Thursday, June 19, 2014

More Fossil-Molecule Contradictions: Now Even the Errors Have Errors

Evolution as Contra Indicator

The problem with evolution is that, because it is always wrong, being wrong doesn’t count against it. In fact, evolution is so wrong that even its errors have errors. And whereas a normal theory with so many flubs would have long since been discarded, since evolution is true from the start it can’t be discarded. So instead evolutionists spend their time trying to determine just how wrong they are. One of evolution’s many problem areas is with the so-called evolutionary tree. Evolutionists compare the species to figure out which branch and twig they go on, but it never works out very well. One of the problems is that the fossil comparisons are inconsistent with the molecular comparisons. This has been a problem for more than half of a century—ever since we had molecular data—and it is just getting worse. Now a new massive study shows that not only is the problem worse than previously thought, but the errors increase with those species that are supposed to have evolved more recently. This means that the standard strategy of blaming it on the fossil data won’t work very well this time:

Our results suggest that, for Aves, discord between molecular divergence estimates and the fossil record is pervasive across clades and of consistently higher magnitude for younger clades. […] Unexpectedly, relative disparity is substantially higher for crown than for stem divergences. This observation is difficult to attribute to fossil preservation biases. The quality of the fossil record is expected to improve from the past towards the present, because more fossil bearing rocks are preserved from younger deposits. If disparity were primarily driven by gaps in the fossil record, one would expect the gap between the divergence of a lineage and its oldest known fossil to be smaller on average for the basal crown divergence in each clade, which by definition occurred more recently than the stem divergence. […] In sum, biases in the fossil record predict larger gaps between genetic divergences and fossil occurrences for stem divergences than for crown divergences, yet the opposite pattern is observed. […] Though often mischaracterized as scrappy, the fossil record of modern birds is now sampled from hundreds of thousands of specimens from throughout the Cenozoic. As increasing efforts have yielded vast numbers of new specimens but failed to reconcile the gap between molecular and fossil evidence, it becomes less plausible to attribute disparity solely to gaps in the fossil record.

In other words, the data make no sense on the theory of evolution. These are not minor errors that could plausibly be characterized as evolutionary “noise.” These are fundamental problems that have consistently contradicted the theory for decades.

Fortunately evolutionists know that their theory is true. Everything spontaneously arose, even though evolutionists have no idea how this could possibly have happened. That’s just the stuff of good solid scientific research.

25 comments:

  1. Where is this quote from? I'm not seeing a link or reference.

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    1. Oh thanks Geoff. You should see it now.

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  2. Ksepka, Ware & Lamm, "We discuss underlying biases that may drive these patterns", Proc. R. Soc. B 2014.

    Not sure why you think "the data make no sense on the theory of evolution". The discussion indicates it's a problem with how the molecular clock is calibrated. (They discount the other hypothesis that it is due to discordance between gene trees and species trees.)

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    1. It's not like this is the only case of molecular data messing around with this hypothesis.

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    2. Z: The discussion indicates it's a problem with how the molecular clock is calibrated.

      J: Of course; just like the LastThursdayIst says the problem is your faulty memory. Naive falsification is logically impossible. And in the meanwhile, there is ZERO inductive evidence for naturalistic UCA.

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  3. Isn't this another case of a failed evolutionary prediction? It seems that for every correct prediction, there are a whole bunch of times when evolutionists get it wrong. I hard ti claimed that the stength of a theory is determined byu how well it predicts stuff. Evolution doesn't seem to be doing that well.

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    1. What is the failed prediction?

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    2. I don't think you, or CH, understand what is being predicted (the degree of a match between fossil and molecular data in estimating DIVERGENCE TIMES), or the main implication (which is just that our understanding of molecular evolution needs improving if we are to obtain accurate divergence time estimates from such data).



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    3. I understand that they estimate molecular divergence based on the known rate of mutations that are observed in lving species. with this they look at how different the genomes in two different species are and estinmate the divergence time. If they in fact diverged, it should come close to the diveregence time as indiocated by the fossil record. But that didn't happen. The prediction turned out to be false. Does the fact that, I a non-scientist made the prediction mean that it doesn't count?

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    4. ""Does the fact that, I a non-scientist made the prediction mean that it doesn't count?"

      No (and I never implied that) - but did you actually make the prediction? Certainly a lack of understanding would discount it.

      The issue hinges on your assumption of: "known rate of mutations" - both the fossil record and our understanding of molecular evolution could us improving. This improvement is made by making hypotheses (models) of e.g., molecular variation based on some other knowledge (fossils) and testing the fit of the model to those data.

      The outcome of this process is (hopefully) refinement of our understanding of molecular evolution - but not complete rejection of the understanding.

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  4. "Everything spontaneously arose, even though evolutionists have no idea how this could possibly have happened"

    Odd...and what is the evidence that everything "spontaneously arose", Cornelius?


    Curious: you don't actually say where the errors lie. What "errors" are you talking about?


    "Evolutionists compare the species to figure out which branch and twig they go on, but it never works out very well".

    Never works according to....you? Do you have anything more pithy than that?

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    1. Curious: you don't actually say where the errors lie. What "errors" are you talking about?

      Oh, right, there are no errors. In the Orwellian Newspeak of evolution it is "discord" between the fossils and molecules. How misleading to say evolution could ever have an error.

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    2. All measurements are subject to error. Scientists learn that during their training.

      Both fossil dating and molecular clock data have extremely large error bars. Anyone who works with those data understands this. The cited paper is an effort to clarify these issues.

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    3. From the authors' abstract:

      Because true divergence ages can never be known with certainty, our study does not answer the question of whether fossil gaps or molecular dating error account for a greater proportion of observed disparity. However, empirical patterns observed here suggest systemic overestimates for shallow nodes in existing molecular divergence dates for birds. We discuss underlying biases that may drive these patterns.

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    4. CH: Oh, right, there are no errors. In the Orwellian Newspeak of evolution it is "discord" between the fossils and molecules. How misleading to say evolution could ever have an error.

      First, not having any errors at all and not having errors that prevent us from making progress, in practice, are two very different things.

      Second, please explain how it's even possible to actually end up with a theory that doesn't have any errors to some degree and isn't incomplete.

      Do you really find the idea of making progress on this subject so personally offensive that you keep trying to disingenuously conflate the two?

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  5. So you believe the molecules over the fossils, and you're worried about "errors" in the fossil record?

    Is that it?

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    1. Did you notice, Stuart, that Dr Hunter didn't answer your question? As usual, he waved his rhetorical hands.

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    2. @Stuart and Pedant

      Yawn....................

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    3. I hear ya Marcus - I also wish Cornelius would stop handwaving and say something meaningful!

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  6. StuartJune 20, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    ''So you believe the molecules over the fossils, and you're worried about "errors" in the fossil record?

    Is that it?"


    Is that what? What exactly is your explanation for any correlation between the molecules of any fossil, and the ''fossil''? Kind of want to know the relevance of such a comparison before your question could, only through conjecture, be speculated upon. That is my thought only. Don't mean to put words in Dr. Hunters mount.

    I appreciate your kind consideration. Thanks.










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    1. I was attempting to get Cornelius to clarify what he though the "errors" were. He seems unwilling to do it.

      From a comment I made above:

      Both the fossil record and our understanding of molecular evolution could use improving. This improvement is made by making hypotheses (models) of e.g., molecular variation based on some other knowledge (fossils) and testing the fit of the model to those data. If our understanding of the mechanisms of molecular evolution is reasonable (and our record of fossils reasonably good), then we expect a fit.

      The outcome of this process is (hopefully) refinement of our understanding of molecular evolution - but not complete rejection of the understanding.

      My question was for Cornelius to explain precisely why he felt it was significant that the fit was imperfect. He was implying that the lack of fit was a failure of evolutionary biology, when in fact it is an example of evolutionary biology in action.

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    2. Stuart:

      My question was for Cornelius to explain precisely why he felt it was significant that the fit was imperfect.

      Because it is a false prediction.

      He was implying that the lack of fit was a failure of evolutionary biology, when in fact it is an example of evolutionary biology in action.

      Of course it is a failure of evolutionary biology. That is not controversial. A failed prediction of theory X is not an example of theory X in action. Now you can modify the theory to accommodate and account for the evidence. But even that is not an example of the theory "in action." You need to make coherent, meaningful comments here.

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    3. Cornelius Hunter: Because it is a false prediction.

      Which could mean all sorts of things, which the paper you cited discusses. The paper suggests that the calibration of the molecular clock is off.

      The rate of the molecular clock depends on generation time, population size, change of function, and natural selection. Nor does the molecular clock provide absolute dates, so it has to be calibrated against other known dates.



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    4. "Now you can modify the theory to accommodate and account for the evidence. But even that is not an example of the theory "in action." "

      Actually, this would certainly be a delightful example of science in action. You're catching on!

      re: false prediction -
      The prediction they make certainly says NOTHING about evolutionary biology as a whole, no. So if that's what you thought the prediction was about, then you're sorely mistaken. Does the mismatch say anything about whether molecular evolution happens per se? No.

      Did you have anything meaningful to add here to justify your distortion of what the paper sought to do , or your distortion of the significance of the results?

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