idea, based on Woodmorappe's words. The marsupials probably hitched a ride on the backs of the wild camels as they made their way to Australia. After all, wild camels have been known to keep marsupials as pets!
He then talks about the evidence that marsupials were introduced to Australia, and were not native. He draws a comparison between an Australian marsupial and a South American marsupial...a very sketchy, stretch of the imagination comparison. Now, all he has to do is draw comparisons for the other sixteen marsupial families of Australia. He goes on, saying that a "crew" from some unknown ship probably introduced the marsupial to South America (from Australia). Naturally, there is no proof of this...it is merely wild speculation from the mind of Woodmorappe.
He then makes a tie between marsupials and the Australian dingo dog, saying the travelers who brought the dingo probably also brought the marsupials. He says this is a better fit with the evidence than the evolutionary tale. He notes that evolutionists think the marsupials evolved in Australia, but that the dingo was introduced and not native to Australia.
Think about the logic of this. Why would the dingo have been thought by evolutionists to be introduced? Because they are largely absent from the fossil record of Australia. However, the marsupials are part of the fossil record in Australia. That is how we know of the five currently extinct marsupials. Obviously, the marsupials were there long before the dingo, so Woodmorappe's theory does not fit better than the evolutionary/progressive creation theory.
Of course, Woodmorappe fails to discuss the other problems with this theory. First, if the traveler from the Tower of Babel had grown accustomed to marsupials, and he took them along on his journey...this means marsupials should be native to the Ararat region and the Middle East. However, none of these Australian marsupials are in the Middle East! If you throw out the traveler, and assume that they migrated on their own, then you should have marsupial populations all along the route from the Middle East to Australia. And then you have the Koala problem. It eats only the Eucalyptus tree leaves. There are no Eucalyptus trees in the Middle East, or on the migratory route, so it could not have come from, nor made a journey, from the Middle East.
The Fauna of Madagascar (Page 10)
To explain why the fauna on Madagascar is unique, he says Madagascar was a major stopping point for colonists from Babel. This is despite there are no records indicating this. Again, a figment of Woodmorappe's imagination. He says this explains the great diversity of Madagascar's fauna. No doubt, there were travelers who liked lemurs, which are only found on Madagascar. However, there would have to be lemurs native to Ararat and the Middle East, but there are none.
Isn't it strange that every one of these ancient travelers who liked Australian marsupials went to Australia...and every one of these ancient travelers who liked lemurs all decided to go to Madagascar? Surely someone who liked lemurs would have carried one to Australia, and there should be a lemur population there...makes you question Woodmorappe's theory even more.
The South American Fauna (Page 10)
He notes that South America has some unique fauna, some of which migrated via the Bering Strait and North America. The rest were introduced by voyagers from the Middle East, soon after the Tower of Babel. He states this as a matter of fact. "Since South America is relatively close across the Atlantic on a southwesterly route from the Straits of Gibraltar, it is not surprising that it was repeatedly colonized soon after the Tower of Babel incident." I must have missed that in my history books. There are no records of Middle Eastern discovery and colonization of South America. There is no archeological evidence for this either. He states it as fact, yet there isn't a shred of evidence to support his active imagination. He has Middle-Eastern voyagers discovering the Americas more than 3,000 years before the Vikings or Christopher Columbus! (OK, go ahead and let out a laugh before continuing.)
The Fauna of Mid-Oceanic Islands (Page 11)
For this he says research shows that the islands could be colonized with no problems. He uses secular research from evolutionists to support this claim. He has no problem condemning evolutionists, but will gladly draw arguments from them when it is convenient.
Conclusions (Page 11)
He says "The creation model not only explains the distribution of living things on earth, but is also scientifically superior to the evolution model." What??? The Woodmorappe creation model is full of imagination which is not backed up by scientific fact or observations. This statement also comes from his imagination, for it is only in the make-believe ideas in his head that this statement can ring true. In the real world, his explanations are ludicrous.
I was not expecting anything in the way of humor, but this article provided much more comic relief than I expected, as I was able to gain quite a few laughs through reading it. I know now that we have animal distributions on earth thanks to Middle Eastern voyagers who left the Tower of Babel with their animal friends. Today's animal-rights activists would have been proud of them! I wonder who took the Jaguars to South America. Did someone take the poisonous snakes to Australia too? They must have visited the Babel Pets Mart, bought them, and took off to Australia!
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