Did Noah Recognize Different Frog Species?, by Brian Thomas, is a fairly predictable discussion of baraminology. The article opens:
“What if Noah got it wrong?” is a question recently posed in a ScienceDaily article. “What if he paired a male and a female animal thinking they were the same species, and then discovered they were not the same and could not produce offspring?”
These were probably not intended to be serious questions. But if Genesis provides real history, maybe they should be.
The ScienceDaily article – Genetic Matchmaking Saves Endangered Frogs – is about a frog breeding project that is using “DNA barcodes” to ensure that they don’t try to breed similar-looking frogs that are of different species. Andrew J. Crawford is quoted in that press release as saying:
If we accidentally choose frogs to breed that are not the same species, we may be unsuccessful or unknowingly create hybrid animals that are maladapted to their parents’ native environment.
As he said, the “what if Noah got it wrong” line is highly unlikely to be serious. But that isn’t about to stop Brian laborously explaining how Noah couldn’t have cared less about individual species, and that he was instead interested in preserving ‘kinds,’ or ‘sorts.’
Questioning how Noah would have discerned between species overlooks three factors. First, Noah might not have taken all amphibians on board. Second, today’s species are not exactly what he saw. Third, Noah was unconcerned with modern biologists’ fixation on naming and preserving every possible sub-variety within a reproducing group.
That’ll teach those stamp-collecting zoologists! Getting away from the frogs, this article strongly resembles the Tigon articles from last year. The other example used is a cross between the old world dromedary camel (Camelus dromedarius) and the new world llama (Lama glama):
Noah took two of every “sort,” or “kind.” Does the Bible indicate that Noah took two of every one of today’s named species? Certainly not. Many, if not most, species interbreed with at least one other named species. For example camels (Camelus dromedarius) breed with llamas (Lama glama) to form a “cama.”
This claim is not cited, but it turns out that the cama is a real thing. It is, in fact, the product of artificial insemination carried out by some Dubai-based mad scientists aiming to breed camels with wool (and that wouldn’t kick so much). This is superficially amazing – an old world and new world animals interbreeding like tens of millions of years of separation never happened – but as it turns out the camelid family original evolved in the new world and expanded into the old only a couple of million years ago. Cama also appear to be sterile and are highly unlikely to even be successfully born.
These aspects are moot, however, as Brian is merely gunning for the “family = kind” angle we’ve seen before. He concludes:
Identifying dwindling species using DNA banding as part of an effort to preserve biodiversity is valuable because each creature reflects its Creator in a unique way. But Noah did not need to use DNA banding. His concern was not to tag varieties within each kind, but to preserve two representatives of each kind.
There are some important aspects, however, that Mr Thomas fails to discuss. With the cama we have a case of two animals that don’t appear to be able to interbreed but actually can, though only if artificially inseminated. He is drawing his definition of a ‘kind’ around this interbreeding aspect, but he is also prepared to accept species being within the same kind even if they can no-longer interbreed. On what basis, then, can he now say ‘that’s too big’ on any grouping that is claimed to be a kind? Could all mammals be one kind, with a common ancestor? What about all tetrapods? It is but a slippery slope to universal common ancestry.