The following is a crude 1-minute silent animation that I and members of the IDCS Network put together. God willing, there will be major improvements to the animation (including audio), but this is a start. Be sure to watch it in full screen mode to see the details.
The animation asserts that if harmful mutation rates are high enough, then there exists no form or mechanism of selection which can arrest genetic deterioration. Even if the harmful mutations do not reach population fixation, they can still damage the collective genome.
The animation starts off with healthy gingerbread men as parents. Each spawns ginger kids, and the red dots on the kids represent them having a mutation. The missing ginger limbs are suggestive of severe mutations, the more mild mutations are represented by ginger kids merely having a red dot and not severe phenotypic effects of their mutation. The exploding ginger kids represent Selection doing its thing and removing the less functionally fit from the population. The persistence of red dots on the ginger kids represents persistence of bad mutations despite any possible mechanism of selection.
Nobel Prize winner HJ Muller (of Muller’s ratchet fame) suggested that the human race can’t even cope with a harmful rate of 0.1 per new born. The actual rate has been speculated to be on the order of 100-300.
The animation uses a conservative harmful rate of 1 and argues (with some attempts at humor) that deterioration would thus be inevitable even with a harmful rate of 1 per new born.
I save discussion in the comment section the relevant but technical topics of truncation selection, sexual reproduction, recombination, synergistic epistasis, compensatory mutations, relief from Muller’s ratchet etc. These highly technical topics should be addressed and were not included in the animation. We can discuss them in the comment section.
However, the essential problem of mutation rates and deterioration is depicted by the animation. How this cartoon is illustrative of reality (when we consider the technicalities such as recombination, sexual reproduction, synergistic epistasis), can be discussed in the comment section.
In light of such problems Kondrashov posed the rhetorical question, Why have we not died 100 times over?. Kondrashov attempted to answer the question, but I don’t think the problem has been solved. The animation expresses my skepticism of the long term benefit of “synergistic epistasis”.
And if the conclusion symbolized by the animation is true, then on what grounds can we believe Darwinism is true?
The animation was inspired by a paper by Nachman and Crowell. Two years ago I wrote: Nachman’s U-Paradox. This animation helps illustrate the problem of Nachman’s paradox.
I recommend we should build a non-partitioned WEASEL to feature how Nachman’s paradox will trump Dawkins conclusions that somehow Darwin found the answer to appeance of design. One can get an idea of what it would look like given the animation.
[ Admins, I can’t seem to embed the video, can you embed it for me? I think embedded video requires higher privilege than my account has.]
1. We could have done the drawings differently to emphasize the mutations are unique and novel and different for each ginger kid, but I save that work for later (including audio).
2. There is a refinement to the animation that is in order based on Nachman’s calculation of average removal rates of harmful mutations assumng trucation selection, “U”=3, and a conservative reproduction rate for humans, but I didn’t get around to it. That is yet another modification for future animations. We’ll need also some technical research on the matter.