What Do We Know About Darwin’s Tree of Life?

An article appearing in PhysOrg titled Reconstructing the Tree of Life, unwittingly highlights several problems with evolution.

Evolutionists like to claim that they believe in evolution because that’s where the evidence leads. They say that evolution makes successful predictions, while creation science fails to make any successful predictions. But claims like these have turned out to be false, built on a house of cards, and this article demonstrates that beautifully.

Charles Darwin drew a tree of life to show how all organisms share a common ancestor. Evolutionist Dr. Karl Giberson has even claimed that the “rich tree of life” that we see today satisfies a prediction about life based on the theory of evolution. However phylogeneticist Antonis Rokas, an associate professor of biological sciences at Vanderbilt University, admits that some of the genealogies are “surprising and unexpected, and difficult to decipher.” Despite these serious problems, the article indicates that the National Science Foundation (NCF) says it’s not unusual for quality research to report such conflicts.

The obvious question then is, if Darwin’s Tree of Life is an evolutionary reality, then why is it not unusual to find such conflicts? On the contrary, shouldn’t such finds be unusual? All of a sudden the strength of evolution isn’t based upon any successful prediction, but based upon its failures. According to Rokas, evolutionists should “expect” to see such contradictory conclusions. Wow! It’s interesting how the web of evolution can be spun to mean whatever is desired, depending upon the needs of the theory. Not once do they question the merits of evolution.

The study analyzed the assembly of over 1,000 genes from 23 species of yeast and found that all of them were slightly different from each other and the genealogies built by the researchers. Rokas said, “We found 1,070 genes, and made 1,070 trees, and each one was different.”

The researchers attempted to come up with explanations for this, and one is that they were only studying a small part of the genome. It’s also interesting that they concluded that genetic data is less reliable during periods of rapid diversification and the sudden appearance of many new species. Rokas admitted that they don’t know what happened. They see consensus in many parts of the genes, but conflict at the base of the tree. He said, “What we understand about evolution leads us to believe that in a small window of time, several new species originated.”

While the study undermines evolution, it also confirms the predictions of creation science. Creationists believe in an “orchard of life”, in which there are multiple trees where individual kinds of animals have speciated over a small window of time. This is consistent with the observational evidence and the scientific method.

Rokas tried to dispel some of the myths surrounding the tree of life, saying, “People expect to find a single tree of life. They expect there to be one tree that explains how each organism is related to all others.” But this study shows that’s not the case. If it were, then Rokas says we’d “expect that different studies would not reach different conclusions. But you have parts of the tree that are that are easy to infer, where there is consensus, and parts that are challenging.”

I think this study highlights another problem associated with evolution- namely that evolution is not really science in the same sense that operational science is. With operational science, any conclusion can be verified. But with historical science this cannot be done; one must believe the conclusions by faith. Rokas acknowledges, “We are historians of biology, trying to infer events that happened billions of years ago. We take data from what we know today—the DNA of different organisms—and by comparing the sequences and evaluating how similar they are and how different they are from each other, we try to infer the evolutionary relationships between them.” In other words they take known data and apply it to unknown and unprovable assumptions. With operational science we don’t need to resort to the hypothetical, and we don’t infer anything without confirmation. For example, if a new drug is developed with the intent of curing a particular disease, at some point we can test the drug on people with that disease and confirm whether or not it works. Does the medication produce positive results or not? If it does, then we continue to use that medication until a better treatment is developed. But with the historical science that Rokas is using, it’s impossible to know if any of the results are meaningful or correct; it’s simply assumed. And with that assumption, scientists attempt to reconstruct lineages that may or may not exist.

Rokas says his research “allows us to understand the evolution of life on Earth and how a variety of different traits that we associate with different organisms have come about.” But I don’t think the research accomplishes this at all. On the contrary I think it demonstrates how flawed evolutionary theory is. If apes and humans never evolved, then inferring our evolutionary relationships based on our DNA is an obstacle to the truth. It’s a shame that one of the strengths of evolution is that none of its assumptions ever need to be confirmed or verified. Blind faith is perfectly acceptable.

Evolutionists claim they’ll follow the evidence wherever it leads, but I think this study demonstrates otherwise. The evidence leads towards a Biblical creation, not evolution.

Here are some key points from the article: 1) Reconstructing the tree of life is anything but simple. 2) Evolutionists are “historians of biology,” inferring events that supposedly happened billions of years ago. 3) Evolutionists sometimes produce results that are surprising, unexpected and contradictory. 4) It’s not unusual for high quality research to report conflicting information. 5) We don’t know what happened. 6) There is “mystery” associated with evolution. 7) It’s expected that we should find contradictions in the tree of life.

3 thoughts on “What Do We Know About Darwin’s Tree of Life?

  1. I realize this is a loaded question, but given the subject of the article and the nature of your argument, I feel it necessary to ask. Since you’ve framed the issue as either a) evolution is true or b) creationism is true, could you please now prove to me that everything in the bible is true?

    • Right, I don’t think there’s another option. Of course there are other religions, but either we’re here by pure chance, or we’re here on purpose.

      And yes, it is a loaded question. I cannot prove to you that everything in the Bible is true. Of course what I really believe is that the original writings of Scripture were inspired by God and are infallible and true. What we have now is the best accumulation of Scripture, and we believe it’s still God’s word that has been passed down over time. But it’s impossible to prove to anyone that all of Scripture is true. Everyone has different standards for what will convince them, and if your standard is “unreasonable”, then I can provide all the best “proof” that the Bible is true, but you still wouldn’t recognize it unless it met your criteria.

      But if we delve even further, really it’s between you and God whether or not you believe what the Bible says is true. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ, first and foremost. It’s not so much a “religion” as it is a relationship with God himself. And once you have that personal relationship with Christ, then you begin to understand the truth of Scripture.

      As for me, I can see the consistency of Scripture from beginning to end, and I see how the entire Bible points to Jesus as the Christ and Messiah. I see the fulfilled prophecies, and I understand why Jesus had to come as a human and die on the cross for our sins. I see the power of prayer, and I have a personal relationship with Christ that has changed my life. And because of this I look forward to spending eternity with my savior in heaven.

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