Comments on Jeanson Accuses Duff Again

It does show a bit more of the typical creationist dishonesty, however, to imply that if we can cast doubt on common ancestry between eukaryottes and prokaryotes, then common ancestry between humans and chimps is also out the window. But that’s how these people “think.”


We cannot expect to have direct fossil records of the first primordial organisms. But you do not accept the mainstream evolutionary explanation for the radiation of species from the Cambrian onward [Jeanson sure does not], even though the fossil record does allow a reconstruction of the outline for that. It is best to work backwards, beginning with step one would be our current fauna.

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That’s like a flat earther telling us that it is extremely difficult to support a round earth given the current level of evidence available.

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Then how do you make a claim that what we are observing comes from a single origin event? I think Jeanson has generated interesting data to support his model. Do you disagree?

And one of the main reasons why astronomers and other scientists reject astrologers’ predictions, is not so much scientific as political, and above all it is a question of who is allowed to determine the content of textbooks in schools!

The stranglehold which astronomers hold over textbooks and university curricula throughout the world must end!

(Sorry. I’m in one of those moods. Pandemic sequestration does things to the mind.)

Perhaps it was by the same mechanism which transported kangaroos and platypuses from Mt. Ararat to Australia after the flood—even though neither of those two animals nor either of those two geographic locations are mentioned in Genesis. [BTW, the has-been linguist in me would prefer to form the plural of “platypus” as “platypodes” because the underlying Greek morphemes are Greek, not Latin. Yes, a platypus is etymologically speaking a “flat-foot.”]

Yes, there appears to be a gigantic double-standard at work. We are told that if evolutionary biology can’t explain absolutely everything in some sort of “complete” manner" (i.e., no questions yet to be answered), then it can’t be trusted. But “baraminology” and “creation science” are routinely allowed to explain so very little after at least a half-century of “YEC scholarship.” Go figure. (And, yes, I grew up in that Young Earth Creationist culture and probably know the traditional Morris, Whitcomb, and Gish arguments as well as anyone. They were vague and limited in the 1960’s and they are even more disappointing today.)

That’s why the “appearance of age” model is so powerful! It allows all contrary evidence to be summarily dismissed.

[Is there such a thing as a sarcasm emoticon??]


[/sarcasm] usually works.

YEC’s pretend that there is no valid reason why YEC should not be taught in public schools which forbid religious indoctrination in the classroom. That fig leaf is quickly removed when they have to explain away evidence by claiming that God used his supernatural powers to create the appearance of age. At that point, you might as well throw science out the window because anything that seems like obvious evidence for natural processes has to be thrown out because the evidence could have been magically created by a deity in such a way that it is indistinguishable from the natural process.

In a YEC class, the answer to every question is “magic”.

My point is that while some degree of inference may be required for a single origin event, the case for the continuity of life becomes overwhelmingly strong when we have the fossil record.

Yes, I profoundly disagree. His specific and detailed claims violate biology and history. Nor do I see anything worth while to be gleaned, any principles which might be valid and extracted from the remains of what I consider to be essentially a train wreck. I do not even agree with his interpretation of Biblical “kinds”. Apart from his biology, history, and theology, he is fine.

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How so?

I maintain an appearance of age (despite being only 35 for several decades now) only because that appearance of age gets me senior citizen discounts.

I reject all evidence to the contrary. (It works fairly well until I look in a mirror.) Let face it: Denying contrary evidence has its merits. And magical thinking sometimes comes in handy—especially when dealing with unpleasant realities.


I made my response to Jeanson’s claims in a number of prior posts in recent threads, and I really have nothing more to add other than this. To attempt to account for nature in the stricture of a 6KY old Earth is so out of line with the consilience of knowledge that we have, that those who make the attempt can only do so at the cost of their credibility. It is YEC that is at the root of Jeanson’s model, it is what drives his work. It is his baby, his bathwater, his basin. You cannot throw out the bathwater and keep the baby here.

Define “interesting.”

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Jeanson is either lying to you or lying to himself or a bit of both. He is taking the empirical data and twisting it to suit his agenda. You can not so blindly go from de novo mutation rates from pedigrees to molecular clocks like Jeanson is trying to do.

Let me give you an example. A classic paper on estimating mtDNA substitution rates was published in 1998 in the journal Molecular Ecology by Rob Fleischer, Carl McIntosh and Cheryl Tarr. They looked at three genes in three different taxa. Cytochrome b (mtDNA) in Hawaiian honeycreepers, yolk protein 1 gene (nuDNA) in Hawaiian picture-wing Drosophila, and 12S, 16S rRNA and tRNAval in Laupala crickets. They determined that the divergence for these loci was 1.6% per million years, 1.9% per million years and between 2.4-10.2% per million years, respectively.

Now, why do this in Hawaii? Well, important in any molecular clock approach is calibration, something that Jeanson completely ignored because like everything else he ignores it doesn’t suit his agenda. The Hawaiian islands provide a unique scenario in which we may calibrate substitution rates among species/populations. This is because the Hawaiian islands are formed over a hot spot and as the earth’s crust moves over this hot spot volcanism makes islands. As islands formed over the hot spot and drift away from it they are eroded by the sea meaning that the smaller islands to the west of the chain are progressively older compared to the younger, larger islands to the east (the Big Island of Hawaii being the youngest, for now).

So if different species have evolved on each island we may calibrate the rates at which they accumulate divergence by looking at the ages of the islands. A cricket or a bird endemic to an island can not be older than the island itself. So the unique geology of the islands coupled with K-Ar dates gives Fleischer et al a means to calibrate the clock in a way that Jeanson ignores. In fact everyone who does this sort of work for a living and actually publishes legitimate research in this area knows that calibrating a molecular clock with some independent source of evidence (fossils, island ages, etc.) is absolutely essential in getting dates that could be considered reliable.

Divergence times from uncalibrated molecular clocks can be useful (and I have published such clocks in my own work) but only really as a guide and always should be based on substitution rates or divergence rates that have been estimated using some calibration and taking things like effective population size into account (as I have done and Jeanson has not either because he’s blissfully unaware of these nuances associated with molecular clocks or because he’s deliberately leaving this stuff out because including it won’t give him the answer he wants).

So Bill in short you and Jeanson simply don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to this stuff.


I just finished his book and his analysis could apply to an earth of any age. I admit I have avoided reading YEC arguments because of the difficulty of arguing for a young earth\universe. His arguments are primarily based on analysis of genetic data. Nothing that he stated in the book was more than a few hypothesis that he tested with molecular clocks. We are simply comparing a multiple origin model with a single origin model which I think is very iffy.

That he inappropriately tried to test using what he thought was a proper molecular clock approach. It wasn’t. See above.

Thanks for citing this.

Those are calibrated divergence rates based on substitution. It is what Jeanson deliberately ignores to make his case. I couldn’t even get him to talk about the distinction between de novo mutation and substitution/divergence or any of the assumptions underlying molecular clock approaches.

Yes. What data? What model? Be very specific here about exactly what hypothesis is supported by what particular data. I will admit in advance that I don’t think you’re capable of it.

It can’t, however, apply to “kinds” of any age. Right? You’re weaseling again. This is about biology, not the history of the planet itself. Of course there’s evidence in earth history that Jeanson has to ignore in order to believe in young life. And you ignore that too.

The statement was not directed at you. It was directed at a comment by @RonSewell who has concern about age of the earth.

His model in the book is the same as the papers we discussed. He does however make an argument how design can explain the nested pattern in the book.

Sorry, more word salad. Don’t have the time or inclination to decipher.