Douglas Theobald’s Test Of Common Ancestry Ignores Common Design

In my prior post, I explained why Doug Theobald used the wrong null hypothesis for testing common ancestry. The odds of two lengthy genes arriving at a highly similar DNA sequence by chance, or even evolutionary convergence, is extremely small. Unless there’s an underlying political motive, it shouldn’t take a paper in Nature to show that obvious point. Common descent is a much better explanation for these genetic similarities…. Unless, that is, you admit the possibility of common design. If you ignore common design, then the explanation for similarities between gene sequences must be common descent. Doug Theobald’s recent paper in Nature gets to his conclusion only by ignoring the possibility of common design and then equating common design (wrongly Read More ›

Douglas Theobald Tests Universal Common Ancestry by Refuting a Preposterous Null Hypothesis

In March 2010, Douglas Theobald published a paper in Nature purporting to demonstrate “A formal test of the theory of universal common ancestry.” According to his cheering squad at National Geographic, the paper “supports the widely held ‘universal common ancestor’ theory first proposed by Charles Darwin more than 150 years ago.” National Geographic is mistaken on one obvious point: Darwin wasn’t the first to propose universal common ancestry. But never mind that. The paper makes no official claim to be a response to scientific skeptics of universal common ancestry, but given Theobald’s notoriety as the author of the widely criticized “Talk Origins Common Ancestry FAQ,” his motivation is clear. If there were no doubts about universal common ancestry (“UCA”), his Read More ›

Critics in the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology Take the Easy Way Out in Attacking Intelligent Design

It’s always easier to refute your opponent’s position by replacing it with an outlandish straw man. The most recent issue of the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology contains a paper by Guillermo Paz-y-Miño of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Avelina Espinosa of Roger Williams University, titled “Integrating Horizontal Gene Transfer and Common Descent to Depict Evolution and Contrast It with ‘Common Design’” that takes this approach to attacking intelligent design (ID). As suggested by the title, the article attempts to critique the argument that similar features in diverse organisms can be explained by common design. It cites to both a 1996 paper by Paul Nelson in Biology and Philosophy and a response to Francis Collins published by myself and Logan Gage Read More ›

Convergent Evolution of Introns Challenges Common Descent and Random Mutation

A recent article in ScienceDaily titled “ Introns Nonsense DNA May Be More Important to Evolution of Genomes Than Thought,” actually demonstrates nothing like Darwinian evolution. Introns are stretches of DNA within genes in Eukaryotes that do not code for proteins. But they aren’t functionless and can play important roles in splicing together proteins. According to the ScienceDaily article: “The scientists also found what appear to be “hot spots” for intron insertion — areas of the genome where repeated insertions are more likely to occur. This implies the occurrence of convergent genetic evolution of introns at specific locations, or as the article repeatedly puts it, “parallel intron gains.” The study’s principal investigator, Michael Lynch, was clear about the implications: Michael Read More ›

A Primer on the Tree of Life (Part 5): Molecules Contradict Morphology

Note: This is Part 5 in a 5-part series titled “A Primer on the Tree of Life.” Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here. The full article can be found, here. Molecules Contradict Morphology A final way that evolutionists overstate the evidence for common descent is by claiming that molecular phylogenies have confirmed or buttressed phylogenies based upon morphology. For example, in his book Galileo’s Finger, Oxford University scientist Peter Atkins discusses evolution and boldly states, “The effective prediction is that the details of molecular evolution must be consistent with those of macroscopic evolution,” further claiming, “That is found to be the case: there is not a single instance of the molecular traces Read More ›