Joined: Oct. 2005
|Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Oct. 17 2005,19:29)|
| I have read him closely, which is part of the problem. In fact, I had to read Theobald very closely to see where he derives that huge, giant picture (otherwise known as Figure 1). Go to Part 4 (Protein Functional Redundancy) and look under "Criticisms". You should see a single citation. Click on it. What do you see? Hint: That slapping sound you just heard is your palm striking your forehead.|
Hmm...I'm reading Part 4, "Criticisms," and you know, I just don't hear any slapping sound. As he states in the article, the chances that any two organisms have any similarity at all in their cytochrome c is mildly surprising, given that almost any ordering of amino acids at all would work. And yet, "the phylogenetic tree constructed from the cytochrome c data exactly recapitulates the relationships of major taxa as determined by the completely independent morphological data (McLaughlin and Dayhoff 1973)." (emph. mine) If you ask me, that statement pretty much sums up exactly why you're wrong.
|Yep, Figure 1, cobbled together from - buckle the #### up!- a single protein. A _bad_ protein.|
What gives you the impression that Figure 1 is cobbled together from one single protein? Nowhere on that page does he indicate that the consensus tree pictured is based on any single protein, or indeed from protein analysis alone (or at all, for that matter). (Actually, if it were possible to construct Figure 1 by reference to a single protein, that would be nothing short of astounding, and a massive triumph for the field of comparative protein analysis.)
Theobald specifically states that the tree is derived from independent lines of research. This is exactly why there is very high confidence that the consensus tree is accurate.
|But for now, I'd settle for a tree that knows more than I do. Like, for example, that Chicken of the Sea is a brand name, not a suggestion for a phylogenetic tree.|
So it's your understanding that the tree depicted in Figure 1 is totally wrong? I think I know enough of taxonomy, based on my high school education (along with a lot of extracurricular reading), to know that tree is a reasonably accurate depiction of the interrelationships among the taxa included. Where do you think it's wrong? Do you think that humans are more closely related to, say, ferns than they are to other primates? Or that starfish are more closely related to mushrooms than they are to cows?
|Remember, folks, the molecules are for testing the consensus tree, not for deriving it. That is why it is called independent evidence. And the molecules can't even come up with a giggle-proof phylogeny.|
In the meantime, did you trouble to read Theobald's explanation of just how unlikely it is that any two independently-derived trees would bear any resemblance to each other? Theobald specifically states that the tree is derived from independent lines of research. So even if it were true that protein analysis couldn't come up with even a close resemblance to trees derived from other evidence (which isn't even remotely true), the consensus tree is derived from enough other independent lines of research to indicate that, if anything, the problem is with the protein analysis methodology, not the tree itself.
After all, Bill, protein analysis is a relatively new science. Major portions of the consensus tree haven't changed in a hundred years. If protein analysis has difficulties building an accurate tree, why do you assume that means the tree is completely bogus?
Just out of curiosity, William...do you deny evolution in its entirety? Are you a believer in special creation?
2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity
"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams