Testing the New Theory

From Dr. Senapathy:

(at page 532):"We may ask if we can prove the new theory by conducting some simulated primordial pond experiments and producing some independent organisms. Unfortunately, it is not possible to conduct such experiments because the amount of DNA and other materials that are needed for even the simplest life form to come about is far too large." [He is referring to the huge amount of random DNA needed to find exons and genes.] "However, we should realize that the DNA sequence information of living creatures is the ultimate information that we need to prove the theory. Until the early 1980s, one could not have formulated the new theory, because the minimal amount of DNA and protein sequence information from living organisms required for proving such a theory was not available. But now we have the minimum amount of such information with which we can prove the theory, and this is all we will ever need to show what happened in the primordial pond eons ago."

"The new theory is largely based on genetic sequences of living organisms, which are far more reliable than the fossilized bones of extinct organisms layered in the earth, a process about which we know very little. Even if we wait for a million years, the best information we can get for analyzing the origin of creatures is their DNA sequence information, with which we will have to derive the history of life. The complete genomic sequence information of several organisms, which should be available in the future, should verify the validity of the theory even further."

There is a more recent and detailed posting on this subject written by Dr. Senapathy in his "Q & A Number 3."



From Wesley R. Elsberry: That's not a test, that's an assertion. Hmmm. I've reread these two chunks of quote here twice now, and still see nothing that remotely resembles a test. Do you understand what Cates was requesting?

JM: I think you are asking too much. Dr. Senapathy clearly proposes the data on which a test could be formulated. How specific does he have to be? After reading Senapathy's quotes, I don't see why it would be difficult to formulate a test of the theory. Does he have to give numbers? If so, you can expect that to follow.

Wesley: Clue: a test concerning what Senapathy discusses above would tell us something about how specific data derived from genomes would be compared to other data derived from genomes, and stated conclusions would be premised upon the recognition of specified criteria. I didn't see anything remotely consistent with the concept of "test" in the quotes.

JM: You are going to be difficult to please. He stated how a test could be designed, although he did not state the details. OK, you design one and give details. Offer it up. That's what Senapathy is suggesting.

Wesley: Senapathy cannot simultaneously point to the pattern of relationships and claim consistency based upon "reuse" while refusing to permit claims of consistency for common descent based upon hierarchical structure. That's simple hypocrisy. "Reuse" is just as much a presupposition of Senapathy's theory as hierarchical pattern is one of the theory of common descent.

JM: But Senapathy also shows that unique genes will be present in many cases, and those can be measured. Although I don't know enough about examining genetic sequences, I would think the application of statistical techniques would reveal the level of randomness in genomes (above the level of non-randomness required for viability).

Wesley: Additionally, there is copious evidence of molecular evolution occurring within living species, which seems to be a disconfirming data point against Senapathy's strong assertions above. Organismal evolution is observed to occur through at least speciation naturally, and through the genus level artificially (see articles about triticale). These also seem to be disconfirming data points.

JM: No. His theory does not deny adaptations and artificial selection. That is what you "observe." New species can form this way, too. Also, molecular evolution can lead to normal variants of genes. It's all in the book.


From Keith Robison: Okay Jeff & Dr. Senapathy, test time's here! We already have one complete genomic sequence (see http://www.tigr.org/) and ~4 more should show up in the next 6 months. So what is this amazing test which proves the Senapathian claim?


From Una Smith: (quoting JM) Dr. Senapathy clearly proposes the data on which a test could be formulated. How specific does he have to be?

Una: First of all, we expect scientists who propose theories to also state explicit tests of those theories. Saying a test could be formulated, and might involve X data, is not sufficient. Anyone can make such a statement, but that does not mean that a test is possible. To figure out *if* a test is possible, it is necessary to formulate such a test (at the very least).

Only someone who believed in the value of the hypothesis in the first place would be willing to invest his or her career in trying to test it. Since Senapathy does not appear willing to do this, I'm inclined to think that not even he believes his hypothesis is of much value. That's okay! It's useful to dream up wild hypotheses and offer them for debate. Certainly, some of us have sharpened our own thinking on the subject in the course of this discussion, and I consider that to be progress. What isn't okay is defending such hypotheses (or any hypothesis) with the sort of reasoning that you, Jeff, have tried to use here. But learning how to think is part of the process, right?

Second of all, some of the "data" suggested as being useful in such a test does not exist. I will comment only on the part I know the most about: Senapathy's description of the fossil record, as quoted here in sci.bio.evolution, is a fantasy.

Also, see the Arlin Stoltzfus discussion.

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