Joined: May 2002
It appears that the thread has devolved into several subtopics that are not strictly related to phylogenetic tree (non)congruence. Hunter's non-congruence reasons for why we should doubt the common descent of (say) Animalia appear to have been rebutted, as he is now raising numerous different issues that would take their own threads to address:
- Arguments about genes/development/homology
- Can speciation occur by natural processes?
- Can mutation+selection produce creative evolution?
I think that these questions are perhaps the real reasons that Hunter doubts common descent of animal species, not because the phylogenetic evidence is against it.
I think that the thylacine example is worth cogitating on further regarding ID vs. evolution, as it is not an isolated event but rather an instance of a very common phenomenon in biology: in geographically isolated regions, relatively unrelated organisms adapt to fill quite specific niches, but do it by "reinvention" that always differs in the details. Information transplants are not seen.
I would humbly note that this is what Darwin realized about the Galapagos species of turtles (and later, finches) once the taxonomists got to work on them back in Britain. He and many other world travellers have made remarks like "it is as if different creators acted in different places" or words to that effect.
When convergent organisms are transplanted by humans or natural events, a very common occurence is extinction of the native species. It's almost like whatever the creative force is draws its power from the size and time of isolation of the land mass in question...