Why don’t you explain to me the limiting factor or …

Comment on The Basis of Biblical Credibility by Sean Pitman.

Why don’t you explain to me the limiting factor or why “magic” would be needed to explain such low-level differences? – based on your expert understanding of population genetics? Is the mutation rate not high enough for you? How much higher does it have to be? After all, the mutation rate is so high that slowly-reproducing species are inevitably degenerating over time because the detrimental mutation rate is far far too high for natural selection to remotely compensate. Clearly then, allelic diversity can be rapidly achieved in very short order starting with a very small population. I really don’t think this is seriously debatable…

As far as I can tell, your only real argument was that such a population bottleneck would cause genetic meltdown and extinction. While this is often true today, it would not have been true much closer to Creation because there were far fewer detrimental mutations within the gene pools of all animals during the pre-Flood era. The level of detrimental mutations is the limiting factor here, not small population sizes or the actual mutation rates themselves.

In any case, what does any of this have to do with explaining how the Darwinian mechanism can produce anything at higher levels of functional complexity? Why repeat this red herring distraction yet again? – when you know that nothing beyond very low levels of functional complexity is involved here?

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com

Sean Pitman Also Commented

The Basis of Biblical Credibility

Your argument that evolution cannot work because Paul Cameron or anyone else lacks a precise mechanism to overcome your declared barrier (1000 fairly specified amino acid residues) is based on the fallacy of ignorance.

Then I suppose SETI science, forensic science, and anthropology are all based on the “fallacy of ignorance” as well? – since these scientists can’t think of any mindless natural mechanism to explain certain types of radio signals, murder victims with certain unnatural features, or pieces of rock with artefactual features?

I’m sorry, but there is no fallacy with the argument for the detection of intelligent design behind various kinds of artefacts – like the origin of a highly symmetrical polished granite cube. It isn’t that these scientists are ignorant of how the phenomenon in question could have been produced by intelligent design. They know how the features they’re considering could have been produced by many different intelligently designed methods. What they don’t know is how the artefact in question could have been produced by any known mindless mechanism of nature. That, my friend, is the very basis of all sciences dealing with the detection of true artefacts of intelligent design.

The very same thing is true of the biomachines within living things that I’m presenting. Clearly, these machines very closely resemble machines that we know were produced by intelligent design. We known and understand how such machines could be produced by various means by intelligent design. What we don’t know is how they could be produced by any mindless natural mechanism this side of a practical eternity of time (i.e., trillions upon trillions of years). This means, of course, that the very best scientific conclusion, the theory with the best predictive power, is that any such biomachine was almost certainly produced by intelligent design.

Now, does the intelligent designer of these biomachines have to be God? No. Not at all. Omnipotence is not required to explain something like a bacterial flagellar motility system. However, even though omnipotence is not required to explain the origin of such machines (to include things like a wrist watch or a granite cube), intelligence of some kind is required.

Does this therefore mean that God did not make something just because God-like power is not required? No. God can make simple stuff just as easily as you and I can make simple stuff. If it just that a God-like creative power is not required to explain everything that God can make. For example, is it possible for God to make a loaf of bread? – the same type of loaf of bread that your mother can make? Sure it is.

It’s funny, don’t you think, that you don’t argue against SETI radio signals or highly symmetrical granite cubes as being anything other than obvious artefacts of intelligent design. Why then the double standard for biological machines that are even farther beyond any known mindless mechanism while being at least closely approximated the creative powers of known intelligent agents?

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


The Basis of Biblical Credibility

You obviously can declare anything you want in terms mutation rates and how many SNP indels and genes were present in the 2 mythical pigs but how many can really be present in the original haplotypes. You have said before that copy number variation was not at all the basis for the genetic richness of the original 2.

I see no reason to argue for a significant difference in past mutation rates as compared to today’s rates. Consider that the pig genome is similar in size to the human genome, ~3 billion bases (haploid). The two pigs on the Ark could easily have had a 0.3% difference in genome sequences to start with (with regard to SNPs). Also, in each family line novel SNPs are produced in each generation for each individual at a fairly high rate (up to 100 per individual per generation). And, the generation time for pigs is ~1 year. A comparison between hundreds of pigs from different family lines, even within the same breeding population of average size, would yield a huge number of SNPs in very short order. So, I don’t see why this is an appeal to “magic”?

As far as “unique genes” are concerned, much of this can be explained by a loss of genetic information by one population vs. the other after the split. This is one of the reasons for the “hybrid vitality” already mentioned. Producing such hybrids gives the hybrid offspring access to genes that are missing from each separate gene pool, but were originally available in the ancestral gene pool.

Of course, the production of novel alleles is also a factor. And, in an average population, any beneficial allelic variation would become fixed in relatively short order.

The differences in indels is interesting, but I see no need to invoke magic to explain a few hundred thousand indels in a comparison of hundreds of pigs – especially since muticharacter mutations are quite common as well and would already have existed within the first pair on the Ark to begin with. For example, there are thought to be thousands of conversion mutations per individual in each generation. Combine this with what is generally assumed to be a high rate of inversions/translocations, ~10 duplications/insertions/deletions (changing up to 20 times the number bases that point mutations change per generation), and >100 satellite mutations, and you have yourself a very high overall mutation rate that adds up to many thousands of nucleotide changes per individual per generation.


The Basis of Biblical Credibility

“The discovery of the Cit + mutants in Lenski’s experiment has been a mote in the eye for those suggesting that major phenotypic innovations cannot be explained by micro-evolutionary (gradual) processes…

Do you know anything about the experiment where Lenski’s produced Cit+ E. coli bacteria?

What Lenski did was to grow E. coli under oxic conditions in citrate-rich media. E. coli bacteria are generally unable to use citrate under oxic conditions as a source of energy. However, they can use it under anoxic conditions. In other words, they already have the gene for citrase in their genome. It is just that it is normally turned off under oxic conditions. How is it turned off? Well, the promoter for the gene that transports citrate into the bacterium is not active under oxic conditions. So, all that needs to happen is to move the citrate transport gene close to a promoter that is actually active under oxic conditions. Once this is done, citrate will enter the bacterium and be used for energy.

And, this is exactly what happened. Nothing structurally new needed to be evolved. After about 31,000 generations, in a large population of bacteria, there was a single genetic mutation in a bacterium that ended up moving the citT gene and placing it under the control of a promoter (rnk) that is active under oxic conditions. The fact that just this single translocation mutation took so long to achieve should clue you in to how difficult it is to achieve even such low-level changes in function via random mutations. The protein product, however, remained the same – i.e., <500aa with no required amino acid changes to achieve a selectable effect. All that was required was to move a pre-existing gene close to a promoter to turn it on during oxic conditions. That's it. The protein itself didn't need to be changed for a useful advantage. Now, at this point, multiple copies of the gene were rapidly produced in some colonies. However, having just one copy was enough to produce a selectable advantage in the citrate-rich environment. It doesn't matter if there are 1 - 9 copies of the gene - the same function is realized to different levels - i.e., the cit+ function can exist, to a selectable degree, with just one copy of the gene producing the the very same protein. Additional "refinements" are easy once at least a minimum useful level of a particular type of function is realized - not a problem at all. Again, this "unicorn" of yours is a very low-level example of evolution in action where nothing structurally new was produced to achieve the function in question. The only thing that happened was a mutational move from one location to another within the genome. That's not a statistical problem for Darwinism at all...

Pubmed still does not have any reference to novel structure composed of 1000 amino acid residues. But indeed there is refence to uinicorns so your 100FSAAR is rarer than unicorns in the biomedical literature. Perhaps you should publish your obvservations.

Tell me, what is the minimum number of specifically arranged amino acids required to produce a rotary bacterial falgellar motility system? Is it possible to reduce it to less than 1000 specifically arranged residues? – without a complete loss of the motility function?

Again, the concept of functional complexity has been published and is well defined in literature, to include the minimum size requirement. I’ve already given you the references a couple times now.

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
Response to a comment of a friend of mine posted in another forum:

    “Before the way of FAITH IN CHRIST was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, UNTIL the way of faith was revealed. The law was our guardian UNTIL Christ came; it protected us UNTIL we could be made right with God through FAITH. And now that the way of FAITH has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.” Gal3:23-26

Faith is certainly what saves. This has always been true since the very beginning. Even those righteous persons who lived before Jesus was born into this world as a human being, even Moses or David for instance, were not saved by the works of the Law, but by Faith. The purpose of the Law was never to save, but to convict the sinner of a need of a Savior – since all have sinned against the “Royal Law.” It is faith in the Savior that saves. The work of the Law, carefully considered, is to lead us to know that our only hope of salvation is faith in what Jesus, our Savior, did for us and is doing for us. Yet, this faith does not nullify the Law or make the Law pointless when it comes to its job to constantly remind us of our need of a Savior – a saving Power outside of ourselves. Rather, the Power realized through this faith actually enables us to keep the Spirit of the Law as it was originally intended to be kept – through selfless love for God and for our neighbors.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, makes this point particularly clear:

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. – Romans 3:31

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts… If a man who is not circumcised keeps the requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? – Romans 2:13-15, 26

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! – Romans 6:15

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” … So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good… For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:7, 11, 22-25

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. – Romans 8:3-4, 7

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10


Christians and the Sabbath
Response to a comment of a friend of mine posted in another forum:

    “Before the way of FAITH IN CHRIST was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, UNTIL the way of faith was revealed. The law was our guardian UNTIL Christ came; it protected us UNTIL we could be made right with God through FAITH. And now that the way of FAITH has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.” Gal3:23-26

Faith is certainly what saves. This has always been true since the very beginning. Even those righteous persons who lived before Jesus was born into this world as a human being, even Moses or David for instance, were not saved by the works of the Law, but by Faith. The purpose of the Law was never to save, but to convict the sinner of a need of a Savior – since all have sinned against the “Royal Law.” It is faith in the Savior that saves. The work of the Law, carefully considered, is to lead us to know that our only hope of salvation is faith in what Jesus, our Savior, did for us and is doing for us. Yet, this faith does not nullify the Law or make the Law pointless when it comes to its job to constantly remind us of our need of a Savior – a saving Power outside of ourselves. Rather, the Power realized through this faith actually enables us to keep the Spirit of the Law as it was originally intended to be kept – through selfless love for God and for our neighbors.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, makes this point particularly clear:

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. – Romans 3:31

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts… If a man who is not circumcised keeps the requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? – Romans 2:13-15, 26

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! – Romans 6:15

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” … So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good… For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:7, 11, 22-25

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. – Romans 8:3-4, 7

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Again, most people, including most non-Christians, consider late-term abortions (abortions within the third trimester of otherwise healthy viable babies) to be murder. There is relatively little argument about this. One doesn’t have to know the “precise point” to know that, after a certain point, abortion is clearly murder. The argument that a baby isn’t alive or really human until the moment that it is born is nonsense in my opinion.

Of course, before the third trimester, things start to get a bit more grey and unclear. Some define the beginnings of human life with the full activity of the brain’s cortex. Others define it with the earliest activity of the brain stem. Others define it as the beginnings of fetal movement or the fetal heartbeat. I might have my own opinions here, but the question I ask myself is at what point would I be willing to convict someone else of murder? – and be willing to put them in prison for it? For me, I wouldn’t be willing to do this until things are overwhelmingly clear that the baby is functioning as a full human being and is viable (which would include full brain activity).

As far as rape or incest is concerned, the resulting pregnancy should be terminated as soon as possible within the first trimester. Waiting for the third trimester is simply not an option because, at this point, it would still be murder to kill a fully-formed baby regardless of its origin…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
I agree with you up until your last sentence. It seems very very clear to me that a baby becomes human before it takes its first breath. A baby born at 40 weeks gestation is not somehow inherently “more human” than a baby that is still inside its mother at 39 weeks gestation. At 39 weeks, such a baby is indistinguishable from a baby that has already been born. The location inside or outside of the mother makes absolutely no difference at this point in time and development.

I think, therefore, that we as Christians should avoid both obvious extremes here in this discussion. There are two very clear ditches on both sides of the road here. We should avoid claiming that a baby is not really human until it is actually born at full term, and, at the same time, we should also avoid claiming that full humanity and moral worth is instantly realized at the moment of conception…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Most would agree with you that the baby John the Baptist, before he was born, was, at some point, a real human being who could “leap for joy” (Luke 1:44). Even most non-Christians would agree that a third-trimester abortion is murder. However, this isn’t the real problem here. We are talking about if a single cell or a simple ball of cells is fully “human” and if ending a pregnancy at such an early stage of development is truly a “murder” of a real human being. After all, when conception first takes place a single cell cannot “leap for joy” – or for any other reason. It’s just a single fertilized cell that cannot think or feel or move and has no brain or mind or intelligence of any kind. The same is true of an embryo that consists of no more than an unformed ball of cells for quite some time. Upon what basis, then, is it “murder” to end a pregnancy at this early point in embryological development?