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Friday, March 27, 2009

Quick post on population and human genetics


In Six Days

Why 50 Scientists Choose
to Believe in Creation

The above is the title of a publication in which fifty (out of several hundreds associated with the site) presented evidence to explain their belief in a literal six days of creation and a young earth. I will present excerpts from one of those fifty quickly.


James S. Allan, genetics


Dr. Allan is a former senior lecturer in genetics at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He holds a B.S. in agriculture from the University of Natal, an M.S. in agriculture from the University of Stellenbosch and a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He currently serves as an international consultant in the field of dairy cattle breeding.


"As a biologist in the field of population and quantitative genetics, I had believed in the theory of evolution for nearly 40 years. During that period of my life, the long-time requirements of the theory did not really concern me. Chance (genetic drift) and natural selection in response to gene mutation and/or environmental change seemed to be logically acceptable mechanisms for the assumed extent of adaptive radiation.

My research involved using biometrical methods of analysis. I was concerned to predict rates of genetic change as a result of applying artificial selection procedures of varying intensities, based on different kinds and amounts of information. The accuracy of prediction of the rate of genetic change can be assessed theoretically and the results can, in many cases and in the short-term, be checked empirically. The change in genetic merit (and associated phenotypic merit) from one generation to the next is due to changes in the relative frequencies of the underlying genes.

Over all those years, because I accepted the “fact” of evolution, I saw no reason to differentiate in principle between changes in relative gene frequency as a consequence of either short-term or long-term natural selection. To me, these forms of selection resulted in just the one simple principle of change in relative gene frequency, and the essence of the theory of evolution is change in relative gene frequency as a result of genetic drift and of natural selection in response to gene mutation and/or environmental change.

When, at a fairly advanced stage of my career, I became a Christian I began to read the Bible reverently and as intelligently as I was able. At that time most of my reading was focused in the New Testament and, as my main concern was to know more of Christ as my Savior, my opinion concerning the theory of evolution remained unchallenged. I did not, in fact, give it much thought.

One day, after I had been expounding on the universality of DNA as evidence for the theory of evolution, my wife, who had been a Christian much longer than I, asked me whether there was any reason for God to have used other genetic systems. Just one simple question, but it stimulated me to ask myself many more.

Was there any reason for God to have created life-forms on the basis of ABC … PQR … and XYZ as well as DNA? Were that so, would it have influenced my belief in the theory of evolution, or would I have interpreted it as a number of independent origins of life?

Was there any reason why God should not have created all forms of life as “variations on themes” and so have provided the observed orderly degrees of genetic and phenotypic resemblance as evidenced in taxonomic classification? Relatives tend to resemble one another in physical, functional and behavioral characteristics. This is a phenomenon which is basic to the science of genetics. The resemblance is due to the fact that relatives, sharing in the common gene pool of a reproducing population, have genes in common. The closer the relationship, the greater is the proportion of genes in common and, therefore, the greater is the degree of resemblance. The theory of evolution assumes a common origin for all forms of life and, therefore, infers that species, genera, families, orders, etc. are genetically related. They all do carry some genes with similar structure and function, yes, but did this imply genetic relationship in the normal, within-species sense, and was one at liberty to assume a common origin for all forms of life? Was there any reason why God should have created different species, genera, etc. in completely different ways and with completely different genes?"

Why, indeed? Dr. Allan goes into depth in the article, which I hope you do read. He presents evidence that requires millions of years for a prehuman chimp-like ancestor to evolve into a human, if indeed something like that ever happened. But allow me to present his portion of population analysis in which he extrapolates the human population back to a beginning point using both genetic and mathmatical training in the process:

"According to the 23rd General Population Conference in Beijing in 1997, the total human population of the earth in that year was assessed to be in the region of 6,000 million, showing that there has been a remarkable increase over the past 200 years. Estimates of the population numbers back to the year 1500 and a prediction for the year 2080 are given in the following table.

Year 1500 1650 1800 1900 1950 1997 2080
No. (millions) 300 550 1,000 1,700 2,500 6,000 10,000

Extrapolation further into the past gives the following approximate numbers:

Year –2000 –1000 0 1000
No. (millions) 1 50 100 250

I find these figures to be in close agreement with what one would expect from the biblical specification after the Flood in 2344 B.C. The assumed existence of thousands of millions of “prehumans” is both physically and scripturally unrealistic."

I believe it is obvious that a non-linear population growth is represented by the human race. Fits and starts have happened as rapid population growth probably occurred during the great warming period but plagues and wars and the little ice age hampered populations in some areas. Overall, the human population growth estimates take us back to around 2500 BC, which is about 4,500 years ago. Based upon the way the human population has been recorded to have expanded during the last few hundred years it is astonishing that anyone could believe that there has been a steadily expanding population for hundreds of thousands of years, let alone millions! No Sigmoidal curvature yet, that is for sure! (Although the United Nations chart predicts the sigmoidal curve to show up in the future).

No one looking at a chart of human population growth would categorize this as a linear chart. Nor would anyone suggest that we have reached stasis. This kind of growth is found in populations that are relatively young and did not begin long ago. Those of you who love math have to know this, I cannot imagine how you can ignore these kinds of numbers and believe that humanity has been around for any significant period of time.

Population growth is just one clue that the Biblical Flood absolutely took place somewhere in the neighborhood of 2500 BC and there are plenty of other indicators. Next post will go into more detail.

With thanks to the Guardian and Radar O'Reilly, linear, cubic, exponential and sigmoidal curves: exponential vs. linear and cubic curves
Exponential, linear and cubic curves

sigmoidal curve
A sigmoidal curve.

"As O'Reilly points out, in the end those curves always flatten out. They have to; there just aren't enough people, aliens, atoms, quarks to keep growing exponentially all the time. Growth always slows."

But growth has not yet slowed because the human population just hasn't had much time to grow yet.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Caption contest



We have three dogs, all rescued in some way. Two were adolescent puppies and one a new pup just weaned away from her mother.

Jack is 120 pounds, half Rottweiler and half German Shorthair Pointer. He is ten years old now, got him from people who picked him as a puppy but landlord problems meant they had to give him away. He became a best friend to my teenagers, who are now grown young people, and my buddy. Jack is a love sponge who grumbles to you when you pet him and greets all visitors by grabbing a pillow off the couch and holding it in his mouth for some unknown reason. He loves all people. However, I saw Jack attacked by a Great Dane (whose owners just let wander off without a leash in a public park) once and after his initial surprise he reversed ground on that Dane and almost killed it before I could pull him off. The Dane was bleeding from his face and neck while Jack was unhurt. I am pretty confident he would protect the family if anyone tried anything but otherwise you would think he was all sweetness and light.

Chloe is the new dog, just turned six months. She is half German Shepard and half Bloodhound. She is gangly and has monstrous feet, so maybe she will get bigger than Jack? She is unafraid of heights, so climbing over the back of a couch to gain access is fine with her. We are about to get an electric dog fence to augment the kennel run area, in part because I am sure when she is grown she will be able to jump out over the cedar fence.

Faith is the Alaskan Husky, who is now about two years old. She was left tied out on a pole and abandoned. She is extremely smart and athletic and it is hard to imagine how anyone could just throw away such a loving and fun animal. But she might be a handful if allowed to be bored and ignored. She gets walked and played with and has the self-appointed task of teaching Chloe how to be a dog, play tug of war, learn where she is allowed to sleep and so on. Faith is always happy to have any kind of job...she would have made a great sled dog.

The picture is of Faith, who sometimes poses in odd ways for a dog. Jack ignores tables, while Chloe jumps right up on this spool-turned-deck-table. Faith often does this...thus inviting a caption.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Information part three - the LIE

Preface: To have a complete and logical belief system concerning origins, you need to have a narrative that explains the beginning of all time and matter. In other words, where does all the stuff come from? Creationists do have an explanation and a narrative. God created all things and all time. He recorded this in Genesis so that mankind would have a record of the events. In fact, He reveals not only how things came to be but why things came to be. The Young Earth Creationist has an account of beginnings as a guidebook to help understand the evidence available in the world around us. The numerous fulfilled prophecies in the Bible and the millions of lives changed by the Spirit of God in addition to the testimony of Jesus Christ and the prophets within the Bible give us evidence that the Bible is a reliable source of truth and a Creator God's message to mankind. It just so happens that evidence seen in the fossil record and within organisms and in the heavens fit nicely into the Bible narrative.

Those who prefer not to believe that God created have a lot of unexplained problems, but three words represent three massive problems they must deal with: Life, Information and Energy. They do make a very nice acronym, no?

Life: The structure and composition of a living frog and a dead frog are alike. What makes the living frog alive? What exactly is life and where did it come from? Naturalist materialistic scientists have no good answer for this. Pay attention to what they say about it for they do not have an actual explanation. Anything they say will boil down to "by some means."

Van Helmont tried to "prove" that living mice sprung from dirty underwear and wheat left in a bowl for three weeks. Science can be far away from truth. Pasteur once and for all proved that all life comes from life - Omne vivum ex ovo - in 1864. We call this the Law of Biogenesis.

Since evolution depends on chance to advance life forms, what explanation has it for the beginning of life? Particularly since science has "proven" that life could not have come from non-life.

Information: We will talk on this in the post following the quick look at energy.

Energy: Since the entire Universe is a story of energy being converted to entropy, who or what supplied the original energy, much of which is now entropy? Some postulate a Big Bang as a beginning to all things, but an explosion requires energy and matter to occur. To postulate that a big explosion that came from nothing and nowhere and with no cause as the beginning of all things and all life is tantamount to believing in magic.

That a superior being could conceive of and create both everything and nothing and create time is far more logical than the idea that everything just magically sprung into being. That the Universe and all biologicals show evidence of consistency, logic and design is evidence of a Creator, not a chance event.

~~~~~~~

What is Information? I presented the dictionary definition in a previous post and followed up with a sequel. Let us begin part three with another analogy to help those still struggling to grasp the concept.

Suppose we have one of those little notepads and an ink pen. Suppose you would like a shopping list to take to the store and I know a few things that need to be picked up. Well, that notepad and that ink pen are sitting on the kitchen table. According to the way naturalistic materialistic scientists think of things, that list is going to write itself. But it won't. You can wait a thousand years. The ink pen will dry up and the notepad crumble to dust, if they aren't tossed into a trash can first. But that list will not magically appear. If you come to get your list, you will find a blank notepad and an unused pen, which will tell you nothing about what to get at the store.

If I put the notepad and pen on a weigh scale, I will get a reading. For the sake of argument, let's say they weigh 0.7 pounds. Now suppose I write out a shopping list on the note pad:

Tea
Parmesan Cheese
Dog Chewies
Can of WD-40
Bananas

Now you know what to get at the store. Guess what? If I put the notepad and the ink pen back on the weigh scale, it will still weigh 0.7 pounds. I did not add significant weight or mass to the system that is ink pen and note pad. I merely added information. But now the notepad is a message that transmits information. What changed? An intelligent (somewhat, since it was me!) source added information. Information, which has no apparent weight and is cannot be defined as being material, has nevertheless changed the system that is notepad and ink pen and made it considerably more complex.

What happened is that an intelligent being transmitted intelligence and transferred it into the material world. I did not create or destroy any matter and there was no apparent change to the physical composition of pen and notepad. But I used my own energy to input information into this system.

Evolutionists have no explanation for information. They would have you believe that lobbing a bomb into a cornfield would produce a three bedroom house fully equipped with wiring and plumbing. They would have you believe something even more ridiculous, that existence itself just popped up with no cause.

Now, back to the pen and notepad. A great forensic scientist might find a fingerprint on the pen that matches mine and therefore identify me as the writer. Perhaps I left a bit of myself in terms of that print behind, and perhaps a bit of liquid from the ink evaporated into the air, thus changing the system ever so slightly. In any event, my fingerprint is evidence that the information left on the notepad was produced by a person, me.

DNA. The Bible. The remarkable fine-tuning of natural law to allow for our existence and, in fact, logical laws. These are evidences for a Designer.

You naturalistic materialists out there, what is your explanation for the very complex information found in every cell of your body, in every living thing?! Do you have anything that doesn't sound like a fairy tale?

~~~~~~~

LIE - Life, Information and Energy. Naturalistic Materialistic scientists cannot lie their way past these three gigantic obstacles to the fairy tale that is macroevolution and a natural explanation for existence as we now know it.