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Author Topic:   ReMine's argument rendered moot
derwood
Member (Idle past 1188 days)
Posts: 1457
Joined: 12-27-2001


Message 1 of 6 (2285)
01-16-2002 12:50 PM


I made the following post on the OCW board, on which creationist electrical engineer Walter ReMine is presently active.
In addition, I posted the pertinent information in several other threads on that board, and ReMine simply ignores the evidence, and continues to peddle his erroneous fluff. ReMine is the author of the creationist book "The Biotic Message", which he seems desperate to get people to buy, judging from the repeated references to it.
****************************************************************

The following papers:

J. C. Fay, G. J. Wyckoff and C.-I. Wu: Positive and Negative Selection on the Human Genome,Genetics 158, 1227-1234. 2001.

and

Sexual Recombination and the Power of Natural Selection
William R. Rice* and Adam K. Chippindale 2001 Science 294:555-559

severely impact the various claims of creationists who insist that because of 'Haldane's dilemma', among other things,human evolution from an ape-like ancestor is impossible.

This 'conclusion' is premised primarily on personal opinions, for there is, at present, no information at all regarding the
numbers of fixed beneficial mutations required to explain various adaptations and traits in extant organisms.

Nonetheless, the argument regarding the human question goes something like this:

According to an extrapolation of Haldane's 1957 paper, no more than 1667 fixed, beneficial mutations could accrue in the lineage leading to humans from an ape-like ancestor.

1667 is too few to account for this (unsupported assertion), therefore, humans must not have evolved at all.

According to the first paper mentioned, the number is off - way off. We cannot blame Haldane - he was working more than a decade before and sequence data was available to him.This paper demonstrates that there have been approximately one beneficial allele substitution every 200 years since the split between Old and New world primates some 30 million years ago.

This amounts to 150,000 in 30 million years. The estimated split between the lineage leading to humans from that leading to chimps is around 5-6 million years ago.

We'll go with 5. That allows for some 25,000. That is 14 times what was allowed under Haldane's model.

Considering the fact that HGP analysis and others put the total gene number in the human genome at between 30 and 60,000, and if we consider that each of these genes may be influenced by at least one regulatory region, 25,000 substitutions - by anyone's standards - should be seen as more than enough to acocunt for the differences.

Of course, since it is a fact that it has not been shown that 1667 fbms is too few, I am still not convinced that it cannot be explained by the lower number.

I suppose it all rests on one's point of view, and whether or not one is willing to accommodate new discoveries into their lexicon.

From the second paper, emphases mine:

"Our results experimentally verify a counteracting advantage of recombining compared to clonal lineages: reduced accumulation of harmful mutations and increased accumulation of beneficial mutations. The magnitude of this benefit will accrue over geological time and promote the superior persistence of recombining lineages at both the level of species within communities (clonal versus sexual species) and genes within chromosomes (nonrecombining Y-linked versus
recombining X-linked genes)."

I don't think that needs any more explanation.

Comments appreciated.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by mark24, posted 01-16-2002 2:08 PM derwood has replied
 Message 6 by Brad McFall, posted 01-17-2002 10:48 AM derwood has not replied

mark24
Member (Idle past 4507 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 2 of 6 (2297)
01-16-2002 2:08 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by derwood
01-16-2002 12:50 PM


SLP,

It occurred to me whilst I was arguing Fred Williams, that the difference between Chimps & Humans is 1-3% (I thought only 1%). If there are, for the purposes of this calculation 30,000 genes. Then 1667 changes constitutes 5.56% of genes affected. Easily enough to make the difference.

Of course, this is simplistic, some mutations may affect a gene more than once. Some mutations may affect single nucleotides (still potentially changing the genes message). Most importantly, chimps have 24 chromosome pairs, so at some point an entire chromosome was duplicated.

But genetic theory maintains most mutations are neutral, or there abouts. So, is 1667 the number of beneficial mutations required after MANY more neutral mutations?

Going slightly off topic. I read that there is an estimated 100,000 proteins in humans. But only 30-40,000 genes. Do genes simply code for more than one protein. Or, are many genes involved in coding "little bits" of lots of proteins, or a combination of the two?

I'm looking to expand my knowledge of this topic, but I need to get some other books out of the way first.

Mark

------------------
Occam's razor is not for shaving with.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by derwood, posted 01-16-2002 12:50 PM derwood has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by derwood, posted 01-16-2002 3:57 PM mark24 has replied

derwood
Member (Idle past 1188 days)
Posts: 1457
Joined: 12-27-2001


Message 3 of 6 (2301)
01-16-2002 3:57 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by mark24
01-16-2002 2:08 PM


You bring up some good points. The 1667 number referss to alleles, but non-genic regions (regulatory sequence) can also impact things such as the timing of expression. It is certainly feasible that non-allelic mutations can account for phenotypic differences.

But one of the most important aspects of this issue is that ReMine - or anyone else, for that matter - KNOWS what the ancestor in question was. Therefore, it is IMPOSSIBLE to even hazard a guess at what changes occurred and what mutations were required to account for them. ReMine's personal disbelief also hinges on the assumption that all changes had to be beneficial. Certainly many were, but phenotype - in this instance I am referring to appearance - is irrelevant to survival. And it is 'appearance' that ReMine alludes to in his book - he mentions upright posture, for example.

As for the chimp chromosomes, it looks more like two chromosomes were fused (or alternately, one was split) rather than a duplication.

As for the protein thing, I'm not up on that to any great extent, but there are many post-translational modifications that can occur, and clearly gene products can 'intermingle' with others to produce novel proteins. My guess is that this sort of thing is mediated by enzymes, or perhaps the proteins themselves.

The field of proteomics is big news - lots of labs are rushing to get publications out of this.

By the way - have you read or heard about ReMine's book?

I had previously been commenting on his public writings and the comments of creationists, but I got hold of a copy today. Leafing through it, the thing that sticks out the most - and is prevalent on EVERY page - is ReMine's ego. It is really incredible. I hope to write up a detailed review - clearly demonstrating ReMine's errors - at some time in the future. But it is going to be hard to get past all the self-aggrandizing BS (for example, he has a several page section at the beginning of the book explaining how he - more so than anyone else - had the abilities required to basically 'disprove' evolution...amazing)...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by mark24, posted 01-16-2002 2:08 PM mark24 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by mark24, posted 01-16-2002 4:11 PM derwood has replied

mark24
Member (Idle past 4507 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 4 of 6 (2302)
01-16-2002 4:11 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by derwood
01-16-2002 3:57 PM


SLP,
Thanks for the clarifications. I have heard of ReMines book, & am aware of the debate, but consider my knowledge too sketchy to add significantly to the argument. I would only score an own goal.

Certainly phenotype shouldn't be reduced to mean "appearance", but isn't appearance valid? I'm not exactly sure what you mean here, isn't upright posture relevent to survival? I'm sure I'm misunderstanding you.

Mark

------------------
Occam's razor is not for shaving with.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by derwood, posted 01-16-2002 3:57 PM derwood has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by derwood, posted 01-16-2002 5:10 PM mark24 has not replied

derwood
Member (Idle past 1188 days)
Posts: 1457
Joined: 12-27-2001


Message 5 of 6 (2303)
01-16-2002 5:10 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by mark24
01-16-2002 4:11 PM


quote:
Originally posted by mark24:
SLP,
Thanks for the clarifications. I have heard of ReMines book, & am aware of the debate, but consider my knowledge too sketchy to add significantly to the argument. I would only score an own goal.

Certainly phenotype shouldn't be reduced to mean "appearance", but isn't appearance valid? I'm not exactly sure what you mean here, isn't upright posture relevent to survival? I'm sure I'm misunderstanding you.

Mark


It depends on your frame of reference, I suppose. Upright posture may be relevant to human survivial, but clearly lots of creatures do well on all fours. Appearance, as in regards to phenotype, deserves a seat at the table, certainly. But most - indeed, all that I have read- creationists put all of their eggs into one of two (or both) baskets - our outward appearance or out intellectual capacity.

This is erroneous for a couple of reasons. For one, I think it is a mistake to divorce the two. The size of our head is a function of our brain size, brain size (more correctly, brain to body mass ratio) is related to intelligence (insofar as this discussion goes), so outward appearance is in this example related to intellectual capacity. Absolutists like to comparmentalize - divide and conquer.
ReMine blabbers on about getting 'poet-philosophers' from apes and getting a 'sapien from a simian.' It is primarily personal disbelief based on nothing scientific at all.

Developmental biology - which few creationists know much about (save the skewed tidbits they read from creationist sources) - tells us that in fact phenotypic changes do not [i]necessarily/i require some large suite of mutations. One of my favorite examples is the point mutation in the gene encoding the receptor for FGF-3 (fibroblast growth factor). A point mutation in this gene - which in and of itself has nothing to do with development - causes achondroplasia (dwarfism). Achondroplastic individuals clearly have significant phenotypic changes, yet some large number of accumulated and sequential changes were not required.

Critics of this example point out that achondroplasia is a 'defect', so it can't be an example of evolution or beneficial change.
They miss the point.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by mark24, posted 01-16-2002 4:11 PM mark24 has not replied

Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 4345 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 6 of 6 (2326)
01-17-2002 10:48 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by derwood
01-16-2002 12:50 PM


quote:
Originally posted by SLP:
I made the following post on the OCW board, on which creationist electrical engineer Walter ReMine is presently active.
In addition, I posted the pertinent information in several other threads on that board, and ReMine simply ignores the evidence, and continues to peddle his erroneous fluff. ReMine is the author of the creationist book "The Biotic Message", which he seems desperate to get people to buy, judging from the repeated references

quote:

Comments appreciated.


I Know that this is not the comma that will change any thing relevant to the discussion of "mutation" but I did want to say that I thought by concentrating on the benefical vs lethal mutation I, myself, would be able to, one way or the other, lift some of the vestigial log jam in the c/e discussion matrix. I must report I have failed in this point particularly perhaps expressing some sentiments in line of this thread. I located two reasons for this failure. One, mutations (short of making detailed references to the literature) have actually some positional variation despite the definitional restriction, often, to "point" mutations. There was a chemical called 'acridines' that was thought to intercalate between whatever these points would be. This lead me to realize that like Barbara McClintock not getting her PHD from Cornell being a woman and D Star Jordan being given a Masters without an undergraduate degree that that even on this point of the amount of benefical to harmful mutations the "players" had rigged the conversation in advance(before hand). The other reason had to do with my still optimistic response for an outcome in that I did and still do when I think of it, think , that using MATHMATICA PROGRMMINg LANGUAGE and Rene Thom's Catastrophe Theory an empricical software tool could be made that actually would score and tabulate in some manner the difference of these mutations(no matter the interpretation given to Sturtevant's "position effect"; I do not know what specifically Ernst Mayr refers to when he says that genes have more than positional effect etc). I do not now the meaning invested in Haladane's Dillema or the statistical techniques needed to address the issue as SLP is presenting here but there may indeed be more than meets the eye.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by derwood, posted 01-16-2002 12:50 PM derwood has not replied

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