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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Intelligent design and common ancestry?

... the Darwinian cosmological story is subjected to an equally thorough shredding at each stage-by Denton, Johnson, Behe, and now Wells. A rare variation in this shredding is Behe's acceptance of common ancestry. The fact that he provisionally accepts common ancestry and yet remains a star in good standing shows Design's flexibility in tolerating members' evolutionary beliefs on certain topics.

- T. E. Woodward, Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design (Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 2003) p. 199.
Of course, by far the most controversial claim is common ancestry between humans and apes.

Common ancestry with apes is a central article of the new Darwin religion. Darwin “freed” people to recognize their kinship with apes. Hence the 98% or 99% chimpanzee riff, replete with engaging images of wise-looking chimps, a staple of popular media. (How come they never show chimps devouring monkeys alive?) We now even have an evolutionary advice columnist, who can tell you what an ape would do in your situation (just the information you really need).

The actual percentage of genetic similarity is more like 72%, consistent with what we observe,however risky it may be tosayso.

Now, let’s contrast all that with a design perspective: From a design perspective, common ancestry is simply one factor to be investigated among others. In any given case, it might be true, but might not. There have been many examples of convergent evolution, where things that look very similar are not closely genetically related. Too common, in fact, for the bedrock certainties of popular culture and the Darwinism that it gladly funds.

Hat tip for Woodward, Stephen E. Jones

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