Nathaniel T. Jeanson has a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University. Rather surprisingly, he also has a B.S. in Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He is now a Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research. The topic of this post is an article he published on the ICR website:
In this article, he performs some genetic alignments of the cytochrome b molecule, and I have reproduced his table below:
The numbers in the above table represent the percentage similarity between each pair of organisms. So, for example, the human and panda sequences are 79% identical, while the yeast and sea urchin sequences are only 50% identical.
Evolutionists hail the ordered, hierarchical pattern of human-to-other-species comparisons (depicted in the leftmost column of the table) as a fulfillment of the predictions of the evolutionary tree of life. However, as Michael Denton observed, and which we also observe, the rows of data depict something entirely different. As demonstrated by the comparisons of yeast to every other creature in the table (depicted in the bottommost row), the yeast cytochrome b cannot be arranged in any sort of hierarchy with the other creatures; yeast is equidistant from all other creatures. Hence, it appears that yeast cytochrome b is isolated, separate, and completely distinct from all other species in the table—it is as close to beetles as it is to humans!
Yes! Yeast is as close to beetles as it is to humans. This becomes plainly obvious if you attempt to arrange these species into an evolutionary family tree. Let’s build a hypothetical one using data straight from Wikipedia:
As you can see, Yeast is the only Fungi, so that is our first branch. Of the remaining animals, Beetle belong to the superphylum Ecdysozoa while all the others are Deuterostomes. A Sea Urchin belongs to Echinodermata, while the Tortoise, Panda and Human are all Chordates. The Tortoise belongs to Reptilia, which leaves the Panda and Human making up the final branch of Carnivora and Primates.
This is what the tree should look like:
- A represents the split between Fungi and Animalia
- B represents the split between Ecdysozoa and Deuterostomia
- C represents the split between Echinodermata and Chordata
- D represents the split between Reptilia and Mammalia
- E represents the split between Carnivora and Primates
So, how well does our hypothetical evolutionary tree explain the data? Evolutionary theory would predict that if the common ancestor to a given pair of species was relatively recent, then their DNA should be relatively similar. If the common ancestor was in the distant past, then there is much more time for mutations to accumulate, and the difference between the two sequences in the present day should be greater.
We can get a rough measure of how recently the species diverged by counting the length of the branches between the two species. So, for example, the “distance” between panda and human is one unit down from Panda to “E” and then another unit up to Human. Two units.
So why is the Yeast row showing “50” for every result? Simply because the distance between Yeast and any of the other organisms is the same. To get from Yeast to Tortoise you need to go down five units to “A”, up three units to “D” and then up another two units to Tortoise. That’s a total of ten units. What about Yeast to Human? Five units down to “A”, then another five units up to Human. Ten Units. Yeast to Beetle? Five units down to “A”, one unit up to “B” and then four units up to Beetle. Ten units. Yeast to Sea Urchin? Ten units. Yeast to Panda? Ten units. Dr Jeanson is absolutely correct: Yeast is equidistant to all the other animals!
What about the distance from Beetle to the other animals? Eight units. Sea Urchin to the Chordates? Six units. Tortoise to the mammals? Four units. If you look closely, there is an inverse relationship between the distance of two species and their genetic similarity. This is exactly what evolution would predict, and is borne out by the data.
How does creationism explain this relationship? If creation were true, and all these organisms were created separately, why would the Sea Urchin sequence be more similar to Human than it is to Yeast?