Richard Dawkins Is Still Wrong About the Tree of Life
Following up on my last post, I thought I would post a bit more about Richard Dawkins's wishful assertions about the perfect tree of life that does not exist.
Here is a fuller statement by Dawkins from the video referenced in the last post:
... compare the genes of any pair of animals you like—a pair of animals or a pair of plants—and then plot out the resemblances and they fall in a perfect hierarchy, a perfect family tree. … Moreover the same thing works with every gene you do separately and even pseudogenes that don’t do anything but are vestigial relics of genes that once did something.
In a video exchange with Craig Venter and Dawkins on the same panel, Venter said this:
The tree of life is an artifact of some early scientific studies that aren't really holding up...So there is not a tree of life.
Dawkins took issue with that:
I'm intrigued at Craig saying that the tree of life is a fiction. I mean...the DNA code of all creatures that have ever been looked at is all but identical.
And Larry Moran confirmed that Venter was right and Dawkins was wrong:
Everything that Ventor [sic] says is correct. He didn't need to quibble about the universality of the genetic code but it's true that there are variants.
His point about the tree of life is correct, especially in a discussion about the origin of life. It's unfortunate that Richard Dawkins repeatedly makes such an issue about the tree of life because he's on shakey [sic] ground when he does that. I assume that Dawkins hasn't studied the problem. However, he's in good company since most scientists don't understand the problems with the early tree of life.