Naming the Animals, Young-Earth Creationist Style

Naming the Animals, Young-Earth Creationist Style October 12, 2018

Randal Rauser made the point above in a tweet. I’m not sure that there is anything that needs to be added, except that this might be a better approach to emphasizing the absurdity of so-called biblical literalism than focusing on biology. Of course, young-earth creationists can invoke super-fast evolution at this point in the same way that they do to deal with the size restrictions of Noah’s Ark.

But at least when they do so, it will provide another opportunity to point out the irony of how they’ve embraced super-fast evolution in support of their denial of evolution…

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  • Sven2547

    Every December, some statistician comes along and runs the numbers on Santa Claus. How his sleigh would need to move at Mach 80 and how he would need to spend 0.2 seconds in any given household to give presents to each and every good kid in the world in the span of a single night. It’s instructive because you’re starting out with a premise (e.g. “Santa Claus puts presents in the homes of every good child in the world on Christmas Eve”), and then you work backwards to determine what those numbers would necessarily look like, and then you see how preposterous it all is.

    Creationist “science” pretty much comes across like that. They’re starting with a premise. Some of them even work backwards to come up with the numbers. But they never make that final step of realizing how ridiculous it is.

    • RoundRocker

      Yeah, but Santa Claus is magic, and so is God. So there. Neener neener. Or something like that. /s

    • The Mouse Avenger

      Santa Claus is magic, however, so I wouldn’t say that really counts. 😉

  • I am far from a Young Earth Creationist these days, but in fairness, this doesn’t really represent their views.

    They teach that the “species” alive today are all descended and derived from the original created “kinds.” They estimate there to have been around 1,000 created “kinds” of land animals (the same number of “kinds” that they say went on the Ark, by the way). I’m not sure of their calculation for flying animals, but I’d guess it’s somewhere similar. And Genesis doesn’t suggest that Adam named any of the water-bound animals.

    So per YEC views, Adam probably had somewhere around 2,000 animals to name. And Genesis doesn’t actually suggest that he had to do it all in one day. No time frame is specified for that task.

    Again, I’m no YEC, and their views are still bonkers, but they are at least a tad more internally consistent than this tweet suggests.

    • John MacDonald

      Chuck said:

      So per YEC views, Adam probably had somewhere around 2,000 animals to name. And Genesis doesn’t actually suggest that he had to do it all in one day. No time frame is specified for that task.

      I think Dr. McGrath is referring to Young Earth Creationists who are also strict inerrantists. Creationist Russell M. Grigg points out Genesis 1:24–27 states that God made the land animals, as well as the first man and woman, on Day Six of Creation Week. Genesis 2:18–23 tells us that Adam named the animals before Eve was created. So, Grigg outlines how he thinks Adam could have have named all the animals in one day: see

      • I too am referring to the strict inerrantist variety. I used to work for Answers in Genesis. But that’s a good point about the creation of Eve. I’m not sure how they’d respond to that.

    • Sven2547

      “Internally consistent” doesn’t necessarily mean “right”. Or “partly right”, or even “slightly right”.
      Their wrongness is not diminished whatsoever by the fact that they believed there were only 2,000-or-so animal species back in the day. If anything, they’re only more wrong for making that claim.

    • David Evans

      There are of course problems with that as well. It’s usually given as a reason why they all fit on the Ark. There are 36 felid species and 34 canid species today. Assuming the number for other kinds is similar, then 2000 created kinds would have to diversify into 70,000 distinct species during post-Flood history. And no -one noticed?

      (I’m ignoring the 8.7 million species for the sake of this argument, since most of them are small enough to escape notice and/or far from centres of civilisation where their existence might have been recorded.)

      • Again, I’m far from defending their beliefs. I’m just saying let’s represent their views correctly before dismantling them. Attacking a straw man (as the original tweet certainly was) doesn’t help anyone.

        • Can you explain why you think it was a straw man?

          • Because YECs don’t claim Adam named all the animals, defined as species. They claim he named all the land and air “kinds,” which they calculate to a few thousand at most.

          • Genesis 2 does not use the term for “kind” found in Genesis 1. You are defending their distortion of what the text says, and their hypocritical condemnation of others whom they say distort the text.

          • I’m not “defending” anything. I’m just trying to present their distorted views accurately. The tweet says, “According to young earth creationists, Adam had a 24 hour day to name all the animals (Gen. 2:20).” But that simply is not what they teach.

          • You’re right, but only in the sense that between the creation of Adam on the sixth day, and the creation of Eve on the same same day, the combination of Genesis 1 and 2 that YEC envisages leaves less than 24 hours.

          • Yes, I acknowledged the 24-hour bit in another comment. It’s the naming of “all the animals” that no YEC claims happened.

          • It’s not like naming a few thousand animal “kinds” in a single day is all that probable either, but that is what they teach, as opposed to naming all the millions of species.

          • But Genesis doesn’t say Adam named “kinds”! If you want to say that, if they had the Bible they wish and imagine they had, their stance would be at least excusable rather than evilly duplicitous, then sure, in all sorts of parallel universes, those who reject truth and God might be just and good. I was talking about this universe that we live in, in which YEC is a diabolical deceit that deserves to be condemned in no uncertain terms, both for the harm it does to the reputation of the Gospel, and its negative impact on public acceptance of the conclusions of those who study God’s creation.

          • But we’re not talking about what Genesis says; we’re talking about what YEC teaches. And if we don’t represent their teaching accurately, then we’re only defeating a straw man, and that’s not helpful to anyone. Their actual beliefs are plenty ludicrous on their own without needing to claim that they teach something they don’t.

          • I don’t understand why you’re pushing back so hard against my desire to simply portray opposing beliefs accurately.

          • I’m not pushing back against that desire. I’m pushing back because YEC claims to be about what Genesis says, and so pointing out when they are at odds with it is appropriate. And having helped promote this evil deceptive nonsense myself in the past, it is the least that I can do to take a firm stand against those who would give them credit where no credit is due.

          • robrecht

            “And having helped promote this evil deceptive nonsense myself in the past …”

            I would love to hear more about this, James, if you’re willing to speak about this. Perhaps you’ve already done so?

          • I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m not sure how much I’ve narrated in story form or anything like that. The short version is that I was taken to hear a young-earth creationist speaker after coming to a personal faith in my teens, and accepted what I heard and incorporated it into my Evangelical worldview. I worked antievolution ideas and emphases into lots of conversations and even formal talks that I gave in my evangelistic fervor. I was also eager to learn more on the topic, and so I found the book Science and Creationism in a public library, checked it out, and read it – and discovered that I had been lied to. And so I dropped YEC – and learned the important lesson in the process that my life-changing religious experience did not mean that everything that I heard within the circles of those who share that experience is trustworthy. I’d say that the educational value of my error and having it shown to me has been particularly helpful as I’ve sought to integrate the various components of my worldview as I’ve grown and studied further.

            Let me know if you’d like more detail than that!

          • robrecht

            “… and discovered that I had been lied to.”

            Thanks for sharing this. I’m always amazed how so many religious adults never develop anything resembling an adult or educated perspective on their faith or, if they do some reading, they tend to be given or even to seek out such narrow minded apologetics for fundamentalism.

            Do you think some of these fundamentalist apologists are consciously and purposefully lying as opposed to genuinely believing such theories? I always wonder which is worse, to lie to another person or to lie to oneself rather than engage in a more difficult pursuit of knowledge or humble admission that we do not know all the answers.

          • There are certainly charlatans around who see an opportunity to make money off the gullible. Perhaps in a slightly different category, there are those who allow job security in churches or conservative schools to justify not examining the issue or not being honest if their mind changes.

            From my own perspective, I view my acceptance of this without adequate fact checking – which I think accounts for the preponderance of YEC adherence – to be every bit as bad as inventing it knowing it was false.

          • robrecht

            Nah, I wouldn’t assume such theological responsibility as a teenager.

          • Lark62

            The bible claimed it happened.

  • Everett Kier Jr

    this line of logic is shallow and non-productive unless you just like to fight and make a fool of yourself or think you are making a fool of others. thank you Chuck McKnight for some kindness and insight!

    • Sven2547

      this line of logic is shallow and non-productive

      How so?

  • The Mouse Avenger

    Well, to be fair, I don’t think the Bible said Adam was given a time limit to name all the animals, nor did he necessarily have to name them all by species. God could have just given or shown him an example of each basic kind (e.g., “ant”, “zebra”, “elephant”, “eagle”, “dog”, “cat”, “mouse”, “hamster”, & the like), & Adam named them accordingly. 😉 Just saying, at least.

    • According to young-earth creationists, Genesis 2 is going into more detail about the 6th day, and Adam names all the animals before Eve is created. And so if anything, 24 hours is too generous for what they maintain happened.