2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 2–5, 2003)
Paper No. 244-10
Presentation Time: 4:15 PM-4:30 PM

THE EVOLUTION OF CREATIONIST PERSPECTIVE ON THE FOSSIL EQUID SERIES

WISE, Kurt P., Bryan College, Box 7802, Dayton, TN 37321-7000, wise@bryancore.org, WOOD, Todd C., Bryan College, Box 7604, Dayton, TN 37321-7000, and CAVANAUGH, David P., 27329 Alberta Drive, Harvest, AL 35749

Ever since T. H. Huxley (1876) popularized the fossil equid series (FES) as evidence for evolutionary theory, it has been a frequently-cited example of evolution and a common target of creationist criticisms. As early as 1875, Alleyne Nicholson complained of FES gaps. J.C. Keener (1901) denied the stratigraphic sequence of the FES. Alexander Patterson (1903) claimed the FES violated the ‘evolutionary law of increasing complexity.’ Alfred McCann (1922) challenged the common, orthogenetic representation of horse evolution. The non-creationist G.A. Kerkut’s (1960) complaints about the quality of FES data have been widely cited by creationist writers. Cousins (1971) introduced the claim that Hyracotherium was just a hyrax. Although creationist arguments against the FES have diversified, many retain these early, spurious claims (e.g. Peterson, 2002).

During the same time period, a trend among a minority of creationists (self-labeled as neocreationists) has been to accept more and more features of the FES. Marsh (1944) suggested the fossil morphologies were variations within a created kind. Clark (1968) accepted the stratigraphic sequence, interpreting the FES as the order of burial in Noah’s Flood of different ecological niches. Following Wise’s (1994) suggestions about Cenozoic mammal sequences, Garner (1998) interpreted the FES as a record of changes in the horse created kind which occurred in the first few centuries after Noah’s Flood. More recently Cavanaugh, et al. (2003) have applied newly-developed biosystematic (baraminological) and statistical (ANOPA) methods to argue that the FES is a valid stratomorphic series, representing rapid post-Flood intra-baraminic diversification.

A review of the growing technical creationist literature suggests that not only has the creationist perspective increased in sophistication and scholarship, but it has also become less political, polemical, and critical. At the same time, neocreationists disdain the errors and misrepresentations which persist in the popular creationist literature. If the trends internal to creationism persist, we can expect future relations between creationists and evolutionists to be characterized with less litigation, rancor, and hostility.

2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 2–5, 2003)
Session No. 244
History and Future of the Relationship Between the Geosciences and Religion: Litigation, Education, Reconciliation?
Washington State Convention and Trade Center: 2A
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 35, No. 6, September 2003, p. 610

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