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Thursday, February 27, 2014

A mind like that is a disgrace to the human species

Here's a five year old video where Richard Dawkins points to molecular phylogenies as powerful evidence of evolution. He wonders how any creationist could deny the evidence of evolution and suggest that "a mind like that is a disgrace to the human species."

He must have been thinking about Cornelius Hunter because Hunter has resurrected the video in order to show why Dawkins is wrong [Richard Dawkins: How Could Anyone "Possibly Doubt the Fact of Evolution"]. Watch the video and then read what Cornelius Hunter says. You'll recognize some elements of truth in his criticism but you'll also recognize a common creationist fallacy; namely, an inability to see the forest because you've been staring too long at the bark on trees.

What is amazing is the evolutionist’s high confidence and self-assuredness in such a blatant misrepresentation of science. It would be difficult to imagine a bigger falsehood. Phylogenetic incongruence is rampant in evolutionary studies. Conflicts exist at all levels of the evolutionary tree and throughout both morphological and molecular traits. This paper reports on incongruent gene trees in bats. That is one example of many. These incongruences are caused by just about every kind of contradiction possible. Molecular sequences in one or a few species may be out of place amongst similar species. Or sequences in distant species may be strangely similar. As one paper admitted, there is “no known mechanism or function that would account for this level of conservation at the observed evolutionary distances.” Or as another evolutionist admitted, the many examples of nearly identical molecular sequences of totally unrelated animals are “astonishing.”

An even more severe problem is that in many cases no comparison is even possible. The molecular sequence is found in one species but not its neighbors. When this problem first became apparent evolutionists thought it would be resolved as the genomes of more species were decoded. No such luck—the problem just became worse. Not surprisingly evolutionists carefully prefilter their data. As one paper explained, “data are routinely filtered in order to satisfy stringent criteria so as to eliminate the possibility of incongruence.”

Short genes that produce what are known as microRNA also contradict Dawkins’ high claim. In fact one evolutionist, who has studied thousands of microRNA genes, explained that he has not found “a single example that would support the traditional tree.” It is, another evolutionist admitted, “a very serious incongruence.”

Another paper admits that “the more molecular data is analysed, the more difficult it is to interpret straightforwardly the evolutionary histories of those molecules.”

And yet in public presentations of their theory, evolutionists present a very different story. As Dawkins explained, gene comparisons “fall in a perfect hierarchy, a perfect family tree.” This statement is so false it isn’t even wrong—it is absurd. And then Dawkins chastises anyone who “could possibly doubt the fact of evolution.” Unfortunately this sentiment is typical. Evolutionists have no credibility.


  1. As a phylogeneticist myself I cannot say that I have run into many of the problems cited above. We know that plant species can steal each other's chloroplasts in introgression events much more easily than nuclear sequences, and we know about incomplete lineage sorting and gene tree incongruence. Those are well-understood processes, and the latter two have to be expected from purely theoretical considerations already. But they take place at the lowest phylogenetic level, and thus do not change anything about the rather neat phylogenetic structure of life at larger scales.

    I am not qualified to comment on micro-RNAs but would immediately ask how somebody would expect to find phylogenetic signal in a type of sequence that is only 20-odd bases long, most likely under massive selection, and has hundreds of variants in each species. Such an expectation sounds remarkably twee to me; in fact I would be surprised to hear that a marker system like this would be of any use above the species level.

    So this appears a bit like claiming that a helium balloon is a severe problem for the theory of gravity.

    1. Recent work has been done using absence/presence of microRNA families. It seems microRNA families are rarely lost, so the phylogenetic signal should be pretty good.

      Here's one example:

    2. Argh! The horror of full justified typographic alignment.

    3. Bu Hunter will misuse anything that could sound as if we can't rely on anything. Half-truths are one of his specialties.

  2. Ahh, the good old quotemining game. Classic creationism.

  3. Its not science but only a line of reasoning that like molecular data equals common descent.
    Darwin mentioned the threat creationists would say its from common design. He dismissed it but it stands strong today.
    Dawkins wronlg insists the only option for likeness at molecular levels can be from common descent.
    It would also be the same from a common design/computer model including even if rearranged under some prompting in nature affecting DNA.
    It is not logical demanding to see these patterns as only from descentetc. in fact its very likely that these patterns would exist from a creator.
    Remember Einsteins quip about What would he do if he was God creating the physics.
    What would anyone do if making a living biology for the world?
    I would make a common design at the atomic level and then let it arrange itself for diversity as needed.
    YEC creationists would welcome and expect a common blueprint at these atomic levels. Its like physics in the universe.
    anyways its still not scientific evidence for descent from like patterns.
    its just a hunch and line of reasoning.
    There is no other evidence. Dawkins is not doing science in this claim even if it was a true claim.
    Science demands methodology before the intellectual prestige of being called science.
    Mere reasoning is merely reasoning from a presumption.
    Mr Hunter is doing the better reasoning by the way.
    Creationists have a good point here on many points.
    Evidence only and never mind the logic.

  4. Robert Byers said:
    Mere reasoning is merely reasoning from a presumption.
    Mr Hunter is doing the better reasoning by the way.
    Creationists have a good point here on many points.
    Evidence only and never mind the logic.

    Yes, the "better reasoning" of Cornelius' and never mind the facts.
    That's creationism in all its glory.

    1. The facts are with us, as far as their are facts to work with, and not with you guys.
      Thats why we fight.
      We say raw data does not support evolution as a theory. Or a good hunch.
      It better supports a creator and other mechanisms in nature for change.
      Its up to your side to "prove" the facts prove evolution.
      We all know what proving means.
      We say you can't do it.
      If so present your top three or one biological scientific evidence for the great claims of evolution.
      Ain't seen it yet!

    2. Actually you have it wrong: it is up to science to DISprove evolution... as is the case for any scientific theory. But a century and a half of hard work, predictions and experiments by dedicated biologists has only reinforced and refined it. That some religious people are of the opinion that the scientific process does not work to their satisfaction is regrettable, but is ultimately their own problem... not the scientific community's. Scientists will continue to use the scientific method to send robots to other planets, create new chemical compounds and understand how life evolved.