When Peer Review Lets You Down Again: Another YEC Fact-Checking Problem

Do humans have nine billion bases of DNA not found in Chimpanzees?  This is the bold claim made by head science writer for the Institute for Creation Research, Brian Thomas, in a newly released video.  There is no doubt that Brian is mistaken. After all, the human genome only has 3.2 billion bases!  How could such an error have made its way through the entire process of editing and onto ICRs webpage, Facebook and Twitter pages?  Part of it has to do with an apparently dysfunctional peer-review system. I wrote about another obvious error not long ago (When Peer Review Lets You Down: A YEC Quote Problem) and it doesn’t seem that much has changed.

The Institute for Creation Research is boldly moving forward with its plans for a creation museum of their own in Texas (see: New Creation Museum to Test the Limits of Donors and Attendees).  Called the ICR Discovery Center for Science and Earth History, ICR has been marketing the new museum heavily over the past two months in an effort to raise the necessary funds to make it a reality.  The video in question is a large part of that campaign. You can see it here: http://www.icr.org/discoverycenter/.

UPDATE: ICR has removed the video at the link above. They say that they are in the process of editing the video and will re-upload it when ready.  They have also removed the Facebook post that included the video. Presumably they have recognized that the 9 billion bases line was in error and they are going to correct it.  I appreciate that ICR recognizes the need to make this correction. 

UPDATE 2:  The video is now back up. ICR has removed the one line that stated that the human genome has 9 billion bases that chimps from the video.

Here is a transcript of the most obvious problem – of many – in the video:

What about DNA, you’re taught in other museums that your DNA is like a chimpanzee. That is bad science.  And our museum is going to show human DNA is absolutely unique.  It has 9 billion bases that chimpanzees don’t have.  And so we don’t come from apes we come from Adam.  There is DNA evidence to support that, plenty of it.  And our museum is going to have it.

When Brian says “absolutely unique” I guess he means that literally since he claims there are more differences between the genomes of humans and chimps than there are DNA bases in both genomes combined.   Of course, the genomes are not 100% dissimilar.  The DNA sequence of the insulin gene in chimpanzees is 99% similar to mine. Other portions of the genome are not as similar but certainly not 0% similar.

I have no doubt that Brian misspoke when he said 9 billion bases are different.  I believe he probably meant to suggest there are 900 million differences.  That number is also wrong but at least it would represent a number he wrote in one of his own articles in May of 2014 (http://www.icr.org/article/college-clashes-over-adam-eve-statement).   There he makes the following statement:   “Also, evolutionists almost never discuss the insurmountable differences between humans and chimpanzees, like their 900 million DNA differences.”

Where did he come up with the 900 million number? For that value he references a 2013 article by Dr. Tomkins, another ICR employee, who did an analysis of the differences between human and chimpanzee genomes and reported a similarity of only 70%.

So Brian simply didn’t remember the number he quoted a few years ago. An honest mistake, Yes.  But it is a mistake that shouldn’t be made if he had any basic knowledge of genetics and genomes.  Unfortunately this mistake is symptomatic of a larger problem and is the only reason that I am taking the time to write about it.  Presumably Brian works with Dr. Tomkins, a geneticist, at ICR and reads Dr. Tomkins publications.  Dr. Tomkins published a retraction of sorts to his 70% similarity paper last year.  Tomkins reanalyzed the human/chimp genomes and admitted that his earlier work was based on a faulty program. He found the genomes were much more similar to each other than he has previously found. Brian should be aware of this and know that those 900 million differences was an extrapolation from the 70% conclusion of that older paper.  So the best estimate by ICRs geneticist is that there are many fewer than 900 million differences.  The 9 billion number he stated is thus wrong on multiple levels.  How could Dr. Tomkins allow this video to be shown on the ICR website?

Sadly, this is not the first time that Brian Thomas has demonstrated that he doesn’t read or understand the literature that ICR’s own scientists are producing (see: Origins of the Dead Sea: All Dried Up – No Room for a Dry Dead Sea in the Young Earth Chronology).  When someone such as myself is more aware of the content of ICRs articles than their very own full-time science writer, that has to be a problem for ICR.

Simple errors sometimes hint at deeper problems

ICR and its leader, Dr. Henry Morris III, promotes ICR as the creation science organization that is devoted to doing “real” science.  I believe that Dr. Morris truly wants and believes this to be the case.  He has stated that this museum will have real science on display which is a thinly veiled shot at the Ark Encounter in Kentucky being built by Answers in Genesis which Morris has referred to as a “theme park” on Facebook.

Does ICR lack the staff to have the work of their employees reviewed?  Like many small parachurch organizations, it can be difficult to find technically qualified individuals who hold to the specific convictions of the organization. As a result they often have to fill positions with true believers who may not be experts.  Employees in parachurch organizations frequently  have great passion for the mission.  However, the culture of implicit trust that results from the common bond in vision often results in a lack of critical evaluation of each others work.

I have written many times about the repeating pattern of mistakes that ICR’s primary science writer, Brian Thomas, has made.  I am not even talking about his many suspect interpretation of the facts, when he gets those facts right.  I have suggested to ICR that they can’t assume that what he writes is factually accurate and some internal form of functional peer review has to be established to prevent these most obvious mistakes. It is painfully obvious that Brian does not have the experience in science necessary to interpret and write about most of the topics on which he is assigned or chooses to write.

To proclaim with such grandiosity that the human genome has nine billion bases that the chimpanzee genome doesn’t have isn’t just a mistake but reveals that Brian isn’t familiar with the field of genomics. If he were involved in research in this area he would have known intuitively that there was something very wrong with his statement.  If this video had been reviewed by anyone who had any expertise in genetics they should have sent this video back to the editing room.

I am sure Brian is a nice guy. He obviously has great zeal for his work and loves what he is doing. But zeal and desire are not an excuse for lazy scholarship. He is speaking to groups of thousands and is the face of ICR’s website outreach. He has a responsibility to get his information correct and to understand the science he is talking about.  If he can’t be trusted to present factually correct presentations how much less should he be trusted to interpret those facts?

Comments

  1. As we all know, the reason that scientific rigor is not a priority at ICR is because their mission is propaganda, not science. Mr. Thomas’ job is to preach to the choir, the choir that can be counted upon to make donations and support ICR. Thus, if the nonsense Thomas writes furthers that goal, then mission accomplished. If few of their faithful readers will ever notice the errors, much less actually care about them, it just won’t be a priority. Ever.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Speaking of errors:
    “But it is a mistake that should be made if he had any basic knowledge of genetics and genomes.”
    Should that be “‘not’ be made”?
    An otherwise excellent post, though.

    I had a look recently at CMI and the article they did about human-chimp genetic similarity. I got in a youtube discussion with a creationist (a remarkably civil and reasonable discussion, it has to be said) and they provided this link as a source for humans and chimps not being closely related.
    http://creation.com/human-chimp-dna-similarity-re-evaluated
    Their (CMI’s) main argument/complaint is that early researchers focused on the gene-rich parts of the genome and excludes the gene-poor areas, claiming that this biases the data. This is not true, as the 98.8% figure is obtained from the overall genetic similarity, using several methods of analysis, and the gene-rich sequences will provide far more genes for analysis than an equal volume of gene-poor sequences.
    They also claim that most of the genome was left out but provide no sources for this.
    Looking at the table of the different genome sequencing papers, the paper that immediately jumps out is the Ebersberger et al., 2002, which apparently gives a 98.8% similarity, even though only 1,944,162 base pairs out of 3,000,286 are aligned, meaning that the genetic similarity is actually 64.8%
    But wait, actually looking at the paper provided reveals that it was 3,000,286 nucleotides that were sequenced and 1,944,162 that were analysed and compared with chimps, giving the 98.8% figure. The rest of the nucleotides were left out as unfit for analysis for various reasons. Not that 1,944,162 nucleotides of 3,000,286 matched.
    The paper in question is here, if you want to check it out:
    http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/adna/wp-content/uploads/Chwarz_Genomwide_2002.pdf
    To anyone who actually reads the sources they provide it is readily apparent that this isn’t making a mistake. This is blatantly lying about what the Ebersberger paper said and hoping nobody will notice.
    The alternative is that they aren’t lying about what the paper says, but they are accusing Ebersberger et al of scientific fraud, which is a very serious charge. Not only this, but they are claiming that Ebersberger et al documented themselves committing scientific fraud in their own paper, which they then turned in for publication. Does this seem even remotely likely to anybody?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Correct – blatant lying from Tomkins and Bergman.

      They say “One-third of the chimp sequence would not align to the human genome and was discarded”

      While the actual paper says:

      “Twenty-eight percent of the total amount of sequence was excluded from the analysis, since the entire sequence, or parts of it, displayed more than one match in the human genome that was not due to known families of repeated sequences.”

      So it wasn’t that it didn’t match, it actually matched multiple times.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, thanks for the comment. Very useful information. Thanks for noting the grammatical error. I have made the change. Rather embarrassing to have written an article about errors and then made many grammatical errors most of which were probably fixed by the time you read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yet, my experience with “creation science” websites is that errors of any sort are rarely admitted in such an honest manner. And that brings a question to mind: Does anyone know if ICR [or was it another Young Earth Creationist ministry?] ever corrected, explained, excused, justified, minimized, blamed elsewhere or otherwise came to terms with their outrageous claim that Jesus quoted from Genesis more than any other book of the Hebrew Tanakh?

      When I was part of the Young Earth Creationist culture, one thing you could count on was people pouncing on erroneous claims about the Bible, even over tiny details. It didn’t matter if the blunder came from the pastor, the Sunday School teacher, the denominational president, or Billy Graham. Even the tiniest blunder—if it involved an easily verifiable facts of the scriptures—usually got flagged immediately and prominently. So I’ve never understood how anyone in the YEC world could publish a webpage and book with the aforementioned Genesis blooper without being deluged by corrections even from their own constituency. (In my experience, sharing common doctrines and beliefs is not enough to prevent every pedant in a church or denomination from identifying the obvious error.) So I have to wonder what happened internally after the embarrassing blooper was published.

      Has anybody seen any sort of retraction or republication or explanation for the quoting-Genesis error?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Not sure if Brian Thomas is aware, but even Tomkins’ newest figure (~88%) is faulty, and I’ve made him (Tomkins) aware of it. In his most recent paper he uses BLASTN, LASTZ and nucmer.

    The problem with his BLASTN analysis is that he uses the “ungapped” parameter, which shortens any alignment that contains a putative indel. If he corrects for that, he should get a result around 97%.

    His nucmer analysis is also deeply flawed. His methodology here involves taking the average of _all_ the hits for a particular sequence, rather than just taking the best hit. So, for example, if your query sequence contains a repeat motif (such as satellite DNA) then it will find hundreds – if not thousands – of possible matches across the chromosome. Only one of these will be the syntenic match – the one with the higher percentage identity, and usually found in the corresponding location on the corresponding chromosome. What Tomkins does though, is take all of these hits as a group – and then take the average of them. This method is clearly ridiculous since if you compare the human chromosome to itself, you get a result far less than 100%. I got 89% if I remember correctly.

    Tomkins is a hack.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. christopher kederich says:

    I really, really, REALLY wish I could say that most of these factual errors are accidental, or just stemming from a lack of understanding of the material,,, but then I would be fantasizing that all who claim to be Christians are truly that. Remember, the Words says that in the final Judgement many will say: Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name. Mat 7:22.
    Something most people may miss in the Bible is when the religious powers asked Jesus in whose name he did his works, He asked them, in whose name do your sons cast them (demons) out? Mat 12:27,, I think.
    But the my point is this: the pharisees and their sons DID NOT cast out any demons, nor had they for a long time! That is why everywhere Jesus went he was doing what the religious authorities were SUPPOSED to be doing. You cannot do miracles on a base of lies.
    The first ICR/YEC speaker I met was a flat-out liar. He knew it, too, and was only bothered when someone knew enough to catch him on it. No remorse for lying to Believers. The YES croud are the modern Scribes and Pharisees, and they make money out of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • christopher kederich says:

      Oops.
      In the last line, I meant to type: The YEC crowd. It was a long day.

      Like

    • Anthony Whitney says:

      Christopher, as someone who believes that the scriptures clearly indicate a special creation, over 6 days, approximately 6500 years ago, I find your concluding remarks highly offensive. If you don’t believe what I do, you could at least show enough grace to admit that there are genuine, non profiteering, biblically sound Christians with whom you disagree. Rather than label us as Pharisees.

      On a related note, no scientist leaves reasonably paid, generally respected employment and enters a creation based ministry for the money. That’s absurd. I can guarantee that these guys would have taken significant pay cuts, as well as knowing that once they make this move their academic respectability would be shredded. So why do they do it? Because they genuinely believe what I initially stated, and also believe that the science backs it up.

      Joel, as moderator of this thread, and a gracious Christian, you could have pointed this out already.

      Like

      • Anthony, if they are such genuine believers, why do they have to constantly lie about the science? Are they trying to convince themselves? If the science was genuine, they would be able to get it peer-reviewed.
        They lie about the science and they don’t submit work for peer-review, so they clearly aren’t in it for the science or academic integrity.

        Like

      • Anthony Whitney says:

        Megasolipsist, if you read more material from scientists who are also biblical creationists, you will see that they don’t lie constantly. I recommend Creation Ministries. They do submit their work for peer review. They do get published. You should be aware though that there is a strong bias against any pieces that disagree with the status quo. If you don’t promote materialism/long ages/evolution, you don’t get published. Regardless of how good the science may be.

        Like

        • If you’ll read my first post on this blog, you’ll see that yes, they do.
          If the science is good enough then they will get published. It doesn’t matter what they’re arguing for, if the science supports it then peer-review will let it pass. Evolution and an old Earth are so strongly supported by so many different fields of evidence that anything arguing against them gets extra scrutiny, usually because any attempt to argue against them is motivated solely by religious convictions.
          The reason they don’t get published in journals aside from specifically creationist journals is because the science doesn’t support what they’re arguing.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Anthony Whitney says:

        No megasolipsist, your original post references one article only, in which you claim they lied. I can’t follow the science to agree or disagree with that conclusion but it’s still a far cry from constantly lying.

        Your utopian view of the peer review system is commendable – that’s how it should be. Unfortunately though it’s not. And you wouldn’t know unless it was your research was being rejected. It’s pointless arguing with you about the quality of the science from these guys.

        I’ll leave with one last point – many of the contributors to CMI are PhD scientists, who researched and published (some still do) in secular academia. It’s highly unlikely that suddenly their standards have dropped, their research is no good, their science is shoddy. It’s more likely that secular academia don’t like their conclusions.

        Like

      • The label “scribes and Pharisees” should never be applied to rank-and-file YECs who have accepted, in good faith, what they have been told by organisations such as AIG, ICR, CMI, and who do not have the expertise and the time needed to fact-check it.

        It should, however, be applied to YEC leaders who describe old-earth Christians as “compromisers” or “faithless so-called Christians.” Such a position is unwarranted, divisive, and unbiblical.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Anthony Whitney says:

        James, thanks for your conciliatory remarks.

        I’m largely ignorant of how ICR and AiG conduct themselves, their belief statements etc. On the other hand I’ve been interacting with CMI for around ten years so I’m reasonably familiar with their approach. To be fair to them, they openly state that regarding their beliefs on origins, it all starts with the scriptures and a large amount of their material is dedicated to that end. Any interested Christian can fact check their stuff with a bible. Speaking for myself and many others, we’re primarily biblical creationists because we believe that is what is clearly taught in the Bible.

        In regards to name calling, yes CMI contributors will state that a position other than biblical creation, is a compromised position, and right or wrong, I can understand people being offended by that. However they would never call a Christian who doesn’t agree with them a ‘faithless so-called Christian’. They repeatedly and consistently affirm that salvation does not depend on this issue, and a Christian can disagree with them and still be a Christian.

        Like

  6. “Dr. Tomkins published a retraction of sorts to his 70% similarity paper last year. Tomkins reanalyzed the human/chimp genomes and admitted that his earlier work was based on a faulty program.”
    Do you have the reference for this ‘retraction of sorts’?

    Like

  7. Anthony Whitney says:

    Joel, the nuts and bolts of this topic go way over my head, but I think I can make a few valid comments.

    Firstly, it seems that comparing DNA is not a straight forward business and there is enough wiggle room to promote a set of figures that one approves of, that seems scientifically justified. Whilst simultaneously a different researcher could publish a different set of figures and be equally justified scientifically.

    Secondly, the point of this article is to illustrate the lack of ‘peer review’ in some YEC publications, on this topic. However Joel you should be fair and also point out that some secular, respected scientific publications still throw around erroneous figures. For example the old ‘1% difference’ line still gets promoted, even though it’s been widely accepted for at least a few years now that the difference is at least 5%. So the other side isn’t as careful as they could be either.

    Like

    • It’s been widely accepted for a few years now that the difference is at least 1.2%, not 5%. And there’s a difference between being a couple of percentage points off and being, say, 33% off, which the creation ministries have been.

      Like

    • So one article says the difference is 5%, or rather, more than 1% (I can’t see any more than that from that link, only the title, not the text itself) and then years later it says the difference is ~1.6%
      Silly old me thought this might be because the more modern article might be more up-to-date.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Anthony, couple things here. Regarding moderation, I have been very busy and barely able to keep up with looking at the comments. I set the blog to accept comments without having to be approved by myself first. This is not what I prefer as I wish to have reasonable dialogue here but if I didn’t I might not get to looking at them for too long to make any discussion possible.
      Secondly regarding measures of differences, its true there are many different ways to measure things. See my comment about this and others. My main point has been that one needs to use an apples to apples comparison and I have never, and I really mean never, seen any YEC comparisons of genomes in which they use exact same methodology to compare multiple pairs of genomes. This is the only way that any values can be of any use and comparable. 70%, 88% or 98% are just values with no meaning without context. I am reasonably confident that you and I are no more than 96% similar based on Tomkins methodology which is very different than the 99.9% that is usually used by non-YECs. My challenge is for him to compare a wolf and fox. Based on baraminology these are the same kind and so the prediction I think that YECs would make is that they should be more similar than humans and chimps but I think this is not what Tomkins will find if he applies the methods the same way he has in that comparison.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. Anthony Whitney says:

    This piece in a 2007 issue of science magazine states the difference is about 5%.
    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/316/5833/1836
    The same magazine was still promoting the 1% difference five years later.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2012/06/bonobos-join-chimps-closest-human-relatives

    Like

    • Nature has published the figure based upon a large number of analyses here:
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v437/n7055/full/nature04072.html
      Another, more recent publication gives the same figures here:
      https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29136500/Chimpanzees/Sequencing%20Primate%20Genomes%20-%20What%20Have%20We%20Learned.pdf
      In that second publication, you’ll notice a table showing the similarities between humans and chimps, using Macaques as an outlier. Each dot on this table represents 100,000 nucleotides. You can find the table itself here:

      Notice how the similarities between human and chimp DNA consistently hovers around the 98-99% mark? Also notice how the similarities spike in the area of the site of chromosomal fusion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awesome graph. So glad you posted. I totally forgot about this one and I have it in my collection of papers on the topic. Such a great visualization in the consistency of differences across the genome. Tomkins would point out there are insertions and deletions that are likely not taken into account in the percentages but that changes the percentages for all comparisons not just for human/chimp. Human/human similarities are less when those are considered but so are human/chimp and etc.. BTW, Neanderthal which isn’t shown here runs around 99.5% similar to humans with very little overlap with modern humans except where Europeans/Asians have some pieces of neanderthal genome.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anthony Whitney says:

        It all depends on what paper you read:

        http://www.pnas.org/content/99/21/13633.full
        http://www.pnas.org/content/100/13/7708.abstract

        Please note that I’m not saying that percentage differences prove anything one way or the other. My point is, that these figures seems to vary widely from study to study, (depending on what exactly is being analysed). So when prominent scientific publications continue to promote the 1% figure, even though studies show that the difference is probably much greater when considering all pieces of data, it’s probably done on an ideological basis, not scientific.

        Like

        • Hi Anthony, no doubt the figures do vary widely which is why I do which that whenever scientists used such numbers they qualified them as to what was being compare. For example, is that 1% of the protein coding sequence and also the RNA endoding elements. Sometimes the numbers include all of the alignable sequence. If you include regions of repetative DNA then how do they count difference? Number of repeats or just changes in sequences that are aligned? All of these are factors. But the question also is what sequence differences are meaningful. One species could be 0.001% different at the DNA sequence level and yet be very very different morphologically if these differences are in important developmental genes. On the other hand a species could be 5% different than another one and be able to hybridize without a problem. All depends on what is changed. So a percentage isn’t all that valuable. But an apples to apples comparison of genomes at least gives some sense of genetic distance especially if one looks at regions of the genome that are not under any selection pressure which is a large portion of the genome.

          Like

          • Anthony Whitney says:

            Joel I think we largely agree on the meaningfulness, or relevance of these genetic similarity studies. Where we’re always going to disagree is whether these studies show or indicate an evolutionary relationship between humans and chimps. Of course you’d know what my position on that is.

            Like

      • “notice how the similarities spike in the area of the site of chromosomal fusion.”

        Uh, do you mean how the differences spike in the area of chromosomal fusion?

        Like

    • Percentage figures have their place but I’m frustrated that so many Young Earth Creationists never seem to grasp that it is the phylogenetic trees, the nested hierarchies which make sense out of the differences which can be so much significant than raw percentage differences alone.

      Many Young Earth Creationist deniers of evolution still spew the lame mantra “There is no evidence for evolution” and “the Theory of Evolution can’t be made subject to falsification testing”—even though genomic comparisons provided plenty of BOTH at the molecular level which had already existed for many years at the obvious gross anatomical comparison level. Mapping the DNA of various species and then comparing them has been yet another massive slam-dunk falsification test for the predictions of the Theory of Evolution. The theory just keeps “winning”. Again and again and again.

      Thus, one can argue over exact percentages but don’t miss the forest while counting differences between individual trees. It’s not the quantities of shared genomic sequences but their qualities, structures, evolving differences, and fulfilled PREDICTIONS which matter much more than the exact percentage. The non-scientist who is ignorant of phylogenetic trees is incapable of appreciating what a given percentage difference or sameness actually MEANS.

      Of course, when a amateur with no knowledge other than some raw percentages actually thinks that they are qualified to declare wrong the scientists who have spent a lifetime focused on phylogenetics and comparative genomics, we are dealing with a level of hubris and blindness which is more topical to the Book of Proverbs than an evolutionary biology textbook. (And yes, it is also about the problem of sin.) There have been many parallels in the history of the western Church and, needless to say, the outcome has never been a good one for the proud science-denialist. How often must we repeat that lamentable history?

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi Joel,

    Any chance you could write a blog post on how the differences between human and chimp DNA are computed, e.g. what algorithms are used and where the disagreements arise as to just how much difference there is between them?

    I know that in computer science there are various algorithms for calculating the similarity between two different strings — for example, Levenshtein distance or Jaro-Winkler distance — and different algorithms will obviously give slightly different results, but what are the other considerations involved in comparing DNA besides just a simple string comparison? How do algorithms such as BLASTN, BLASTR or nucmer differ from these?

    Liked by 1 person

    • This something I have hoped that I could find a good reference for, for a long time. The assumptions behind the calculations can be quite involved and the calculations are not simple either. These calculations are definitely not in my area of expertise. I teach a genomics class but I don’t deal with these calculations because I have never taken the time to really sort this out. I could not be the person to write such a post. Maybe Roohif could put together something like that sometime. Unfortunately its because of the complexity that YECs can get away with making simply arguments that are very difficult to discount without a lot of background information. My response is that there is no perfect or agreed on formula for establishing genetic similarity but to compare one genome to another one at least needs to apply the same methodology so that something approximating an apples-to-apples comparison is possible. I have asked people who know Tomkins many times if he used his same algorithm and compared bonobos and chimprs or humans and neanderthals or goats and sheet or cows and yaks how similar would they be. Although I haven’t done the calculations – I have never been able to fully figure out what Tomkins did exactly – I have a strong sense having looked at a lot of DNA sequence that the differences in these pairs of organisms would also be far higher than the usual numbers based on aligned DNA sequences and protein coding sequence. If Yaks and Cows are 70% similar using the same methodology that Tomkins used to get 70% for chimps and humans than how significant is the 70% number really. So far Tomkins has been unable or unwilling to report any values for any other pair of organisms (even human-human comparisons for which he should be able to easily) so that his 88% or 70% numbers can have any meaning. As they are they are just a number with no context.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. My guess is that it was just a typo, not that he remembered something incorrectly. He should know better than that so the typo type of a mistake seems most feasible.

    Like

  11. Anthony Whitney says:

    Slightly off topic but I wonder what a Trump to Chimp genetic comparison would reveal? Or would Trump to Baboon be more telling?

    Like

  12. Wrote a blog post today instead of doing actual work :)

    https://roohif.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/is-1-a-myth/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, that’s really helpful. I will definitely be pointing to this post in the future. Not to put too much on your plate but it would be fascinating to apply the same methods to a comparison of the bonobo and chimpanzee genomes and the Neanderthal and modern human genome. Tomkins claimed at some point, I believe through Dr. Wile, that the Neanderthal isn’t complete enough to do this analysis but there is some good sequence of Neanderthals now and even without a complete genome a large portion of it can be compared. I can’t imagine how different the chimp and gorilla genomes must be using Tomkins methods and get the YEC baraminists suggest that chimps and gorillas are the same kind.

      Like

  13. zwiqkmix says:

    Anthony:
    “Joel I think we largely agree on the meaningfulness, or relevance of these genetic similarity studies. Where we’re always going to disagree is whether these studies show or indicate an evolutionary relationship between humans and chimps. Of course you’d know what my position on that is.”

    If you were honest, your position would be the same as the position you articulated when you were invited to discuss the details: “Joel, the nuts and bolts of this topic go way over my head…”

    You have to get into the nuts and bolts to have an informed opinion. My hypothesis is that you are afraid to get into the nuts and bolts because you are afraid of what you might learn.

    Your faith is too weak.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anthony Whitney says:

      ‘Zwiqkmix’, this discussion is for grown ups. Go trolling somewhere else.

      Like

      • zwiqkmix says:

        Anthony, I expect puerile insults. The nuts and bolts of the topic go way over your head, so there’s no way you can be:

        1) an honest grownup, who
        2) unfamiliar with the nuts and bolts of a topic, yet
        3) think you understand the topic better than those of us who are very familiar with the nuts and bolts.

        Your arrogance and ignorance is a toxic brew that stems from intellectual cowardice. I can predict with 99.9% confidence that your faith is weak and that you are too intellectually cowardly to examine the evidence for yourself. You will stick to the safety of hearsay.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anthony Whitney says:

        …and the juvenile personal attack continues.

        Mate I’m on this website to have a respectful discussion on the topics that Joel writes about. If you want to join in on this discussion and have some genuine questions for me, drop the attitude and go for it.

        If that’s too hard I suggest you return from whence you came.

        Like

  14. zwiqkmix says:

    Anthony wrote:
    “Megasolipsist, if you read more material from scientists who are also biblical creationists, you will see that they don’t lie constantly.”

    Anthony, how could you possibly know if they were lying or not unless you compare/contrast their “material” with the actual evidence?

    “I recommend Creation Ministries. They do submit their work for peer review. They do get published.”

    Where?

    “You should be aware though that there is a strong bias against any pieces that disagree with the status quo. If you don’t promote materialism/long ages/evolution, you don’t get published. Regardless of how good the science may be.”

    That’s absurd. The way for scientists to become famous and win Nobels is to overturn the status quo. Would you like examples? Do you realize that the top biology journals select FOR such papers, not against them?

    Liked by 2 people

  15. zwiqkmix says:

    Anthony:
    “Mate I’m on this website to have a respectful discussion on the topics that Joel writes about.”

    Lying and claiming that “there is a strong bias against any pieces that disagree with the status quo,” when in fact the opposite is true, is not respectful.

    “If you want to join in on this discussion and have some genuine questions for me, drop the attitude and go for it.”

    How could you possibly know if creationists were lying or not unless you compare/contrast their “material” with the actual evidence?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Anthony wrote:
    “I recommend Creation Ministries”
    I’ve found Creation Ministries to be devoted to fighting evolution without any scientific work. It is a very biased source.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen, i’m sure Anthony realizes it is biased. He would claim that AAAS is just as biased. CMI does admit right up front that it is biased. They presuppositionally hold to a young earth and thus must be biased in their approach to data interpretation. However, I would add, that even if one acknowledged their biases it doesn’t always mean they are fully aware of how it effects their interpretation and it also can blind one to fully engaging all the data. CMI is much more serious about science and apologetics than Ken Ham and company but at the end of the day I don’t find their interpretations to be any better than AiGs. Neither group engages in much original research.

      Like

      • “However, I would add, that even if one acknowledged their biases it doesn’t always mean they are fully aware of how it effects their interpretation and it also can blind one to fully engaging all the data.”

        And real science is more about producing new data in an attempt to falsify one’s own hypothesis. It’s only secondarily about interpreting extant data.

        Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks

  1. […] get a response from Jeff Tomkins (via the journal’s editor, Andrew Snelling), he publishes a ‘retraction of sorts’ in which he acknowledges the glitch in the software, and that it affected his results. Rather […]

    Like

Comments or Questions?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: