Re: It's the Bible or evolution

From: Preston Garrison <>
Date: Thu Oct 06 2005 - 05:00:11 EDT

>>I suspect that there isn't. That your decision on what to believe
>>is really made in advance and independent of evidence, on some
>>other, presumably theological, basis.
>I'm afraid I'm not the one who fits that description.

I moved this to the top, since you seem to have been offended. I
respect decisions based on theological considerations. It's just
fruitless to argue about evidence if the position is really based on
something else, as seems to be the case for a lot of people who
oppose evolution. For the record, for a long time I was rather
non-committal on the issue despite being raised in a fundamentalist
background, but the genomic evidence seems pretty convincing to me in
that common descent seems to account for a lot of things very nicely.

>Actually, that burden is on you, not me. You are the one who is
>making the claim that a duplicated mutation is conspicuous, and of
>low probability in a vast pool of repeated mutations that cannot be
>due to common descent (that is a non intuitive claim). I believe you
>will fail to make the point because there literally are many more of
>these mutations that cannot be due to common descent. Have you
>looked at them?

I'm not aware of any that can't be explained. Examples please.

>>Given the rates at which point mutations occur and get fixed and
>>the fact that there only 4 possibilities at each position, it is
>>obvious that an equivalent mutation can reoccur, with or without a
>>hotspot. Transpositions are much rarer and each one has 3 billion
>>bases of targets for possible locations.
>Yes, agreed. This is why the repeated, yet independent mutations are
>striking. It seems to me that the correct inference is not that (i)
>identical mutations that theoretically can be ascribed to common
>descent, ought to be, but rather (ii) there is something we do not
>understand here.
>Everything that is known about LINE elements, endogenous
>>retroviruses, Alu elements indicates that they only have mild
>>biases about target locations. To suggest that this is analogous to
>>mutational hotspots is ludicrous. There is one example of an HERV
>>which is present in only one copy in human and several ape genomes.
>>In all it is at the same position.
>Yes, and there are also HERVs at the same positions that do not
>follow the common descent pattern. Again, this is special pleading.

Again, examples, please.

>>Let me ask you about about related evidence. Are you not at all
>>struck by the obvious assembly of human chr 2 (if I remember right)
>>from 2 ape chromosomes?
>Yes, 12 and 13 from the Ape.
>Why are there 2 sets of telomere repeats
>>fused head to head internally at the expected position?
>Probably because there was a fusion event in the human lineage.

If so, then the human lineage started out looking very much like the
ape lineage. Why would that be so on your alternate hypothesis,
whatever its is?

>Why are there
>>remnants of a disused centromere at the expected place on one of
>>the arms of Hs chr 2?
>>Same answer. Now my question to you: why is this evidence for common descent?

Because it looks for all the world like the human chromosome is
composed of 2 ape chromosomes. Common descent accounts for this very
nicely. Do you deny that it accounts for it? If so, why?

Do you have any alternative hypothesis for these things that doesn't
reduce to "God just did it that way?" I don't mean to be offensive,
but if special creation of every species is your hypothesis, I don't
see how you avoid that, and as Ted pointed out, that is the most
unfalsifiable hypothesis of all.
Received on Thu Oct 6 05:01:05 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Oct 06 2005 - 05:01:05 EDT