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Author Topic:   Six possible things for creationists to disbelieve before breakfast
Coyote
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Message 1 of 35 (712593)
12-04-2013 10:25 PM


400,000-year-old human DNA adds new tangle to our origin story

The title is a play on words* to introduce a serious subject.

The oldest human DNA ever recovered is throwing scientists for a loop: The 400,000-year-old genetic material comes from bones that have been linked to Neanderthals in Spain but its signature is most similar to that of a different ancient human population from Siberia, known as the Denisovans.

Previous analysis of bones from the cave had led researchers to assume that the Sima de los Huesos people were closely related to Neanderthals on the basis of their skeletal features. But the mitochondrial DNA was far more similar to that of the Denisovans, an early human population that was thought to have split off from Neanderthals around 640,000 years ago. The first Denisovan specimens were identified in 2010, based on an analysis of 30,000-year-old bones excavated in Siberia.

This chart shows the relationships of the various species based on complete or nearly complete mitochondrial genomes.

Incidentally, this article is very characteristic of what paleoanthropologists, molecular biologists and related researchers are learning nowadays.

Scientists look at this and say, "Hmmmm. That's interesting. Wonder what that means. Let's see if we can figure it out."

Creationists more likely will look at this same information and say, "That's not possible because of..."

I look at this thread as a way to explore both the new data and its implications, and reasons creationists will present for dismissing it.

* "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." The Queen, in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871). (Very similar to his Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.)

Edited by Coyote, : No reason given.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

Belief gets in the way of learning--Robert A. Heinlein

How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?--Robert A. Heinlein

It's not what we don't know that hurts, it's what we know that ain't so--Will Rogers

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle

If a religion's teachings are true, then it should have nothing to fear from science...--dwise1


Replies to this message:
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 Message 8 by Pressie, posted 12-06-2013 2:35 AM Coyote has not yet responded
 Message 16 by herebedragons, posted 12-10-2013 9:21 AM Coyote has responded

  
Admin
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Message 2 of 35 (712594)
12-05-2013 7:43 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Coyote
12-04-2013 10:25 PM


The introduction of a debate topic should probably avoid taking free shots at the other side. Could you tone down that third-to-last paragraph and express it a bit more objectively and clinically?

Also helpful would be to describe the approach you anticipate creationists would employ in rejecting the findings you described about ancient human DNA.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
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Coyote
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Member Rating: 4.0


Message 3 of 35 (712595)
12-05-2013 10:58 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
12-05-2013 7:43 AM


Edited
Edited.
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Admin
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Message 4 of 35 (712597)
12-05-2013 11:20 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Six possible things for creationists to disbelieve before breakfast thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
RAZD
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Message 5 of 35 (712627)
12-05-2013 12:24 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Coyote
12-04-2013 10:25 PM


Collapsed Chronologies
One of the problems with the young earth model is that it has to collapse the age of the earth into a fews thousand years.

This results in several problems ... because you can't affect one thing and not affect something else that affects something else ... there is a web of interactions.

Recently in the Great debate: radiocarbon dating, Mindspawn and Coyote/RAZD thread I posted Message 90 with this information:

LaMarche, V. C. Jr. , Hirschboek, K. K. , Frost Rings in Trees as Records of Major Volcanic Eruptions, Nature 307, 1984 p121-126

Frost Rings in Trees as Records of Major Volcanic Eruptions

quote:
... Wexler's basic premise seems to be supported by Lamb's observation [21] of southward displacement of the sub-polar low-pressure zone in the North Atlantic sector in the first July following a great eruption, and continuing in some cases for 3 - 4 yr. ...

... Synoptic situations more typical of winter may be expected to occur in late spring and in early autumn.


Note as one example 1816 CE ... there was a volcanic eruption in 1814 CE (Mayon) followed by one in 1815 CE (Tambora), each throwing clouds of fine silicate ash into the air causing an ash veil high in the atmosphere. The Dust Veil Index (DVI) was ~3,000 (where the index is scale so that the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa is 1,000) in 1815 CE. The ensuing year (1816 CE) was called the "year without a summer" because it was so cold, crops failed etc.

The graph also shows how many volcanoes there were in the last 500 years. This graph could be extended into the past with similar frequencies.

Compressing all eruptions into a short couple thousand years would mean at least one a day -- and there would be permanent dust clouds and constant deposition of ash forming a thick blanket over the earth -- think Vesuvius and Pompeii every day ... as well as constant low temperatures and low visibility. Plants couldn't grow, animals couldn't breath.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

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Coyote
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Joined: 01-12-2008
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Message 6 of 35 (712682)
12-05-2013 10:20 PM


This study presents an important discovery: the picture of hominin evolution is far more complex that we realized.

In the past few years, two important finds have been attributed to a new species based on genetic studies of "fossils." The Denisovans have been found to be genetically distinct, based on mtDNAs, from both Neanderthals and modern humans.

Dates for the original finds from Siberia are around 41,000 years ago. The new find from Spain dates to more like 400,000 years ago. In a post above I included a chart showing tentative mtDNA groupings of these finds along with Neanderthal and modern humans.

I consider these findings important as they give us evidence of a third early critter running around at the same time as humans and Neanderthals. But they also bring up far more questions than they answer. And that's the way science works--folks will now be out using these new techniques to 1) see if they can confirm the findings, and 2) see what else they can discover about hominim evolution during the past 500,000 years.

But we've yet to hear from any creationists on this new discovery.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

Belief gets in the way of learning--Robert A. Heinlein

How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?--Robert A. Heinlein

It's not what we don't know that hurts, it's what we know that ain't so--Will Rogers

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle

If a religion's teachings are true, then it should have nothing to fear from science...--dwise1


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 Message 7 by nwr, posted 12-06-2013 12:34 AM Coyote has not yet responded
 Message 10 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-06-2013 9:14 PM Coyote has responded

  
nwr
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From: Geneva, Illinois
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Message 7 of 35 (712686)
12-06-2013 12:34 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Coyote
12-05-2013 10:20 PM


But we've yet to hear from any creationists on this new discovery.

But you know what they will say:
  • Darwinists did not predict this;
  • Darwinism is refuted yet again.

Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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Pressie
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Posts: 1621
From: Pretoria, SA
Joined: 06-18-2010
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 8 of 35 (712687)
12-06-2013 2:35 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Coyote
12-04-2013 10:25 PM


YEC response
Heres one response from one of our local YECs after a report yesterday on our most popular news service
News24

The comment from one YEC called Drikus Greyling, involved carbon dating.

This is a truly a questionable report in the sense that it is not really possible to date human remains accurately after 50 000 years. Carbon 14 dating is the closest to the accurate dating mechanisms for once living material (even though there are proven flaws), but it is only reliable up to 50 000 years, and after 100 000 years nearly no carbon 14 is left in once living remains. So in short, this looks like a sensation seeking wannabefamous researcher (maybe the funding is running low).

YECs only read creationist propaganda. They preach that carbon dating is the only dating technique available. And they tell complete untruths about how and when the method is used.

Nothing about the significance of the find, though. Hes probably waiting for Kent Hovind to comment before he repeats the untruths.

Edited by Pressie, : No reason given.

Edited by Pressie, : Spelling


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NoNukes
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Message 9 of 35 (712718)
12-06-2013 10:34 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Pressie
12-06-2013 2:35 AM


Re: YEC response
They preach that carbon dating is the only dating technique available.

It's not quite that bad. At least the example you cite here isn't far off.

Greyling is referring to methods of dating human remains and not for dating other things. Many of the other radiometric dating methods are totally inappropriate for that task. For example, you would generally not find an application for U-Th dating for most human remains. K40 dating is actually good for dates that are much greater than the ones discussed here.

Which radiometric dating means do you think Greyling overlooks?

What Greyling does not acknowledge here is indirect means for dating human remains. But I'd also note that admitting that radiometric dating is useful for dating humans is a real admission for a YEC.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.
Richard P. Feynman

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


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ProtoTypical
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Posts: 1739
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 10 of 35 (712801)
12-06-2013 9:14 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Coyote
12-05-2013 10:20 PM


Well I don't know what the creationists think but I think that the find itself is more interesting anyway.

If I might trouble you with a question. How does the flow chart go? Do we know which is the oldest? Did the Neanderthals and Denisovans leave Africa long before H Sapiens?


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Coyote
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Posts: 5863
Joined: 01-12-2008
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 11 of 35 (712803)
12-06-2013 10:12 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by ProtoTypical
12-06-2013 9:14 PM


That is a branching diagram, going from oldest on the left.

Moving from top to bottom, we have the the Denisovans and Neanderthals, then later the out-of-Africa movement of modern humans, all the way down to the most recent mitochondrial groups, at the bottom, which represent Native Americans.

The interesting things are that 1) the new Spanish find occurs so early on this graph, 2) it is more closely related to the Denisovans than with Neanderthal; and, 3) it is found on the opposite side of the continent from the Denisovans and several hundred thousand years earlier.

Makes one want to go, "Hmmmmm."


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

Belief gets in the way of learning--Robert A. Heinlein

How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?--Robert A. Heinlein

It's not what we don't know that hurts, it's what we know that ain't so--Will Rogers

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle

If a religion's teachings are true, then it should have nothing to fear from science...--dwise1


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-06-2013 9:14 PM ProtoTypical has not yet responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 35 (712807)
12-06-2013 11:26 PM


I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Multiregionalism.


Love your enemies!

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Coyote
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Posts: 5863
Joined: 01-12-2008
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 13 of 35 (712809)
12-07-2013 1:31 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Jon
12-06-2013 11:26 PM


Multiregionalism.

My physical anthropology professor in grad school was in favor of that as well.

I still think he was right.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

Belief gets in the way of learning--Robert A. Heinlein

How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?--Robert A. Heinlein

It's not what we don't know that hurts, it's what we know that ain't so--Will Rogers

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle

If a religion's teachings are true, then it should have nothing to fear from science...--dwise1


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 Message 12 by Jon, posted 12-06-2013 11:26 PM Jon has not yet responded

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Pressie
Member
Posts: 1621
From: Pretoria, SA
Joined: 06-18-2010
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 14 of 35 (712972)
12-08-2013 11:35 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by NoNukes
12-06-2013 10:34 AM


Re: YEC response
I disagree.

I the report published the journalist made it clear that dating was done by DNA and geological methods.

quote:
The age of the bones has been hard to determine. A rough estimate from analysing the DNA is around 400 000 years, which supports what Meyer said is the current view of the anthropologists excavating the site.

Todd Disotell, an anthropology professor at New York University, said geological techniques suggest the remains are older than 300 000 years but it's not clear by how much. By comparison, modern humans arose only about 200 000 years ago.


Greyling thinks that carbon dating is the only dating method around.


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18653
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 15 of 35 (713144)
12-10-2013 8:39 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Coyote
12-07-2013 1:31 AM


Multiregionalism.

My physical anthropology professor in grad school was in favor of that as well.

Curiously, Multiregionalism does not explain the consilience in the DNA ...

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

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