Handmade Teapot

Pottery’s Tree of Life

Analogies are powerful tools teaching us to think and picture what is going on. Jesus was fond of using them to help everyday people understand important truths. They are also great at getting out of a context we’ve gotten used to in order to examine if a line of reasoning really holds up.

Many thanks to Natalie Schlabach of NSPottery for the use of her pictures!

I’ve been wanting to write about this for years, and now, taking a page from Dr. Lisle’s book, I’m going to present to you the Evolutionary Tree of Pottery!  This first bit is copied, pasted, and altered from the Tree of Life Web Project.

Evidence from morphological, [chemical and patina] data suggests that all [pottery] on Earth are [chemically] related, and the genealogical relationships of [pottery] can be represented by a vast evolutionary tree, the Tree of [Pottery].  The [pottery we have] today are but the leaves of this giant tree, and if we could trace their history back down the branches of the Tree of [Pottery], we would encounter their ancestors, which [were around] thousands or millions or hundreds of millions of years ago…


Here’s how it works:

In the beginning you have_???_ (the biggest mystery in all of science)

Then this gives rise to the first plate-like pottery. Small and simple, but still useful in the right setting:

After sprinkling it liberally with time, two things begin to happen (or was that three?).  Some of these little button-like things stay exactly the same, but some begin to mutate, growing and deforming into new shapes.

These new shapes form The Families of the Plates:

and The Bowls (whether these are a separate group or evolved from the plates is a matter of debate):

Many eons of mutations later you had a great variety of pottery.  For example, look at all the variation in the Soap Dish family:

and even an Albino:

(Now things get tricky)

As the environment that the Pottery found itself in changed, its form and purpose mutated to adapt to each new situation.  Natural Selection made sure that only those varieties of pottery survived that would thrive and be useful in each area.

For example, can you guess what kind of environment gave rise to this pottery family? It obviously is more primitive than some of the later forms because it still has the archeo-metallic elements of the earliest pottery forms.

There was another path that pottery took, logically following from The Bowl Family.  Here are some of its primitive members:

Leading to progressively more advanced forms, finally even things like this:

All of these progressions make a very neat and tidy story of the history of pottery.  There are a few kinks, but with another dose of time, I’m sure we’ll understand it all perfectly!

But, to see the kinds of puzzles pottery can pose check this piece out:

Did this come from the plate family or the bowl family, or did they converge and share their forms with each other to produce one of these?


End of Story

Well, what do you think? Is this how things actually happened, or is it a big fat whopper? Read through the kinds of thinking used here and you’ll start to recognize the same logic all over the place.

So, what did this kind of thinking forget to include from the beginning?

the potter

Life has a “potter” too. We call him the Creator. Leaving Him out of the story makes everything we study no better than a fairy tale in a lab coat!

Oh, yes, does using the same materials, body plans, and functions mean creatures have to have be evolved from a single organism? Not at all.

Praise be to our Great Creator who is so smart He can use the same materials (which He personally designed and brought into existence) to form so many different kinds of life forms!

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Isaiah 64:8

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), also Lateral g...

The Tree of Life provides a rigorous framework it is an ideal model for the organization of biological knowledge. (Tree of Life web project)

Quote of the Day from the Tree of Life Project:  “The notion that all of life is genetically connected via a vast phylogenetic tree is one of the most romantic notions to come out of science. How wonderful to think of the common ancestor of humans and beetles. This organism most likely was some kind of a worm.”

Oh, boy, they’re in LOVE with worms.  I’d much rather be in LOVE with my Creator God!

Can YOU Spot Them?

Can You Spot the Common Ancestors? Part 2

Warning: this post is really long, but it’s got an important point at the end. You can make it!

All right, let’s get back to our hunt for a common ancestor for seagulls!

English: Modified version of http://en.wikiped...

After the grouping Theropoda on the Tree of Life Web Project we are still following a “containing group”. No one is willing to say which one of these organisms is their grandparents at all. Next comes Dinosauria, which is easy to figure out, but have you ever heard which one is supposed to be their ancestor?

On that page there’s a name where two branches join, “Saurischia”. Could it be a dino they believe turned into the others? When you search around for what “saurischia” means, it’s just another group name. No dinosaur has that name for itself.

Next comes Archosauria, which doesn’t have a chart again. Let’s see what we find on the next link with the tongue twister name Archosauromorpha. Oooh! Look at this:

UofC Museum of Paleontology: The phylogenetic definition of Archosauria is the most recent common ancestor of birds and crocodiles, and all of its descendants.

We’ve got a common ancestor! But what does the Tree of Life page show? A single animal? It does have a picture of a bird (it’s a cormorant), which is supposed to have evolved from dinosaurs, it can’t be the dinosaurs’ common ancestor. There’s also a list of all different forms of extinct creatures, but no sign that one of them was the original version they all developed from. 🙁


Next comes the “containing group”, Diapsida which has a connecting chart. At the top, those archosauromorphia are connected to other lizard types with a line labeled “sauria“. Think this will be a common ancestor? A dictionary tells us “saurian” is just the ancient name for lizards.

We still are using classifications (except lumping birds in) that a creationist would have no problem with and no hint of a single “common ancestor”. This is getting discouraging.

Oh, goody, Amniota, has two names where branches come together towards the “first living cell”: Romeriida and Reptilia. The only websites using the term Romeriida (not a commonly used name) were Evolutionary wikis, so I won’t link to them. Mostly they talked about a group of “earliest form reptiles” but didn’t pick one out. They did list one particular fossil “Romeria” but said it has been thrown out as a possible common ancestor.

As for “Reptilia”, you can figure this one out; it just means “reptiles”.

Terrestrial Vertebrates  is the containing group for Amniota and gives us two more names where branches meet: Reptilomorpha and Tetrapoda. I bet you know what the first one means “has the form of a reptile”. It is not a particular animal. Neither is “tetrapoda“:

Hynerpeton bassetti, a basal tetrapoda from th...

Hynerpeton bassetti, a “basal tetrapoda” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dictionary Reference.com Tetrapod: any vertebrate having four limbs or, as in the snake and whale, having had four-limbed ancestors.

I would disagree with them on the whale, but you get the idea.

The terrestrial vertebrates page is perfect for showing what a common ancestor ought to look like. See all those branching steps? Each place where the lines jo
in should be a real animal, but all the lines are blank; they don’t try to make any suggestions on what any of them could be.

The Sarcopterygii group is listed under the Gnathostomata group that has several more groups on the lines. What do you think of that “Node 1”. That’s an strange scientific term.

The Vertebrata  page turns out to have 3 of these Nodes. Below the chart is a list of what they mean. Turns out they are just more ways to organize animals. Except for the way they draw lines showing they believe “Node 1” turned into “Node 2” Creationists would probably set this up the same way.

A family Tree

What a real family Tree looks like

On to Craniata (we have to be getting there soon!), this is the grouping for any animal with a skull. Then comes Chordata, or, any animal with a spinal column. No common ancestor there. Deuterostomia doesn’t make a suggestion either.

I’m guessing most of you are taking my word for it on most of these links, but I’d really like you to click on Bilateria. See those short lines, white space, followed by a question mark and short lines on the right? That’s the way a creationist would set up all the genaeologies for creatures once you get to the “kind” level. They started on Creation Days 4, 5, or 6 from ancestors who already looked something like their grandchildren today (or would if they’d survived).

You don’t even need an explanation for the next page name, Animals. We know they can’t be talking about some particular version (except maybe a puppet) and the next, Eukaryotes, is just a fancy way to say ‘any creature whose cells have a nucleus’.

This page is followed by a page titled Life on Earth. That is not the name of a common ancestor! And when we click on the arrow to the left we find…. there isn’t a link. It just has an arrow to nothing.

What do we see in all this exhausting search? The Evolutionists think we’re crazy for believing in a genius Creator God. They say any one with a brain knows life can develop all by itself from nothing. They claim the facts are all on their side and we Christians only have blind faith.

Looking at the Tree of Life website, who has faith, even when things become crazy for thinking that way? Are the facts really on their side?

O LORD, how your works are multiplied! in wisdom you made them all: the earth is full of your riches. Psalm 104:24 

For more check out: Darwin Then and Now: Evolution 101, Non-Existent Common Ancestors

Can YOU Spot Them?

Can You Spot the Common Ancestors? Part 1

A phylogenetic tree showing the three-domain s...

“Evolutionary tree showing the divergence of modern species from their common ancestor in the center. The three domains are colored, with bacteria blue, archaea green, and eukaryotes red.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know the basic definition of biological evolution (The idea that life developed from non-living things)? This is actually something people who believe in Evolution don’t like to talk about and we’re going to find out why.

Here’s part of Websters’ Online Dictionary’s definition of the Evolution of living things:

(3) The development of each species from different, usually simpler ancestral forms. The more similar are two species, the closer in time are they likely to be to a common ancestor. (Arbib) . . .

For example, these DNA sequence comparisons have revealed the close genetic similarity between humans and chimpanzees and shed light on when the common ancestor of these species existed. (I made the important bits bold)

Whether the evolutionists like it or not, they have to believe everything alive today developed from organisms who had some children that turned into one thing while other children turned into a completely different kind. Let’s see if we can find some examples of such a many-talented animal.

For example: some Evolutionary scientists want to make Sharovipteryx the great grandpa of the pterasaurs, but others recognize how crazy that idea is. The more you look at Evolutionary stories for grownups, the more you find out how crazy all their ideas are.

Let’s see what the Tree of Life Web Project thinks about common ancestors. You can pick any creature you like (there’s a search box on the left, it’ll give you the Latin name to click on).

Here’s an example of what you’ll find:


Birds (Photo credit: Kenny Teo (zoompict))

I started with “gulls” which led me to the Larus group.  Under the great pictures (it’s fun to hunt around on that site because of the photos), you’ll find a long list of different seagulls with gray lines connecting groups (any species names on those lines?). On the far left you find an arrow that turns into a link when you scroll over it. It should lead us to their “common ancestor”, right?

No, it just links to the larger class of birds which include the gulls, called Laridae. It has more gray lines bunching birds into groups with another arrow on the left. Click on that and… surely they’ll have an ancestor now!…. you come to and even wider grouping of birds.

BTW, do we have any problem with grouping animals as Creationists? Hardly! The guy who invented the modern classification system was a Creationist.

English: Extinct Birds is a book by Walter Rot...Next stop brings us to a grouping called Neoaves (which means “new flyers”) and those are part of the Neornithes (“new birds”) class. The following arrow leads us to Aves which has a bunch of names with a cross next to them (parents, don’t you love it; even on the evolutionary page, they still can’t escape Jesus!). I’ve written about archaeopteryx, plus there are 5 other birds which used to live and aren’t around any more. 🙁

OK, now we’re getting to the ancestors of birds, or are we? The “Aves” page doesn’t even have any arrows! But, there is a link to a “containing group” Coelurosauria.

For some reason they don’t even pretend to know how each group here is “related” to the others. But you will see they’re pushing the idea of dinosaurs evolving into birds with their page, though. You can see they really mean this when the next “containing group” is called Theropoda or “Bipedal predatory dinosaurs”.

Would a Creationist have put birds into this group, or skipped right to the “four-limbed” category?

Let’s stop here for now, but we aren’t even close to the end! I’ll post Part 2 next time.

And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Romans 1:23 

For an idea of what it would take to turn a dino into a bird, check out the Institute for Creation Research article: What Would Need to Change for a Dinosaur to Evolve into a Bird