Creation Myths, Gutsick Gibbon, and the Saga of Dr. Rob Carter

So, @GutsickGibbon and I have been having a bit of a back-and-forth with Dr. Rob Carter from Creation Ministries International, and perhaps the Peaceful Science folks would like to follow along.

It started with this video featuring Dr. Carter.

@GutsickGibbon and I both happened to watch that as it premiered and immediately thought “this is too good (i.e. bad), let’s do a point-by-point response”. You can watch that right here.

Dr. Carter, just this week, published a response to our video which…mostly doesn’t respond to stuff we said. He actually has a long section on @swamidass and TMR4A, talks a lot about Mendel’s Accountant despite it not coming up at all in our video…it’s a weird piece.

But a response from CMI is a response from CMI, so @GutsickGibbon and I are going to work through it tonight (that’s July 15th, 2021) at 9pm EDT. If anyone is interested, you can watch here.

I did reach out to Dr. Carter to see if he wanted to talk face-to-face, to avoid the talking past each other that tends to happen with these things, but got a big fat no. Say what you want about Behe, but he doesn’t mind appearing on unfriendly venues, unlike, it seems, the YECS associated with organizations like AiG and CMI.

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We found that he is not one that accepts correction and will continue to spout off false claims after they have been refuted.

Carter really missed his calling. He sould have worked for IMAX.

called for all creationist courses to be labelled on resumes so that future employers could spot them

Amazing that they always leave off the ‘instead of the institutions losing their accreditation’. Which sounded like an important part of @swamidass’s comments. Did Does Carter think colleges that teach creationism should be stripped of their accreditation?

Honestly, I find her mocking attitude to be counterproductive if she wants to provoke an honest dialogue.

Are we talking about the same Erika here?

When creationists resort to such tactics, I tend to call them out.

and

but she clearly has not learned enough about science to temper her demeanour

and a brief jump ahead to the comment section…

Andres M. CL July 9th, 2021
the channel standing for truth makes many videos refuting Gibbon, Aron Ra and probably Dan, their videos are very good, greetings

Robert Carter July 9th, 2021
Yes, they are friends of CMI. I have been on their show, as has my office mate, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati. Even better, they did a great job at answering Stern-Cardinale’s criticisms of my Waiting Time video.

And that can stand without additional comment. Continuing…

They spent an hour and 20 minutes3 tearing apart a few minutes of video

Yes, that’s usually the way correcting things works. Takes more time to clean up a mess than make one.

Early on, they make the claim that creationists […] and are, therefore, unqualified to be discussing things like population genetics.

I’m ‘qualified’ to talk about astrophysics, but people listening to me should understand I’m not an expert and I’m likely to get things wrong. When Sanford suggests that he is an expert in population genetics, he isn’t being honest. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be allowed to write whatever he wants, it just means people shouldn’t trust it until people who actually know what they are talking about can verify it. And since Sanford gets so much wrong…

In the classic tale, did it take an ‘expert’ to point out that the emperor was not wearing any clothes

Returning again to the comment section…

J P.
US July 9, 2021
Creationist sill getting every thing wrong has usual.
[…]
The waiting time calcs allows calculate for only a handful of possible mutations. And are refuted by Realtime and phylogenetic data that show rapid genome evolution.
[…]

Robert Carter
July 9, 2021
Yes, I am aware that my rebuttal has been critiqued, yet the criticisms fell far short of their intended goal. […] The waiting time paper has been downloaded/read by over 18,000 people to date and no rebuttal has appeared in the scientific literature. Your criticism is clearly weak. […]

And again without additional comment…

At one point, Stern-Cardinale claims that genetic entropy is his “favorite wrong creationist argument.” He claims to have read Sanford’s book Genetic Entropy but then attempts to refute it by saying this book on population genetics contains no math. Yet, what would one expect from a layman-friendly introduction to any subject?

Math, obviously. Not all of it, but some.

How much math has Richard Dawkins included in his many books?

Not sure why Dawkins is relevant here, but to answer the question: generally enough when it was needed. Which wasn’t often, because most of Dawkins’ writings aren’t intrinsically mathematical.

In Sanford’s case, after he made the general case for genetic entropy, he then set about backing up the theory with detailed mathematical treatments and computer simulations, all of which have been published, and some of that in the ‘secular’ literature.

That was a lot of words that ‘could’ have had hyper links, yet none did. Funny that.

He claims that all mutations in the model have fixed effects and are not context dependent (in other words, the strength of a mutation could depend on the presence of other mutations).

Does Carter think genetic context is the only context? Is he unaware that the outside world exists and isn’t entirely composed of offices?

Yet, this was studied in one published Mendel paper.[link to Baumgardner et al 2013]

Except that the linked article does no such thing. Rather, as they admit, they simply reduce epistasis to noise in a model that does not allow for beneficial effects Or they treat epistatic interactions in ways that are demonstrably inconsistent with empirical data. And then they report that they didn’t see any beneficial effects. Shocking, that.

He complains there are not enough ‘beneficial’ mutations in these simulations, but the relative numbers can, and have been, changed in the program.

Only to a hard-coded limit.

I cannot see how he drew the conclusion that there are no differences in relative fitness from one person to the next and that there are no selectable differences among the people in the model population. Such things were built into Mendel from the very beginning.

Well, there are sections in the code that refer to selection and fitness, but their math doesn’t represent anything related to reality.

The model tracked 1,000 individuals over 200 generations, with a mutation rate of 50 per individual. The fraction of favorable mutations was set to 0.0001.

Here’s mine with the fraction of favorable set to 0.5

That’s weird! The fitness drops even with a 50-50 mix of beneficial mutations? That doesn’t sound right! Wait, it looks like the maximum fitness effect for beneficials it allows is 0.01, while the maximum deleterious is 0.9. I wonder if that contributes to the program not replicating empirical results?

Also, the creationist model is still underdeveloped. We have only begun to explore its possibilities.

You’ve had more time than us, and you’re still failing? That’s on you, buddy.

Alright, that’s all I can take.

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It’s also notable that his citation is to ENV’s absurd summary of my article rather than the article itself or my Q&A.

I suppose if you don’t have any good argument against someone, just make up falsehood about them? :roll_eyes:

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Which is literally logically impossible. Take the simplest case of reversion: If a mutation can reduce fitness by a factor of 0.9, then a reversion can restore it by the same amount.

You can quibble about their relative frequency (a mutation resulting in a 90% increase in fitness might be exceptionally rare compared to one resulting in a 90% decrease), but there’s just no reason why a beneficial mutation can’t have a similarly large effect even if it does not constitute a reversion.

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ROFL. “Someone hasn’t bothered engaging this crap in a rebuttal publication so clearly it must be true, look at all the views/downloads”.

Meanwhile we have creationists on this site who are all too happy to ask why, if creationism is clearly isn’t good science, some serious scientists still bother to respond to it. Here we see one reason why.

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In case your are still wondering as to the “DM” for sounding board Del Tackett…

Dr. Tackett holds three earned degrees, Doctor of Management from Colorado Technical University, Master of Science from Auburn University, and a Bachelor of Science from Kansas State University.

…so not a specialist, but legit enough academic credentials.

In what sciences? Anything at all relevant?

I would suspect Computer Science (or similar), from this bio. So no, probably not.

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