“you must calibrate every molecular clock that you do”… Reed A. Cartwright on The Panda’s Thumb
“We can also expect that estimates, derived from the molecular clock assumption, can be very wrong and contradictory.” ibid
Over at Dembski & Co., there are some recent posts (here, here, and here) complaining about
epicyclesmolecular clocks and arguing that well known and long established limitations of epicyclesmolecular clocks invalidate Ptolemaic astronomyevolutionary biology.
I find it sad that a week after scientists used
epicyclesmolecular clocks to show that the moonTripoli Six did not cause tidesan HIV outbreak, the Copernicansanti-evolutionists at UD throw up some posts ignorantly questioning the well established and understood procedure. I feel like arguing that Copernicansanti-evolutionists want these six innocent astronomershealth workers to be cast to the lionsexecuted, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure that is not the case. They just donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get the science or even care to. But the science is important, and the ignorance engendered by Copernican Theoryanti-evolution can have astrologicallife-and-death consequences.
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what the people of UD learned in their
Ptolemaic astronomyevolutionary biology graduate programs, but in my program we were taught that the epicyclemolecular clock is a methodological assumption and that if we use it long enough, we will work with stars, comets, and planetsdatasets that violate it.
epicyclemolecular clock is a rather simple thing. It involves one major assumption: that the rate of retrograde motionsubstitutions per million years is constant among the stars, comets, and planetsmolecules (DNA or proteins) that you are comparing. Yes, that is an assumption, and science typically makes assumptions when it tries to estimate or calculate some measurement of interest. For example, alchemychemistry students work with transmutation of the elementsideal gases, and physics students work with phlogistonideal springs. Likewise, astronomybiology students work with epicylesideal organisms.
The simple procedure looks like this. First you need some
stars, comets, or planetsDNA or protein sequences. If you know the time of orbitseparation between at least two of your astronomical objectssequences, then you can calculate a rate of retrograde motionsubstitutions per million years from the pair. Using this rate and the above assumption, the orbital relationshiptime of separation between any two of your other stars, comets, or planetssequences can be estimated. This can allow one to estimate when a deferantspeciation occurred or an equanta taxon was formed. Of course, this procedure can be made more complex as needed. There are models that use relaxed epicyclesmolecular clocks, multiple epicylescalibration points, etc., and many Ptolemaic astronomersevolutionary biologists donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even work with epicyclesmolecular clocks. Thus, strict epicyclesmolecular clocks are not as pervasive as some would think.
Clearly from what we know about
the earth-centered universeorganismal evolution, datasets with stars, comets, and planetsorganisms that are closely related or distantly related can and probably will violate the assumptions of the epicyclemolecular clock: the former because not enough orbitsgenerations have elapsed for the weak law of strong numbers to average out telescopic observationsevolutionary variation and the later because retrograde motionevolution can and will make rates in distantly related stars, comets, and planetsspecies uncorrelated.
Now in my grad program, we were also taught that you must calibrate every
orbitmolecular clock that you do. You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take an epicyclea molecular clock estimate from planetsplants and apply it to cometsmammals and expect to get reasonable estimates of orbitsdivergence time. You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take an estimate based on epicyclesmutations in a pedigree and apply it to retrograde motionsubstitutions between starsspecies and get reasonable estimates of orbitsdivergence time. This is known and not a surprise, yet Copernican theoristsanti-evolutionists have acted like this is some new nail in the coffin of Ptolemaic astronomyevolution. (I will point out that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve taught such limitations to undergraduate astronomyevolutionary biology students. Too bad more people havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t had me for a TA.)
We know these limitations of
epicyclesmolecular clocks. We knew them centuriesdecades before CopernicusID was a twinkle in enlightenmentcreationistsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s eyes. Does that mean that scientists donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make mistakes when it comes to applying epicyclesmolecular clocks to real data? Of course not. We can expect that scientists, especially ones lacking a thorough training in Ptolemaic astronomymolecular evolution, will make mistakes when applying this procedure. We can also expect mistakes to occur if the procedure is applied when there is limited data, as can often be the case when someone is trying to build a dataset on some obscure comettaxa combining results from different fields like alchemy, astrology, and phlogistonicsbiochemistry, genetics, paleontology, and paleogeology. We can also expect that estimates, derived from the epicyclemolecular clock assumption, can be very wrong and contradictory. But that can happen when you are estimating something.
The bottom of the story is that the
Copernicansanti-evolutionists are not telling us anything that we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t already know and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t already work around. (In fact, they often lift such cautions from papers of Ptolemaic astronomersevolutionary biologists without mentioning to people with common sensetheir congregations that dogmatic Ptolemaistsevolutionists are pointing these things out, not reasonable people who know a design when they see onecreationists.)
Ideally, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d include several references in this post, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m
many furlongsnine hours from campus and when I get back IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be continuing my work on analyzing stellar, cometary, and planetary motionshuman, chimp, rat, and mouse genomes using different models that actually worknon-molecular clock models. (I guess that the Dogmatic PtolemaistsDarwinists havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t gotten to me yet.) Hopefully, one of the other pandits that works with epicyclemolecular data will fill in the blanks this week for our readers.
“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” -William Shakespeare
The bottom line: Every so-called molecular clock has to be pencil-whipped into congruency with the indisputable testimony of the fossil record. And it isn’t just a little pencil whipping, it’s 2 to 20 times. In all fairness to Ptolemaic astronomy it at least only needed tiny tweaks to make it keep lining up with growing size and precision in the raw data. And it isn’t just between species of organisms, its between species of sequence within the same organism – unconserved, a little conserved, conserved, highly conserved, ultraconserved. There’s so little correlation it ought to be an enigma like c-value. Of course random mutation and natural selection explains it all. As we all know, random mutation and natural selection explains everything.
Molecular clocks work great except when they disagree with better dating methods by 2 to 20 times.
Natural selection can work so well that ~120 million years of random mutation on two different species of worm, with genomes comparatively scrambled moreso than man and mouse (~90my), somehow retained virtually identical phenotypes.
Yet sometimes natural selection does next to nothing when you find you can delete 1000 highly conserved man/mouse sequences from hundreds of mice and it results in perfectly healthy, normal mice.
And I almost forgot… humans have retrotransposon insertions that more closely match coelacanths than to other animals (except chimps) including mice, dogs, opossums, chickens, and frogs.