Tag Archives: Darwinism

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.

Michael Medved interviews Stephen C. Meyer about his new book on DNA

Hear Stephen C. Meyer on the popular, nationally-syndicated Michael Medved show. (H/T Discovery Institute)

This is a hugely popular radio show.

I just received my copy of the “Signature in the Cell” book from the Discovery Institute in the mail today. My former co-worker Robb got his last week. It’s a ~600 page hardcover, so perhaps Robb and I should have a contest to see who can finish it first! It has huge print and lots of space, and beautiful illustrations on practically every page. I’m so excited – I can tell that I am going to learn a lot by reading this book.

My favorite lectures from J.P. Moreland, Walter L. Bradley and Philip E. Johnson

These are the lectures that made me who I am today!

Dr. J.P. Moreland

B.S. in Chemistry, University of Missouri
M.A. in Philosophy, University of California Riverside
Th.M. in Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary
Ph.D. in Philosophy, University of Southern California

Dr. Walter L. Bradley

Ph.D. in Materials Science, University of Texas at Austin, 1968
B.S. in Engineering Science, University of Texas at Austin, 1965

Dr. Philip E. Johnson

A.B., Harvard University, 1961
J.D., University of Chicago, 1965

Peer-reviewed paper says there is no atheistic explanation for the Cambrian explosion

Story from the Discovery Institute.

A new peer-reviewed paper has been published that concludes that there is no material explanation for the massive amounts of information introduced during the Cambrian explosion, when all of the phyla came into being in the blink of an eye, geologically speaking, with no fossilized precursors.

Excerpt:

Thus, elucidating the materialistic basis of the Cambrian explosion has become more elusive, not less, the more we know about the event itself, and cannot be explained away by coupling extinction of intermediates with long stretches of geologic time, despite the contrary claims of some modern neo-Darwinists.

Once again, the progress of science brings light.

The DI post goes on to cite another passage from the paper:

Beginning some 555 million years ago the Earth’s biota changed in profound and fundamental ways, going from an essentially static system billions of years in existence to the one we find today, a dynamic and awesomely complex system whose origin seems to defy explanation. Part of the intrigue with the Cambrian explosion is that numerous animal phyla with very distinct body plans arrive on the scene in a geological blink of the eye, with little or no warning of what is to come in rocks that predate this interval of time. The abruptness of the transition between the ‘‘Precambrian’’ and the Cambrian was apparent right at the outset of our science with the publication of Murchison’s The Silurian System, a treatise that paradoxically set forth the research agenda for numerous paleontologists — in addition to serving as perennial fodder for creationists. The reasoning is simple — as explained on an intelligent-design t-shirt.

Fact: Forty phyla of complex animals suddenly appear in the fossil record, no forerunners, no transitional forms leading to them; ‘‘a major mystery,’’ a ‘‘challenge.’’ The Theory of Evolution – exploded again (idofcourse.com).

Although we would dispute the numbers, and aside from the last line, there is not much here that we would disagree with. Indeed, many of Darwin’s contemporaries shared these sentiments, and we assume — if Victorian fashion dictated — that they would have worn this same t-shirt with pride.

Here is the reference for the paper:

(Kevin J. Peterson, Michael R. Dietrich and Mark A. McPeek, “MicroRNAs and metazoan macroevolution: insights into canalization, complexity, and the Cambrian explosion,” BioEssays, Vol. 31 (7):736 – 747 (2009).)

I linked before to a bunch of easy-to-understand videos that explain the Cambrian explosion. That post has a link to another peer-reviewed research paper written by Stephen C. Meyer, on the Cambrian explosion.

Christian parents: be sure to encourage your children to do the best they can in science, and push them to go on to graduate school to earn their Ph.Ds. We really need to have people working on these problems who are not wedded to the pre-supposition of atheism. We need to have people who are open-minded and willing to go wherever the evidence leads.

Further study

One of my favorite resources on the origin of life is this interview from the University of California with former atheist and origin of life researcher Dean Kenyon. Kenyon, a professor of Biology at San Francisco State University, wrote the textbook on “chemical evolution”, which is the view that chemicals can arrange themselves in order to create the first living cell, without intervention.

This interview from the University of California with another origin of life researcher, Charles Thaxton, is also one of my favorites.

You’ll need Quicktime to see the videos, or buy the videos from ARN. (Kenyon, Thaxton) I have both of them – they rock!

Does the Cambrian explosion disprove Darwinian evolution?

I made you all suffer this week by reading two long posts on the origin of life:

So now I’m going to be nice and let you learn about the Cambrian explosion through videos! Yeah! Because it’s Friday.

What is the Cambrian explosion?

Same story as always. Primitive tribes of atheists living during pre-scientific times naively attributed the diversity of life to the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s noodly appendage, working over billions of years. But then science progressed, discoveries were made, and all rational people accepted that virtually all the basic body plans emerged, fully-formed, in a 3-5 million year period, about 540 million years ago. And no new body plans have emerged since.

The best explanation of the sudden origin of nearly all animal body plans in the blink of an eye is that an intelligent designer provided the required software code for all of these brand new body plans. New instructions, like new Java code or new English sentences, require an intelligent cause. Period.

Part 1: (7:50)

Part 2: (3:25)

Yes, the people in the videos have Ph.Ds from Cambridge, Yale, Berkeley, etc. They are much smarter than any atheists, and they win any debates with atheists that dare to debate them. (Which is why atheists prefer censorship instead of debate, and blind faith instead of evidence)

Don’t worry, if you are an atheist, I’m sure that the noodly appendage of the hopeful Flying Spaghetti Monster will eventually overturn decades of scientific progress very soon, and then you can be comfortable avoiding moral obligations, being self-centered, thinking you are better than other people, and pursuing happy feelings at the expense of the liberties and rights of other people.

Further study

Advanced students can read more about the Cambrian explosion a published peer-reviewed book chapter (Michigan State University Press, 2003) or in a peer-reviewed research paper (Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 2007).

If you are totally lost on the question of origins, you can watch two DVDs that are now online at Youtube. Both videos are by Illustra Media. This is the place for complete beginners to get started.

Here are the 2 playlists: