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New Paper from Gareth Fraser’s Group Confirms Common Ancestry?

Cornelius Hunter

common ancestry

A new paper out of Gareth Fraser’s laboratory explains that vertebrate epithelial appendages, such as feathers, hair, scales, and teeth, “have evolved to facilitate wide-ranging aspects of survival and reproduction.” Note the infinitive form (“to facilitate”), which reveals the usual Aristotelianism/teleology undergirding evolutionary thought, but how do the evolutionists know that these structures “have evolved” in the first place? A hint comes in the next paragraph, which informs us that:

Recent research has revealed shared ancestry among amniote epithelial appendages, based on the observation that reptilian scales, avian feathers and mammalian hair share a common foundation during early development: the anatomical placode.

This is a good example of what passes as confirmation of common ancestry for evolutionists. These various vertebrate epithelial appendages “share a common foundation during early development,” so therefore they share a common ancestor. Simply put, similarity proves evolution.

This, of course, is false. Similarity does not prove evolution. This is the age-old fallacy of affirming the consequent. If P implies Q, then Q implies P, right? Wrong.

Nor is this example of fallacious reasoning a rare exception to otherwise air-tight, rigorous, thinking on the part of evolutionists.

Such fallacious reasoning is ubiquitous in evolutionary thought. It is everywhere. Not only does this example blatant fallacy appear right up front in peer-reviewed paper in a leading evolutionary journal, like a nasty virus it is literally rampant throughout the evolutionary literature.

Indeed, this example cites a 2016 paper with the same fallacy appearing in the very title:

Di-Poï N, Milinkovitch MC. The anatomical placode in reptile scale morphogenesis indicates shared ancestry among skin appendages in amniotes. Sci Adv. 2016;2:1–8.

Science, if anything, is logical. Philosophers never thought to deploy logic as a demarcation criterion because, frankly, they never in their wildest imagination could believe that people would seriously set forth fallacious reasoning, with a straight face, as legitimate science. Think again.

Photo: American alligator with Chinese alligator, by C. J. Cornish et al., via Wikipedia.

Cross-posted at Darwin’s God.

Cornelius G. Hunter

Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Cornelius G. Hunter is a graduate of the University of Illinois where he earned a Ph.D. in Biophysics and Computational Biology. He is Adjunct Professor at Biola University and author of the award-winning Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil. Hunter’s other books include Darwin’s Proof, and his newest book Science’s Blind Spot (Baker/Brazos Press). Dr. Hunter's interest in the theory of evolution involves the historical and theological, as well as scientific, aspects of the theory. His blog is Darwin's God.

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Aristotelianismcommon ancestryevolutionfeathersGareth Fraserhairscalesteeth