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Internet Discussions

By Les Sherlock


Some time ago, before this web site was launched, I decided it was time to test my understanding of the evolution/creation debate by joining an Internet forum that was predominantly evolutionist. It is one thing to discuss these matters with friends who are largely sympathetic to one’s argument, but quite another to do so with a hostile audience. By this means I would discover if there were any weak points or inaccurate understanding in the case I had come to accept as truth.

The ideal opportunity arose when such a forum was created following a television broadcast on the subject, and after spending a few days looking at the debate and seeing the postings were almost entirely from evolutionists, I took a deep breath and plunged in.

I knew what to expect, having seen the kind of discussions that appear on the Internet: it seems to be almost impossible for most evolutionists, and, sad to say, some creationists, to engage in discussion without hurling offensive insults at each other. So I fully expected to be met with this kind of response and I was not disappointed. Even so, the intensity of deeply offensive language and constant insults used against me did take me by surprise, and after making a few postings I decided there was little point in subjecting myself to such treatment and so told them I was not going to continue any longer.

However, something surprising started to happen. Some of the contributors were clearly highly educated and at least up to University level in their understanding of the subject. But I found that after reading their latest submissions, during the course of the next day or so replies began to form in my mind exposing the errors in them. So, rather against my will, I would post these replies, intending each time for this to be the last one.

This continued for about two months, until suddenly, without warning, the entire thread disappeared from the web site. The owners of the site had clearly decided to call a halt to the whole thing and simply removed it from their site. Whether this was because of the virulent insults I had been receiving contrary to their rules for the site; because they saw the evolutionists were getting the worst of the argument; or for some other reason, I will never know. I did have a look at one or two other threads on the site and found some of the contributors to the one in which I had been engaging remarking on the sudden disappearance of the thread with some puzzlement. I was tempted to join in again, but there seemed little point. They were adamantly committed to their viewpoint, and I had achieved the answer I had been looking for: evolutionists clearly had no way to counter the main argument I was using.

Had I realised the thread was going to be removed I would have kept a copy of all the replies on my computer. As it was, after my first few postings I decided to write my responses in a file on my computer, so I could spend plenty of time on them before posting them. So I do still have a copy of most of these. In addition, I did copy and paste some of the postings of my ‘opponents’, in order to have their exact words available to me while drawing up my response.

What follows, therefore, is my copy of these submissions: mostly my later postings along with the few responses I copied, with some explanatory comments in between to try to explain what had gone on in the debate. Bear in mind that it is quite some time since the event, and I have tried as best I can to fill in the gaps by memory.

I decided that I would concentrate on what I believe is the strongest argument against the Darwinian theory of evolution: namely the impossibility of random mutation creating the amount of change required to produce modern man and chimps from a common ancestor. This is discussed in detail in the challenge. So in my early postings I pointed this out and challenged them to give me an explanation that could stand up to logical scrutiny.

At first, one or two of my opponents tried to argue that mutation was not random; but, of course, others, who were better versed in the facts of biology, put them right and accepted my case that it is definitely a random event. However, one of them took exception to my using the word ‘mistake’ when referring to mutation. My reply to him * was as follows:

Since you do not like the word ‘mistake’ I will use your own description ‘inaccuracy’ (as you have already said the copying of DNA is not 100% accurate). Unfortunately for your theory, as can be seen from the British Science Museum web site I quoted previously, there is absolutely nothing to distinguish between the comparatively tiny number of nucleotides that would produce a beneficial mutation and the vast majority of those that would produce a damaging mutation in the event of a copying inaccuracy. This difference can only be seen after the copying event has taken place, when the mutated nucleotide is utilised.

* Everyone on the forum used a pseudonym, so I do not know  who was male or female. But rather than clutter up this page with ‘him or her’ I am simply referring to ‘him’.

Your claim that the presence of some chemical or other condition will direct the mutation more readily to the ‘correct’ nucleotides than ‘incorrect’ ones makes no difference to your problem: you still need a means of selecting the correct nucleotides, for them to be located in the right conditions for mutation to take place on them rather than on the ‘wrong ones.’

Therefore, the only way to enable microbes-to-man evolution to take place would either be by intelligent intervention, or random activity. You will obviously discount intelligent intervention. So you are left with random activity, which I proved previously has such heavy odds against it the universe is not old enough even for a small part of the microbes-to-man evolutionary process to take place. To put the odds in a form more easily understood: to produce modern man and apes from a common ancestor would be the equivalent of throwing about 387 consecutive sixes with a completely random movement and a perfectly unbiased dice. To show how difficult this is, if you took 387 dice and threw them simultaneously every second, and produced a different combination every time, it would take about 4 x 10^293 (4 followed by 293 noughts) years to try every one. A major obstacle to achieve only once, but it has to be repeated 31,666 times! It is absolutely, totally and unequivocally impossible. *

Later, after many postings, which were largely a case of me being the only creationist responding to a number of atheistic evolutionists, I gave a kind of tongue-in-cheek summary of their arguments.

* These figures assume just 1% difference between man and ape, with generation lengths of 12 years over 3.8 million years and a mutation on average every ten generations. Since human DNA contains 3,164,700,000 (just over 3 billion) base pairs, this results in approximately 31,666 transitional species, each requiring 500 base pairs to mutate accurately. One ‘accurate’ mutation of 500 base pairs (i.e. every base pair is changed as a perfect step towards man or ape) is the equivalent of throwing 387 consecutive sixes.

* Of course the difference is much greater than this, but I was giving them the benefit of the doubt to prove that even with their impossibly low estimate of the difference, there was still no way of bringing it about. Here you will read this: According to the Genome Size Database (http://www.genomesize.com), the human genome size (reported as "C-value", a unit of weight that is [theoretically] directly proportional to genome size) is 3.2. Chimp C-values have been recorded as 3.46, 3.63, 3.76, and 3.85. They all indicate the human genome is smaller (8–17%).

** My ‘opponents’ realised very quickly that with the huge amount of change necessary it would be impossible to achieve it with a series of mutations, so they tried to solve this huge problem with the idea that lots of different mutations would be taking place at the same time. As I continued to point out, it would be impossible for all these simultaneous mutations to be brought together into the same individual in order for modern man to emerge from a single woman, as evolutionists claim. However, in Dawkins’ latest book, ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’, he makes it very clear that evolution did indeed take place as a series of mutations, by his illustration of travelling back along a line of rabbits and eventually reaching shrew-like creatures; then travelling forwards along a different line and reaching leopards.

* See here for details. These two opposite theories, both held by qualified scientists who are evolutionists, cancel each other out and prove conclusively there is no naturalistic theory of the origins of the universe that is without serious evidence it could not have happened that way

You are obviously very clever people: you have to be clever to be able to prove that 1 + 1 = 3, black = white and up = down. So we have a massive series of random events that are not random; billions of inaccuracies that are not inaccurate; innumerable transitional forms that have come and gone without trace; vast numbers of irreducibly complex systems that are not irreducibly complex (the evolutionary answer to the flagellum is laughable – the claim it was not formed in one single mutation but in two mutations does nothing to solve your problem); a 1-2% difference between apes and man * which you claim proves our common ancestry, while you cannot give any logical scenario (i.e. suggest the number of transitional steps) in which such a huge change could emerge; primordial soup that appeared and disappeared without leaving any trace of its existence in the geological record; and millions of people whose word you would accept on any other subject, but if they dare to say they have an experience of God they are either lying or deranged.

If we had a time machine and travelled backwards, according to your theory we should be able to trace all the transitional steps from man right back to the first living cell: but you claim this is not a series of mutations! **

There are many people gazing into space and hoping to hear amongst all the random noise some discernable pattern (e.g. sounds in the pattern of a series of prime numbers), because you know such a pattern could only result from intelligent design and would prove the existence of life out there. At the same time you see the far more complex series of intelligent data in the DNA of the simplest living cell and believe it came about as the result of the random movement and assembly of molecules in the primordial soup.

It also avoided the problem that “if a protein chain or DNA ladder started to form, it would inevitably link with chemical units like aldehides that act to terminate the chain, sealing the chain’s end and shutting down growth. Growing molecular chains would have to fight terrible odds to avoid such terminator reactions with chemicals swimming in any prebiotic soup” (‘Darwin Strikes Back’ by Thomas Woodward, p. 116). Oh, but I must remember: there is this magical process that changes random events into events that are not random. So this process changes the random movement of molecules into something that can avoid impossible odds and produces the first living cell; it changes the random inaccuracy in the copying of DNA that creates mutational evolutionary steps into something that can avoid the impossible odds of it happening; but it can’t change the random sounds from outer space into anything recognisable. Why do I get the feeling you evolutionists are making this up as you go along?

But then, we have already seen that with the big bang theory. Someone comes up with the bright idea to avoid the possibility of a Creator and all the evolutionists jump on the big bang band wagon. Then as more and more evidence emerges to disprove it, instead of ‘going back to the drawing board’ they keep bolting on more and more excuses to protect their precious theory. So now we have the spectacle of evolutionary scientists telling us the evidence proves the big bang theory to be false, * and other evolutionary scientists telling us the evidence proves that it is true!  Likewise with the origin of species: as more and more evidence emerges showing it to be impossible, you invent more and more ‘add-ons’ to try to protect it.

However, it is starting to unravel; as in the case of Dean Kenyon, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University, who in 1969 co-authored the pro-evolution book ‘Biochemical Predestination’. Years later, as a result of a question from one of his students, he looked again into the scientific facts, changed tack and now accepts that Intelligent Design is the only way life as we know it could have appeared. So contrary to your claim about mass hysteria, etc., here is a case of a convinced evolutionist, with a knowledge of biology most likely no less than anyone contributing to this forum, who abandoned his evolutionary beliefs purely on the basis of cold scientific fact.

It is obviously impossible for me to answer all of your points, as I am so outnumbered on this forum, so the above will have to suffice. However, I will respond to one other of the postings, since it is so obviously wrong.

I don’t believe others. *

Once again, as is your wont, you jump to wrong conclusions. Unlike you I do not deny the fact of anyone’s experience (bearing in mind that in a few cases lying and mental aberration will be a factor; but when an experience is shared by many different people under many different circumstances this is most unlikely to be the case), regardless of whether they agree with me or not. That would be both arrogant, and proof that I was wrong since any theory that can only survive by denying the observations of others (particularly when they are repeated over and over again by many people from every country in the world) must therefore be flawed (and to quote a recent speaker on Radio Four, “Observation outranks theory”). I am very likely to dispute the cause, reason for and/or explanation of why the event happened, but contrary to you I would not try to pretend nothing happened. So in the case of your theory, for example, I do not deny provable scientific observation, but I certainly dispute your explanation of it.

* If memory serves me aright, in one of the posting for which I do not have a copy, I had mentioned the many people who talked about their experience of God as valid evidence for His existence. After all, if only one person claimed such a thing then he could simply be deranged; but if many millions did so, then this is a very different thing. In response they challenged me that I did not believe the experience of millions of people who adhered to a radically different faith from my own: e.g. Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.

There is one other way in which you have recently been proved wrong. Just last week the national press declared that researchers have now found that in part of the DNA, previously thought of as junk, has been found coding that controls RNA. So what you were writing off as useless, just as I predicted, has been proved to have a function after all. As in the case of the blunder over vestigial organs,* a blunder entirely due to evolutionary thinking, we will see more and more announcements over the coming years that the function of other parts of ‘junk DNA’ has been discovered. Of course, as with the small number of provable ‘vestigial’ organs, there is likely to be a small part that now has little or no function, thus proving the creationists’ point that when mutation takes place on DNA relating to the physical form, it will never create new organs, but will always diminish, and eventually destroy (as in the case of snakes legs, for example) the function of existing ones.

* Around 100 years ago evolutionists claimed that over 100 human organs were vestigial: i.e. they have no use now but are left-over relics from our evolutionary past when they were required. It is now known they do have use, and even such features as ‘goose-bumps’ that evolutionists still claim as vestigial clearly do have a function: in this case they raise the few hairs we possess on our skin and help to preserve heat.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been so sarcastic in my response: but after a large number of insults I felt it was justified. After more postings, yet again I brought them back to my original challenge.

Over the past few weeks, contributors to this forum have been calling me names, sneering at my intelligence, nit-picking at my occasional poor use of language, etc. But the one thing you have all consistently failed to do is to answer my question: the question I first asked back in December.

How many transitional stages did it take to produce the 1-2% difference we now see between man and apes, from a common ancestor?

You have tried to side step it by claiming that evolution is not a series of mutational stages. Unfortunately you forgot to tell that to your hero, Richard Dawkins, because his illustration of ‘methinks it is like a weasel’ is exactly that – a series of mutational stages. * So I am asking you to apply his illustration to real life and tell me how many steps it took to produce what we see today.

* Dawkins produced a simple computer programme to generate letters randomly and preserve ‘correct’ ones, in order to see how long it would take for this phrase to appear. Of course, this is nothing like reality, since intelligence had to be built into the programme in order for it to work, and he was trying to prove DNA information could increase in size and complexity without intelligent intervention.

* Snorkel Duck was the pseudonym of one of the most vociferous contributors to the forum, who in spite of his many attacks on me never once succeeded in producing a viable answer to my question.

You have also tried to side step it by calling it a straw man. Then give me a logical explanation why it is a straw man! This is your theory. You are the ones claiming that the 1-2% difference proves man and apes had a common ancestor. So explain why my question on how that difference came about is not valid.

You have also tried to side step it by claiming my maths is faulty (although Snorkel Duck * accepted that my calculations were correct). If they are faulty, then prove it: show me the correct ones.

I believe you have not answered the question because you cannot. You know that the enormous amount of change required will always result in either too many transitional stages to be possible, or mutations too large to be able to appear and be passed on to the next generation. But if you cannot give a logical answer, then by definition you admit that evolution is impossible: if the comparatively small change from a common ancestor to apes and man cannot be explained, then the much greater change to produce all living things certainly cannot.

So I am calling your bluff. Stop avoiding the issue and answer the question. Your failure to do so will be evidence to anyone seeing this forum that the most basic aspect of the theory of evolution is proved to be false.

How many transitional stages did it take to produce the 1-2% difference we now see between man and apes, from a common ancestor?

A later submission from me was in response to a number of challenges in postings on the forum. In this case I do have the actual words they used, which appear here in blue. Unfortunately I do not have a copy of their submissions in full: I only copied the part of their postings to which I was going to reply. I should point out that these postings were mostly from one of the rare contributors who wrote in a courteous manner.

An intelligent design process therefore is one in which a prototype undergoes successive, mostly incremental but occasionally radical, modifications. If the new prototype is successful, its features are retained. If they are not, it is rejected.

Now that really is a straw man. It assumes there can be no greater intelligence than that seen in humans; so since we need trial and error to produce the best designs, then if a Creator existed, so would He. Nonsense! Our Creator’s intelligence and knowledge is as far beyond ours as ours is beyond an amoeba’s, and was quite capable of getting it right first time! (Note that when I use the term ‘Straw man,’ unlike the other contributors to this forum I do not do so as a means of avoiding the question, but explain why I use it!)

This, of course, describes the process of Natural Selection. The answer to the question is that the level of intelligence required by a designer is exactly what Natural Selection and Darwinian evolution provide, with DNA as the blueprint for design *

* Of course, this argument is rather like someone trying to pull themselves up off the ground by their own boot laces. DNA is being changed randomly by mutation, yet DNA is supposed to be the blueprint for the design of its own ever-increasing specified complexity. So, somehow a simpler form of DNA is supposed to be the blueprint for a more complex form of itself. It is self-evident that DNA in not the blueprint for evolution, but for the design of the life-form it creates and controls.

* The Intelligent Design Movement is a mixed bag of people, including some creationists, but with many of them still believing in Darwinian evolution. However they are united by the argument that the complexity of DNA demonstrates intelligent design, since it is impossible for it to have arisen by any kind of random event. They mostly avoid the next step of identifying the source of the intelligent design clearly seen in DNA.

You really do have to distinguish between natural selection and mutation. The former cannot ‘create’ anything, but can only preserve what is already there. The latter is a random error, which creates damage to existing features.

If DNA is the blueprint for the design, where did the information come from that is contained in the DNA? It requires intelligence to produce a blueprint for a design.

Please define "intelligent" in this context. Thanks

Reasoning; thinking; knowledgeable. My definition would be ‘God,’ as He is revealed in the Bible. Some in the ID Movement * would give a different answer: it is one thing to accept that an outside intelligent force is essential to create what we see around us today and quite another to identify that intelligent force. There is little doubt in my mind, for example, that if Sir Fred Hoyle were still alive, his answer would be ‘the Intelligent Universe.’

secondly, natural selection is far from undirected. it is clearly directed by the environmental factors

But according to you atheists, the environmental factors are undirected.

I'm afraid I really don't see what your problem here is. Concestor one is approximately 3,000,000 years ago, and assuming one generation every 20 years that would give 150,000 "transitional stages". Please could you elaborate on what you believe is a problem for ToE here, as you are, frankly, baffling me.

OK. There are some serious problems with this.

1 The theory of evolution is that amongst all the damaging mutations that take place, occasionally one mutation will produce a beneficial change, which by means of natural selection will then spread through the population. After some generations this process will be repeated, and continue over and over again until the accumulative effect of all these beneficial mutations will be to produce a completely different species. As far as I am aware there is no published evolutionist who would claim these beneficial mutations could occur in a long series of consecutive generations as you have done here. * Therefore with the figures you have used, you could certainly have 150,000 generations, but it would be impossible for each of them to be a mutational step toward the target of modern man and apes.

* The reason is obvious: natural selection would require a number of generations in order to favour a beneficial mutation and supercede those without it. This makes a build-up to a new form of life through mutations in consecutive generations impossible.

2 The reason for that becomes obvious when you consider that even with 150,000 transitional stages, on average each one would have to change 105 nucleotides accurately in order to produce the difference we see today between man and ape. The chances of this taking place is 1 in 6 x 10^63 (6 followed by 63 noughts). In other words there are 6 x 10^63 different possible combinations of nucleotides in a block of 105. However, this takes no account of whereabouts in the DNA the change takes place. Obviously this is just as important as the kind of change that occurs, and will affect the odds of a valid mutation considerably. Even if the nucleotides were in blocks of 105 (which they are not, of course, but whether the nucleotides are all together in a block or scattered across the DNA is irrelevant – the same principle applies), the chances of hitting a specific block would be 1 in 30,140,000. Then, when that block is changed, the chances of it being the right combination are 1 in 6 x 10^63. So the possibility of this happening just once is so remote as to be considered impossible. But for it to do so 150,000 consecutive times is quite obviously out of the question.

3 At conception sperm and egg must be compatible. A mutation of 105 nucleotides would create a large enough difference between sperm and egg to prevent conception from taking place. * So it could never be passed on to the next generation. Additionally the figure of 105 is the average figure. This means that sometimes it will be lower and sometimes higher than that amount. But it would have to be significantly lower for sperm and egg to be able to combine, and anything higher than 105 will always abort conception; so once again, it cannot happen.

* I now know that this is not the case. A mutation of up to around 300 is possible. However, in the argument being used here, the assumption is only 1% difference between chimps and modern man, while we know that a chimp’s DNA is over 12% larger than man’s. Therefore the amount of change necessary in each mutation would significantly exceed this amount.

4 Natural selection requires improvement in order for a mutant to have enough advantage to survive and produce offspring better than its contemporaries. I would suggest it is quite impossible for there to be as many as 150,000 improvements (i.e. each one better able to survive through natural selection than its predecessor) between the common ancestor and man.

5 The excuse given for the absence of transitional forms in the fossil record is punctuated equilibrium – each evolutionary process from one species to the next took place so quickly they were not around long enough to be caught in the catastrophic events that created the fossils. If it took 150,000 transitional steps between the common ancestor and man this proves punctuated equilibrium is impossible. So why do we not see vast numbers of transitional forms in the fossil record? If ‘complete’ forms are outnumbered 150,000 to 1 by transitional forms, why do we not see millions of living examples all around us today?

Interesting, and thanks for answering. So, if I may summarise (and please correct me if you spot any errors), you believe an external intelligent force is necessary to explain the world as we see it, and you identify intelligence as "reasoning, thinking and knowledgeable". Finally, you identify this intelligent force as most likely being the entity known as the Christian god?

I ask because I think a lot of focus has been on the "design" part of "intelligent design", and not enough on the "intelligent" part. Would you agree, then, that you would differentiate a "Reasoning, thinking and knowledgeable" intelligence from an unreasoning, unthinking process by it finding optimal solutions to specific multifactor problems? If not, please do elaborate on what you would use to differentiate the two.

Firstly I must thank you for the courteous tone of your postings, which makes a refreshing change from the childish insults that have cluttered so many of other people’s contributions. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to debate issues on which we disagree in a friendly and civilised manner.

I think my answer is a cautious ‘yes!’ Taking the figures I have just quoted for your suggested 150,000 mutations, I would suggest that random mutation could never beat such impossible odds. So if evolution did take place, then it could only do so by some intelligent agency manipulating the DNA in order to create the necessary change. In other words someone or something would have to understand the function of every nucleotide in DNA, know the effect of changing each one into each of the other three possible types, and then be capable of controlling mutation in order to achieve the desired result.

This is one problem I have with Snorkel Duck’s explanation. On the one hand he (I don’t know from the pseudonym if he is male or female, so use ‘he’ for simplicity) denies the need for intelligence in order to dismiss the possibility of a Creator, but then on the other he cites some intelligent force operating during mutation in order to side-step the huge problems that random change creates. So it seems to me he is trying to have it both ways.

The same thing applies to abiogenesis. Sir Fred Hoyle, an atheist, calculated that the chances of a simple protein appearing in the primordial soup by random means are 1 in 10^48,000. * So while denying the possibility of the existence of God he concluded that the universe itself is an intelligent entity, guiding and directing evolution.

* This is 1 followed by 48,000 noughts.

On the other hand I have no hesitation in stating that as a committed Christian for many years, I approach the topic first and foremost on the basis of my experience. So when people tell me that God does not exist, I simply think about some of the many evidences I have seen in my life and the lives of others, and smile. I have found nothing in the observable laws of physics that conflicts with the existence of God. I can find no other logical explanation for my experiences in life other than the fact of His existence. I have read nothing in this forum to explain how what we observe in natural selection and mutation could result in the appearance of new species without intelligent intervention.

If an intelligent ‘force’ was responsible, then ‘it’ must have had a purpose. Is there any sign of such a purpose in the world? I would suggest that the Bible – the most widely read, and at the same time one of the most widely attacked, books of all time (both factors being what would be expected, according to its contents) – is the best candidate for an explanation of this purpose. Indeed, I am aware of no other such book that includes a description of creation, which still today is compatible with scientific evidence (as opposed to the theories of some scientists). This book makes it clear that evolution was not the method God used, and I see no reason to argue.

who says. environmental factors are directed by the forces of nature. what you probably mean is atheists claim that the environmental factors are undirected by an intelligent supernatural force.

Nearly! Since the forces of nature are clearly not intelligent (i.e. capable of reason), by your own definition your belief is that therefore both environmental factors and natural selection are undirected by intelligence of any kind.

and if science can't answer this question then god exists ?

wrong, it could also mean science has something else to add to the long list of undiscovered mysteries which may one day be answered.

I suppose then you will have another up your sleeve to try to prove your point?

You have now left the area of science and are in the realm of faith. Scientific evidence is that which can be observed, tested and proved. Since you accept that this most fundamental aspect of evolution cannot presently be explained by observation, testing and proof and we must wait until the future for this, then you are accepting that your belief in evolution is based not on science, but on your faith that God does not exist. I would remind you that Darwin based his argument on his belief that the future would produce transitional forms in the fossil record. He was proved wrong. So why is the future more likely to produce the proof that you require than it was for him?

I was asked to provide a name for the common ancestor.

This is your theory, not mine. For many years you evolutionists have been telling me humans and apes are descended from a common ancestor, so if, with your superior knowledge of the subject, you are unsure of the answer, then why should I be expected to know? However, if you are asking me to provide a name, then I would suggest Homo Mythologicus, since I do not believe such a creature ever existed. My two main reasons for that are: [a] the tiny glimpse I have had of a minute fraction of God’s power proves to me that creating everything we see in the universe is well within His capability; [b] everything I have read about the laws of physics, genetics, etc., proves that living things could never have appeared by non-intelligent random processes, as demonstrated by the inability of anyone on this forum, over two months, to give a logical, rational, scientific explanation how undirected (by intelligence) mutation could have produced the DNA difference we see between apes and humans.

My final reply was not used because the forum went down before it could be posted. On a fairly regular basis I challenged the insulting way most of the contributors wrote. Unfortunately I do not have a copy of the posting this reply was responding to, but one of the points the writer was making was that he was justified in being rude because of my ‘inferior knowledge’ * of the subject. However, my reply began with a point he was making about interbreeding between different animals: for example lions and tigers producing ‘tigons’ or ‘ligers’.

* My description, not his: I don’t remember his exact words.

Mixed animals.

This is a greater difficulty for evolution than it is for creation. A standard biology text book will tell you that animals are considered to be of a different species when they are unable to breed together. The fact that the parents of these animals were able to breed, therefore, is evidence that they share a common ancestor and the difference in their DNA is little or no greater than that between Greyhounds, Great Danes, Afghan Hounds or Poodles, etc. However, the fact that the offspring are often infertile demonstrates the incredible design of the reproductive system, which with the richness of information in DNA enables a considerable amount of change through natural selection to enable survival under different conditions, but at the same time protects the integrity of the different species by ensuring that too great a change either produces infertile offspring, or prevents conception from taking place at all, and therefore cannot be passed on to future generations. So ‘big cats’ can subdivide into lions and tigers, in the same way that dogs can subdivide into different breeds, but this limited change can never extend as far as to allow big cats to evolve into a different species * any more than dogs could evolve into cats.

* Of course, by this I am referring to completely different kinds of animals. Genetic drift can result in interbreeding no longer being possible, and therefore produce different ‘species’. However, in every case these ‘species’ are still very closely related and have no new features that were not present in their ancestors. Evolution requires new DNA with information for faculties never seen previously in the species, and this has never been observed as a result of natural selection plus mutation. The best that has been found is change through damage to existing features that could never result in an increase in the specified complexity of DNA.

** All the remaining asterisks relating to ‘rudeness’ were in my original writing to the forum and refer to a note about it at the end of the piece.

So superior knowledge justifies rudeness. I see!

I said mutation must produce improvement for evolution of species to take place. You said it needn’t. Dawkins said it must.

So since you must be right, your knowledge is presumably superior to his and therefore you will be rude to him as well! **

I said Darwin said fossils were necessary. You said he didn’t. Darwin said, “He who rejects this view of the imperfection of the geological record, will rightly reject the whole theory. For he may ask in vain where are the numberless transitional links which must formerly have connected the closely allied or representative species…” (The Evolution of Species by Charles Darwin, emphasis mine).

So as your knowledge is greater than his, here is someone else for you to be rude to! *

I showed that a succession of mutations could not produce the difference we see between apes and humans. You said it wasn’t a succession, but simultaneous mutations.

So Dawkins got it wrong when he gave his ‘Methinks it is like a weasel’ (a succession of mutations) as an illustration. So there’s another reason for you to be rude to him! *

I said evolutionists claimed that evolution was scientific fact. You said they didn’t. So Dawkins, Jones, Attenborough, and virtually every evolutionist who has been wheeled out on television and radio to speak on the subject, is wrong. Plenty of people there for you to be rude to, then! *

Simultaneous mutations.

With my inferior intellect I have great difficulty in understanding how this helps your problem. So perhaps you could help me out and explain in a way an inferior person like me can understand? Let me use a simplified illustration to explain the difficulty.

If there were 256 male and 256 female sub-humans, each with ten different mutated nucleotides, this would produce a total of 5120 mutated nucleotides between them in their generation. So it is easy to see how over a period of time the huge difference between man and apes could appear through mutation by this means (although it ignores the huge odds against getting the ‘right kind’ of mutations by random means and the lack of evidence for this huge amount of widespread mutation bringing improvement to all the life forms on the planet, with which we are supposed to be surrounded; but that is a different aspect and not one I am presently questioning).

The problem I have been pondering all week is this: according to research, DNA tests from all over the world have proved that all of mankind stems from a single female ancestor, who, from the last report I heard, is supposed to have lived somewhere in Africa. That being the case, all those mutations, scattered across a large number of individuals, have to converge on this female and her sexual partner(s) in order for their children to be the start of the human race. But how? The only way I can think of is by them interbreeding and so combining those mutations.

So if the 256 males and 256 females mated, they would produce 256 offspring with 20 different mutations in each (obviously, because each baby would receive 10 mutations from each parent). If these 256 offspring then mated together (assuming 128 male and 128 female) they would produce 128 offspring with 40 mutations. Those 128 mating together would produce 64 offspring with 80 mutations. Those 64 would produce 32 with 160 mutations. The 32 would produce 16 with 320 mutations. The 16 would produce 8 with 640 mutations. The 8 would produce 4 with 1280 mutations. The 4 would produce 2 with 2560 mutations. And finally the 2 would produce 1 with 5120 mutations.

Of course it would be much more complicated than that, because mutations would be occurring in every generation, not just the first, and the parents would be likely to have more than one child each. However, even with this simplified example the difficulty becomes immediately obvious. Even with such a comparatively small number of mutated nucleotides, sooner or later when trying to make them converge, you reach the point where there are so many mutations to be passed on, the DNA between partners becomes incompatible, and conception impossible.

I cannot think of any way that a large number of mutations spread amongst a population could ever be brought together to produce the difference we presently see between apes and humans: you are always going to have the problem that with a large number of different mutations in the DNA of the prospective partners, the mismatch is going to prevent conception.

Your contemptuous dismissal of the idea that a series of mutations could ever produce what we see today (so that is one thing on which we are both agreed) means that the only option you are left with is for a large number of simultaneous mutations as you suggested: but as can be seen, this is impossible for exactly the same reason – you end up requiring breeding between parents who are incompatible with each other and therefore incapable of producing offspring together.

On the other hand, with your superior knowledge and intellect, I am sure you will be able to explain how this can be achieved. So I await your explanation with interest.

* Or could it possibly be that they were right and you were wrong? Perish the thought: by your reckoning that would mean they should be rude to you!

Ok, I admit it: I was being rather sarcastic there. But no-one saw it as I was unable to post it. That aside, I had received enough encouragement in the inability of anyone to answer my question, to go on to produce this web site as soon as I was able to buy the software to enable me to do so.

Of course, this question is not new by any means. Indeed, it has been well known in scientific circles for decades.* The way it has been avoided by evolutionists for so long is by claiming that the vast amount of the difference between man and chimp is due to junk DNA that is either a relic of past evolutionary ancestors, or through random mutation that has produced rubbish. However, the latest research is showing increasingly that the junk DNA is highly conserved on the one hand, and has definite use on the other.

Since the junk DNA * excuse has been totally undermined by scientific observation, I await the alternative excuse for their inability to answer the question with interest.


See Junk DNA for more detail on this.