RE: [asa] Behe's Math... was Arrogance

From: Jon Tandy <>
Date: Tue Aug 21 2007 - 15:21:51 EDT

While I'm no enthousiast for evolution, this strikes me as one of those
"uniformitarian assumptions" that creationists love to criticize about
evolutionists. A simple average over a few years, multiplied out over
thousands or millions of years really says nothing, because there could have
been dramatic changes in short periods.

I've noticed that young-earth creationists want to debunk uniformitarianism
to disprove evolution, but use uniformitarian assumptions when necessary to
disprove evolution. This seems a logical fallacy, although this isn't to
say that in some cases some of these assumptions may be warranted.

However, I'm curious how often faulty uniformitarian assumptions do still
appear and trip up philosophical naturalists, old-earth creationists, or TEs
in their conclusions. It seems to me that steady-state assumptions are
probably used quite commonly by de facto in the absence of specific
contradictory knowledge, as a general rule in most fields. This is probably
only natural, since we wouldn't go into an unknown field of knowledge
assuming everything to be chaotic and unpredictable.

Jon Tandy

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of John Walley
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 1:58 PM
To: PvM
Cc: AmericanScientificAffiliation
Subject: Re: [asa] Behe's Math... was Arrogance

So now that we are all in agreement that "the malaria example is a great
example of evolution under strong selective pressures", this problem boils
down to a simple mathematical calculation.

We simply take the number of generations of malaria organisms in that 50
year time frame and divide by 8 and we get an estimate of how many selected
mutations per population size and number of generations, and this gives us a
rough estimate of a successful mutation rate to expect in other organisms,
at least microbes. Granted the rate depends on a multitude of factors and
may change in advanced life but it gives us a starting point.

Behe then compares this to the population size of primates and the number of
mutations needed just to get from chimps to humans in the timespan that they
have both been on the earth and it is not even close. And nevermind for now
the fact that more than just single mutations are needed, but ones that add
additional base pairs as well.

As a physicist Pim, wouldn't you agree that this is a scientific way to
analyse this problem and arrive at whether or not random mutation and
selection could explain evolution without some other intervention like

This mathematical analysis should answer the question for us once and for
all about Design. Either it is not needed or Behe is right and the power of
random mutation is "fanciful Darwinian speculation".

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue Aug 21 15:21:36 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Aug 21 2007 - 15:21:36 EDT