JoeG's Case Against Common Descent


These are FACTS. This is why scientists learn statistics. When will you learn about how statistics WEED OUT the effects of chance?

So this is how you duck science?

The main case against Common Descent, ie the concept that life’s diversity has a common ancestor, is that we do not know what determines form/ body plan. As Dr Denton said:

BlockquoteTo understand the challenge to the “superwatch” model by the erosion of the gene-centric view of nature, it is necessary to recall August Weismann’s seminal insight more than a century ago regarding the need for genetic determinants to specify organic form. As Weismann saw so clearly, in order to account for the unerring transmission through time with precise reduplication, for each generation of “complex contingent assemblages of matter” (superwatches), it is necessary to propose the existence of stable abstract genetic blueprints or programs in the genes- he called them “determinants”- sequestered safely in the germ plasm, away from the ever varying and destabilizing influences of the extra-genetic environment.
Such carefully isolated determinants would theoretically be capable of reliably transmitting contingent order through time and specifying it reliably each generation. Thus, the modern “gene-centric” view of life was born, and with it the heroic twentieth century effort to identify Weismann’s determinants, supposed to be capable of reliably specifying in precise detail all the contingent order of the phenotype. Weismann was correct in this: the contingent view of form and indeed the entire mechanistic conception of life- the superwatch model- is critically dependent on showing that all or at least the vast majority of organic form is specified in precise detail in the genes.
Yet by the late 1980s it was becoming obvious to most genetic researchers, including myself, since my own main research interest in the ‘80s and ‘90s was human genetics, that the heroic effort to find information specifying life’s order in the genes had failed. There was no longer the slightest justification for believing there exists anything in the genome remotely resembling a program capable of specifying in detail all the complex order of the phenotype. The emerging picture made it increasingly difficult to see genes as Weismann’s “unambiguous bearers of information” or view them as the sole source of the durability and stability of organic form. It is true that genes influence every aspect of development, but influencing something is not the same as determining it. Only a small fraction of all known genes, such as the developmental fate switching genes, can be imputed to have any sort of directing or controlling influence on form generation. From being “isolated directors” of a one-way game of life, genes are now considered to be interactive players in a dynamic two-way dance of almost unfathomable complexity, as described by Keller in The Century of The Gene- Michael Denton “An Anti-Darwinian Intellectual Journey”, Uncommon Dissent (2004), pages 171-2

Control and influence are a far cry from determining. And then there are those pesky tests science requires. How can we test the claim that chimps and humans share a common ancestor and how do you know it is a valid test?

“the gene pool of each tank has demonstrated that SELECTION significantly influences the ratio of alleles connected to individual size…non-selection as represented by the randomized control tank…does not have the same influence… except as sometimes happens due to drift factors based on the influence that sampling can sometimes make.”

You seem to emphasize natural (adaptive) selection as the main driver of evolution. Have you read anything by Michael Lynch? He is one of the most influential living evolutionary biologists. If you’re appealing to adaptive mechanisms to explain macroevolution you are appealing to an “invisible hand” just as much as JoeG. IMO your examples cannot explain the INFERRED convergence (common descent) in deep time. The “non-selection” tank is mostly what you have to explain evolution in deep time, otherwise you don’t have enough time. It seems to me this is basically what motivated Kimura to develop Neutral Theory.

That is a non-sequitor on several levels. Most important, even if we grant there is ignorance (not total ignorance) about the precise determinants of form, there is independent evidence for common descent untouched by this challenge. That evidence comes, at least in part, from neutral evolution.

That is why wise ID advocates are always careful to qualify that ID is not (and should not be) an argument against common descent.

For example, have you seen this thread? Common Descent: Humans and Chimps / Mice and Rats. The key formula to learn is D = TR, or distance equals the product of time and rate. That is what gives us the key predictions and validation of the theory.

I reject Common Descent because it is an untestable concept devoid of a testable mechanism that can produce the transformations required. T.J. says that using the same genes differently is the mechanism but that dog has been around and still doesn’t hunt. Which genes were used differently?

The chimp’s head sits differently on its spine than ours does. To go from that to us would require changing of the bone structure and musculature. No one has shown that a change in gene regulation can allow for such a thing. Kinesiology also argues against the evolution of birds from non-birds. There just isn’t a mechanism that can produce all of the skeletal and muscular changes required. Muscles have to attach to the bones in the correct places or you get a deformity.

If your mechanism is God did it then you have left science and don’t have a case.


Your classifications of reality are out of joint. God does it all. But He has more than one way available to Him!

Does a Christian weather forecaster lose his or her case that God uses evaporation/condensation to make rain?

God can engage the cosmos using miraculous …OR NATURAL… processes… of which he is equally the origin and architect.

Joe, you are so allergic to evolution-ary concepts, you are willing to maim your perception of the Universe to avoid any!

When Christians incorporate God into our acceptance of the preponderance of evolutionary evidence … we are not defending science per se: we are defending God’s capacity to teach us about the evidence God left us, and His majesty to use it.

Non-Christian scientists may attempt to explain everything without God’s role… But Christians are not limited like this in our world view.

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Total crock, GB. I am not allergic to evolutionary concepts. I have studied them at great length. ID is not anti-evolution.

To go from prokaryote to eukaryote needs a mechanism that we can test.

From single-celled eukaryote to metazoan needs a mechanism we can test

Then you have the addition of limbs, muscles, bones a nervous system to power those muscles; muscles attached to the right points on the bones to make articulated joints useful and the organism viable

You need a whole lot of intervention/ guidance.

Who says that?

Absolutely. And we have God for that.

That is a great answer, Friend George.

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Science says we need a mechanism we can test. And if intervention is required then it is hardly Common Descent.

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Maybe, for just a moment, we can go beyond the discussion over what to call, or how to exactly account for, what we see in nature, and simply remind ourselves of how incredible, as well as incredibly unlikely, is what we see possible without God “behind” (at the subtle forefront) of it all. Praise God for His good creation!
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming… : )


I agree with Joe here. Science holds itself to a standard of testability. And since the theory claims all variation arose through natural means without the help of any agency, we should be able to test it. I.e the cause should be capable of producing the claimed effect.

@swamidass: I hope it’s fair to classify evolution as a process which does not require an intelligent agency guiding it (Though it doesn’t comment on the existence of the same).


Ohhhh? So you day. And so if God makes it rain using evaporation and the water-cycle… suddenly it’s not the water-cycle any more?


My proof that @Ashwin_s is not interested in bridging the gap.

@Ashwin_s… so how would YOU prove that God shortened the distance in speciation between two populations by 50 or even 500 years?

God is not testable… which leaves us the science part. And it is our faith that gives us the confidence in the part that is God.

I didn’t ask anyone to test God. I endorsed the fact that any and all scientific theory must be testable based on its claims.
Why do you have a problem with that?


Because YOU said that if God was involved in NATURAL processes… we can’t test them.

In fact we CAN test them. It is only God that can’t be tested or measured.

I didn’t get you. Can you elaborate.

An interesting thought. So I can understand, how would you classify your means of creation? I use the term creation loosely of course.


It seems you are intentionally trying garble the Evolutionary views of Pro-Evolutionary Christians.

A. Descent from shared ancestral populations of a different species is not eliminated simply because God uses shared anestors as part of Jid method to create speciation.

B. Nor are mutations no longer mutations simply because God uses mutations as part of the process of creating Speciation.

He both you and @JoeG attempt to argue that speciation that involves mutations and NATURAL Selection applied to ancestral populations somehow disqualifies mutations and NATURAL Selection as key elements of the evolutionary processes.

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