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The Tree of Life
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The 'Tree of Life' Project

The federal government is planning to subsidize a project that aims to map the family tree of every living creature on earth. This plan has hit a hot button with Creationists, who reject Darwinian Theory for a literal application of biblical scriptures to the science of life. Whether tax dollars should be spent on this project is not just an economic question, but a religious one for some.  The following are two pro- and con- editorials.

Con:  So the federal government is about to embark on a $150 million "Tree of Life" project in an attempt to map every living plant and animal species known (and unknown) to mankind (March 15 article, "U.S. planning a family tree for every creature on earth"). And all these progeny are supposed to be the descendants of one single-cell microbe, a "miracle" cell that evolution has no clue how it may have arisen through natural processes.

Evolution truly is the "emperor with no clothes." There should be a public outcry at spending this sum of money when it could be directed toward real education.

It will be interesting when this project is complete in 10 years to see on which branch of the tree the duckbill platypus will be placed. This strange mosaic has the characteristics of mammals, reptiles, fish and birds with no known evolutionary ancestors. God does have a sense of humor after all. -- Submitted to Austin American-Statesman by Wendell Reeves, on 19 March, 2003

Evolution and the Bible

  • The Judeo-Christian Bible says that knowledge about origins of life is forbidden to man:

Genesis 3:22-24 - And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever. Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

  • However, the Bible does say that there is one source of all life:

Revelation 22:2 - In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.


The federal government is trying to create a comprehensive "Tree of Life," assigning every creature, living or extinct, to its proper branch, twig and leaf.

Assembling the tree of life.

"The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications." ~ Charles Darwin, 1859

Check out the many different groups of species in what scientists call the Tree of Life. With pictures and notes on how groups are related.

Description includes texts that will be used, ceremonies and meditations. Students will have the opportunity to design their own tree.

Pro:  I agree with Wendell Reeves, except with the conclusion he makes as to the validity of the "Tree of Life" study. Since every complex life form begins as a single cell which then divides, multiplies, and develops into thousands of different types of cells which make up a single organism, I don't see why it isn't possible that all life forms do descend, over great time and distance, from a single "mother" cell.

I do agree with Mr. Reeves, with great personal pleasure, that this study will yield yet another proof that the Gods who designed the platypus do indeed have a sense of humor. I just don't think Mr. Reeves 'gets it'.

Why do "Creationists" fight so hard against Darwin and the theory of evolution? Remember how Galileo had to recant his belief that the Earth travels around the Sun or face a death sentence for heresy? Dogmatists who demonize science have minds closed to the evidence that science is the language of the Gods, not a threat to their worship. They have denied the incredible power and mastery of the very Creator they say they worship.

Like the ancient alchemists and astrologers, who were the first chemists and astronomers, I am convinced that science is the way to know our Creator -- and our own life's purpose -- through knowing the creation. In every microcosm and macrocosm alike, there can be found signs of intelligent design so profound in its simplicity and perfection -- and diversity -- that with awareness, we must be in awe at a power far beyond our understanding. The more we know, the more awesome the God-force becomes.

The best science does not deny the existence of God, it shows how the power of God works and through that, validates our faith in God's existence. The humor -- and the tragedy -- is in all the misguided actions people take to defend their tiny, encapsulated concept of God. -- The Editor

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