A Dialogue with Nathaniel Jeanson?

No one will or should take it seriously until at least a majority of YEC biologists agree this is a serious challenge to consensus views of origins models.*

Here you reveal that you don’t even want to take Jeanson’s model seriously until most YEKs do. You are transferring as if the responsibility to be scientific to others. In other words, you admit exactly what Jeanson is criticizing you for. Because you don’t take his model seriously then you won’t be able to present its critique in the right light either. This ideology is completely contrary to the nature of science. For ideological reasons, you don’t treat all models as they should and then pretend as if you have shown that model to be weak. Here in Finland, this is called misleading.

@Toni_Torppa have your reviewed @evograd’s in-depth review of Jeanson’s book yet?

It would be polite to link to that review.

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Not at all, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at his model but you are right that I have come to the point that I don’t take it very seriously. But not for lack of examination. The point is that just become someone does a lot of work and has a degree doesn’t mean that the idea must be taken seriously if it doesn’t merit it. No one is required to spend hundreds of hours detailing their response to every false hypothesis. If other YECs start taking it seriously and it gains traction and it is producing results that other scientists I respect say are worth considering I will certainly reconsider. I would also suggest that you carefully read @evograd very detailed response to Jeanson. Why after reading his posts would I re-invent the wheel to respond to Jeanson. Several important response but this is to one of the most important chapters Reviewing “Replacing Darwin” – Part 6: Jeanson’s Fulcrum Fails – EvoGrad


Why do you professors (Duff and Swamidass) rely so much on student review of Jeanson’s book when this student himself seems to admit that he is not an expert on the subject?

evograd: “I have to cover a lot of ground, none of it in my specific field of expertise”

Does such “covering,” suddenly make him an expert that even professors can confidently refer to? The fact that you so reliably trust the student (who admits he is not an expert on the subject) tells me that you want him to be right, rather than you really and critically examining Jeanson’s arguments and counter-arguments against it. Not convincing.

We don’t focus on it. That is the first reference. We just thought it might help you catch up on the scientific facts here.

[Note: this comment was recently misrepresented by Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson. See my response here: Jeanson Accuses Duff of Misconduct...Again]


By the way, even ID folks have referred to Jeanson’s research. My friend Matti Leisola’s BIO-Complexity Journal article - “A Single Couple Human Origin is Possible” - Hössjer contains a reference (number 18) to Jeanson’s technical research, On the Origin of Eukaryotic Species’ Genotypic and Phenotypic Div | Answers in Genesis which is one of the foundations of his book.

In other words, the book has a laymanized version of the technical paper. For this reason, scholars tend to refer to technical papers that are not written popularly, but thoroughly scientifically and intended primarily for use by researchers. The point is that this Jeanson article presenting a scientific YEC model of created heterozygosity has been referenced in the article even by ID researchers.

Hi Toni. Evograd here.

I would hope that Joel and Josh refer to my blog posts because they agree with the points I make (or in some contexts, at least consider them worth discussing), not because they unthinkingly rely on my expertise. You’re just attacking me as a source, implying I’m not capable of making valid criticisms of Jeanson’s work.

I said I’m not an expert in the specific fields discussed - I’m not a phylogeneticist or molecular geneticist, but I am more broadly speaking an evolutionary biologist. My specialism is just different. I will note that Jeanson’s expertise, such as it is, is related to hematopoietic stem cells, so is broadly summarised as cell and developmental biology. He has no formal training in evolutionary genetics or phylogenetics beyond perhaps an undergraduate class or two. I can say without hesitation that in these terms, I have more qualifications in these areas than Jeanson, despite not having yet completed my PhD.

If you think any of the points I made are incorrect, I’m willing to discuss them, but please don’t dismiss everything I worked on simply because you don’t think I’m qualified to disagree.


Alternatively you might ask yourself, if a graduate student who may not be an expert on every aspect of the work can find literally dozens of serious problems and can read and articulate the literature better than Jeanson, then shouldn’t you wonder if Jeanson knows what he is talking about? I’ve read Jeanson and I’ve read all of Evograds material. It is very clear who has a better knowledge of the subject matter and who can claim expertise. Evograd is being is being modest. He understands this material very well. This student has more training than Jeanson does on this topic. Remember that Jeanson has no formal training in this field and is all self taught so there is a good chance he may be missing things he doesn’t realize.


You should ask, btw, why they didn’t reference me, as I was the first to publish that finding two years before them :slight_smile:

Maybe they didn’t consider you a reliable source? :wink:

Actually they do. The next week, outside her article, @Agauger cited me on this. In the past she has too.


From what I can tell, the paper merely does what @evograd reports the book as doing: any time there’s more variation than can be accounted for in 6000 years, all the excess variation is assumed to be created heterozygosity. That’s hardly a model, and it’s hardly scientific.


Nathaniel Jeanson has developed his model to support the notion of rapid speciation. For instance using the example of the cat family, start with a pair of proto-cats descending the gang plank of Noah’s ark to begin a new life.

Answers in Genesis, which promotes his work, holds the flood to have occured about 2843 BC, which is later than the most accepted date of the pharaoh Djoser’s step pyramid by a couple of hundred years. Let’s say Egyptology is way wrong and Djoser began building his pyramid the day Noah landed - well I guess that doesn’t make sense either. OK then, lets forget about historical facts altogether and pretend that the pyramids came a couple of hundred years later yet. How does all this relate to Jeanson? Well, the ancient Egyptians were fond of cats, and featured house cats, leopards, lions, and cheetahs in their art, which of course means these existed immediately following the flood. So where did these come from?

According to Jeanson, when Noah took two of every kind on board the Ark, he likely took just two members of each group of creatures that we would today label as part of the same family…For example, all cats large and small—from house cats to lions and tigers—belong to the same family…The cat kind represented on board the Ark probably didn’t look like a mix of every one of these features. Instead, if we identify which features all cats have in common, we begin to form an idea of what the cats on the Ark might have looked like.
Jeanson - Which Animals Were on the Ark with Noah?

Jeanson is seriously suggesting that within a handful of litters, a pair of bland proto-cats gave rise to the various animals depicted in Egyptian art, not to mention the many species of saber-toothed cats, dozens of other extinct cats, and the other existing species. You do not need to be a specialist to recognize this makes N O sense, not to mention that the Bible does not suggest lions and house cats are the same kind. Survey any random group of carpenters, mechanics, stock traders, whatever, and ask if a given pair of cats can yield lions and bob cats within a few generations. You do not need a degree from Harvard or be a graduate biology student to realize this is patent nonsense. Go ahead, try to actually visualize this happening. Similarly, we could add marsupials and lemurs to the discussion.

So when Jeanson wades into the technical weeds of mtDNA, he would have to build a powerful case to sell it as evidence of saber-tooth and house cat siblings. Not surprisingly, as detailed by evograd and others, it falls well short. In this case, common sense and science align. Now if it suits you to find Jeanson’s model convincing, that is fine by me. Just do not be suprised or offended if the academic world has better things to do than to take Jeanson’s model seriously.


I would like to point out in this regard that this statement by Duff is contrary to the nature of science. It is against the golden standard of science. Legally in the US, science is defined by having testable predictions. Science is not defined by acceptance from peers.

So when judging whether a Jeanson book is in line with the standards of science and should therefore be taken seriously, it is first and foremost a question of whether or not it meets the golden standard of science. Does the book make experimentally testable predictions that future research can either confirm or refute? This is the point.

I remind that in the book Replacing Darwin, Jeanson walked the Reader through very detailed calculations on what the rates of speciation might be. Shortly after the publication of Jeanson’s book, a study of the famous Darwin’s Finches was published. These research findings were a scientific confirmation of the predictions made by Jeanson in the book. So Jeanson’s book meets the golden standard of science, it produces testable predictions that are now ironically confirmed by the famous evolutionary icon (Darwin’s Finches.) In these links, more of the findings that confirm Jeanson’s predictions in the book.

In this light of the golden standard of science, Jeanson’s book not only hits right, but is a rare exception in the world of science because it dares to put its content directly into a test that is truly scientific.

Totally false on both points! @Puck_Mendelssohn

No, it does not meet the standards of good science I hold myself and my colleagues to.

Yes. How many errors did you catch? I caught several.


Science can only function because of the community of scientists evaluating and cross-checking the tons of ideas out there to make sure they are not only coherent, testable, and consistent with prior evidence, but also likely to be correct and fruitful. Scientists have limited resources and time and must therefore prioritize theories which are likely to be true, based on prior verified evidence. There are tons of testable theories out there by legitimate scientists which are never given widespread attention because they’re not very interesting or promising.


And here is the referenced finch study:

Certainly an interesting case study, but not some sort of bombshell. As mentioned in the study itself, there is antecedent examples of hybrid speciation, and the findings are completely consistent with the mainstream understanding of evolution. This is just one path to speciation. Jeanson predicts not one species, but dozens of species could abruptly arise from a given breeding pair, so the finches paper does not in fact constitute any sort of confirmation, and that credit is falsely claimed.


Point of English terminology: that should be “gold standard”, not “golden standard”. Are you sure there’s a legal definition of science? I for one would require more than testable predictions, and I wouldn’t require predictions at all. I’d say that Jeanson’s work isn’t science because he forces himself to wear blinders. All data must conform to his prior hypothesis. If it doesn’t he either explains it away with an auxiliary hypothesis (e.g. created heterozygosity) or ignores it all together (geology, radiometric dating, etc.). There’s no way either of those things would get through competent peer review.


Correct. There’s no unitary “legal definition of science,” nor will there ever be one. When the question arises as to what is or is not science, the court as likely as not hears evidence about the philosophical and scientific issues as they bear on the case at hand. So, in Kitzmiller, for example, experts testified on both sides on that, leading to Behe’s famous admission that by the application of his proposed criteria, astrology would be a science.

That morning, the stock in companies which manufacture computer keyboards rose spectacularly, as coffee was sprayed into thousands of them.

Actually, that’s quite similar to the standard Behe offered, and with respect to which he had to admit that astrology would be a science. And now I need a new keyboard, again.