Jeffrey Tomkins is up to his old dishonest tricks again

Tomkins is a creationist with a little bit of technical knowledge, and his usual game is to focus on one tiny detail of a story to claim an incompatibility with evolution, while ignoring the majority of the information, which is simply screaming in contradiction with him. I’ve dealt with his nonsense before, specifically his claim that human chromosome 2 can’t be the product of a chromosome fusion event because he can’t find perfectly intact telomeres or a complete second centromere in the chromosome. I tried pointing out that we wouldn’t expect an intact fossilized centromere, and that the real evidence lies in the synteny, or the concordant array of genes between chimpanzee and human chromosomes. He’s never acknowledged this. Instead, he just moves on to some other detail.

Larry Moran nails him on a bad pseudoscientific paper about the beta-globin pseudogene, which Tomkins claims is not a pseudogene, because it is functional (not true). It’s a very confused paper, which is typical for Tomkins, and the only place it could have been published is in one of those hothouse fake creationist journals.

Then Moran slams him again for claiming that the GULO pseudogene was independently disabled in multiple primate lineages. It’s got to get tiresome. This is what Tomkins and most creationists do — ignore the consilience of the whole data set to zero in on some tiny, irrelevant point that is incompletely explained. It’s the neglect of the big picture that is so annoying.

Before addressing the specific criticisms in this article it’s important to not lose sight of the bigger issue. Creationists tend to focus on particular examples while ignoring the big picture. In this case, there is abundant evidence of gene duplicationS in all species and there’s abundant evidence that the fate of one duplicated copy of a gene is often to become inactivated rendering it a pseudogene. This has given rise to a robust explanation of multigene families referred to as Birth-and-Death Evolution [The Evolution of Gene Families] [On the evolution of duplicated genes: subfunctionalization vs neofunctionalization]. In order for Young Earth Creationists to mount a serious challenge to evolution they need to provide a better explanation for all this data and they need to provide solid evidence that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old.

I think Larry has him pegged.


  1. ctech says

    PZ, what I don’t understand about the Chromosome 2 topic is that it is presented to have come from the chimpanzee chromosomes. Wouldn’t we need to link the fusion event to the common ancestor to indicate what it is touted as? At what point during the split from the common ancestor are we talking about this fusion event occurred? Is it something like this?

    ———- ancestor (slight variance from common) —– ancestor (fusion event) —- human
    common ancestor ->
    ———- ancestor (slight variance from common) —– ancestor (no fusion event) —– chimp

  2. emergence says

    ctech @1

    I’m pretty sure that what happened is that after the lineages split, the two chromosomes fused in the lineage that led to humans, while the two chromosomes stayed separate in the chimp lineage.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ctech, out of touch with reality per #2. What else is new? Silence Ctech, shows that you aren’t just ignorant….