Evolution is a faith because common ancestry doesn't add up

(Ravilas) #1

Evolution is a faith. People that deny such are denying reality. So many arguments are not made and so many questions are not asked. Common ancestry supporters often foeget to calculate if the supposed ancestor could have had the necessarry number of mutations in the time frame of supposed evolutionary movement. Most of the time the andswer is no do the math. Human and chimp 4% 6 million years sounds like a lot but if you take the faster mutating of the two have every mutation in the right direction with none of them reversals or corrections you end up with 4 million generations to achieve that number of mutations. Generational spans of at least 10 years would support minimum of 40 million year transition. If you take the end result mutation rates for humans it would be 20 million generations for that much differentiation. Even if it was a controlled path. Also over 99 percent of mutations on active enzyme sequences are fatal. Mal formed enzyme almost always equals death.
A very large portion of our dna is made of viral encodings that are cross species. And regional often common ancestory could be concluded when only geographical correlation is reality. Hence the huge correlation between non intermixing human groups genetic variations when exposed to common viral afflictions. Commoner and royal blood lines etc. You can still pinpoint region when no direct genetic intermixing. And you compared to global populations would calculate a more recent. Common ancestor even if their wasnt one. How dna folds can actually be more important than the sequence. A little more math on the mutation rate side disproves alot of supposed common ancestors even if you assume perfect linear mutations towards the divergent goal.

Teaching Evolution to Students of Faith: An Interview with Sara Brownell and Elizabeth Barnes
(Andrew M. Wolfe) #2

Hi Clint,

I’m no moderator, just a common Joe on the Forum, but let me be the first to welcome you here! Always glad to see new participants, especially those with divergent views.

To get the most targeted response to your comments, you may want to start a new thread. This is a slightly older thread, and so people may not click on it if they’re not aware there’s a new guy posting here.

May I humbly recommend that you’ll get the best response if you make each of your points separately and clearly? You have quite a few issues that you bring up here in rapid succession without much background or explanation. If your goal is to vent at the bad-guy evolutionists, well then that’s all well and good. But if you want to engage with people and maybe even convince them, then you may want to put in the time to explain your thoughts coherently. (It wouldn’t hurt to use spell-check and maybe grammar check, too. I honestly don’t normally comment on that, because can be perceived as kind of rude to do so, but it was distracting for me as I read your post so it may be distracting for others as well.)

Lastly, if you want to convince people, you may also want to learn what they believe. Some of these issues you address have been discussed before on the Forum and in BioLogos blogs; it only takes a moment to do site-wide searches for things like “mutation rates” to see what kind of pushback you might expect from your target audience.

Peace and blessings to you, brother.


(Christy Hemphill) #3

Hi Clint, welcome to the forum. I moved your post to its own topic since it did not really directly address anything in the article it was posted under.

(Stephen Matheson) #4

The biggest problem with this post, beyond its scientific inaccuracy, is the implicit claim that “faith” means believing something outlandish in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Years ago, when I read Dawkins’ The God Delusion as a Christian, I was offended and angered by this shallow misrepresentation of faith. Dawkins called it “blind trust, in the absence of evidence, even in the teeth of evidence.” If that’s what faith is, then it is truly insane. I think that most believers here at BioLogos find that view of faith offensive or at least way wrong.

In the kind of ironic twist that is tragically typical of “science-faith conversations,” your post seems to be a celebration of that kind of faith: accepting an outlandish proposal, in the teeth of the evidence. That proposal being: that millions of well-read people, and thousands of brilliant scientists, have somehow overlooked a simple arithmetic refutation of common descent. My friends on BL would (and should) be offended if I called that “faith.”

(Dennis Venema) #5

Well said, Stephen.

Unfortunately, the english word “faith” has taken on this range of meaning - and Dawkins and the like are more than happy to claim that sort of meaning for the “faith” that is described in the Bible.

The greek word for “faith” is pistis - and it carries a range of meanings: belief, trust, loyalty, and allegiance. The idea of “blind faith” or “belief in spite of the evidence” isn’t part of that range.

I have this on the brain because I recently spoke on this topic at our church - those interested can find a video of it here.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #6

Here is a nice primer on molecular clocks that can get us a little more on the same page perhaps:

Genetics is fairly complicated- is there anything specific you’d like to focus on for the science side in addition to perhaps being open to the fact that evolution is not a ‘blind faith’ as you appear to be using the phrase.

(Bill Wald) #7

Many scientists, like most theologians, forgot or never took first year probability and statistics. I just read a lecture by Werner Heisenberg (don’t have it with me) in which he describes the “laws of science” as predicting the probability of an event, not the event, itself. My gut tells me that this conclusion also applies to God’s Laws.

For example, Acts tells us that God killed two people for “lying to the Holy Spirit.” If The Law Of God forbids lying then God’s justice is not impartial.

(Chris Falter) #8

Hi Bill,

Thanks for joining in the discussion. It’s always good to have a new friend join.

Rather than accuse an entire scientific community of utter incompetence in their own field of study, perhaps we could have a constructive discussion if you were to document a specific set of data that seem to clash with the prevailing theory.

In your initial post, you did not link to any peer-reviewed articles (best) or summary articles that cite the peer-reviewed literature (very good). Without such references, I am unable to weigh the value of your evidence and the strength of your argument. I suspect other readers would have the same problem.

I offer this feedback so that our discussion might become more fruitful.

Chris Falter

(George Brooks) #9


I’m not a scientist… and I took a year of probability and statistics just to major in Psychology?

I don’t think you can make a sweeping statement that “Many scientists” are guilty of not knowing probabilities and statistics… unless you are taking a very small percentage like 0.001 (one tenth of one one percent) and multiplying it times millions of scientists… like:

0.001 x 10,000,000 = 10,000. This would be 10,000 scientists in the whole world (if there are 10 million scientists).

So… I have to say… 10,000 scientists would be MANY … but not a LOT of many …

(Phil) #10

I confess I have deficits in math, stemming back to poor instruction in high school. But even we “technicians” of science in medicine are trained a bit in prob. and statistics and have to know the basics in order to evaluate the validity of studies and such. I confess, the calculations our computational genetics brothers and sisters expose us to here stretch the boundaries of my understanding, but any practicing scientist has to have a good working knowledge of such things to function.
So, back to the statement of “evolution is a faith.” At least in my case, I would say rather that it is a conclusion, but you are correct that that conclusion is based on faith stances. I believe that the evidence of an old earth is accurate and true, I believe we can trust our senses and our minds. I believe that God is truth and wants us to come into relationship with him, and would not deceive in such a way as to push us away. I believe these things can be reconciled and integrated into faith in Jesus Christ.


Well, let’s see if that adds up.

The observed human mutation rate is about 50 to 100 mutations per person per generation, so let’s go with the lower number of 50. Let’s use 25 years for each generation, 5 million years since the chimp and human lineages split, and a constant population of 1 million individuals.

Over those 5 million years there would have been 200,000 generations. With 1 million in each generation and 50 mutations per person that would have been 50 million mutations per generation. That puts us at 10 trillion mutations that would have occurred in the human lineage.

There are about 40 million mutations that separate the human and chimp lineages (35 million substitutions and 5 million indels), so let’s split that in half and say that 20 million of those mutations occurred in the human lineage. This means that out of the 10 trillion mutations that did occur in the human lineage we only needed to keep 20 million of them, which is just 0.0002% of the mutations that did occur.

I’m not seeing any major problems in this math.

Do you have a reference for this claim? Just for a comparison, the cytochrome c gene in yeast and humans differs by 40% or so, and all of those differences are not lethal in either humans or yeast.

Endogenous retroviruses make up about 4% of the human genome which isn’t much relative to the rest of the genome. Not sure where you are going with these statements.

(George Brooks) #12

Wow, @Jpm , for a math slacker that was pretty good!

(Chris) #13

Say 7.5 million years since the last common ancestor, 25 years/generation in both species, that’s 300,000 generations.
Say 100 mutations/person/generation (mostly effectively neutral). Expect genetic drift to fix 100 mutations/generation. (That’s the standard assumption.) That’s 30 million mutations fixed by genetic drift per species.
3 billion base pairs in the genome (similar for both species) so that’s 1% in each species; 2% difference between species.

Please note, Richard Buggs is the expert, not me, so I’m accepting his figures.
The average is 88.9% so let’s round up to 90%. Neutral theory can account for about 1/5 of the genetic difference.
However since these are neutral mutation they probably have very little effect on the phenotypical differences between humans and chimps.

If we look at beneficial mutations ReMine has calculated that only 1670 beneficial mutations can have been fixed in 10 million years through natural selection. (ReMine’s paper was rejected by Nature not because of any error in his maths or conclusions but because the reviewers thought this was already well known.)

Perhaps some population geneticist can tell us how fixing of beneficial mutations would affect fixing of neutral ones. I assume some would ride on the coat-tails while others would be adversely affected.

I’m seeing major problems in this maths.


Royal blood lines are rarely if ever ‘pure’ and royal and noble males certainly ensured their genes ended up among the ‘commoners’. The creation of genealogies to support the ‘nobility’ or ‘royalty’ of one’s bloodline was well known. Also would you care to indicate what regions and groups have no genetic mixing (I’m not sure what you mean by ‘direct’ here). There are areas where there is less mixing (the caste system in India for instance in the last 1500 years) but never none.

(Haywood Clark) #15

I’m seeing major problems in your switching of units.

If a deletion–a single mutation–removes 50 bases of a 100-base sequence, what is the percent identity using


(Chris Falter) #16

Hi Chris,

It’s good that you’re doing the math. It seems that your math makes the assumption that every mutation is a point mutation that results in a single, one base-pair difference in the genome.

This is not a valid assumption. Many single-event mutations result in differences of hundreds or thousands of base-pairs. Here are some examples:

  • Inversions
  • Copy number variation
  • Gene duplication
  • Transposons

I found a gentle introduction to the concept here. For more detail, if you’re interested, I’d have to refer you to biologists who hang out on the forum, such as @DennisVenema and @T_aquaticus

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter


That would be a total of 60 million mutations. The actual number is around 40 million mutations that separate the human and chimp genomes:

If we are talking about the number of fixed mutations then you have to count a single 500 base pair indel the same as you would a 1 base substitution. Don’t get your units mixed up.

From what I have read, Buggs has confused lack of orthology between the sequenced genomes and lack of orthology in the actual genomes. There are gaps in the sequenced DNA for both humans and chimps, and there are also chunks of DNA that are kept out of alignments because no one knows where that DNA fits into the larger genome.

Added in edit:

There was a thread a while back where Buggs himself discusses these numbers with other posters at BioLogos:

That is correct. Neutral mutations can can become fixed with the rest of the allele when a beneficial mutation occurs.

Even your own math puts the number of mutations at 60 million mutations which is 20 million more than actually exists, according to the chimp genome paper.


Glad to see someone else has noted this. I first learned that when I read this paper.

(Ravilas) #19

An average of 30 mutations per generation and fixing 100 how does that lead to progression it doesent. Most theoretical ranges for mutation rates anticipate 30 to 50 mutations per generation or in actuality depending on conditions .1 to 1 per year so with quicker development of progeny the effective rate decreases because of healthier cells and less probability of negative exposure. So 3 million years with only 1 in 4 shot of giving most mutations to offspring due to multiple chromosones and mutations not being present throughout all of your chromosones etc your tree falls apart. Also a population of a million people is an unreasonable hypothosis throughout almost the entire 3 million year time frame logical estimates would be drastically smaller and intermixing unlikely. So 300000 base pare mutations vs 40000000, genetic material does not and cannot conglomerate in the method you have proposed bc none of them would have the same mutation on both chromosones or from both parents. So likelyhood of passing on mutation to second generation at best 1 in 4 to 1 in 8 depending on the type of mutation. And that progresses throughout future generations as well which is like red hair passing down in background it can happen but is unlikely. None of youre calculations acxount for this. So at most on average you end up with same number of total mutations in a lineage equal to the mutations per year in a single lineage, they do not spread throughout a population as proposed above and are not typically selected for unless drastically benificial. The total number of mutations in a population gives it diversity yes but cannot be combined to form total genetic change. It cannot work that way. If it did then we would evolve that same amount now with every generation. In actuality a larger population eventually leads to stagnation and a virtual impossibility of genetic progression in mathamatical terms.


That’s 50 mutations PER PERSON per generation. I think you forgot to take that into account.

You are forgetting that each offspring also has 50 new mutations all their own.

“For a diploid population of size N and neutral mutation rate u, the initial frequency of a novel mutation is simply 1/(2N), and the number of new mutations per generation is 2Nu . Since the fixation rate is the rate of novel neutral mutation multiplied by their probability of fixation, the overall fixation rate is 2Nu x (1/2Nu) = u. Thus, the rate of fixation for a mutation not subject to selection is simply the rate of introduction of such mutations.”