Circular definitions - Circular definitions Summary of...

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Circular definitions Summary of problems: This claim has a long history in the creationist literature, but is uniformly rejected by biologists as rooted in basic misunderstandings. The apparent homology of a single trait would not be treated as evidence of common descent. By examining multiple traits, all showing the same nested hierarchy of modifications of a common starting point, scientists can test hypotheses about common descent. There is nothing circular about this process. Full discussion: The argument that homology is defined in a circular manner was a centerpiece of Jonathan Wells's creationist book Icons of Evolution . Wells, an uncredited co-author of EE , undertook graduate studies in biology at the behest of his religious leaders. He explained to a Unification Church ("Moonie") publication "Father [Sun Myung Moon]'s words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism." EE reuses Wells's figure 4.1 as its figure 2:1, merely adding color to the figure. Similarly, the discussion of homology as a circular argument is a lightly rewritten version of what Wells wrote. Compare EE : Some biologists suggest that the problems of understanding homology stem from Darwin himself, who re-defined homology as the result of common ancestry. This made the concept of homology circular, say many critics. If homology is defined as "similarity due to common descent," then to say that homology provides evidence for common descent is to reason in a circle. EE , p. 49 Wells writes: before Darwin (and for Darwin himself), the definition of homology was similarity of structure and position …. But similarity of structure and position did not explain the origin of homology,
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Circular definitions - Circular definitions Summary of...

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