Darwinist Steven Novella Endorses Darwin's Discredited "Tree of Life"
In a recent post, Dr. Steven Novella took issue with an essay I wrote for Forbes.com. Dr. Novella objects to my observation that there the fossil record does not accord with Darwinian predictions of gradual transitions between species. The fossil record shows sharp discontinuity between species, not the gradual transitions that Darwinism inherently predicts.
Dr. Novella writes:
Darwin himself thought that the fossil record would show gradual continual change among species. What we found, rather, was relative stability punctuated by speciation events - species would remain mostly stable for about 2 million years on average, then disappear from the fossil record. Meanwhile, new species would appear. Gould and Eldridge termed this pattern punctuated equilirium [sic], and creationists have dutifly [sic] ignored them ever since. Egnor is also wrong on many levels. First, while species are generally stable, they do drift over their time on earth. Sometimes they even show gradual directed change.
Next, Dr. Novella makes the astonishing gaffe:
The fossil record shows a pattern of new species arising which are clearly related to and derived from older species. There is a clear pattern of branching descent in the fossil record - to the degree that it is complete. The fossil record is highly spotty, but the more we fill it in the more it fits the pattern of branching descent.The fossil record does
Furthermore, molecular genetics has refuted Darwin's "Tree of Life"-- as Dr. Novella characterizes it, the "clear pattern of branching descent"-- unequivocally. The generally pro-Darwinism magazine New Scientist, in its recent cover story, "Why Darwin Was Wrong About the Tree of Life", pointed out that scientists are abandoning the vertical Tree of Life. Molecular biology is showing deep inconsistencies in Darwinists' simplistic understanding of similarities and differences in biological structure:
Quoting several leading biologists, the article notes:
...Many biologists now argue that the tree concept is obsolete and needs to be discarded. We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality...[t]hat bombshell has even persuaded some that our fundamental view of biology needs to change...The tree of life is being politely buried, we all know that...What's less accepted is that our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change. Biology is vastly more complex than we thought...and facing up to this complexity will be as scary as the conceptual upheavals physicists had to take on board in the early 20th century...
Yet Dr. Novella asserts that "There is a clear pattern of branching descent in the fossil record - to the degree that it is complete." He's wrong, and even other Darwinists admit it. There is no clear pattern of branching descent of living things, despite the propaganda in countless textbooks. The fossil record and the genetic evidence are not consistent with each other. Even the genetic evidence isn't internally consistent with Darwin's tree: DNA evidence conflicts with RNA evidence:
The problems began in the early 1990s when it became possible to sequence actual bacterial and archaeal genes rather than just RNA. Everybody expected these DNA sequences to confirm the RNA tree, and sometimes they did but, crucially, sometimes they did not. RNA, for example, might suggest that species A was more closely related to species B than species C, but a tree made from DNA would suggest the reverse. Which was correct? Paradoxically, both - but only if the main premise underpinning Darwin's tree was incorrect...
The evidence is so clear that Darwin's "Tree of Life" is wrong that now even Darwinists are jumping ship.
So why would Dr. Novella publicly misrepresent the state of the science? Either Dr. Novella's claim is the result of his ignorance of the relevant science, or it is an intentional misrepresentation.
Dr. Novella should explain his misrepresentation.