Yes, that’s another problem with the ID/young-earth proposed miracles. As ID sometimes admits, finding a complex molecular structure that actually couldn’t be produced by evolution wouldn’t tell us who made it - was it God or Baal or Zeus or advanced aliens or what? In contrast, biblical miracles are well-labeled as signs - pointing specifically to YHWH.
First off, phyla don’t exist in nature, and neither do classes, orders, families, or genera. The only thing that exists in nature are species. All of the other taxonomic ranks were created by humans and imposed on nature. Phyla are nothing more than the very first branches early in life. Today, they would just be considered new species, and possibly a new genus. The only reason they are phyla today is the due to the billions of years that has passed since those initial lineages diverged from one another. It is no different than a new tree where the first branches are but small buds at first, but over time those first new buds turn into massive branches supporting a large part of the tree.
To address your question more directly, we can test for shared ancestry by testing for phylogenetic signal. That is, we see if life falls into a tree-like structure.
Science isn’t limited by your imagination. I would suggest that you learn about the science. A good place to start is here:
How do you test the claim that the evolutionary processes you mentioned are responsible for a mammal evolving from a non-mammal, for example?
My understanding is that the fossil record reveals, not a single tree of universal common descent, but rather what could be described as an orchard of trees (phyla) arising independently of each other. Nested hierarchies then develop over time within each tree and are evidence of evolution, but not evidence that all life on earth descended from a common ancestor.
You test for a phylogenetic signal in the morphological and genetic data. That is, you see if there is a nested hierarchy.
Then your understanding is wrong.
My understanding is the fossil record shows that all
Ediacaran biota became extinct, which leaves the “small, Shelly fauna” as the only (alleged) evolutionary ancestors of all Cambrian biota. Sorry, but going from “small, shelly fauna” to something like a trilobite is hardly my idea of evidence of a “contiguous process of gradual biological evolution”.
Could you please show us the evidence that the Ediacaran biota left no living descendants?
You are under the false impression that the fossil record is capable of capturing this continuous process, especially when we have searched such a tiny percentage of the fossil record.
And we have very little data from that period: I know of 3 areas with good Ediacaran fossils (Ediacara Hills, Australia; Mistaken Point, Canada; and near where I live, in North Carolina.) And earlier Cambrian has only a dozen or so.
Confidently interpreting the data as pointing toward a lack of connections is like looking at a large puzzle when we have most of one side, a few percent of the next few rows, and a few pieces scattered around the rest of the puzzle, and concluding that the pieces in between cannot exist, because the connections aren’t obvious.
Using similar logic, I would have to conclude that my dad grew from a baby to an adult in discontinuous bursts of growth based on the photographic record of his life. In one photo he was 10 days old, and the next he was 10 months old. There had to be a miracle in between.
Almost all animal phyla appeared during the Cambrian explosion, separately and independently of each other. The “branches” connecting them to form a tree of common descent exist only in the minds of Darwinists. These “branches” are often depicted in diagrams as if they are factual representations of fossil evidence, when in fact they are merely inferred/imaginary.
If evolution is true then we should see the first branches in the tree of life in the earliest fossil beds. That’s exactly what we see. Phyla are the earliest branches, and they appear right where they should appear.
As to separately and independently, how did you determine this?
False. They exist in the features shared between phyla and in the DNA shared between phyla.
Thank you for agreeing with me that he “branches” between phyla are INFERRED and NOT the evidence of fossils.
And furthermore, these inferred “branches” are based on the ASSUMPTION that genetic and morphological similarities imply common descent.
Darwinists propaganda, of course, neglects to mention these things and misleadingly passes off the “branches” as factual - reason enough not to trust the claims of evolutionary science.
Yes, in science we use facts to infer. It’s how the scientific method works.
And yes, we have mountains of evidence for evolution before we even look at one fossil.
The theory of evolution predicts that we should observe a nested hierarchy. That isn’t an assumption. That’s the test of the theory. We don’t assume that there is a nested hierarchy. We OBSERVE that there is a nested hierarchy. The theory predicts what we should see, and that is what we observe. That’s how the scientific method works.
Edgar, how do you alternatively explain the evidence? I understand you are an old earth type of guy, so presumably some variety of progressive creation?
You forgot to mention that the branches appear only WITHIN individual phylum - contrary to Darwinist folklore, there is no fossil evidence of branches BETWEEN phyla, meaning there is no fossil evidence of a tree of universal common descent.
I don’t have an explanation or the evidence. No one can be even sure of what happened, let lone explain how it happened. There appears to be evidence of evolution and there also appears to be evidence of creation, but I’m happy to accept it all as a profound mystery.
I have no problem with an inferred scientific conclusion. However I do have a big problem with passing off an inferred conclusion based on an assumption as a fact, which is intellectual dishonesty and an insult to the noble pursuit of science.
Animals easily recognizable as members of all modern phyla that have any chance of being recognizably preserved (generic worms are a challenge) appear somewhere between ~650 and ~520 MYA. The Cambrian Explosion is a period of punctuated equilibrium, with a bunch of new niches opening up, hence a bunch of things exploiting those niches. By now, those branches have had 500 million years to diverge into different phyla.
We shouldn’t find anything truly transitional between modern forms: that would be like finding solid evidence that your second cousin, who is the same age as you, is your father. What we do find are things like Hallucigenia, Kimberella, or Pikaia which look very much like ancestors (or close to ancestors) of arthropods and onychophorans, mollusks, and chordates. We also have the problem of extremely sparse data: there are only about 15 sites with Cambrian lagerstatte deposits, and three Ediacaran ones, which are the only ones that preserve most of the taxa.
I agree that stating the branch positions as fact is bad. The statement “this explanation is the best one that anyone has yet formulated, and probably still needs work” is accurate.
Saying that the evidence does not suggest common ancestry is also intellectual dishonesty. Whether common ancestry is true cannot be confirmed, but the evidence does strongly suggest that it is fairly accurate.