Re: The Science of God & Human Evolution

Adam Crowl (qraal@hotmail.com)
Sat, 12 Dec 1998 04:51:18 PST

>Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 00:07:23 -0500
>To: asa@calvin.edu
>From: Tim Ikeda <tikeda@sprintmail.com>
>Subject: Re: The Science of God & Human Evolution
>
>If this is talking about the same book I browsed tonight at a
>bookstore (should've be doing my other shopping...but I took a
>quick break), there was one brief passage about the accumulation
>of mutations that didn't sound at all right.
>
Just one? Most of his anti-evolutionary arguments were suspicious in my
mind.

>Schroeder was describing the number of differences in the DNA sequence
>that had been acquired in human evolution. Between humans and chimps,
>that difference is on the order of a few million bases, and Shroeder
>passes that information along correctly. Then he takes estimates on the
>number of mutations that we can expect to occur between generations in
>humans. The numbers he cites were on the order of one mutation per ten
>cell divisions (somatic cells?) or one in 10,000-100,000 per generation
>in gametes.
>
Neither's unreasonable, though as you've suspected he's talking about
something other than the targets of selection.

>Given those rates, we can't be talking about "mutations" in the same
>way. When we talk about mutations in DNA sequences this typically
>refers to individual bases or positions in the chromosomes. That will
>includes neutral, positive and negative changes. But when we use
numbers
>like 1/10,000 per generation, that's got to be referring to the rate of
>emergence of noticeable or selectable traits (i.e. positive or negative
>changes that affect the phenotype -- it completely misses neutral
>mutations or ones which have little noticeable affect). Thus the
mutation
>rates based on DNA sequence changes vs. rates quantitated on the basis
>of having a phenotypic effect are going to be very, very different.

That's for sure. I'll have to read his book on such. His use of
"Archaeopteryx" is really ridiculous, claiming that such was known in
the Bible. He also claims that "Archie" was is the only transitional
form. Huh!?

>In actuality the rate of mutation is somewhere in the neighborhood
>of 1 in 5E-9 per base per division (probably correct within an order of
>magnitude). For humans, that means it would be hard to squeak by with
>less than a few DNA base mutations per generation. If he used the wrong
>starting figures, I'm not surprised that Schroeder's probability
>calculations did't add up.
>
>Regards,
>Tim Ikeda
>tikeda@sprintmail.hormel.com
>(despam address before use)

what's silly about his approach is his relegating all hominids prior to
3761 BC to the category "soulless". I suppose that gets him off the hook
with respect to the Orthodox Jews, but there's no visible justification
for the claim. But it's a worthwhile attempt at concordism. At least for
all the interesting bits of ancient Jewish commentary. Seems that
thinkers have been uncomfortable with taking Genesis at face value for
centuries.

Adam

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