Comment on Dr. Geraty clarifies his “Challenge” to literal 6-day creationism by Sean Pitman, M.D..
“It requires as few as 9 or 10 subspecies generations (2^9=512, 2^10=1024) to achieve 400 or more variations.” – Michael
Michael, you are right… I was trying to simplify things and did not mean to mislead. Regardless, creationists need to explain 400 species (more if any have become extinct) evolving in 4,000 years, which represents a 100,000-fold faster rate of evolution (and still e-x-t-r-e-m-e evolution). Sean Pitman has reassured us this is not a problem, so weâ€™ll move on.
Again, such species definitions are not dependent upon qualitative functional changes within the gene pool of options. The isolation of small groups of individuals from a parent population can be achieved very rapidly. Once isolated, a small population can rapidly accumulate unique mutational differences from the parent population – even in essentially neutral regions of DNA. In fact, population mutation rates based on real time analysis have shown that prior assumptions of a need for much longer periods of time to accumulate distinguishing mutations were significantly in error – off by many fold.
For example, the whole notion that the common ancestor of all modern humans, the “African Eve” who is thought by many mainstream scientists to have lived about 200,000 years ago, has been called into serious question by real time studies of mtDNA mutation rates.
Scientists who study historical families and their genetic histories, started questioning the mutation rates that were based on evolutionary phylogenetic assumptions. These scientists were “stunned” to find that the mutation rate was in fact much higher than previously thought. In fact it was about 20 times higher. Parsons, in his 1997 paper wrote:
Our observation of the substitution rate, 2.5/site/Myr, is roughly 20-fold higher than would be predicted from phylogenetic analyses. Using our empirical rate to calibrate the mtDNA molecular clock would result in an age of the mtDNA MRCA of only ~6,500 y.a.
More recent direct mtDNA mutation rate studies also seem to confirm the earlier findings by Parsons and others. In an 2001 article published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, Evelyne Heyer et. al., presented their findings of the mtDNA mutation rate in deep-rooted French-Canadian pedigrees.
[Our findings] “Confirm[ed] earlier findings of much greater mutation rates in families than those based on phylogenetic comparisons. . . For the HVI sequences, we obtained 220 generations or 6,600 years, and for the HVII sequences 275 generations or 8,250 years.
One more interesting paper published in September 2000 in the Journal Scientist by Denver et al. is also quite interesting. These scientists reported their work with the mtDNA mutation rates of nematode worms and found that these worm’s molecular clocks actually run about “100 times faster than previously thought”. They extrapolated their findings to human mutation rates as follows:
[Our] results do support recent controversial studies suggesting that the human molecular clock also runs 100 times faster than is usually thought. This may mean that estimates of divergence between chimpanzees and humans, and the emergence of modern man, happened much more recently than currently believed, says the team. ‘Our work appears to support human analyses, which have suggested a very high rate,’ says Kelley Thomas of the University of Missouri. ‘This work is relevant to humans,’ says Doug Turnbill of the institute for Human Genetics and Newcastle University, UK. ‘If the human mutation rate is faster than thought, it would have a lot of impact in looking at human disease and forensics, as well as the evolutionary rate of humans.’ . . .
Santos, C., et. al., Understanding differences between phylogenetic and pedigree-derived mtDNA mutation rate: a model using families from the Azores Islands (Portugal). Mol. Biol. Evol., 2005, 22, 1490â€“1505.
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Sean Pitman, M.D. Also Commented
Sean, it seems to me that if you admit ANY functional change in the DNA the creation/evolution debate is lost in favor of evolution. All the rest, however you define species is just a matter of time and quantity.
Hardly. The vast majority of functional mutations are detrimental – based on a loss of qualitatively unique pre-established functionality. Most of the rare mutations that are functionally beneficial do not produce something that is qualitatively new within the gene pool of options, but produce only an increase or decrease in activity of the same type of functionality that was already there to begin with. And, the very rare beneficial mutations that actually produce something qualitatively unique as well as functionally beneficial never produce anything that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues to work – not even close.
The reason for this is that evolution beyond this very low level of functional complexity would require trillions upon trillions of years to achieve – – on average.
This is why the constant demonstration of low-level examples of “evolution in action” do not remotely explain how higher levels of evolution are therefore reasonable – even given a few billion years. The extrapolation is not at all reasonable because of the exponential decline in evolutionary potential with each step up the ladder of functional complexity.
You say, “it’s just a matter of time and quantity”. What you don’t understanding is that the time required is simply not reasonable. The time required to get beyond even the 1000aa level is in the multiple trillions of years. Do you not see that as a problem?
That is why I think it is so dangerous to state that evolution is incompatible with belief in God and creation, because no one, not even you are willing to deny that that the mechanisms for evolution are in place.
The mechanism for evolution is not “in place” beyond extremely low levels of functional complexity. That’s the problem.
It’s similar to saying that because natural processes are known which can produce roughly cube shape granite blocks that obviously such mindless natural mechanisms could explain a highly symmetrical polished granite cube measuring exactly one meter on each side. Such a conclusion does not rationally follow since the higher level illustration requires exponentially more time for the natural mechanism to achieve relative to the lower level demonstration that does not require the same level of constraints…
Except out of wanton ignorance, it is not possible to deny evolution in this day of DNA mapping. If you insist on making evolution and belief in God mutually exclusive you will have to declare every single educated person in the church to be athiests and drive them out of the church. Your stance just isnâ€™t reasonable.
Anyone who wishes to worship in our Church is welcome – even if he/she is an “atheists”. I would not drive anyone who wants to come out of our Church. However, this does not mean that such a one should ever expect to get a paycheck from the SDA Church for promoting his/her atheistic ideas from pulpit or classroom.
You see, attendance is not the same thing as paid representation. A paid representative must be held to a higher standard in any organization.
I agree with this general line of reasoningâ€¦
In other words, youâ€™d believe in the existence and love of God despite all physical evidence to the contrary? That is very similar to the faith of some LDS friends of mine. I suppose it works for some people, but my own relationship with God is based on the evidence that I think He has given me of His own existence and the reliability of his Word combined with personal experiences with answers to prayer, etc.
Now, I agree with you that theistic evolutionists can be saved even if they got the whole origins thing all wrong. God loves everyone and will save all who earnestly seek after Him and love Him in the person of â€œthe least of theseâ€¦â€ Salvation itself is not based on correct doctrinal knowledge, but on living according to the Royal Law of Love. However, correct doctrinal knowledge is not therefore worthless. It is very valuable in that it has the power to give us a clearer picture of God here and now and to provide a solid basis of hope here in now in the reality of God and of a bright and glorious future.
Iâ€™m sorry, but without correct doctrinal knowledge, without the Bible, you may have some sort of vague idea of Godâ€™s existence and maybe even His love for you through the features of nature, but you would have very little else upon which to base a solid hope in such notions. It is the evidence that the Bible is reliable in those things which can be tested and evaluated that gives solid confidence in those metaphysical statements that cannot be directed evaluated â€“ at least for me.
This is why when you argue so strongly for the idea that science works against SDA doctrinal positions and offer nothing up but blind faith that the Bible is true that you undermine the basis of many peopleâ€™s hope in the reality of the Good News. Your seeming suggestion is that science is quite clearly contrary to some very plain biblical statements and that the only way to overcome such evidence is through blind faith. That simply doesnâ€™t do it for many many people. It certainly doesnâ€™t do it for me.
I hope this helps you to at least understand why your ideas and comments are so strongly opposed by those who actually consider it important that the Bible be consistent with the physical evidence in order for its metaphysical statements to be considered trustworthyâ€¦
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Thank you Ariel. Hope you are doing well these days. Miss seeing you down at Loma Linda. Hope you had a Great Thanksgiving!
Thank you Colin. Just trying to save lives any way I can. Not everything that the government does or leaders do is “evil” BTW…
Only someone who knows the future can make such decisions without being a monster…
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I fail to see where you have convincingly supported your claim that the GC leadership contributed to the harm of anyone’s personal religious liberties? – given that the GC leadership does not and could not override personal religious liberties in this country, nor substantively change the outcome of those who lost their jobs over various vaccine mandates. That’s just not how it works here in this country. Religious liberties are personally derived. Again, they simply are not based on a corporate or church position, but rely solely upon individual convictions – regardless of what the church may or may not say or do.
Yet, you say, “Who cares if it is written into law”? You should care. Everyone should care. It’s a very important law in this country. The idea that the organized church could have changed vaccine mandates simply isn’t true – particularly given the nature of certain types of jobs dealing with the most vulnerable in society (such as health care workers for example).
Beyond this, the GC Leadership did, in fact, write in support of personal religious convictions on this topic – and there are GC lawyers who have and continue to write personal letters in support of personal religious convictions (even if these personal convictions are at odds with the position of the church on a given topic). Just because the GC leadership also supports the advances of modern medicine doesn’t mean that the GC leadership cannot support individual convictions at the same time. Both are possible. This is not an inconsistency.