Genetics Intelligent Design

When did the folk at Skeptical Inquirer become creationists?

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A reader read an item we had today posted about something from Skeptical Inquirer that whizzed by a while back but we only got to it today: Pointing people to it, we said that genes are more like a river than a string of beads…

Anyway, the interested reader went back and read the article, “Seven Big Misconceptions About Heredity” and found something that surprised him a lot.

It, shockingly, includes this quote: “And if you could get in a time machine and travel back a few thousand years, you could find someone who was a common ancestor of all living people on Earth.”

Uh, did he just say that? CREATIONIST! 🙂

Given the author and site, I’m sure if they calmly re-read this, they’d like make some minor edits…

Hmmm. In the context, the quotation is

Mathematicians have analyzed the structure of family trees, and they’ve found that the further back in time you go, the more descendants people had. (This is only true of people who have any living descendants at all, it should be noted.) This finding has an astonishing implication. Since we know Charlemagne has living descendants (thank you, Order of the Crown!), he is likely the ancestor of every living person of European descent. And if you could get in a time machine and travel back a few thousand years, you could find someone who was a common ancestor of all living people on Earth. Carl Zimmer, “Seven Big Misconceptions About Heredity” at Skeptical Inquirer


Wow. That’s what a creationist Sunday School teacher would say. But he would have said “every living person,” no qualifiers, and he wouldn’t have called the guy “Charlemagne”…

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Well, let us hope the Skeptical Inquirers do not deprive the poor author, Carl Zimmer, of gainful employment. Whether they do or not, if Zimmer is prepared to stick to his principles, we could find room for him at a roundtable with Buggs and Venema and Adam and Eve… oh, and Ann Gauger too, for sure. Not without Ann Gauger.

See also: Adam, Eve, Richard Buggs, and Dennis Venema: Could Adam And Eve Have Existed?

and

Adam and Eve and Ann Gauger

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9 Replies to “When did the folk at Skeptical Inquirer become creationists?

  1. 1
    daveS says:

    “And if you could get in a time machine and travel back a few thousand years, you could find someone who was a common ancestor of all living people on Earth.”

    Eh? Isn’t that accepted as likely true even by card-carrying Darwinists? Perhaps I’m missing something …?

  2. 2
    daveS says:

    I remember looking at this paper a few years back which estimates how long ago the most recent common ancestor of all living humans could have lived. Some of their estimates are in the range of 3000 to 4000 years ago. The paper is not written from a creationist perspective.

  3. 3
    Mimus says:

    Yes, the studies for the most recent common ancestor don’t even use genetic data. It’s just a process of working backfwards from current population sizes, generation times and family sizes . It’s always worth remembering we have many common ancestors, than any common ancestor was part of a larger population and that many of us will have inhertied very little or none of our DNA from a given genealogical ancestor.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Minus claims that:

    It’s always worth remembering we have many common ancestors, than any common ancestor was part of a larger population and that many of us will have inhertied very little or none of our DNA from a given genealogical ancestor.

    Well I guess that it is worth remembering that that is the Darwinian assumption at least.:

    Is There a First Human Couple in Our Past? New Evidence and Arguments – Ann Gauger – March 5, 2018
    To sum up, it’s very simple.
    A bottleneck of two that is older than 500,000 years ago cannot be ruled out. That does not mean such a bottleneck ever existed, but rather that the possibility cannot be excluded. Future models may change that number of 500,000 years, up or down.
    This is based on an analysis of the genetic data run by Drs. Schaffner and Swamidass, themselves evolutionary biologists and not ID supporters.
    In addition, the bottleneck hypothesis stood up to a test using TSP (trans-species polymorphism). The test showed TSP was due to convergent evolution. This was a surprise to Dr. Swamidass.
    A bottleneck of two, or a first pair at our origin older than 500,000 years, is possible.
    Evolutionary biologists, including Dennis Venema, can no longer say we had to come from a population of 10,000 at any time over the last 3 million years.
    This whole debate has come as a surprise to many.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/03/is-there-a-first-human-couple-in-our-past-new-evidence-and-arguments/

    Genetic Modeling of Human History Part 2: A Unique Origin Algorithm
    Ola Hossjer, ¨1* Ann Gauger2 , and Colin Reeves3 – Nov. 4, 2016
    Excerpt Conclusion: In this paper we proposed a mathematical model for simulation of human genetic data based on the assumption that the worldwide human population originates from one single couple. The main idea is to build an ancestral recombination graph backwards in time for all sampled individuals. The model is very flexible and allows for different demographic scenarios, with time varying population sizes and possible migration between geographic subregions. Reproduction is based on a dioecious and diploid framework where males and females are treated separately, so that different mating scenarios are possible. The model also incorporates ordinary recombination events, gene conversion, neutral mutations, and age structure in terms of overlapping generations. An extension of the model with mixed forward and backward simulation allows for balancing selection as well. One particularly important parameter is the created diversity, which makes it possible to obtain a substantial amount of genetic diversity for nuclear autosomal and X-chromosome DNA, during a relatively short period of time.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2016.4

    The Non-Mythical Adam and Eve! – Refuting errors by Francis Collins and BioLogos
    Excerpt: In Figure 5, I display a theoretical allele frequency curve for the human “population” at Creation.,,,
    When Adam and Eve start having children, they are going to be given a random set of the alleles within the parents. In the case of two heterozygous individuals,,,,
    ,,,As detailed above, one of the arguments from BioLogos is that there has not been enough time to accumulate the mutations found among people today if we came from Adam and Eve. A corollary to that is, we could not survive that kind of mutation load. As I said above, however, this is assuming Adam had no heterozygosity, which is ridiculous.
    http://creation.com/historical-adam-biologos

    Of related note:

    No Known Hominin Is Common Ancestor of Neanderthals and Modern Humans, Study Suggests – Oct. 21, 2013
    Excerpt: The article, “No known hominin species matches the expected dental morphology of the last common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans,” relies on fossils of approximately 1,200 molars and premolars from 13 species or types of hominins — humans and human relatives and ancestors. Fossils from the well-known Atapuerca sites have a crucial role in this research, accounting for more than 15 percent of the complete studied fossil collection.,,,
    They conclude with high statistical confidence that none of the hominins usually proposed as a common ancestor, such as Homo heidelbergensis, H. erectus and H. antecessor, is a satisfactory match.
    “None of the species that have been previously suggested as the last common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans has a dental morphology that is fully compatible with the expected morphology of this ancestor,” Gómez-Robles said.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....153202.htm

    Contested Bones: Is There Any Solid Fossil Evidence for Ape-to-Man Evolution? – Dr. John Sanford and Chris Rupe
    Excerpt: We have spent four years carefully examining the scientific literature on this subject. We have discovered that within this field (paleoanthropology), virtually all the famous hominin types have either been discredited or are still being hotly contested. Within this field, not one of the hominin types have been definitively established as being in the lineage from ape to man. This includes the famous fossils that have been nicknamed Lucy, Ardi, Sediba, Habilis, Naledi, Hobbit, Erectus, and Neaderthal. Well-respected people in the field openly admit that their field is in a state of disarray. It is very clear that the general public has been deceived regarding the credibility and significance of the reputed hominin fossils.
    We will show that the actual fossil evidence is actually most consistent with the following three points. 1) The hominin bones reveal only two basic types; ape bones (Ardi and Lucy), and human bones (Naledi, Hobbit, Erectus, and Neaderthal). 2) The ape bones and the human bones have been repeatedly found together in the same strata – therefore both lived at the same basic timeframe (the humans were apparently hunting and eating the apes). 3) Because the hominin bones were often found in mixed bone beds (with bones of many animal species in the same site), numerous hominin types represent chimeras (mixtures) of ape and human bones (i.e., Sediba, Habilis).
    We will also present evidence that the anomalous hominin bones that are of the human (Homo) type most likely represent isolated human populations that experienced severe inbreeding and subsequent genetic degeneration. This best explains why these Homo bones display aberrant morphologies, reduced body size, and reduced brain volume.
    We conclude that the hominin bones do not reveal a continuous upward progression from ape to man, but rather reveal a clear separation between the human type and the ape type. The best evidence for any type of intermediate “ape-men” derived from bones collected from mixed bone beds (containing bones of both apes and men), which led to the assembly of chimeric skeletons. Therefore, the hominin fossils do not prove human evolution at all.,,,
    We suggest that the field of paleoanthropology has been seriously distorted by a very strong ideological agenda and by very ambitious personalities.
    https://ses.edu/contested-bones-is-there-any-solid-fossil-evidence-for-ape-to-man-evolution/

    “Contested Bones” review by Paul Giem – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6ZOKj-YaHA&list=PLHDSWJBW3DNU_twNBjopIqyFOwo_bTkXm

    (April 2019) Although Professor Barash believes that the evidence for ‘continuity’ between species is overwhelming, and that creating a human-chimp hybrid would therefore be the final nail in the coffin for Darwinists trying to, once and for all, scientifically prove ‘continuity’ between species, continuity between humans and chimps specifically, is far more discontinuous than Professor Barash falsely imagines it to be.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/michael-egnor-apes-are-not-spiritual-beings/#comment-676171
    May 2019
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/researchers-sediba-is-not-a-human-ancestor-after-all-back-to-lucy-but/#comment-676704

  5. 5
    DaRook says:

    In a 1999 paper titled “Recent Common Ancestors of All Present-Day Individuals,” Chang showed how to reconcile the potentially huge number of our ancestors with the quantities of people who actually lived in the past. His model is a mathematical proof that relies on such abstractions as Poisson distributions and Markov chains, but it can readily be applied to the real world. Under the conditions laid out in his paper, the most recent common ancestor of every European today (except for recent immigrants to the Continent) was someone who lived in Europe in the surprisingly recent past—only about 600 years ago. In other words, all Europeans alive today have among their ancestors the same man or woman who lived around 1400. Before that date, according to Chang’s model, the number of ancestors common to all Europeans today increased, until, about a thousand years ago, a peculiar situation prevailed: 20 percent of the adult Europeans alive in 1000 would turn out to be the ancestors of no one living today (that is, they had no children or all their descendants eventually died childless); each of the remaining 80 percent would turn out to be a direct ancestor of every European living today. (From: The Royal We

    The mathematical study of genealogy indicates that everyone in the world is descended from Nefertiti and Confucius, and everyone of European ancestry is descended from Muhammad and Charlemagne
    Steve Olson
    May 2002 Issue

  6. 6
    DaRook says:

    The article, “The Royal We” calculated that if we start with ourself, and count back, the first few generations—two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents—quickly spiral out of control. Go back forty generations, or about a thousand years, and each of us theoretically has more than a trillion direct ancestors—a figure that far exceeds the total number of human beings who have ever lived. So we are related to nearly everyone who lived back then.

  7. 7
    vmahuna says:

    There is mere number juggling, and then there is DNA analysis. Pre-Columbian peoples in the Americas hadn’t had any substantial contact with Indo-Europeans for more than 10,000 years, more likely 50,000 years. And the same is generally true for sub-Saharan Africa, and Australia: except for the few individuals whose great grandmother was raped by a passing European soldier or explorer, the local DNA pool goes back thousands and thousands of years.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    I guess that it is also worth remembering that in keeping with Sanford’s principle of Genetic Entropy and Behe’s thesis in ‘Darwin Devolves’,,,,

    Dr. John Sanford “Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome” 1/2
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJ-4umGkgos

    Dr. John Sanford Lecture at NIH (National Institute of Health): Genetic Entropy – Can Genome Degradation be Stopped? – 2018 video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Mfn2upw-O8

    Michael Behe: Darwin Devolves
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNe-syuDJBg

    ,,, and also in keeping with Dembski and Marks’s law of Conservation of Information,

    Evolutionary Informatics
    https://www.evoinfo.org/publications.html

    ,,, I guess that it is also worth remembering,,, that humans are not evolving into something new and better as Darwinists presuppose but that humans are instead relentlessly and persistently devolving into oblivion.

    Critic ignores reality of Genetic Entropy – Dr John Sanford – 7 March 2013
    Excerpt: Where are the beneficial mutations in man? It is very well documented that there are thousands of deleterious Mendelian mutations accumulating in the human gene pool, even though there is strong selection against such mutations. Yet such easily recognized deleterious mutations are just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of deleterious mutations will not display any clear phenotype at all. There is a very high rate of visible birth defects, all of which appear deleterious. Again, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Why are no beneficial birth anomalies being seen? This is not just a matter of identifying positive changes. If there are so many beneficial mutations happening in the human population, selection should very effectively amplify them. They should be popping up virtually everywhere. They should be much more common than genetic pathologies. Where are they? European adult lactose tolerance appears to be due to a broken lactase promoter [see Can’t drink milk? You’re ‘normal’! Ed.].
    African resistance to malaria is due to a broken hemoglobin protein [see Sickle-cell disease. Also, immunity of an estimated 20% of western Europeans to HIV infection is due to a broken chemokine receptor—see CCR5-delta32: a very beneficial mutation. Ed.] Beneficials happen, but generally they are loss-of-function mutations, and even then they are very rare!
    http://creation.com/genetic-entropy

    The evidence for the accumulation of slightly detrimental mutations in humans is overwhelming. Whilst beneficial mutations in humans are exceeding rare to, arguably, non-existent in humans, on the other hand scientists have already cited over quarter of a million mutational disorders within humans.

    The Human Gene Mutation Database
    The Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD®) represents an attempt to collate known (published) gene lesions responsible for human inherited disease.
    Mutation total (as of May 24, 2019) – 256070
    http://www.hgmd.cf.ac.uk/ac/

    Of related interest:

    Human Genetic Variation Recent, Varies Among Populations – (Nov. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: Nearly three-quarters of mutations in genes that code for proteins — the workhorses of the cell — occurred within the past 5,000 to 10,000 years,,,
    “One of the most interesting points is that Europeans have more new deleterious (potentially disease-causing) mutations than Africans,”,,,
    “Having so many of these new variants can be partially explained by the population explosion in the European population. However, variation that occur in genes that are involved in Mendelian traits and in those that affect genes essential to the proper functioning of the cell tend to be much older.” (A Mendelian trait is controlled by a single gene. Mutations in that gene can have devastating effects.) The amount variation or mutation identified in protein-coding genes (the exome) in this study is very different from what would have been seen 5,000 years ago,,,
    The report shows that “recent” events have a potent effect on the human genome. Eighty-six percent of the genetic variation or mutations that are expected to be harmful arose in European-Americans in the last five thousand years, said the researchers.
    The researchers used established bioinformatics techniques to calculate the age of more than a million changes in single base pairs (the A-T, C-G of the genetic code) that are part of the exome or protein-coding portion of the genomes (human genetic blueprint) of 6,515 people of both European-American and African-American decent.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....132259.htm

    If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking? – January 20, 2011
    Excerpt: John Hawks is in the middle of explaining his research on human evolution when he drops a bombshell. Running down a list of changes that have occurred in our skeleton and skull since the Stone Age, the University of Wisconsin anthropologist nonchalantly adds, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”
    “Shrinking?” I ask. “I thought it was getting larger.” The whole ascent-of-man thing.,,,
    He rattles off some dismaying numbers: Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.”
    http://discovermagazine.com/20.....-shrinking

    Thus for Darwinists who want to claim that humans accidentally evolved, instead of being purposely created, and also want to claim that humans are continuing to evolve into something better, instead of devolving into oblivion, we have every right to ask them to present some evidence that their scenario is even possible. They simply have no evidence that their scenario is even possible:

    Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the Probability of Beneficial Mutation George Montañez 1, Robert J. Marks II 2, Jorge Fernandez 3 and John C. Sanford 4 – May 2013
    Excerpt: It is almost universally acknowledged that beneficial mutations are rare compared to deleterious mutations [1–10].,, It appears that beneficial mutations may be too rare to actually allow the accurate measurement of how rare they are [11].
    1. Kibota T, Lynch M (1996) Estimate of the genomic mutation rate deleterious to overall fitness in E. coli . Nature 381:694–696.
    2. Charlesworth B, Charlesworth D (1998) Some evolutionary consequences of deleterious mutations. Genetica 103: 3–19.
    3. Elena S, et al (1998) Distribution of fitness effects caused by random insertion mutations in Escherichia coli. Genetica 102/103: 349–358.
    4. Gerrish P, Lenski R N (1998) The fate of competing beneficial mutations in an asexual population. Genetica 102/103:127–144.
    5. Crow J (2000) The origins, patterns, and implications of human spontaneous mutation. Nature Reviews 1:40–47.
    6. Bataillon T (2000) Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations? Heredity 84:497–501.
    7. Imhof M, Schlotterer C (2001) Fitness effects of advantageous mutations in evolving Escherichia coli populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:1113–1117.
    8. Orr H (2003) The distribution of fitness effects among beneficial mutations. Genetics 163: 1519–1526.
    9. Keightley P, Lynch M (2003) Toward a realistic model of mutations affecting fitness. Evolution 57:683–685.
    10. Barrett R, et al (2006) The distribution of beneficial mutation effects under strong selection. Genetics 174:2071–2079.
    11. Bataillon T (2000) Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations? Heredity 84:497–501.
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....08728_0006

  9. 9
    daveS says:

    vmahuna,

    There is mere number juggling, and then there is DNA analysis. Pre-Columbian peoples in the Americas hadn’t had any substantial contact with Indo-Europeans for more than 10,000 years, more likely 50,000 years. And the same is generally true for sub-Saharan Africa, and Australia: except for the few individuals whose great grandmother was raped by a passing European soldier or explorer, the local DNA pool goes back thousands and thousands of years.

    The Chang paper is based on mathematical models which do rely on assumptions about migration rates. But those assumptions are quite conservative:

    But it doesn’t take very much migration: just one “outsider” who bore a child into an isolated group sometime in the last few thousand years would suffice. Another example from Rohde, Olsen, and Chang’s paper: their simulation assumes 10 migrants across the Bering strait every generation; but decreasing this to one migrant every 10 generations (300 years!) only increases their estimate by a few hundred years.

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