Steve Bougerolle steveb at
Fri Jun 14 20:31:35 PDT 2002

On Sat, 2002-06-15 at 07:07, Björn Lindberg wrote:
> Don Smith wrote:

> > Oh, and there's lots of DNA evidence for evolution coming out now that
> > gene sequencing is readily available.
> I just have to chime in to support this. I'm currently doing my Master's
> thesis in Computational Biology. I am working with phylogeny, which is
> all about finding the evolutionary trees behind gene sequences.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

Evidence that one life form is related to another in no way provides us
with a mechanism for one evolving into another.  A clear record of
accumulated varied mutations would of course suggest more clearly that
it happened.  It still does nothing to explain HOW.  These genetic
methods are only a more advanced and reliable way of making a point
that's fairly obvious already; some organisms look like they developed
from other organisms.  It still leaves unfilled THE big gap in
evolutionary theory; a satisfactory mechanism that explains just how
these changes can occur in such a way as to produce what you record.

Don't misunderstand me - I find the subject fascinating, and I'm
particularly interested in the "out of Africa" debate and theories of
ethnic origins and so on.  I'm also not interested in nutty religious
explanations (to my mind, whether you explain an evolutionary step as
"spontaneous simultaneous random mutations" or "a miracle" is just a
question of wording).  But I do think there are problems with evolution
as a scientific theory, and I like to keep scientists honest.

In this case, what has perhaps triggered me is the last bit in that
quote - "finding the evolutionary trees behind gene sequences".  You are
assuming that there are evolutionary trees, and looking for evidence to
support your assumption.  That's fair enough, but I find too many people
tend to get carried away with that assumption and start to confuse it
with absolute truth.  I hope you're not one of them?

Steve Bougerolle

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