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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Trees ... and Flowers ... and 'Evolution'

'News' at Uncommon Descent recently made a post drawing attention to an evolutionist's statement that "... we don’t know much about how speciation happens in trees."

This prompted me to drop a note to Denyse O'Leary (who is frequently, though not always, 'News') mentioning a Darwinist conundrum about trees and flowers -- well, it would be a conundrum to DarwinDefenders were they not so highly skilled in ignoring everything that needs to be ignored so as to protect their metaphysical speculations disguised as 'Science!' from rational critical evaluation.

The initial note I sent Mrs O'Leary was:
Except for their mode of reproduction, flowering trees and non-flowering trees are more like than flowering trees are to flowering non-trees. However, by their mode of reproduction, oak trees are more like tulips than like pine trees.

It's a great mystery ... if your religion is evolutionism.
A follow-up note to explain in more detail was:
You may recall Darwin's "abominal mystery".

So far as I know, he, nor his followers, never even thought about it in these terms, though they should be doing so: but flowering plants are "abominable" from the DarwinDefender point of view not just in their origin, but also in the fact that flowering plants are so diverse in all ways but the flowers themselves. A tulip blossom and an apple blossom (*) are both "perfect flowers" (**) (see here, as mentioned at the bottom of that page, so is an oat blossom) and also "complete flowers" -- the flowers have the same structures, which, according to evolutionists, are always descended/modified from the same parts (***). But other than the flowers, apple trees and tulip plants have few, if any, similarities in their gross characteristics.

Think about it: for Darwinistic evolutionism to be consistent, the apple and the tulip *must* be more closely related by descent than the apple is to the pine, despite that both being trees, apples and pines grow/develop and maintain their health and lives in very similar ways. The "permanent" part of an apple or pine is the layer of actively growing cells just below the bark (including the roots). But the "permanent" part of a tulip is the little disk at the bottom of the bulb, from which disk (re)grows the roots (it's a yearly affair) and leaves and flower stems. This point is even more ovbious with daffodils and onions. A pine or an apple overwinters by storing food in its roots, which persist, and continuously grow similarly to the branches, year ro year. A tulip sheds its roots as part of its overwintering strategy and instead stores food in the bulb, which has no counterpart in the apple.

(*) I changed my tree example from oak to apple. I had initially picked oak because ‘mighty oaks’ are such exemplar trees in our language; but oak flowers are not “perfect” and are so inconspicuous that most people don’t realize they have flowers.

Perhaps, for the irony of it, I should have picked tulip trees to contrast with tulips.

(**) Apparently, botanists have changed the definition of "perfect flower", for I used to see the term used for what it seems is now called a "complete flower".

Also, it *used* to be that a "perfect flower" (now a "complete flower") had FIVE parts, not four. Goodness, I wish they'd make up their minds!

(***) Flower petals, for instance, are claimed to be modified leaves.


ict558 said...

Darwin's "abominable mystery"?

There is now micro-fossil evidence available (again, thanks to those physicists) that flowering plants evolved during the Permian era, alongside their coniferous cousins. Plenty of time, then, to diversify and develop, 'exploding' upon the scene when environmental circumstances favoured them.

No surprise, then, that flowering plants share a genetic code with their coniferous cousins, which - if expressed - enables them to grow as trees.

(And, of course, the evolution of the bulb, which is unique to flowering plants, can only have taken place after the evolution of those flowering plants.)

A point to bear in mind when comparing the observable characteristics of organisms is that the molecular sequences of DNA which make up a genetic code do not specify those observable characteristics as such.

Each 'bit' of DNA dictates the synthesis of a particular protein. It is the interactions of all these particular proteins that determines the distinctive structure and function of the adult organism.

As for the petal, this has evolved independently several times, within different 'families' of flowering plants. The stamen or the leaf structures are modified to create the petal.