MARK L. BAKKE'S
Night Owl Mk. II




Return to "Evolution vs. Creationism" essay


Back to Philosophy page




Please feel free to E-mail me with your own comments on this issue or on anything else included in my Philosophy of Life section. Debate is good!



Please report any problems with this page to the Webmaster!



Boulder Games
Bowling
Entrance Page
Exit/Links Page
Night Owl Mk. II
Special Features
Personal Pages
Philosophy of Life
Site Map
Wargaming
What's New on this Site?
REPLY #18 TO
"EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM"



Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

(R) Hello, again. I still haven't seen an answer to my question about Haldane's Dilema, from you. this got me to thinking that either A) There is no way to refute this problem and you did not want to admit it. or B) There is a real easy explanation and you didn't want to waste time on it again.
(MB) Or, C) I don't recall receiving any such question. In any case, the question is a good one and I am grateful for the opportunity to address it.


(R) Being a positive looking person I chose B. So I went looking for the answer. Looking took a while as there is next to nothing on the WEB about Haldane's Dilema, but by planned searching (get it) I came across the a site that though a whole bunch of fancy math was able to explain it. (not that I understand the math but tha basic premise is there)
(MB) There is an extensive explanation of Haldane's Dilemma by Robert Williams at http://www.gate.net/~rwms/haldane1.html which may well be the one that you found. The math is, as you said, rather thick and it's possible that one might not get through all of it to reach the conclusions presented. I will refer to that document during my reply to your presentation of your case.


(R) Basically Haldane stated that there is a diffenerance between human and monkey of about 2% of the genetic make up.(I like round number and tend to use as it make to make the math a lot easier to do without working on paper) Which doesn't sound like much, but is apporximently 60,000 differences in the DNA. Haldane went on to assume that a dominant trait would take about 300 generations to be spread throught a species of 1,000 animals. He then gave the species a generation life of 30 years. So We multiple 30*300*60,000 to get how long it would take a monkey to turn into man, or 650,000,000 years. Which caused his dilema. (This is my understanding of what he said)
(MB) Haldane's assumption was that it would take 300 generations to fix a single gene from initial mutation to ubiquity in a population. While one can debate this figure, it is not the main source of the Dilemma. This comes from the invalid assumptions that only one gene can be fixed at a time and that no other changes can accumulate until the ongoing one is fixed. That's why multiplying the number of generations per fixation by the number of total DNA differences makes no sense.


(R) The web site that refuted this dilema pointed out several errors in the above assumption. 1) Man did not evovle from monkeys, but a common ancestor. 2) Child bearing age for Man is about the age of 12, and for monkeys is 9, therefore using 30 years for a generation would be incorrect. 3) A discussion of the die off of the new gene group because they would be inferior.
    My answer to the those question raised go as follows:
    1) If man and monkey had a common answer divide 650,000,000 by half to see how long ago said ancestor would have lived. 325,000,000 years.
    2) Let's redo the math 5 years as a generation 5*300*30,000=45,000,000 years ago.

(MB) These two points fail because they assume the invalid multiplication of numbers pointed out in the previous paragraph. This illustrates the dangers of conclusions obtained from a faulty initial premise. Most people miss these sorts of errors because the math which follows the faulty premise is, itself, correct. By the time the conclusion is reached, the math has overwhelmed the initial faulty premise and the conclusion seems sound.


(R) 3) The die off rate of the none new strain doesn't matter, as I understand Haldane he meant that to show that it was a dominate trait and would take the 300 generation to become the main trait species wide.
(MB) Williams' paper shows that any die off rate or "substitution cost" is all but irrelevant in the final calculations since it ignores many factors of mutation and selection.


(R) 4) They, assumed that all mutation would be good. Wich is itself impossible otherwise the fruit flies that they have been radiated would rule the world. There are 3 possabilities when a mutation occurs 1) positive 2) nuetral 3) negative. Take this into account 45,000,000*3=130,000,000 years ago.
(MB) This point makes the invalid assumption that it is equally likely for any given mutation to be beneficial, neutral, or harmful. By far, the majority of mutations are neutral. However, it is almost always an accumulation of mutations that results in noticeable change within members of a population. Also, it is not a given that any mutation in one individual will be passed along to its offspring. Finally, this point seems to assume that mutations occur only one at a time.


(R) So, for a 2% difference it would take 0.13 billion years to come about a 100% change would take 6.5 billion years, and how old is the earth ? 4.5 billion? Haldane's Dilema is still there. Please let me know what I must have assumed wrong as evolution is a fact?
(MB) The Dilemma is still there since many of the incorrect assumptions which first produced it are still there. Remember that Haldane's equations are over 40 years old and have since been superceded by newer and far more valid data. A 40 year old mistake that has since been corrected presents no problems for evolution theory and is certainly no evidence for Creationism.
    Haldane himself wrote, "To conclude, I am quite aware that my conclusions will probably need drastic revision. But I am convinced that quantitative arguments of the kind here put forward should play a part in all future discussions of evolution."
    I don't think that much more needs to be said.




Created with Allaire HomeSite 4.0 .......... Last Update: 11 Jun 98
E-mail: mlbakke1@earthlink.net


Earthlink Network Home Page


Go to next reply

Return to "Evolution vs. Creationism" essay

Back to Philosophy page