Monday, November 12, 2007

Wolf-to-Whale Evolution

For scientists, finding agreement among several lines of evidence brings confidence that an explanation may have some validity. On the other hand, when different lines of evidence lead to opposite conclusions, this suggests that one’s hypothesis needs to be refined or rejected. A classic example of the latter situation comes, ironically, from what has been put forth as one of the strongest evidences for evolution--the wolf to whale hypothesis.

The evolutionary idea is that whales evolved from a terrestrial, wolf-like creature (a mesonychid). For some time, proponents of this idea advanced a series of fossil creatures that, they suggested, showed a series of steps between this mesonychid on one end and a whale on the other. Unfortunately, as scientists examine the morphology of whales, they realize that whales are morphologically more similar to pigs than to wolves. This is problematic in itself, but the situation is worse (for the evolutionist). Molecular information (DNA analysis) is also now available for assessing the wolf to whale story. It turns out that whales have a closer molecular affinity to hippos than to wolves.

Were* the wolf to whale hypothesis a valid explanation (for the origin of whales), one would expect to find agreement among the fossil evidence, the morphological evidence, and the molecular evidence. Instead, each line of evidence leads to a different conclusion, which argues against the validity of this particular story (best evidence though it may be for evolution).



* (“Were” is here used as the past subjunctive form of “to be” and should not be confused with the archaic word for “man” that, when combined with “wolf,” describes a mythological creature capable of transforming from a man to a wolf and back. This author will, however, allow the reader to draw his own conclusions about whether an inadvertent juxtaposition of these two concepts--werewolves and the wolf-to-whale hypothesis--is, after all, appropriate.)

7 comments:

lt said...

Rick,

Check out this story. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/11/071112-space-rock.html

Are scientists so desperate to deny God that they need to come up with new experiments to try and prove where life came from?

If they were to, instead, spend their time and energy into researching the origin of life from the Bible, it wouldn't take long for them to "see the light".

Av8torBob said...

Rick,
You make a great point about the cumulative case (fossil, morphological, molecular) against the hypothesis. Too, often supporting evidence for these claims is based ONLY on the one line that happens to agree with their presuppositions.

And I love the were wolf explanation. I laughed out loud at that one. :-)

Bob

Anonymous said...

If only closed minded people had closed mouths. Rick, google Christopher Hitchens....you'll have a hay day.

Patricio said...

Very interesting article. I can't say i've heard of this theory before.

Anonymous said...

Rick,
You bring up a good point. Plus, mesonychids are not even supposed to be in the evolutionary ancestry of wolves. Why can't evolutionists just admit that there making this stuff up?

Anonymous said...

The great thing about science is it's true whether you believe in it or not.

Anonymous said...

Too bad we CANNOT say "The great thing about scientists is that they are truthful whether you believe them or not." Mainstream scientists tend to resist challenges to current orthodoxy, even when the evidence is clear. Kuhn documented this resistance in his "Structure of Scientific Revolutions." It appears that the old joke is true about science advancing one funeral at a time as old scientists pass away.