Turning the Tables on Billions of Years

by Ken Ham on September 5, 2016
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

Recently, WorldNetDaily interviewed Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson about a prominent fossil claim with a time stamp of billions of years. Dr. Jeanson pointed out the challenges to this timescale based on genetics (e.g., see “A Spectacular Confirmation of Darwin’s Argument—for Genesis” for further discussion and technical references).

One of our opponents, Stefan Frello, posted an objection to these conclusions on my Facebook page:

If Dr. Jeanson has a case, he should write a comment to Nature [the journal in which the original fossil find was published], pointing out the flaws in the paper of Nutman et al. One of Dr. Jeanson's arguments (elsewhere—but in concert with what he says here) is that there are too few mutations in the mitochondrial genome [one of the DNA sources inside cells]. The problem should be that measurements [sic] show appr. 1 mutation pr. generation in the mitochondrial genome, and only hundreds to a few thousand differencies [sic] between e.g. different species of Drosophila, Where evolution should predict millions. But the majority of surviving mutations (those that are not under strong negative selection) takes either place in the so-called D-loop, or are neutral (not changing protein sequence). That means that only a small minority of the mitochondrial genome is free to mutate, resulting in fast saturation, resulting in vast underestimation of the actual number of mutations. Should Dr. Jeanson show the courage to post a comment to Nature, he will probably be confronted with this counter-argument (among others).

Dr. Jeanson responds:

In short, Frello assumes that the journal Nature will reject any claims I make, implying that my science is in error. The bigger objection behind Frello’s comment is one we hear often—if our scientific claims are valid, why do so many scientists (e.g., >97% in the United States) disagree with us?

I took up this question in a recent web article (“Why Don’t More People Accept the Young-Earth View of Speciation?”). The answer is very simple: The vast majority of scientists are evolutionists because they are ignorant of our literature, especially our technical papers. It’s very difficult to critique a scientific model when you haven’t the slightest idea what the model actually says or what arguments have been made to support it. In other words, the vast majority of scientists don’t have the credibility to reject creation-science claims.

Frello continues this practice. The specific flaw he claims to have found is one I already entertained and challenged over two years ago in a lay-level web article (“New Genetic-Clock Research Challenges Millions of Years”; see Objection #6), which summarizes a technical paper that I published nearly three years ago (“Recent, Functionally Diverse Origin for Mitochondrial Genes from ~2700 Metazoan Species”). Frello doesn’t interact with any of the rebuttals I’ve given, implying that Frello is ignorant of this literature.

In fact, Frello’s claims display a remarkable misunderstanding of the significance of my published results. My findings were not just a challenge to the evolutionary timescale; they also represented a strong confirmation of the young-earth timescale. Not only did the predictions of the biblical timescale accurately predict genetic diversity observable today, but they also made predictions for the future. In other words, among the millions of species alive today, in which the mitochondrial DNA mutation has yet to be measured, I’m confident that I can predict the mutation rate.

Why is this significant? For decades, evolutionists have held creationists to a strict scientific standard and chided them for, in their view, not meeting it. In effect, they said, “If you want your ideas to be considered scientific, then make testable, falsifiable predictions” (e.g., Douglas J. Futuyma. Evolution. 3rd ed. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2013. See esp. ch. 23, “Evolutionary Science, Creationism, and Society.”) Furthermore, they derided creationists as antiscience, claiming that “God did it” was a filler explanation for any area of scientific ignorance. Creation genetics has met this standard here—I can make testable, falsifiable predictions for the mitochondrial mutation rate.

But it gets worse for evolution. Essentially, what Frello is claiming is that I haven’t taken into account natural selection when modeling the evolutionary timescale. Frello has every right to make this claim. In fact, I invite the evolutionists to propose all manner of hypotheses in an attempt to explain the gigantic discrepancy between their timescale and actual genetic diversity. But, to borrow and adapt an evolutionary criticism, “natural selection did it” is not a scientific explanation—unless it makes testable, falsifiable predictions. What predictions does Frello’s counterargument make? Furthermore, does he have the courage to publish a testable, falsifiable prediction for mitochondrial mutation rates in species in which the rate is yet to be measured? It doesn’t matter to me where he publishes it—whether in Nature or in one of the creationist peer-reviewed journals. If Frello really thinks he has a valid scientific model, he needs to put some predictions in print.

Consider the even deeper significance of what we’re discussing. Mutation rates are not an isolated, tangential topic in the biological origins debate. Mutations are the central mechanism of evolution. If evolutionists cannot meet their own scientific standard in this field of utmost importance, then what does this fact imply about the rest of the data?

In sum, Frello’s challenge has the current state of affairs entirely backward. My published genetic results do not represent yet another isolated claim about the age of the earth. Instead, my results completely turn the tables on the age-of-the-earth debate. Creationists have the scientific model; evolutionists are the ones who have to scramble for an explanation that passes scientific muster.

Should I send a comment to Nature along these lines? Are my claims invalid unless the editors at Nature accept and publish my claims? The answer is easy to see. Just reverse the roles, and make a new claim: “The results in Nature claiming that fossils are billions of years old is invalid because the results haven’t been published in the creationist technical journals.” Is this assertion logical? No more than Frello’s assertion is. As other Facebook participants pointed out, Frello makes the no-true-Scotsman logical fallacy.

I won’t be sending my comments to Nature. Why? Because the editors at Nature are ignorant of creationist claims and are, therefore, unqualified to evaluate them—just like Frello.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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