Re: Date for Last Common Ancestor?

Stephen Barnard (
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 05:14:28 -0800

Susan S. Chin wrote:
> The problem I see with this argument is that evolution occurs in nature,
> not in a mathematical equation (or whatever that was). As such,
> hierarchies exist, meaning differing levels of organization produce
> elements that can't possibly be accounted for by simple equations. It'd
> be nice (no, it wouldn't actually) if things were as simple as you've
> made it out. But I seriously doubt that they ever are in nature.

The only fact of nature that this argument relies on is that no one has
more than one mother. I suppose there are other hidden assumptions,
such as that all inheritance comes from one's parents, and not from (for
example) gene transfer via viruses. Otherwise, it's just an exercise in
logic. There may be an error in the logic, because I'm far from
infallible, but you haven't pointed it out. You merely questioned my
motives in another post.

Mathematics isn't a useless frippery. It allows us to draw conclusions
from assumptions. If the assumptions are true and the logic is correct
then the conclusions are correct.

Steve Barnard