Elephants and Other Proboscideans are "One Kind",
Why Can't All Primates be "One Kind"?
Kevin R. Henke, Ph.D.
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One of the countless problems confronting young-Earth creationists (YECs) is developing a realistic definition for a "Biblical kind." This definition is important to YECs because it determines how many terrestrial animals Noah supposedly had to fit and feed on the "ark" (Genesis 7:2-3,14). Most YECs recognize that if "kind" is narrowly defined to approximate a species, Noah could never have accommodated and fed all of those animals on the ark. Because of the size limitations of the ark, YECs (such as John Woodmorappe [a pseudonym] and Jonathan Sarfati) prefer to more broadly define "kind" at the genus level or even higher so that Noah could have had a shorter passenger list. Anti-evolution advocates of this broader definition must then depend on "post-Flood" hyperevolution to produce all of the terrestrial animal species that we see today from the limited number of passengers on the ark. With either approach, YECs face a serious dilemma that not even YEC Woodmorappe’s (1996) wild imagination and hopeful dreams can solve. Either the ark is too small or too much post-Flood evolution is required to prop up the YEC Flood myth.
When dealing with the origins of elephants, YEC Jonathan Sarfati concludes that all elephants (ORDER Proboscidea) probably represent ONE "kind":
"Mammoths are considered to be closer to Asian elephants than African elephants are. [Note from KRH: This statement by Sarfati is based on evolution and not the Bible.] So if the mammoth lived today, it could very likely cross-breed with an Asian elephant... [reference omitted]. Therefore the ENTIRE order Proboscidea probably comprises only one created kind... [reference omitted]." [my emphasis]
From the context of Sarfati's statement, it's obvious that he utterly fails to realize that the order Proboscidea contains a large number of biological diverse and mostly extinct families, genera, and species (perhaps as many as 350 extinct species), and not just mammoths, mastodons and modern elephants. Specifically, the order includes a number of smaller ancestors (e.g., Palaeomastodon) of mammoths, mastodons and modern elephants and short-trunked off-shoots (e.g., Moeritherium). Now, if Sarfati refuses to renounce his claim that that ALL proboscideans represent one "created kind", then he and his allies are supporting an EXTENSIVE amount of evolution among the proboscideans. By supporting such a statement, Sarfati and his YEC allies have actually evolved into theistic evolutionists. That is, Sarfati must explain how all extinct and still living members of the order Proboscidea could ever evolve from "one created kind" in no more than a few thousand years. Not even the most ardent secular evolutionist believes that evolution is this fast!
Advocating evolution up through the order rank is clearly inconsistent with YEC claims that they only believe in "microevolution". If Sarfati really wants to claim that mammoths and African elephants evolved from a small common proboscidean ancestor that supposedly exited from the Garden of Eden or Noah's ark, why doesn't he admit that all members of the primate order (including humans and chimps) could have evolved from a small common ape ancestor? While trying to keep the number of passengers on Noah's ark at a "manageable" size, YECs have obviously slid into a quagmire of evolutionary inconsistencies.
PREDICTION: Once YEC Sarfati recognizes that referring to all members of the order Proboscidea as "one created kind" makes him a theistic evolutionist, we can expect him to back peddle and claim that only mammoths, mastodons and modern elephants (families Elephantidae and Mammutidae) are "one created kind". That means that poor Noah would have had to find more room and food for moeritheres and other proboscideans on the ark.
Woodmorappe, John, 1996, Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon.
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