First the Retraction:
“Beware the Jabberwock my son. . . ” from “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll
It turns out that the animal kinds at the Ark Encounter aren’t entirely fantastic after all as I have previously posted and continued to assume even after my visit to the Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter.
@aigkenham & @ArkEncounter recently tweeted a link to a post about six furry animals that you will see aboard the Ark at the Ark Encounter. Indeed, I have seen them with my own eyes. Yet, I was disappointed that these creatures were not clearly labelled as to their “kind” and with an indication of what species “evolved” from them according to Answers in Genesis’s “Orchard of Life” hypothesis. Some of them are not difficult to guess. Any baraminologistician worth his online degree would be rightly shocked by the lack of labels. Still, during my visit, I saw nothing to dispel my assumption that the “AIG Fabricators” had invented creatures ex nihilo, as it were.
(N.B. For AIG, the term “kind” is a technical term something like actual, er, I mean, evolutionary biologists use the terms “order” or “family” for classification purposes. AIG likes to use scientificky sounding words like Baraminology [from the Hebrew “created” and “kind”] to make their fabrications sound like scientific research.)
In the post about the six furry creatures, AIG identifies some of these creatures with a known extinct species from the fossil record i.e. thylacosmilid, entelodont, or chalicothere.
Have you ever seen a thylacosmilid, entelodont, or chalicothere? Well, most of us hadn’t either—until now! These are just a few of the unfamiliar animals you can see and learn about in the Ark.— from “Six Furry Animals inside the Ark Encounter“
So, I was wrong in numerous posts and tweets that these animals were wholly fantastic. Mea culpa, Mr. Ham and AIG Fabricators.
However, this revelation raises further questions. Why should we not use familiar animals? Is it more accurate to have the “saber-tooth chipmunk” depicted on the Ark rather than the chipmunk?
Why Notagirafficorns and Not Giraffes?
“Do as I say not as I do.” from Gospel-lite: The Lost Sayings of Jebus edited by the Jebus Seminar from non-extant manuscripts
That AIG uses animals known from the fossil record raises once again AIG’s double-standard. Ken Ham and the Hamites are critical of typical illustrations of Noah’s Ark because they depict so-called “post-flood” species, two or more animals from the same “kind”, and invariably fail to include dinosaurs. Yet, as they themselves admit, they do not know if any of these creatures were actually the representative species on the Ark. So, if one is simply choosing a representative for a kind, why shouldn’t a giraffe be considered as legitimate as the notagirraficorn in representing its kind?
A giraffe is just as much a representative of its kind as is the okapi and perhaps,more so than the AIG Notagirafficorn. The big difference of course is that we know what the giraffe and the okapi look like which is problematic for AIG fabricators who want to give the Notagirafficorn the appearance of being a transitional species.
(That’s right AIG teaches micro-evolution at an incredible rate — Do you remember when Young Earth Creationists insisted that transitional species were not transitional species? See: Ken Ham’s Doctrine of Accelerated Evolution or Supranatural Selection)
Perhaps, the reason is that in using an extinct species from the fossil record the AIG Fabricators are free (or constrained by their presuppositions and agenda) to give their creations things like giraffe spots or chipmunk stripes. That is, they can tailor appearances to fit their presuppositions. Again with the double-standard for they accuse paleontologists of doing this sort of thing when they make dinosaurs look more like birds based on a current hypothesis. Of course, this conforming to one’s presuppositions is actually consistent with their teachings. They simply assume that their presuppositions are “biblical” but that is debatable and that the presuppositions of evolutionary biologists is of the devil which is patently false.
If God is the Creator, then God is the Creator of this cosmos (or multi-verse) and not Ken Ham’s imaginary young cosmos. Moreover, the Church has always taught that the workings of creation are in principle comprehensible to human reason and not a matter of special revelation.
“What’s good for the goose that lays golden eggs and to hell with the gander.” — from Apologetics from the Nursery to the Rapture by Pastor Goose
So, in conclusion, it would be more consistent and less problematic if AIG simply fabricated imaginary kinds rather than using extinct species as I wrongly assumed they did. For the use actual known animals undermines their oft repeated criticism about the use of the more familiar contemporary animals.
Yet, aren’t children and adult visitors alike wanting to see the Ark filled with familiar animals? Is that not part of the appeal of the story?
As an anecdotal case in point, I came up with the name Notagirraficorn while visiting the Ark Encounter. I witnessed a child repeatedly asking, “Where’s the giraffe, Daddy?” Perhaps, she had a particular fondness for giraffes as my son has for otters. Or, perhaps, she expected a giraffe because AIG shows one on its billboard. Whatever the case, when they reached the “giraffe kind”, the father said, “Oh look here’s the giraffe.”
“No,” I thought to myself, “that is not a giraffe. It is a notagirraficorn.”
For a complete list of my Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis posts click here. Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis Posts