Testing Jeanson's Model: Y Chromosome Mutation Rates

Jeanson’s claims about the mutation rate have been analyzed in detail and rejected. @Evograd posted up earlier about reviewing Jeanson’s claims.


I’m puzzled: what do mutation rates have to do with population growth rates?

Jeanson’s mutation rates are inconsistent with almost all estimates. He has cherry-picked a few sources, and he has inappropriately applied the rate in one part of the mitochondrial genome to the entire genome. That’s all been mentioned above.


That’s just false. Totally false. He even agrees this is false, because he uses a mutation rate around 50x more than the currently accepted rate.

Yes, we’ve covered it in depth serveral times on this forum, including this thread.


Yes I think I had read that earlier, at least if I’m looking at the right thread. I have no way to scientifically analyze the paper that he says Jeanson missed, but the thread still doesn’t address the most important claim, which is that reorienting the genetic family tree matches historical population growth which would provide specific dating for genetic divergence.

He has said that evolutionary rates do not try to use population growth or family tree branches to know the timeline when various haplogroups diverged because there’s 200,000 years worth of history that’s too stretched out. When you reorient a genetic family tree with his y chromosome rate, it matches population growths, and you can see exactly when in history various genetic groups diverged.

Not the entire genome, if that’s what you’re referring to. Just the y chromosome. He created a family tree using his mutation rate for the y chromosome and counted the branches to get population over time and matched that against historical data. It’s covered in this video. I don’t understand entirely if the rest of the genome and the y chromosome can have different mutation rates or what but it would be very weird for him to claim to be able to make testable predictions about history that we haven’t yet uncovered when it’s just bad science.

Jeanson’s rate is faster for Y-Chromosome and the entire genome, than the rate than we observe.

“Weird” is one way to put it.


I’m really not trying to beat a dead horse, but just curious and would like clarification. Does science now say the rate for the entire genome is the same as the y chromosome?

And has Jeanson claimed the rate for the entire genome is considered 50 times faster? I understand he’s made claims about the x and y chromosome, but haven’t seen the claim for the entire genome.

1 Like

We covered this earlier already. The observed rate for Y is a little bit more than the rest of the genome, because Y spends all its time in men. The paper reported the rate for the whole genome, but it also reports the rate for Y-chromosome specifically. So, Jeanson’s case fails on several levels.

  1. He claims there are only 2 published studies with Y-Chromosome rates. This is just false. There are many many many many more than just 2, and many of these use far better methods than the two he cherrypicked used.

  2. By claiming a particular rate for Y-chromosome, he is making a claim about the rest of the genome, because we know the Y-Chromosome rate is about the same (just a little higher) as the rest of the genome. His prediction for the rest of the genome is about 50x too high.

  3. These papers also measure the Y-chromosome rate directly, though sometimes this is reported in the supplementary data. His rate is about 50x too high.

To his credit, he agrees that this is a direct test of his model. So he is making a testable claim. Unfortunately, however, the evidence just does not bear out his model. However you want to cut it, his model is wildly out of touch with the observed rate of mutation in humans.


@thoughtful, it should clear too that some of these problems are undebatable. It is obviously the case that there are more than just 2 published studies. We can debate interpretation of data, but this is not a matter of interpretation, but of fact that you can directly verify.

You can learn who is trustworthy by how they manage errors like this. Do they quickly and publicly acknowledge the error and correct the record? Or do they do nothing? Or do they repeat the error? Which response to do you feel is most trustworthy?

Closely related, it is undebatable that Jeanson misrepresented me: Would Jeanson Please Correct A Clear Misrepresentation?. Why has he not corrected this? Do you feel this is trustworthy?

I’ve publicly acknowledged and corrected errors in my book (https://peacefulscience.org/wrong-on-monophyletic/), so I 'm not stating an unreasonable standard.

There can be legitimate debates about the interpretation of data, but that is not what we are dealing with in this particular situation.


It must be difficult to accept that people who appear to be so devout and sincere in their faith can also be so blatantly dishonest as Jeanson. Sadly, that appears to be the case.

1 Like

It isn’t dishonest if it was an honest error that he is willing to quickly correct once it is pointed out. We know that his statement is false, but there are many reasons for making a false statement. That’s why science is preoccupied with how we correct these errors. They certainly will appear, even in a great scientist’s work. But do we fix them quickly and transparently?


Something I’ve wondered even for his y chromosome rate, does it necessarily follow that either the y chromosome rate or the rest of the genome rate is constant? Could the rest of the genome be declerating in mutation separately?

Actually I don’t understand the back and forth from either of you. I get that there are ethics in science but just like the passage on taking a fellow Christian to court, shouldn’t biblical ethics apply first? Worry about the beam in your own eye before the speck in your brother’s? I just don’t understand not forgiving small grievances especially when often many things could be cleared up by patience. Of course, I’m as guilty as the next person, but it’s still somewhat sad to read.

1 Like

There are more than 2 studies on the y chromosome and ONLY the y chromosome mutation rate? That’s what I understand him to be saying. He’s referring to the only two that considered it in isolation.

1 Like

Of course.

Jeanson has had more than ample opportunity to demonstrate whether this is his practice.

1 Like

It isn’t that complex.

I’m not taking him to court, and I’m not holding it against him. I just asked him to make a correction to how he represented me, one that doesn’t even undermine his main point. He won’t.

We’ve already stated that the rest of the genome has a slightly lower rate, that is not exactly the same rate as Y. It isn’t enough to save Jeanson’s theory.


I’m sure there are more than 2 studies that consider pedigree mutation rate in Y-chromosomes alone, but I have not yet looked closely. Would that change anything for you?

Excluding those that consider mutation across the whole genome (including Y-chromosomes) is ad hoc though. Can you see any valid reason for excluding this higher quality data?

And here is an excellent review which shows far more than just 2 studies, though I’ll have to go through some of the details to fish out those that meet whatever ad hoc criteria you think is necessary.


Seems like they are showing four studies that are family pedigrees (genealogical) rather than 2, and that the computed rates are pretty close to the evolutionary rate.


Question: What does “X-degenerate” mean?

1 Like

Because there’s coalescence around the theory of evolution. So you’d have to consider data only in pieces if you’d want to disprove it.