What is the Biologos position with regard to the research referred to by this article?
Any research based on the supposed ages of patriarchs in the Bible has nothing to do with science.
You’ve stated your presuppositional stance – understandable. How does the evidence presented by this article cohere with your stance?
Well I wouldn’t say presuppositions -mine or yours - get a say as to what counts as science.
Not being that familiar with the science, I will defer to others, though I think a search will find previous discussion, but will address a fallacy use here and by ICR in other places. (Here is a link to a previous post regarding this article: Resources to address this ICR article on y-chromosome mutation rates, please )
The title is extremely misleading and the text continues to mislead. Even if the Y chromosome study is right, it does not “confirm” anything. It may be “consistent with” a Genesis timeline, but no more confirms it than if you found a Euro coin a crack of the Flavian Amphitheatre with a date of 2015 and stated it “confirms the Colosseum was built in the last decade.”
Much YEC literature is like this. They tend to tout exceptions, anomalies, and recent geologic events, ignoring the millions of other data points looking at an old universe, and in this case a human linage that goes much further back. Where the line is between “spin” and “deception” and outright lying is pretty gray, but when you have intentional statements made by those that should know better, you can make your own judgements.
Note that the BioLogos forum is an open discussion area, not “the Biologos opinion”.
The analysis that the ICR article is based on is a young-earth effort. The track record of young-earth claims is so bad that there is no reason to trust it. They come up with a mutation rate and extrapolate it to match their preconceived timeline. The representation of conventional science is not accurate; there are several lines of evidence used in conventional dating, which they dismiss as fitting presuppositions while not examining how much their own action fits that description. The article is long on impressive-sounding wording but rather weak on important details. I have several guesses about what’s wrong with the analysis, but am not certain without spending more time than I have on it.
This BioLogos position is that it isn’t research.
I haven’t looked at the current Y-chromosome YEC paper, but the same claims were made about mitochondrial DNA a while back. Evograd has a great debunking of their mitochondrial work here:
It is a really, really long blog post, but there was a lot to debunk.
Hi @Van_Dreams -
I appreciate that you have come to the forum and asked for a differing perspective on a scientific hypothesis. Many, perhaps most, folks prefer not to expose themselves to data that might contradict their cherished beliefs. You are taking a bold step which I enthusiastically commend.
The article you reference is 17 months old and is based on an article by N. Jeanson that has been thoroughly debunked by geneticists. Among other problems:
- He ignores the effect of coalescence.
- He extrapolates broadly from a tiny sample of the genome, while ignoring the molecular clock calculations based on the entire human genome.
These severe problems by themselves render the ICR article invalid.
However, these are not even the biggest problems in the Jeanson paper. The chief problem is that he fails to distinguish between somatic mutations and germ cell mutations. This leads to an error in his molecular clock calculation by a factor of about 50.
This post on another forum explains the error in greater detail:
Note that Jeanson throws out all pedigree-based mutation rate estimates in favour of data from essentially a single paper, Maretty et al. (2017). In doing so, he’s throwing out all studies that used trios or other long genealogical lines in favour of one that only looked at two generations, fathers and sons. As a result, the data is unable to distinguish de novo germ line mutations from somatic mutations, making it all but worthless for estimating a mutation rate for molecular clocks,
This is Jeanson making exactly the same mistake as he did in the past for mtDNA mutation rate studies, although in those articles he had the honesty to mention this caveat in the text. In this Y chromosome article, the word “somatic” doesn’t even appear once.
Do you have any questions about this analysis, @Van_Dreams? Do you understand the difference between somatic and germ cell mutations? Are you familiar with coalescence? Are you familiar with the well established scientific literature on human genetic molecular clocks that take into account the entire genome, rather than a tiny sample?
I am not a biologist, but I (or others on this forum) would be happy to answer any questions you might have to the best of my (our) abilities.
“Does not confirm but rather may be consistent with” a particular position. That sword cuts both ways. Evolutionists so often point to particular data being proof of evolution, when it can also easily fit into creationist explanations as well.
Van_Dreams, First you must understand that evolution and evolutionists can put all the data into an evolutionary framework, whether it fits well or not. There is no data that is contrary to evolution. And all other explanations have been “debunked.” You will be overwhelmed by evolutionary terminology.
I am not a geneticist either. But let me suggest some “supplementary” reading. First, Genetic Entropy by John Stanford. Then Biological Information, New Perspectives, various editors and authors. Also, * Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed, Douglas Axe.* Yes, I have slogged through all of these.
There are no evolutionists anymore than there are gravityists. For those who study biology and look at the evidence there is no ‘proof’. There is only confirming or non conforming evidence. The disparity of how much is in each pan of the scale is so much in favor of accepting evolution as to make debate pointless.
That is the way science works. Seldom would a scientist say it is proof, but rather it is evidence. and if they did say something was proof, they would be wrong, as new evidence could arise. Of course, when the weight of the evidence is overwhelming, it becomes extremely likely the theory is true, as least within specified parameters.
As far as I can tell, based on decades of interacting with creationists, this is simply false. There are large bodies of scientific evidence that creationists are forced to either dismiss or ignore. One example that I like enough to have written it up can be found here: https://biologos.org/articles/testing-common-ancestry-its-all-about-the-mutations.
Speaking as a geneticist… ouch. Sanford’s core idea makes no biological sense and lacks any experimental or theoretical basis. He also has an unfortunate history of inaccurately representing prior work.
Thanks, Steve, for giving this important perspective on the quality of the book that was recommended.
A book that sounds convincing to someone who is not deeply versed in the scientific literature can be detected as a pile of nonsense by someone who is knowledgeable. Of course, the primary blame in this situation would belong to the author(s) of the nonsense, who should know better, rather than the reader.
But those who read also bear some responsibility. I as a reader need to pay careful attention to what the scientific community has learned over the course of many centuries, and not just struggle through dense, non-peer-reviewed books I don’t really understand that give me the joy of confirming what my favored theology says.
I say this as a former YEC who was convinced for decades by the piles of nonsense, much to my present chagrin.
Find me a pre-Cambrian geological formation laden with mammal fossils, and I will become a Young Earth Creationist.
As Dr. Lisle frequently says, there is always a “rescue device” for those who adhere to the materialistic worldview. Unfortunately, due to the nature of these worldviews, both sides are doomed to constantly talk past one another. This is due to the all-encompassing nature of the underlying presuppositions and serves as the basis for apologetic work by noted theologians such as Dr. Cornelius Van Til and Greg Bahnsen.
Please provide some detail on how my post constitutes, in your view, merely a “rescue device” for a “materialistic worldview” rather than a valid critique of several astonishing and disqualifying errors in Jeanson’s paper which I have explained in detail.
As you do so, please link your analysis to the fact that the foundation of my worldview is that I have encountered the Spirit of Christ, which has formed my faith in the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ and my hope in the gospel. And that my faith in a God who has made the world habitable leads me to trust the science produced by biologists in the same way that you yourself trust the science used in GPS devices, computer networks, and weather reports.
Thank you, and have a blessed day.
One of the problems with presuppositionalism is that it doesn’t recognize that ‘true truth’ can can be derived from the cosmos. The truth that comes from the reality of the data revealed in God’s creation cannot conflict with the truth that comes from the reality of the data revealed in God’s word. If there is an apparent conflict, then the exegesis of one or the other or both is in error.