Comment on The End of “Junk DNA”? by pauluc.
I have a difficult time understanding your position religiously or scientifically.
“There have only been a few hundred generations since our original parents.”
This is based on a particular exegesis of religious text not published data derived from experiment.
“While we are in fact heading downhill genetically, in each generation”,
This is based on exegesis of religious text and you have not yet provided any compelling direct evidence from data on genomics beyond showing the rate of new mutations from generation to generation which we all can accept. What of the rate of loss of mutations from the generation to generation within a family? After all only half the genetic material and the newly acquired maternal of paternal mutations are transmitted to a single progeny. Your calculation of never-ending accumulation of detrimental mutations seems to be oblivious to this constant gain and loss of new genetic material.
“this is hardly enough time to result in a meltdown of our gene pool with detrimental mutations. At a rate of 2 or 3 detrimental mutations per year since the Fall (in each ancestral lineage), we’re talking less than 20,000 detrimental germ cell mutations per person living today (unless of course you wish to count indel mutations, in which case the number may be 10 times a high).”
In talking of mutation you seem to infer SNP as the variation driving selection and evolution but seem to exclude the other sources of variation that any biologist would accept; indels, VNTR, variation in transposable elements, and CNVs. Together these account for 0.5% sequence diversity between individuals identified in hapmap. To put this in perspective two random, apparently unrelated individuals selected from geographically different regions are likely to differ by up to 15000000 bases in sequence. What is 100 more against that level of variability?
“Because of the significant redundancy built into our genome, it seems to me that many more tens of thousands of mutations (most of which would be near-neutral detrimental mutations) would need to be realized before we’d arrive at a state of genetic “meltdown” as a species.”
On this I am sure we can agree.
Now against this backdrop of existing variability found in hapmap what happens if we introduce a model of homogenization of the genetic repertoire with a genetic bottleneck of 2 individuals [or in the case of man 5 genetically distinct individuals] in 2349-2348 BC and I think we do have significant problems. You must then postulate that most of the inter-individual variability averaging 15E6 bases was introduced to the human gene pool over a period of 4360 years. Assuming a generation time of 30 years that translates to accumulation of variation at a rate of 103211 bases per generation.
Again the measured 102-120 per generation pales into insignificance at that level of postulated inter-generational variability.
The problem as I see it is you want to propose there was a miraculous origin by Divine Fiat Creation 4004 BC and a Divine intervention with a miraculous worldwide flood in 2349 BC but you want the biology to exclude miracles? Where is the logic in that? I cannot see why you seem averse to any miracles in the biological realm. Are you just contrary and because I say that I can only understand the literalist position by invoking miracles at the time of the flood to explain the existing biodiversity and the existing speciation you feel compelled to disagree and say no it is all by natural mechanism and we do not need to invoke miracles. The logic totally escapes me.
This insistence that there is no miracles in biology beyond the original creation raises the question of where you actually are in terms of the belief in origins. Are you saying that origin of species is by highly accelerated natural mechanisms? You seem to accept the ID paradigm and postulates but unlike most of the adherents to ID want to put it into a short time frame of a few thousand years. From reading your responses in the posts here on canid evolution you accept macroevolution (change beyond the species level) of the canid species by a natural process of genetic variation and natural selection. You however constrain this process by saying that any mutations that arise enabling speciation must be at very very low levels of complexity. This seems quite a disconnect to me. Are you insisting that the genetic basis of speciation is genetic changes of very very low levels of complexity?
It is all very puzzling and makes me very curious how you would actually commit yourself in terms of a position on origins.
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creationism#Types_of_creationism classifies creationism as
2] Gap Creationism
3] Progressive creationisms
4] Intelligent design
5] Theistic evolution or evolutionary creationism.
The classification uses 4 aspects of origins (origin of humanity, origin of biological species, origin of Eath and age of universe) to differentiate
1] Did God directly create man? You seem to indicate this is true but in light of your acceptance of macroevolution do you see man as arising by natural mechanisms of speciation from the primate kind?
2] Did god directly create biological species? You seem to indicate a belief in creation of kinds and then evolution of species by natural mechanisms ie macroevolution this is at least a belief of progressive creationism and is denied by YEC.
3] When was the earth created? You seem to accept the YEC position of <10000 years
and has it been changed by global flood? You seem to believe this.
4] What is the age of the universe. I have never seen you commit on this but it seems you allow for a conventionally old universe. Is this so?
Of course you do know that people like David Read, Bill Sorenson or Kevin Paulsen might consider you a heretic since you do depart from the YEC of GMP. Not unlike the way you consider Lee Grismer a heretic for perhaps being somewhere further down the list than you are. As always I worry as Christians within the Adventist community we completely miss the point of our eternal need of the Grace of God. We forget the message of the mote and beam and wanting to justify ourselves seem to see people as heretically different rather than fellow sinners redeemed by His power but struggling to live the life of discipleship as honestly as we can.
pauluc Also Commented
The End of “Junk DNA”?
There is a great gulf between You and I. Where does one start in trying to find common ground and responding to your very concrete thought structure. Its as if the last 200 years have not happened. Your view of natural theology may have been accepted by William Paley but is not an approach to God thought valid by most modern theologians with any acquaintance with science. It is not the 19th century and we are called to preach the grace of God to a secular world. Your vision shows no imagination or understanding of spirituality or the reality and value of vision, myth and abstract concepts that may have no correspondence in concrete realities. Do you agree with Martin Luther in his statement about scripture trumping observation;
“People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool [or ‘man’] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.”
– Martin Luther, Table Talk
If you truly privilege scripture over science you should really revamp this web site to be consistent with the supremacy of scripture along the lines of the site http://www.fixedearth.com/ A site that is at least absolutely consistent with biblical literalism as Luther saw it.
The reality however is that both you and I interpret the scriptures. As I have said before you appear to practice naturalistic evidence based medicine contrary to the biblical description of healing but then pretend that you are following the plain text of scripture when reject entirely naturalism when it comes to origins. You claim;
“You pick and choose what elements you will use to build your own image of “christianity”… which is quite different from the Biblical claims.”
But do not at all seem able to see that you are in fact doing exactly what you project in accepting evidence based medicine contrary to a plain reading of scripture but claiming origin by divine fiat and miracle on the basis of one particular reading of scripture.
You continue to misconstrue the point of my discussion of Santa Claus and Christmas. Children can and do grow in their understanding of reality and are able to see beyond the concrete events of Christmas to see it as a representation of a worthy abstraction that is not invalidated by rejecting a fictitious Santa Claus. You seem unable to move from the concrete to the abstract and yet again claim you will reject Christ if your biblical interpretation is found not to be consistent with a simplistic reality. As though your superior mind trumps any non-rational revelation of God. Your arrogance is unceasingly amazing.
“And, so far, the organized Adventist Church agrees with me. Of course, you can call yourself whatever you want. But, again, that doesn’t mean that the church is going to recognize your claims as actually representing the church’s view of reality. So, why would you expect anyone holding views that undermine the fundamental goals and ideals of the church, the “fundamental beliefs”, to be paid by the church?”
You are of course right if you think the church that is being rebuilt by Ted Wilson and Clifford Goldstein with their militant fundamentalism and unsavoury and ungracious political manouvering is the legitimate heir of traditional Adventism but I do not.
So what you said on 3ABN about genetic engineering and amalgamation could be best described as just so stories? Lacking completely any evidentiary basis?
This statement raises serious question as to whether you understand the primary goals of the Adventist Church. At least in Australia, the vision is expressed on the web site http://adventist.org.au/about-us as;
“Our vision is to be a church that knows, experiences and shares our hope in Jesus Christ. This vision expresses the collective feelings of our church members and leaders.
The vision statement has three parts:
The head knowledge (studying the Bible)
The heart experience (unconditional commitment to Jesus Christ and to one another)
The call to action (sharing our faith) ”
It does not at all couch it in terms of being an attack vehicle against the integrity or capability of science and scientists nor of fellow believers. Nor does it suggest a primary purpose of attacking people who through a heart experience (unconditional commitment to Jesus Christ and to one another) might be labelled practitioners of blind faith. Your inability to unconditionally commit to Jesus and your completely objectionable committment to leave Adventism and Christianity if the empirical evidence for your supposed model of reality fails to reach some arbitrary misapplied criteria of “weight of evidence” stands in stark contrast to the Church’s vision of people unconditionally committed to Jesus Christ and the church and would certainly fall under the rubric of an effort to “fundamentally undermine” the Church.
Recent Comments by pauluc
Bob Helm: With that said, I find your views to be spiritually dangerous and often scientifically weak. I detect a lot of smoke in your posts, but very little light. I hope you will continue to ponder these issues and try to have an open mind.
You are most welcome to your opinion and I know you would like nothing better than that anyone who takes Christianity and the Bible seriously but not literally to just go away. It is much better not to know of any possible problems with one current views. It very hard to get to the science when we cannot even agree on what is science. What passes as science on this site is so completely dismissive of its methodological basis and history and is entrained in a specific supernatural world view that allows arbitrary acceptance of any observation as miraculous. I think Roger’s paper may well be relevant to Adventist that believe that Christianity has and must respond to a careful study of physical reality by reconsidering its interpretations of the word of the Lord, but as Sean has indicated you are exception to that characterization. I still do not really understand why you should be interested at all in any science. It seems a bit messy to worry about facts. It really seems an unnecessary bother to argue whether the precambrian/cambrian boundary or the upper cenzoic (is that really what you meant?) as the evidence of a divine intervention.
Dont worry I do have an open mind which is why I still peruse this site to see how more knowledgable fundamentalist Adventists think. I wont worry you further.
Sean Pitman: So, you do see the need for a police force and a military to maintain civil society, but somehow Christians should not provide what is an otherwise necessary part of that civil society? I’m with Abraham Lincoln on this one when he noted the inconsistency of such a position – like Orthodox Jews paying others to turn their lights on for them on Sabbath
On that logic you should not have any issue with working on Sabbath in any profession serving 24/7. Be that computer support, utilities firefighters. Those giving up those jobs because of inability to have sabbath observance were all deluded. They as Christians should be prepared to “provide what is otherwise a necessary part of civil society”
You cant have it both ways. You cant because of a moral postion claim that Adventists should have exception from working on Sabbath and at the same time deny me the right to consider immoral some occupations that may be very utilitarian in a world full of selfishness and the human acts of evil that comes from that.
Lets for a moment step back from lala land. Where are we and where did we come from on this thread?
1] You posted a rehash of all your usual arguments in response to an article about the more mainstream Adventist positions that may impact the way Adventism reacts to conventional science. All very straight forward.
2] The contention was that Adventism has accepted process for the orgin and evolution of the inanimate world. The birth and death of galaxys and stars and planets in black holes supernova and impacts of spiralling planets. This is where it gets really strange.
3] You contend that Adventism has always accepted the conclusions of that process but then expand on your view of the process which involves a little bit of order and natural law but large amounts of magic. God waited a few billions years until the interstellar material generated by the big band condensed into planets onto which God created life mature and complete. This included Heaven the place of his throne-room which he populated with physical being angels which it is implied have both mass and composition and metabolism.
4] When it was suggested that the same processes and natural law resulted in life on this planet this was claimed inconceivable and would never be done by any process involving life and death. Instead the life we see now is in reality designed to live for ever and has be chemically changed because it is deprived of a particular form of nutrient from a tree that existed on the Earth some 6000 years ago.
5] The inconguity of practicing medicine by the principles of process of natural law and the technology resulting from both the processes of the innanimate and the animate world rather than accepting the much more important process of divine intervention seems to be completely obsure.
6] When someone says that the process of life and death that gave us the physical substance of our universe is also the basis of the creation of life here he must be animal hating sadistic psychopath who cannot belieive in a God of love and grace and is lying when he says that non-violence characterizes the children of the heavenly father for one must always recognize that peace and freedom are only obtained over the bodies of 1/3 of the angels of heaven and the eternal physical and violent struggle against those who would practice violence.
I really cannot understand you Sean. Your ways are way beyond me. I am just sorry that Bob seems to be drawn into your twighlight zone.
Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Sean Pitman: sorry but your curious amalgam of magic and biology is not really comprehensible to me as a biologist or as a Christian . it. is neither logical or biologically feasible
Sean Pitman: However, according to the Bible and Ellen White, before the Fall God specifically directed nature so that all sentient life was protected in a manner that there was no suffering or death. By eating from the “Tree of Life” God provided constant renewal and regeneration that worked against what would otherwise be inevitable entropic changes, decay, and death. It was by deliberately stepping away from the true Source of eternal life that mankind stepped away from God and into the full workings of mindless natural law alone – which does in fact inevitably lead to suffering and death.
And this interpretation is precisely why you need a theodicy. Where is the justice in killing all for the sake of the sins of one woman+man? It makes no sense logically. If they were conditionally immortal because of eating of the tree of life then did all the animals in all the world congregate around this tree like beasts around a water hole on the serengeti. how exactly do you as you are wont to do translate the account into a literal reality. And which beast had to come and eat. Or was it symbolic? Oh now that’s a thought.
Sean Pitman: Come on now. Even I can imagine limitations to reproduction or the turnover of sentient carbon-based life. Surely you can at least imagine something similar? I know God can since such a world is described in the Bible and in the writings of Ellen White. Think about it…
Of course I have. This is not simply about reproduction. That is trivial. This is about metabolic process. Show me a carbon based life form that does not grow or metabolize anything and I will show you an organism in stasis as a spore “living” millions of year in amber. That is; effectively dead.
Real life cannot exist without metabolic process in a carbon based world and God has sanctified all this by a process of making good out of evil from the death of one comes life for others. Just as in the biological world so in the spiritual. By his death we have life. Just as God sanctified the practice of sacrifice of appeasement practiced by most cultures for thousands of years before and showed that in the Judeo-Christian tradition these same acts of sacrifice were emblematic of a monotheistic God that would become incarnate and bring life from death. So also he took the preceding accounts of creation derived as they were of the mesopotamian valley and recast it as an account of the monotheistic God who is above all but comes and dwells among us to become one of us. Participating in our life and death but showing us the importance of the transcendent life of the spirit that supercedes carbon based life and its inherent death. It is no fairy tale of 6 impossible things before breakfast. It is not pie in the sky by and by. It is rooted in a real world and it is about the transcendence of love and grace that is acted out in a real physical world by the incarnate God and us as we follow as His disciples.
That is the message I get from the images and visions of the Canon and EG White. But of course I read it for the message that it conveys not as a scientific text. That is where we fundamentally differ.