Don Batten's Ripping Yarn
Roland Watts


Recently on the No Answers in Genesis' Message Board a young Earth creationist (YEC) asked a question concerning an argument put forward by YEC Don Batten that the main argument for evolution is that similarities between living things are due to relatedness, or  common ancestry. See Are look-alikes related?


My response, which was posted on the NAiG board, is below.


Hello [name omitted]


A few quick comments.

(1) This is another of those YEC strawmen:

"Evolution says that because two things look alike they must be related. My friend and I look alike and we are not related. This shows that evolution has no basis for its assumption that look alikes must be related."

Evolution does not say that because things look alike they are related. Batten is taking you for a ride when he says:

"The main (only?) argument for evolution is that similarities between living things are due to relatedness, or common ancestry."

He is, in effect arguing that evolutionists ought to agree that worms and snakes are more closely related than snakes and reptiles because they "look alike". Because evolutionists do not think this way, it should give you pause to think that maybe Batten is being silly and not the evolutionists.

(2) When dealing with similarities, the Theory of Evolution (ToE) relies on two aspects, one is appearance and the other is time. Batten has left the time aspect out. One of the things noted by early geologists when they began to closely examine geological strata, was that fossils grouped closer together in a geological column looked more similar than fossils further apart. This was back in the 1800s, well before the advent of absolute dating systems, but when relative dating systems were somewhat understood. That suggested relatedness. Batten knows there is a reasonable probability that you will, sooner of later, meet a person who looks like yourself. However it is always certain that your ancestor will look like you and the closer the ancestor is to you in time, the more similar the appearance. In the geologic record you do see relatively unrelated organisms that look alike. This is attributed to convergent evolution. Thus Ichthyosaurs look very much like dolphins yet they are clearly unrelated. The first is a reptile and the latter is a mammal. The first died out 70,000,000 years ago. The latter is extant. Their similarities are explained in part by their similar living environments and lifestyles. Ditto the worm and the snake. ToE has a lot more sophistication to it than the strawman Batten demeans his readers with.

(3) A third thing to note is that the ToE provides a name for a mechanism as well as providing details of the mechanism. Batten does little more than provide a name for his mechanism. He just says "God designed it." Batten offers no idea as to how God made the animal or why he did so. He makes assertions and offers no evidence. If he intends to be serious and offer a scientific explanation then rather than attacking his own make believe theory of evolution, he would offer evidence for the assertions he makes for his own theory. He does not. In the tradition of all naturalistic science, Darwin offered a mechanism and he provided evidence for it. Today with genetics we can begin to explain in detail the nuts and bolts of the mechanism. Evolutionists could be like Batten and say "Evolution did it" and go no further. But as with all science, the ToE offers explanations that can be tested through genetics, biology and paleontology. If Batten's Bible based biology is expected to be taken seriously then Batten should also take Bible based meteorology seriously. He won't because he is very selective in what he chooses to accept literally or reject.

You have asked a legitimate question, based on your reading. Batten has conned you by providing an answer based on his caricature of evolution.

Regards, Roland