>
> It seems that herein lies the possibility of a statistical disproof of
> evolution. Such a task would have to be taken up by one much more
> knowledgable in mathematics and biology than I, but shouldn't it be
> possible (using evolutionary suppositions and time scales) to estimate the
> number of beneficial mutations that must have occurred to progress from
> some "less evolved" organism to man (whether ape to man, or rodent to
> man, etc). Then estimate the total breeding population thoughout the
> time period evolution was occurring. Then estimate the probability that
> the germ cells would be mutated, and then the probability that the
> individuals with mutated germ cells would mate, and then the probability
> that the germ cells in question would be fortunate enough to be the ones
> that fuse, and then the probability that the mutation was an advantage,
> and then the probability that the offspring escaped predation. And
> probably there are a bunch more factors that biologists know about that
> further effect the probability. But in the end it should be able to
> calculate the maximum number of beneficial mutations that could have
> occurred for a particular evolutionary sequence over accepted evolutionary
> timescales. This number would then be compared to the number of mutations
> that must have occurred which can be directly measured from the genomes
> of existing members of the species. I suspect that the two numbers would
> differ by several orders of magnitude.
>
> Has this been done before? Is the method sound? Comments?
>
> Tom Krusz
Tom:
Yes, such an attempts have been made. One group of mathematicians did
conclude that the odds are vanishingly small. They were not creationists
and met with evolutionists in 1967 at the Wistar Institute. You can
read the proceeds in _Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian
Interpretation of Evolution_. Philip Johnson has an amusing spot on this
exchange:
"D.S. Ulam argued that it was highly improbable that the eye could have
evolved by the accumulation of small mutations, because the number of
mutations would have to be so large and the time available was not nearly
long enough for them to appear. Sir Peter Medawar and C.H. Waddington
responded that Ulam was doing his science backwards; the fact was that the
eye had evolved and therefore the mathemtical diffiulties must be only
apparent....The Darwinists were trying to be reasonable, but it was as if
Ulam had presented equations proving that gravity is too weak a force
to prevent us all from floating off into space. Darwinism to them was not
a theory open to refutation but a fact to be accounted for."
Darwin on Trial pp 38-39
That's the inherent difficulties with these types of disconfirmations.
Drury,
Your post about Haldane's dilemma was fascinating. However, I was
wondering if it could pose an equal problem for creationists. Current
creatoinsists theory is that only "basic kinds" were represented on the
Ark and that, for example, dogs and wolves diverged since then from some
basic dog kind. What is the molecular distance between these variations
and can these distances be explained without encountering Haldane's
dilemma?
-jpt
--
John P. Turnbull (jpt@ccfadm.eeg.ccf.org)
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dept. of Neurology, Section of Neurological Computing
M52-11
9500 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland Ohio 44195
Telephone (216) 444-8041; FAX (216) 444-9401