It’s just not like that, says a Queen Mary U prof. He points to this vid:
The lay-person reading this, or watching the video above, is given the clear impression that every gene or pseudogene in every living organism gives essentially the same phylogenetic tree, when analysed with its homologs from other species. This is simply not true.
If this were true, then phylogeny building in the genomic era would be a walk in the park. But, as many of my readers will know from personal experience, it is not.
If this were true, terms like horizontal gene transfer, incomplete lineage sorting, introgression, and molecular convergence would be rare curiosities in the genomic literature. But they are common (click on the links in the previous sentence to see searched for these terms on Google Scholar).
I hardly need to labour my point to the present audience. Dawkins’ statements are simply wrong. Gloriously and utterly wrong.Richard Buggs, “Obsolete Dawkinsian evidence for evolution” at Nature: Ecology & Evolution
You know, Dawkins may be losing his shine. New Scientist was making similar types of noise last October. It’s now okay to say when there’s something wrong with this stuff.
See, for example: The Selfish Gene is no longer cool. At New Scientist: “Some researchers think the solution lies in an idea called cultural group selection. Forget shared genes, they argue: selection can favour cooperative groups if the people within them share enough culture.” Darwin has left the building and returned to his estate.
This is New Scientist we’re talking about. And that’s Dawkins’s Selfish Gene.
So maybe science really is self-correcting. We’ve had lots of reasons to wonder if that’s just a myth. You know, nonsense drop-kicked from one journal article to the next doesn’t inspire confidence.
If they can set the record straight about the Tree of Life stuff, maybe a lot of other things would start getting straightened out.