I am thankful to Ian who posted a lengthy response to my post Cracks In The Edifice. I am basically an empiricist because of my scientific training, and comments/questions at the empirical plane are always welcome. They help both sides to think clearly on issues they had not considered before.
In my post I made the following claims:
- Evolutionists have been offering the Phylogenetic Tree for almost a century and a half as one proof of evolution. (Phylogenetic Tree is an arrangement of all the known flora and fauna in an organized tree, starting from the simplest known life and culminating in the most advanced one).
- Each generation of evolutionists has been trying to make the representation as accurate as possible. (The first such tree was made by Charles Darwin and his predecessors, and the picture that is shown in most textbooks today was perfected before the 1930s.)
- Genetic studies in the last two to three decades have forced a substantial abandonment of the original tree, and a new tree is gradually replacing it. (This arbitrariness was demonstrated repeatedly by the way the tree was rearranged, and also by the absence of established “links” between branches.)
Ian in his response presented three things related to the three points given above. Each of the “Statement” given below should be compared with the point given above:
Statement: The increase from simple to advanced is irrelevant — they are listed in chronological order only. There are simple creatures at the end of the tree as well as complex ones.
Response: you are presenting your viewpoint, not what the evolutionist thinkers affirm. I appreciate that. I have presented what the major proponents of evolution have been saying for the last century and half — that the Phylogenetic Tree is basically a simple to complex type arrangement. Thus your argument should be directed at those evolutionists who have been making this claim. I only reproduced what they have been claiming, and what I was taught in the science classroom. (Please note, physics students have to learn a good amount of biology in India).
Statement: To claim this tree has ever been “perfected” is to utterly misunderstand both science and evolution. It is constantly being improved, updated, and refined as we learn more. There is a problem with textbooks using out of date images but that has nothing to do with evolution.
Response: I did not claim that the “tree” was ever perfected. On the contrary, my claim was “the picture that is shown in most textbooks today was perfected before the 1930s”. Your response does show that many textbooks continue to use older pictures (from the 1930s).
Statement: This is called learning. You will note that each change generally makes the whole tree fit the evidence better and presents a more realistic picture. This is exactly what we would expect from a vibrant scientific area.
Response: Exaclty what you call it is irrelevant. We are not discussing nomanclature. What is important is that the original tree, developed before the era of genetic studies, had to be substantially rejected in the light of the new data. Your statement seems to affirm that.
In summary, in his efforts to refute my article, Ian
- Contradicts the claims of evolutionists that are seen in standard textbooks of biology. It is amazing that to defend the Theory of Evolution he needs to refute statements found in standard textbooks on Evolution.
- He made a generalization, and ended up affirming what I said in the original article.
- He affirms what I said in the original article, that the Phylogenetic Tree is nowhere the final word as a proof of evolution.
In summary, Ian has only supported the claims I made in the original article, though his affirmations prima facie give the impression that he has contradicted me.
[The author is a physicist, and has worked in the filed of Quantum-Nuclear physics, particularly on the quark structure of protons, neutrons, and deuterium binding energy.]