Unforeseen Complexities in Darwin’s Tree of Life

Unforeseen Complexities in Darwin’s Tree of Life August 15, 2018


Taken, with caption (modified), from Wikimedia Commons s.v. exoplanets.
This artist’s conception illustrates a Jupiter-like planet alone in the dark of space, floating freely without a parent star. Astronomers recently uncovered evidence for ten such lone worlds, which are thought to have been “booted,” or ejected, from developing solar systems. The planet survey, called the Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics (MOA) project, scanned the central bulge of our Milky Way galaxy from 2006 to 2007. It used a 5.9-foot (1.8-meter) telescope at Mount John University Observatory in New Zealand, and a technique called gravitational microlensing. Astronomers estimate that free-floating worlds are more common than stars in our Milky Way galaxy, and perhaps in other galaxies, too.  (NASA public domain image)


Life cannot have had a random beginning. . . .  The trouble is that there are about 2000 enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10^40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.  (Sir Fred Hoyle [1915 – 2001], British astrophysicist)




This is a long but truly fascinating article:


The Scientist Who Scrambled Darwin’s Tree of Life: How the microbiologist Carl Woese fundamentally changed the way we think about evolution and the origins of life.”


One of my most dedicated, overheated, and hyper-enthusiastic misreaders will, very likely, scan quickly through the article, conclude (as he always does) that it illustrates my fearful hatred of scientific rationality and my incapacity for understanding science, and fall all over himself rushing back to his online home to lament my religion-imposed blinders, etc.  I think, by now, that a simple computer program could be developed to write his odd but entirely predictable reactions well in advance.




Another interesting but quite different piece:


“Human remains buried at Stonehenge 5,000 years ago offer a clue to where they came from”




And, in a slightly congenial vein:


“Archaeologists use ancient dirty dishes to reconstruct climate shifts: Hydrogen isotope analysis reconstructed the impact of a Neolithic climate shift.”


Perhaps future archaeologists will someday find significance in the dirty dishes that I fail to wash when my wife is away.  I think I’ll try to use that as a justification.  It should work, don’t you think?




Some of you may be unaware of the fact that the Interpreter Foundation publishes books.  And an even greater number may not know that Interpreter has published a specific volume titled Science and Mormonism: Cosmos, Earth, and Man,  which was edited by David H. Bailey, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, John S. Lewis, Gregory L. Smith, and Michael Stark.


Alas, it includes a preface by science-hating and scientist-fearing moi.


Other than that, though, it’s a very good book — and it’s available for purchase.



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