Signal vs. Noise, Part 2: Hunter Opens the Klassen Study Again

(Cornelius_Hunter) #62

Well, yes, this is what evolutionists claim. So, yes, you “can” claim that. But you cannot claim to know this to be true, based on the data. It is a metaphysical claim. Something other than the scientific evidence is mandating your claim. Any wild guesses at what that is?

The problem is your knowledge does not necessarily align with reality. IOW, the fact that you are unaware of other theories, does not mean there are no other possible explanations. There could be one or more, and one of them could be true. This is a challenge for contrastive thinking, as opposed to following the evidence, and looking for theories that do at least reasonably well. You may be choosing between false explanations, and it looks that way since your selected theory does so poorly.


That is true of every single scientific theory. We can’t say that Relativity is true, only that it happens to make very reliable predictions and matches the data really well. Evolution is the same as all other scientific theories in that it doesn’t make claims about absolute proof or truth.

Science can only test theories it is aware of. If you want to hide a theory under a bushel, that’s not science’s fault. You can hardly blame science for accepting the best explanation it has, because that is what science should do. If a better explanation comes along, then evolution will be thrown out and the new explanation will be adopted. Until then, evolution remains the best theory.

In science, if you think something is wrong then DEMONSTRATE that it is wrong. That’s how science works. You actually need to come up with a model that explains the sequence data. If you think you can do a better job, then do a better job. Otherwise, there is nothing that science needs to address.

(Cornelius_Hunter) #64

Well for evolution that has been done repeatedly. See, for example, these posts:

Well that too has been done, but it didn’t make any difference for evolutionists. For example:


So to summarize, here is the evolutionary argument:

  1. Theories must be compared against other theories (contradictory data can be sustained)
  2. For evolution, the only other theory is random design: The species are all random.
  3. Tests of randomness fail, therefore evolution is a fact, in spite of the fact the empirical evidence is contradictory.

(Chris Falter) #65

Hello Dr. Hunter,

In this discussion of sequential DNA data and Klassen’s 49 data sets, you just claimed the following:

And then you cited two sources. I followed both links to see what models of DNA sequential data they might present. Could this be, at long last?

Sadly, no.

One “model” was Lamarckian, which made no predictions about DNA sequences because DNA was not discovered until many decades later.

The other “model” was Ewert’s dependency graph model. In the paper, Ewert excludes DNA sequence data from his analysis. Moreover, in a thread on @Swamidass 's Peaceful Science site, Ewert acknowledged that the DG hypothesis makes no predictions about DNA sequence data, and may not be able to do so for a very long time, if ever.

You cited two sources as presenting alternative models for predicting DNA sequence data, but they do not do so in the least. I’m scratching my head. :thinking:

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter

(Chris Falter) #66

You have mischaracterized the argument for evolution by omitting some key points. This is surprising, as the points were described in considerable detail in this thread’s original post.

Because the theory of evolution incorporates empirically observed stochastic factors such as convergent adaptations, incomplete lineage sorting, horizontal gene transfer, and indel mutations, it does not predict perfect conformance with phylogenetic trees. Thus what you have characterized as contradictory data only contradicts a straw-man version of the theory that omits its complex factors. The theory has a model for both the phylogenetic signal and the homoplasy noise, and both aspects are well-supported by the evidence.

The model for noise can be summarized this way: as distance in time and space increases, the influence of homoplasy, ILS, and other stochastic factors is expected to increase. This prediction is well-supported by the evidence. Obviously, the population genetics specialists, among others, could provide more details.

EDIT: Below, @T_aquaticus cites a post in the previous “Signal v.Noise” thread where @glipsnort provides quantifiable predictions of sequence divergence. This is exactly what I had in mind. END EDIT

If I have misconstrued or misrepresented any aspect of the theory of evolution, I would ask biologist friends of the forum such as @glipsnort, @T_aquaticus, @Sy_Garte, @DennisVenema, or @sfmatheson to make corrections as you see fit.

Chris Falter

(Haywood Clark) #67

You’re just reasserting your conclusion. The question is why, which you haven’t addressed yet.

Your blog is full of lumping and concentrates on what people, particularly groups of people, allegedly say.

Can’t you avoid those and simply answer the question about the evidence?


You should know that science is communicated in peer reviewed journals that contains original research, not blog posts.

  1. You have yet to present another theory that addresses sequence data.
  2. You have not shown us a different model that should be used, and why.
  3. Tests of evolution show that we see the expected phylogenetic signal that is statistically significant.


@glipsnort had a wonderful question in the original “Signal vs. Noise” thread that was left unanswered, and I think it gets to the heart of the matter.

“I don’t see a point to the generalities being exchanged here. Let me be concrete. If we compare genomes of two great apes, based on common descent, I can predict the following with considerable precision: the transition/transversion ratio of the single-base differences between the genomes; the relative rate of transitions at CpG sites, the relative rate of transversions at CpG sites. What predictions does your model make for these quantities, to say, +/- 20%?”

This is just one example of many that could be put forward for common descent. It makes a massive number of predictions, and I have yet to see @Cornelius_Hunter or any other ID proponent really tackle them. My own personal favorite is the signal of sequence conservation in exons and the lack of that same sequence conservation in introns. Tying in BioLogos, even Dr. Francis Collins cites sequence conservation in exons as one of the strongest evidences for evolution and common descent in his essay “Faith and the Human Genome”.

I keep seeing Hunter complain that a random model should not be used, but I have yet to see any alternative given when it comes to sequence data. I can only surmise that the only real complaint is that common descent works as an explanation.

(A.M. Wolfe) #70

As my mentor in my scientific field (a well-known name in his subfield) used to say pithily, on occasions when I would try to poke holes in his pet theories without offering an alternative:

“You can’t beat something with nothing.”

(Cornelius_Hunter) #71

Well you must not have read them, as they are referring to peer reviewed journal papers. I could have merely given you a list of the journal papers, but you wouldn’t have known what I was referring to, in particular.

Actually I gave you two: Lamarck and DG, but you did not respond to my point.

(Chris Falter) #72

Perhaps @T_aquaticus was relying on my response to your point. Here is the link to my post for your convenience:

My post is only 10 sentences, so it should be a quick read.

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter


Neither of those addresses sequence data. We have already been over this with DG.

Just to be clear, with molecular phylogenetics, you plug actual DNA sequences into algorithms. Lamarck certainly didn’t do that because DNA was discovered 20 years after he died. Ewert’s DG paper doesn’t do that either. Instead, DG uses the categories that humans assign to genes without ever comparing a single DNA sequence. Neither has an approach for predicting what differences and similarities we would see between aligned sequences for different species.

(Cornelius_Hunter) #74

Actually both do.

Savor the irony. This narrow criterion you have erected as the new goal posts has refuted evolution / CD over and over. Also, I wonder why the capability for predicting sequence comparisons is so crucial for you? For example, heliocentrism doesn’t predict how many moons a planet has, but we don’t therefore reject the theory.

(Chris Falter) #75

If there were another theory as accurate as heliocentrism in predicting planetary orbits but also able to predict the number of moons each planet has, then astronomers would reject heliocentrism in favor of the that other theory. But the number of moons per planet is basically a stochastic factor, so it seems very unlikely to be predictable by any theory.

In other words: the number of moons per planet is noise, and the planetary orbits are the signal. Thus heliocentrism triumphs–until such time as another theory comes along that parsimoniously makes more accurate predictions for more astronomical data.




The “new goal posts”? Those have been the goal posts from the very beginning. Lamarck and Ewert don’t compare DNA sequences. You can try to change the subject all you want, but this fact remains. Common descent and evolution is the only model that predicts patterns in sequence similarities and differences.

(Cornelius_Hunter) #77

By this logic evolution would also be excluded.

You have made one bizarre assertion after another. So why do you labor so hard for the theory of spontaneous origins? One certainly can find evidences for evolution, but there also are problems and evidences against it. From a scientific perspective one would, at the very least, have to be tentative. (I think it is obvious that the problems are more serious, but leaving that aside for the moment). Yet you and the others here are consistently hard over on the naturalism side. Why is that?

(Cornelius_Hunter) #79

At this point you are making no sense and this is obviously a thinly veiled attempt at theory protection. Obviously this was not a requirement prior to the mid 20th century and the rise of molecular biology. And obviously this was not a requirement when evolution and CD miserably failed, and additional mechanisms were called upon. Evolution’s “method,” is that the comparisons of aligned sequences should fall into a CD pattern.

Except when they don’t.

In those cases, a plethora of other mechanisms are called upon, as needed. And all of that is after the prefiltering of sequence data to retain those with a “strong phylogenetic signal.” And the abrupt appearance of designs, both morphological and molecular, are simply ascribed to “accelerated evolution,” or ignored altogether.

Well gee I guess that’s it huh? Oh, but wait, for some reason you didn’t apply that reasoning to Darwin. I wonder why?

Darwin didn’t “plug actual DNA sequences into algorithms,” but that’s OK, because Darwin itches our ears. From a scientific perspective, Lamarck has demolished Darwin. Darwin’s theory is scientifically absurd. Evolution has failed over and over, while suppressing Lamarckian ideas because it offended evolutionary metaphysics. But finally, even some evolutionists are now admitting the science supports Lamarck.


“Can’t you avoid those and simply answer the question about the evidence?”

Well you asked me to explain the evidence, so I gave you a bunch of posts on exactly that topic. The posts cover a lot of journal papers. The scientific evidence covers a wide spectrum. The preponderance of the evidence contradicts the theory in a great many ways. It isn’t a simple one liner answer. For those interested, here is the link:

(Haywood Clark) #80

No, in my sample I don’t see a single one of your posts that explain your interpretation of the evidence and avoid making claims about what people say. They are filled with unsupported declarations.

Again, several people have asked you to simply explain why the evidence supports your position and all you have offered to date are reiterations of your position. Why do you refuse to do this?


The theory of evolution continued its development after the discovery of DNA. You have yet to show a single article that develops Larmarckism in the context of DNA sequences.

Now you are trying to change the subject again. Wonder why that is.


You have never shown that evolution and CD have failed, as the rest of this thread has shown. You ignore the fact that evolution and CD will necessarily produce noise. You also have this strange idea that we should exclude observed mechanisms from the theory which I still don’t understand.

The prediction is that there will be a statistically significant phylogenetic signal that stands above the noise. That has always been the prediction.

Again, how are we supposed to compare DNA that isn’t shared? I am still baffled as to how you think this should be done.

Scientists have expanded the theory since Darwin. You have yet to show us a single application of Lamarckism to sequence data.