These days when evolutionists compare species they usually use molecular sequence data, such as genes. But what if a particular type of gene is found in species A but not in species B? Obviously this constitutes a big difference between these two species. It is not as though the gene merely is different to some extent. It is altogether missing from one of the species. Nonetheless, the typical strategy in such cases is simply to drop that particular gene from the data set. That big difference is, in a stroke, eliminated from the analysis. This is one type of prefiltering evolutionists use.
Prefiltering is often thought of merely as cleaning up the data. But prefiltering is more than that, for built-in to the prefiltering steps is the theory of evolution. Prefiltering massages the data to favor the theory. The data are, as philosophers explain, theory-laden.
But even prefiltering cannot always help the theory. For even cleansed data routinely lead to evolutionary trees that are incongruent (the opposite of consilience). As one study explained, the problem is so confusing that results “can lead to high confidence in incorrect hypotheses.” And although evolutionists thought that more data would solve their problems, the opposite has occurred. With the ever increasing volumes of data (particularly molecular data), incongruence between trees “has become pervasive.”
This problem became all the more obvious in a new study that examined 1,070 different genes found in a couple dozen yeast species (yes, the data were prefiltered). All those genes taken together produced one evolutionary tree, but each of the 1,070 different genes produced a different tree—1,070 plus 1 different trees. It was, as one evolutionist admitted “a bit shocking.”
Or as another evolutionist put it, “We are trying to figure out the phylogenetic relationships of 1.8 million species and can’t even sort out 20 [types of] yeast.”
Clearly something is amiss and for evolutionists it cannot be the theory. That means it must be the data. The solution is postfiltering, to go along with the prefiltering. Whereas evolutionists once assured themselves that their problems would go away when more data became available, they now are headed in exactly the opposite direction.
What is needed now is less data. Specifically, less contradictory data. As one evolutionist explained, “if you take just the strongly supported genes, then you recover the correct tree.” And what are “strongly supported” genes? Those would be genes that cooperate with the theory. So now in addition to prefiltering we have postfiltering. We might say that the data now are theory-laden-laden. Evolutionists will be eliminating the uncooperative genes and retaining those genes with what evolutionists euphemistically refer to as “strong phylogenetic signals.”
Then they can tell us again that evolution is a fact because the evidence says so. That’s just the stuff of good solid scientific investigation.