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20 May 2014

Genome Decay Claim

Prelude

Recently, a Creationist on Google+ presented a list of papers that he felt demonstrated that genomes are decaying and, therby, evolution of species from one form into another is impossible. The thread where this discussion occurred was a post titled Evolution: How it Works and How to Teach it. The articles cited by the Creationist are listed as follows:
  • J.B.S. Haldane. 1957. The cost of natural selection. J. Genetics55: 511-524
  • Kimura, M. 1968. Evolutionary rate at the molecular level. Nature 217:624-626
  • Muller, H.J. 1950. Our load of mutations. Amer. J. Human Genetics 2:111-176
  • Muller, H.J. 1964. The relation of recombination to mutational advance. Mutation Research 1:2-9
  • J.V. Neel, et al. 1986. The rate with which spontaneous mutation alters the electrophoretic mobility of polypeptides. PNAS 83:389-393
  • A.S. Kondrashov. 1995. Contamination of the genome by very slightly deleterious mutations: Why have we not died 100 times over? J. Theor. Biol. 175:583-594
  • S. Kondrashov. 2002. Direct estimates of human per nucleotide mutation rates at 20 loci causing Mendelian diseases. Human Mutation 21:12-27
  • M.W. Nachman and S.L. Crowell. 2000. Estimate of the mutation rate per nucleotide in humans. Genetics 156: 297-304
  • A. Eyre-Walker and P. Keightley. 1999. High genomic deleterious mutation rates in Hominids. Nature 397:344-347
  • J.F. Crow. 1997. The high spontaneous mutation rate: is it a health risk? PNAS 94:8380-8386
  • J.F. Crow. 1958. Genetic effects of radiation. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 14:19-20
  • M. Lynch, J. Conery, and R. Burger. 1995. Mutation accumulation and the extinction of small populations. The American Naturalist 146:489-518
  • K. Higgins and M. Lynch. 2001. Metapopulation extinction caused by mutation accumulation. PNAS 98: 2928-2933
  • F. Hoyle. 1999. Mathematics of Evolution. Acorn Enterprises, LLC, Memphis, TN.
  • Howell et al. 1996. Evolution of human mtDNA. How rapid does the human mitochondrial genome evolve? A. J. Hum. Genet. 59: 501-509
  • Loewe, L. 2006. Quantifying the genomic decay paradox due to Muller’s ratchet in human mitochondrial DNA. Genet. Res., Camb 87:133-159
The conditions are that responses must be from credible, scientific journals. He cannot use apologist websites such as Answers in Genesis or Journal of Creations and the like. In turn I have agreed not to use sites like Talk Origins though I did correct him with his claim of Talk Origins being an "atheist apologist" website that rejects Creationist studies out-of-hand.

I don't see why you're arguing this point, I've agreed to only use scientific journals. To belabor the point; if you could show, scientifically, that Creationism is true, that the God of the Bible is the God of Creation and that the God of the Bible exists then most of the scientists on TO would be on the side of Creationist (though many would choose not to worship this God). AiG and the like, well they've stated on their webpage that they will not be swayed. Ken Ham said so quite bluntly in a recent debate that he wouldn't change his mind.

That's the difference.

Program

I shall address each article as they appear in the list. The rate at which I post will be subject to numerous variables such as my ability to acquire an article, how busy I am in my family and work life and how motivated I am when I do have the time. Any claim by my Creationist opponent that suggests I am answering in a particular order, or rate, just to avoid dealing with challenging papers will be treated in the same vein as Godwin's Law. I shall try to determine several things.
  • If the author(s) is(are) actually challenging the validity of Evolutionary Theory, or disputing a detail of Evolutionary Theory.
  • If the conclusion of the article means what the Creationist thinks it says.
  • If the research is refuted, improved upon or verified by other research.