@pauluc: Concerning reproductive life of the antedeluvians, [you wrote], “I …

Comment on The End of “Junk DNA”? by Sean Pitman.


Concerning reproductive life of the antedeluvians, [you wrote], “I don’t see this “implied” by the text. The Bible simply doesn’t say when the antediluvians became too old to have children”.

You are correct but the text uses the same formula for each patriarch

“the patriach” was x years when he had his first son

he had many other sons and daughters
he lived for y years after his first son
he lived at total/died/was translated at z years.

In most translations including the NIV phrases 2 and 3 are concatenated. I am reading that as saying during the y years he had many sons and daughters and that he was reproductively active during all the y years. Why else provide the redundant information if not to define his reproductive life?

The Hebrew writers were often redundant for emphasis or other reasons. Redundancy, therefore, does not necessarily suggest that the antediluvians were virile their entire lives.

Regardless, however, it hardly matters as your point is mute anyway. It doesn’t matter if they were or were not virile their entire lives as it doesn’t really affect the average yearly mutation rate to any substantial degree.

You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Either we are on the brink of mutational meltdown ala John Sanford and your previous posts or we are tolerant of mutations as you suggest by allowing for 1600 mutations per generation rather than the currently measured 100 mutations at paternal age of 29.7 years. Which is it? Can humans tolerate 1600 mutations per generation or not?

Do you not understand that 1600 mutations realized after 800 years is essentially the same thing as 100 mutations realized at 50 years? – as far as the gene pool is concerned? The mutation rate is effectively the same over the same period of time. Just because a generation time is shorter now than it was before doesn’t mean that the yearly mutation rate is all that different. It is effectively the same over the same given period of time.

Beyond this, any detrimental mutation rate that outpaces the ability of natural selection to remove them from the gene pool cannot be tolerated without a reduction in the informational quality of the gene pool. Just because this reduction does not immediately result in a “genetic meltdown” does not mean, therefore, that there hasn’t been a decline in the informational quality of the gene pool. There has been, obviously.

If we can tolerate 309-1600 mutations over the current 102 when precisely do you predict the tipping point?

As I’ve already explained to you, we can know that we are headed downhill, genetically, but it is much harder to determine where the “tipping point” is. We just know that eventually we will get there. It is interesting to note, however, as Sanford does, that an average individual sustains ~60,000 mutations in an average somatic cell line by 60 years of age. . .

“I’m sorry, but I was under the impression that it was you who wanted to invoke God to explain such things – not me. I’ve never invoked God to explain genetic bottlenecks or the current state of affairs starting with a single breeding pair. The available scientific evidence is perfectly consistent with the Biblical account of such a bottleneck as well as the decline of genetic quality of all slowly reproducing gene pools since their original creation. You’re the one who is trying to say that this is not possible outside of a miracle, not me.” – Sean Pitman

Yes indeed I am saying either there is a miracle to explain the genetic variety in all species starting from a gene puddle some 4000 years ago or the creation of the gene puddle did not occur. You want magically to have front loading of vast genetic potential in a population of 2 and the development of essentially all the allelic variation found in species today to have arisen over a period of 4000 years. I think you will find most geneticists would agree with me in finding that scenario scientifically incomprehensible.

No “magic” or supernatural intervention is needed here. There is plenty of evidence to show that the allelic variation that exists today could rapidly evolve in very short order from just two individuals. After all, we are only talking about very low levels of functional complexity here. You’ve presented no rational or “scientific” reason why such allelic variation would require significantly longer periods of time to achieve.

“It is the Bible that testifies of Jesus Christ, His nature and origin. Undermine the Bible’s credibility, and you undermine any rational faith you may have in the story of Jesus and any of His claims. You can’t rationally have one without the other. They go hand-in-hand. Certainly Jesus Himself saw it that way. He took the Scriptures seriously – to include the Genesis account of origins. He believed the stories of Genesis and referenced them as literally true. He even claimed to have personally witnessed prehistoric events. Do you believe Him or not?” – Sean Pitman

Of course I believe Him, after all I am a disciple of Christ. But do I interpret the canon describing his life and sayings that were selected by the church some 200 years after His death? Of course I do, just like you do. That our interpretations differ is not surprising since you have an american adventist heritage and I do not.

In other words, you pick and choose what you want to believe as “true” from the Bible – even with regard to Jesus’ own claims regarding the historicity and literal nature of the Genesis account of origins and of his own memory of prehistoric events. How then do you know that anything attributed to Jesus was really said or done by Him? You are forced into your untenable position, of course, in order to hang onto two otherwise mutually exclusive concepts of reality.

Whether I am right or wrong in specific issues of understanding of the natural world or biblical interpretation is unimportant and will be revealed with time. I do worry that your belligerance toward honest people of science such as Lee Grismer at La Sierra poorly reflects that Grace.

I have no problem with honest people with whom I disagree. Some of my best friends are agnostics and atheists. The difference, of course, is that they don’t claim to represent the Seventh-day Adventist Church and wouldn’t dream of taking a paycheck from the church to present views that fundamentally oppose the teachings of the church while on the church’s dime. This is where I do in fact become “belligerent”, if you will. It simply isn’t honest to fundamentally undermine one’s employer on the employer’s dime.

Sean Pitman

Sean Pitman Also Commented

The End of “Junk DNA”?

It does seem like this feature would probably have an effect on the odds, but I’m not sure what additional significance this would bring to the table since the odds of evolving anything qualitatively novel that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues would require trillions upon trillions of years of time.

Sean Pitman

The End of “Junk DNA”?

What is clearly not acceptable is that there is generation of any new “information” as that would clearly play into the hands of the evolutionists. As we discussed in detail concerning the vast predominance of allelic variation in canids and man that must have arisen de novo from the breeding pair or breeding 5 do you or do you not think that new allelic variation contains new “information”?

The vast majority of allelic mutational changes do and did not produce qualitatively new information – only changes to the degree of expression of pre-existing systems (i.e., more or less of the same thing). More or less of the same thing isn’t what I would call “new” information.

However, there are relatively rare examples of truly new information that is qualitatively unique entering the gene pool. The problem, of course, is that all such examples are at very very low levels of functional complexity (i.e., requiring less than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues).

So, its relatively easy to evolve a novel beneficial system that is based on a specified 3-character sequence. It’s exponentially harder to evolve a truly novel system that is based on a minimum of 20 specified characters. And, it is effectively impossible to evolve a qualitatively novel system that requires at least 1000 specifically arranged characters (regardless of the type of information system you’re dealing with).

If you say yes then you are certainly outside the current YEC convention. If you say no then you are suggesting that species with very different phenotypes can evolve without any new information. A position that most biologist would find surprising.

I have been invited to speak in numerous venues, to include those largely populated by YECs and YLCs – as you can imagine. Yet, after I present evidence for low-level evolution the vast majority of creationists I’ve spoken to respond very favorably – even enthusiastically. After all, it simply makes good sense that the random discovery of novel beneficial sequences within sequence spaces would be exponentially easier to achieve when you’re dealing with 3-character sequences vs. 20 character sequences. It just makes sense to most people – including well-educated creationists.

Sean Pitman

The End of “Junk DNA”?

You tout reason as trumping faith but do not appear to see that the enlightenment enterprise took precisely the position you think desirable.

I didn’t say that reason trumps faith. What I said was that faith does not trump reason. There’s a difference. What I’ve also said many times in this forum is that a useful or rational faith must go hand in hand with reason. One cannot exist in any kind of meaningful or useful way without the other. Even science itself is dependent upon making leaps of faith into that which is not absolutely known or knowable. Faith and reason are equals in my mind, both created by God. I believe that God gave us our reasoning minds for a reason and He does not expect us to then forgo its use (to paraphrase Galileo).

The logical and consistent end of that road is nihlism. That people like Richard Dawkins and the new atheists unlike the old atheists arrived at a faith position of meaningfulness in humanism rather than meaningless nihlism I think reflects the essential desire in all man for meaning and some higher meaning or faith.

There is no doubt that all mankind desires meaning. However, a desire for meaning is just wishful thinking if desire isn’t backed up by evidence. The same is true for faith. Faith, without the backing of evidence-based reasoning is nothing but wishful thinking.

Also, if God is the God of reason as well as faith, the honest and sincere use of the Divine gift of reason will lead one toward the God of reason; not nihilism.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

Motivation is vital, but given the sincere motivation of the heart, the Divine miracle is that God steps in and interacts with Human reasoning capabilities to guide the mind, based on evidences He has provided, toward Himself. God never asks for acts of faith without first providing evidence as a rational basis for the act or leap of faith. We are even asked to test various claims, to “test the spirits” to see what is and what isn’t from God. (1 John 4:1 NIV) Throughout the Bible God is constantly providing evidence as a basis for His claims and a reason to follow, serve, and worship Him. Nowhere is God portrayed as expecting blind faith in any naked claim coming from His mouth. The claims are always backed up by some form of evidence or prior experience with God and evidence of who He claims to be.

God understands the importance of evidence and the natural human desire for evidence. After all, He’s the one who made us this way.

Sean Pitman

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.” – Galileo Galilei

Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Science and Methodological Naturalism
Very interesting passage. After all, if scientists are honest with themselves, scientific methodologies are well-able to detect the existence of intelligent design behind various artifacts found in nature. It’s just the personal philosophy of scientists that makes them put living things and the origin of the fine-tuned universe “out of bounds” when it comes to the detection of intelligent design. This conclusion simply isn’t dictated by science itself, but by a philosophical position, a type of religion actually, that strives to block the Divine Foot from getting into the door…

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.

The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.

God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.

The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.

For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”

That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.

Sean Pitman

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull
@Bill Sorensen:

Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.

God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28

Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.

Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.

This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…

Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.

Sean Pitman

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.

Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.

Sean Pitman

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…

Sean Pitman