with that from morphology/anatomy—and incorporating
available information about which species hybridize. This
will also involve avian biogeography—the distribution of
bird kinds after the Flood, showing among other things how
millions of years are not needed for this. Jon hopes to also
write a popular book (and possibly children’s books) on birds
from a creation viewpoint.
Jon says there are interesting problems for both creationists
and evolutionists in bird relationships that highlight the way
each interprets the data:
One example concerns the Galliform kind (the “
landfowl”: pheasants, quail, chickens, turkeys, etc.) and the
Anatid kind (the “waterfowl”: ducks, geese, swans).
Any creationist will agree that they represent two kinds.
Any person on the street can tell the difference between
a chicken and a duck. Any evolutionist will agree they
represent two separate lineages.
However, every DNA study, including our own, shows
that the galliforms and anatids more closely resemble
each other than they do any other group (or kind) of
birds. The evolutionist says this means that millions of
years ago the waterfowl and landfowl had a common
ancestor. As a creationist I would suggest that in God’s
master plan of designing birds, there is a fundamental
aspect of the body plan that requires similarities in
The bird genome has around 2–3 billion nucleotide
pairs, the function of which we know very little about.
As we learn more, we may be able to discover why
ducks and chickens need certain groups of genes in
order to function and why there are differences in other
kinds of birds, like parrots or hummingbirds. At least
the creationist has the potential to discover answers,
whereas the evolutionist is left bending the knee to his
goddess of randomness.
Human and ape similarity?
Drs Ahlquist and Sibley may well be best known to nonspecialists for applying their DNA-DNA hybridization techniques to man, 6 coming up with the well-known alleged ‘98%
chimp-human similarity’. Many scientists, including creationists, have critiqued this, 7 and the accepted figure these
days, with more modern techniques, is in fact much lower. 8
Ironically, at the time, there was concerted opposition from
evolutionists who were convinced the gorilla was our closest
relative. But even at the lower figures, the modern techniques
show chimp DNA ‘closer’ to us than the gorilla. Unfortunately,
however, the ‘98%’ result made a convenient ‘hammer’ for
pounding home the myth that chimps are ‘almost human’,
and was avidly seized upon for (and widely influential in)
Dr Ahlquist says that when he was an evolutionist, he
would have agreed with creationists who pointed out that
even at 98%, the genetic differences were still huge; tens
of millions of DNA ‘letters’. Also, great similarity of DNA
is not surprising, given the similarity in form and function
between the two. But that similarity is not evidence for
common ancestry any more than it is evidence for having the
Molecular evidence of any sort proves nothing about
evolution, in fact. All we are doing is measuring
‘God’s numbers’—or as Charles [Sibley, his long-term
collaborator] used to call them, ‘nature’s numbers’ of
genetic similarity or difference. The techniques used
by phylogeneticists to make their ‘trees’ are laden with
evolutionary assumptions. They simply assume that
evolution is a fact and then stuff their data into their
algorithms, which therefore will always produce an
evolutionary result. Regardless, we all have the same
data, the difference is how we interpret it.
The fact that our bodies have a Bauplan [body plan]
like that of primates is not coincidental, nor does it
have anything to do with evolution. To achieve our
function we need to be bipedal, have a large cranial
capacity, be omnivorous and have opposable thumbs.
This produces certain constraints on our DNA, in the
same way that the need to fly in certain ways restricts
the design of birds, and thus constrains their DNA.
The bottom line, according to Jon today? “It’s all a part of
the Lord’s amazing design.”
References and notes
1. By Hungarian-American social psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
2. Ahlquist, J. E., “Charles G. Sibley: A commentary on 30 years of
collaboration”, Auk 116( 3):856–860, 1999 | doi: 10.2307/4089352.
3. Sibley, C.G. and Ahlquist, J.E., Phylogeny and Classification of Birds:
A study in molecular evolution, Yale University Press, 1990.
4. E.g. the similarities between the marsupial wolf (thylacine) and its
placental counterpart. They cannot be closely related in evolutionary
thinking, so the evolutionist unwilling to consider they had the same
Designer labels it ‘convergent evolution’. Catchpoole, D., Placental vs
marsupial: A tale of two ‘wolves’, Creation 39( 3): 40–42, 2017.
5. Don Batten interviews veterinarian, Dr Jean Lightner, Creation 32( 3):
40–43, 2010; compare creation.com/creationist-veterinarian.
6. Sibley, C.G., Comstock, and Ahlquist, J.E., DNA hybridization
evidence of hominoid phylogeny: A reanalysis of the data, J. Mol. Evol.
30( 3):202–236, 1990 | doi: 10.1007/BF02099992.
7. Batten, D., Human/chimp DNA similarity: Evidence for evolutionary
relationship? Creation 19(1): 21–22, 1996; creation.com/chimp-human.
8. The myth of 1%: Human and chimp DNA are very different, Creation
36(1): 35–37, 2014; creation.com/1-percent-myth. See also Tomkins, J.
and Bergman, J., J. Creation 26(1):94–100, 2012; creation.com/chimp.
MARGARET WIELAND has qualifications in biblical studies and business
management. She has worked in various administrative capacities
for Creation Ministries International (Australia) for many years, since
2011 as production coordinator for Creation magazine. For more: