If the earth is less than 10,000 years old and for a good portion of that time there was no ice, how do we explain the existence of creatures that can only live in really cold climates?

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If the earth is less than 10,000 years old and for a good portion of that time there was no ice, how do we explain the existence of creatures that can only live in really cold climates?

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:24 am

This is a similar discussion that we have had discussing the idea that God didn’t have to put every breed of dog on the ark; He only had to put one pair of dogs on the ark, with the idea that those two dogs contained all the genetic material that would result in many of the breeds we see today.

The creation science group Answers in Genesis is of the opinion that "virtually all the necessary [genetic] information was already there in the genetic makeup of the first bears, a population created by God with vast genetic potential for variation". In other words, the original bear kind must have been created with all the attributes that went into making up all the different species of bear that have ever existed incorporated in their genes, and then later on these delineated into specific species. So the genes that make up a polar bear would be present in the first bear. However, creation scientist Carl Weiland suggests another element to the development of the variety within species (such as bears) that we see today: "If, as seems probable from fossil evidence, there were no ice-caps before the Flood, there would have been no polar bears at that time". There were no polar caps creationists surmise because the entire earth was created as a uni-seasonal, tropical environment caused by the presence of a "vapor canopy" in the atmosphere. Therefore it is difficult to imagine why God would incorporate genes into the original bear kind that would allow a bear to adapt to a freezing environment. How to explain the polar bears adaptations then? Weiland says that "it is likely that not all the features for today’s bears would have been coded for directly in the genes of the original bear kind. Mutations, genetic copying mistakes which cause defects, may on rare occasions be helpful, even though they are still defects, corruptions or losses of information. Thus, the polar bear’s partly webbed feet may have come from a mutation which prevented the toes from dividing properly during its embryonic development. This defect would give it an advantage in swimming, which would make it easier to survive as a hunter of seals among ice floes." Most creationists, however, accept that all of today’s bears probably descended from a single bear kind, that virtually all the necessary information was already there in the genetic makeup of the first bears, a population created by God with vast genetic potential for variation. This doesn’t mean that all of the features of today’s bears would have been on obvious display back then. A simple example would be the way in which mongrel dogs obviously had the potential to develop all the different breeds we see today. Thus, there was no actual poodle to be seen among mongrel dogs hundreds of years ago, but by looking closely at many of them, one would have seen at least some of the individual features found in today’s poodles popping up here and there.

Similarly, it is unlikely that there were polar bears before the Flood—however, since much of the information for their specialized features was already there, some of these features, in lesser form, would have also been apparent in a few individuals from time to time.
It takes selection (natural or artificial) to concentrate and enhance these features—however, this does not create anything really new, no new design information. If there were no genetic potential in the bear family to grow really thick fur, then no bears would ever have inhabited the Arctic.

However, it is likely that not all the features for today’s bears would have been coded for directly in the genes of the original bear kind. Mutations, genetic copying mistakes which cause defects, may on rare occasions be helpful, even though they are still defects, corruptions or losses of information. Thus, the polar bear’s partly webbed feet may have come from a mutation which prevented the toes from dividing properly during its embryonic development. This defect would give it an advantage in swimming, which would make it easier to survive as a hunter of seals among ice floes.

Thus, bears carrying this defect would be more likely to pass it on to their offspring—but only in that environment. However, since mutations are always informationally downhill, there is a limit to the ability of this mechanism to cause adaptive features to arise. It will never turn fur into feathers, for example.

After the Flood, when dramatic climate and environment changes occurred, there was suddenly a large number of ‘empty’ niches, and as the first pair multiplied, groups of their descendants found new habitats. Only those whose predominant characteristics were suitable for that environment thrived and bred. In this way, it would not need millions of years for a new variety (even a new species) to arise. For example, of the first bears forced to exist on bamboo, only those exhibiting the genetic information for a stronger oesophagus and stomach lining would have survived in each generation. Animals without these features would not have lived to produce offspring, thus reducing the gene pool as only the surviving animals interbred. Thus these characteristics became more prominent in that group. This is more reasonable than assuming that this group had to wait for the right mutations to come along, over thousands or millions of years, to provide those vital features. It makes a great deal of sense for God to create the original kinds of creatures as very robust groups, possessing the ability to vary and adapt to changing environments. In other words, animals which have adapted to their habitat are mostly expressing latent characteristics bestowed by God at Creation. The evolutionary belief that mutations have added all of the necessary design information is opposed to both theory and observation. So, in conclusion, creationists accept that the design features we see in modern animals are largely the result of original created design, expressed and ‘fine-tuned’ to fit the environment by subsequent adaptation, through natural selection in a fallen world of death and struggle. If, as seems probable from fossil evidence, there were no ice-caps before the Flood, there would have been no polar bears at that time. The wisdom of the Creator is revealed in providing the original organisms with the potential to adapt so as to be ‘fit’ for a wide range of habitats and lifestyles.

The bear family, with its incredible variation, provides clear evidence of an intelligent Creator.

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