Darwin Revisited, Leap of Faith


Guessing can be fun… If the actual mutation rate is 1.34 mutations per genome copy per year… the genome copy contains how many potential mutations? And what are the potential beneficial mutations, compared to potential deleterious mutations? And compared to total non-deleterious? You are guessing that one in 10,000 or 1 in 100,000 mutations are beneficial, but is that based on observation or conjecture. It seems conjecture.

“About 35 million DNA base pairs differ between the shared portions of the two genomes, each of which, like most mammalian genomes, contains about 3 billion base pairs…” National Human Genome Research Institute. News.
Out of 89 million beneficial mutations occuring potentially once each, 35 million base pairs have changed? How about including a few other factors, such as deleterious mutations nullifying the beneficial one, and the necessity for two identical mutations in some cases being necessary for propogation, Or is this never necessary? And if there were only 8.9 million beneficials, how would you arrive at 35 million base pair changes to survive? not including another 5 million insertions and deletions? and not including the actual difference in size of the genomes?

“A lot more genes may separate humans from their chimp relatives than earlier studies let on. Researchers studying changes in the number of copies of genes in the two species found that their mix of genes is only 94 percent identical. The 6 percent difference is considerably larger than the commonly cited figure of 1.5 percent…The new finding supports the idea that evolution may have given humans new genes with new functions that don’t exist in chimps, something researchers had not recognized until recently.” Scientific American (Human-Chimp gene gap widens…)

So 6% of 3 billion bp is 180 million bp difference. 180 million bp had to change. Not a small number. Presumably they had to change in beneficial ways. Out of 89 million beneficial possibilities, or out of 8900 beneficial possibilities. Not including any effects from natural selection, or from non-symbiotic or antagonistic effects of simultaneous deleterious mutations, or from simple natural death under any circumstances, etc.

If the numbers are wrong, I am sure you will correct me.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #62

His quote says that (not just with abiogenesis) that evolutionary mechanisms are so woefully inadequate that no new species could ever arise. I suppose he could be a common descent +God helping out those rare mutations like resistance to chloroquine.

Typically ‘evolutionists’ need to… well actually agree with the theory of evolution or the adequacy of the mechanisms by which genomes change to… well change genomes to some degree.


And I guess that is the point. Evolutionary mechanisms by themselves would be inadequate if left only to natural processes, including the randomness of mutations, and the other factors necessary, is what he is saying. He is not saying that it did not happen somehow. Other evolutionists have said similar things, that it is impossible, and yet they believe it happened. They believe that an answer will be found, not that it has been found.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #64

It’s clear that you haven’t read the source yourself but instead a secondary source that called him an ‘evolutionist.’ Throughout the book, Ambrose speaks of how ‘Creative Intelligence’ brought life and species into being and how ‘Creative Intelligence’ brought about humans made in his image. I.e. why I said he sounded like an early Intelligent Designer writer.

(James McKay) #65

Noted. And @pevaquark has responded; I have nothing to add to what he said.

No John, since you used it, you must define it.

Otherwise you’re asking us to guess what you mean. Basically, you’re asking us to read your mind.


Another quote from him, cited in another book: “We have to admit that there is nothing in the geological records that runs contrary to the views of conservative creationists.” Edmund J. Ambrose heads the department of cell biology at the Chester Beatty Research Institute, University of London. Even if he was a creationist, which it doesn’t seem like he is, or perhaps he was not at the time of quote, his comment is knowledgeable, and fits in well with many other quotes by evolutionists such as Colin Patterson and Niles Eldridge, about the paucity of expected fossils. The book, “Confessions of the Evolutionists”, by HARUN YAHYA-ADNAN OKTAR. Certainly it is possible he leans to Intelligent Design, but again, it does not nullify his scientific observations and conclusions.


Its a lot of guesses isn’t it? In my experience, the definitions change to suit the defence. There are many types of evolutionist, but they do believe in common descent. Merely believing that mutations or natural selection takes place, does not make one an evolutionist. A purely materialist evolutionist will take evolution to the extreme, including holding to the evolution of the universe from nothing or virtually nothing.

(James McKay) #68

Thanks John. You’ve answered my question now.

Now do you think that Ambrose fits your definition? According to what @pevaquark has said, he almost certainly does not.


According to the authors Ankerberg and Weldon, he does, so…, but he is possibly not merely materialistic.

(Steve Schaffner) #70

Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I wasn’t guessing blindly – my guesses were informed by evidence about the number of beneficial mutations that have been occurring in humans. That’s why I suggested a lower rate of beneficial mutations – it leads to a result that agrees better with data.

Those two numbers have very little to do with one another. As you’ve already been told, the vast majority of those 35 million base pairs had no effect on fitness.

Unless the deleterious mutation occurs in the only individual having the beneficial mutation (which will almost never happen), this has little or no effect. Natural selection weeds out the deleterious mutation.

I can’t think of any cases in which it would be necessary. Can you?

By the fixation of neutral mutations, of course.


Well, that is totally illogical. Think about it.

I am talking about a simultaneous deleterious mutation, not a consequent deleterious mutation. The fact that multiple mutations can occur in the same generation, or same person, implies that both deleterious mutations and beneficial ones can occur at the same time, leading to a reduced probability for a beneficial mutation to actually be removed from the person/population before it ever gets started.

So you are suggesting that 900 billion non-deleterious mutations will produce or change 35 million new base pairs. That new base pairs will have little effect on fitness. So I assume that these 35 million base pairs difference mostly do not distinguish us in any way from other species, even though they distinguish us genetically from other species. Convenient. But probably wrong. I suspect that they do make distinctions between us, fitness being often an arbitrary concept, and that what might be considered to be a deleterious mutation in another species, might be an advantage to the human. And that many apparent non-deleterious mutations will turn out in the end to be deleterious, either immediately or latently.

I have not heard of many/any beneficial mutations in present day mutational occurences in human beings, at least not any without some significant genetic cost at the same time.

(Steve Schaffner) #72

That is not an argument. (And I’ve been thinking about it – and publishing on it – for decades.)

If you’re talking about a highly deleterious mutation, like a lethal one, then sure. But there are very few of those (and a good thing, too, since otherwise we’d all be dead). A mildly deleterious mutation, on the other hand, can quickly be separated from a beneficial mutation in sexually reproducing organisms, meaning the two can have different fates.

Not convenient – just true.

The great majority of them have no effect on phenotype whatsoever, and so will be neutral in any species. Your suspicions do not appear to be based on knowledge of the field.

Genome scans have identified hundreds of sites in the genome where positive selection has recently occurred in humans. Some of them have been studied in depth to understand what changed. For example, a mutation in the gene EDAR affects hair thickness and sweat gland density and was selected for in eastern Asia (it’s responsible for the typical East Asian hair texture). As for genetic cost, so what? If the benefit outweighs the cost, then the mutation can spread and the species can change. We’re smarter than chimpanzees but we also have weaker muscles.

(James McKay) #73

Are they going by your definition though?

This is the problem with describing someone as an “evolutionist.” The word is so ambiguous that it’s all too easy to give people the impression that the person you’re quoting believes things that they do not. The same thing is true for “Darwinism.” There are a lot of people in ID circles in particular who are constantly railing against “Darwinism” but who accept universal common ancestry nonetheless.

(Steve Schaffner) #74

Did they read the book? Did the authors know anything about Ambrose? There is a long history of creationists quoting other creationists quoting other creationists quoting “evolutionists”.

ETA: Mind you, there’s also a long history of academics taking citations from other academics who took their citations from some other academic without ever reading the original publication. Humans are lazy and tend to believe what they read.

(James McKay) #75

Yes, to be fair I don’t think that most YEC quote mining actually sets out to be deliberately deceptive. I’d reckon that probably about half the examples cited on the Talk Origins quote mine project are more likely to be misunderstandings rather than anything else. That, combined with an attitude of approaching everything as some kind of ammunition gathering exercise, and a weak concept of what does and doesn’t count as legitimate citation, can easily end up with people getting carried away with themselves.

I remember when I was at university, attending some cosmology lectures where the lecturer described cosmology as “the branch of science where 27\pi^4 is of order 1.” I thought, “Aha, he’s just admitted that cosmology is a branch of science where the error bars are too large to be meaningful.” It was only later that I realised that he wasn’t saying anything of the sort. On the contrary, he was making the point that the numbers in cosmology are so mind bogglingly huge that in some contexts, the difference between 27\pi^4 and 1 pales into insignificance. He was talking about scale, not precision.

Just goes to show that, as Jesus said, we need to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

(system) closed #76

This topic was automatically closed 6 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.