Common Ancestry and a Failed “Tree of Life”

dna_leftThe mapping of DNA sequence data fails to support a single tree of life, and therefore common ancestry. The mapping of one gene gives one version of the tree of life, while another gene gives a highly different, and conflicting, version of the tree. Conflicts between molecule-based trees and morphology-based trees (based on anatomical similarities) are also common and argue against common ancestry.

So Darwinism’s “tree of life” is in “tatters”. At the end of the day, the dream that DNA sequence data would fit into a nice-neat tree of life has failed, and with it a key prediction of neo-Darwinian theory.

New Scientist put it this way: “For a long time the holy grail was to build a tree of life … But today the project lies in tatters, torn to pieces by an onslaught of negative evidence.”
(“Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life,” New Scientist (January 21, 2009).

A 2009 paper in Trends in Ecology and Evolution notes that, “A major challenge for incorporating such large amounts of data into inference of species trees is that conflicting genealogical histories often exist in different genes throughout the genome.”
(” Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24 (2009): 332-340)

Another paper studied the DNA sequences in various animal groups and found that “different proteins generate different phylogenetic trees.” (Genome Research, 8 (1998): 590-598)

A June, 2012 article in Nature reported that short strands of RNA called microRNAs “are tearing apart traditional ideas about the animal family tree.” Dartmouth biologist Kevin Peterson who studies microRNAs lamented, “I’ve looked at thousands of microRNA genes, and I can’t find a single example that would support the traditional tree.” According to the article, microRNAs yielded “a radically different diagram for mammals: one that aligns humans more closely with elephants than with rodents.” Peterson put it bluntly: “The microRNAs are totally unambiguous … they give a totally different tree from what everyone else wants.” (“Rewriting Evolution,” Nature, 486: 460-462 (June 28, 2012).

A 2012 paper stated, “phylogenetic conflict is common, and frequently the norm rather than the exception.” (Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 87:991-1024 (2012).

Although experts agree that the tree of life does not resemble a tree at all, the assumption evolutionary biologists aren’t willing to re-evaluate at all is that universal common ancestry is correct. They appeal to a myriad of ad hoc hypotheses — horizontal gene transfer, long branch attraction, rapid evolution, different rates of evolution, coalescent theory, incomplete sampling, flawed methodology, and convergent evolution — to explain away inconvenient data which doesn’t fit the coveted treelike pattern.

It is desperate faith in a failed theory, the refusal to admit they were wrong, that invokes these alternate hypotheses.

(Condensed from “Problem 6: Molecular Biology Has Failed to Yield a Grand Tree of Life” …  Please visit this site for far more information)

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