A Primer on the Tree of Life (Part 1): The Main Assumption

Note: This is Part 1 in a 5-part series titled “A Primer on the Tree of Life.” Read Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, and Part 5 here. The full article can be found, here. Evolutionists often claim that universal common ancestry and the “tree of life” are established facts. One recent opinion article in argued, “The evidence that all life, plants and animals, humans and fruit flies, evolved from a common ancestor by mutation and natural selection is beyond theory. It is a fact. Anyone who takes the time to read the evidence with an open mind will join scientists and the well-educated.”1 The take-home message is that if you doubt Darwin’s tree of life, you’re Read More ›

Salvo Magazine: Are Neo-Darwinists “Barking up the Wrong Tree”?

In the recent Intelligent Design issue of Salvo Magazine, Logan Gage and I co-authored a piece titled, “Barking up the Wrong Tree,” which assesses popular arguments for universal common ancestry. From the outset, it should be stated that neither Logan Gage nor I feel that universal common ancestry is necessarily incompatible with theism. In a twist of poor logic, however, that fact is apparently sufficient for some theists to think that they should therefore accept common ancestry. Logan Gage and I observe that “when discussing science and faith, it is vital to ask the right questions. Queries beginning with the words ‘Could God have…?’ tend to be unenlightening. The much more revealing question is ‘What does the evidence say?’” Thus Read More ›

More Troubles in the Tree of Animal Life

In late 2005, three biologists published a study in Science which concluded, “Despite the amount of data and breadth of taxa analyzed, relationships among most [animal] phyla remained unresolved.” In 2008, the relationships among animals are still controversial. A recent news release at Science Daily highlights a new study, “Tree Of Animal Life Has Branches Rearranged.” The story reports, “The study is the most comprehensive animal phylogenomic research project to date, involving 40 million base pairs of new DNA data taken from 29 animal species.” According to the article, the study yielded surprising results: “Comb jellyfish — common and extremely fragile jellies with well-developed tissues — appear to have diverged from other animals even before the lowly sponge, which has Read More ›

Peter Atkins Dramatically Overstates the Evidence for Evolutionary Phylogenies

I recently picked up Galileo’s Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science by Oxford chemist Peter Atkins. It’s a 2003 book, and on the plus side, it offers enjoyable and concise explanations of many important scientific theories, including some lucid diagrams explaining Einstein’s ideas about relativity. In his chapter on evolution, Atkins boldly states, “The effective prediction is that the details of molecular evolution must be consistent with those of macroscopic evolution.” (pg. 16) I’m willing to accept that “prediction.” However, Atkins unfortunately goes on to dramatically overstate the evidence for molecular evolution by asserting, “That is found to be the case: there is not a single instance of the molecular traces of change being inconsistent with our observations of Read More ›

If the Tree of Life falls, will Darwinists hear it?

A recent article entitled “Scientists say Darwin’s ‘Tree of Life’ [TOL] not the theory of everything,” published on Physorg.com, explained that increasingly, “a minority of biologists and evolutionists have questioned the accuracy of the TOL hypothesis.” The basic problem is that similar genes appear in organisms in patterns which do not fit a universal “tree.” As one of the scientists quoted, W. F. Doolittle, elsewhere stated: “Molecular phylogenists will have failed to find the ‘true tree,’ not because their methods are inadequate or because they have chosen the wrong genes, but because the history of life cannot properly be represented as a tree.” Doolittle attributes his observations to gene-swapping among microorganisms at the base of the TOL, and tries to Read More ›