A Relatively Modern Science Concept
This week, scientists at National Academy of Sciences in Washington have released a new version of the tree of life.
The graphic shows everything science knows about the relationship of all living things on the planet. With the inclusion of 2.3 million species the graphic is the most complete of its kind.
As complete as it is, it is far from finished. With an estimated 8.7 million of species today, (that doesn't include the species that have gone extinct) there are still quite a lot of blank spaces to fill in the record.
One of the aspects of Darwin's theory of evolution was that all life -including humankind- is related and originated from the same primitive organisms. That every living thing, from microbes to fungus to giraffes, on the planet ultimately share a common ancestor.
In some ways, it's a really ethereal idea which helps us find our place in the larger scheme of things. Our uniqueness as a life form comes in our knowing that place.
The history of living things is documented through multiple lines of evidence that converge to tell the story of life through time.
Researcher Douglas Soltis of the University of Florida said:
"As important as showing what we do know about relationships, this first tree of life is also important in revealing what we don't know."
It's hard to find a better statement that better represents what science is really all about. Amid and in contrast to all of this marvelous science showing us the miraculous story of how life began, there was in the same week a video of Dr. Carson and his view of evolution.
Carson on Newton
Before nodding spectators, Dr. Ben Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Republican Presidential hopeful, expounded on his views about creationism vs. evolution at the conference called Celebration of Creation.