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Data Peeking, an Indispensible Implement in the Darwinian Toolbox

Interviewed by Scientific American, computational biologist Ewan Birney, who led the analysis work of 400 scientists who spearheaded the ENCODE project, is asked:

Should we be retiring the phrase "junk DNA" now?
His reply:
Yes, I really think this phrase does need to be totally expunged from the lexicon. It was a slightly throwaway phrase to describe very interesting phenomena that were discovered in the 1970s. I am now convinced that it's just not a very useful way of describing what's going on.
That's a very honest answer, reflecting an advance for science that follows the evidence where it leads, wherever it leads.

Meanwhile, evolutionary theory as presented by the Darwinian apologists is able to take this real body blow by, simply, evolving. Where they used to predict rubbish in the genome, they now predict a stripped down, highly functional, take-no-prisoners genome where natural selection is daily scrutinizing and excising the unneeded components.

This is called "Data Peeking," and it is also called "Bad Faith." It works this way:

  1. Gather data and/or run an experiment.

  2. Determine the results.

  3. Think up an explanation (perhaps a just so story, or maybe a worthwhile explanation).

  4. Label your explanation a theory.

  5. Unveil the data in public, proclaiming, "Just as my theory predicts..."

The key is the order of presentation. You offer the results to others after you run the experiments. When discussing, you give the just-so-story first, then the data, and then grandly proclaim that the results are just as you predicted.

If you read the book Evolutionary Analysis by Freeman and Herron, to take one example, this is virtually the sole mode of explanation on display.

Truly predictive models are the crowning achievement of science. Post-observation analysis is not a prediction, and should not be presented as such.