Tag Archives: Biogeography

Is common descent supported by evidence from biogeography?

Just FYI, I am delaying my mean anti-feminist post until 6 PM at least to check it over.

Mysterious Jonathan writing at Uncommon Descent.

Here’s his thesis:

Recently on this blog, I have been exploring and examining some of the genomic arguments for common descent. As I have been documenting in recent weeks, while the case for common ancestry — on the face of it — looks mightily strong, closer inspection reveals that the arguments don’t, in fact, stand up under more rigorous scrutiny. In the vast majority of instances, the corroborative data is very carefully cherry picked from the pertinent data set, and the non-congruent evidence is discarded or ignored.

And here’s a snippet:

One popular argument for common descent is the case from the discipline of biogeography — that is, the study of the geographical and historical distribution of species in relation to one another. The argument is based largely around the observation that species are related in accordance with their geographical proximity with respect to one another.

And here is the problem – this is dynamite:

So, when the biogeographical data does not accord with the predictions and expectations made by common descent, one always has ‘oceanic dispersal’ as an ad hoc fudge factor — including the rather remarkable claim that Monkeys made it across the Atlantic from Africa to South America! As Casey Luskin notes here, molecular studies claim that the South American monkeys diverged from the African monkeys around 35 million years ago. But Africa became an isolated island continent around 80 million years ago!

Apparently, monkeys rode on the back of the Flying Spaghetti Monster from Africa to South America.

I actually thought that the evidence for common descent was fairly good, because Behe accepts it and he is not a Darwinist. I didn’t like it, but facts are facts. But I’m glad that Jonathan is shedding some light on this issue. I would like to be able to argue against it, if the evidence is there.

Assessing the evidence in favor of common ancestry

An article from Evolution News that takes a statement from an evolutionist who supports common descent, and then then refutes it point by point.

Here’s the case for common descent:

UCA is now supported by a wealth of evidence from many independent sources, including: (1) the agreement between phylogeny and biogeography; (2) the correspondence between phylogeny and the palaeontological record; (3) the existence of numerous predicted transitional fossils; (4) the hierarchical classification of morphological characteristics; (5) the marked similarities of biological structures with different functions (that is, homologies); and (6) the congruence of morphological and molecular phylogenies.

(Douglas L. Theobald, “A formal test of the theory of universal common ancestry,” Nature, Vol. 465:219-222 (May 13, 2010).)

And here’s a response to each of those points:

Before I read this post, I only knew about 3, 4, 5 and 6.

I thought that I would post this because I haven’t said much about common descent before. I’m against it.