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Evolution’s Circular Web of Self-Referencing Literature

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Evolutionists believe evolution is true. As justification, they cite previous studies. But those previous studies were done by other evolutionists who, yes, believe evolution is true. The studies do not confirm evolution — they interpret the evidence according to evolutionary theory, no matter how much the evidence contradicts the theory. So, citing those previous studies does little to justify the belief in evolution.

It is a circular web of self-referencing literature. The blind lead the blind. Here is an example. For years Joe Thornton has been claiming proteins evolved. See, for instance, “Simple mechanisms for the evolution of protein complexity,” from Protein Science.

As his starting point in the paper, Thornton cites several previous works, falsely claiming that they demonstrate evolution. One of his citations is a paper, “Protein folds, functions and evolution,” from 1999 when I was working on my doctorate in this area.

This 1999 paper is cited to support the claim in the Thornton paper that “During the last ~3.8 billion years, evolution has generated proteins with thousands of different folds.” But the 1999 study demonstrates no such thing — not even close. Not controversial, no debate. This is simply a false citation. It is another example of the web of false, self-referencing literature. 

Another Citation

Here is another citation in the Thornton paper: “Eye evolution and its functional basis,” by Dan Nilsson from 2013, in the journal Visual Neuroscience. This 2013 paper is cited to support the claim in the Thornton paper that the evolution of the vertebrate eye has been proven. But the 2013 Nilsson paper proves no such thing. Again, Nilsson takes evolution as his starting point. He presupposes evolution is true and works from there. Nowhere does Nilsson demonstrate that the evolution of the eye is likely or even could have occurred.

Nilsson has been doing this for years, going back to his 1994 paper, “A pessimistic estimate of the time required for an eye to evolve,” in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Not Whether, but How Fast

That 1994 paper explicitly stated (in the first paragraph) that the question is no longer whether the eye evolved, but how fast it evolved. Nonetheless, the paper was heavily promoted (and mischaracterized) by evolution promoter Richard Dawkins. For years after that, the paper was falsely cited as proof that the eye evolved, no question about it. If you like videos, Nilsson reviews his work in this 2019 presentation:

Nilsson does very little original biology work. Instead, he offers evolutionary just-so stories. His work is something of a poster child for this false citation pseudoscience problem. The new Thornton paper is yet another example of how pervasive the problem is, and how vacuous is evolutionary science.

The formula goes like this: 1. Evolution is true. 2. Here’s how it must have happened. 3. Look, yet more proof of evolution.

This post is adapted from Dr. Hunter’s comments on Twitter.