Skip to comments.Neo-Darwinian Theory Fails the Mutation Test
Posted on 03/27/2009 3:36:14 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
Neo-Darwinian Theory Fails the Mutation Test
by Brian Thomas, M.S.*
Darwins original conception of simple-to-complex evolution maintained that nature selected certain individuals with superior features, and in this way gradually, one tiny feature at a time, an entirely different creature could eventually form.
The source of new features or feature fragments for nature to select, however, eluded evolutionists for decades. To answer this, the Geological Society of America in 1941 formulated a new version of Darwinian evolution. They decided that genetic mutations should be considered the source of new information for nature to select, and thus the Neo-Darwinian Theory was born.
Since that time, however, science has revealed that mutations have fallen far short of the lofty accomplishments ascribed to them...
(Excerpt) Read more at icr.org ...
Have a great weekend, ping!
Another one from “Mr. Brian Thomas, M.S.”
By putting his “M.S.” in his title (a lame practice) he’s acknowledging that he is a lightweight.
Once again, another thread from you that shows you have no science knowledge whatsoever.
I have work to do this weekend, so I won’t be around here. I’ll check back after the weekend to see if the usual uninformed others chime in.
...and for the conclusion of Mr. Brian Thomas, MS, he states
“This is a temporarily sin-cursed world that is full of decay and death. But the Bible also reveals what the news does not: Death will not have the final word.”
And of course there is no research to back up the conclusion.
You Creatards don’t even know how to support your own hypothesis.
Oh come on, the pencil head Darwinian experts don’t know pooh about evolution. It is a fiction that stands in the place of knowledge. Give me a break. I don’t care if he has a PhD or an MD, if he believes that evolution is a fact, that complex creatures arose from simple through mutations, he is an dope. IMHO
What about if he feels the Earth is older than 6,000 years? What would that make him?
“If mutations really generate new and useful information systems, then mutation-related news should be reporting more benefit-causing mutations. Deleterious mutations clearly and vastly outpace any beneficial candidates. Given time, more harmful mutations accumulate, leading eventually to extinction, not evolutionary progress.”
There are many possible beneficial mutations but we have deciding that genetic engineering is immoral, in a sense, “playing God”. I also hope that you are not insinuating that people born with congenital disorders are inferior to people with the “normal” genotypes/phenotypes!
It’s also not true that deleterious mutations outpace the beneficial ones. We just tend to not notice mutations until something goes wrong. When people are feeling healthy, they don’t go to the doctor as often.
Bull: 999 out of every 1000 mutations are harmful or fatal to the organism.
==Bull: 999 out of every 1000 mutations are harmful or fatal to the organism.
And of the extremely rare beneficial mutations, according to Dr. Sanford (inventor of the “Gene Gun”) they are almost always loss of function (not gain of function!) mutations.
I only know that the earth is more than 46 years old. ;)
As I understand it, the evolutionist maintain that species go extinct all the time to be replaced by other species.
Also, my layman's education has given me the notion that mutation has been repeatedly demonstrated to have beneficial effects on such things as the shape of a bird's beak or the color of a butterfly's wings.
If we take skepticism to its logical conclusion, all we know is that we are at thing that can be conscious. What guarantees the veracity of the body's senses or our memories? If you choose to believe and act as though the Earth and the rest of the natural world actually exist (as I presume we all do) then that is just a matter of faith.
I always enjoy the threads you post.
Would you be so kind as to ping me for each and every one?
==Also, my layman’s education has given me the notion that mutation has been repeatedly demonstrated to have beneficial effects
You might want to give the following review of Dr. Sanford’s book “Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome”. BTW, I have read the book myself, and IT IS EXCELLENT IMHO (although, quite depressing, if you’re not a Christian):
75 of 87 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Critique of the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis, December 22, 2006
By Saint and Sinner (South Pole, Antarctica) - See all my reviews
This is a great popular-level work that analyzes the merits of the neo-Darwinian synthesis (i.e. the theory that random mutation + natural selection working through long periods of time created...oops, I used the `C’ word...ahem!...resulted in...the existence of higher forms of life) and shows it to be an illusory solution to the existence of life. Rather than discussing whether or not a completely naturalistic form of evolution happened using such things as the fossil record or experimental laboratory results, Sanford analyzes the merits of the combination of chance and necessity acting on the genome of biological organisms in abstract (i.e. using statistical mathematics). Now, before you jump ship and assume that he is arguing that “the chances of such and such evolving into such and such is one chance in ten to the blah, blah, blah (really big number) power”, like a few creationists have, you’re wrong. Rather, he looks at the basic assumptions of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory (NDET from now on) and compares them to what actually happens in nature. In other words, he contrasts how the ND assumption and the actual workings of nature differ greatly in their results. I will elucidate in my description of some of the chapters below.
Before I get to the review of the chapters, I would like to comment on something. It has been noted that Sanford is a young-earth creationist, and for some reason, that is like the plague to certain people. However, any honest reader of this book will also note that anyone (i.e. Christian and non-Christian) could have written the first nine (out of ten) chapters. Only in the tenth chapter does he make an argument for the historicity of Scripture. Even if it wasn’t that way, Dr. Sanford, who possesses a doctorate in genetics and the inventor of the gene-gun, deserves to be heard. Now, to the chapters:
Here, he discusses the basics of genetics (i.e. genes, nucleotides, genotype, phenotype, etc.) and explains what the neo-Darwinian synthesis is. He then goes through and refutes the famous computer algorithm argument used by Dawkins in The Blind Watchmaker.
Here is where we start getting into the analysis of NDET. Sanford discusses the statistical distribution of mutational effects (i.e. the magnitude of good and bad mutations affecting fitness) and their frequency. Sanford points out a number of differences between NDET and reality:
A. NDET posits that most mutations are neutral. However, Sanford argues that there is no such thing as a truly “neutral” mutation. Rather, most mutations are “near-neutral” (whether increasing fitness or decreasing fitness). Even a single point-nucleotide mutation in a minor area of the genome disrupts the genetic code to some degree (no matter how small). This is key for the rest of his book.
B. The naïve view of mutational distribution is a bell curve (though many Darwinists recognize that the actual distribution found in nature is nothing like it). The real distribution is a Kimura curve (named after the *Darwinist* population geneticist who created it) where the *vast* majority of the curve is near-neutral. Sanford notes that if the normal distribution (i.e. “bell curve”) was true, then an increase in complexity would be inevitable. However, with the Kimura curve, it is hard to see any substantial increase in fitness “getting off the ground” so-to-speak.
C. NDET acknowledges that most mutations are harmful, but doesn’t suggest that the ratio is so small as to never allow an increase in fitness that would affect a population. Contrary to that assumption, the actual ratio, as noted by the population geneticists (most of whom are Darwinists!) whom Sanford cites, is so small that population geneticists don’t even place the beneficiary curve on the distribution graph! The ratio that Sanford cites (again, from the population geneticists) is between 10,000 to 1,000,000 harmful mutations for every one beneficial (though probably closer to the former figure rather than the latter). Sanford chooses to be conservative, and for the rest of the book, he assumes the 10k ratio. Keep this in mind when the next point is cited.
D. NDET assumes that natural selection will take out all of the bad mutations and leave only the good (notice that that was a near quote of Darwin himself). However, citing the population geneticist, Kimura, for support, Sanford notes that there is a “zone of near-neutrality” on both the beneficial and harmful sides of the curve in which natural selection doesn’t select for or against. This is due to the fact that most mutations are point-nucleotide mutations. These only cause an ever-so-slight decrease in fitness that natural selection can’t “see” them 99% of the time. It would be like a single pixel on your television screen going out. Would you really be able to tell a difference? Furthermore, since the beneficiary mutations curve is so small (see point C. above), the “zone of near-neutrality” (a.k.a. the “no-selection box”) covers 99% of the beneficiary mutation side of the distribution! This ensures that natural selection will never see 99% of the good mutations while allowing the bad (which are vastly greater in number) to accumulate. Thus, the genome will suffer from “genetic entropy” (and hence the title of the book).
Now, a typical reply (which is, in fact, found below in one of the negative reviews) is that biologists have witnessed and documented such beneficiary mutations that have given great benefit to organisms in their environment. However, many biologists are becoming aware that the vast majority of these changes in phenotype are due to “pre-programmed” changes in the genome, not random ones as NDET demands. Secondly, as Sanford points out in Appendix 4, many of these “beneficial” mutations actually end up giving the organism a net decrease in fitness (as in the case of homeostasis in cold-climate creatures to warm climates or drug-resistant bacteria) making them deleterious in reality!
Here, he starts to go into human population genetics. He cites several twentieth century population geneticists who believed that if there were as many as 0.5 deleterious mutations per person per generation, then the human race would be doomed to extinction. He then cites the actual number of 100 deleterious mutations per person per generation! This is a topic that he comes back to in other chapters of his book. However, from now on, I will concentrate on the implications for NDET. Next, he debunks the junk-DNA and pseudo-gene myth (i.e. those genes really do have a function as scientists are now finding out).
In this chapter, he discusses the actual power of natural selection as found in nature compared to that which is presupposed by NDET. He notes that most biologists see natural selection as a “magic wand” that eliminates any decrease in complexity while preserving all those changes and variations which give an increase in fitness. Here, he points out a few more problems with NDET when it is contrasted with reality:
E. NDET presupposes that each individual nucleotide is selected for or against. This is a necessary presupposition for all (or even most) deleterious mutations to be selected out (since most mutations are point-nucleotide mutations). In reality, however, it is an entire gene that is selected for or against. In combination with the 10,000 bad to good mutation ratio, this will ensure that for every (random) beneficial mutation that occurs on a gene, there will be (on average) 10,000 bad ones of the same magnitude (as that of the good). This is what Sanford calls “Muller’s Ratchet” (named after another population geneticist). Even if a gene with a beneficial mutation is selected for, it will carry many, many more deleterious ones with it. This inevitably causes genetic entropy, not a complexity increase.
F. While he noted, in chapter 2, that natural selection doesn’t see most of the mutations that occur in the genome (i.e. the “near-neutral” ones which comprise 70-80% of all the bad and 99% of all good), the problem is actually worse due to environmental “noise”. Environmental “noise” is simply the fact that random environmental factors affect who survives to a much greater degree than general fitness. For example, a tree may have greater fitness than that of another tree. However, if the seed of the one with greater fitness lands in a deep valley with little sunlight, and the other lands on a hill that receives proper sunlight, then the one with lesser fitness will survive. In fact, the population geneticist, Kimura (remember: a Darwinist himself), estimates that heritability due to phenotypic superiority (i.e. fitness) is as low as 0.4%! Thus, the “no-selection” box is increased *several* fold, ensuring that the vast majority of all bad mutations will go unnoticed by natural selection, and 99.99% of all beneficial mutations will also go unnoticed. So, while NDET assumes that all (or almost all) selection is due to general fitness, reality says that only about 1/250 of all selection is due to general fitness.
G. While not stated explicitly, NDET presupposes an infinite selection “bank” from which it can assume that all members of a population without a superior genotype can be killed off, leaving only those with superior fitness. [Otherwise, the beneficial mutation would be diluted when it is mingled with the rest of the population.] In reality, however, the selection cost to make a single beneficial mutation (no matter how small) dominant in a population is near extinction! [Sanford cites Kimura who, after doing the math, estimated that each parent in a population must leave about 3.27 million offspring in order to keep up with the selection pressure!] Thus, even if you kill off almost all of a population to keep one beneficial mutation, you will never be able to stop the deterioration of the genome due to the ratio of bad to good mutations and the resultant in-breeding among such a small population. Again, genetic entropy, not increasing complexity, is inevitable.
Chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8
Here, he goes through and refutes various attempts to save NDET from all the problems with it (as mentioned above). Also discussed is the deterioration of the human genome.
In this chapter, Sanford discusses more of what was discussed in chapters 5-8, but he also throws in several more problems with NDET:
H. NDET assumes that the billions of years (a.k.a. “deep time”) that the earth has been in existence is plenty of time for random mutation and natural selection to give rise to the diversity of life found today. [In my personal experience, I have found that even the mention of “deep time” is enough to dispel any doubts a Darwinist has in his heart about NDET!] However, even assuming that the above problems (A.-G.) don’t exist, the time needed to make only one beneficial nucleotide mutation dominant in a population is *far* too long for even the “deep time” provided. Sanford cites J.B.S. Haldane, another Darwinian geneticist, who calculated that (again, ignoring problems A.-G. above) it would take 300 generations to make a genetic trait fixed in a population. [Note: 300 generations is a conservative number. The average number found in nature is larger than 300.] So, for example, it would take several billion years for a chimp-like ancestor to evolve into a human (again, assuming only beneficial mutations). This famous problem for neo-Darwinism has historically been known as “Haldane’s Dilemma”.
I. NDET assumes that DNA is a linear code, and that one change in a sequence won’t affect other functions in the phenotype. However, recent discoveries have shown that most DNA sequences are “poly-constrained”. That is, DNA sequences can have meanings on several different levels. For example, imagine a coded message that has a valid meaning when read forward, another valid meaning when read backwards, another every 5 letters, and yet another when placed on top of another few messages (making it 3D). This is how most DNA functions, just more complex! Any change in the code could cause an incoherent message, and thus, one good mutation one way might also cause several bad mutations in other ways.
J. Irreducible Complexity. [There has been much debate on this topic, but I agree with Sanford (and Behe for that matter) that direct *and indirect* Darwinian pathways are extremely unlikely (and might as well be impossible). See Behe’s Afterword in the 10th anniversary edition of Darwin’s Black Box.]
Sanford concludes that the degeneration of the genome is unstoppable and Darwinism could never have gotten off the ground. Contrary to one reviewer’s beliefs about this book, Sanford only spends a few paragraphs on the declining life-spans of the generations of men after Noah. He shows that the life-spans of post-flood man, as recorded in the Bible, follow a curve that is eerily similar to a declining fitness curve found in earlier chapters of this book. In fact, Sanford believes that these recorded life-spans could only have been fabricated if the writer of the Pentateuch (i.e. the 5 books of Moses) used “sophisticated mathematical modeling”. Of course, while this makes Christians (like myself) smile with joy, it probably won’t convince any non-believers.
Everyone who follows this debate should own this book. Even if you are hostile to anyone that even questions NDET, you should read it since college I.D. clubs are handing this book out to their members and, undoubtedly, biology students. My personal opinion is that Sanford gives a devastating critique of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory. These are insurmountable problems for NDET, and the math and logic prove it. Instead of climbing up Mount Improbable (using Dawkins’ analogy), the genome is tumbling down Mt. Impossible!
You’re not on my ping list?
I just checked, and you are indeed on my ping list. I guess you must be talking about the articles I post in which I decide to give everyone a break by not pinging them. Are you sure you want me to ping you to those too?
Uhm, as he stated clearly, his conclusion was based on claims of Jesus and others in the Bible. It turns out, the veracity of such claims have indeed been a subject of study for thousands of years.
Now if you have some philosophical pre dispositions toward naturalism, and thus reject such claims out of hand, that is your choice. But don't confuse your philosophical assumptions with scientific discovery unless you can test them scientifically.
On this thread, for example, I wasn't pinged, I just stumbled across it.
It almost seems that it's an every-other-day thing.
He has none at all? Wow! That is simply incredible, unbelievable, and down right implausible.
You could’ve had a good/bad dream for 46 years. No?
“Oh come on, the pencil head Darwinian experts dont know pooh about evolution. “
Evolution doesn’t exist according to Creatards. So really there is no argument, is there?
Mr. MS would know something about peer review and the documentation of the body of knowledge that is science if he had a PhD.
“It is a fiction that stands in the place of knowledge.”
You could say the exact same for faith. But fundamentaloids cannot understand that faith and science are different things - separate and distinct, but not mutually exclusive.
“his conclusion was based on claims of Jesus and others in the Bible.”
No they aren’t. If he truly believed in Jesus and the Bible, he’d not try to make his faith sound like science.
Mr. MS himself has a crisis of confidence. he lacks faith.
He thinks that if he doesn’t add science (as good he can understand it) to back up his faith that somehow he is being heretical. Mr. MS has no science, and he has no faith. Mr. MS is a true agnostic through incompetence. He is a man with nothing.
Lots of you Creatards on these threads are just incompetent Christians and incompetent scientists. Like Mr. M.S. you have nothing, so you attempt to gain grace through science. How stupid, really. Grace doesn’t work that way.
Isn’t it ironic that an engineer had to explain that to all you scientifically illiterate faithless fools that claim the mantle of Christianity.
That’s not what I meant. Maybe I should go into more detail from the get-go. Let’s put it this way:
You are correct in stating that the majority of mutations, at least those that affect fitness-related traits, are in some way harmful. Most of those that have any affect on fitness, only have a small deleterious effect and do not cause any noticeable problems for organisms except under certain environmental conditions. The relationship between fitness-affecting mutations and the population environment is critically important. [By environment, I also include the relationship with other populations]. If the environment shifts to allow for the small deleterious effects of mutations, then even the collective mutations in a population will not affect survivability. If the environment is not suitable, the accumulated small deleterious mutations can be worse for the population than the severe ones, which are quickly expunged by natural selection.
To get to the point with regards to my comment on not noticing mutations until you have a doctor-worthy problem:
An environment full of advanced medical care and health benefits will increase the survivability of human lineages containing heritable mutations.
There are also a few mutations that are particularly harmful, some particularly beneficial, and some mutations that have absolutely no effect on protein function. You can change a single nucleotide in a codon and wind up with the same amino acid. Also, mutations differ greatly in their rate of occurring at any particular loci. For example, the mutation of a homeotic gene does not occur at the same rate as a mutation in a regulatory gene. There is much more to this but hopefully this will give you an idea of how mutating populations may reproduce for many generations instead of all dying off from lethal problems.
There is no need to call them names, that doesn’t speak well for evolutionary science.
“There is no need to call them names, that doesnt speak well for evolutionary science.”
I merely respond in kind. But I’m also laughing when I do it. I’m sorry that everyone can’t see the humor.
sounds like the usual uninformed have already chimed in, see post #5.
Thanks for the ping!
The Bible is the literal Word of God. It always will be.
how in the world did you come up with that? We’ve not even begun to understand what every gene does, let alone know whether or not a mutation is beneficial or harmful to any organism.
And what? Are you supporting failed “theories” like evolution?
Perhaps you are right about him having this fault, I'm not sure. I have my own faults, and perhaps even you have some.
My comment was about his conclusion that death is not the final word. That was the part you quoted. Can we agree he is not basing his belief in the resurrection upon anything other than the authority of Jesus and the teachings of the Christian bible? Certainly unlike the concept of a 6000 year old universe, the resurrection is an essential doctrine to Christianity.
Lots of you Creatards on these threads are just incompetent Christians and incompetent scientists.
You guessed a bit wrong about where I am coming from. I have a brief statement on my view of evolution on the my about page. I have not changed it for months.
Isnt it ironic that an engineer had to explain that to all you scientifically illiterate faithless fools that claim the mantle of Christianity.
Perhaps you would find it ironic that I am an engineer myself (software in my case). Not that this makes me any kind of authority on the issues at hand.
I will agree with you in so far as I would prefer other Christians not to buy into the idea of a 6000 year old universe as an essential doctrine. But I feel no compelling reason to try to slam them for it. And will out of curiosity and courtesy consider their arguments, and even support them when they seem to make a valid point, or when a critic makes an invalid argument against them. I also will do the same for the evolutionists, as I think I have already demonstrated in other postings I have made regarding this article.
No Problem then.
I’m greatly relieved that after a whole five days here you have no problem with me.
Thanks for that book review, I will have to pick up a copy. Time is running out for Darwin.
Dont have any dog with this hunt. Try somewhere else, slick.
2008? You ought to count your change indeed
You Creatards … [excerpt]Tip: That is really not smart. (ie, dumb)
“I suggest you not make a habit of calling Creationists that.”
Let me guess - you don’t mind name calling of folks of faith who also believe in evolution.
“Perhaps you are right about him having this fault, I’m not sure. I have my own faults, and perhaps even you have some. “
This is why scientific method was developed. To consider new information for incorporation into the body of knowledge that is science.
The point is that ANY point of view creationist or evolutionist can be incorporated into scientific knowledge.
However, using the Bible and saying “God said so” does not rise to the level of science - it is not disrespectful to God to say this, which is really the crux of the argument.
To be faced with pseudo science written by people with no obvious qualifications and have it posted to be take seriously is my objection. And the poster thinks he can make up for being wrong through volume of postings. It’s amusing.
“Perhaps you would find it ironic that I am an engineer myself (software in my case). Not that this makes me any kind of authority on the issues at hand.”
No, not at all - the irony comes from militant fundamentalism which equates belief in science to atheism. I personally know many scientists and engineers of faith - some of them fundamentalist in their views.
I can tell you’re going to provide some sport, oh yes!
Tell me RFE, is your brain in that pile, or was it cleaned out with the last batch of sacrifices?
“You’re just upset because a growing chorus of scientific voices”
How come you haven’t posted any voices in this “chorus” of yours? I hope you don’t count Mr. Brian Thomas M.S. singing soprano as a “chorus”.
Indeed, I’m not upset in the least by your insults to Darwin. We folks that understand and actually contribute to science study find your attacks on dead scientists amusing. The only way to insult a dead scientist is to attack his science, not through name-calling. So far you’ve been pwned by Darwin. He’s bested you and your fawning gaggle of Creatards on this board - and he’s been dead for more than a century.
Keep trying - many scientific discoveries have been made as the result of “stick-to-itivness”. Granted, you’ve got basic science and scientific method to learn first, but it’s still possible.
Signed, RFEngineer, M.S.
“By putting his M.S. in his title (a lame practice) hes acknowledging that he is a lightweight.”
Bingo! I would add that his choice of website to publish his weighty, thoughtful discourse speaks equally about his talent and abilities.
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