Commentary on the so-called Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design Debate and Right-Wing nuttery in general - and please ignore the typos (I make lots!)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Creationist sets me straight on the Neutral Theory

Well, not really. But "L317e" (registration required)sure is confident in his misinterpretations.

On a Creation/Evolution discussion board, a creationist computer graphics person wrote:

Let me make “simple” calculations for you 99.9% of mutations are of negative functional consequence, while occasionally, less than 1% “may” be beneficial…
simple formula:

99% > 1% = Natural evolution is owned! by REALITY!

I replied:

Please provide documentation of your assertion that 99.9% of all mutations have a negative functional consequence, for I have never seen any such number. In fact, Kimura demonstrated in the 1980s that the rate of fixation of neutral mutations is equal to the mutation rate. So your claim does not seem to jive with what is actually known.
And the creationist, overconfident rube that he is, responds:

Have you ACTUALLY read the Neutral Theory by Kimura? Does not sound like it…

As a matter of fact, I am glad you bring it up, as I have pointed to this reality.
Neutral Theory does not actually support the Darwinian Position in regards to beneficial mutations doesn’t it. Actually Kimura is WELL known for providing an evolutionary model that contradicts the Darwinian model you support.
YES, I strongly believe that God designed the human genome to be able to EXIST in midst of such large amount of deleterious (80%) and neutral mutations (~9.6%). This Neutral Theory establishes the neutralizing of such deleterious mutations and at the same demonstrates the neutralization of those beneficial calculated to be only about 0.04%. The mutation load is at a significant disadvantage to beneficial mutations, not excluding the significance of background selection affecting both deleterious and beneficial ones indiscriminately. ANYONE who understands genetics understands that deleterious mutations are by far more common than and slim possibility (if ever occurring) of beneficial ones. This is not rocket science, and genetic equilibrium is an awesome ingenuity of design.
It actually contradicts the complexity you hope for.

The creationist's obvious ignorance of the Neutral Theory notwithstanding, I think this part is pretty funny:

YES, I strongly believe that God designed the human genome to be able to EXIST in midst of such large amount of deleterious (80%) and neutral mutations (~9.6%).

In the original posting, the 80% was a link to this paper:

Prediction of solvent accessibility and sites of deleterious mutations from protein sequence

From the abstract:

This proposition was tested on six proteins for which sites of deleterious mutations have previously been identified by stability measurement or functional assay. Of the total of 130 residues predicted as sites of deleterious mutations, 104 (or 80%) were correct.

The only time 80% is mentioned in the paper is in reference to their predictions of already known deleterious mutations.

This computer graphics creationist 'expert on everything' could not even interpret so simple a concept as that.

This is the type of folk that populate this 'discussion' (creation v. evolution) on the creationism side - people that are totally ignorant of the issues yet fancy themselves nearly 'expert' on them. And what is worse, they lack the knowledge to understand how little they understand, hence their unwarranted confidence.

And these people vote....

**UPDATE 11/15

Levite has now informed me that I am arguing form ignorance on this, because Kimura was not the only proponant of the neutral theory:

" have demonstrated that you think that Kimura is the only proponent of
Neutral Theory and that his position is the only existing one."

Hmmmm... I am waiting for Levite to reveal the name of this mystery scientist who has an ancillary theory - also called the neutral theory - that IS about "neutralizing" mutations...

Not holding my breath though....