|A Human in the Primordial Pond?!|
this picture is not in Senapthy's book! ©GK
I never noticed this specific huge internal inconsistency in Senapathy's theory of 'Independent Birth of Organisms' until Senapathy explained his request to remove humans from the Primordial Pond.
The problem with his request is that one part of his theory says:
- (1) the Primordial Pond does not produce humans.
and another part says:
- (2) the Primordial Pond does produce humans.
In the previous blog I showed that according to his theory humans 'should' originate in the Primordial Pond. That is the second part of his theory explained in chapters 6-8 of his book Independent Birth of Organisms. Obviously, statement 1 and 2 are logically incompatible. That is a very serious problem for a scientific theory. Please note that nowhere in his book he makes explicit statements about the origin of humans! Senapathy confirmed this by email . It must be inferred from his text. But, he himself draws precisely that inference in his email: humans did not originate in the Primordial Pond. This contradicts his theory (part 2) that all eukaryotes could arise in the Primordial Pond (previous bog). He is silent about that so far. So, I am justified in claiming that there is an inconsistency in his theory. A rather big inconsistency. It is weird that I have to point out what his own theory predicts!
But the question about the origin of humans is not a minor issue. If you construct a complete new theory about the origin and evolution of life, your theory should explain the origin of humans. If Senapathy had stated it explicitly, he might have noticed the contradiction himself.
So, how did he justify the first (1) claim? I did not explain that in my previous blog. Senapathy justifies his request 'to remove humans' with the first part of his theory. It is his 'solution' for 'the gaps in the fossil record'. He devoted many pages to 'gaps in the fossil record' ('missing links'!). He gives quotes from his book that proves this point. For example, on page 454 he claims that phyla, classes and orders arose by independent origin, and families, genera and species mostly by evolution (p.454). Since humans are on the species level and not on the level of phyla, classes and orders, humans originated by evolution and did not originate in the Primordial Pond, he wrote in his email. So, let's accept for the moment that his claim can be derived from his book, although it is not stated explicitly anywhere. Even then, it is not right to ignore the part of the theory that contradicts this claim. And it does not help to call part 1 'the core of the theory' .
We have assumed that Senapathy has shown quotes from his book that prove his assertion. Should we accept his defence for part 1? Senapathy clearly wants independent origin of 'distinct' organisms, so he asserted that they originated in the Primordial Pond. But that is nothing more than wishful thinking! Senapathy has to show that his Primordial Pond can only produce 'distinct' organisms 'unconnectable by evolution'. He has to show that a basic molecular mechanism produces the results he claims. Whatever the truth of the 'missing links', even if there are thousands and thousands of 'missing links', that does not automatically validate his own theory. He has to come up with a specific mechanism. It should have been present in chapters 6-8.
For me this particular inconsistency was a surprise, despite years of thinking and writing about 'independent origin'. I had pinned down the most fundamental error in his theory (the elephant in the room), and here you have a huge and new inconsistency.
Scientists don't want an inconsistent theory. Such a theory predicts A and non-A. So, if A is observed, the theory is true, and if non-A is observed the theory is true also. The theory is always true regardless A. The theory is unfalsifiable (regarding A). If scientists discover an inconsistency they try very hard to remove it. When this fails they discard the theory and construct a new one.
|Professor Sharon Peacock (source)|
The lesson of this is that any scientific theory should be examined for internal contradictions. It should be thoroughly debugged just as software. A scientist should have the courage to openly change his mind. I read an interview with virologist Prof Sharon Peacock, Director of the COVID-19 Genomics UK consortium, about the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic:
"There is reason to think the virus did emerge from an animal host," she
said. "I haven’t seen any definitive evidence it is an engineered
virus or escaped. But what this virus has taught me is
to be humble when I’m wrong, and I’ve been wrong quite a few times
and have had to become nimble in changing my mind.
So if further evidence comes along that shows the virus as being engineered, I would be willing to consider that. But at the moment, in my view it has arisen from an animal." (source)
That's the real scientific attitude! Humbly admitting you were wrong! That commands respect and will certainly not damage your reputation. On the contrary!
- "As the foundation of my theory is the independent birth of organisms classified in the highest ranks, I have not focused on the origin of humans in my book. Thus, I cannot give you a quote where I mention that humans did not originate independently. However, as I described in my book, I believe that organisms classified in the lower ranks (families, genera, and species) have evolved over millions of years. (...) To provide a detailed assessment of humans was not the intention of my book, as I was focused on the independent origin of organisms in the higher taxa, and Homo sapiens is classified at the lowest rank of a species" (from email Senapathy 17 Sep 21) [added 28 Sep 21]
- It has always been clear to me that part 2 was the core of his theory because it gives a description of the mechanism by which organisms arose from the Primordial Pond. In my review of the book I have shown that the mechanism doesn't work, but here I am describing his theory. [added 29 Sep 21]
- Periannan Senapathy (1994) "Independent Birth of Organisms."
- 3 emails of Senapathy.
- Gert Korthof (2021) Senapathy's request to remove humans, 19 Sep 2021 (blog)
- Gert Korthof (2002–2021) What's Wrong with Independent Birth of Organisms? (WDW website)
Until the moment of publication of this blogpost Senapathy did not respond to my previous blogpost and 2 emails.
Until today, 11 Oct 2021 Senapathy did not comment or email me.
Oct 13: added falsifiability.
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