Re: Homology and homoplasy, from Icons of Evolution

From: George Hammond (
Date: Thu Jun 14 2001 - 21:42:19 EDT

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    bivalve wrote:
    > (For non-biologists, homoplasy is convergent similarity and homology is similarity due to common descent.)
    > I think we are in basic agreement that function (broadly defined to include developmental constraints, etc.), common descent, design, and convergence can all lead to similarities among organisms. I would emphasize that the presence of a common function does not rule out a role for common descent; perhaps the ancestor already encountered the functional constraints and adapted to them, or the developmental constraints are inherited from a common ancestor.

      Sir Richard Owen pointed out 150 years ago (1847) that the
    Vertebrate Skeleton is "3-Axis Cartesian" (as in Cartesian
    Coordinates). Turns out the Body-Plan of ALL Plants and
    Animals manifests this geometrical cross structure. Therefore
    one can properly state that THIS most fundamental and "first
    homology" does not stem from a "common ancestor"... it stems
    from the Cartesian Geometry of Space itself. As Sir Richard
    put it "It was ordained by God and is immune to Evolution".
      Thus the "Cross structure" of the human body which is
    epitomized in History's central Anatomy lesson- the
    Crucifix of Christianity.
      This fact, it turns out is far, far more relevant to the
    Science-Religion "Creation" controversy than genetic Evolution
    which as Owen pointed out 150 years ago, is only a political
    Straw Man in the argument, and fodder for pedant conversation.

    George Hammond, M.S. Physics

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