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Charles Darwin's tree of life is 'wrong and misleading', claim scientists
The Telegraph ^ | Jan. 22, 2009

Posted on 01/22/2009 7:44:11 PM PST by SeekAndFind

Charles Darwin's tree of life, which shows how species are related, is " wrong" and "misleading", claim scientists.

They believe the concept misleads us because his theory limits and even obscures the study of organisms and their ancestries.

Evolution is far too complex to be explained by a few roots and branches, they claim.

Many of their species swap genes back and forth, or engage in gene duplication, recombination, gene loss or gene transfers from multiple sources.

Dr John Dupré, a philosopher of biology at Exeter University, said: "If there is a tree of life it's a small irregular structure growing out of the web of life."

More fundamentally recent research suggests the evolution of animals and plants isn't exactly tree-like either.

In Darwin's The Origin of Species, published in 1859, the British naturalist drew a diagram of an oak to depict how one species can evolve into many.

But not much was known about primitive life forms or genetics back then when he was only dealing with plants and animals – long before there was any real comprehension of DNA or bacteria.

Researchers say although for much of the past 150 years biology has largely concerned itself with filling in the details of the tree it is now obsolete and needs to be discarded.

Dr Eric Bapteste, an evolutionary biologist at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, said: "For a long time the holy grail was to build a tree of life. We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality."

The discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953 – whose pioneers believed it would provide proof of Darwin's tree – opened up new vistas for evolutionary biology.

(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevo; darwin; evolution; evolutioncrevo; oldearthspeculation; treeoflife
Interesting Sentence from the Article :

"The tree of life is being politely buried – we all know that. What's less accepted is our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change."

1 posted on 01/22/2009 7:44:14 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

RELATED ARTICLE HERE :

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126921.600-why-darwin-was-wrong-about-the-tree-of-life.html

TITLE: Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life


2 posted on 01/22/2009 7:46:05 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I’ve often wondered why a dead mortal remains so threatening to certain people.


3 posted on 01/22/2009 7:47:06 PM PST by elkfersupper (Member of the Original Defiant Class)
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To: SeekAndFind

..... read later mark


4 posted on 01/22/2009 7:51:22 PM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: SeekAndFind

All the archaic 19th Century life classifications systems (including Darwin’s) were overturned years ago, and DNA analysis in the last 20 years has demolished much more recent classifications. But that in no way undermines the basic concept of evolution by natural selection, Darwin’s epochal contribution to humanity.


5 posted on 01/22/2009 7:55:40 PM PST by PC99
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To: PC99

Most all of early theories have been continually investigated and updated as the data suggest. That’s what science does for a living. This news?


6 posted on 01/22/2009 8:08:06 PM PST by Rudder (The Main Stream Media is Our Enemy---get used to it.)
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To: PC99

In my view, this is strong argument against the view that nested hierarchy is evidence for universal common descent.

First, It shows that life is a like a web and not like a tree. Webs do not lead to nested hierarchies

Secondly, Nested hierarchies demand a direction- for example the lower levels have all the characteristics of the higher levels PLUS characteristics defining their set and level.

Evolution does not have a direction. Traits and characteristics can be lost or gained depending on what is provided and what works.


7 posted on 01/22/2009 8:12:58 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

“Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life”

What was he right about? Everything is Neo-Darwinism now. They have to re-interpret everything he argued for.


8 posted on 01/22/2009 8:26:50 PM PST by garjog (Used to be liberals were just people to disagree with. Now they are a threat to our existence.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Evolution does not have a GLOBAL direction. Traits and characteristics can be lost or gained depending on what is provided and what works.

There, all fixed.

Cheers!

9 posted on 01/22/2009 8:26:50 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: PC99

“But that in no way undermines the basic concept of evolution by natural selection, Darwin’s epochal contribution to humanity.”

No, but lots of other things undermine it, such as (i) it has never been observed (making it an “unobserved epochal contribution to humanity”); (ii) the actual fossil record shows STASIS for millions of years, punctuated by SUDDEN APPEARANCES OF NEW BODY PLANS - even a hard-core Darwinist like Stephen J. Gould admitted this, calling it “paleontology’s dirty little secret; (iii) what little observation of so-called “evolution by means of random mutation and natural selection” does show is that a few organisms — bacteria and insects, e.g., — evolve survival strategies by IMPAIRING genes that already exist, rather than developing new genes with new abilities that weren’t there before. It’s rather unlikely that this great “epochal contribution to humanity” could occur by repeated impairments of biological abilities, either in the genotype or in the phenotype; (iv) findings in molecular biology and biochemistry show that genes necessary for the formation of certain biological abilities — the ability to see by means of eyes, e.g., — existed well before the actual existence of eyes. The genes have no other purpose except in eyes, and appear not to have been “co-opted” from another function; a blueprint for a Nikon SLR is found buried in an Egyptian tomb — the blueprint is not a strange hieroglyphic message in ancient Coptic that can then be “co-opted” to be a blueprint for a camera. Same problem with things such as “ey” gene. (iv) There is no physical or chemical structure holding one “rung” of DNA to its upper or lower neighbor, nor does one “rung” determine in ANY SENSE the identity of the “rung” above or the one below. It’s entirely free...that’s what makes it a true code (if it were determined in any way, it would not be a true code). The code spells out biologically meaningful phrases to RNA which then sends these phrases to the rhibosome, which then plays these phrases EXACTLY like magnetic tape traveling over a playhead. To the rhibosome, the phrases say things like “make amino acid X, then make amino acid Y, then assemble to get protein Z.”

Codes CANNOT occur by chance.

There’s much more, but that should suffice for now.

Darwinian evolution is a scientific-sounding “Just So” story (those charming animal stories by Rudyard Kipling) and function as the materialist equivalent of a creation myth.


10 posted on 01/22/2009 8:33:22 PM PST by GoodDay (Palin for POTUS 2012)
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To: SeekAndFind
I read that crappy NS article after it was cited in a creationist piece as proof that evolution is wrong on another thread...and I tried to figure out what was "news" here...horizontal gene transfer between microbes has long been known about, as well as hybridization of plants, but for the most part the "Tree of Life" metaphor still works pretty well, especially for animals. Here is a comment on the NS article:

The Trouble With Science Journalism by Jason Rosenhouse

From Rosenhouse's article:

The cover sports a big green tree with the words “Darwin Was Wrong.” I hope they sell a lot of magazines with that load of tripe, since they certainly were not thinking about the generations of school kids and church-goers who will now be treated to that cover in every creationist power point presentation between now and the Rapture. How many people do you think will actually read the article to discover what it was, precisely, that Darwin got wrong?

If the article, by Graham Lawton, had some real news to report that would justify such a headline, then that would be one thing. In reality, though, the article has only the yawn-worthy old-news that horizontal gene transfer among single-celled organisms means that the metaphor of a tree of life must be modified. Scientific American published a far more informative version of the same article back in February of 2000.

The basic idea here is simple. The tree metaphor, which famously appears as the sole diagram in The Origin of Species, is based on the assumption that genes are only transferred vertically. That is, genes pass from parent to offspring, but not from sibling to sibling. If unrelated organisms are nonetheless swapping genes back and forth, then the tree does not capture much of what is important in the evolutionary process. The prevalence of horizontal gene transfer among single-celled organisms implies that the base of the tree looks more like a web.

Like I said, this is old news, and is not anything that is relevant in our little dust-ups with the creationists. Quite the contrary. Recognizing the importance of HGT has opened up exciting new avenues of research for biologists, and has shown that evolutionists of the past had been unnecessarily limiting their options in explaining the evolutionary process.

11 posted on 01/22/2009 8:34:48 PM PST by Inappropriate Laughter
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To: PC99

Darwin’s contribution was indeed epochal. He understood that natural selection was the force behind evolution without knowledge of the mechanism that propelled it. A pity he could not be around to witness the discovery of Watson and Crick or the ticking of the molecular clock.


12 posted on 01/22/2009 8:37:07 PM PST by stanz (Those who don't believe in evolution should go jump off the flat edge of the Earth.)
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To: elkfersupper

It isn’t him that is threatening, but those who worship him and promote his theory as divine revelation.


13 posted on 01/22/2009 8:41:04 PM PST by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (The people who cheered when OJ was acquitted are the same ones cheering now.)
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To: Ghost of Philip Marlowe
It isn’t him that is threatening, but those who worship him and promote his theory as divine revelation.

Who is that?

14 posted on 01/22/2009 8:41:36 PM PST by ColdWater
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To: ColdWater
Anyone who views his theory as fact and uses that to overrule any other theory of the ‘origin of species’ is a cultist. Any cultist of his views who tries to shout down or bar any other discussion of other theories of the ‘origin of species’ is no more than a theocrat.

I consider either side of the debate who doesn't want to allow the discussion and debate to be free and open to be a threat to science, to freedom of speech, and to the free, intellectual exchange of ideas.

15 posted on 01/22/2009 8:47:38 PM PST by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (The people who cheered when OJ was acquitted are the same ones cheering now.)
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To: Ghost of Philip Marlowe
Anyone who views his theory as fact and uses that to overrule any other theory of the ‘origin of species’ is a cultist. Any cultist of his views who tries to shout down or bar any other discussion of other theories of the ‘origin of species’ is no more than a theocrat. I consider either side of the debate who doesn't want to allow the discussion and debate to be free and open to be a threat to science, to freedom of speech, and to the free, intellectual exchange of ideas.

But of course you know that much scientific debate has gone on about the theory of evolution and it is much changed/refined from the early beginnings of Darwin. Science marches on in the arena of free, intellectual exchange of ideas based on professional research. Unfortunately, there are those that want to interject their religious beliefs into the public forum since they have no scientific basis and cannot compete in the arena of intellectual exchange.

16 posted on 01/22/2009 8:52:57 PM PST by ColdWater
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To: SeekAndFind
The tree of life is being politely buried – we all know that.

Actually, a little historical inquiry is sufficient to bury Darwinism along with it. See here:

Inbred Science

17 posted on 01/23/2009 7:11:26 AM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode (<<== Click here to learn about Darwinism!)
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To: Ghost of Philip Marlowe
those who worship him and promote his theory as divine revelation.

Indeed, some people do worship Darwin:

Darwin, Saint of Science.

18 posted on 01/23/2009 7:15:44 AM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode (<<== Click here to learn about Darwinism!)
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To: Inappropriate Laughter
From later on in the NS article:
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 - a tree of 51 per cent, maybe. In that respect, Darwin's vision has triumphed: he knew nothing of micro-organisms and built his theory on the plants and animals he could see around him.

... 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."

... the tree concept could become biology's equivalent of Newtonian mechanics: revolutionary and hugely successful in its time, but ultimately too simplistic to deal with the messy real world.


19 posted on 01/23/2009 8:22:14 AM PST by Ha Ha Thats Very Logical
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode

Here is a great site that compares Darwin’s predictions based on his theory to what has since been discovered after 150 years.

http://www.darwinspredictions.com/

Conclusions

In the century and a half since Charles Darwin proposed his theory of evolution, science has discovered a plethora of contradictory information. Many predictions of the theory have been falsified, including foundational expectations. The theory has consistently failed and as a consequence it has grown far more complex than anything Darwin ever envisioned. Evolution is not a good scientific theory and in this sense it is comparable to geocentrism. Both theories grew ever more complicated in response to the evidences of the natural world, adding epicycle upon epicycle.

In stark contrast to these evidential problems, evolutionists believe that their theory is a fact. Evolution is a fact, they say, just as gravity is fact. This remarkable claim is an indicator that there is more to evolution than merely a scientific theory. In light of the scientific evidence, the claim that evolution is a fact may seem to be absurd. But it is not.

The fact of evolution is a necessary consequence of the metaphysical assumptions evolutionists make. Metaphysical assumptions are assumptions that do not derive from science. They are made independent of science. These metaphysical assumptions that evolutionists make would be difficult to defend as necessarily true outside of evolutionary circles, but within evolution their truth is not controversial. All of this means that the scientific problems with evolution are relegated to questions of how evolution occurred. The science cannot bear on questions of whether or not evolution occurred.


20 posted on 01/23/2009 7:35:06 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: Ghost of Philip Marlowe
It isn’t him that is threatening, but those who worship him and promote his theory as divine revelation.

I think that there are no such people.

21 posted on 01/25/2009 5:57:33 PM PST by elkfersupper (Member of the Original Defiant Class)
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