Evolving Thoughts

Evolution, culture, philosophy and chocolate! John Wilkins' continuing struggle to come to terms with impermanence... "Humanus sum, nihil humanum a me alienum puto" - Terence

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Species description - creationist

I was bemoaning to Paul Griffiths and Sahotra Sarkar, admittedly over a beer, that unlike them (they are both birdwatchers), I lacked a special organism I could be expert about. This is a grievous fault in a philosopher of biology, so we wondered what I could choose as my "target organisms". Sahotra suggested I name and describe creationists (well, actually he suggested he would, but I'm stealing this from him) as a species. It's important to do this, so that when we describe the behavior of these creatures (pun intended) in the wild, we know exactly what we are discussing. One wouldn't want to claim that a trait found among Old Earth Creationists was true of another geographical or varietal subspecific group. You need to know what you are referring to, as (since I'm name dropping anyway) Maynard Smith said to me when I met him.

So, here it goes. This is done according to proper systematics protocol, so if it's boring, just remember that some systematist somewhere is rolling about laughing.

Species description of creationists

Latin name, author of description and year
Homo troglodytes Linnaeus 1775
Phylum (Division) Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Primata
Family Hominidae
Genus Homo
Synonyms: None
Common names
  • English: [Christian] Literalists, Bible-believers, Born-again, God-botherer, Evangelical [partial], Creation Scientist, Crevotee, IDevotee, Intelligent Design Creationist
General view of the organism:
Suited with tie, often wearing a cheesy beard (M) or a perm (F) and a broad smile. Can be found selling Amway products. Carries leather-bound King James Version (as produced after 1850) Bible.
Taxonomic description of species
  • Intraspecific forms: subspecies, varieties (Latin names and synonymy), diagnostic characters
Subspecific forms, not geographical:
- Young Earth Creationist
senectus - Old Earth Creationist
propositum - Intelligent Design Creationist
Distribution of species all varieties, within the western world, predominantly North America below the 48 degree N parallel, and above the 30 degree N parallel, between the longitude of 70 degree E and 120 degrees E. Also found in the Middle East, particularly in Turkey.
    General characteristics of species
    • Ecologo-taxonomic group: mostly a benthic bottom-feeder
    • Origin: Los Angeles autochthons, first recorded 1909
    • World distribution: Global but concentrated in English-speaking countries
    • Habitat: Under big tents and in Bible Colleges
    • Migrations: Global migrations, known as "missions"
    Relation to abiotic environmental factors (according to long-term data on distribution and experimental data necessarily with references or through internet links).
    • Relation to salinity: Must be taken with a grain of salt
    • Relation to temperature: prefers hot environments such as law courts, school boards, and legislatures
    • Vertical distribution: Typically stenobathic.
    • Relation to oxygen conditions: Anoxic. Cannot stand fresh air.
    • Feeding type: heterotrophic obligate parasites
    • Feeding behavior: Takes one-tenth of all available resources
    • Food spectrum: agathophagous)
    • Species food supply: undereducated religious believers
    • Quantitative characteristics of feeding: exhibits hyperbolic growth of consumption rate.
    • Reproduction type: logorrhaic
    • Reproduction areas: churches
    • Terms of reproduction: all-seasons
    • Fecundity (or division rate): Unfortunately high
    • Limiting factors: does not reproduce in the presence of science education. Inhibited in the presence of sensible legal barriers.
    Life history and development
    • Life history stages: Juvenile (most do not survive past this stage), adult (declining with age, until an equilibrium frequency is reached at about 40).
    • Age of maturity: Few reach maturity, indeterminate.
    Structural and functional population characteristics
    • Sexual structure: notionally monogamous, prob. polygamous and polygynous (requires future DNA analyses)
    • Population trends: recent increases in English-language regions since 1960; appears to have established a growth cycle of lesser proportions in Muslim nations. Likely to reach plague proportions in some regions of Africa.
    Interspecific relations - symbiotes of Homo evangelisticus, brood parasites on Homo sapiens L.
    Impact on the ecosystem (valid for exotic species) - likely to drive out sensible members of ecosystem if left unchecked.

    Importance of species to bioresources production
    • Economic significance of species: will supplant production based on scientific and technological progress.
    • Commercial characteristics of species, catches: Excellent method of redistributing wealth from the lower middle class to a few fortunate lineages.
    Human impact/threats - under threat from education (see "Reproduction")
    Conservation measures - unnecessary. Likely to overcome ecotypes tolerant of variation
    Forrest, Barbara, and Paul R. Gross. 2004. Creationism's Trojan horse: the wedge of intelligent design. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

    Numbers, Ronald L. 1992. The creationists. New York: A. A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House.

    Numbers, Ronald L. 1998. Darwinism comes to America. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

    Pennock, Robert T. 1999. Tower of Babel: the evidence against the new creationism. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

    Pennock, Robert T. 2001. Intelligent design creationism and its critics: philosophical, theological, and scientific perspectives. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

    Perakh, Mark. 2004. Unintelligent design. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books.

    Ruse, Michael. 2003. Darwin and design: does evolution have a purpose? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Shanks, Niall. 2004. God, the devil, and Darwin: a critique of intelligent design theory. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

    Young, Matt, and Taner Edis. 2004. Why intelligent design fails: a scientific critique of the new creationism. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.

    Compiled by John S. Wilkins
    Acknowledgements Sahotra Sarkar, Talk.origins