I am often told from evolutionists that we came from a common ancestor that erupted into a “tree of life” branching off into new species. I’ve seen the diagrams in museums and textbooks looking like this:
But, it doesn’t appear that modern science can qualify those claims. See this quote from Methods in Molecular Biology (2012):
“…since embracing Darwin’s tree-like representation of evolution and pondering over the universal Tree of Life, the field has moved on. Nowadays, the evolutionary biologists are well aware of numerous evolutionary processes that distort the tree, complicating the statistical description of models and increasing computational complexity, often to prohibitive levels… as the Tree of Life turns out to be more like a ‘forest’.”
This is one of 35 quotes that redditor JoeCoder has compiled corroborating this idea that science is moving beyond Darwin’s simplistic “tree of life” concept (I’ve included several more at the bottom of this post… for fun!). The evidence seems to imply random emergence of new species with no clear common ancestor! This sounds eerily similar to a claim the folks at the Creation Museum have been making for years. See this image from the museum:
They say a more appropriate interpretation of the observed evidence is an “orchard” verses a “tree” set up. Wait, that sounds like what science seems to be arriving at as well! Is it possible that the folks at the Creation Museum may know how to do science after all?? To many, that statement is a scary thought! But the evidence doesn’t lie, does it. Looks like they had it right all along!
Don’t get me wrong, I realize evolutionists are not fully abandoning common descent, but their current model, along with the recent reveal of junk DNA actually being legitimate, is adding up to give a lot of precedence to intelligent design predictions!
Here are some more noteworthy quotes:
- “No consistent organismal phylogeny has emerged from the many individual protein phylogenies so far produced. Phylogenetic incongruities can be seen everywhere in the universal tree, from its root to the major branchings within and among the various taxa to the makeup of the primary groupings themselves.”, The Universal Ancestor, PNAS, 1998
- “I have been particularly struck by the adjectives that accompany descriptions of evolutionary convergence. Words like, ‘remarkable’, ‘striking’, ‘extraordinary’, or even ‘astonishing’ and ‘uncanny’ are common place…the frequency of adjectival surprise associated with descriptions of convergence suggests there is almost a feeling of unease in these similarities. Indeed, I strongly suspect that some of these biologists sense the ghost of teleology looking over their shoulders.”, Simon Conway Morris, Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans, pp. 127-128, 2003
- “Heat map analyses were used to investigate the congruence of orthologues in four datasets (archaeal, bacterial, eukaryotic and alpha-proteobacterial). We conclude that we simply cannot determine if a large portion of the genes have a common history. … Our phylogenetic analyses do not support tree-thinking. … We argue that representations other than a tree should be investigated”, Do orthologous gene phylogenies really support tree-thinking?, Evolutionary Biology, 2005
- “An average prokaryotic proteome represents about 3,000 protein-coding genes, the 31-protein tree of life represents only about 1% of an average prokaryotic proteome and only 0.1% of a large eukaryotic proteome. … The finding that, on average, only 0.1% to 1% of each [microbial] genome fits the metaphor of a tree of life overwhelmingly supports the central pillar of the microbialist argument that a single bifurcating tree is an insufficient model to describe the microbial evolutionary process. … When chemists or physicists find that a given null hypothesis can account for only 1% of their data, they immediately start searching for a better hypothesis. Not so with microbial evolution, it seems, which is rather worrying. Could it be that many biologists have their heart set on finding a tree of life, regardless of what the data actually say?”, The tree of one percent, Genome Biol. 2006
- “Hierarchical structure can always be imposed on or extracted from such data sets by algorithms designed to do so, but at its base the universal TOL rests on an unproven assumption about pattern that, given what we know about process, is unlikely to be broadly true. This is not to say that similarities and differences between organisms are not to be accounted for by evolutionary mechanisms, but descent with modification is only one of these mechanisms, and a single tree-like pattern is not the necessary (or expected) result of their collective operation.”, Doolittle and Bapteste, Pattern pluralism and the Tree of Life hypothesis, PNAS, 2007
- “Many of the first studies to examine the conflicting signal of different genes have found considerable discordance across gene trees: studies of hominids, pines, cichlids, finches, grasshoppers and fruit flies have all detected genealogical discordance so widespread that no single tree topology predominates. These examples highlight the issue of ‘incomplete lineage sorting’ and the need to account for gene tree discordance in phylogenomic studies.”, and “Conﬂicting [phylogenic] topologies are likely to become the norm”, and listed as an outstanding question, “For data sets with high levels of gene tree conflict, how can researchers determine whether an AGT [anomalous gene tree] is likely? How often do AGTs arise in real data sets?” Gene tree discordance, phylogenetic inference and the multispecies coalescent, Cell, 2009
- Evolutionary biologist Eric Bapteste: “We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality” and evolutionary biologist Michael Rose: “The tree of life is being politely buried. What’s less accepted is that our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change.”, Charles Darwin wrong about tree of life, The Guardian, January 2009
- Lynn Margulis, when president of American Scientist, wrote: “many biologists claim they know for sure that random mutation (purposeless chance) is the source of inherited variation that generates new species of life and that life evolved in a single-common-trunk, dichotomously branching-phylogenetic-tree pattern! ‘No!’ I say. Then how did one species evolve into another? This profound research question is assiduously undermined by the hegemony who flaunt their “correct” solution. Especially dogmatic are those molecular modelers of the ‘tree of life’ who, ignorant of alternative topologies (such as webs), don’t study ancestors.” The Phylogenetic Tree Topples, 2006
- “The irrefutable demonstration by phylogenomics that different genes in general have distinct evolutionary histories made obsolete the belief that a phylogenetic tree of a single universal gene such as rRNA or of several universal genes could represent the ‘true’ TOL.”, How stands the Tree of Life a century and a half after The Origin?, Biology Direct, 2011