The Gnarled Tree of Life

Most everyone who has had high school biology is familiar with the infamous evolutionary “tree of life” in their biology text. There are many variations, but such a chart essentially shows a graphic molecules-to-man progression with dozens of branches spanning alleged “millions of years” of earth history.

The February 2000 edition of Scientific American has an article with the revealing title, “Uprooting the Tree of Life” by W.F. Doolittle. He states that:

About ten years ago scientists finally worked out the basic outline of how modern life-forms evolved. Now parts of their tidy scheme are unraveling.

To everyone’s surprise, discoveries made in the past few years have begun to cast serious doubt on some aspects of the tree, especially on the depiction of the relationships near the root.

Either Dr. Doolittle is unaware of the many thousands of creationists and evolutionists who are not surprised, or he prefers to ignore them. Regardless, such a discovery is not surprising, considering that science (what is really known to be true, mainly through observation) has always been at odds with macroevolution. Consider a recent review of the book, Horizontal Gene Transfer by Syvanen & Kado (1998):

Some of the remaining chapters—particularly in the part of the book that discusses macroevolutionary trends (chapters 31–34)—are very speculative. (C.F. Delwiche, in BioScience, January 2000, p. 86.)

Of course, it has always been an unscientific stretch (or very speculative) to suggest that all living things on this planet, from tulips to tapirs, poppies to people, have, as their common ancestor, “a small cell with no nucleus.”

When asked for evidence of real, vertical evolution (also called macroevolution), evolutionists usually reply merely with well-worn and unsatisfying exceptions. These include the peppered moths, DDT-resistant insects, and the “new species” of finches on the Galapagos Islands. Creation scientists don’t dispute such minor variation (microevolution), of course, but such examples have nothing to do with real evolution. Evolutionists counter that over time, small “horizontal” changes lead to “vertical” or large changes. All one has to do, they say, is extrapolate from micro to macro.

An article in Evolution (Hendry & Kinnison, December 1999) discusses measuring the rate of evolution. They admit that “speculation about what might happen if short-term evolutionary rates were sustained over longer time frames is akin to extrapolating a regression line far beyond the range of the data.” A good example of extrapolation leading to wrong conclusions would be a child’s growth rate. From birth to age 15, for example, junior might grow five feet, then by extrapolation he would be 10 feet tall by age 30! Is it any wonder these two researchers state that, “both extrapolation and interpolation have the potential to mislead.”

While evolutionists continue to puzzle over their tree of life, Christians are forever grateful to the Creator who died on a cruel tree to give us life!

Cite this article: Frank Sherwin, M.A. 2000. The Gnarled Tree of Life. Acts & Facts. 29 (3).

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