'Periodic Table for Flies' Is Guesswork, Not Science | The Institute for Creation Research
'Periodic Table for Flies' Is Guesswork, Not Science

Researchers have constructed a new evolutionary tree for flies that purports to show which types of fly likely evolved into other types. Researchers call this map the "new periodic table for flies."1 But this is misleading, since the table is subjective and historical and thus contrasts with the periodic table of elements, which was constructed based on repeatable experimentation.

A North Carolina State University press release stated:

Using the most complete set of fly genetic and structural anatomy data ever collected, the [research] paper shows that members of the oldest, still-living fly families are rare, anatomically strange flies with long legs and long wings that grow up in fast-flowing mountain waters.1

But how could genetic and structural data determine which of today's flies is most similar to "the oldest" flies? The procedure for building evolutionary trees requires many assumptions, and one of them is the decision of which fly best represents the "first" flies at the "root" of the fly evolutionary tree. Another assumption involves the decision about what to do with multiple fly families that share traits that they shouldn't share if they evolved from ancestral lineages that did not have those traits.

One manual that scientists refer to when building evolutionary trees stated, "When conflicts with that assumption occur (and they often do), they are explained by 'reversal,' 'convergence,' or 'parallelism'…. [These] are required as extra steps or hypotheses to explain the [conflicting age] data."2

Many prior evolutionary tree studies have amply demonstrated that the different "trees" that can be built from the same genetic and structural data are as numerous and varied as the investigators who construct them. Each scientist typically publishes a tree that looks different from the last one. Despite the use of scientific-sounding words like "phylogenomics"—which attempts to reconstruct the supposed evolutionary history of an organism using its gene sequence data— this constantly changing structure is a clear sign that the trees are subjective inventions that only masquerade as observable "science." The new fly tree shows no signs of breaking this mold.

The study, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, stated that "recent research has suggested that fly relationships have been obscured by multiple episodes of rapid diversification. We provide a phylogenomic estimate of fly relationships."3 In contrast, the periodic table of elements is short on "suggestions," is not "obscured" by episodes of unpredicted factors, and is not put together based on "estimated" relationships.

The periodic table of elements is also not a history chart, but a categorization of elements based on their testable properties. The NCSU press release constantly referred to the history of flies. But what scientific experiments could directly answer historical questions?

This diagram was clearly given the wrong nickname. And in all of the research conducted to fit fly data into a preconceived notion of fly evolution, the researchers have yet to find any data that challenge the concept that flies were created.

References

  1. Kulikowski, M. Fly Tree of Life Mapped, Adds Big Branch of Evolutionary Knowledge. North Carolina State University press release, March 14, 2011.
  2. Hall, B. 2007. Phylogenetic Trees Made Easy. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 78. Cited in Thomas, B. Rare Insect Evolved at the Wrong Time. ICR News. Posted on icr.org December 30, 2009, accessed March 15, 2011.
  3. Wiegmann, B. M. et al. Episodic radiations in the fly tree of life. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Published online before print March 14, 2011.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on March 17, 2011.

The Latest
NEWS
Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Next Week
Both amateur and professional stargazers have an opportunity to see a little more of God’s glory revealed in the heavens1 next week. The...

NEWS
Great American Outdoors Act, Signed into Law by President
In a bipartisan legislative achievement to promote better stewardship of American public lands, U.S. Senators and Representatives finalized their bill...

NEWS
Grandmothers, Eat Fish to Protect Your Brains!
This month the American Academy of Neurology published a medical science study showing that senior women can fight air pollution hazards, including brain...

NEWS
Embarrassment Continues over Evolutionary Blunder about “Junk...
Recent research from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) continues to highlight how evolutionary theory influenced...

NEWS
God’s Plan Is Best: Salmon Need Saltwater Acclimation
Once again, results are better when aquaculture imitates the natural life cycle of Atlantic salmon.1,2 In other words, the closer fish farmers...

NEWS
Inside August 2020 Acts & Facts
Have you heard about ICR’s new President and Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Randy Guliuzza? What can we learn from an old prayer? Is creation evidence...

NEWS
After 30 Years, Red Kites Soar in British Skies
Good news is always welcome. So, it’s good to learn of another conservation comeback. This time it’s the red kite happily soaring in Great...

CREATION PODCAST
Meet Dr. G
Hear the history and heart of ICR’s newly appointed President and Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Randy Guliuzza. He has served as ICR’s National...

ACTS & FACTS
'Doing Business' in Good Times and Bad
No doubt many of you, like me, have been earnestly looking for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. He called all believers to be godly “salt”...

APOLOGETICS
Sentinels Are Needed in Perilous Times
Watch out! Dangers lurk everywhere—these are surely perilous times.1 One of the apologetics-exhorting themes in Jude’s epistle...