From: "DR. KURT WISE"
To: "Ashley Robinson", "Neal Doran", "Paul Nelson", "Jeff Tomkins",
"John Meyer", "Pete Williams", "Todd Wood", "Jerry Kreps",
"Dave Fouts", "Dave Cavanaugh"
Date: Fri, 4 Jul 1997 12:07:11 EST
Subject: BSG Meeting "Minutes"
Well, since I was elected the BSG Meeting Coordinator (or
whatever that job title was), I guess I have the
responsibility of reporting on the first BSG meeting which
was held June 26-28, 1997 in Dayton, Tennessee. Since I am
neither a secretary nor conventional in just about anything
I do I will summarize in the meeting in something other than
Generally, it is my opinion that the meeting was excellent.
Our group is diverse enough that there was a real need for a
tete-a-tete meeting to better understand each other, get
everyone traveling down the same track, and brainstorm for
the future. I think the meeting accomplished these goals
All total I counted over 19 hours of meeting time were
attended by (in alphabetical order) David Cavanaugh, Ashley
Robinson, Kurt Wise, and Todd Wood. Something on the order
of 6 hours of that was also attended by David Fouts (we
appreciated the speaking in tongues!) and about 4.5 hours or
so was attended by Neal Doran. Observing for the entire 19+
grueling hours was David C.'s 14-year-old son Ian (most
likely bored out of his mind!), and for something on the
order of 4 hours or so Neal's friend Nicole observed (or was
that puzzled?... we must appear to be a rather strange lot
to outsiders!). In addition to the 'formal' meeting time,
there was extensive discussion (sometimes late into the
night -- or early morning, actually). In fact, it was hard
to get the group to stop talking... every planned meeting
break was delayed!!! (All of which, I might add, is very
good.) The meeting can be divided into 4 parts
(introductions, reports, agreements, and plans) as follows:
We set aside several hours on Thursday evening just to get
to know each other. On that evening and in the meeting to
follow we learned many more things than can be summarized
succinctly here, but the following will suffice for example:
1) the Northern/Southern representation might allow for a
serious reenactment of the Civil War amongst our members (with
similar confusion of loyalties which plagued U.S. families over a
century ago)!; 2) we all seem to be first- or only-born males (now
that sure explains some things, doesn't it?!); 3) the three camps
of molecular biology, mathematics, and paleontology are
about as mystified about each other as men are of women...
well maybe not that much!... then again...; and 4) David Fouts and
David Cavanaugh together either meet, exceed or are very close to
the critical mass necessary for spontaneous capital PUNishment.
Friday afternoon and evening we heard about some of the
things some of our group members are working on:
1) Todd reviewed his study of the plant subtribe Flaverinae (by the
way, Todd says he still has a couple copies of the rough draft he
distributed among the attendees available upon request!):
a) arguing for its possible holobaraminic status
b) presenting intriguing evidence that C3-C4 and C4
photosynthesis arose WITHIN an originally C3
2) Ashley reviewed his study of turtles, and his work with
David in applying numerical techniques to the study of
cats and catarrhine primates. His presentation included,
but was not limited to:
a) pointing out interesting evidence that transversion-transition
ratios in nucleic acids might be useful in identifying
b) introducing baraminic distance matrixes and attendant
matrix diagnostic statistics as first steps in the
quantification of the baraminology matrix and the
evaluation of characters and sets of characters
(criteria) for baraminic utility
c) pointing to non-nested ('overlapping') dendrograms
from the literature for the representation of non-nested
similarities among organisms
d) introducing an interesting graphical baraminic
distance correlation method for distinguishing mono-
and apo-baraminic groups
e) introducing what looks like a very useful
'hybridogram', which combines hybridization and
phenetic similarity data to visually identify
f) suggesting age-rank/clade-rank plotting methods to
visually test claims of lineage
g) suggesting nested ANOVA and autocorrelation for
In the midst of Ashley's presentation we debated such
h) the correspondence of phenetic distance and time of
intrabaraminic divergence (concluding there may not be
i) the appropriate number of taxa to be evaluated at one
time in molecular phylogenies (concluding it should
always be less than 10... see Todd's recent post for more
j) what phylogenetic reconstruction methods should be used
(concluding that other methods are to be preferred over UPGMA)
k) how to evaluate the correspondence between the fossil
record and cladograms or phenetic dendrograms
(concluding age-rank/clade-rank plotting is probably
best, but that collapsing unresolved multichotomies is
probably inappropriate... better methods need to be
l) the non-equivalence of the term 'homoplasy' in
molecular and organismal biology (concluding that the
molecular and organismal biology definitions of homoplasy
are radically different and in molecular analysis we
should avoid using 'homoplasy' altogether)
3) David C. gave us a lot of information (in hard copy form)
on the quantification of the methods reviewed by Ashley.
He also orally summarized what looks like a very
interesting method of pattern recognition he has
developed which looks like it may be very helpful in
baraminology. His presentation sparked considerable
discussion on such issues as
a) how to assign biologically meaningful numerical codes
to nucleotides (i.e. A vs. T vs. G vs. C vs. missing
nucleotide), especially since different codings
produced different relative similarities among taxa
(we came to no decision on that one!)
b) the general danger of using too many taxa and the danger of
using DNA in modern sequence alignment programs because of
the way the programs get around the impossible task of
constructing a multiple alignment.
We had insufficient time to do justice to all that Ashley
and David came able to discuss, and we never got to Pete's
paper (although it was distributed at the meeting). We are
sorry for this, but perhaps these can be discussed in the
BSG electronically and/or at future BSG meetings.
As interesting as all the above was, probably the most exciting
portion of the meeting (for me, anyway) was this one. We set aside
Friday and Saturday mornings to listing the points upon which we
could agree as a group. At the end of this time we were by no means
finished and could easily have gone on for many hours more.
This will have to wait until our next meeting and for that
I, personally, am extremely anxious. The points we agreed upon
1) Creation was by divine decree thousands of years ago.
2) The creation was fashioned as an elegant symphony of
complex interdependent components.
3) Life is fundamentally discontinuous. There are a finite
number of recognizable, phyletically isolated organismal
groups (called baramins). Each baramin is descended
from an archaebaramin created with the potential for
intrabaraminic diversification -- at least some with
extensive intrabaraminic diversification.
4) Every organism possesses a signature unique to one and
only one baramin. The baraminic signature may be a tiny
fraction of the traits of the organism. Non-signature
traits tend to vary inversely with how essential they
are to organismal survival.
5) Individuals, baramins, and species are real.
6) Baramins contain a variable number of species.
7) Biomic information is orders of magnitude greater than
what is phenotypically expressed at any point in time.
Biomic information is defined as the total of all
biological information in the entire biome (simple
genetics, pleiotropy, developmental context, etc.)
8) By the end of Day 6 of the Creation Week God's physical
creation was finished (==> the Fall, the Flood, Babel,
etc., involved no *ex nihilo* physical creation by God)
9) God responded to man's Fall with a curse which
introduced suffering, "thorns and thistles", the process
of death to man at least the ark-born animals, and
the opportunity for parasitism, pathology, and
carnivory. Creation fell from 100% efficiency,
resulting in an ongoing weakening of the biosphere.
10) Natural selection is a preservation mechanism.
11) A global Flood in the days of Noah killed all 'earth'
creatures with the 'breath of life'.
12) There was explosive intrabaraminic diversification in
the centuries immediately following the Flood. Current
intrabaraminic diversification is at least
quantitatively (i.e. very much lower rate) and possibly
These points of agreement among the attendees of the
meeting should be discussed among the BSG group as a whole
to determine if they can be adopted as points of agreement
among all BSG members.
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
Saturday afternoon was devoted primarily to plans for the
future. The time line is aggressive but we feel it is
do-able. The following suggestions were made:
1) We suggested to Ashley and David C. that they break up
their large cat and primate papers into a series of
smaller papers, each one presenting a separate numerical
baraminological method. It is hoped that such a string
of papers will help to stimulate the creation biological
community into creation biosystematics.
2) We hoped to have our second BSG meeting in February or
March of 1998;
3) We hoped to have a third BSG meeting immediately before
or after the ICC in August, 1998;
4) We would like to initiate a pro-active attempt to teach
baraminology methods to the larger community of creation
biologists via a baraminology workshop in June or July
of 1999. The timetable for that workshop is as follows:
a) Pray for funding for at least the registration,
materials, room, and board for their stay at the
workshop and its follow-up.
b) From now until August, 1998 identify creation biologists
who are experts in various organismal groups:
1. collect a list of creation biologists known to
2. contact the creation biologists so discovered
and ask for a list of those whom they know, etc.
3. survey all the creation biologists so identified
(to determine their commitment to creationism,
the organisms they have expertise with, etc.)
c) Select biologists desired at the meeting and send
out invitation early summer of 1998;
d) Advertise the workshop at the ICC, etc., seeking
applications from interested parties due back
September 1, 1998;
e) Select final list of biologists and send out final
invitations by October 1, 1998.
f) Send baraminology workbook materials to Todd Wood by
December 31, 1998 so that he can edit those by the
workshop date to provide a workbook for the attendees
at the beginning of the workshop. The workbook is
envisioned to contain an introductory section on the
background of baraminology (scriptural, historical,
philosophical), but the bulk of it containing
explanations on each of the methods with examples and
space for the own work of each attendee. We forsee
this workbook evolving (by intelligent design, we hope!)
into a baraminology textbook.
g) Send out initial worksop materials to workshop attenders by 1
February, 1999 which tell them what to bring, when and where
and to go, etc.
h) Have a workshop in June or July, 1999, which
provides a workbook and hands-on teaching by BSG
members of how to do a baraminological study of a
i) Have a follow-up workshop in the summer of 2000
(possibly at Bryan College, at the 75th anniversary
of the Scopes Trial) to further train the
biologists, clean up research, update with new
methods, and prepare for publication those
Well, I think those who were not at the meeting can see that
they missed a lot! I pray that you can make it next time!
May the Lord bless,
P.S. Any attendees who would like to correct the 'minutes' please
feel free to do so.
P.S.S. Any attendees and/or non-attendees who would like to discuss
any of the issues addressed here are also free to do so (Todd has
given his OK on such discussion).
note: The BSG did not meet in Spring of 1998 or at the ICC in the
summer of 1998 as planned. The 1999 workshop became Baraminology'99,
but the workbook did not become a textbook. Due in part to the fire at
Bryan College in February of 2000, the follow-up workshop was never