Monday, October 7, 2013

You Won’t Believe This New Epicycle: Congruence Incongruence is a Powerful Phylogenetic Signal

That's Creative

Remember how evolution was confirmed by congruence and proven by parsimony? The idea was that different anatomical comparisons lead to the same evolutionary tree. Even at the genetic level, different genes told the same evolutionary story. Similar evolution trees are derived from completely different genes. Such congruence of independent data was predicted by evolution and evolutionists have consistently proclaimed it as a powerful confirmation of the fact of evolution. It is, as evolutionists like to say, a powerful phylogenetic signal. There’s only one problem: all of this is false. It is yet another example of evolution’s theory-laden science where the findings are dictated not by the data but by the doctrine. There is no powerful phylogenetic signal. That is a myth. For when evolutionists construct their phylogenies, they first filter out the anatomical comparisons that don’t cooperate. But that is not enough so after their first try they filter some more. As one evolutionist admitted, “We are trying to figure out the phylogenetic relationships of 1.8 million species and can’t even sort out 20 [types of] yeast.” And so it is good to see a new paper that admits that data are routinely filtered in order to satisfy stringent criteria so as to eliminate the possibility of incongruence.

And what is the solution to this dilemma? As usual, a theoretical failure is converted into a success by adding yet more epicycles. Or as Lakatos might have put it, the core idea is protected by the addition of yet more auxiliary hypotheses. In this case, the incredible emerging view is that incongruence is now to be interpreted as a powerful phylogenetic signal that is desirable, as it often illuminates previously poorly understood evolutionary phenomena. Once again a prediction that was hailed as a powerful proof of evolution turns out to be false, and the story is simply flipped on its head, thus preserving the success of the theory. Where congruence was once claimed as a powerful phylogenetic signal, now incongruence takes its place as the powerful phylogenetic signal. You cannot make this stuff up.

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