Some of you may remember the extensive series we did at the end of last year and into this year on baraminology methods and proposing our own model, the enhanced cognitum model. One of the tenets of the model is that, in the absence of hybridization information, the morphology of the organism should be the guiding principle of a baraminological study. This is based on Adam being able to differentiate between the kinds in the Garden of Eden so he could name them. While I did not elucidate it at the time, one of the inferences from the model is that scientists should discover that humans are able to identify things based on their shape.
Fortunately, without meaning to, scientists are helping confirm this model. A recent study from Scientific Reports pointed out that, while external features are important for identifying something, the internal skeletal features appear to be even more important. The researchers compared this to a child drawing a stick figure. The stick figure does not contain the outer fleshy covering of the body, but it does show the internal skeletal shape of the person drawn.
The researchers make the point that recognizing something is a lot more complicated than we think it is. After all, we recognize our friends at a distance and recognize familiar items like books, furniture, and mailboxes are easily noticed, even by those of us with poor vision. However, there is a complex system of signals in the eye and brain which allow us to recognize objects we are familiar with, even at a distance. These signals work regardless of size, color or texture. In other words, humans are equally able to recognize a mailbox made out of metal or one made out brick. The brain can differentiate between the textures, sizes, and colors, while still recognizing it as the same object. The experiments performed by the researchers lead them to conclude that the skeletal system is even more important than the outward appearance of an item in determining what it is.
While the researchers believe this recent study is most applicable to programming better AIs, there are other applications which they are overlooking. Applying these observations to the enhanced cognitum model yields a couple of very interesting observations. The primary one is that this does confirm an aspect of the model. It is expected that humans should be able to differentiate, even between similar looking items, or organisms in this instance. This is what the study confirms and what we would expect based on Adam’s naming of the animals in Genesis 2.
However, there are other implications of this which should inform the enhanced cognitum model. While features like colors, whiskers, tusks, horns and so on should undoubtedly be considered when examining organisms, this study seems to imply they should be given second place to skeletal characteristics. However, this does not mean the only way to determine whether two organisms are the same baramin is to look at their skeleton apart from their flesh. This is not how humans view anything. Rather they view the skeletal characteristics through the veil of flesh and outward features. Therefore, rather than looking through the skin to see the bone structure, the enhanced cognitum model can rely on gross morphology, since this is likely what Adam used to name the animals.
The more we study nature and how things work, the more it confirms the Bible. In some cases, it directly confirms things the Bible explicitly states. In others, it confirms things the Bible implies. In some cases, the implication from the text is confirmed by the implications from science. In all cases, the Bible is confirmed in every instance by the discoveries of science. For this particular implication, comparing the Biblical text to what we are learning from scientific studies produces perfect harmony. Starting with the Scriptures and interpreting the scientific discoveries in light of the clear meaning of the Word of God will always produce the most accurate conclusions. In this instance, it supports an aspect of the enhanced cognitum model of baraminology. As more scientific discoveries are made, undoubtedly further support for the Biblical model of creation will be brought to light. As creationists, we can celebrate the fact that the Bible always provides the best, surest foundation for knowledge.