How many different kinds of birds are there?

Once again I make an attempt to open the question of created kinds, or baramins, or whatever you want to call them: groups within which there is common descent but between which there is not. This is an opportunity for the creationists who frequent TSZ to school me on the subject.

I ask one simple question to begin the discussion: how many different kinds of birds are there? (It should be obvious why I chose birds, but the choice was, from a scientific standpoint, arbitrary.) As a followup, how can you tell? If there are indeed separately created kinds, I would think the divisions would be obvious. Would you agree, and why or why not? In any case, I’m not asking for precision; an answer within an order of magnitude will do.

Here’s my answer: 1; all birds belong to the same kind. In fact they form an infinitesimal fraction of a kind, since all life on earth is related. We have discussed the evidence many times here: nested hierarchy, etc. There are no joints at which kinds can easily be carved. How about you?

460 Replies to “How many different kinds of birds are there?”

  1. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Once again I make an attempt to open the question of created kinds, or baramins, or whatever you want to call them: groups within which there is common descent but between which there is not. This is an opportunity for the creationists who frequent TSZ to school me on the subject.

    Why would anybody, in the right frame of mind, want to even attempt to school someone who has done absolutely nothing but continued to insist on his preconceived ideas?
    The goal of scientific research is to search for truth and not what one thinks truth should be…

    BTW: Sal is pretty much done with TSZ , so maybe bYers can take over?

  2. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    How long is the coastline of England?

  3. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac,

    Not really a reply, was it? Do you have an opinion?

  4. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    petrushka:
    How long is the coastline of England?

    ?

  5. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    John Harshman: ?

    At some point you set the precision you are willing to accept.

    Your question about kinds is a question about how you define terms. I’m guessing you are thinking that the definition of kinds cannot be coherent.

    Every individual has unique mutations. Species have varieties and subspecies. If you define kind as a broader group, you run into the cousinship of everything.

  6. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    LOL

  7. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    John Harshman:
    J-Mac,

    Not really a reply, was it? Do you have an opinion?

    You are neither interested in my opinion nor anyone else’s who disagrees with your preconceived ideas… If you wish to boost your selfesteem, talk to a friend…

    If you were really interested in the truth about evolution of birds, you would have been interested in the follow up experiment of Dr. Dail’s experiment I was going to do…Instead, you demanded for my publishing rights to be taken away…
    If you are interested in hearing what you want to hear, post on pandasthumb.org. I’m sure you will find friendly audience there who want to hear your nested hierarchy fairy-tales, and can return you the same favour…

  8. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    TomMueller:
    LOL

    🙂

  9. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    petrushka: At some point you set the precision you are willing to accept.

    Your question about kinds is a question about how you define terms. I’m guessing you are thinking that the definition of kinds cannot be coherent.

    Every individual has unique mutations. Species have varieties and subspecies. If you define kind as a broader group, you run into the cousinship of everything.

    I’m guessing you read only the title of the post, not the text. I defined “kind” explicitly in a way that makes everything you say here pointless.

  10. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac,

    No, I’m interested in your opinion, if you actually have one. I don’t respect your opinions, since they’re nonsensical, but I’m still interested. Doesn’t it bother you that you have nothing to say on this subject and would be unable to defend your opinion if you ever bothered to express it? As I said, kinds, if they existed, ought to be obvious. I assume you are never going to reply. And it’s “Dial”.

  11. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    TomMueller,

    Don’t get your hopes up. The usual result when I put up this sort of thing is that no creationist actually attempts to answer the question. So far, this seems to be going that way too. A theory: deep down, they’re insecure and are unwilling to expose their views to rigorous examination.

  12. Robert Byers
    Ignored
    says:

    Its a good and important thread.
    Birds do bug me a bit.
    Genesis records a dove and a crow(i think) being on the ark. so it seems these two kinds wrre kinds at least. so there is not a bIRD kind. despite the likeness in birds and for me interferes with reductionist ideas on kinds I hold.
    Yet genesis is accurate.
    So bird kinds exist. We presume the two names mean what they mean now.
    Yet diversity turns everything upside down with mechanism.
    We know humans on the ark were eight and looked the same but look at bhumans now! We are different types but one kind.

    So bird kinds are real but figuring it out who is a kind has only the ark example to lead us.
    So just do that.

    We also know all snakes are one kind because they all lost their legs as part of the curse, uniquely, because of eve and the serpent.

    Possibly kinds changes in nature but still original kinds must be the true classification .

  13. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    Robert Byers,

    Robert, as always I am in awe.

  14. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: Why would anybody, in the right frame of mind, want to even attempt to school someone who has done absolutely nothing but continued to insist on his preconceived ideas?

    People have extended that courtesy to you.

  15. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    John Harshman: A theory: deep down, they’re insecure and are unwilling to expose their views to rigorous examination.

    My theory: Homo sapiens is not a bird.

    Not interesting

  16. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    Robert Byers: We also know all snakes are one kind because they all lost their legs as part of the curse, uniquely, because of eve and the serpent.

    Can’t resist. Have you ever seen a slowworm, Robert?

    If you check out wikipedia, be sure to click the legless lizard link as well.

  17. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    They “lost” their legs because of a curse. But this guy didn’t get the memo:

  18. walto walto
    Ignored
    says:

    John Harshman:
    TomMueller,

    Don’t get your hopes up. The usual result when I put up this sort of thing is that no creationist actually attempts to answer the question. So far, this seems to be going that way too. A theory: deep down, they’re insecure and are unwilling to expose their views to rigorous examination.

    Are there actually died-in-the-wool creationists to be found here? We seem to be a pretty rag-tag group generally, at this point.

  19. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t understand why John doesn’t answer his own question, how many kinds of birds are there?

    He says he is answering this by saying, “All birds belong to the same kind.”?

    And he wants a better answer from creationists?

    That’s whacked.

  20. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo,

    John also explained:

    In fact they form an infinitesimal fraction of a kind, since all life on earth is related. We have discussed the evidence many times here: nested hierarchy, etc. There are no joints at which kinds can easily be carved.

    Since you ignored the explanation you missed a very good point. How about you took those reading comprehension lessons?

  21. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    Perhaps discussion would proceed with less rancor if everyone had agreed on common usage of terms.

    What is meant by the term “kind”?

    Here is an explanation worth considering on its (ahem) own merits:

    https://answersingenesis.org/creation-science/baraminology/what-are-kinds-in-genesis/

    Baraminology is a field of study that attempts to classify fossil and living organisms into baramins.

    Got that? So,what exactly is a “Baramin”?

    Variety within a “Kind”

    Creation scientists use the word baramin to refer to created kinds (Hebrew: bara = created, min = kind). Because none of the original ancestors survive today, creationists have been trying to figure out what descendants belong to each baramin in their varied forms. Baramin is commonly believed to be at the level of family and possibly order for some plants/animals (according to the common classification scheme of kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species). On rare occasions, a kind may be equivalent to the genus or species levels.

    OK – bottom line as far as I can tell is that Creationists are able to move the goalposts as suits their preconceived needs.

    I remember having a similar conversation with a Creationist in a public forum at a teachers’ convention, who was quite embarrassed by being outed as dishonest.

    No matter how goalposts are shifted – Chimpanzees and humans are the same “kind”!

    I indirectly addressed this question on a worksheet I wrote a few years a go, which was published on ENSI

    http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/ChromShuffle.pdf

    found on

    http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/ws.extensions.html

    If donkeys and horses share the same Baramin – then there is no avoiding the inescapable conclusion that Chimps and Humans also share a common Baramin!

    Kudos to John Harshman on his probing and provocative question. The ensuing flurry of insults and ad homina constitute proof positive that creationists have no cogent rebuttal – a tactic we have often witnessed on his forum!

    Unless Creationists have anything substantial to offer – let’s file this under:

    QED!

  22. Seqenenre
    Ignored
    says:

    Mister Harshman

    “Once again I make an attempt to open the question of created kinds, or baramins, or whatever you want to call them: groups within which there is common descent but between which there is not. This is an opportunity for the creationists who frequent TSZ to school me on the subject. I ask one simple question to begin the discussion: how many different kinds of birds are there?”

    It’s a pity your post did not stop here. The remainder gave everyone the opportunity to not answer that question.

  23. colewd
    Ignored
    says:

    TomMueller,

    No matter how goalposts are shifted – Chimpanzees and humans are the same “kind”!

    So how do you explain the difference in alternative splicing between humans and chimps?

    How do you explain how reproduction could fuse two chromosomes together?

  24. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    colewd: How do you explain how reproduction could fuse two chromosomes together?

    He explains this. Just click the link, Bill.

    Also, note that this conclusion follows from the pooling of donkeys and horses into a single baramin, which also have different karyotypes.

  25. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    TomMueller: What is meant by the term “kind”?

    The definition is simple and quite clear, as in the OP. The problems lie with diagnosis, quite a different thing.

  26. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    Seqenenre: It’s a pity your post did not stop here. The remainder gave everyone the opportunity to not answer that question.

    Feel free to ignore the remainder and provide your answer.

  27. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    John Harshman: The definition is simple and quite clear, as in the OP. The problems lie with diagnosis, quite a different thing.

    Hi John

    I understood you the first time.

    I just felt entitled to a random act of mischief with my morning coffee

    😉

  28. colewd
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel,

    He explains this. Just click the link, Bill.

    Also, note that this conclusion follows from the pooling of donkeys and horses into a single baramin, which also have different karyotypes.

    This does not explain how reproduction can fuse two chromosomes.

  29. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel: Corneel
    February 14, 2018 at 4:23 pm
    Ignored
    colewd: How do you explain how reproduction could fuse two chromosomes together?

    He explains this. Just click the link, Bill.

    Also, note that this conclusion follows from the pooling of donkeys and horses into a single baramin, which also have different karyotypes.

      (Quote in reply)  (Reply)

    It would appear that my worksheet designed for high school students has Bill writhing in the talons of inescapable logical conclusions.

    No matter where creationists move the Baramin goalposts – they are stymied. ITMT – Bill clearly has failed to read the relevant worksheet and is responding with arc-reflexes as opposed to reasoned rebuttal.

  30. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    colewd:
    Corneel,

    This does not explain how reproduction can fuse two chromosomes.

    Try this. Incidentally, approximately one out of every thousand human births contains a Robertsonian translocation.

    But of course this has nothing to do with how many kinds of birds there are. How many kinds do you think there are?

  31. colewd
    Ignored
    says:

    TomMueller,

    No matter where creationists move the Baramin goalposts – they are stymied. ITMT – Bill clearly has failed to read the relevant worksheet and is responding with arc-reflexes as opposed to reasoned rebuttal.

    This is meaningless Tom. Support your claim.

  32. colewd
    Ignored
    says:

    John Harshman,

    But of course this has nothing to do with how many kinds of birds there are. How many kinds do you think there are?

    I am thinking about this. I would put up the Ostrich as a candidate for a created kind.

  33. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    If agreeing on the definition of species is not possible, why would agreeing on the definition of kinds be possible?

    The OP, and the whole discussion about how many kinds of birds there are is pointless without the clear and substantiated definition of species first and then kinds…
    But yet again, I have not come across one clear and precise definition of neither kinds nor species…

    If there are such, I’d like to see them, though I doubt there are such definitions…

  34. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    colewd:
    John Harshman,

    I am thinking about this.I would put up the Ostrich as a candidate for a created kind.

    When you look closely at the facts, ratites, like ostrich and emus, have clearly been created as a kind of ground “birds” with puny wings needed for balance and powerful legs allowing them to run up to 70 km/h.
    Unlike most birds, their flat breastbones lack the keel that anchors the strong pectoral muscles required for flight. Their weak and inadequate wings can’t possibly lift their heavy bodies off the ground…

  35. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac,

    The OP, and the whole discussion about how many kinds of birds there are is pointless without the clear and substantiated definition of species first and then kinds…

    The OP is about kinds, not species, and the definition is right there in the first sentence:

    Once again I make an attempt to open the question of created kinds, or baramins, or whatever you want to call them: groups within which there is common descent but between which there is not.

    Learn to read for comprehension, please.

  36. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    colewd:
    John Harshman,

    I am thinking about this.I would put up the Ostrich as a candidate for a created kind.

    While it wasn’t an answer to the question, I’ll take it. What makes it a candidate? What are your criteria for diagnosing a “created kind”?

  37. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac:
    If agreeing on the definition of species is not possible, why would agreeing on the definition of kinds be possible?

    Why would you think that what applies to species should also apply to kinds?

    The OP, and the whole discussion about how many kinds ofbirds there are is pointless without the clear and substantiated definition of species first and then kinds…

    Why species first?

    But yet again, I have not come across one clear and precise definition of neither kinds nor species…

    If there are such, I’d like to see them, though I doubt there are suchdefinitions…

    What is unclear or imprecise about “groups within which there is common descent but between which there is not”?

  38. Nonlin.org
    Ignored
    says:

    Are you pointing out how failed the concepts of “species” and “speciation” are?
    http://nonlin.org/missing-evidence/

    …how Neanderthals and Sapiens had fertile descendants despite being “different species”?

    …how even that moron, Dawkins thinks so: “Essentialism—what I’ve called “the tyranny of the discontinuous mind” https://www.edge.org/responses/what-scientific-idea-is-ready-for-retirement ?

    …and others:
    https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2017/09/imagining-world-without-species ?

  39. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: When you look closely at the facts, ratites, like ostrich and emus, have clearlybeen created as a kind of ground “birds” with puny wings needed for balance and powerful legs allowing them to run up to 70 km/h.
    Unlike most birds, their flat breastbones lack the keel that anchors the strong pectoral muscles required for flight. Their weak and inadequate wings can’t possibly lift their heavy bodies off the ground…

    This is unclear. Which is the kind, ostrich or ratites? Where do tinamous fit?

  40. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    Nonlin.org: Are you pointing out how failed the concepts of “species” and “speciation” are?

    Who are you asking?

  41. Adapa
    Ignored
    says:

    colewd:
    TomMueller,

    This is meaningless Tom.Support your claim.

    Easy. Just give us the objective way to determine if two species are the same “kind”.

    Watch the squirming and goalpost moving begin. 🙂

  42. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    41 comments so far with not a single attempt to answer the question. About what I expected.

  43. Adapa
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: When you look closely at the facts, ratites, like ostrich and emus, have clearlybeen created as a kind of ground “birds” with puny wings needed for balance and powerful legs allowing them to run up to 70 km/h.
    Unlike most birds, their flat breastbones lack the keel that anchors the strong pectoral muscles required for flight. Their weak and inadequate wings can’t possibly lift their heavy bodies off the ground…

    Are you saying all birds without keels are one “kind” and birds with keels are another “kind”?

    Please clarify.

  44. Adapa
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac:
    If agreeing on the definition of species is not possible, why would agreeing on the definition of kinds be possible?

    Because a “kind” is supposed to provide some impenetrable barrier which the animals inside can never cross. Species are known to be changeable and often have no clear point of demarcation between one and the next i.e ring species.

    What is the barrier that makes it impossible for one “kind” to evolve into another “kind” over time? Is it genetic? Morphological? What?

  45. walto walto
    Ignored
    says:

    John Harshman:
    41 comments so far with not a single attempt to answer the question. About what I expected.

    Again, are there any real live “creationists” here? It strikes me that looking for a creationist to fight with isn’t so different from keiths looking for a traditional moralist to fight with. It’s too bad they won’t let us participate at sites where one actually can find such people.

  46. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    Adapa: What is the barrier that makes it impossible for one “kind” to evolve into another “kind” over time? Is it genetic? Morphological? What?

    Definitional. New kinds don’t evolve. They are, by definition, created. Any evolution, again by definition, must be within a kind, not across kinds.

    This does raise a potential problem: what about hybridization between kinds, and the potential for new hybrid species? Would that be a new kind, making the definition problematic? Or can the existence of inter-kind hybrids be ruled out somehow?

  47. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    walto: Again, are there any real live “creationists” here? It strikes me that looking for a creationist to fight with isn’t so different from keiths looking for a traditional moralist to fight with. It’s too bad they won’t let us participate at sites where one actually can find such people.

    I believe there are some here, though they seem reluctant to come out of the closet. Bill, for example. Still, it’s too bad Sal has retired. We have also, on occasion, had visits from other out-of-the-closet creationists, like JohnnyB.

  48. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    walto:

    It strikes me that looking for a creationist to fight with isn’t so different from keiths looking for a traditional moralist to fight with.

    I’m not looking for a “traditional moralist” to argue against. I’m inviting anyone who believes in objective morality, traditionalist or not, to make a case for it. You tried, but your argument failed, as we are currently discussing.

  49. GlenDavidson
    Ignored
    says:

    colewd:
    John Harshman,

    I am thinking about this.I would put up the Ostrich as a candidate for a created kind.

    Based on what design criteria? And I mean actual design criteria, like rationality and thinking beyond hereditary limitations.

    Is the ostrich missing the evidence of evolution that we find in, say, Darwin’s finches? IOW, how do homologies cease to be evidence for evolution in ostriches, and is none of the ostrich homologies evidence for some evolution?

    Glen Davidson

  50. colewd
    Ignored
    says:

    John Harshman,

    While it wasn’t an answer to the question, I’ll take it. What makes it a candidate? What are your criteria for diagnosing a “created kind”?

    DNA sequence variation from all compared species of greater then 1% is where I would start to sort it out. The other line I would look at is where interbreeding cannot occur and collect mean and standard deviation of the closest DNA sequences. I would look at sequences from lions and tigers where interbreeding can occur but is non continuous. Also horses and donkeys. Again, look at mean and standard deviation sequence similarity. What stops animals to from being able to breed with each other? What could cause this line to be crossed?

    From the limited sequence data in your 2008 paper the Ostrich appeared to have the most unique sequences.

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