Is universal common ancestry based on established facts?

Casey Luskin wrote a wonderful article called “A Primer on the Tree of Life” that will help you to consider whether universal common ancestry is true.

Excerpt:

Evolutionists often claim that universal common ancestry and the “tree of life” are established facts. One recent opinion article 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 ignorant. No one wants to be ridiculed, so it’s a lot easier to buy the rhetoric and “join scientists and the well-educated.”

But what is the evidence for their claim, and how much of it is based upon assumptions? The truth is that common ancestry is merely an assumption that governs interpretation of the data, not an undeniable conclusion, and whenever data contradicts expectations of common descent, evolutionists resort to a variety of different ad hoc rationalizations to save common descent from being falsified.

Here are two of the four evidences he looks at:

Molecular phylogenies

…the cover story of the journal New Scientist… titled, “Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life.” …reported that “The problem was that different genes told contradictory evolutionary stories.” The article observed that with the sequencing of the genes and proteins of various living organisms, the tree of life fell apart…

You get completely different molecular phylogenies depending on which gene or protein you analyze from the organism. If UCA were true, all the genes and proteins would have to give similar molecular phylogenies. Casey also addresses horizontal gene transfer.

Convergent evolution

One data-point that might suggest common design rather than common descent is the gene “pax-6.” Pax-6 is one of those pesky instances where extreme genetic similarity popped up in a place totally unexpected and unpredicted by evolutionary biology. In short, scientists have discovered that organisms as diverse as jellyfish, arthropods, mollusks, and vertebrates all use pax-6 to control development of their very distinct types of eyes. Because their eye-types are so different, it previously hadn’t been thought that these organisms even shared a common ancestor with an eye.

Here, you have the same gene being used for the same function in different organisms that do not share a common ancestor.

Homologies and Morphological phylogenies

Casey goes on to look at the evidence from homologies and the disparities between molecular phylogenies and morphological phylogenies, (e.g. – Cytochrome B). Casey’s article is worth looking at, especially if you have never considered the case against universal common ancestry.

Sen. Jim Demint denounces the Democrats’ new Hate Crimes amendment

UPDATE: NEW MUST-SEE Jim Demint video has been posted here on the the failed stimulus bills and Obamacare!

UPDATE: Welcome, visitors from the Corner (National Review)! Thanks for the link from Mark Steyn!

UPDATE: Welcome Canadian readers from Blazing Cat Fur! Guess what? The Democrats are trying to pass laws that will make us just like you!

Canadian readers, pay close attention, the second half of the video is all about you.

Here’s the video of my favorite Senator Jim Demint: (11:44)

You can read about how Christians are persecuted in Canada here:

But what about the right to free speech here, in the USA?

Why did some Christians vote (indirectly) for anti-Christian policies?

There are 3 themes on the Wintery Knight blog.

  1. Christians must appeal to public knowledge when defending their faith
  2. Social conservatives need to become fiscal conservatives
  3. Fiscal conservatives need to become social conservatives

Regarding point #2. It has come to my attention that some well-meaning Christians, who are apparently socially and theologically conservative, nevertheless voted for Obama, because they are opposed to fiscal conservatism and small government.

Specifically, they don’t believe in things like:

  • lowering taxes
  • decreasing government or union regulations
  • shrinking the size of government
  • preserving the rule of law
  • protecting private property
  • protecting the free market and free trade
  • protecting liberty and personal responsibility

Here is a breakdown of which Christian denominations voted for Obama:

2008 voting broken by religious groups
2008 voting broken by religious groups

(Click for full-sized image, courtesy of Pew Research)

For the record, I am an ethnic evangelical Protestant. You can read all about how I became a Christian and the list of arguments for and against Christian theism.

On this blog, I examine policies like cap-and-trade, socialized medicine and tariffs. I argue that these policies are bad for the poor. All it takes to understand the economics is a little bit of study. Christians need to study these issues so that they are not deceived by their emotions when it comes time to vote. Otherwise, we will not only hurt the poor, but we will also lose the freedoms we need to live our lives as Christians.

We should not be so envious of our neighbor’s prosperity that we are willing to sell our religious liberty and free speech rights in order to punish their success. We should not be coveting our neighbor’s goods. We should not be stealing from our neighbor, either. Instead, we should try to improve the nation’s prosperity without involving the government. And we can start by working harder, saving more and spending less.

Further study

You might be interested in Jim Demint’s book “Why We Whisper“, which I bought but have not yet finished.

If you’d like to hear more from Jim Demint, he did a 51-minute Town Hall for the Heritage Foundation on the Sotomayor nomination.

For more about free speech in Canada, see these previous posts:

For two technical articles discussing property rights and the poor, take a look at these two articles from New Zealand philosopher Matt Flanagan.

And here is an audio lecture by Jay Richards on the “Myths Christians Believe about Wealth and Poverty“. His new book is called “Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem“. To understand what capitalism is, you can watch this lecture about the book. Here is a series of 4 sermons by Wayne Grudem on the relationship between Christianity and economics?.(a PDF outline is here)

Joe Biden: spend more taxpayer money to keep US from bankruptcy

I am not making this up. (H/T IOwnTheWorld.com)

(24 seconds long)

Transcript:

“Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’”
“The answer is yes, that’s what I’m telling you.”

Elect “silver spoon” Democrats, and this is what you get.

National Debt
National Debt
Budget Deficit
Budget Deficit

Why do Democrats cut the funding of missile defense programs?

Article from the Heritage Foundation.

Excerpt:

President Obama, in his FY2010 defense budget, proposed a $1.2 billion cut to missile defense funding and halted development on our long-range interceptors in Alaska and California.

…Rep. Trent Franks offered an amendment to restore the $1.2 billion cut from missile defense by President Obama. The Democrats argued that this cut was reasonable, but in the face of Iranian and North Korean activities, any significant cut to missile defense funding seems foolish. In the last two months, we have seen Iran test its long-range missile capabilities (under the guise of a space launch) and North Korea test a nuclear weapon and launch (unsuccessfully) a long-range Taepo-Dong II missile. The North Koreans now appear to be preparing to launch yet another Taepo-Dong II. In the face of all of these activities, the Democrat majority on the Armed Services Committee voted down the Franks amendment to restore missile defense funding by a vote of 36-26. This amendment was then voted on by the full House of Representatives and again defeated along largely party lines.

There were a number of other amendments related to missile defense that we discussed, including Republican efforts to fund the European Site and the Airborne Laser, but they were all shot down by the Democrats. For the sake of our nation’s security, we should be focused on shooting down enemy missiles, not on shooting down our own missile defense system. As North Korea and Iran push forward, every member of the House of Representatives has taken a stand on missile defense. Unfortunately, it seems that the position of the Democratic majority is clear: shoot down missile defense.

The Heritage Foundation post I cited is a guest post by Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri.

Court knew that man jailed for failure to pay child support was not the father

Story from the Atlanta Journal-Constution. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

Frank Hatley has languished in a South Georgia jail for more than a year.

The reason? He failed to reimburse the state for all the public assistance his “son” received over the past two decades.

The problem? Hatley is not the biological father — and a special assistant state attorney general and a judge knew it but jailed Hatley anyway.

Even after learning he was not the father, Hatley paid thousands of dollars the state said he owed for support. After losing his job and becoming homeless, he still made payments out of his unemployment benefits.

Hatley’s lawyer, Sarah Geraghty of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, said two independent DNA tests — one nine years ago and one just a few days ago — prove he is not the biological father.

“This is a case of excessive zeal to recover money trumping common sense,” she said. “What possible legitimate reason can the state have to pursue Mr. Hatley for child support when he does not have any children?”

It may be difficult for Hatley to get out from under the court order, said Atlanta family lawyer Randall Kessler, who is not associated with the case. “It’s definitely unfair,” Kessler said. “But at the same time, he’s dealing with a valid court order.”

This is yet another reason for Christian men to prefer chastity. Chastity is a higher calling for Christian men and feminism is so widespread that single men need to be very careful about discrimination, fraud and coercion by the marxist-feminist state. Men go to jail and/or commit suicide for failure to pay alimony, child support, etc. all the time. My advice: don’t get involved until they fix the problem.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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