Family Trees (by John Mackay)


During the debate Ryder made much of family trees providing substantive genetic evidence for evolution, whilst at the same time he quietly conceded fossils are not much help to his case. Darwin’s original tree diagrams were constructed to show present day species ascending in branch form from others until far down the tree, you reached a common but unknown ancestor. Modern trees are more likely to resemble many separate trees ultimately merging into two trunks then finally and much more definitively showing one organism – the common ancestor of all life.

But in Darwin’s Bi Centennial year 2009, the front page of New Scientist January 24th read DARWIN WAS WRONG referring to the key article on family trees. It included such insights as;

“For a long time the holy grail was to build a tree of life”
Eric Bapteste,
Evolutionary biologist
Pierre & Marie Curie University,
New Scientist, 24 Jan 09, pp34-39.

And; “The tree of life is not something that exists in nature, it’s a way that humans classify nature.”
W. Ford Doolittle
Dalhousie University,
Halifax, Nova Scotia
New Scientist, 24 Jan 09, pp34-39.

Since the authors are old earth evolutionists their points are simple to follow. First: such trees are not the result of the evidence but simply the consequence of how researchers arrange the evidence based on current presuppositions – and today that means evolution, so as one author stated:

“We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality.”
Eric Bapteste,
Evolutionary biologist
Pierre & Marie Curie University,
New Scientist, 24 Jan 09, pp34-39.

If we add to that a beautiful fossil quote from a Biology text used at Ryders own University;

“Many evolutionary biologists since Darwin’s time have been struck by the failure of the fossil record to conform to the gradualist model. Few sequences have ever been found that represent gradual transitions of species. Instead, fossil species usually appear suddenly in a layer of rocks, and may persist essentially unchanged for the whole time they exist on earth, finally disappearing from the record of the rocks as suddenly as they appeared.”
Campbell Mitchell and Reese, Biology Concepts and Connections, Benjamin Cummings 1994, p286.
Then it shouldn’t surprise us that one author in the January 09 New Scientist stated;“The tree of life is being politely buried, we all know that.” And went on to further say

“ What’s less accepted is that our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change.”
Michael Rose,
Evolutionary biologist
University of California, Irvine
New Scientist, 24 Jan 09, pp34-39.

And with that statement I profoundly agree. That fundamental view of Biology is presently naturalistic evolutionism.

We should note that evolutionists and creationists both believe in family trees and descent with modification. But evolutionists believe family trees go back to an uncreated common ancestor of all life whereas we creationists argue real and separate family trees go back to separately created ancestors for each kind. The evidence from the fossil record clearly supports our view because fossil organisms for each kind always appear suddenly and fully formed with no hint of ancestors (see quote from Biology Concepts and Connections) The authors have used this fact to illustrate problems in the differing evolutionist family trees of Darwinism vs Punctuated Evolution. When we add data from the longest biological experiment ever done by man – farming over thousands of years, it is an observed and repeatedly tested fact that dogs only produce dogs, cats cats etc. i.e. they are only ever observed to produce after their kind. Experimentally, this damning evidence effectively nullifies all theories of evolution.

Since Ryder quietly conceded during the debate fossils are not much help to his case, plus we now know his favoured family trees are fatally flawed by his evolutionist atheist preconceptions, again we ask; “Can you provide any evidence for evolution, that does not presuppose evolution has already happened? OTHERWISE – We must all conclude this is a world where all creatures are observed to only reproduce their own KIND as Genesis states they were created to do!”

1 thought on “Family Trees (by John Mackay)

  1. I’ve dealt with most of this post in my separate entry entitled “Mackay’s quote mining”. That is, most of this post consists in citing evidence that does not support young earth creationism in any way, nor does it undermine evolutionary theory or common descent in any way. All he’s done is pick some juicy quotes out of context, creating a false impression that could mislead non-experts. But let me add an additional point here.

    Twice, Mackay does the same sort of thing to me, claiming that I said something in the debate that I did not: the supposed “concession” that fossils are not much help to my case. He is intimating that the fossil record does not support evolution and common descent, and moreover that I admit this. I neither said nor believe anything of the sort. I did say that the fossil record is “spotty” – by which I meant that it contains *less* information about common descent than can be found in the modern genome. That just means that, taken alone, the fossil evidence is *less good* than the genetic evidence. It certainly does not mean that the fossil evidence is no good at all!

    I’ll have to describe the fossil evidence for common descent in a separate post (we’re been restricted to roughly 500 words per post). But just to be clear, I (and virtually all biologists, paleontologists, and geologists) maintain that the fossil record very clearly demonstrates common descent over a long time; but DNA analysis typically gives us more detail about that common descent. It’s a bit like working out the history of editions of the Encyclopedia Brittanica from just the covers (fossils), or from their entire contents (genetic information). Looking at the covers, you can tell they’re related, but it’s hard to tell which one is the 1st edition, which the 2nd, etc. But looking at the contents, you can trace the gradual changes to put them in their proper order.

    The genetic evidence and the fossil evidence are completely independent sources. And yet they agree perfectly (within the expected margin of error). That’s like security camera #1’s black and white photo matching the burly, mustachioed suspect from the side, and security camera #2’s more detailed colour photo matching the same suspect from the front. Yet the young earth creationists say: no, one of those is a picture of a platypus, and the other is a picture of a pink sock! (They give completely different explanations of what the fossil evidence shows, and what the genetic evidence shows.) (If I were you, I wouldn’t hire John Mackay as your defense attorney!)

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