This article is from
Creation 34(2):16–18, April 2012

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Pig tales


©iStockPhoto.com/cglade pigs

As happy as a pig in mud. This picture of contentment can be credited to evolution, says the BBC, running the headline, “Pigs have ‘evolved to love mud’”.1

They base their story on the claims of Marc Bracke of Wageningen University in the Netherlands.2 Now it is a fact that pigs do not have sweat glands,3 thus wallowing in cool mud helps to keep them cool and also protects against sunburn. But Bracke tells a tale of the pig’s need to wallow being anchored in its (supposed) evolutionary history.

“We all evolved from fish, so it could be that this motivation to be in water could be something that was preserved in animals that are able to do so.”1

And Bracke says that evolution didn’t stop at the pig. Happy to cite other evolutionists’ theories that a pig-like animal gave rise to whales, Bracke says its love of mud was the key:

“An ‘innate’ preference for wallowing-like behaviour may thus have been instrumental in the evolution of whales.”2

And again:

“It seems to me that this preference to be in shallow water could have been a turning point in the evolution of whales from land-dwelling mammals.”1

So, whales arose through some porcine love of wallowing in muddy water, which itself was a throwback to an evolutionary ancestor that lived in it? And Bracke didn’t just mean fish, but all the way back to the mooted beginning of life in some muddy pond. “Life seems to have started in a ‘mud pool’ or ‘earth-soup’” wrote Bracke in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.2

Reality check

But all of this evolutionary storytelling doesn’t fit with the stark reality of what we know. The incredibly intricate and interconnected biochemical systems in pigs and other living things speak of having been designed as fully-functional entities with irreducible complexity.4 Consider the pig’s blood-clotting mechanism, with its more than 100 sequential steps—the removal of any one of those steps would cause the ‘clotting cascade’ to fail.5 And the ATP synthase rotary motor—a classic example of miniaturization and irreducible complexity par excellence—is present in all the cells of a living pig’s body.6 Charles Darwin himself conceded:

“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”7

Darwin’s theory absolutely breaks down on this point alone, as no natural process could have assembled even just the clotting cascade and ATP synthase motor, let alone the rest of a pig’s biochemistry. And it’s very telling that evolutionists themselves avoid the problem of how an organism—even just the mooted first single-celled organism—might have sprung into existence from the muddy water of a ‘primeval pond’.8

Pig farmers know pigs

Then there’s the problem of how random changes in such complex systems could possibly change them into something else, something fundamentally new, i.e. from fish to pig to whale. What we observe is that living things reproduce according to their kind, right in line with what the Bible says they were programmed to do (Genesis 1:11–12, 21, 24–25). As a pig farmer allegedly said to an evolutionist academic, “Professor … When I breed pigs, I get pigs—if it were not so I would be out of business!”9,10

Don’t toe the evolutionary line!

Sometimes the evolutionary barrage of confident storytelling to a compliant media might seem intimidating. For example, what of the notion that the two toes on pigs which do not reach the ground are evolutionary ‘leftovers’, or ‘vestigial organs’? Such a claim relies upon the shorter toes having no function—but no-one has demonstrated this. We certainly know that pigs spend a lot of time in muddy conditions, when available. Perhaps the extra toes make it easier to walk in mud? (A bit like the rider wheels on long trucks which only touch the road when the truck is heavily loaded.) Or perhaps the muscles attached to the extra toes give strength to the ‘ankle’ of the pig.

At any rate, Christians can be confident that God’s Word is true; He does not lie, and what He has told us about His Creation can be trusted. For example, when one looks at the distribution of pigs throughout the world today, it fits with their having multiplied and spread out from the Ark’s landing site “in the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4)—likely located in modern-day Turkey. Even evolutionists, who don’t believe what the Bible says about a global Flood around 4,500 years ago, say that the indications are that pigs originated in ‘Eurasia’ (the land mass combining Europe and Asia).11 And which country straddles Europe and Asia? Turkey!

The biblical account of history, when brought to bear upon evolutionary claims about origins, exposes evolutionary pronouncements for what they are—groundless speculation trying to force the evidence around us to fit a naturalistic (i.e. atheistic) evolutionary storyline.

Being pig-headed about evolution—despite the evidence

Evolutionists since Darwin have claimed that apes are our closest living relatives. But when humans are in need of an organ transplant and there’s a shortage, sometimes an animal is considered to fill the role (xenotransplantation), and, from an evolutionary perspective, one would expect that the ape would be the first animal considered. However, it is the pig that has proven most successful for this purpose.12

What’s more, the similarities in the digestive tracts of humans and pigs render us vulnerable to many of the same parasites. The Levitical prohibition to the Israelites on swine (Lev. 11:7) makes practical sense in that light. If evolutionary theory said that pigs were close evolutionary relatives of humans, then evolutionists might well be loudly proclaiming the similarity of parasites and digestive systems as evidence of evolution! But it doesn’t, so they don’t.


Just like the bold pig farmer who recognized that the evolutionary story didn’t fit with his careful observation and hands-on experience of pigs, we, similarly, ought not to blindly buy ‘a pig in a poke’.13 The expression ‘in a pig’s eye!’14 is actually a fair and reasonable reaction to muddy pig tall tales and other ‘porkies’15 being sold to us by evolutionists.

So what is my response to Dr Bracke’s proposal that it was possible for pigs to have arisen from the pond mud they wallow in over billions of years? Pigs might fly!16

Posted on homepage: 3 August 2013

References and notes

  1. Gill, V., Pigs have ‘evolved to love mud’, news.bbc.co.uk, 29 April 2011. Return to text.
  2. Bracke, M., Review of wallowing in pigs: Description of the behaviour and its motivational basis, Applied Animal Behaviour Science 132(1–2):1–13, 2011. Return to text.
  3. The phrase ‘sweating like a pig’ (meaning profuse sweating) therefore does not come from observing pigs. Instead it is derived from the iron smelting process. Impure molten iron poured into branching sand moulds is seen as resembling a sow and piglets—hence ‘pig iron’. As the ‘pigs’ cool, the surrounding air reaches its dew point, and beads of moisture form on the surface. Thus, ‘sweating like a pig’ signals that the iron has cooled enough to be handled safely. Return to text.
  4. See articles listed under “What is ‘irreducible complexity’ in living organisms, and how does it offer supportive evidence for a created world?”, creation.com/design#id. Return to text.
  5. See “Irreducibly Complex: The Clotting Cascade” on p. 15 of Hodge, A., Life is in the blood, Creation 33(3):12–15, 2011. Return to text.
  6. Thomas, B., ATP synthase: majestic molecular machine made by a mastermind, Creation 31(4):21–23, 2009; creation.com/atp-synthase. Return to text.
  7. Darwin, C., The Origin of Species, 6th edition—with additions and corrections to 1872, John Murray, London, p. 146, 1876. Return to text.
  8. See e.g. creation.com/ns-origin-of-life, with much further reading at creation.com/origin-of-life-questions-and-answers. Return to text.
  9. Batten, D., Dogs breeding dogs? That’s not evolution! Creation 18(2):20–23, 1996; creation.com/dogs-breeding-dogs. Return to text.
  10. It seems likely that all of the pig types (i.e. including the genera Sus, Phacochoerus, Potamochoerus, Babirousa) within the Suidae family are all descended from an original pig kind, which probably looked something like today’s ‘wild boar’. For more see creation.com/pigs. Return to text.
  11. Swine, www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/swine/Swine-w.htm, acc. 3 June 2011. Return to text.
  12. Future Pundit, Genetically engineered pigs for xenotransplantation, futurepundit.com/archives/000882.html, acc. 3 June 2011. Return to text.
  13. “Buying a pig in a poke” (buying a young pig in a sack) is an expression which means committing yourself to something without carefully inspecting it first (i.e. to guard against unscrupulous dealers selling a poor quality pig, or even substituting it with a cat or dog). Return to text.
  14. Rhyming slang for ‘lie’. Return to text.
  15. Porkies is short for pork pies = rhyming slang for lies. Return to text.
  16. An expression meaning something will never ever happen. Return to text.

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