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Evolutionary Trees – In Flux or Broken and Bogus?6 min read

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The June 2007 issue of New Scientist had a really interesting article on how genetics is totally upsetting the ancestral trees (since removed) that we’ve come to believe somehow accurately represent common descent and origins.  Read the quotes below (which I tried not to take out of context), and ask yourself this question.  Are evolutionary scientists merely improving on a good model, or are they floundering around and not seeing the elephant in the room – the one that says “maybe common descent between the major types of plants and animals never happened at all.”

Here are some choice quotes.

IF YOU want to know how all living things are related, don’t bother looking in any textbook that’s more than a few years old. Chances are that the tree of life you find there will be wrong. Since they began delving into DNA, biologists have been finding that organisms with features that look alike are often not as closely related as they had thought. These are turbulent times in the world of phylogeny, yet there has been one rule that evolutionary biologists felt they could cling to: the amount  of complexity in the living world has always been on the increase. Now even that is in doubt.

Remember what we told you was FACT?  Well, it’s still fact, we just had all the details wrong :(.

Note that for a complex feature like the eye to evolve in more than one path of “random mutation” is orders of magnitude MORE statistically improbable than one evolutionary path.  In other words, genetics is showing evolution to be even less probable than we supposed. In fact, knowing this probably caused them to “err” in their original tree constructions. How many of these supposed parallel evolutionary pathways must exist before they say “impossible!”?

The evidence is accumulating that segmentation arose at least three times independently.

Wolfram, save us!

OK, next finding:

Recent findings suggest that some of our very early ancestors were far more sophisticated than we have given them credit for. If so, then much of that precocious complexity has been lost by subsequent generations as they evolved into new species

Anyone notice that this statement is consistent with the creationist view?  Just checking.

Proponents of this idea argue that classical phylogeny has been built on rotten foundations, and tinkering with it will not put it right. Instead, they say, we need to rethink the process of evolution itself.

Translation:  Can we get a do-over?  We were really wrong before.  But you can trust us now.

The entire tree of life has been built on the assumption that evolution entails increasing complexity….

Ahh yes, we ignored the creationists who cried out “entropy!”  Of course, evolution can go backwards in step with the law of entropy, and still be able to move forward like we told you before.  But we just ignored entropy because…well, it makes evolution less possible, statistically speaking.  But we can overcome that, er, somehow.

See how belief can make you biased and miss big things?  Evolutionary theory led to such bogus ideas as junk DNA and vestigial organs because of their BIAS against data that might make their conclusions less likely.  (I know evolutionists still tout examples of these, but they are not convincing, and their presentations ignore the fact that they made so many mistakes in the past, assuming vestigiality when it was not really correct.  I’m glad I still have my appendix and my tonsils ;).

The more similar two species looked, the more closely related they were thought to be.  But looks can be deceptive.

Again, even more deceptive if you are given to self-deception in order to support your belief.

If Arendt is correct, then the ancestral CNS was lost completely in two major animal groups…yet their members have lost their brains and instead have diffuse neural nets.

I’m sorry, I can not resist.  WHO has lost their brains?   Hehe.

If loss is so common, the challenge now is to distinguish the organisms that were always simple from those  that have evolved simplicity.  Genetics will be an invaluable tool here, but it will take a lot more analysis and comparison between a wide range of species before a definitive tree of life emerges.

Translation?  All of those trees that show the “probable” common ancestry?  Probably mostly bogus for the next few decades or more while we figure out if genetics can support our ideas.  Um, until then, just take it on faith, OK?

The very genetic complexity of Acropora [a coral], for example, has led some to question it’s position in the tree, arguing that it may have evolved later than was thought – that it may in fact be a descendant of Urbiliateria, [not an ancestor]….If evolutionary biologists  today are to avoid the mistakes of their predecessors, they need to eliminate precisely that kind of circularity.

LOL!  The complexity of a leetle coral has them confused, and they think they can pontificate about human ancestry!  BUahahahaha!  Good thing someone is noticing circularity in their thinking.

Still, the new phylogenists are more resolute than ever. “There can only be one true relationship of animals to one another.”

Why only one?  I mean, you assumed only one path for evolution of features before, and now you think there are many.  So why do you think that there is only ONE relationship to be found?  But you’re right on one thing.  There is only one truth about origins out there.  Will evolutionary geneticists find it?   Or will they be as accurate and cocksure as their morphological predecessors?

We  might not know in our lifetime, but in the meantime, evolutionary believers will have to do what they’ve always really done – take it on faith.

God, that was fun to write.  Really, I don’t think I can sleep now.