What is Creationism?



Creationism in the broad sense

Creationism in the narrow sense:

  1. Young earth creationism
  2. Old earth creationism:
  3. creation "science"
  4. Intelligent design theorists


Flat Earthers
Young Earth Creationists
Old Earth Creationists
(Gap Creationism)
(Day-Age Creationism)
(Progressive Creationism)
(Intelligent Design Creationism)
Evolutionary Creationists
Theistic Evolutionists
Methodological Materialistic Evolutionists
Philosophical Materialistic Evolutionists


The Debate over the Earth's position in Space

  1. Geocentric Model
    1. Ptolemaic System (141 A.D.)
  2. Heliocentric Model
    1. Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)
    2. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)
      1. laws of planetary motion
    3. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
      1. telescopic discoveries
        1. moons of Jupiter
        2. planets as circular discs
        3. phases of Venus
        4. surface of the moon
        5. sunspots and the sun's rotation
    4. Isaac Newton (1643-1727)
      1. orbital motion
      2. laws of motion: inertia
      3. law of universal gravitation
      4. perturbation

What is Science?

A History of Evolutionary Thought

Evolution Before Darwin

  1. Ancient Greeks
    1. Aristotle
  2. Georges Cuvier (1769-1832)
    1. fossils
    2. catastrophism
  3. John-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de LAMARK (1744-1829)
    1. a short introduction to Lamark
    2. a better introduction to Lamark
      1. chain of being
      2. inheritance of acquired characteristics: direct influence of environment, use and disuse
      3. transformational -- individuals change own appearance (vs. Darwin variational)

Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

  1. Charles Darwin: Books on the Internet including
    1. On the Origin of Species (First Edition)
  2. A list of sites related to Charles Darwin from Norm Darwin.

Lines of Evidence that influenced Darwin's theory of evolution

  1. geology and fossils
    1. uniformitarianism
    2. Hutton and Lyell
  2. biogeography:
    1. The Voyage of the Beagle [1831-1835]
      1. Galapagos Islands
      2. tortoises, mockingbirds, and finches
  3. artificial selection
    1. Darwin used artificial selection as a model for his theory
    2.  heritibility of variation, adaptive characters, variation
  4. Malthus
    1. fecundity
    2. excess reproductive potential


Natural Selection - 1858: Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace

  1. organisms have great potential fertility [excess reproductive capacity]
  2. natural populations normally remain constant in size, except for minor fluctuations
  3. natural resources are limited

A: therefore: members of a population compete with each other for resources

  1. all organisms show variation between individuals
  2. most variation is heritable
  3. some traits increase adaptation
  4. selection _ better adapted are more likely to survive and reproduce (differential reproduction)

B: differential survival and reproduction among individuals of a population leads to

C: evolution of new adaptations and species in response to changing climate, competition, etc.

  1. change in frequencies of genes
  2. over time, evolution of new species, etc.

" Evolution is nonteleological

" Fitness: a measure of the relative survival and reproductive success of a given individual

Evidence of Evolution

  1. An overview of the Evidence for Evolution from Jenny Herrington, LaTrobe University
  2. Evidence for Evolution from mj farabee Maracopa

Perpetual Change

  1. geologic time
    1. Unraveling Geologic Time from Paul Olsen's excellent webpages for his dinosaur class
    2. Geologic Time Scale from the UCMP
      1. Geologic Time from the USGS
    3. relative ages
      1. stratigraphy
      2. Principle of Fossil Succession:  William Smith and Georges Cuvier
      3. Index Fossils
      4. A relative dating activity from the UCMP
    4. absolute ages

        1. a basic introduction by Pamela Gore
        2. radiometric dating
          1. exponential decay
          2. half-life
            1. parent isotopes
            2. daughter products
          3. Error in Radiometric Dating
            1.  closed system (no external loss or gain of P or D)
            2. no original daughter
            3. measurement error
            4. 0.2%-2.0% probability
            5. precision versus accuracy
        3. an example of a calculation
          1. more on radiometric age dating
        4. Age of the Earth
          1. The age of the Earth by Pamela Gore, including the history of ideas concerning the antiquity of our planet
          2. The age of the Earth: the radiometric evidence from the USGS
        5. Radiometric Dating: a Christian Perspective from Calvin College

Age of the Earth

Arguments against a young Earth

  1. "Creationist Geologic Time Scale: an attack strategy for the sciences. Should the scientific community continue to fight rear-guard skirmishes with creationists, or insist that "young-earthers" defend their model in toto?" Donald U. Wise.  This article is an expanded version of an original manuscript that was published in the American Scientist. March-April 1998.

An overview of the Biological Evidence from BSCI 124, University of Maryland

  1. history of life
    1. EvolvoVision from Ray Troll
    2. Fossil Record
    3. The large scale history of life
      1. an accurately scaled geologic time scale
    4. Vertebrate transitional fossils--Kathleen Hunt [or a longer, illustrated  article on transitional forms from Keith Miller]
      1. the pelycosaur-therapsid-mammal transition; with skull illustrations  from Clifford Cuffey.
      2. origin of whales (see Hunt for a more detailed phylogeny) or read Hooking Leviathan by its Past by S. J. Gould from Dinosaurs in a Haystack (1997).
      3. some transitional dinosaurs
    5. The Cambrian Explosion
      1. Cambrian explosion from Time Magazine
      2. The Cambrian Explosion from Evolution and Ecology 30E3; the Home University, Tim Benton
      3. The The Origin of Animal Body Plans by Douglas Erwin, James Valentine and David Jablonski in the American Scientist
      4. Vendian fossils from UCMP
      5. Burgess Shale from the Hooper Virtual Museum
      6. Phylum level evolution  by Glenn Morton
    6. The Origin of Life
      1. The origin of the Earth, Universe and Life from the NAS


Common Descent

  1. Comparative Anatomy or Fitch on morphology
    1. Homology
    2. Analogy
      • analogous: structures with a similar function, that evolved independently. Not present in the common ancestor. E.g., wings of birds and bats are analogous. They arose as a result of convergent evolution. analogy from Brittanica.com
      • convergent evolution: similar features from different ancestors, usually as a result of adapting to a similar environment.; cactus vs euphorbs.  thylacine and other Australian marsupials
    3. Bad design: Jury-Rigging
      1. The Panda's Thumb from Paul and Susan Morris
      2. the vertebrate eye
      3. Could an eye evolve? by Don Lindsay
      4. the adaptive advantages of the vertebrate eye 
    4. Origin of complex structures
      1. the eye
    5. evolution is non-teleological--it does not have foresight
      1. Preadaptation
        1. structure possesses the necessary form and function BEFORE a "new" biological role arises
        2. Example
          1. Evolution of lungs occurred first in fish as an adaptation to survive in oxygen poor water, not for life on land
      2. Exaption
        1. trait that evolved from a structure that originally had a different function
          1. Example
            1. Evolution of Flight: most "avian" features of the earliest fossil birds are traits that are present in their ancestors, the maniraptoran dinosaurs.  These traits did NOT first arise to facilitate flight.   feathers may have first originated for insulation, and then were enlarged for display.  Once present and large enough they would aid animals that  attempt to become airborne
            2. sereno5.gif (16034 bytes) Major stages in the evolution of avian skeletal design and function  Fig 5. from Paul Sereno 1999.  Click on image to enlarge


        2. bombardier beetles
  2. embryology
    1. David Fitch on the Facts of Embryology
    2. Terminology
      1. ontogeny
      2. recapitulation
      3. heterochrony
      4. paedomorphosis
    3. A new look at Haeckel's embryosRichards' photographs of actual embryos.  Richardson MK. 1998. Haeckel's Embryos, Continued. Science (281): 1289 
    4. more on presenting  Haekel to an introductory Biology class (Miller and Levine):-- use this address [http://biocrs.biomed.brown.edu/Books/Chapters/Ch%2010/Haeckel.htm]
    5. Which embryo is human?courtesy of Dr. Michael Richardson and Dr. Ronan O'Rahilly
    6. Do human embryos have gill slits?  North Carolina Academy of Sciences
  3. vestigial structures
    1. remnants of once useful structures--e.g., hindlimb in boas or whales; human appendix
    2. Rudimentary organs Fitch--NYU

Comparative Biochemistry

  1. Molecular Biology 
    1. homologous biochemical processes.
    2. Proteins contain a record of evolution: humans as primates
      1. hemoglogin: 300 amino acids - identical in humans and chimps; gorillas 2 different; monkeys 12 different; DNA 98+% similarityGenetic codons universal 
      2. Cytochrome C
      3. DNA sequencing
      4. Common errors in different organisms --- globin pseudogenes. Why do human and chimps have the same errors? 
    3. Hox genes : Regulators of Animal Design by Stephen Gaunt
      • Homeobox genes from Kimball's Biology Place
    4. arguments against Michal Behe


  1. plate tectonics
  2. Darwin's finches

Small scale evolution

  1. microevolution vs macroevolution
  2. problems with using British peppered moths
    1. Jerry Coyne's review in Nature of the book Melanism: Evolution in Action by Michael E. N. Majerus Oxford;  a critique of Kettlewell and another interpretation.
    2. Bruce Grant has summarized recent studies in  Fine Tuning the Peppered Moth Paradigm which can be downloaded as a pdf file (using Adobe Acrobat which can be down loaded for free).
  3. Darwin’s Finches
  4. Observed instances of speciation

Human Evolution

  1. You figure it out
  2. AMNH fossil hominids: human evolution chart [needs shockwave]
  3. Hominid Timeline from Washington State University
  4. Human Evolution 1
  5. Human Evolution 2
  6. Guided Tour of Hominids from the Hunterian Museum
  7. Nina Jablonski on why humans became bipedal
  8. Mitochondrial Eve from the AMNH
  9. The Piltdown hoax from Richard Harter
  10. The role of "Nebraska Man" [Hesperopithecus harroldcooki] in the creation/evolution debate Creation/Evolution 16:31-43, 1985. John Wolf and James S. Mellett
  11. American Scientist: November-December 1996; The African Emergence and Early Asian Dispersals of the Genus Homo.  Roy Larick and Russell L. Ciochon

Miocene non-human hominids

  1. Proconsul
  2. Kenyapithecus
  3. Oreopithecus
  4. Dryopithecus
    1. Encylopaedia Britannica

The Human lineage

  1. Ardipithecus
    1. A. ramidus  [4.4 Ma]
      1. the oldest hominid
      2. teeth are intermediate between those of Australopithecus and earlier apes
  2. Australopithecus
      • low forehead, projecting face, large brow ridge, small brain
      • australopithecines from Dennis O'Neil, Palomar College
    1. A. anamensis [4.1 Ma]
      1. jaws like an ape, but upright posture; apartial tibia displays strong evidence of bipedality
    2. A. afarenis [3.9-3.0 Ma; 380-450 cc]
      1. apelike face with prominent brow ridges and a projecting jaw
      2. bipedal, footprints from Laetoli [3.7 Ma]
    3. A. africanus [3.0-1.6 Ma; 400-600 cc]
      1. the Taung Child.  Discovered by Raymond Dart in 1924
      2. adult "Mrs. Ples"
      3. pelvis, femur, and foot
      4. teeth and jaws
    4. A. gahri
    5. A. robustus and A. bosei  
      • robust australopithecines; may be the same species
      • from southern and eastern Africa, respectively 
      • strong jaws, large molars
  1. Homo
    1. Homo habilis [?2.4-2.0 Ma; 500-700 cc]
      1. Olduvan tools
    2. Homo erectus [1.9 Ma-500 Ka; 800-1300 cc]
      1. fire, advanced stone tools (Acheulean), camp sites
      2. H. ergaster is the name used for the African precursor to Homo erectus.  It is frequently considered synonymous with H. erectus.
        1. Turkana boy [1.6 Ma] 
      3. first hominid known outside of Africa
      4. Java man: Discovered by Eugene Dubois in 1891. Its age is uncertain, but thought to be about 700,000 years.
      5. Peking man [brain size 1000-1200 cc].  Their age is estimated to be between 500,000 and 300,000 years old. 
      6. Turkana boy  compared to Java man. Java Man has an estimated brain volume of 940 cc, compared to the estimated adult size of 910 cc for the Turkana Boy. 
    3. Homo heidelbergensis [600-100 Ka] (= archaic H. sapiens)
      1. Rhodesian man.  Estimated age is between 200,000 and 125,000 years. The brain size was about 1280 cc. 
    4. Homo neanderthalensis [230,000-30,000 BP; 1400 cc]
      1. massive brow ridges, protruding nose, jaws, teeth, low and sloping forehead, no chin
      2. heavily muscled, shorter and thicker limbs
      3. lived in Europe and Middle East during the last ice age
      4. most lived in caves, diverse stone tools, burials with flowers and tools, cave bear crypts (?religion)
    5. Homo sapiens [100,000 Ka-present; 1350 cc]
      1. Cro-Magnons
        1.  high forehead, flat face, small brow ridge, projecting chin


    Human Evolution from the NAS

    Hominid species from talkorigins

    Hominid Fossils from TalkOrigin

    InHand Museum hominid lineage

    1. The australopithecines
    2. A. afarensis: Lucy
    3. Homo erectus

    The Human Evolution Time Line by Kevin Callahan

    Hooper Museum Evolution of the Hominids

    Human evolution view skulls, requires shockwave

    Hominid Evolution from David Broker; Yale-New Haven Teacher's Institute

    Patterns of Evolution from Brittanica.com

    1. punctuated equilibrium from Don Prothero
    2. punctuated equilibrium and phyletic gradualism from the talkorigins pages

    Evolution, Scientific Creation, Uniformitarian Geology, and Flood Geology. Clifford A. Cuffey.  GCAGS-SEPM.  December, 1999, issue of the NOGS LOG

    Bob Riggins' of Mercedes Texas home page including
    Things creationists hate
    The whole silly flood story
    Noah's bunnies

    J. Richard Wakefield on Polonium haloes from the Journal of Geoscience Education

    More on Polonium haloes

    Why isn't intelligent design science by Lenny Flank

    creationism and recapitulation and vestigial structures