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 thoughts on “How many different kinds of birds are there?

  1. colewd:
    John Harshman,

    Why do you use it for identifying the same species?

    Short answer: I don’t. Note that this is you avoiding answering a question, yet again.

    colewd: No. I thought that is what we are working to discover.

    And here you are contradicting yourself in two sentences. If there is no hard line separating kinds, it would be foolish to work to discover it. You are right: there is no hard line separating kinds. But if there were such a thing as a kind, we would expect there to be a line. Conclusion: there is no such thing. And this is what you are carefully avoiding.

  2. colewd: Have you looked at the comparison between the emus and the ostrich in John’s paper?

    If he hasn’t, I have. Do you have some point to make there? Are emus and ostriches different kinds? Why or why not?

  3. John Harshman,

    And here you are contradicting yourself in two sentences. If there is no hard line separating kinds, it would be foolish to work to discover it. You are right: there is no hard line separating kinds.

    There is no hard line discovered or yet established to separate kinds. There are ideas on the table. Alternative splicing differences, ability to breed, DNA sequence variation.

    But if there were such a thing as a kind, we would expect there to be a line. Conclusion: there is no such thing. And this is what you are carefully avoiding.

    This would be true if phylogenetic science was mature, yet it is not. .

  4. John Harshman,

    If he hasn’t, I have. Do you have some point to make there? Are emus and ostriches different kinds? Why or why not?

    I think this is a candidate for study given the differences in the DNA sequences.

  5. colewd: There is no hard line discovered or yet established to separate kinds. There are ideas on the table. Alternative splicing differences, ability to breed, DNA sequence variation.

    As I have pointed out, none of these are hard lines, and they can’t be. All are nearly continuous variation, and examples of all possible intermediate stages of difference are available. Now why should that be? Shouldn’t there be a hard line? Shouldn’t it be obvious?

    As I said: “But if there were such a thing as a kind, we would expect there to be a line. Conclusion: there is no such thing. And this is what you are carefully avoiding.”

    This would be true if phylogenetic science was mature, yet it is not. .

    In what relevant way is it not mature?

  6. John Harshman,

    As I have pointed out, none of these are hard lines, and they can’t be. All are nearly continuous variation, and examples of all possible intermediate stages of difference are available. Now why should that be? Shouldn’t there be a hard line? Shouldn’t it be obvious?

    The splicing data I have shown you is not consistent with this comment. The Gene expression data I have seen is also not consistent with this. I agree that the DNA sequence data is not as clear.

    As I said: “But if there were such a thing as a kind, we would expect there to be a line. Conclusion: there is no such thing. And this is what you are carefully avoiding.”

    Again I see clear demarkation between splicing frequency and potential kinds especially humans as a kind.

    In what relevant way is it not mature?

    I see MtDNA data for ostriches but nuclear DNA data, splicing data or gene expression data are not available. We don’t know yet how all that data correlates with how different animals are built.

  7. If you can’t tell one kind from another how do you know kinds even exist at all?

    It can’t be just because that’s what the bible says, can it?

  8. colewd: The splicing data I have shown you is not consistent with this comment. The Gene expression data I have seen is also not consistent with this. I agree that the DNA sequence data is not as clear.

    You mean that the DNA sequence data are clear, but they just don’t give you the answer you want. Why are gene expression and splicing data not consistent with continua?

    Again I see clear demarkation between splicing frequency and potential kinds especially humans as a kind.

    Well, of course humans are the single kind that must be defended at all costs. BUt again, how can you say there’s a clear demarcation? Do you think that splicing frequency can’t change within a kind? What is your basis for this?

    I see MtDNA data for ostriches but nuclear DNA data, splicing data or gene expression data are not available. We don’t know yet how all that data correlates with how different animals are built.

    And you make this claim after the many times I’ve cited my paper on nuclear DNA in paleognaths? Are you just not paying attention, or what?

    Let me ask one more time: what is your basis for claiming that any sort of data should be capable of delimiting kinds? Incidentally, one prominent feature of baraminology, which helps to diagnose it as cargo cult science, is the lack of any theoretical basis for any of its analyses. And you demonstrate that here, even though you don’t claim to be a baraminologist.

  9. colewd:
    OMagain,

    Splicing and gene expression data has been coming out with clear demarkation and linear progression based on complexity.

    I know you imagine that you have provided a reference here, but all you did was post a bold legend says “Spliceosome-data-1.pdf”. Whatever can you be thinking?

  10. Corneel,

    Oh no. Snakes and lizards are very clearly different kinds/types/etc .
    Your grouping snakes with lizards on trivial traits as they do in making up the concept of reptiles.
    Snakes are a real kind. thus the name. legless lizards are only lizards without legs in some cases in special areas.
    Its not a legless lizard is closer to a snake then to a leggy lizard.
    There is a list of traits to define mutually all snakes while having some traits that make then very different from each other.
    Likewise lizards etc.
    Snakes are very clearly not lizards. Evolutionists would say they have a common descent but not the same thing.

  11. Just for the fun of it, here’s Byers on thylacines:

    This marsupial wolf was in fact just the same creature as wolves elsewhere I say.
    Likewise other “marsupials” were exact copys of placental countertypes.
    Its been a great error of classification to see minor details of reproduction and a few other things as separating marsupials from placentals.
    In fact it was just a general adaptation due to the area they moved into after the flood.
    In fact marsupialism is simply a attempt to increase production of offspring.

    The marsupial wolf was a just a wolf and would grab sheep. The farmers are right and simply it was not common because the wolves
    were not that common.

    Genetic studies should not have much faith placed in them to tell us of the past.
    Convergent evolution is a myth alongside other evolutionary ideas.
    Same shaped creatures are the same cxreatures after all.
    minor adaptation abilities can account for difference.

    by the way the marsupial wolf (Tasmanian tiger) did howl in the night.
    Wolves do that.

    https://uncommondescent.com/extinction/extinct-tasmanian-tiger-showed-little-genetic-diversity-gene-study-shows/#comment-423840

    Yet the much more closely related snakes and legless lizards are different “kinds.”

    But well, he doesn’t learn, so it’s just put here to boggle the mind.

    Glen Davidson

  12. GlenDavidson: Above all, just clone–skip sexual recombination–and the clones stand still, while the parasites evolve.

    Someone make an OP on that, it’s game, set and match vs “design”

  13. Just wanted to reproduce this important point that has been previously made about snakes:

    MAXIMILLIAN:
    Objection!
    What about snakes?

    PANGLOSS:
    Snakes!
    ‘Twas snake that tempted mother Eve
    Because of snake we now believe
    That though depraved
    We can be saved
    From hellfire and damnation
    (Because of snake’s temptation!)

    If snake had not seduced our lot
    And primed us for salvation
    Jehova could not pardon all
    The sins that we call cardinal
    Involving bed and bottle!

    ALL
    Now onto Aristotle!

  14. colewd: Corneel,

    I wouldn’t call it a strong case, but I think that it is a reasonable suggestion and I was wondering whether you would accept divergence of isolated populations and build-up of reproductive isolation within kinds at all.

    There was a study I was looking at this morning with mice in Japan which showed a 3% worst cast MtDNA variation across the population.

    Not sure what you are saying here. Do you mean that divergence of mtDNA sequences within a kind cannot possibly exceed this value? Or do you mean that the kind will split into types if it does?

  15. John Harshman:

    First of all my apologies for not being able to reply sooner.

    CharlieM:

    I would say that there are thousands of kinds of birds.

    John Harshman:
    You seem to be ignoring the definition of “kind”, unless you think that each species of bird was separately created. Do you?

    Unlike Darwinists, I do not believe that all birds can be classed as one kind because of fortuitous variations from a common ancestor. But neither do I believe that they have been created from nothing by God.

    I believe that there is a third explanation which is that all birds are a physical expression of a common supersensible archetype. I would say that there are as many kinds of birds as there are group souls which for all animals are at a higher level of reality than individuals.

    Of course if someone denies any higher reality than the human physical senses gives us access to then all of this will be considered as nonsense.

  16. John Harshman:

    CharlieM:The question is, can the origin of this unity be explained by looking at the fossil record?

    Why is that the question?

    Well imagine that we had nothing to base the evidence for relationships on but say a fossil marsupial mole, a fossil African golden mole and a fossil giraffe. How would we place them in order of relatedness? There are extreme similarities of form which cannot be attributed to ancestry. And if it is put down to lifestyle then why did these animals choose to live in this way?

    There are many examples of convergence in the plumage of birds that would be hard to attribute to lifestyle.

  17. CharlieM
    Well imagine that we had nothing to base the evidence for relationships on but say a fossil marsupial mole, a fossil African golden mole and a fossil giraffe. How would we place them in order of relatedness?

    First off, they’d obviously all be related.

    Second of all, well, reduce the data set enormously and it will be much more difficult to sort out just how they’re related. Of course.

    There are extreme similarities of form which cannot be attributed to ancestry.

    Between the “moles” and the giraffe? Hardly, the similarities would be due almost entirely to ancestry. And why wouldn’t similarly living animals evolve to fit their niche?

    And if it is put down to lifestyle then why did these animals choose to live in this way?

    It’s not put down to “lifestyle.” But some animals find themselves capable of finding food in one way rather than another, because that’s what’s available and it’s what they’re suited to get. A giraffe, for instance, isn’t going to “choose” to live like a mole, but a small mammal might take the opportunity to do so if the prey is sufficient.

    There are many examples of convergence in the plumage of birds that would be hard to attribute to lifestyle.

    Like what? There is in fact spectacular divergence of bird plumage, such as with peacocks and birds of paradise.

    Glen Davidson

  18. CharlieM:
    I believe that there is a third explanation which is that all birds are a physical expression of a common supersensible archetype. I would say that there are as many kinds of birds as there are group souls which for all animals are at a higher level of reality than individuals.

    That is, as usual with you, largely opaque. Are animals with the same group soul related by common descent? Are animals with different group souls unrelated by common descent? Have they emerged from non-living matter independently of each other? Please try to clarify your thought here. Finally, how many different “group souls” are there within birds?

    Of course if someone denies any higher reality than the human physical senses gives us access to then all of this will be considered as nonsense.

    You have that right. How do you have access to this higher reality?

    Well imagine that we had nothing to base the evidence for relationships on but say a fossil marsupial mole, a fossil African golden mole and a fossil giraffe. How would we place them in order of relatedness?

    I think we’d still be able to put the giraffe and the golden mole together, separate from the marsupial mole. Still not sure how this answers my question, or why that question is important, since we not only have lots more fossils than that, more importantly we have the extant species, complete with accessible genomes.

    There are extreme similarities of form which cannot be attributed to ancestry. And if it is put down to lifestyle then why did these animals choose to live in this way?

    We may never know why they chose to live that way. The vagaries of environment and advantage millions of years ago can seldom be known to us. So?

    There are many examples of convergence in the plumage of birds that would be hard to attribute to lifestyle.

    Such as? And again, what is the relevance of all this to anything?

  19. GlenDavidson: There are many examples of convergence in the plumage of birds that would be hard to attribute to lifestyle.

    Like what?

    Like this: article – Interspecific social dominance mimicry in birds, which recognises the convergences and speculates on their origins. Here is one case:

    Evolutionary convergence in plumage between male (A) Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus and (B) Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens. Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers are sympatric, virtually identical in appearance, but they differ in size and are not closely related within the genus Picoides (Weibel & Moore, 2002, 2005). Photos reproduced with permission of Laurie Neish/VIREO (left) and A & J. Binns/VIREO (right).

    And this example:
    Yellow-throated Longclaw from Africa and Eastern Meadowlark from the Americas.

  20. CharlieM: Like this: article – Interspecific social dominance mimicry in birds, which recognises the convergences and speculates on their origins. Here is one case:

    And this example:
    Yellow-throated Longclaw from Africa and Eastern Meadowlark from the Americas.

    First off, it’s not all about plumage. But what if it were? Colors and markings become similar, apparently due to interspecific interactions.

    And what is the proposed explanation? “Lifestyle,” and you’d written: “There are many examples of convergence in the plumage of birds that would be hard to attribute to lifestyle.”

    What’s the problem?

    Glen Davidson

  21. GlenDavidson,

    Snakes and lizards etc are not the same kind. so no more related then anything.
    Just just looking at traits and grouping things.
    Well yes this is to be done but what traits are to be grouped? This is a problem amongst evolutionists too.
    i know marsupials are just placentals with pouches due to early migration and need to speed up reproduction to fill a post flood world.
    THERE one should group the hundreds of traits of likeness between a marsupial wolves and cousins wolves elsewhere. nOt group a few minor traits like pouches or this or that.
    When a classification system leads a scientific investigation thyen its no longer science. All presumptions must be laud aside to figure out the truth.

  22. Robert Byers,

    I want to make one correction. I did write that legless lizards and snakes were more closely related than marsupials and eutherians, but thought again. Snakes evolved earlier than did marsupials and eutherians, so at least on that score the latter are more closely related than snakes and lizards are.

    Whether morphology has changed more or not in the two branches of mammals mentioned (monotremes being the third, of course) than between snakes and legless lizards (who at least have converged to a degree with snakes in shape), I don’t know. But the snakes have been around longer than legless lizards, marsupials, and eutherians, to the best of my knowledge.

    Glen Davidson

  23. GlenDavidson: I did write that legless lizards and snakes were more closely related than marsupials and eutherians, but thought again. Snakes evolved earlier than did marsupials and eutherians, so at least on that score the latter are more closely related than snakes and lizards are.

    I take it you meant snakes and other lizards. Lizards without snakes is a paraphyletic group so in a sense your previous claim is pretty much correct.

  24. John Harshman: Are animals with the same group soul related by common descent?

    All animals are related in that they are an expression of the human form which has condensed to physical form too early to achieve the level of individual consciousness equivalent to that of humans. But this was necessary for the future evolution of individual self-aware consciousness. If you can understand the relationship between the leaves in figure 4. from this article then you will have some idea of what I am getting at. (see below) The leaves can be arranged in order of similarity but they are not descended one from the other although their cells do share a common ancestral cell.

    Are animals with different group souls unrelated by common descent?

    They are physical expressions of a common archetype.

    Have they emerged from non-living matter independently of each other? Please try to clarify your thought here.

    I don’t believe that animals emerge from non-living matter. I would say it is the other way round. Non-living matter is the cast off product of living beings.

    Finally, how many different “group souls” are there within birds?

    Let me give specific examples from my understanding. Here in the U.K. among the crow family there are carrion crows and rooks. IMO this is an example of two group souls. Just as we can compose a unique, interesting biography of a single person, we are able to do the same for each of these two groups, they would be interesting in their differences.

    Counting the number of group souls is of no interest to me.

  25. CharlieM: Counting the number of group souls is of no interest to me.

    Indeed, that DOES seem like a silly waste of time. I’d concentrate on your bios of group souls.

    Because, I mean, Goethe.

  26. John Harshman:

    Of course if someone denies any higher reality than the human physical senses gives us access to then all of this will be considered as nonsense.

    You have that right. How do you have access to this higher reality?

    In the same way that all thinking humans do. Goethe used his senses to study plants in great detail. But it wasn’t his senses that gave him the living movement between seed and stem and leaves and bud and flower. It was his thinking mind that turned the individual sense impressions into a connected living whole. And thus he was able to perceive through his inner thinking the archetype. He could see the higher reality that his senses alone did not provide.

    Our senses are pretty average compared to many of the higher animals around us, but our awareness of reality is far more extensive than these animals. Because of our thinking minds we “see” far more than they do.

  27. I’ve been developing a theory for the emergence of kinds called Transdimensional Farting Squirrels. Really neat stuff

  28. CharlieM: Here in the U.K. among the crow family there are carrion crows and rooks. IMO this is an example of two group souls.

    Do hooded crows have a distinct group soul? Or do they belong with carrion crows?

  29. dazz:
    I’ve been developing a theory for the emergence of kinds called Transdimensional Farting Squirrels. Really neat stuff

    That is a very specialised field so I’d suggest you would be better discussing it in a forum where there are other experts in that area. I take it you are an expert in flatulence?

  30. CharlieM: I would say that hoodies are a distinct group.

    Haha no sense putting it off, Charlie. You know John is going to ask you what you are basing that on. Why not include ravens and jackdaws into the group soul? Or why not unite all corvids?

  31. CharlieM: he was able to perceive through his inner thinking the archetype

    And I take it your own inner thinking has confirmed Goethe’s inner thinking! It’s like a freaking synchronicity of inner thinking.

    Burn all the science books! Shit, burn all the religion books too! There’s been an inner thinking synchronicity that makes all that stuff obsolete!

  32. {Note to John H. I recently saw a twitter picture that had (something like) the caption:

    Stop trying to reason with Trump supporters. What do you think you are, a dumbfuck whisperer?

    Relevant here too?}

  33. Corneel: Haha no sense putting it off, Charlie. You know John is going to ask you what you are basing that on.

    I am basing it on their distinct plumage, social habits and on their range of habitat. I grew up where hoodies were common, I now live about 100 miles from there and within an area of a few miles from my home I’ve seen plenty of carrion crows but I’ve never seen a hoodie.

    Why not include ravens and jackdaws into the group soul? Or why not unite all corvids?

    I do unite all corvids. I unite them in the same way as I would unite my grandkids by the fact that they are siblings. But I also recognise that my grandkids have different personalities and traits from each other.

  34. walto: And I take it your own inner thinking has confirmed Goethe’s inner thinking!It’s like a freaking synchronicity of inner thinking.

    Burn all the science books!Shit, burn all the religion books too! There’s been an inner thinking synchronicity that makes all that stuff obsolete!

    Why? When what I am talking about is precisely the method used by scientists. Can you tell by using your senses that water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen? This is not discovered by sense perception but by uniting concepts by the use of thinking. Do you think that the smartest of animals has come to discover the composition of water?

    Do you think that the smartest New Caledonian crow knows that it was conceived through the copulation of its parents? Our senses are not much different to their’s, so how do we know this yet they do not?

  35. It now seems apparent that Charlie is incapable of providing a clear answer to even the simplest question. I have used my senses to read his replies, and my inner thinking has revealed to me that it’s because there is no sense in anything he says. Goethe!

  36. CharlieM: I do unite all corvids. I unite them in the same way as I would unite my grandkids by the fact that they are siblings. But I also recognise that my grandkids have different personalities and traits from each other.

    So, to sum up, every species of corvid has a different group soul, but all corvids are related by common descent, but hooded crows are a different kind from carrion crows, but they’re all just different expressions of the human archetype, but leaves. What could be clearer than that?

  37. John Harshman: It now seems apparent that Charlie is incapable of providing a clear answer to even the simplest question. I have used my senses to read his replies, and my inner thinking has revealed to me that it’s because there is no sense in anything he says. Goethe!.

    I repeat, “Of course if someone denies any higher reality than the human physical senses gives us access to then all of this will be considered as nonsense.”

    For some reality is limited to anything that humans are aware of. Nothing else is permitted.

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