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Switch to Forum Live View "Tell me how mutations add up" strawman solution
3 years ago  ::  May 15, 2012 - 6:00PM #1
rsielin
Posts: 4,702

May 10, 2012 -- 6:55PM, 57 wrote:

Are you ever going to show us how mutations add up ... ?


“How do mutations add up?” is a natural and expected question from those who are uninformed and naïve about biology and the question reflects a simplistic and non-science understanding of evolution science.  57’s repeats this question supposedly to strike at some imagined Achilles heel in evolution science but in fact the question does more to expose the pitiful state of his and all creationist’s understanding of their natural world.


I think it’s time to parse this once again to expose it’s vacuity and complete ignorance of the well-established process of evolution. Not that the processes are completely understood today as every year our knowledge accumulates. But this canard is easily refuted as a simpleton straw man of a desperate fake science of creationism.


This is the premise that 57 hangs his hat on:


If a fin has indeed changed into a human hand or leg; mutations are required to produce the morphological changes. The extremely rare beneficial random mutations MUST occur in the portion of the DNA that is responsible for coding for the fin. That portion of code is very small when compared to the rest of the animals DNA. The odds of an extremely rare random beneficial mutation occurring in just the right place of the code at just the right time is extremely low. THEN you need to do it over and over again many, many, many, many times until a hand or leg is formed.


Did I get it right 57?  This is the entirity of 57's science (sic). No evidence, no active reserach, no peer review, just the story as described above. Storybook simple.


Creationists “believe” that the genome is a set of exacting construction drawings and building instructions for God’s most complex perfectly designed machinery.  They “believe” without corresponding supporting evidence that the genome is a detailed and exacting set of building instructions written in a secret divine code. 


Just as we have engineering drawings where each angle and connection is precisely designed; one mistake and the bridge will collapse or won’t come together to begin with. Proof positive that it takes some very intelligent architects and engineers to create a successful bridge.  So it is with the creationists “belief” about the genome.


And if this premise is true, obviously any random change will always be problematic, very likely fatal and consequently, evolution hasn’t even a remote chance to get started, let alone be responsible for the biodiversity we find on Earth.  You can’t mess with "God’s perfect design".  This is the premise that creationists have based their rejection of evolution.


Does the creationist premise rule out evolution science solely on the premise of perfection?  Does the empirical evidence corroborate the perfection hypothesis? Let’s examine how this premise stands up against reality, the empirical evidence we now read from the genome.


Just as the early church was shocked to find sunspots soiling their God’s perfect creation, the Sun, it’s the same for the genome.  Truth be known, as evidence now shows, the genome is almost total gibberish, much worse than the average teenagers bedroom where finding anything is almost a miracle.


The canard that evolution must show “how mutations add up” implies that DNA is a “instruction manual” for building an organism in the manner humans have experienced it. This assumption then implies to change an organism requires many specific changes in just the right place and in just the right order to be successful.


If viewed as an instruction book, the majority of pages would be total nonsense and actual readable phrases would be randomly dispersed throughout.  Nothing approaching the naïve “perfect” and “detailed” construction drawing of the creationists. We know this from genome sequencing data. 


DNA is not an instruction manual. It is a molecule subject to exclusively and only to all the laws of chemistry. Yes, it is complex chemistry but only chemistry nevertheless. And the chemistry of DNA shares its origins from the simplest cells completely through the tree of life. The lineage is there for anyone to see.


So this part of the creationist’s premise is completely false, a childish naive understanding of biology at best.


Evolution is based on three natural world phenomena; discredit or rule out any one and evolution is no longer a plausible explanation:


- a genome with propensity for novelty, 
- a natural process for selection and fixation genome novelty, and 
- deep time.


We now find that fully 75% of the genome is non-coding, and only 2% codes for a protein as a gene.  Thus, contrary to creationist assumption, any random mutation has only a max 2% chance for adversely affecting an all important protein coding gene. This is fact. These rare adverse mutations also have no opportunity to fix in the genome as the individual will most likely fail to develop and never attain reproductive status, a primary route for fixation.  Another part of the creationist’s premise falls and is obviously false.


There is compelling evidence that the “mutation safe” non-coding or “Junk DNA” is purposeless but has a very real upside potential.  It is the genome’s “scrap wood pile”, your “button box”, or even your grandparents “attic”; leftovers from the beginning of life where not only history can easily be discerned but often parts of gems of the past will fortuitously come together to make wholly new pieces with novel uses. Look up pseudogenes. There's ton's of empirical research on it.


This genome treasure trove is the source of tremendous opportunity for novelty and gives the genome a structural bias towards beneficial mutation.  98% of random mutations have no downside at all as they put gibberish on top of existing gibberish but there is a very real possibility for a fortuitous and conserved novelty with potential future benefit. Why else would a god create a scrap pile and stamp “Made by Evolution” all over the genome?


And mutations are not the only source of novelty; Symbiosis, Co-Option/Exaptation, Epigenetics, Gene/Section Duplication/Rearrangement and undoubtedly there’s many more to be discovered.  Each source adds another avenue for novelty, resulting in an incredible and endless source of new solutions just there for the taking to enhance species survival by biological evolution.  Our gut alone harbors 100,000 ready-made foreign genes just ready for co-option. Respected scientists from all our leading research universities continue to provide compelling empirical evidence corroborating these processes.  Again, the creationist’s premise that any and all mutations must be fatally adverse is false and not supported by the evidence.


Then there is the “just the right place, at just the right time, over and over” creationist strawman.  Genome evidence finds that most genes do double, triple and many times over duty.  They are tools to create proteins, but are not directly responsible for assembling the organism.  It is the control regions of the genome, 24% of the genome that actually drives the development process. Pretty big target.   


And control regions of the genome have the same bias towards novelty that non-coding regions do; mutations are neutral at worst and grandmother’s entire attic is there for all the novelty you need, up to 98% of the genome on standby to become controlling. A humongous target. And with  no possible downside, only the potential for novelty. No "just right this or that" makes sense if you know what you're talking about.  


Evidence shows only a relative small change in a regulatory region can have a dramatic effect on the body plan of the organisms. So a fin to hand is amazingly simple process and all that’s necessary, if not a single mutation, is an extremely short series of individually beneficial but unrelated steps. Recent evidence cites gene and/or large section rearrangement as a very productive source of novelity. The recent posting on the brain gene duplication is just another very prominant example. Again, the science literature is replete with empirical evidence for all the above and more coming every new year. The creationist’s premise is not supported by what is actually observed in the genome, thus is discredited and false.


So what’s there to “add”?  Only in the sense that new instruments to an orchestra or a new voice to a choir “adds” to the potential of the orchestra or chorus would 57’s naïve understanding make any sense.  Adding new instruments/voices enhances the ability to be novel but it is only when using the existing instruments or existing voices after they arrive and expressing music together that evolutionary success happens. Genes are expressed within the context of the genome. They are not points in an instruction manual. 


So, there is no “over and over” exacting construction drawing design change process going on.  The genome can only use what’s already there; it cannot and does not “wish” for anything.  So, now we are pounding in some of the final nails in the creationist coffin, their premise now ruled completely outside the realm of scientific plausibility directly by the evidence.


On the last point, deep time.  This was at one time a serious problem for evolution.  However, today with modern sciences of quantum mechanics, physics and precision instruments; it is a laughable and thoroughly discredited challenge against evolution science.  No need to take any space here to address "that" science.  Just allow the creationist “clowns” to continue to fall all over themselves in Keystone cops fashion on this one. But suffice it to say; again, the creationist’s premise is thoroughly debunked, discredited and completely false.


So how does 57 become the final arbiter for this science?  What makes his judgment credible?  Is there any indication of an in-depth understanding of any science?  Why does 57 never have any empirical evidence to support his “stories”?  Why does all the empirical evidence continually discredit every premise or story 57 makes up?


Could it be once more the known and expressed bias of all creationists’ to promise to lie about science; that “by definition” no evidence - regardless of how compelling or explanatory – that conflicts with their particular narrow literalist interpretation of scripture is acceptable. That they may change the definition of any term, twist or ignore any evidence and make up any story to fit their anti-knowledge theology. This is the fatal science flaw of creationists.  This is why 57 must continue his futile rants against sound science.  He has no credible supporting science evidence so that is his only choice. And we see demonstration of this lack of science knowledge in his every posting.


So creationists may continue to “believe” their anti-knowledge theology, but it’s only theology.  They can no longer claim any semblance of a realistic and supported explanation of the natural world that only empirical evidence can bring.  “Creation science” is dead and "creationism" is proven to merely be an "also ran" theology, nothing more.


I don’t suppose 57 will ever understand the science, but we must call him on this strawman every time he knee-jerks it in response to getting caught with his factual pants down once again.


So the proper response we all can make to this simpleton taunt is a simple


ALERT!  IT'S 57's REPEATING STRAWMAN


every time he attempts to divert attention away from his science failings. No other answer need be given. This says it all. 

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3 years ago  ::  May 15, 2012 - 6:44PM #2
Sparky_Spotty
Posts: 833

It's posts like that which make me hange around here. Excellent work. Your efforts may be in vain for certain creationists, but not for the rest of us.

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3 years ago  ::  May 15, 2012 - 6:54PM #3
Ken
Posts: 33,859

I can only repeat a question that amcolph asked many months ago.


Why wouldn't they add up? Given the facts of reproduction (with which, I concede, our creationist friends may not be well acquainted), how could they not?

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3 years ago  ::  May 15, 2012 - 8:12PM #4
MMarcoe
Posts: 17,262

May 15, 2012 -- 6:54PM, Ken wrote:


I can only repeat a question that amcolph asked many months ago.


Why wouldn't they add up? Given the facts of reproduction (with which, I concede, our creationist friends may not be well acquainted), how could they not?





Indeed, if there's a god in charge of the universe, wouldn't he have some special way of making them add up?


I see a certain existential despair and cynicism in those who think the genome is subfunctional.


 

1. Extremists think that thinking means agreeing with them.
2. There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth.
3. God is just a personification of reality, of pure objectivity.
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3 years ago  ::  May 18, 2012 - 9:21AM #5
rsielin
Posts: 4,702

May 15, 2012 -- 6:54PM, Ken wrote:

Why wouldn't they add up? Given the facts of reproduction (with which, I concede, our creationist friends may not be well acquainted), how could they not?


The key point here is that point mutations are not the whole story. And 57's repetitive rant is just a strawman exposing his ignorance of biology; a biology that is advancing faster than he can shake a stick at.


Researchers using genome sequencing technology are finding new pathways and processes generating the random variations providing novelty that natural selection can favor. Focusing solely on point mutations is stupid - been stupid for several decades now. It's so hard for those creationists to keep up. So sad. LOL


The wonder of the genome is that genes all sing together to naturally fit the chorus [expression] to the auditorium [environment] for the best sound with what you've got to bring to the show. It's just like water miraculously fitting that complex irregularly shaped pothole like a custom glove everytime it rains. 

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3 years ago  ::  May 18, 2012 - 5:16PM #6
steven_guy
Posts: 11,751

May 18, 2012 -- 9:21AM, rsielin wrote:


The key point here is that point mutations are not the whole story. And 57's repetitive rant is just a strawman exposing his ignorance of biology; a biology that is advancing faster than he can shake a stick at.


Researchers using genome sequencing technology are finding new pathways and processes generating the random variations providing novelty that natural selection can favor. Focusing solely on point mutations is stupid - been stupid for several decades now. It's so hard for those creationists to keep up. So sad. LOL


The wonder of the genome is that genes all sing together to naturally fit the chorus [expression] to the auditorium [environment] for the best sound with what you've got to bring to the show. It's just like water miraculously fitting that complex irregularly shaped pothole like a custom glove everytime it rains. 




I have repeatedly asked 57 which modern books on genetics and biology he has read and he never answers. I think that it is more than fair to say if one has no knowledge of a subject like genetics, then one may not make any comments on the subject, certainly no sensible comments. 


The Creations seem incapable of making even the slightest scratch on evolution. Look how their cause lies wounded and bleeding on the "How come?" thread. 


When Creationists attack science and reason they only damage they ever manage to do is to the cause and reputation of Christianity.  If I was a Christian of any sort I'd be trying to get the Creationists to hush up and not say a word in future.

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3 years ago  ::  May 18, 2012 - 7:33PM #7
Ken
Posts: 33,859

May 18, 2012 -- 5:16PM, steven_guy wrote:

I have repeatedly asked 57 which modern books on genetics and biology he has read and he never answers. I think that it is more than fair to say if one has no knowledge of a subject like genetics, then one may not make any comments on the subject, certainly no sensible comments.



Does 57 strike you as the sort of person who reads books?

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3 years ago  ::  May 18, 2012 - 7:52PM #8
steven_guy
Posts: 11,751

May 18, 2012 -- 7:33PM, Ken wrote:


May 18, 2012 -- 5:16PM, steven_guy wrote:

I have repeatedly asked 57 which modern books on genetics and biology he has read and he never answers. I think that it is more than fair to say if one has no knowledge of a subject like genetics, then one may not make any comments on the subject, certainly no sensible comments.



Does 57 strike you as the sort of person who reads books?




Not really.

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3 years ago  ::  May 19, 2012 - 7:04AM #9
ozero
Posts: 1,411

Thanks, Rieslin.  Well done.  I don't think it'll have any effect on 57, but it might get him to find another strawman.  We should feel sorry for him.  He's got himself stuck out on a limb - a limb to weak to hold his weight and if it falls, he goes to hell.  He not only goes to hell, he goes to a deep part of hell because he has almost certainly taught this to children and Jesus said that harming children (lying to them counts) is one of the worst sins one can commit.  He can hardly depend on salvation through faith if he doesn't believe Jesus.  I once asked him to define and question what his "mutations add up" really was and we could discuss it bit by bit.  I've since become convinced that he has no idea what it means.  It's just words he got from some creationist liar and thought that it had to be significant.  It's not and he was unwilling to find out why it isn't.  Sad.  In his favor though, perhaps he is some evidence of Satan working in the world. 

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 20, 2012 - 2:45PM #10
lucaspa
Posts: 557

May 15, 2012 -- 6:00PM, rsielin wrote:


If a fin has indeed changed into a human hand or leg; mutations are required to produce the morphological changes. The extremely rare beneficial random mutations MUST occur in the portion of the DNA that is responsible for coding for the fin. That portion of code is very small when compared to the rest of the animals DNA. The odds of an extremely rare random beneficial mutation occurring in just the right place of the code at just the right time is extremely low. THEN you need to do it over and over again many, many, many, many times until a hand or leg is formed.



First, mutations aren't that rare.  Humans average 20 mutations per individual!
Second, having a "beneficial" mutation is not that rare.   Nor are mutations often fatal.  In a very good study, the detrimental mutation rate is 0.003.  That is, only 3 out of 1,000 mutations were actually detrimental!  The rest were beneficial or neutral.


Did I get it right 57?  This is the entirity of 57's science (sic). No evidence, no active reserach, no peer review, just the story as described above. Storybook simple.


Creationists “believe” that the genome is a set of exacting construction drawings and building instructions for God’s most complex perfectly designed machinery.  They “believe” without corresponding supporting evidence that the genome is a detailed and exacting set of building instructions written in a secret divine code. 


Just as we have engineering drawings where each angle and connection is precisely designed; one mistake and the bridge will collapse or won’t come together to begin with. Proof positive that it takes some very intelligent architects and engineers to create a successful bridge.  So it is with the creationists “belief” about the genome.


The canard that evolution must show “how mutations add up” implies that DNA is a “instruction manual” for building an organism in the manner humans have experienced it. This assumption then implies to change an organism requires many specific changes in just the right place and in just the right order to be successful.



And that requirement is wrong. Right order, perhaps, but natural selection ensures that the order will be right.  What is forgotten is that change is cumulative.  So, say we need 10 mutations to turn a fin into a leg.  Each one is going to offer a survival advantage of its own.  So, we get mutation #1.  Because this helps the individual, that individual has more surviving offspring than all the other individuals.  So the next generation has a greater frequency (percentage) of individuals with the mutation #1.  This continues generation after generation and eventually EVERY individual will have mutation #1.  I can go into the mathematics if you would like.  This is called "fixation".  So when mutation #2 shows up, every individual has mutation #1.  The combination, #1 and #2, do better than #1 alone, so once again we go thru the generations and then EVERY individual has mutations 1 and 2.  Then #3 happens.


Notice that if mutation #2 shows up before #1 is fixed, it still works out.  First, the odds thta #2 will be in an individual with #1 is proportional to the frequency of #1 in the population.  If the frequency is 0.8, then there is an 80% chance that mutations 1 and 2 will be in the same individual.  But even if mutation 2 shows up in an individual without 1, as long as #2 is neutral or not outright fatal (and it woudn't be), then very soon an individual with #2 is going to mate with an individual with mutation #1 and an offspring will have both 1 and 2.  So you get to the same endpoint soon.


As it turns out, the changes to turn a fin into a limb have been extensively studied.  This books summarizes it:  www.amazon.com/Fins-into-Limbs-Developme...


But it's the principle that is important.  Natural selection guarantees mutations will "add up" by increasing the frequency of previous mutations until the next is added to the sequence.


We now find that fully 75% of the genome is non-coding, and only 2% codes for a protein as a gene.  Thus, contrary to creationist assumption, any random mutation has only a max 2% chance for adversely affecting an all important protein coding gene.



That's not quite true.  A lot of that non-coding DNA controls the expression of the 2%.  That can, and does, have profound effects during development.  For instance, changing the length of time that the protein BMP is expressed during embryonic development by just 4 hours results in turning a spherical wrist bone into a long bone resembing the radius.  You made that very point later in the post:

 Evidence shows only a relative small change in a regulatory region can have a dramatic effect on the body plan of the organisms. So a fin to hand is amazingly simple process and all that’s necessary, if not a single mutation, is an extremely short series of individually beneficial but unrelated steps.



Yes, small changes in the DNA of developmental genes yield large results in anatomy. For instance, changing one base in the DNA of the Ubx gene converts a millipede into a 6 legged animal -- the basic body plan of insects.

"If sound science appears to contradict the Bible, we may be sure that it is our interpretation of the Bible that is at fault."  Christian Observer, 1832, pg. 437

"Christians should look on evolution simply as the method by which God works."  James McCosh, theologian and President of Princeton, The Religious Aspects of Evolution, 2d ed. 1890, pg 68.
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