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What about the Molecular Evidence?

Proponents of contemporary evolutionary theory assert that “the evidence for evolution from molecular biology is overwhelming and is growing quickly.”[1]

In the publication, Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, the authors explain: “As the ability to sequence the nucleotides [chemical ‘letters’] making up DNA has improved, it also has become possible to use genes to reconstruct the evolutionary history of organisms. Because of mutations, the sequence of nucleotides in a gene gradually changes over time. The more closely related two organisms are, the less different their DNA will be. Because there are tens of thousands of genes in humans and other organisms, DNA contains a tremendous amount of information about the evolutionary history of each organism.”[2]

The evolutionary histories constructed from various kinds of molecular information, it is said, closely match and corroborate those histories based on fossils and morphology (anatomical structure).

This claim is simply untrue. It is well known in scientific circles that molecular histories often conflict with those based on fossils. Indeed, in an article for Nature, one of the world’s most prestigious science journals, science writer Trisha Gura surveys the long-running debate over whether ”bones, molecules … or both” yield the most accurate evolutionary histories.

Gura reports, “Battles between molecules and morphology are being fought across the entire tree of life. Perhaps the most intense are in vertebrate systematics, where molecular biologists are challenging a tradition that relies on studies of fossil skeletons and the bones and soft tissue of living species.”[3]

Molecular histories even contradict each other, with different molecules producing different evolutionary trees. Biologist Michael Lynch observes, “Clarification of the phylogenetic [i.e., evolutionary] relationships of the major animal phyla has been an elusive problem, with analyses based on different genes and even different analyses based on the same genes yielding a diversity of phylogenetic trees.”[4]

[1] National Academy of Sciences, 1999, p. 20.
[2] Ibid., p. 18.
[3] Trisha Gura, ”Bones, molecules...or both? Nature 406 (2000): 233.
[4] Michael Lynch, "The Age and Relationships of the Major Animal Phyla," Evolution 53 (1999): 323.

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