ENV’s shockingly bad argument that humans are products of intelligent design

If you were going to argue that any species on Earth is the product of intelligent design, then humans would be a pretty logical choice – after all, we’re the only species that’s capable of knowing whether we’re designed, and if so, of inquiring as to who our Designer might be. That makes us a pretty remarkable species. In a recent unsigned post, Evolution News and Views attempts to summarize the evidence for humans as products of intelligent design. Unfortunately, it does such a poor job that it ends up shooting itself in the foot. In this post, I’d like to highlight the questions which any halfway-decent case for humans being design products needs to address, and suggest a few answers.

Briefly, the questions which any theory positing that humans were designed needs to answer are as follows:

(1) What exactly are human beings?
(2) Which physical and mental attributes of human beings can we confidently say were designed?
(3) Did these attributes all appear at once? And if not, what are the implications for human equality?
(4) Which hominins in the fossil record qualify as human?
(5) Can we identify the point in the fossil record at which human beings appear, as products of intelligent design? If not, why not?

What exactly are human beings?

The recent ENV post provides us with no definition of “human being,” so it fails to address question (1). We are told that “[o]ur capacity for abstract thought, self-conscious reflection, and ability to communicate put us in another category entirely” from the apes. Later, we are informed: “Humans are the only species that uses fire and technology.” Then we read that “[h]umans are the only species that composes music, writes poetry, and practices religion.” A little further on, we learn more: “Humans are also the only species that seeks to investigate the natural world through science.” Then there is a quote from Noam Chomsky: “Human language appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analogue in the animal world…” Finally, we come across this claim: “Some of our moral abilities cannot be explained by natural selection.” OK, so which of these is the “human-making” property? Is it fire use, technology, science, language, abstract thought, self-conscious reflection, morality or religion? And if it’s all of the above, then why do all of these capacities go together? Why are they inseparable?

If I had to pick just one or two of these abilities, I would focus on language and theory of mind. Arguably, these two abilities undergird the other distinctively human cognitive abilities. There can be no distinctively human thought without language, and there can be no art, morality or religion without a belief in other minds, each having their own perspective on the world. Intelligent Design theorists would do well to focus exclusively on these two abilities, and search for scientific evidence of their having been designed.

Which physical and mental attributes of human beings can we confidently say were designed?

Question (2) is answered near the end of the ENV post: “Humanity’s unique physical, behavioral, and cognitive abilities collectively show the design of our species.” Unfortunately, the article says little about the physical features which distinguish us from the apes, beyond noting that “we have many more finely controlled muscles in our hands, face, and tongues” that apes lack, without which we would be incapable of artistic dexterity, language or the ability to express a range of subtle emotions in our faces. Later, we are told that humans “are the only primates that always walk upright, have relatively hairless bodies, and wear clothing,” but we are not told whether our upright stance, bodily nakedness and use of clothing are part of the way we were designed. Apparently, the author of the post believes that all of the human cognitive abilities listed in the preceding paragraph were designed by our Maker, too – meaning, presumably, that not one of them is a mere by-product of some other, more fundamental cognitive feature. That in turn means that all of our distinctive cognitive abilities are equally fundamental, which is quite a tall claim to make. Such a claim needs justification.

The author of the latest ENV post also appears badly confused about the number of beneficial mutations that were required to make us human:

How many mutations would it take to evolve the anatomical changes necessary for walking and running? Dozens if not hundreds or thousands — if it could happen by random mutation at all. If the time span available for human evolution from a chimp-like ancestor is six million years, the effective population size is ten thousand, the mutation rate is 10^-8 per nucleotide per generation and the generation time is five to ten years (for a chimp-like ancestor), only a single change to a particular DNA binding site could be expected to arise. It strains credibility to think that all sixteen anatomical features evolved fortuitously in that same time frame, especially if each required multiple mutations. Given these numbers, it is extremely improbable, if not absolutely impossible, for us to have evolved from hominin ancestors by a gradual, unguided process.

Two comments are in order here. First, the number of beneficial mutations that have been fixed in the line leading to human beings was calculated ten years ago by Dr. Ian Musgrave, over at Panda’s Thumb: it’s about 240. Musgrave adds:

The “simultaneous beneficial mutations” argument is a relatively new (or at least rejigged) argument that is dealt with elsewhere (see also here).

As for neutral mutations, Professor Larry Moran has supplied the answer, in his post, Why are the human and chimpanzee/bonobo genomes so similar? (February 28, 2014):

The human and chimp genomes are 98.6% identical or 1.4% different. That difference amounts to 44.8 million base pairs distributed throughout the entire genome. If this difference is due to evolution then it means that 22.4 million mutations have become fixed in each lineage (humans and chimp) since they diverged about five million years ago.

The average generation time of chimps and humans is 27.5 years. Thus, there have been 185,200 generations since they last shared a common ancestor if the time of divergence is accurate. (It’s based on the fossil record.) This corresponds to a substitution rate (fixation) of 121 mutations per generation and that’s very close to the mutation rate as predicted by evolutionary theory.

It is distressing to see Intelligent Design proponents arguing for the design of the human body, without even bothering to familiarize themselves with these numbers. That’s what I call leading with your chin.

The logical course of action for an ID advocate would be to focus specifically on the beneficial mutations that have enhanced the human brain, identify precisely what each of them does, and search for signs of design in these mutations. There shouldn’t be too many: perhaps a couple of dozen. That’s a manageable research task: not too big and not too small.

Did these attributes all appear at once? And if not, what are the implications for human equality?

Question (3) is not addressed at any point in the ENV post. But the question is an important one, which needs to be confronted. To be sure, there is a difference between a behavioral or cognitive capacity and the manifestation of that capacity. For instance, science, as an enterprise, goes back no further than 2,500 years, and yet hunter-gatherers (whose lifestyle has remained largely unchanged for millennia) have no problem in grasping core scientific concepts: indeed, any normal human can master them. But suppose we were to find a tribe of people who proved to be utterly incapable of grasping mathematics, science, philosophy or religion, no matter how many times these subjects were explained to them. Suppose too that this tribe’s DNA revealed that it branched off from the ancestors of other modern humans at a very early date. We might reasonably conclude that some of the cognitive abilities we consider distinctively human arose after the date when the tribe’s ancestors diverged from those of other modern humans. In that case, should we view the members of the tribe as our equals, or our inferiors? If the former, why? Again, what if it turned out the Neandertals lacked some of these abilities? Does that make them inferior to Homo sapiens? If not, why not? The question is an especially pressing one for “human exceptionalists,” most of whom are fervent egalitarians who oppose any form of scientific racism. But if was Stephen Jay Gould, a scientist who campaigned tirelessly against racism and sexism, who declared: “Human equality is a contingent fact of history” (The Flamingo’s Smile, Harmony Books hardcover edition, 1985, p. 186). In his eponymous essay, Gould invites his readers to imagine what would have happened if Australopithecus robustus, which died out around one million years ago, had survived down to the present day: “It might well have survived and presented us today with all the ethical dilemmas of a human species truly and markedly inferior in intelligence (with its cranial capacity only one-third our own). Would we have built zoos, established reserves, promoted slavery, committed genocide, or perhaps even practiced kindness?”

Which hominins in the fossil record qualify as human?

Question (4) is addressed only obliquely in the ENV post. There is a quote from Science and Human Origins (Discovery Institute Press, paperback, 2012, p. 45): “Hominin fossils generally fall into one of two groups: ape-like species and human-like species, with a large, unbridged gap between them.” This, I have to say, is nonsense. Three hominins are more than enough to refute the charge: Homo naledi, Homo erectus georgicus and Homo floresiensis. On which side of the divide do each of these hominins fall, and why?

Homo floresiensis appears to have shared some anatomical similarities with Australopithecus sediba, Homo habilis and especially, Homo erectus georgicus, as well as having a brain that was no larger than a chimp’s (380 cubic centimeters), although curiously, its dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with higher cognition, is about the same size as that of modern humans, and the species appears to have made simple stone tools, similar to those used in the region one million years ago, and possibly used fire for cooking (however, this is controversial). Some scientists have even proposed that the species was capable of building bamboo rafts (which would have required the use of language), thereby enabling them to cross the 19-kilometer straits separating their island from the Indonesian mainland. Other experts, who are more skeptical, have suggested that they may have drifted across on natural rafts, instead.

As for Homo naledi, Wikipedia describes it as an “an anatomical mosaic,” remarking: “The physical characteristics of H. naledi are described as having traits similar to the genus Australopithecus, mixed with traits more characteristic of the genus Homo, and traits not known in other hominin species.” The brain size of this hominin varied from 450 to 610 cubic centimeters, which is less than half that of Homo sapiens. Nevertheless, some creationists, such as Todd Wood, consider it human, on the grounds that there is good evidence that it buried its dead (see here for a brief discussion of alternative hypotheses).

Homo erectus georgicus dating from 1.8 to 1.7 million years ago had an average brain size of just 686 cubic centimeters, which is well outside the modern human range. The only tools made by this subspecies are those belonging to the primitive (Mode I) Oldowan culture of early Homo. Wikipedia adds:

The fossil skeletons present a species primitive in its skull and upper body but with relatively advanced spine and lower limbs, implying greater mobility than the previous morphology. It is now thought not to be a separate species, but to represent a stage soon after the transition between H. habilis to H. erectus; it has been dated at 1.8 mya…

Two of the skulls — D2700, with a brain volume of 600 cubic centimetres (37 cu in), and D4500 or Dmanisi Skull 5, with a brain volume of about 546 centimetres — present the two smallest and most primitive Hominina skulls from the Pleistocene period.

If Homo erectus is to be regarded as human, then we will have to accept this subspecies of Homo erectus as human, too, despite its primitive skull and upper body.

Homo erectus?

Dr. Ann Gauger has informed me that she regards Homo erectus (who appeared 2 million years ago) as the first true human being, but on largely theological grounds: “The reason I place Adam so far back? It is the problem of ensoulment, of monogenism, and of genetics… It solves the problem of an huge initial population size, and gives pop[ulation] gen[etics] time to work… I have difficulty accepting that God would have parallel races derived from the same ancestry, and ensoul some and not others. That’s if I accept common ancestry. With a unique origin that is early, everyone is ensouled.” I sympathize strongly with Dr. Gauger’s concerns here, but this is not by any stretch of the imagination a scientific argument.

To be fair, however, Dr. Gauger does put forward some scientific arguments for the full humanity of Homo erectus. Her first argument relates to Homo erectus‘ ability to create aesthetically pleasing objects, such as the master handaxe found at Kathu Pan in South Africa, and dating back to 800,000 years ago. She cites a 2015 paper by Stout et al., arguing that Acheulean toolmaking was more difficult than it appears, imposing a host of complex cognitive control demands on the individuals who made them, including planning/simulation of future actions and mental time-travel. On the other hand, the authors of a 2016 paper by Corbey et al., titled, The acheulean handaxe: More like a bird’s song than a beatles’ tune?, argue that the form of Acheulean handaxes was at least partly under genetic rather than cultural control. Additionally, the authors contend that Acheulean handaxes “do not exhibit the kind of signal predicted by cultural evolutionary models and ethnographic data,” and that social learning of axe-making techniques would have resulted in greater copying errors than that observed in the archaeological record. Furthermore, the very slow rate of change in the design of the Acheulean handaxe is inconsistent with what we know about cultural transmission. In particular, “the greatly increased rate of technological change observed in post‐Acheulean industries” is “difficult to square” with the notion that Acheulean handaxe design was transmitted culturally. The authors propose that the design of Acheulean handaxes was shaped by genetic constraints, pointing to bird nests as examples of how complex structures may arise through a combination of innate behaviors and individual learning, without the need for cultural transmission.

Another argument mentioned by Dr. Gauger relates to Homo erectus‘ ability to use fire. There is evidence that Homo erectus was able to tame fire as far back as 1,000,000 years ago, and perhaps use it to cook meat as well. The recently reported evidence for the controlled use of fire at Wonderwerk cave in South Africa has impressed some anthropologists. Others, however, are more skeptical. Wil Roebroeks of Leiden University in the Netherlands and Paola Villa, a curator at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History in the U.S, commented as follows: “Is the Wonderwerk evidence good enough to suggest that hominins a million years ago were regular fire users all through their range? A definite ‘no’ – we do not have the evidence to back up such a claim, before 400,000 years ago.” The more recent date of 400,000 years ago means that the controlled use of fire was an innovation that may well have been due to Heidelberg man.

A further piece of evidence for cognitive sophistication on the part of Homo ergaster / erectus, touched on by Dr. Gauger, relates to this hominid’s ability to transport pieces of rock over a distance of 12-13 kilometers, compared with just tens or hundreds of meters for Australopithecus and early Homo (see here). This does indeed suggest a certain degree of foresight on the part of Homo ergaster / erectus, but it can hardly be considered definitive proof.

I should add that until a few years ago, many anthropologists believed that there were stark anatomical differences between the ape-like Australopithecus and the more human-like Homo erectus, and many of them also believed that Homo habilis should be classified as a species of Australopithecus. This view is now regarded as out-of-date. Recent papers published in 2012 – see Early Homo: Who, When, and Where (by Susan C. Antón, in Current Anthropology, Vol. 53, No. S6, “Human Biology and the Origins of Homo,” December 2012, pp. S278-S298), Origins and Evolution of Genus Homo: New Perspectives (by Susan C. Antón and J. Josh Snodgrass, in Current Anthropology, Vol. 53, No. S6, “Human Biology and the Origins of Homo,” December 2012, pp. S479-S496) and Human Biology and the Origins of Homo: An Introduction to Supplement 6 (by Leslie C. Aiello and Susan C. Antón, in Current Anthropology, Vol. 53, No. S6, “Human Biology and the Origins of Homo,” December 2012, pp. S269-S277) show that the transition from Homo habilis to early Homo ergaster / erectus was not much larger than that between Australopithecus and Homo habilis. A detailed anatomical comparison (see the article by Antón and Snodgrass, cited above) indicates that the transition from Australopithecus to early Homo, who appeared about 2.3 or 2.4 million years ago, and from early Homo to Homo ergaster / erectus, is much smoother and more gradual than what anthropologists believed it to be, ten years ago. The authors write:

The shift from Australopithecus to Homo was marked by body and brain size increases, a dietary shift,
and an increase in total daily energy expenditure. These shifts became more pronounced in H. erectus, but the transformation was not as radical as previously envisioned.

Homo heidelbergensis?

Back in 2013, over at Uncommon Descent, I wrote a lengthy post arguing the case for Heidelberg man as Adam, which would have made all his descendants (Denisovan man, Neandertal man and Homo sapiens) human as well. I don’t know any other Intelligent Design proponent or creationist who has championed this opinion. However, there are two problems with this view: first, many scientists now doubt the validity of Homo heidelbergensis as a taxon – news that was apparently greeted with glee by certain creationists. Additionally, there seems to be no clear-cut transition between Heidelberg man, his supposed ancestor, Homo erectus, and his purported descendants (Denisovan man, Neandertal man and Homo sapiens), which makes it very difficult to draw up a list of unique characteristics that distinguish Heidelberg man from his evolutionary predecessors and successors.

Homo sapiens?

Finally, there are some creationists (notably, Hugh Ross and Fazale Rana) who believe that only Homo sapiens qualifies as truly human, meaning that the Neandertals were brute beasts, lacking rational souls – a view that is difficult to square with evidence presented by Dediu and Levinson, in their paper, On the antiquity of language: the reinterpretation of Neandertal linguistic capacities and its consequences (Frontiers in Psychology, 4:397. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00397), indicating that they possessed language.

The Neandertals managed to live in hostile sub-Arctic conditions (Stewart, 2005). They controlled fire, and in addition to game, cooked and ate starchy foods of various kinds (Henry et al., 2010; Roebroeks and Villa, 2011). They almost certainly had sewn skin clothing and some kind of footgear (Sørensen, 2009). They hunted a range of large animals, probably by collective driving, and could bring down substantial game like buffalo and mammoth (Conard and Niven, 2001; Villa and Lenoir, 2009).

Neandertals buried their dead (Pettitt, 2002), with some but contested evidence for grave offerings and indications of cannibalism (Lalueza-Fox et al., 2010). Lumps of pigment — presumably used in body decoration, and recently found applied to perforated shells (Zilhao et al., 2010) — are also found in Neandertal sites. They also looked after the infirm and the sick, as shown by healed or permanent injuries (e.g., Spikins et al., 2010), and apparently used medicinal herbs (Hardy et al., 2012). They may have made huts, bone tools, and beads, but the evidence is more scattered (Klein, 2009), and seemed to live in small family groups and practice patrilocality (Lalueza-Fox et al., 2010).

Professor Nathan H. Lents, in a 2015 blog article, has also argued that Neandertal man was capable of speech, although he concedes that Homo erectus was probably incapable.

I should point out, however, that Dediu and Levinson’s 2013 paper has been critiqued by Berwick, Hauser and Tattersall, who argue in their commentary that: (i) “hominids can be smart without implying modern cognition”; (ii) “smart does not necessarily mean that Neanderthals had the competence for language or the capacity to externalize it in speech”; (iii) the earliest unambiguous evidence for symbolic communication dates from less than 100,000 years ago; and (iv) although they may have had the same FOXP2 genes as we do, “[n]either Neanderthals nor Denisovans possessed human variants of other putatively ‘language-related’ alleles such as CNTAP2, ASPM, and MCPH1.”

Recent evidence seems to bear out the authors’ skepticism about the Neandertals’ use of language. Scientists at the 2017 annual meeting of The American Society of Human Genetics discussed the significance of Neandertal genes, pointing out that “some ‘Neandertal’ genetic variants inherited by modern humans outside of Africa are not peculiarly Neandertal genes, but represent the ancestral human condition,” according to a report by Ann Gibbons in Science magazine (October 23, 2017). But there was more. New findings strongly suggest that the Neandertals would have suffered some severe speech impediments, if they spoke at all:

Other geneticists at the meeting zeroed in on archaic DNA “deserts,” where living humans have inherited no DNA from Neandertals or other archaic humans. One of these regions includes the site of the FOXP2 “language” gene. This suggests that in our ancestors, natural selection flushed out the Neandertal version of this gene. Using statistical software that evaluates gene expression based on the type of gene, Vanderbilt graduate student Laura Colbran found that Neandertal versions of the gene would have pumped out much less FOXP2 protein than expressed in modern brains. In living people, a rare mutation that causes members of a family to produce half the usual amount of FOXP2 protein also triggers severe speech defects, notes Simon Fisher, director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, who discovered the gene. Expression of FOXP2 may be key to language, Fisher says.

The upshot of all this is that unless ID proponents want to give up their belief in human equality, they would do best to bite the bullet and accept the fact that there’s something pretty unique about Homo sapiens, after all. If any human species was designed, it’s this one. I might add that if the “human-making” attributes are language and a theory of mind, these appear to have originated with our species. Art, science and religion seem to be unique to our species as well, although there is evidence that the Neandertals buried their dead.

One could perhaps argue (following Dubreuil) that morality goes back to Heidelberg man, with his capacity for self-sacrifice. But Dubreuil’s case, while impressively argued, remains speculative. And human morality without a theory of mind really does sound rather odd.

Can we identify the point in the fossil record at which human beings appear, as products of intelligent design?

Once again, the ENV post makes no attempt to address this question. However, there are already hints of an answer.

As we have seen, there are no clear-cut boundaries between Australopithecus and early Homo, between early Homo and Homo erectus, between Homo erectus and Heidelberg man, and between Heidelberg man and Neandertal man. However, there is one species whose appearance in the fossil record is relatively sudden: Homo sapiens. As Ian Tatterall and Jeffrey Schwartz put it in their article, The morphological distinctiveness of Homo sapiens and its recognition in the fossil record: Clarifying the problem (Evolutionary Anthropology, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp. 49-54):

Species are historically differentiated entities that, osteologically, may be differentiated to inconveniently varying extents. Living Homo sapiens is a distinctive morphological entity that is easily distinguished in both cranial and postcranial morphology from all other living hominoids and from the vast majority of its fossil relatives.

In his 2012 book, Masters of the Planet, paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall American Museum of Natural History argues that Homo sapiens had a highly distinctive appearance which marks him out from other hominids: “[e]ven allowing for the poor record we have of our close extinct kin, Homo sapiens appears as distinctive and unprecedented.”

I’d like to draw readers’ attention to Benoit Dubreuil’s well-argued essay, Paleolithic Public Goods Games: Why Human Culture and Cooperation Did Not Evolve in One Step (Biology and Philosophy (2010) 25:53–73, DOI 10.1007/s10539-009-9177-7). Dubreuil’s claim is that the human prefrontal cortex reached its present form about 700,000 years ago, with the appearance of Heidelberg man, whose advanced prefrontal cortex conferred on him “modern-like abilities for inhibitory control and goal maintenance.” In plain English, Heidelberg man’s advanced cortex meant that he was able to control his selfish impulse to turn tail and run from dangerous predators, and put his own life at risk in order to defend the “greater good” of the group; additionally, he was able to make long-term plans and commitments relating to his and his family’s future. These advances, Dubreuil believes, would have allowed Heidelberg man to hunt big-game (which is highly rewarding in terms of food, if successful, but is also very dangerous for the hunters, who might easily get gored by the animals they are trying to kill) and make life-long monogamous commitments (for the rearing of children whose prolonged infancy and whose large, energy-demanding brains would have made it impossible for their mothers to feed them alone, without a committed husband who would provide for the family) became features of human life. Dubreuil refers to these two activities as “cooperative feeding” and “cooperative breeding,” and describes them as “Paleolithic public good games” (PPGGs). He believes that Homo erectus lacked these abilities: while there’s good evidence that he ate a lot of meat, there’s no good evidence that he hunted large-scale game. Dubreuil thinks he was probably an active scavenger, which means that he ate meat from carcasses that other animals had killed, and confronted any creature that tried to stop him eating.

Given the strong claims made by Dubreuil on behalf of Heidelberg man, it is all the more surprising to find him readily acknowledging that the human brain did not stop evolving there: the distinctive features of Homo sapiens‘ brain enabled modern man to make further cognitive advances, relating to theory of mind, language, symbolism and art. These advances, Dubreuil believes, were triggered by developments in the temporoparietal cortex of the brain, rather than the prefrontal cortex:

One of the most distinctive features of Homo sapiens’ cranium morphology is its overall more globular structure. This globularization of Homo sapiens’ cranium occurred between 300 and 100,000 years ago and has been associated with the relative enlargement of the temporal and/or parietal lobes (Lieberman et al. 2002; Bruner et al. 2003; Bruner 2004, 2007; Lieberman 2008). Paleoneurological reconstructions are currently insufficient to identify the precise regions that benefited from globularization. It is not unreasonable, however, to link this change with a functional reorganization of the higher association areas of the temporal and parietal areas…

The temporoparietal cortex is certainly involved in many complex cognitive tasks. It plays a central role in attention shifting, perspective taking, episodic memory, and theory of mind (as mentioned in Section “The role of perspective taking”), as well as in complex categorization and semantic processing (that is where Wernicke’s area is located)…

I have argued elsewhere (Dubreuil 2008; Henshilwood and Dubreuil 2009) that a change in the attentional abilities underlying perspective taking and high-level theory of mind best explains the behavioral changes associated with modern Homo sapiens, including the evolution of symbolic and artistic components in material culture.

Finally, I’d like to close with a quote from a paper by M. Somel, X. Liu, and P. Khaitovich, titled, Human brain evolution: transcripts, metabolites and their regulators, in (2013) Nature Reviews Neuroscience 14, 112–127, (February 2013), doi: 10.1038/nrn3372. The authors write:

There is accumulating evidence that human brain development was fundamentally reshaped through several genetic events within the short time space between the human-Neandertal split and the emergence of modern humans. (Somel et al., 2013, p.119, emphases mine.)

In short: if we were going to pick a hominin species which was clearly marked off from its predecessors (and from other contemporaneous species), it would have to be Homo sapiens.

Is there a clear point in time when the act of design that made us human might have occurred? recent discoveries have pushed the origin of Homo sapiens back to at least 300,000 years ago, and we still don’t know if this was a sudden or a gradual event. On the other hand, the great leap forward in human culture seems not to have taken place until about 100,000 years ago, which is when modern human behavior emerged in South Africa. This seems to have been a relatively sudden event.

So if there was a special intervention in human history, that’s when I’d look for it. But a 100,000-year-old dawn of humanity doesn’t sit well with monogenism, as Dr. Ann Gauger is well aware. Be that as it may, the best thing for the ID movement to do right now would be to take the advice of the late Sir Anthony Flew, and “follow the evidence wherever it leads.” Amen to that.

120 thoughts on “ENV’s shockingly bad argument that humans are products of intelligent design

  1. To Summarize:

    “I want to be relevant! I am relevant! I will show them!…”

    …says phoodoo as he tries, and fails, to be relevant.

  2. If ENV has to explain which humans were the designed ones, and which are hominids are just animals, as a theistic evolutionist doesn’t VJ have to explain which hominids God talks to, and which he made for hominids pleasure? Which ones were on the ark?

  3. Here is the stupidest line in Moran’s defense of evolution, and VJ apparently buys the same schtick.

    The human and chimp genomes are 98.6% identical or 1.4% different. That difference amounts to 44.8 million base pairs distributed throughout the entire genome. If this difference is due to evolution then it means that 22.4 million mutations have become fixed in each lineage (humans and chimp) since they diverged about five million years ago.

    Look, LOOK, the number of mutations corresponds perfectly to the amount of time the two animals diverged-just as we predicted. And how do we know when they diverged? By the amount of mutations separating them!

    Hahaha, gottcha!

    Of course, Larry claims the fossil record bears this out, but this is a claim he quickly throws a rug over, because the fossil record on this is so muddy and unclear, that well, we better not look too closely there now shall we. “Well, the fossil record, its not perfect, but..believe the fossil record!”

  4. Professor Nathan H. Lents, in a 2015 blog article, has also argued that Neandertal man was capable of speech…

    This is the guy who against all evidence to the contrary continues to claim that the human eye is poorly designed.

  5. phoodoo:
    To Summarize:

    “I want to be relevant!I am relevant!I will show them!…”

    There is always a price to pay …VJ has already denied bible genealogy leading to Christ. Now he comes up with this non-sense…
    What’s next? Oh! I know…God lied…But he has already said that… So…what’s left?

  6. phoodoo:
    Here is the stupidest line in Moran’s defense of evolution, and VJ apparently buys the same schtick.

    Look, LOOK, the number of mutations corresponds perfectly to the amount of time the two animals diverged-just as we predicted.And how do we know when they diverged?By the amount of mutations separating them!

    Hahaha, gottcha!

    Of course, Larry claims the fossil record bears this out, but this is a claim he quickly throws a rug over, because the fossil record on this is so muddy and unclear, that well, we better not look too closely there now shall we.“Well, the fossil record, its not perfect, but..believe the fossil record!”

    They compare fossil to population genetic estimates ffs. How can there STILL be IDiots who don’t get this?

  7. Rumraket: They compare fossil to population genetic estimates ffs. How can there STILL be IDiots who don’t get this?

    This is How:

    https://phys.org/news/2012-08-genetic-humans-great-apes-diverged.html

    And this:

    http://theconversation.com/when-humans-split-from-the-apes-55104

    And this:
    https://www.livescience.com/3996-humans-chimps-split.html

    And this:

    http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/ancestors-humans-and-chimps-may-have-begun-diverging-13-million-years-ago/

    And this:

    https://www.livescience.com/46300-chimpanzee-evolution-dna-mutations.html

    But hey, 3 million years, 13 millions years….let’s not quibble over details huh?

    How can there STILL be evolutionists who don’t get this???

  8. phoodoo: This is How:

    https://phys.org/news/2012-08-genetic-humans-great-apes-diverged.html

    And this:

    http://theconversation.com/when-humans-split-from-the-apes-55104

    And this:
    https://www.livescience.com/3996-humans-chimps-split.html

    And this:

    http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/ancestors-humans-and-chimps-may-have-begun-diverging-13-million-years-ago/

    And this:

    https://www.livescience.com/46300-chimpanzee-evolution-dna-mutations.html

    But hey, 3 million years, 13 millions years….let’s not quibble over details huh?

    How can there STILL be evolutionists who don’t get this???

    Yeah in NONE of these do they validate a population-genetic estimate by comparing it to a population-genetic estimate.

    Your claim was essentially that the divergence estimates are guilty of circular reasoning.
    You said:
    “Look, LOOK, the number of mutations corresponds perfectly to the amount of time the two animals diverged-just as we predicted.And how do we know when they diverged? By the amount of mutations separating them!”

    So you’re saying is essentially they predicted, using mutations, when the species separated, and then when they calculate using mutations that that is indeed when they separated, then they congratulate themselves on having “confirmed” their findings.

    Sorry, this isn’t what takes place anywhere in reality and NONE, not a single one of your pop-sci articles say otherwise. In fact they confirm what I said. Molecular clocks are compared to fossil estimates.

    So now you’ve changed your idiotic tune to start blathering about the scale of the differences between different estimates, and the historical changes in the estimates owing to the invention and use of different methods. Fail.

  9. Relevant to Vincent’s post:

    I recalled a hilarious web page comparing where different creationists placed the divide between fossils that were just humans, and those that were just apes. They all were sure that there were no intermediates, but somehow seemed to place the divide differently.

    Nick Matzke pointed out where it is: a page at the Talk Origins Archive by Jim Foley, where it is part of his more extensive consideration of the evidence for human evolution.

    Here it is:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/compare.html

    Enjoy!

  10. Joe Felsenstein:
    Relevant to Vincent’s post:

    I recalled a hilarious web page comparing where different creationists placed the divide between fossils that were just humans, and those that were just apes.They all were sure that there were no intermediates, but somehow seemed to place the divide differently.

    Nick Matzke pointed out where it is: a page at the Talk Origins Archive by Jim Foley, where it is part of his more extensive consideration of the evidence for human evolution.

    Here it is:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/compare.html

    Enjoy!

    A true classic. That has been updated with later findings too: Young Earth Creationist’ assessment of the physical and spiritual status of Homo naledi fossils from South Africa.

  11. Rumraket,

    Bullshit Rumraket. You have totally been shown your ass, and now you are trying to completely obfuscate the point. It was claimed the fossil record matches the prediction of time expected by the mutation rate. Then I just showed you there are estimates of the split from humans and chimps anywhere from 3 million to 13 million years! Moran’s prehistoric knowledge guess the split was 5 million years. So he is not even half right.

    But never mind the evolutionist claim, “We didn’t really mean it when we said 3 million, we meant 5 million years. No 7, er 12, or 13 million…” You are such a pathetic sycophant materialist you will just buy any story throw out, and then just puff your chest out and say, “Oh, you don’t know what you are talking about…grunt, grunt boast boast” , pretend you can’t understand anything.

    Your opinions become more meaningless every time you post. This time it was pretty dam simple, I hate to throw anything complicated your way, you will absolutely blow a fuse.

  12. phoodoo: Bullshit Rumraket. You have totally been shown your ass, and now you are trying to completely obfuscate the point.

    Haha. You blathered nonsense and got caught. Just own up to it.

    Your own words are: “Look, LOOK, the number of mutations corresponds perfectly to the amount of time the two animals diverged-just as we predicted.And how do we know when they diverged? By the amount of mutations separating them!”

    Heck, even J-mac got your point (and he’s generally not in the business of getting anyone’s points). Yours was an accusation of circularity. His response to your supposed revelation:

    J-Mac: phoodoo,

    I can’t believe VJ fell for this circular reasoning…On the other hand….

    And you didn’t correct him.

    Everyone can see what you intended to convey, your words are clear as day. You were accusing Larry Moran of circular reasoning by saying he is using molecular clock estimates of the divergence, to validate the divergence by molecular clock.

    NONE of the articles you link to does anything remotely like that.

    It was claimed the fossil record matches the prediction of time expected by the mutation rate.

    Yes, but this is very different from what you said. Which was:

    “Look, LOOK, the number of mutations corresponds perfectly to the amount of time the two animals diverged-just as we predicted.And how do we know when they diverged? By the amount of mutations separating them!

    This is not how anyone does this kind of work. Rather, as you NOW correctly state, curiously after the fact that this has been explained to you, the fossil and molecular clock estimates are compared to see if they corroborate each other.

    But never mind the evolutionist claim, “We didn’t really mean it when we said 3 million, we meant 5 million years. No 7, er 12, or 13 million…” You are such a pathetic sycophant materialist you will just buy any story throw out, and then just puff your chest out and say, “Oh, you don’t know what you are talking about…grunt, grunt boast boast” , pretend you can’t understand anything.

    Your opinions become more meaningless every time you post. This time it was pretty dam simple, I hate to throw anything complicated your way, you will absolutely blow a fuse.

    Aww, have I made you mad again puddidoo? Want a cookie?

  13. Rumraket: Heck, even J-mac got your point (and he’s generally not in the business of getting anyone’s points). Yours was an accusation of circularity. His response to your supposed revelation:

    Of course its an accusation of circularity! What in the world makes you think I said anything else.

    Because I then showed how the time estimates COULDN’T POSSIBLY MATCH THE FOSSIL RECORD, when we don’t know when they diverged??? 3 million years ago? 13 Million years ago???

    Man, you are thick and getting thicker. Enough with the snorting pcp.

  14. phoodoo: Of course its an accusation of circularity!What in the world makes you think I said anything else.

    Because I then showed how the time estimates COULDN’T POSSIBLY MATCH THE FOSSIL RECORD, when we don’t know when they diverged??? 3 million years ago?13 Million years ago???

    Man, you are thick and getting thicker.Enough with the snorting pcp.

    Aww look at him go. Can someone clean up all that drool? It’s not my kid!

  15. VJToreley:

    It is distressing to see Intelligent Design proponents arguing for the design of the human body, without even bothering to familiarize themselves with these numbers. That’s what I call leading with your chin.

    So to your complaint about Larry’s supposed immutable logic:

    The human and chimp genomes are 98.6% identical or 1.4% different.

    The DNA genomes may be that similar, but the rna TRANSCRIPTOMES generated from the genomes are NOT identical with respect to rna transcripts related to brain function.

    What Larry says is misleading, and he fails to mention what other biochemistry text-book authors allude to in their textbooks, namely the human RNA transcriptome, which comes from a DNA genome similar to chimp, have sequence differences in the transcriptome that have significant effect because the RNA is copied from DNA but then is EDITED, it is not just merely copied.

    An example might be helpful to illustrate the point.

    Consider this mostly identical stretch of DNA in humans in Chimp call the Alu element. There are about a million copies of it in the genomes of humans and chimps. Many evolutionists think this is junkDNA because there are millions of copies (with some variation) in the human genome.

    gccgggcgcg gtggcgcgtg cctgtagtcc cagctactcg ggaggctgAG GCTGgaGGAT CGcttgAGTC CAggagttct

    gggctgtagt gcgctatgcc gatcgggtgt ccgcactaag ttcggcatca atatggtgac ctcccgggag cgggggacca

    ccaggttgcc taaggagggg tgaaccggcc caggtcggaa acggagcagg tcaaaactcc cgtgctgatc agtagtggga

    tcgcgcctgt gaatagccac tgcactccag cctgggcaac atagcgagac cccgtctct

    Let’s see what evolutionists like Franscisco Ayala have to say about this stretch of DNA found in humans and apes. Biologos proclaims him as: “Dr. Francisco Ayala is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists. He came to the United States to study under the legendary Theodosius Dobzhansky, only to go on from there to become legendary himself.”

    If he’s one of the best, then evolutionary theory is in trouble because he continues to make unbelievable gaffe based on the standard evolutionary talking points. He dismissively said in 2010 of that Alu DNA stretch I just “quoted” from our genome:

    http://biologos.org/blogs/archive/on-reading-the-cells-signature/

    There are also lots and lots of DNA sequences that are nonsensical. For example, there are about one million virtually identical Alu sequences that are each three-hundred letters (nucleotides) long and are spread throughout the human genome. Think about it: there are in the human genome about twenty-five thousand genes, but one million interspersed Alu sequences; forty times more Alu sequences than genes. It is as if the editor of Signature of the Cell would have inserted between every two pages of Meyer’s book, forty additional pages, each containing the same three hundred letters. Likely, Meyer would not think of his editor as being “intelligent.” Would a function ever be found for these one million nearly identical Alu sequences? It seems most unlikely. In fact, we know how these sequences come about: one new Alu sequence appears in the genome for every ten newborns, generation after generation. The Designer at work? Unlikely: many of these sequences damage the genome causing abortion of the fetus during the early weeks of life.

    It is the misplaced Alus that are deadly, not the ones that are properly placed. If Ayala thought a little more on it, addition of Alu’s in the wrong place shows how important they actually are!

    And so what have we actually learned and continue to learn about that seemly junk stretch of DNA above. It is used differently in Humans than in Chimps!

    I argued over Alu’s here at TSZ. You actually might see some of what I”ve been saying about Alu’s appear later in some ID literature because I was recruited to report on them for some of those in the ID community.

    So what does one of Larry’s rival biochem textbook authors say about Alus?

    From Lehninger Principels of Biochemistry sixth edition (as in like the last few years):

    The ADAR-promoted A-to-I editing is particularly common in transcripts derived from the genes of primates. Perhaps 90% or more of the editing occurs in Alu elements, a subset of the eukaryotic transposons called short interspersed elements (SINEs), that are particularly common in mammalian genomes. There are over a million of the 300 bp Alu elements in human DNA, making up about 10% of the genome. These are concentrated near protein-encoding genes, often appearing in introns and untranslated regions at the 39 and 59 ends of transcripts. When it is first synthesized (prior to processing), the average human mRNA includes 10 to 20 Alu elements. The ADAR enzymes bind to and promote A-to-I editing only in duplex regions of RNA. The abundant Alu elements offer many opportunities for intramolecular base pairing within the transcripts, providing the duplex targets required by the ADARs. Some of the editing affects the coding sequences of genes. Defects in ADAR function have been associated with a variety of human neurological conditions, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, and major depression.

    The genomes of all vertebrates are replete with SINEs, but many different types of SINES are present in most of these organisms. The Alu elements predominate only in the primates. Careful screening of genes and transcripts indicates that A-to-I editing is 30 to 40 times more prevalent in humans than in mice, largely due to the presence of many Alu elements. Large-scale A-to-I editing and an increased level of alternative splicing (see Fig. 26–21) are two features that set primate genomes apart from those of other mammals. It is not yet clear whether these reactions are incidental or whether they played key roles in the evolution of primates and, ultimately, humans.

    Nelson, David L.; Cox, Michael M.. Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry (Page 1113). W.H. Freeman. Kindle Edition.

    In one of my discussions at TSZ, I came across this gem:

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/some-evidence-alus-and-sines-arent-junk-and-garbologists-are-wrong/

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20566853

    Binary use of A or I in millions of sites in the neural cell transcriptome can be considered equivalent to the 0’s and 1’s used for information storage and processing by computers. It is tempting to speculate that the more abundant RNA editing found in the human brain may contribute to the more advanced human capabilities such as memory, learning, and cognition. This suggestion is consistent with the hypothesis that the advantage of complex organisms lies in the development of a digital programming system based on noncoding RNA signaling (46, 56). The combinatorial posttranscriptional RNA editing of noncoding sequences may therefore contribute to higher brain functions

    So take that Francisco Ayala.

  16. stcordova:It is tempting to speculate that the more abundant RNA editing found in the human brain may contribute to the more advanced human capabilities such as memory, learning, and cognition.

    Yeah you got him Sal. ROFL.

  17. Rumraket:

    Yeah you got him Sal. ROFL.

    From the biochemistry textbook I quoted:

    When it is first synthesized (prior to processing), the average human mRNA includes 10 to 20 Alu elements. The ADAR enzymes bind to and promote A-to-I editing only in duplex regions of RNA.

    You want to bet against that being significant? I’ll buy you a beer and serve it to a monkey in your honor if I’m proven wrong.

  18. stcordova: I’ll buy you a beer and feed it to a monkey in your honor if I’m proven wrong.

    Haha, at least you are not hiding your motives. Why are you so appalled by the idea of being related to chimpanzees, at tens of thousands of generations separation? It is really bizarre and frankly a little childish. And could you please not try to change the subject from DNA sequence similarity to something else?

  19. stcordova: From the biochemistry textbook I quoted:

    You want to bet against that being insignificant? I’ll buy you a beer and feed it to a monkey in your honor if I’m proven wrong.

    Being significant? What does that even mean? The fact that they are posttranscriptionally edited by ADAR1 doesn’t mean those ALU’s are necessary for organismal function. It could just as well indicate a suppressing activity of some sort.

    In fact, reading some of the articles citing the one you link I found this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4542304/#.

    However, only 0.4% of human A-to-I editing occurs within protein-coding sequences (Peng et al., 2012); the vast majority of known A-to-I-editing sites, now estimated at over 100 million in the human genome (Bazak et al., 2013), have been found in RNA duplex-forming pairs of Alu elements embedded in inverted orientations near each other in introns and 3′ UTR regions of transcripts.

    Editing of cellular dsRNA leads to formation of I-U wobble base pairs that cause bending and alter the properties of the dsRNA helix; multiple sequential I-U base pairs and high levels of promiscuous editing destabilize dsRNA. Editing of endogenous RNA duplexes may lower the risk that they aberrantly induce innate immune responses. The constitutive ADARp110 isoform is a shuttling protein that accumulates mainly in the nucleus and edits dsRNA before nuclear export (Desterro et al., 2003). The N-terminally extended ADARp150 isoform, expressed from a late IFN-inducible promoter, is predominantly cytoplasmic and has been shown to edit viral RNAs (Samuel, 2011). Transfected dsRNA oligonucleotides containing inosine-uracil (I:U) base pairs have been shown to bind to RLRs competitively with poly I:C and to suppress activation of innate immune responses (Vitali and Scadden, 2010).

    We reveal that loss of ADAR1 RNA-editing activity and the resulting loss of inosine bases in RNA are critical in producing aberrant RLR-mediated innate immune responses in Adar1 mutant mice and cultured mouse cells. We characterize the immune response-blocking actions of human ADAR1 protein in Adar1 mutant mouse cells and show that most AGS-associated ADAR1 mutant proteins have impaired RNA-editing activity.

    So in essence, this data could just as well indicate that the high level of A-ot-I editing of dsRNA ALU containing elements is to prevent the innate antiviral immune response from activating and destroying functional RNAs, whether they happen to contain ALU elements or not.

    You’re engaing in the ENCODE fallacy of molecular biology: “That it’s “active” means it’s functional.”

    But no, it doesn’t actually mean that.

  20. phoodoo:
    To Summarize:

    “I want to be relevant!I am relevant!I will show them!…”

    Somehow when vjtorley made a post arguing that a literal Adam and Eve was still possible, you didn’t feel the need to accuse him that he’s just begging for attention.

    Have you spent any time thinking about why you behave differently in these two threads?

  21. phoodoo,

    The current range of estimates for the human-chimp split is not 3 to 13 million years ago. It’s about 7 to 12 million years ago. See my article, How ENV muddies the waters on the evidence for human evolution. I concluded:

    To sum up: the last common ancestor of humans and chimps may have already been found. But if the human-chimp split occurred 8 or 9 million years ago, the existence of possible hominin fossils from 7.2 million years ago is definitely a hopeful sign.

    I would be very impressed if you could answer the five questions at the beginning of my post:

    (1) What exactly are human beings?
    (2) Which physical and mental attributes of human beings can we confidently say were designed?
    (3) Did these attributes all appear at once? And if not, what are the implications for human equality?
    (4) Which hominins in the fossil record qualify as human?
    (5) Can we identify the point in the fossil record at which human beings appear, as products of intelligent design? If not, why not?

    Care to have a go?

  22. vjtorley: The current range of estimates for the human-chimp split is not 3 to 13 million years ago. It’s about 7 to 12 million years ago.

    Gee, no kidding, the CURRENT range is from 7 to 12 million years ago. So only a 5 million year margin of error. What about when it was thought to be 3 million years ago, did the mutation numbers match then too? So if its 3 million or if its 12 million, we still have exactly the right number of mutations for that, huh? And our mutations estimate match the fossil record perfectly huh?

    Give me a break.

    So how’s about you answering my question first. If you believe in a personal relationship between God and man, and you also believe in unguided evolution, which hominid form did God beginning having a personal relationship with? Does he have the same unique relationship with apes as well? What about fish?

    How about you start first, since I asked first, and you are the one that brought up the topic.

  23. vjtorley,

    And BTW, this article says 13 Million years ago, 13, NOT 12! But what’s numbers when you are just taking wild guesses right?

    I thought we were using the fossil record to determine this. Did the fossil record just change by a million years? Maybe we better wait until tomorrow, it might be 15 million then. Or 2, whatever.

    http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/ancestors-humans-and-chimps-may-have-begun-diverging-13-million-years-ago/

  24. phoodoo:
    vjtorley,

    And BTW, this article says 13 Million years ago, 13, NOT 12! But what’s numbers when you are just taking wild guesses right?

    I thought we were using the fossil record to determine this.Did the fossil record just change by a million years?Maybe we better wait until tomorrow, it might be 15 million then. Or 2, whatever.

    http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/ancestors-humans-and-chimps-may-have-begun-diverging-13-million-years-ago/

    Did you even read that article? It also says the data is compatible with a scenario in which a very large population was generating a lot of diversity well before the actual split took place.

  25. Corneel:

    Why are you so appalled by the idea of being related to chimpanzees,

    Well, at least one reason is they bite each other’s testicles off when they get mad at each other. That sounds kind of painful if you know what I mean.

  26. vjtorley,
    Can I play?

    (1) What exactly are human beings?”

    Us.

    (2) Which physical and mental attributes of human beings can we confidently say were designed?”

    None.

    (3) Did these attributes all appear at once? And if not, what are the implications for human equality?”

    Don’t know. But human equality is not a biological truth. It is a societal goal.

    (4) Which hominins in the fossil record qualify as human?”

    Don’t know.

    (5) Can we identify the point in the fossil record at which human beings appear, as products of intelligent design? If not, why not?”

    Never happened so this is a pointless question.

    If we had a representative example from every generation from our worm-like ancestor to today, there is no point at which we could say ‘species B starts here’, or ‘this is where modern humans start’.

  27. vjtorley,

    Hi VJT
    A few comments about your analysis. After reading Musgrave’s paper he is not calculating from any mathematical prediction but from an after the fact observation. So his numbers should be somewhat reliable but it does nothing to validate whether random mutation selection or neutral mutations could create the 240 new beneficial genes that he is observing.

    The same is true for Larry’s analysis. He is looking after the fact and seeing if the number of mutations make sense based on time of divergence and a reasonable molecular clock along with an estimated date of divergence.

    What is not taken into account is the number of mutations that can become fixed in the population based on Michael Lynches models. This is what the ENV argument is based on.

  28. stcordova: He was sterilized by a bite to his testicles in the process.

    Hahaha, this little incident proves that chimps “bite each other’s testicles off when they get mad at each other.”?

    But seriously, how about those sweet bonobo’s?

    Aggressive encounters between males and females are rare, and males are tolerant of infants and juveniles. A male derives his status from the status of his mother.[38] The mother–son bond often stays strong and continues throughout life. While social hierarchies do exist, and although the son of a high ranking female may outrank a lower female, rank plays a less prominent role than in other primate societies.[39]

    C’mon, don’t tell me you don’t want to be related to them.

  29. C’mon, don’t tell me you don’t want to be related to them.

    Awh shucks, sniff. They do seem like sweeties.

    But, actually before I became a creationist, I actually thought our evolution from lower primates was cool because I saw the steps too it in the video “The Dawn of Man”:

    https://youtu.be/U2iiPpcwfCA

  30. phoodoo,

    If you believe in a personal relationship between God and man, and you also believe in unguided evolution, which hominid form did God beginning having a personal relationship with? Does he have the same unique relationship with apes as well? What about fish?

    In answer to your first question: I don’t believe evolution is entirely unguided. Some of it is guided, but I wouldn’t claim to know how much. I presume your question was meant to read, “…which hominid form did God begin to have a personal relationship with?” My answer would be Homo sapiens (probably), although there’s an outside chance that He may have had such a relationship with Heidelberg man, the common ancestor of modern man, Neandertals and Denisovans. The answer to your second and third questions is no.

    Now, kindly answer my questions.

  31. phoodoo,

    Rumraket is quite right. Here’s what the article you cite says:

    The researchers found that humans and chimpanzees share very similar mutation rates and from this data the team were then able to calculate divergence rates. “Our results indicate that human and chimp ancestors’ genomes would diverge by about 0.1 percent every million years, so when we see a divergence of 1.2 percent, we infer that it must have been about 12 million years – 13 million years is our actual estimate,” McVean told Live Science.

    However, as paleoanthropologist John Hawks pointed out, this estimate is only the average time for divergence and it is therefore still possible for the split to have occurred around 7 million years ago if the ancestral population was very large. This is because a large population would provide ample opportunity for the gene pool to begin diversifying well in advance of the actual split.

    The difference between 7 million and 12 or 13 million is less than a two-fold difference. I can live with that. I’m reminded of the uncertainty regarding the age of the universe when I was a child: was it 10 billion or 20 billion years old? In the end, scientists narrowed down the uncertainties and came up with a more precise figure: 13.8 billion years. Let’s see what the next 20 years turns up, in the field of anthropology.

  32. vjtorley,

    And Larry Moran, who you referenced says it was 5 million years ago (and we used to believe it was 3 million!). So does the data also fit with 5 million? So if the data fits with 5 million, and also with 7 million, and also with 13 million, what use is the data? When the divergence was thought to be 3 million, did evolutionists believe in ID, because surely in 3 million years, there isn’t enough time to have the same rates of mutation as there is in 13 million years right? So which is right? FURTHERMORE, how can you claim the fossil record supports this, when its not the fossil record which is changing the estimates, its the number of mutations counted?

    So that would make the claim be bullshit. The data can’t possibly be compatible with both 5 million years AND 13 million years which is the latest guess. That’s just pointless data. AND it can’t be compatible with a fossil record because the fossil record hasn’t changed from 3 million to 13 million just because the estimates did. Are we supposed to just glare over this wild lack of accuracy?

  33. vjtorley:
    phoodoo,

    In answer to your first question: I don’t believe evolution is entirely unguided. Some of it is guided, but I wouldn’t claim to know how much. I presume your question was meant to read, “…which hominid form did God begin to have a personal relationship with?” My answer would be Homo sapiens (probably), although there’s an outside chance that He may have had such a relationship with Heidelberg man, the common ancestor of modern man, Neandertals and Denisovans. The answer to your second and third questions is no.

    Now, kindly answer my questions.

    If this is what you consider reasonable answers to those questions, then I can understand why you feel 3 million to 13 million is good enough.

    So in answer to your questions:

    Well, not sure, could be, I guess. Maybe not. I believe some may be designed, some not…

    In answer to your other questions, probably, but not for sure.

  34. “The human and chimp genomes are 98.6% identical or 1.4% different. That difference amounts to 44.8 million base pairs distributed throughout the entire genome. If this difference is due to evolution then it means that 22.4 million mutations have become fixed in each lineage (humans and chimp) since they diverged about five million years ago.

    Lol
    Really?

    How come more than 6 % of genes found in humans simply aren’t found in any form in chimpanzees? How come there are almost 1500 novel genes expressed in humans but not in chimps?

    I think those were the miraculous gene insertions Harshman has been talking about… 😉

    Or… alternatively someone has to go back to elementary school to learn again how to do basic math… lol

  35. J-Mac: How come more than 6 % of genes found in humans simply aren’t found in any form in chimpanzees

    Complete nonsense. Most of the “different genes” are simply duplicated genes–apparently evolved for somewhat different functions–and/or the result of genes lost in either lineage.

    From what idiotic creationist source did you get your claptrap?

    Glen Davidson

  36. phoodoo: So in answer to your questions:

    Well, not sure, could be, I guess. Maybe not. I believe some may be designed, some not…

    In answer to your other questions, probably, but not for sure.

    A perfect summation of ID Theory, kudos phoodos

  37. Hmmm. why always thew ENV fails threads??
    Anyways.
    There is no evidence of humans in the fossil record other then humans. No intermediates and all the , TRIVIAL, bone bits are just a diversity of primates.
    by the way remember its based on deposition of the sediment the fossils are in. THIS ITSELF incompetent.
    Besides that it means fossils are not biological evidence for evolution. why do evolutionists say they are?
    Science please. PLEASE>

    We do just have a copy of a primate because we can’t have our own body because we are made in gods image.
    SO in a closed bilogical blueprint its impossible for us not simply to have the best bodyplan for fun and profit.
    SO that means we uniquely , repeat uniquely, are the only being that has a bodyplan identical to other being. nO other creatures are like this.
    THATS the evidence we are designed by a creator.

    Another thing in skeletons is the facxt our women, uniquly, have pain at birthing. This because of a difference in our womens anatomy relative to primates and the rest./
    This can be seen and so fossil hominids , on this point alone, are dismissed as not be related to us.

  38. phoodoo: If this is what you consider reasonable answers to those questions, then I can understand why you feel 3 million to 13 million is good enough.

    We do know it was a Wednesday at 3:30 pm, if that makes a difference.

  39. newton: A perfect summation of ID Theory

    We don’t know what happened or how it happened or what the details are or if it’s even possible must less probable but we know it wasn’t God because that would be unthinkable. And don’t bother to ask for details because we already said we have none.

    A perfect summation of evo-bs theory.

  40. GlenDavidson: Most of the “different genes” are simply duplicated genes–apparently evolved for somewhat different functions–and/or the result of genes lost in either lineage.

    From what idiotic creationist source did you get your claptrap?

    From what idiotic evolutionist source did you get your claptrap?

    And I love how you result to teleological language. Duplicated genes that evolved for somewhat different functions. Are you even aware of that fact that you are closet Creationist?

    Genes lost in chimps so that they would not resemble humans. Just brilliant. Genes lost in chimps because they weren’t as useful to chimps as they are to humans. Just brilliant. Genes lost in chimps because that’s just what happens in evolution. Just brilliant.

    Do you have any evidence at all for your claims? A list of genes in other primates that are shared by humans by not by chimps maybe? A list of genes shared by all other primates except humans but no found in humans? A list of genes found in humans but no other primate?

    Evolutionary thinking rots your brain.

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