This is my concluding response to Dr Page's latest rebuttal. I think it should be very clear to the reader that Page has run out of steam. Virtually all of Page's latest comments have absolutely nothing to do with the subject of our debate. In short, Dr. Pages latest rebuttal is built entirely on 1) hairsplitting and semantics games, 2) equivocation of the word "evolution", and 3) numerous red-herrings that have nothing to do with the debate. Ill address each individually. Dr Page's latest comments appear in maroon, my response in normal text, and any original comments from a prior post in blue.
Hairsplitting and semantics games
In my opening rebuttal, I mistakenly used ape instead of monkey when I wrote The authors of the genetics study are arriving at their estimate of 10 generations by first assuming that man and ape share a common ancestor. Page made note of this in his first rebuttal: Chimpanzees ('ape') are not Old World monkeys. Fine. I accommodated his nit-pick in my subsequent rebuttal by instead using the term simian (a more encompassing term). You would think this would be the end of it, but it became a focal point for Dr Page in his latest installment! He called it the crux of his dispute!!! (Wait, I thought the dispute, our debate, is whether or not Pages citations have anything to say about Haldanes Dilemma!) Dr. Page has now tried to shift the readers attention away from the debate and on to a silly nit-pick! He reminds the reader of this ape vs. simian hairsplit at least five times throughout his latest rebuttal, all the while complaining along the way about my revised use of simian! Note the desperation of Pages argument when he writes:
Dearest Dr. Page, I did not re-formulate my argument. I simply changed one word, ape, to simian to appease your nit-pick. A nit-pick extraordinaire indeed! Whether or not the simian used in the study was an ape or a monkey has no bearing on whether or not your use of the citation was circular reasoning. I wonder how else you think I should have responded. I suppose you would have preferred me to exclaim Yep, I should have said monkey and not ape, so you win the debate on a technicality!
Next, Dr. Page calls my use of the term analogous instead of homologous a fundamental error. This is quite an exaggeration. From a creationist perspective the sequences could be called analogous because creationists do not believe apes (oops, I mean simians J), are related to humans via decent. Nevertheless, to speak in evolutionary terms homologous would indeed be the appropriate term. Yet another silly nit-pick on Pages part.
Equivocation of the word "evolution"
I originally wrote:
This fixation rate is in stark contrast to Haldane's calculation of 300 generations, so that's why Dr. Page cites this study. But Haldane's cost argument is a mathematical model that is not based on the assumption that simian/man ancestry (or any other form of large-scale evolution) is true.
Page replies with:
Williams can re-write this as many times as he wants to, and it will still be bogus. Haldane assumed evolution when he formulated his model. If Haldane had simply set out to produce a purely mathematical model, devoid of evolutionary assumptions and constraints, as Williams suggests (insists?), then one should be curious as to why the formulae employed by Haldane contain a variable called the selection coefficient. For, what good is the concept of selection except in an evolutionary context?
Here Dr. Page is equivocating on the definition of evolution (see my article on this). In my preceding comment that he responded to, I explicitly stated that Haldanes model is not based on the assumption that simian/man ancestry (or any other form of large-scale evolution) is true. I am not referring to population genetics (also called evolutionary biology) where concepts such as selection coefficients are used. Creationists have no problem with natural selection, and in fact proposed selection before Darwin1. So I ask Dr. Page yet again, to provide any evidence whatsoever that Haldanes model requires the assumption that simian/man ancestry (or any other form of large-scale evolution) is true.
Red Herrings Galore
Following are several Red Herrings that have nothing to do with our debate:
Our debate is not on the merits of Haldanes Dilemma. As I stated in my previous post, even if Haldanes model is wrong, it still doesnt rescue Dr Page from his circular reasoning error.
Page then pulls out the chimp-bonobo red herring. What does this have to do with our debate? Absolutely nothing.
Dr Page then expands his chimp-bonobo red herring by offering several lengthy citations regarding non-random mutations. Again, what does this have to do with our debate? Again, absolutely nothing. The simple fact is, Dr Page cannot defend his use of the Genetics study, so instead tries to bury the reader with a bunch of boring and lengthy citations that have no bearing on this debate.
Revisiting Dr Page's Core Error
I cited the Genetics paper as recent data-based evidence that the rate of change is much faster than originally estimated by Haldane (1957). Williams expends a considerable amount of energy trying to convince the reader that 1. the authors engaged in circular reasoning (an assumption of common descent), and so 2. my citation of it and use of it is also circular and 'faulty logic.'
For the second time Dr. Page, I did not accuse the authors of circular reasoning, I accused you of circular reasoning. It is you who tried to apply a study that requires the assumption of simian/human ancestry, to a mathematical model (Haldane) that does not require the assumption of simian/human ancestry. I repeat, if the assumption of simian/human ancestry is wrong, then the Genetics study is useless. To apply such a study to a mathematical model void of assumptions about human/simian ancestry is faulty logic, plain and simple. Its textbook circular reasoning. I will explain it again. You believe evolution. You get a rate of change from a study (Wu, et al) that begins with the assumption that evolution is true (specifically common decent, or man/simian ancestry). You contrast this rate of change to a mathematical model (Haldane) where the rate of change is so small as to make evolution untenable. Since the rates don't jive, you claim the Haldane mathematical model is refuted, and evolution is defended! The circle is complete!
More Population Genetics Errors by Dr Page
What? Dr. Page, frankly you do not know what you are talking about. Check Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, p 299. When an allele becomes fixed, it becomes monomorphic, its frequency is 1 (100%). That means the wild type is GONE, and ALL prior descendants who had the wild type (did not receive the new allele) over time had to be removed from the population. My statement is entirely correct, and I am surprised you would question it.
In Response to my Bike Analogy
Notice Page switches the goal posts. He now admits it's a benefit to evolution, providing its a "harmful mutation environment"! But a harmful mutation environment is itself an obvious and huge disadvantage to evolution! Perhaps Dr Page is finally getting my point without realizing it! J
No, it does not succeed. You continue to validate my claim that the Rice study is misleading, because it has surely misled you into believing something that is not true. I repeat, the Rice study merely shows the advantage of recombination when contrasted with an asexual species in a harmful mutation environment, period. Nothing more. It does nothing, I repeat, nothing to reduce the mutation problem. Here is my article on the mutation rate problem. Please explain to the audience how the Rice study has any impact whatsoever on this problem.
Dr Page's Response to List of Errors I Presented Him
(my original claim is in blue)
On page 521 Haldane writes: "...This represents, in my opinion fairly intense selection, of the order of that found in Biston betularia [peppered moth]... I doubt if such high intensities of selection have been common in the course of evolution. I think n=300...is a more probable figure". Dr. Page, it is quite clear that Haldane did NOT base his substitution rate on the peppered moth observation (which you now implicitly admit above), and in fact did the opposite (low intensity as opposed to high intensity selection).
I do not accept your explanation. Why did you write that an extremely large population is an "unreasonable allusion"? It sure sounds to me that you believe its a bad (unfavorable) assumption for evolution, or you would not have wrote "unreasonable allusion". It is clear you were unaware that Haldane believed it was a favorable assumption for evolution (1960, p 351).
Dr. Page, I again refer you to Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, p 299. If that is not good enough, check his glossary: "Fixation: Attainment of a frequency of 1 (ie. 100%), by an allele in a population, which thereby becomes monomorphic for the allele" [emphasis in original]. It is quite clear it is you who does not understand what fixation means.
Strawman. This is not what you claimed. Regardless, even this a very bad argument, because using your new explanation, if 100% of the population has the dominant allele, it is extremely likely that any remaining recessive alleles are by now virtually extinct, at a frequency very near zero.
Wrong again! Perhaps this figure from Futuyma, p 298 will help:
The diagram above should help illustrate that a new allele from a mutated wild-type, be it recessive or dominant, will have to incur reproductive costs over the life of the fixation. Haldane assumed ALL of his mutations were dominant, since the cost of recessive mutation is exponentially higher.
Dr Page should consider accessing a more complete dictionary next time before accusing me of "poor english" and "incompetence". Note definition #2, apparently missing from Page's dictionary, in the Webster Collegiate Dictionary:
However, I take Dr Page at his word that his intended use was '1', so I hereby retract my original claim (stated above in blue).
I already did, in my previous post in this debate. I'll copy it here:
Dr. Page, you are simply in error here. If not, then get Dr. Wu, whom you admit to have contacted regarding this debate, to substantiate your claim! This is key to the entire debate! This is your only hope, that Dr Wu engaged in poor writing skills when he wrote his paper and that his estimate really did not rely on simian/man ancestry. Come on, you and I and every reader can clearly see from the excerpt above that simian/man ancestry is an important assumption in the study!
To conclude, I have clearly shown in this debate that Dr. Page was mistaken to cite the Genetics study (Wu, et al) and the Science article (Rice, et al) as implied refutations of Haldanes Dilemma. In the Genetics study he clearly engaged in circular reasoning. To make matters worse for Dr. Page, the study actually worsens the mutational cost problem! (required offspring per breeding couple increases to at least 60 instead of 40; see first post in debate, and my article on the mutation problem for evolution). In the Rice study, Page admitted that the evolutionary "benefit" described by the study pertains to a "harmful mutation environment", which by its very description is a huge disadvantage to evolution!
This did not leave Dr Page with anything substantive to offer in his latest rebuttal, so the recourse he chose was to distract the reader with 1) hairsplitting (ape vs monkey), 2) equivocation of the definition of evolution, and 3) numerous red-herrings.
I truly believe Dr Page now knows, or at least suspects, his citations are not valid weapons against the Haldane substitution problem, nor do they support the theory of evolution in any way (as I mentioned earlier, the Wu study in fact provides evidence against evolution). Certainly the authors of these studies did not think their findings had a bearing on such an important issue as Haldane's Dilemma, or you would think they would have mentioned it. Despite direct correspondence with at least one of the authors, Page was unable to get any of them to join him in his circular reasoning foray.
To Page's credit, I have not seen him trumpeting on the net either study since our debate began. Unfortunately however, there are several other evolutionists on the net who have now picked up his flawed nugget and are running with it. I ask Dr Page to take the time to correct the error he started whenever it re-appears on the net.
1. Evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould notes that many creationists before Darwin advocated natural selection. S.J. Gould, "Darwinism and the Expansion of Evolutionary Theory, Science, 1982, Vol 216, p 380 (original source: Modern Creation Trilogy, Vol II, 1996, p 34).