‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Darwin’s ‘Tree of Life’ is rotten from the roots up

Any average viewer watching BBC One’s thoroughly impressive ‘Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life’ programme at prime time on Sunday night, presented by the well-respected David Attenborough, was ill-equipped to resist the overwhelming impression that evolution is a fact beyond dispute.

But nearly all of Sir David’s arguments could be summed up in three little words… assumption, assumption, assumption.

It is ironic that the BBC is so concerned for its impartiality that it is refusing to show the Gaza appeal, yet at the same time could broadcast something so utterly one-sided on one of the greatest controversies of our time. There was no balance in ‘Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life’ whatsoever – no opportunity for scientists with opposing views to challenge Attenborough’s Darwinian propaganda machine.

Darwin himself would have been shocked. In his own Introduction to The Origin of Species (1859), he wrote: “I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be done here.”
And, apparently, it cannot possibly be done on the BBC either – because they are on a campaign to lift Darwin to god-like status. Along with the Natural History Museum, which was shown replacing the statue of the Museum’s founder, a Christian who opposed Darwin on scientific grounds, with a statue of the demi-god himself.

The programme itself was no scientific treatise. It seemed more concerned to contrast the advance of Darwinism with the decline of faith in the Bible’s account of creation, beginning as it did with a reading from Genesis. But this is no coincidence – Attenborough himself has no time for Christianity. His religion is neo-Darwinism. Although he uses moderate language, unlike the arrogant vitriol of atheist Richard Dawkins, Attenborough nevertheless decided to falsely present evolution as having defeated God as the explanation for life.

One of the most obvious ways in which Attenborough’s determination to show the Bible as outdated came across is when he used a ‘straw man’ argument. In other words, he presented a view no longer held by any Christian and then proceeded to destroy it, thus giving the false impression that he was destroying the Bible’s claims.

That view was ‘fixity of species’ – the idea that all the species we see today were, as Attenborough said, “a separate act of divine creation” and could not change. This was a mistaken view of nearly all scientists at Darwin’s time, whether Christian or not, because there was no evidence yet discovered to the contrary. But because the Bible says God created everything to reproduce “according to their kinds” (Genesis 1), Attenborough had a field day, asserting that this Bible phrase implies that species cannot change. Attenborough knows that species can develop into new species, as do all scientists today, including creationists.

Case closed, you might think. But what he never mentioned was that the word ‘kinds’ in the Bible does not refer to species. ‘Species’ was a word or concept only invented many centuries after the Bible. The word ‘kinds’ itself, looked at in the context of the Bible verses where it occurs, means something like the mammalian Family level of classification – so the Bible does not support the fixity of species idea at all.

The rest of the programme was then a list of ‘old chestnuts’ – classic examples that evolutionists have used as evidence in biology textbooks for years. But for every single example, what was missing was evidence of HOW natural selection can create new complex structures that are the characteristic not of new species, but of entirely new kinds of creatures.

New species come about because of the genetic information that ALREADY EXISTS in their DNA. But for new, very different types of creatures to evolve, entirely NEW genetic information needs to be generated – and this is where natural selection breaks down. The whole theory of microbes-to-man evolution relies on evolution creating an increase in complexity, from the simple first single-celled organism to the complex larger animals and plants of today. But there is no evidence that this can occur. It is simply assumed.

Mutations do not result in new genetic information capable of constructing new complex biological structures. All the experiments conducted over many decades prove this. Mutations are nearly all negative, resulting in damage to genetic information, not improvements. The tiny minority that are neutral do not help the argument either. There are some mutations that give a temporary advantage to some creatures, but they involve a LOSS of genetic information, that ultimately prevents evolution. Attenborough’s programme, of course, chose to ignore this massive hole that undermines the entire theory.

In the world at large, the only source of information is intelligence – and we know that intelligence only comes from a mind. It is therefore completely logical to conclude that the breath-takingly complex information in DNA is also the result of an intelligent Mind – that a Designer has been at work.

If you then look at the origin of life, rather than just its development, evolution has no explanation whatsoever. That life began without God is an article of faith just as much as believing God made life. Yet Attenborough blithely told the fable of life arising somehow from a primeval sludge, daring to say “it happened like this” – when nothing on the origin of life by chance has been even remotely proved. Evolution itself, even if true, could only act on life once it has been created. How life got there in the first place, and then managed to somehow reproduce itself, is still a mystery to science. There are many theories, but no experiment has ever come close to explaining how life began. Even the ‘simplest’ single-celled organism is now known to be an immensely complex biological machine.

Some say that, as science progresses, it discovers more and more, and so fills in the gaps in our knowledge that used to be filled by ‘God did this’. So they say, as time goes on, God becomes more redundant. But the truth in biology is that the more we discover about the complicated mechanics of cells and the incredible organisation of biological systems, the less and less likely it becomes than any ‘natural’ no-God explanation will suffice.

The final insult to our intelligence was to focus the programme on Darwin’s famous ‘Tree of Life’ – the diagram that shows how evolution pretends to explain how simple creatures at the base and trunk of the tree diverged over time into more and more branches, gaining in complexity and diversity over millions of years.

I’m astonished that the BBC still included this, and what’s more made it the title of the programme, considering that only last month the country’s leading scientific journal, New Scientist, carried a major article called “Why Darwin was wrong about the Tree of Life” (21 January). The article clearly stated that there is “no evidence at all” for the Tree of Life, and this was even backed up by the editorial of the journal, despite the fact that the New Scientist is known for its strong pro-evolution stance.

Michael Rose, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, says, “The tree of life is being politely buried, we all know that.” The BBC can’t argue that this is too recent a development to have included in the programme. Other scientists have been quietly relegating the Tree of Life to the rubbish dump of evolution for several years.

Michael Rose ends by saying, “What’s less accepted is that our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change.” I couldn’t agree more – as the most fundamental view of biology is evolution.
Andrew Halloway for www.lifebite.co.uk


halo said...

OFF-topic, for UK citizens:

Spread the word that the Expelled DVD is now available in multi-region format for UK viewers - CMI (Creation Ministries International) have managed to obtain a limited number of region-free copies, they only have about 40 left.
Call 0845 6800 264.

Jim said...

The Book of Genesis does not state that any creature reproduces “after its kind.” Rather, they were created after their kinds. The meaning of Genesis “kinds” is unclear, but it appears to be equivalent to Plato’s (later) use of the term “forms,” the “model by which things were created.” Moreover, the writer was interpreting the order of things, not describing a law of nature. A proper reading of the biblical text does not convey a “fixed descent” of creatures. Check out


james said...

The New Scientist article that you represent as clearly stating that there's "no evidence at all" for the tree of life, states no such thing. It merely quotes someone as saying that.

The thrust of the article is that because single celled organisms have not evolved in a tree like fashion, and because single celled organism vastly outnumber multicelled organisms, then when talking about life as a whole, the tree only represents a tiny percentage of life. The misrepresentation being bandied around about this article is that scientists have abandoned the idea that man is descended from apes, reptiles from amphibians, etc. Such an abandonment is simply not the case. The tree of multicellular life is very much intact.

From the article:

"It would be perverse to claim that the evolution of life on Earth resembles a tree just because multicellular life evolved that way."

So that article states that multicellular evolved in a treelike way.

"Nobody is arguing - yet - that the tree concept has outlived its usefulness in animals and plants. While vertical descent is no longer the only game in town, it is still the best way of explaining how multicellular organisms are related to one another

"Both he and Doolittle are at pains to stress that downgrading the tree of life doesn't mean that the theory of evolution is wrong - just that evolution is not as tidy as we would like to believe. Some evolutionary relationships are tree-like; many others are not. "We should relax a bit on this," says Doolittle. "We understand evolution pretty well - it's just that it is more complex than Darwin imagined. The tree isn't the only pattern."

I would urge readers to read the actual article so as not to be misled by out of context and selective quoting. (A typical anti-evolution tactic).

From the editorial:
None of this should give succour to creationists, whose blinkered universe is doubtless already buzzing with the news that "New Scientist has announced Darwin was wrong". Expect to find excerpts ripped out of context and presented as evidence that biologists are deserting the theory of evolution en masse. They are not.

SpitfireIXA said...


You state: "So that article states that multicellular evolved in a treelike way."

It states no such thing. The article is about the detah of the tree of life for single-celled life. It merely reassures us (without explanation) that the death of the single-cell tree should have no effect on the multi-cell tree.

The article states: "Both he and Doolittle are at pains to stress that downgrading the tree of life doesn't mean that the theory of evolution is wrong "

Translation: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

SpitfireIXA said...


The article states: "Even so, it is clear that the Darwinian tree is no longer an adequate description of how evolution in general works."

You should read the article again.

james said...

Spitfire IXA - You ask me to read the article again, yet you've clearly just rescanned the article for a couple more context-free quote-mines (which don't work terribly well).

I've merely tried to flag up some obvious selective reading on the part of the blogger, and give enough context in my quotes to hopefully establish that i'm not just doing the same thing.

We could sit here all day picking out isolated sentences to give the impression that this article says what we claim, but in the end people can't tell what's behind the curtain unless they look for themselves.

I again refer anyone with a genuinely open mind to spend 5 minutes reading the article, and the editorial, the blog post and these comments and use their own intelligence to determine which characterisation of the article is more honest.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately you are as ill equipped as any you speak of.

You spout the outdated and misinformed objections that creationists have been banging on with for decades, while ignoring the scientific evidence and position.

If you knew anything about the subject you are failing to successfully criticize you would understand that the "no new information" argument is completely meaningless and is rooted in misunderstanding and ignorance. If you understood molecular biology you would know that genes are used in a toolkit manner, and it is the expression of the same or similar tool kit genes which makes entirely different animals. This is why mammals all have roughly the same amount of active genes in the genome.

Also, new protein functions and therefore physical functions arise via many ways. Such as point mutations, deletions, duplications, inversions etc. "New information" is a meaningless term used by those who lack any kind of understanding of what the theory of evolution states.

You should read some books by actual scientists on the subject of Evo Devo and molecular biology.

But then again, you are not really interested in evidence are you? You have tried to devalue evidence by calling it "assumption" in this area of science, simply because it contradicts the myth you believe.

I know there is nothing anyone could ever show you that would change your mind.

Not the telomeres in the center of Human chromosome two which prove a fusion of 2 chromosomes all others apes have as separate.

Not the place in the genome which encodes for fully functioning tail with discs, controlling muscles etc, in the HUMAN genome, which occasionally via mutation gets switched on and a human with a tail is born.

Not the fact that whales lack any olfactory genes for smell underwater, only fossilized and non functional land mammal olfactory genes.

Not vestigial whale legs.

Not the shared ALU markings littering ours and our ape cousins genomes at the same place.

Not the independent arising of trichromatic vision in Howler Monkeys by provably different molecular means.

Not the utterly consistent way in which fossils change over time and become more complex the younger the strata of earth they are found in.

Not the fact that species are isolated exactly where you would expect to find them due to continental drift.

Not the waking of the ancient transpon sleeping beauty in the genome via comparative evolutionary means.

Not the millions of other pieces of convergent and completely consistent evidence that have been accumulating for decades.

Even though the evidence is so overwhelming that Evolution by natural selection is one of the most proven facts in all of science, there is nothing anyone can do or show you that will change your mind.


Because you have already made your conclusion: GODDIDIT!

And therefore any evidence is worthless to you because it does not fit with your conclusion.

Luckily our justice system does not work this way; by making conclusions first, then ignoring evidence.