Jeanson Accuses Duff of Misconduct...Again

Maybe I’m being unclear. I don’t suggest that Jeanson quote mines, and I don’t care whether he does. What I’m saying is that if he is calling out quote mining as “research misconduct,” then he is asking to be held to that definition, and he is asking to apply it to others which would include colleagues and collaborators. At the very least it would apply to the works he cited in his piece. This has nothing to do with whether he himself quote mines.



But I’m not sure what that means really. We already know that quote mining is a type of lying. Of course, mistakes can be made, but we can discern what was deceit vs. honest mistake by the willingness to quickly correct the record.

It might be most interesting to see if there are any clear examples of what appears to be quote mining in Jeanson’s work. If we can find such examples, it would be worthwhile to notify him of it, to see how he responds, thereby establishing how he believes quote mining should be managed by @Joel_Duff.

@Joel_Duff or @David_MacMillan or @evograd, do you have any clear examples of quote mining by Jeanson?


I don’t think this thread needs to go there. My reaction above reflects my own (informed) opinion that quote mining is a time-honored and standard theme in creationist literature. Heck, the Talk Origins archive has a whole page called the Quote Mine Project.

I guess one might ask Jeanson to clean up his own house before complaining about the alleged practices of his critics.


You have a good point there, because he is saying this is pervasive problem among evolutionists.

I agree. I think @swamidass’ suggestion deserves its own thread.

Yes, quote-mining is rife in many Young Earth Creationist writings but I would be curious to learn whether or not Dr. Jeanson has avoided that YEC tradition. (I say that as a former YEC who was unwittingly guilty of quote-mining in my younger days because I recycled arguments from popular “creation science” sources.)


I have not gone through all of Jeanson’s work exhaustively, but what I have seen would suggest that he avoids egregious quote-mining. And I think we should definitely differentiate between “secondary source” and “primary source” quote-mining. It’s fairly excusable (though still wholly invalid) when creationists repeat quotes originally mined by other creationists; it’s less excusable when they are the ones who are digging up the quote themselves.

It should also be pointed out that Jeanson did not actually accuse us of quote-mining. He accused us of claiming that he had no answers for a particular problem; the reality is that we claim he has no good answers for that problem. He also insists that if we are being disingenuous because if we read his work closely we would concede his answers are good. Of course that is just hogwash. We have read his work, and we don’t concede his answers are good, because they aren’t.


Perhaps not necessary now, but this blog post gives examples of quote mines by Jeanson:

1 Like

Jeanson harps on and on how his book, with all its discussion of mtDNA and alleles, has not been properly received and understood by the scientific community, despite, as its unbelievably narcissistic title implies, that his contribution is as seminal as Darwin’s Origin of the Species. But why take seriously a work which is premised on the obviously [ and here the term “obviously” is appropriate as it should be evident to anybody ] false premise that all cat species radiated from a single pair 4365 years ago. We have Egyptian art from before that date, depicting cheetahs, lions, house cats, and leopards.

So if Jeanson’s work is falsified by history, it is not at surprising that his biology would be invalidated by such straight forward observations.

Then, of course, are all the extinct cats the world over, such as the saber toothed, and these number more than extent species, which supposedly hyper-evolved just to promptly up and die off.

Honestly, Jeanson’s proposal is ridiculous and I do not understand how he deals with the cognitive dissonance.


It isn’t narcissistic if he can deliver on the title. Of course he can’t, but the title alone is not enough to call it narcissistic.

I say this because even my work has been called narcissistic for just this fallacy (though not for disputing Darwin). In this case, however, I did actually deliver.

As someone whose professional life involves sifting overstated claims from reasonable ones, consuming about 4% of my working hours, I can agree that we needn’t cogitate about narcissism based on a title.


Looking at some Egyptian art…it’s interesting because their depictions of cheetahs had the exact same tear lines as modern cheetahs. Priests are depicted wearing leopard skins with rosettes exactly the same of the rosettes of modern cheetahs. Lions were shown with huge, tawny manes.

Almost as if these attributes were already fixed in the species at the time the pyramids were being built.

Which, according to AiG, was less than 300 years after the flood.


Let’s not forget that one of the founders of the modern “creation science” movement, arch-charlatan Henry Morris, wrote an entire book that consisted of literally nothing more than quote-mines. Unironically titled That their words may be used against them.

For a truly mind-altering rationalization, look at what one of the approving amazon reviewers writes about the book:

This book contains only quotes, plus very short forwards, to each section. It does not include any commentary on the quotes. None. How can one claim that they are taken out of context? There is no context, only quotes alone.

Gee I just can’t figure out how it can be thought of as out of context quoting when no context is even provided.


Herman Mays weighs in. His characterization of Jeanson is very astute.


Let me tell Jeanson the real reason why there are precious few working scientists clamoring over his every utterance, diligently combing through every blog post masquerading as a research article or lining up to debate him in a public forum. It’s because we don’t have time for bullshit.

That’s telling him, Herman! :grinning:


Well many of us at PS are real scientists and we will make time for him. Will he make time for us?


Hi guys, have you missed this oven fresh article? It corrects David MacMillan’s reporting of YEC articles. Jeanson writes in the article “The YEC answers to his questions have, of course, been published in the paper that MacMillan has repeatedly misrepresented. I’m sure he’d disagree with the answer. But this is a discussion for another day. The bigger issue is that MacMillan refuses to accurately represent what we’ve published. He’s free to disagree with our conclusions. But he cannot repeatedly lie about our position, and then call it science. It’s impossible to have a rational scientific discussion about a position that you refuse to accurately represent.”

So to demonstrate that Jeanson’s outlandish model is void of scientific and historical validity is to engage in misconduct? That is rich. Jeanson’s histrionic response is exactly why most scientists simply ignore his work rather than engage with it. His fondest hope would be for a name recognized personality such as Dawkins to have responded, you can imagine the profile that would have brought.

On the upside, Jeanson actually links Peaceful Science in the footnotes, so readers can come over and have a lurk. They themselves can decide who has put forward the more rational case, and at least have a seed of genuine curiosity planted.


I like that he mentions my blog series, dismissing it out of hand.

In his article, MacMillan supports the last sentence in the quote above with a link to a specific evolutionary blog33 that critiques my book Replacing Darwin .34 With regards to this specific blog that MacMillan cites as a source for “refutations,” it’s not clear why he picks this one. The author is not a PhD biologist but an evolutionary biology graduate student. This student has publicly admitted a lack of expertise35 on the key subject matter in my book. As a result, at least one theistic evolutionist, when confronted with student’s own admissions, has declined to defend the student’s blog.36

I’ve already responded to this dismissal because of my “lack of expertise” in this comment:

And I think it’s a bit of stretch to interpret this comment of Josh’s:

as “declining to defend the student’s blog”.

Jeanson, or anyone else for that matter, is welcome to correct any errors that I’ve made in my blog posts. The fact that he hasn’t speaks volumes.


Those all appear to be secondary-source quote mines…lifting a quote mine from another creationist source, not from the actually primary text. So, slightly less egregious. But still foolish.

1 Like

Yep, thanks for posting – I hadn’t seen it yet.

Jeanson seems extraordinarily angry. He can’t believe that we have read his work and still don’t agree with him.

He writes:

“Recall that MacMillan and colleagues quoted the YEC literature to (erroneously) claim that we agreed with their objections. Now that I’ve documented their misrepresentation of our position, MacMillan suddenly reverses course and says that I don’t grasp the essence of any of their objections.”

Now who’s misrepresenting? We never claimed that Jeanson and Lisle agreed with our objections. We pointed out, using their own words, that they were at least tangentially aware of the problem with their model. “Jeanson and Lisle (2016) recognize yet another challenge to the postcreationist paradigm.” We couldn’t very well claim they agreed with the objections in a 2020 paper when we were citing a 2016 paper.

It’s amusing that, rather than engaging with the substance of our criticisms, Jeanson repeatedly focuses on this one tiny issue. If it’s easier for him to make ad hominem attacks than to defend his model, maybe he should take a closer look at his model.

One of the central points in our paper is how the YEC speciation model has expanded over time. For example, YECs once claimed giraffes couldn’t have evolved from a short-necked ancestor, but now promote common giraffid-okapi ancestry. Jeanson attempts to refute this by quoting Linnaeus in the 1700s, who speculated that foxes and wolves could share a common ancestor…as if one example from before Darwin means there has been absolutely no change in the YEC position. “[I]n light of this evidence from Linnaeus, it is factually inaccurate to say that modern creationism is the ‘the culmination of a long creationist march toward accepting broader and broader evolutionary change.’” Spare me.

He also trumpets what he clearly thinks is a huge “gotcha”:

Right after saying that my predictions weren’t testable, he immediately goes on to claim that my position has been scientifically refuted. In other words, MacMillan’s argument assumes that my claims are scientifically testable (which is a prerequisite for claiming that my proposals have been scientifically refuted). Which is it? Does he think my claims are not scientific because they are not scientifically testable? Or are they scientifically testable, and have been refuted?


This is silliness. There are any number of nonsensical views which can be easily and readily disproven, yet ALSO lack falsifiable, verifiable, testable predictions. I regularly team up with one of Jeanson’s colleagues, Danny Faulkner, in poking fun at flat earthers in a debate group. Flat earthers love to claim (for unclear reasons) that there are no meteorite impact craters and all craters are simply volcanic domes. When asked if they can provide evidence of this or make any testable prediction, they will hem and haw or spout more nonsense. The fact that their claim lacks any testable predictions doesn’t stop us from pointing out the numerous reasons why impact craters are decidedly NOT volcanic domes. In the same way, Jeanson’s failure to produce any verifiable, testable predictions to validate his model does not preclude someone like @evograd from pointing out all the ways Jeanson’s model fails.

Jeanson continues:

[W]hen I was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin–Parkside, a philosophy professor from UW–Madison came to campus to give a lecture on the creation/evolution issue. He cited the two main objections to creationism—that (1) creationism wasn’t science because it wasn’t scientifically testable, and that (2) creationism had been tested and scientifically refuted. The professor chided his colleagues for this logically contradictory position, pointing out that both claims cannot be true at the same time. He concluded his lecture by adopting the first position—claiming that creationism isn’t science because it isn’t testable.

Guess what – it can be both! YEC is ultimately untestable because it is based on faith and commitment to ideology, not on evidence. Yet we can show with ease that any number of the models proposed by YEC fail miserably.

You’ll notice that he doesn’t even attempt to address our fundamental objection:

MacMillan then concludes his article…

[…] Creationists have drawn similar conclusions about ancestry — first insisting that each species was a unique creation, then arguing that all species within each genus constitute a single kind, then raising “kind” to the level of the family or even the order. Why stop there? If they can accept that cattle, sheep, giraffes, and deer all evolved from a common ancestor, why not include horses, pigs, and rhinoceroses as well? What is stopping them from proposing a “caniform kind” including dogs, bears, badgers, and seals, or from simply proposing a “carnivoran kind” that adds cats, hyenas, and mongooses?

The YEC answers to his questions have, of course, been published in the paper that MacMillan has repeatedly misrepresented.

No, they were not. Their “answer” is to simply claim: “the major fraction of the potential for each ‘kind’ to speciate was hard-wired into each ‘kind’ from the start, implying that changing one ‘kind’ into another would require dramatic genotypic rewiring of a creature.” This still misses the point (I will not be so discourteous as to speculate on whether the point has been missed inadvertently or deliberately). The question is not “Why can’t one ‘kind’ change into another?” but rather “Why can’t any possible grouping be part of the same ‘kind’ in the first place?” This is the question Jeanson either fails to answer or fails to grasp.