Evolution 101- part 5: These Homologous Limbs Were Made for Walkin’

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (formerly the Understanding Evolution? team) http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

BOLD font is me, Rent A Friend 2000, being Bold.

Homologies and analogies

 phylogeny 4

Since a phylogenetic tree is a hypothesis about evolutionary relationships, we want to use characters that are reliable indicators of common ancestry to build that tree. We use homologous characters — characters in different organisms that are similar because they were inherited from a common ancestor that also had that character.

If you’ll take out your Debate for Dummies book and look up Circular Reasoning, you’ll find Homologous Characters. How do we know these two creatures are descended from a common ancestor? They have homologous features. How do we know these are Homologous and not just coincidentally similar? Because they descended from a common ancestor.  

Later they will bring up what they call “Convergent Evolution,” meaning two creatures evolve a similar trait, when their most recent common ancestor did not have that trait. So how do they know the homologous features from the convergences? They check the phylogenetic trees! Yes, the trees they are going to try and confirm with this data is the foundation on which the data is built. Is the room spinning yet?

Again, imagine a lawyer pulling this one: “We found shoe prints which were made at the time of the crime. We know these are the defendants shoe prints at the scene of the crime, which proves he is guilty.”
“How do you know those are HIS shoe prints and not the prints of a similar shoe?”
“We know they are his, because he was there committing the crime, therefore those MUST be his shoe prints.”

And on CSI Darwin, that’s good enough to convict a man. Read more of this post

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Evolution 101-part 4: Snakes with Legs and Other Distant Cousins

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (worst superhero guild ever) http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

BOLD font is me, Rent A Friend 2000, being Bold.

Understanding phylogenies

Understanding a phylogeny is a lot like reading a family tree. The root of the tree represents the ancestral lineage, and the tips of the branches represent the descendants of that ancestor. As you move from the root to the tips, you are moving forward in time.

 phylogeny 1

When a lineage splits (speciation), it is represented as branching on a phylogeny. When a speciation event occurs, a single ancestral lineage gives rise to two or more daughter lineages.phylogeny 2Phylogenies trace patterns of shared ancestry between lineages. Each lineage has a part of its history that is unique to it alone and parts that are shared with other lineages. Similarly, each lineage has ancestors that are unique to that lineage and ancestors that are shared.

Once again, NONE of this is based on observable data or events except at the level where all of the points on the chart are dogs, or where all of the points of the chart are turtles. When you back out far enough to find where dogs blend with cats and with turtles and with cabbage, there’s NOTHING which actually exists to fill in the chart. This is the result of beginning with an assumption of the evolutionary theory, then putting different species into a faux animation sequence.

What they fail to show is how many of those lines should be dotted to indicate “No known species exits here, living or in the fossil record.” The human family tree would be almost ENTIRELY dotted lines, and where it isn’t would merely be connecting humans with humans. Of course, if they admit the holes in their theory, they literally have nothing left to say. But I am getting ahead of myself. Read more of this post

Evolution 101-part 3: The Guessing Tree

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (And yes, it really says that on their web site) http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

BOLD font is me, Rent A Friend 2000, being Bold.

The family tree

The process of evolution produces a pattern of relationships between species. .

It’s cute how they use the word “process” to mean “religion” and “produces” to mean “inspires us to creatively invent.” But if they spent a lot of time being THAT accurate, they wouldn’t have much of a story anymore.  Maybe I’m being too picky.

As lineages evolve and split and modifications are inherited, their evolutionary paths diverge. This produces a branching pattern of evolutionary relationships.

By studying inherited species’ characteristics and other historical evidence, we can reconstruct evolutionary relationships and represent them on a “family tree,” called a phylogeny.

Let me read between the lines a little: Reconstruct means “Invent.” This is another way of saying, “We don’t OBSERVE this happening (thus making it NOT science) but we can use our imaginations and lead ourselves to BELIEVE that it DID happen, and maybe, just maybe, it’s sort of happening still.” Does this remind anyone else of Scientology? Read more of this post

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