[Note: Dr. Page's original "working copy" is here]

Updated 5/2/02
Following is my response to Williams' latest rant. It is basically still in rough-draft form, so I plan to make corrections/amendments as needed. There are still a few typos and some rough phraseology, but the reality of the situation shines through.
Williams last reply is in blue. My new responses in black, normal text. Any quoting from previous exchanges will be in italics, with the author's name preceeding it.
On to the first part of my most recent rebuttal:


Following is my reply to Scott Page's response to my first rebuttal. My comments are in blue. It is a fairly long rebuttal. At the end of this rebuttal I summarize my arguments and Dr Page's errors.
Page: Creationist Fred Williams, author of what he has referred to as a “saterical” [sic] website mocking evolution , is an electrical engineer with McData Systems. He has no education, training, or research experience in the biological sciences.
Dr Page spends quite a bit of energy in his reply focusing on my “lack of training” in “the biological sciences”.

Gross exaggeration. Indeed, I mention Williams' lack of education, training, and experience in the biological sciences only twice – three times if we consider mentioning “fellow non-specialists.” That hardly constitutes “quite a bit of energy.” Of course, I think that this information is important for the objective reader to have access to. Having a grounding in the fields under discussion certainly allows the participant to have a fuller grasp on the material. Gone are the days when interested laymen can make substantive contributions to nearly any field in the technical sciences. I have archived discussion board threads in which Williams has confused basic terminology (e.g., Williams used the terms “functional” and “genic” interchangeably for some time, despite my informing him that such usage is incorrect. As is his usual response to such information, he derided me and claimed that “informed evos” know that the two are the same. It was not until several months later that he finally started using the terms correctly.) and used this confusion as a basis for an argument. The most logical explanation for this is a lack of background knowledge. It is important.
I have never claimed to be an “expert” in “the biological sciences”, but I have read a wealth of material on the subject (particularly genetics) and am quite capable of identifying obvious inconsistencies with evolution.
“I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV”… I have read a 'wealth of material' on space travel, does that make me an astronaut? I wonder what this 'wealth of material' consists of. If Williams' past writings on these topics are examples, it appears that the bulk of this 'wealth' is creationist books also written by individuals lacking an appropriate education.
I should note that Dr Page has admitted to me in the past that population genetics is not his area of expertise (you'll soon see this is the case, in glaring fashion), yet he insists on making a formal education on the topic an issue. He also is guilty of applying a double-standard, since in the past he has referenced evolutionist Robert Williams' page on Haldane's Dilemma. Robert Williams also does not have a degree in genetics or biology, yet this didn't stop Dr. Page from referencing his work. Finally, I should remind Page that Charles Lyell, 1800s champion of uniformitarianism, did not have formal training in geology, nor did Darwin in biology.
I should remind Williams that Lyell and Darwin lived some 120+ years ago. This was when most institutes of higher learning still operated on the apprenticeship system. This was when one could become a world-renowned expert by simply describing some type of epithelial tissue. Mentioning Lyell and Darwin to rescue his own lack of formal education on these topics is flawed at best. As for my application of a double-standard, I find that most amusing. Robert Williams is not a professional biologist or geneticist, this is true. However, his web site does not contain essays with which Williams (Robert) claims to have 'disproved' this or that, other than to point out the errors in another non-specialist's (ReMine) rants on the topic.
Dr Page's objection regarding my level of education and training should be a good early indication to the reader that he was unable to answer my rebuttal effectively, as we shall soon see. Otherwise there would be no need to resort to such rhetoric. Also, I did not misspell “saterical” [sic] as he implies.
In reality, I only pointed out Williams' lack of relevant education to let the reader know that the source of the anti-evolution rhetoric was speaking not from knowledge and experience, but from ideology and dogma. I documented your misrepresentations and provided sound refutations of your spurious claims. What I find most interesting is the frequent repetition from Williams of his claims to have 'won' this debate. As for 'saterical', Williams did indeed write this in a message to a woman in an email discussion group, in which he boasted of his 'expertise' in information theory (by virtue of designing communication systems) and invited her to check out his “saterical website”. Alas, I cannot find the post in question via Deja.com, so I will officially retract mention of it.
Now to Dr. Page's rebuttal:
Page: Haldane admitted that his conclusions would probably need “drastic revision” (“The cost of natural selection”. 1957.). Indeed – Haldane's estimates were made without the benefit of actual genetic data, unlike the Genetics* paper I cite . Numerous solutions to 'Haldane's dilemma' – and we should keep in mind that that this is a mathematical model - have been proposed, despite the fact that Haldane's model had several unrealistic constraints in it, none of which have met the personal, usually arbitrary standards of the various creationists that use 'Haldane's dilemma' as the crux of their anti-evolution arguments.
This particular debate is not on the merits of Haldane's argument.
Then the reader should wonder why you made such a big deal about it. Indeed, the opening paragraph (after the introductory gibberish) of your 'rebuttal' is explicitly about how my citations did not refute Haldane!
Dr Page seems to have completely missed this point. The debate is whether or not Page's citation "Positive and Negative Selection on the Human Genome"[1] is a refutation, or for that matter has anything to say, of Haldane's Dilemma.
And it does, albeit well after the fact. I will explain later.
I could concede all the points Page made above, and his original claim that the above citation rebuts Haldane's cost argument would still be wrong.
And I will show that Williams is simply engaging in hyperbole.
I will repeat the key point in my original rebuttal: The paper Page cited assumes that common decent between simians and humans is true, and arrives at its 10 generation fixation time based on this assumption.
Here is the first example of one of the tactics that Williams is famous for. Here again is Williams statement from above:

“The paper Page cited assumes that common decent between simians and humans is true.”

Here is what Williams wrote in his original rebuttal:

“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.”

[NOTE 1:This itself is curious since Williams had written the truth of the matter just a few sentences earlier: “The authors of the genetics study …analogous DNA sequences of old world monkeys.”]

[NOTE 2: Williams' use of the word “analogous” is incorrect. The loci investigated are homologous, not analogous. Fundamental errors such as this are a prime reason why one's background education is relevant, as mentioned above.]

Whats the big deal, you say? First, Williams refers to Old World monkeys as apes in his original rebuttal. I point out that Old World monkeys are not apes. Williams then re-writes his original 'challenge' and presents it as he did above, using the word 'simian' instead of ape.
Old World monkeys are, at least by laymen, considered to be simians. Williams has reworded his claim so as to prevent it from being rendered moot and shown to be inaccurate, and now bases his 'new' argument on this reformulated claim.
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.
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?
You cannot compare the conclusions of a mathematical model void of assumptions of the validity of evolution, to the conclusions of a study that derives its numbers on the assumption that evolution is true! I suspect this is why Dr. Page's attempts to get the authors to support his claim were fruitless.
A few facts to consider:
  1. Haldane's model was shown to be in error (or at least easily overcome) shortly after he presented it, as I will show below. Williams is unaware of this because he gets all of his information on this topic from fellow creationist engineer Walter ReMine's book "The Biotic Message", which contains misquotes and interestingly cites only a single paper that proposed a solution to Haldane's 'dilemma, and then only to deride the author.
  2. Haldane's model, again, was premised explicitly on the assumption of evolution.
  3. Williams again falsely claims that I tried to get the authors of the papers to "help" me, despite the fact that I presented the verbatim message that I sent to Dr.Wu in which it is obvious that all I did was inform them that they were being accused of circular reasoning and such by a creationist. The reader should wonder why Williams continues to make this false claim.
Page: Famous mathematician Sir Fred Hoyle, in his book “The Mathematics of Evolution”, explains that “Haldane's so-called cost principle is an illusion." (p123).
This is worth noting. Hoyle indeed made this claim in his book, but he didn't rely on circular reasoning in his argument! Hoyle used mathematics to argue against Haldane's mathematical model, which is a valid approach. I haven't had an opportunity to review Hoyle's argument in detail, though it's worth noting that evolutionist Maynard Smith was not convinced by Hoyle's argument (see Walter Remine's review of the book at Amazon.com).
Why read ReMine's review? ReMine has a vested interest in keeping Haldane's dilamma alive – indeed, it is the bread and butter of his anti-evolution rhetoric! The primary reason that I mentioned Hoyle is that creationists love to cite his silly 'tornado in a junkyard' schtick about evolution. If they are going to heap accolades on him when using that quip, then they should – at least to retain the appearance of a lack of double standards – they should do the same when he writes that Haldane's dilemma is an illusion.
Regardless, I want to stress again that at least Hoyle went about attacking the argument in a proper fashion. Whether or not Hoyle is right doesn't matter, it does not vindicate Dr. Page's use of faulty logic. Dr Page engaged in circular reasoning, which rendered his argument completely spurious.
Williams never did produce any substantial reasoning supportive of his claim about my use of “faulty logic.” I suspect that is because Williams does not understand the point of my original post to his guestbook, nor does he understand the substance of my refutation of his rebuttal. 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.' Again, Williams sees no problem citing papers that do the same when it appears that the papers can be used to prop up his preferred version of reality.
The Genetics paper I refer to does, as Williams indicates, 'estimate' the number, but again, unlike Haldane's estimates, these are inferred from analyses of actual data. This important fact is ignored by Williams.
Again, I did not ignore this “important fact”. The Genetics study conclusions are indeed inferred from analyses of actual data. But this data is derived from the initial assumption that simians and humans share a common ancestor. It is circular to use the Genetics study conclusion to argue against a mathematical model that contradicts simian/human ancestry.
It is too bad that Williams has switched form his original claims about “humans and apes” to “humans and simians” without offering any explanation. The explanation is, of course, that I demonstrated that his original claim was bogus. Williams' continued claim that Haldane's model contradicts human/simian ancestry is most comical. He has not supported this claim at all, and I suspect that is because when he has attempted to do so in the past, he has had to rely upon – as does his source of information, ReMine – solely his personal opinion, which, of course, is no support at all. More on this later.
Page: I do not take this or any one paper to 'be a refutation of Haldane's dilemma.'
Then why did you write: “According to an extrapolation of Haldane's 1957 paper, no more than 1667 fixed, beneficial mutations could accrue in the lineage leading to humans from an ape-like ancestor. 1667 is too few to account for this (unsupported assertion), therefore, humans must not have evolved at all. According to the first paper mentioned, the number is off - way off.” [emphasis mine]
The reason should be straight forward – the numbers deduced from actual data contradict Haldane's model. The first rebuttals to Haldane's model actually came out in the 1960's, but these were based on theoreticals, as was Haldane's. But I am glad that Williams quoted my original post – Williams' continued claims that Haldane's model contradicts human/ape ancestry is premised on his personal disbelief that 1667 fixed beneficial mutations can account for human evolution from an ape-like ancestor. Willaims has never been able to provide a shred of evidence that that position has merit. This is not surprising, since ReMine has never been able to, either. Indeed, when challenged on this, ReMine simply cut and pastes or paraphrases his book's rhetorical bit about 'making a sapien out of a simian'. (see appendix 1)
Page: It also brings up a conundrum for Williams. In his other essays on the topic available on his web site, he uses publications that utilized evolutionary assumptions and models in their experimental methods. He usually concludes that evolution is impossible. If his conclusion is correct, then the conclusions of all such publications are moot, and Williams has no logical, scientific, or rational reason for using them – that is, if the evolution models are wrong, then so are the conclusions of the papers and they therefore cannot be used to support anything.
I thought Dr Page understood this part of my argument, many others have (including Sumac, whom Page cited in his response). Re-read my article, particularly the conclusion. The only part of the evolutionist study I believe is flawed is the initial assumption that simians and humans share a common ancestry. The only other realistic possibilities are that their data gathering or posteriori mathematical analysis is flawed. But this is unlikely, especially since there have been several studies since then producing similar results.
And yet you continue to use the conclusions of these papers to claim that evolution is impossible. If, as you claim, the initial assumptions are incorrect, then perhaps instead of using those papers in your various essays you should be producing articles – or better yet, some actual scientific research – that supports your claim.
Do I accept the conclusions of the studies, that the mutation rate is >3? No. The truth is we don't know what the rate is. What we do know is that any study that compares two species supposedly related by common ancestry, and produces a rate >3 is very likely flawed somewhere. Such a rate is way too high for a mammalian species to tolerate. The logical conclusion is that the problem lies in the study's core assumption that simian and man share a common ancestry. Remove this assumption, that is, stop comparing human DNA to simian DNA in an attempt to determine the mutation rate, and the problem goes away.
Ok, let's do this. One can assume that even creationists accept that common chimpanzees and bonobos are of the same 'kind' that is, they share an ancestry.

Using DNA sequence data from Common chimp and bonobo, we can see that they differ by about 0.8%. If we assume that this rate is consistent across the genome, then we should expect there to be a difference of about 24 million nucleotides, or 12 million per species. Williams has argued in the past that this number is off by some 20% due to polymorphism, so let us apply that here. That leaves us with 19.2 million differences.
Williams believes in a literal interpretation of the King James version of the bible, and so believes that all extant diversity is the result of hyperevolution after the Flood of Noah, which most creationists seem to put at about 2,500 –4,500 years ago. Let us go with the older date, 4,500 years ago.

Chimps have a generation time of around 10-15 years **, so this means that a maximum of about 450 generations have come and gone since the flood waters subsided. If we assume that the rate of evolution has been stochastically consistent over time, then we should expect an average of 42,600 nucleotide changes to become fixed in the chimp population, or about 21,300 in each lineage (chimp v. bonobo) in the allotted time – PER GENERATION.
Clearly, only a fraction of these changes would be of the beneficial variety, but we should consider that many deleterious mutations, especially the very deleterious ones, will have been removed via selection (I will ignore that for the sake of simplicity). Williams accepts ReMine's claim that non-beneficial changes actually require longer to reach fixation, and we will ignore that as well. Since Williams unquestioningly accepts Haldane's model, which puts a 'speed limit' on evolution of the fixation of 1 beneficial mutation per 300 generations, the chimp-bonobo descent from an original kind requires a fixation of some 21300 mutations per generation, or about 6.4 MILLION times faster than allowed by Haldane's model (if I did the math right).

When a similar argument was presented by me some time ago on an internet discussion board, Williams went through a series of hand-waves and self-described 'refutations' (which were groundless), and in the end claimed that this difference was most likely due to “non-random mutations” (aka 'directed mutation', stationary phase mutation', etc.).

Stationary phase mutations were first observed in the 1980's by Cairns (1980):
Nature 1980 Jul 10;286(5769):176-8
Efficiency of the adaptive response of Escherichia coli to alkylating agents.
Cairns J.

Others delved into the phenomenon and found many such examples in which it appeared that specific genes or regulatory elements were being mutated by environmental factors such that they allowed pre-existing genes to be turned on. Creationist physicist Lee Spetner pounced on this information (totally ignoring the references I will mention shortly) and proclaimed in his book “Not by Chance”(1997) that this mechanism is the mechanism of post-flood hyperevolution (in so many words) – the original 'kinds' had all this variety 'designed' into their genomes, and so when the environment warranted it, these 'kinds' could speciate. Williams and other creationists love this idea – they claim that it 'explains' the post-flood diversity AND it avoids the 'cost' issue. What a neat little package, eh?
Trouble is:

These early studies were flawed in that they had only examined the genes involved in their experimental conditions. Later studies, which examined larger portions of the genomes of the microbes involved, found that the phenomenon was not 'directed' to specific genes at all, but rather is a genome-wide hypermutation caused by oxidative stress:

Genome-wide hypermutation in a subpopulation of stationary-phase cells underlies recombination-dependent adaptive mutation.
Torkelson J, Harris RS, Lombardo MJ, Nagendran J, Thulin C, Rosenberg SM Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Stationary-phase mutation in microbes can produce selected ('adaptive') mutants preferentially. In one system, this occurs via a distinct, recombination-dependent mechanism. Two points of controversy have surrounded these adaptive reversions of an Escherichia coli lac mutation. First, are the mutations directed preferentially to the selected gene in a Lamarckian manner? Second, is the adaptive mutation mechanism specific to the F plasmid replicon carrying lac?We report that lac adaptive mutations are associated with hypermutation in unselected genes, in all replicons in the cell. The associated mutations have a similar sequence spectrum to the adaptive reversions. Thus, the adaptive mutagenesis mechanism is not directed to the lac genes, in a Lamarckian manner, nor to the F' replicon carrying lac. Hypermutation was not found in non-revertants exposed to selection. Therefore, the genome-wide hypermutation underlying adaptive mutation occurs in a differentiated subpopulation. The existence of mutable subpopulations in non-growing cells is important in bacterial evolution and could be relevant to the somatic mutations that give rise to cancers in multicellular organisms.
"Researchers first noticed this happening in 1988 when John Cairns, then at Harvard University, showed that mutation rates in the bacterium Escherichia coli increased when the microbes needed to evolve new capabilities in order to survive changes in their environment. At the time, it seemed that only those genes directly involved with the adaptation changed, and this idea of adapative or directed evolution caused quite a stir.

But then last year, molecular geneticist Susan Rosenberg at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and her colleagues showed that mutation rates increase throughout the genome, although only in a subset of the population. Another group also found that more than just the relevant genes changed."

(How the Genome Readies Itself for Evolution, Elizabeth Pennisi, Science, vol 281, Number 5380, Issue of 21 Aug 1998, p1131-1134)
There are many more citation in the literature on this phenomenon – which has, by the way, NEVER been observed or inferred to occur in multicellular eukaryotes, much less been documented with actual empirical evidence. Despite this, creationists – such as Williams – continue to cling to this fantasy, claiming that it rescues their nonsensical 'creationary genetics'.
For the record, I have never claimed these studies demonstrate evolution is impossible. I merely provide them as solid evidence that simians & humans do not share common ancestry.
And that is the crux of the creationist position – that humans are separate creations. It is fine with Williams that other organisms are related via descent – even apparently large scale evolution (ignoring for now Williams' other 'articles' claiming otherwise), which they need – otherwise, Noah's ark sinks.
What I do posit is impossible is for new information (particularly a “code”) to arise naturalistically. There are no known examples in man's history of this occurring. To originate information in a materialistic medium is as impossible as it is to create energy from scratch.
So sayeth the 'information theory expert.' This interesting position –which is absurd even on the face of it, is a topic for another time.
Page: There is no assumption – implicit or explicit – in the paper regarding the lineage leading to Homo splitting from the lineage leading to Pan. This is a complete fabrication. Indeed, the paper clearly states: “The divergence data are from 182 orthologous human and old world monkey genes (_183 kb). “
It is beyond me why Page provided this sentence to defend his claim that no assumption on ancestry has been made to arrive at a substitution rate of 200 years per beneficial mutation. Dr Page is absolutely mistaken here. If I am wrong, then it seems it would be easy for Dr Page, who has corresponded with Dr Wu regarding our discussion, to get Dr Wu to back up Page's claim. I eagerly await his reply. This is at the very crux of our dispute.
Unlike Williams, who has been known to run off to ReMine whenever ReMine's claims are demolished on internet discussion boards, AGAIN, I asked for no help on anything, rather I just informed Wu that he was being accused of using 'circular reasoning' in his paper. Here is yet another example of Williams' attempts to re-write history. Williams ORIGINALLY:

“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.”

Such an assumption is not inherent in the Genetics paper at all, indeed, the only comparisons are between human and Old World monkey genes. Why would Dr.Wu say anything about it? Williams IS mistaken because the 'crux' of my dispute is that Williams switches terminology as it suits him, which confuses the debate. This is one of the many reasons that it is very difficult to discuss such issues with creationists.
As I already explained, Old World monkeys are NOT apes. I did not, as Williams erroneously claims, use the sentence above to try to claim that no assumptions of descent were made, rather, I used it to point out the error in Williams' claim.
Let's look at an important passage from the study, emphasis mine. Particularly note the word “divergence”, which refers to the monkey/man split, and “positive selection” which is derived from the “divergence” data: A common test for positive selection is a comparison of the A/S ratio of polymorphism and divergence (MCDONALD and KREITMAN 1991 ; SAWYER and HARTL 1992 ; TEMPLETON 1996 ). Since mutations under positive selection spread through a population quickly, they are not well represented in polymorphism but should have a cumulative effect on divergence. The A/S ratio from divergence is estimated from 182 orthologous human and old world monkey genes (Table 1). To avoid the confounding effects of deleterious mutations, which do not contribute to divergence but do make a significant contribution to polymorphism, the A/S ratio from divergence is compared to that of common SNPs (Table 1). The difference in the A/S ratio of common SNPs combined from both surveys compared to divergence is significant (2 = 8.14, P < 0.01) and can be explained by positive selection, assuming the average constraint on the divergence and polymorphism genes is the same.

The large number of amino acid substitutions suggests a high rate of adaptive evolution in primates. The expected number of amino acid substitutions is 2382 (4151 x 70/122) based on the A/S ratio of common polymorphism and the excess is 1278. Therefore, a large proportion, 35%, of amino acid substitutions between humans and old world monkeys are estimated to have been driven by positive selection. Extrapolating this proportion to the total amount of coding DNA in the genome (5 x 107 bp) yields an estimate of up to 1 advantageous substitution every 200 years since humans separated from old world monkeys 30 million years ago (LI 1997 ).
If Dr Wu has arrived at this substitution rate of 1 per 200 years without contrasting DNA between old-world monkeys and humans, as Dr Page is essentially saying, then Dr. Wu needs to re-write his study. But I suspect he will not need to re-write it, because he is indeed contrasting simian/human DNA, and hence assuming simian/man ancestry to arrive at this rate. Hopefully Dr Page now realizes this. I think that at this point, the reader can see that Williams is just trying to save his ego. I am duly impressed that Williams can cut and paste segments of the paper in question. However, once again, Williams purposely tries to bury his original claims (as happens frequently in creationist discussions) in a sea of quotation.

AGAIN, Williams' original claim, that I rebutted and that now Williams is desperately trying to deny, was that an assumption of human/ape ancestry was used in determining the degree of divergence. Yet as he actually quotes above, it was human and Old World monkey genes that were compared. Note that Williams is trying to put words in my mouth to save his position:

“If Dr Wu has arrived at this substitution rate of 1 per 200 years without contrasting DNA between old-world monkeys and humans, as Dr Page is essentially saying…”

I am not 'essentially saying' any such thing. I AM saying that a comparison of human and APE genes did not occur in the analyses used in the Genetics paper. Why Williams is having such a hard time with this, I am unsure.

Perhaps now Williams wioll actually be able to understand why I had trouble with what he had ORIGINALLY wrote.
Page: Furthermore, I am at a complete loss as to why someone claiming to be knowledgeable in the sciences, as Williams does, would discard current data-based conclusions in favor of a nearly 50 year old estimate, premised on unrealistic assumptions (such a s a constant population size), made using observations of phenotypic variation in Peppered moths. The answer should be fairy obvious.
The reason you are at a complete loss is because you have not understood my argument. I am discarding the current data-based conclusions of your first citation because using them to rebut Haldane's Dilemma is circular.
Well, that certainly makes your position easier to defend, doesn't it? Just discard your opponant's claim by conjuring up some unsupported nonsense.

You have basically made no argument TO understand. You continue to misunderstand/misrepresent Haldane's model to suit your needs.
Regarding Haldane's observation of peppered moths, he postulated that such intense selection likely was not common during the course of evolution (Haldane 1957, p 521). What you failed to realize is that this intense selection makes the cost problem FAR worse! Haldane estimated that n=43 for peppered moths, which yields a fitness of e-.7. By using n=300, the fitness improves to e-.1. So if anything Haldane was ignoring his observation of phenotypic variation in Peppered moths because it made the cost problem worse! He punctuates the fact that a lower n reduces fitness by closing the pertinent paragraph with this example: "Whereas, for example, n=7.5 would reduce the fitness to e-4, or 0.02, which would hardly be compatible with survival." (Haldane 1957, p521).
A couple of observations:
  1. I don't think Williams understands proper scientific quotation. Nearly every time he mentions Haldane's 1957 paper, he writes: Haldane 1957, p521 Granted, what is mentioned above is on p.521, but Williams has cited this page on an internet discussion board and what he was mentioning is not in any way mentioned on p.521. My intuition tells me that Williams is just putting a page number up to impress the reader.
  2. I have mentioned elsewhere that I committed an error of omission by not mentioning the other factors took into consideration when formulating his EVOLUTION PREMISED model.

This is the second part of my rebuttal of Williams' second reply.
Anything that Williams' had quoted from my last reply is in italics and blue, his replies are in blue and normal text. My new replies are in black normal text.

Page: Williams writes “entire population” for a reason – the connotation of “entire population” is that the population is extremely large, such as the human population of today. This is an unreasonable allusion.
How so? Haldane also made such an "allusion" in both his 1957 and 1960 papers on the topic. A large population is actually a favorable assumption for evolution. The smaller the population, the proportionally greater impact of genetic drift, which means proportionally greater genetic load since there are far more deleterious mutations than beneficial ones that drift can move to fixation.
I am not sure why Williams put allusion in quotes. “Allusion' and 'connotation' have meanings that apparently Williams does not understand.
Page: Williams then writes that all those lacking the mutation and all of their descendants had to be removed from the population. As worded – and probably as understood by Williams – it sounds as though all non-mutation holding organisms must be literally removed. This is incorrect.
No, it is entirely correct, unless you believe our ancestors are all still alive!
How ridiculous. I was clearly referring to a time-dependant explanation.
Page: In reality, a 'genetic death' does not require the actual death (i.e., removal) of the individual from the population. Rather, it means that the genome of the individual lacking the mutation/mutant allele is not 'passed on.'
What happens to this “genetic death”? Does this organism persist in the population, discoverer of some fountain of youth, or does he/she/it die? I repeat, ALL of those without the mutation must be removed from the population. It surprises me you question this fact.
A 'genetic death' means simply that THAT particular suite of alleles is not passed on. Simple, really, and I am not sure why Williams is belaboring this.
Regarding your claim I don't know what a genetic death is, I wrote the following on the Baptist board several days before you posted your rebuttal, a post you responded to. You didn't seem to have a problem then with my interpretation of genetic death! I really think you would be better served to not resort to such rhetoric, though it does serve as an indicator that you are arguing from a losing position.

Me on Baptist board, 2/15/02: “Once this hurdle is surpassed and the plate is reached, there still are additional payments needed for those surviving organisms that may suffer subsequent genetic death due to ugliness, prude-ness, random death, etc.”
I am surprised that Williams would mention not responding to certain points during discussion board exchanges. He has made a 'career ' out of simply ignoring points made by others that he does not have some sort of pre-fabricated ad hoc pseudoexplanation for.
Page: Since, as Haldane notes in his 1957 paper that surely Mr.Williams must have - or at least must have read - that the majority of evolutionarily important alleles are dominant or nearly so, the descendants of individuals lacking the mutant allele do in fact not have to be removed form the population.
First, Haldane assumed ALL beneficial mutations are dominant for a very good reason, because the fixation time and substitution cost of a recessive allele would obviously be vastly higher. So, this is a favorable assumption in favor of evolution. Second, Page makes no sense here. He appears to be employing a non sequitur. What does the type of mutation (dominant or recessive) have to do with whether or not someone without it need not be removed from the population?!!
This follows from your previous statements, which I was simply responding to. One of the shortcomings of the 'point-by-point' response style.
Page: Williams seems to conflate 'genetic death' with an actual death of an organism. This is a common occurrence in the so-called creation/evolution debate. The creationist, spurred on by their overconfidence – their 'knowledge' of THE TRUTH – do not or cannot see that they are making claims based on an ignorance of the very topics they present themselves as being 'expert' or at least very knowledgeable in. Williams, an electrical engineer by education and profession, has a long history of making such blunders.
As I proved above with my post to Baptist board (I can provide many other examples), I knew what a genetic death was, and Page even responded to that post so he must have read it. Regarding “blunders”, Page is notorious for dwelling on mistakes, saving them on his hardisk and bringing them up over and over again, all the while forgetting the many blunders he has made, including major gaffes in this very post I am responding to. I will sum up Page's errors at the end of this post.
You proved absolutely nothing. Your post on the 'Baptist Board' (interesting that you bring this up, as I will show below) is not what I responded to in my rebuttal, is it? I 'dwell' on your mistakes not because that is all I have, or that I don't make them, rather it is because you NEVER admit to making them! You should recall – and I can easily document – that you for many, many months conflated the terms “genic” and “functional”, despite my repeated explanations that such a conflation in error. As for my 'many gaffes' in my rebuttal, I already responded to them at the Evolution versus Creation bulletin board, where you posted them already. Indeed, you wanted me to 'specifically address' the list you posted there. Shame you either never checked back, or ignored my reply. I will present that in rebuttal to your 'blunder list' later.

Here is another interesting post from the Baptist Board:

March 7

I was wondering if Williams would be so good as to explain, in detail, how this "40 offspring per breeding couple" keeps a population form deteriorating.

Specifically, I would like to see his population genetics model that describes how this works (NOTE: I am not asking about the accumulation of mutations, I am asking how - exactly - having 40 offspring overcomes this accumulation). In addition, it would do him well to present some real-life examples.

Thank you.

No reply as of yet.
Page: As Haldane explains in his 1957 paper that Williams puts much stock into and surely has read, a reasonable frequency for a mutant beneficial phenotype in a population is on the order of 0.0001. In a population of 1000, this means that 1 individual has the mutant.
A minor nit-pick. That would be a population of 10,000, not 1000.
So, I'm not a math major J. Minor nit-pick, indeed.
Page: In just 9 generations, the mutant allele reaches fixation in 100% of the population, even without any physical 'removals' of the wild type allele (Keep in mind that under Haldane's model, the population size remained constant. Since Williams puts much stock into Haldane's formulation, he should not argue this point.) And since the mutant is dominant in this scenario, the wild type allele can still remain in the population, that is, it does not even have to be 'replaced' as such.
Dr Page, if a mutant allele reaches 100% fixation in a population, then THE WILD TYPE ALLELE IS GONE! I think you should spend less time talking about your education and how lowly engineers are not qualified to discuss genetics, and more time reading up on genetics! J
I never said all engineers are not qualified to discuss genetics, just those with an agenda and no relevant background education. Well, I did say that I am not a population geneticist, didn't I? Unlike the typical creationist, I do not present myself as being 'expert' in something I am not, such as claiming to be an expert in “Information Theory” by virtue of designing communications systems...
Of course, I am in error here, no doubt about that. The dominant, adaptive Phenotype, however, can become 'fixed' in a population while the wild type allele that governs the phenotype remains.
Page: Regardless, this brings up another interesting conundrum for Williams: ReMine indicates in his book that there must be at least “500,000 genetic changes” between humans and their ape-like ancestor, if evolution is correct.
This overstates Remine's claim. I've loaned out my book, so I'll have to revisit this. I recall Remine stating that 500,000 base pair differences does not intuitively seem to be enough given the 1-3% DNA differences between chimp/man, which amounts to 30-90 million bp.
Williams misrepresents me.

“Take an ape-like creature from 10 million years ago, substitute a maximum of 500,000 selectively significant nucleotides and would you have a poet philosopher? What does that sound like to you?” (p.209)

“Think about it again. Is 1,667 selectively significant nucleotides enough to make a sapien out of a simian?” (p. 217)

Nowehere does ReMine say anything about “given the 1-3% DNA differences between chimp/man, which amounts to 30-90 million bp.”. There are only so many ways to interpret ReMine's claims. The most likely is that he simply cannot believe such a thing, and so he insists that it therefore cannot be true. He is simply appealing to the lay masses – who obviously were/are the target of his pap.
According to the Eyre-Walker and Keightly paper that Williams refers to so endearingly, if we extrapolate their numbers, some 620,000 amino-acid altering mutations have become fixed in the lineage leading to humans in 6 million years†. Clearly, not all would be beneficial (though many deleterious ones are purged by selection, as E-W and K point out), yet ReMine says that not all changes required to account for the phenotypic differences between ancestors and descendants have to be beneficial. Is not 620,000 more than ReMine's number? Inquiring minds want to hear Williams explanation…
Page is again engaging in circular reasoning.
I had already explained that this was presented by someone else. But it is again interesting to see that Williams charges 'circular reasoning' despite the fact that this is just a logical conclusion form the data supplied in a paper that HE heaps accolades on.
This is the same circular argument I refuted earlier, only Page has dressed it slightly differently. The study assumes chimp/man ancestry to arrive at the 4.2 substitution rate that yields 620,000. Page then implies that since 620,000 is more than the alleged 500,000 Remine requirement, it therefore lends credence the chimp/human shared ancestry hypothesis! This is clear circular reasoning, no way around it.
Williams is predictable and entertaining, if nothing else.
He did not refute a thing earlier, unless we are to allow Williams to apply one standard in one instance and another elsewhere. Of course, as is so often the case, Williams applies much too much significance to this. I presented this not as a 'ReMine buster', but as yet another example of how the creationist engages in the application of double standards. Williams has no problem using the Eyre-Walker paper to support his claims, yet when the same paper is used to show problems with his preferred belief, he cries 'circular reasoning.' Enough about that.
Me: It is no surprise to creationists that sexual recombination, in an environment where beneficial mutations are very rare while the vast majority are deleterious to nearly neutral, would 1) reduce the accumulation of harmful mutations when contrasted to an asexual species (clonal lineages), and 2) result in an increased accumulation of beneficial mutation when contrasted to asexual species.

Page: If it is no surprise to creationists, one should wonder why then creation scientists did not discover this benefit of sexual recombination first.
What's to "discover"? It is common sense that the spread of harmful mutation will be slower in a sexual species compared to an asexual species. This is not an earth-shattering observation.
Even less of an excuse for some 'creation scientist' to have produced evidence for this, since we are told that 'creation scientists' were the 'original' scientists and this sort of thing…
Me: Let's assume an environment where there are no deleterious mutations, just beneficial ones. Given this scenario it is quite obvious that the mutation would spread through an asexual species much more rapidly than through a sexual species, as all of the asexual species' offspring will inherit the mutation, as opposed to only half for the sexual species.

Page: This is not obvious at all. If there were no deleterious mutations, then beneficial mutations would by necessity spread throughout a sexual species as well, since those are the only mutations available.
This is population genetics 101. I challenge Dr Page to find any qualified population geneticist who supports his claim that a beneficial mutation will spread through a sexual species just as fast as an asexual species given the deleterious mutation free environment I specified. In a sexual species, only half the offspring will receive a new mutation. The offspring who received the mutation could suffer a genetic death and the story ends there. Population geneticists generally assign a 1 in 50 probability that a beneficial mutation will ever even reach fixation in a sexual species2. For those offspring who do not receive the mutation, at some time in the future their lineage will need to pick this mutation up. Such stringent barriers do not exist in an asexual species since ALL the offspring receive the mutation. In order for the mutation to exit the population, ALL the offspring who received it must suffer a genetic death.
I deal with this laughable gibberish from Williams in the post from the Evolution versus Creation board pasted below. Just a quick clarifiaction for the comprehension-challenged Williams:

I had written, in respopnse to HIS hypothetical scenario in which ONLY beneficial mutations were present:

“"If there were no deleterious mutations, then beneficial mutations would by necessity spread throughout a sexual species as well, since those are the only mutations available.”

Williams, in what I hope is an elaborate joke, interprets this through the creation-colored glasses he wears then responds thusly:

“ I challenge Dr Page to find any qualified population geneticist who supports his claim that a beneficial mutation will spread through a sexual species just as fast as an asexual species given the deleterious mutation free environment I specified.”

I thoroughly rebut this below, but briefly, Williams misrepresents me in a malicious fashion here – that, or he is monumentally ignorant of common English.

“As well” means “too,” not “the same way as”….
Me: It is NOT an advantage to evolution. It is only an advantage when contrasted to asexual reproduction in a harmful mutation environment. Recombination remains an "enigma" to evolution.

Page: How in the world can a reduced accumulation of harmful mutations and an accelerated accumulation of beneficial ones NOT be an advantage to evolution? Why, because Williams says so
Page misses my entire point, again. I will repeat, but with emphasis this time. It is only an advantage when CONTRASTED to ASEXUAL reproduction in a harmful mutation environment. Consider this analogy. You have two men who want to travel across a terrain. Both are given bikes that are the same, except for the size for the tires. Bike 'A' has thin “street” tires, bike 'B' wide “off-road” tires. The optimum surface for efficiency is a flat surface. In a race on such a surface bike 'A' will be have a distinct advantage every time. But as you add bumps to the surface, bike 'A' begins to lose ground, and bike 'B' starts to gain ground. As you make the surface bumpier, at some point bike 'B' becomes the faster and thus more efficient of the two bikes. So under bad race conditions, bike 'B' (analogous to a sexual species) is the better bike, under good race conditions, bike 'A' (the asexual species) is the better bike. But even when bike 'B' is the better bike, it still cannot go as fast as it would if it were racing on a smoother surface. It is still impeded in its progress, but not as much as bike B is impeded.
What a completely irrelevant, inapplicable analogy. No contrasting is necessary. In a 'harmful mutation environment', reducing the number of them that become fixed in the population, via whatever means, is a benefit, no matter how you look at it.
Page: It is not misleading when one understands the entirety of the information presented.
No, it is very much misleading, and you are a testimony to this! Your being misled resulted in you citing the paper as evidence for evolution, when it is no such thing.
I did not present it as “evidence for evolution” – I presented it as evidence that the typical claims of harmful mutations accumulating fast enough to prevent evolution – as is often implied by Williams and his ilk – is in error. And in this it succeeds. Williams misrepresents by position and my rationale, not to mention his malicious claims about the authors of that paper.

Dr Page is incorrect to claim that the Wu paper1 refutes, or for that matter has anything to offer, the problem called Haldane's Dilemma. You cannot use a study that assumes evolution is true to rebut a mathematical model that is void of such assumptions.
This is simply outrageous. For Williams to continue to claim that Haldane's model was NOT premised on evolution simply belies his grasp of the situation. Again, if it were not, what is the rationale for the variable called “selection coefficient” being used at all? If there were no impetus for a population to replace an allele with one that allows the organism to be better adapted – that is, to evolve – why on earth would something called “selection” play a role at all?
Since evolution is a valid assumption – indeed, the only assumption that can accommodate chimp-bonobo ancestry, as I demonstrated above – the Wu paper certainly does damage the assumption that Haldane's model is all-encompassing and set in stone. Williams' refusal to see this, or more likely, his attempt to hand-wave it all away, is indicative of his dogma-driven pseudoscientific beliefs rather than his 'refutation' of anything.
Dr Page is also incorrect to imply that the Rice study3 supports the evolutionist position. The Rice study merely shows the advantage of recombination when contrasted with an asexualspecies in a harmful mutation environment. This is not evidence for evolution, though the paper gives some misleading statements to imply this.
Williams' continued attempts at disparaging Dr.Rice and colleagues is duly noted. Again, I had included the Rice paper because it provided empirical data indicating that the oft-cited 'too many harmful mutations for evolution to occur' schtick is not all it is made out to be.

Williams posted some 'questions' for me based on my last response on the Evolution versus Creation forum linked below. All of these 'questions' were from Williams' “Summary”. He never replied to my response. As his 'questions' for me were identical to his 'summary' , I have deleted Williams' summary and have pasted the verbatim exchange from the below link. Williams' statements are blockquoted only and preceded by "Williams".

http://www.evcforum.net/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000119-2.html [note the date – 2/27/02]

Williams: Scott, I would specifically like to see you address the errors I listed in the summary that I've pasted below. Comments from others also welcome.

Mistakenly claiming that Haldane based his substitution estimate on the observation of peppered moths (Haldane did the opposite, see Haldane 1957, p521)
You sure like p.521. In my copy of Haldane's 1957 paper, on p.521. there is nothing at all about what he based his estimate on. You should notice that on the first page, p. 511, Haldane expends some time explaining the observations seen in peppered moths, and how he will attempt to estimate "the effect of natural selection in depressing the fitness of a species." I committed an error of omission, and should have included the fact that he considered some Drosophila experiments and such as well. However, your claim that he "did the opposite" seems to have no basis in reality.
Williams: Implying that a large population is a bad assumption for evolution (Haldane did the opposite; see Haldane 1960, p351)
You are recklessly misrepresenting me. I claimed no such thing. Quoting from my solid refutation of your original bombast, the times I mentioned population size or Haldane's use of it:

"…premised on unrealistic assumptions (such a s a constant population size), made using observations of phenotypic variation in Peppered moths."

"Williams writes "entire population" for a reason - the connotation of "entire population" is that the population is extremely large, such as the human population of today. This is an unreasonable allusion."

I did, however, say that a constant population size is an unrealistic assumption. But 'constant' does not mean 'large.'

Williams: Claiming that a wild-type allele can still persist in a population even after its mutant allele reaches 100% fixation in the same population!
I see you don't understand what fixation means, or perhaps are unaware of what a dominant allele is. If 100% of a population has a DOMINANT allele, they can still be heterozygous - the individuals can still have a recessive allele for the same locus, and yet they all would exhibit the dominant phenotype.
Oh - let me rewrite that in creationese:
If 100% of a population has a DOMINANT allele, the individuals can still have a recessive allele for the same locus, and yet they all would exhibit the dominant phenotype!

[NOTE added here: I did not explain here that I had erred in my analysis as written. I further expand on this above.]
Williams: Because of his previous error, reaches the erroneous conclusion that a dominate[sic] allele does not need to be replaced, which implies it has no reproductive cost.
More misrepresentation. If the members of a population are homozygous for the wild type, then the replacement of one allele with a dominant mutant will incur your beloved cost. However, the impact of the cost - under realistic assumptions - is not what you continue to claim it is.
Williams: Claiming that a beneficial mutation will spread through a population in a sexual species "as well" as it would in an asexual species, even given an environment free of deleterious mutations. I wonder if there is even one population geneticist in the world who would agree with him.
I really wish that you would put a lid on your shameless attempts at revisionism. That or learn some common colloquial english:


"as well 1 : in addition : ALSO"

I wrote:

"If there were no deleterious mutations, then beneficial mutations would by necessity spread throughout a sexual species as well, since those are the only mutations available."


"Let's assume an environment where there are no deleterious mutations, just beneficial ones."

I am unsure whether you are purposely trying to be annoying, if you are so self-deluded that you simply ignore the context, or that your english really is that poor. Either way, all you are doing is pointing out your incompetence.
Williams: Claims that Wu's study dos *not* assume human/simian ancestry in its determination of the substitution rate.
That is a fact. I already provided the source for their comparison's - OLD WORLD monkey. You previously stated:

"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."

Old world monkeys are not apes. Please retract your erroneous claims and your attempt to rewrite your original error.
[NOTE ADDED HERE: Observe that Williams then changed his phrasing to “simian and human” ancestry, which is correct, then made a stink about how I was 'misrepresenting' him!]
That or provide the exact quotations from their paper pointing out their assumption of human-ape ancestry - as per your ORIGINAL claim - and how it was pivotal in their mutation rate analyses.
Wu's group assumes evolution, of course. There is good reason to.
Re-visits circular reasoning by asking why 620,000 substitutions from the Keightley study is not sufficient to account for simian/human shared ancestry, given the 500,000 he believes Remine set as a minimum.
ReMine did imply that 500,000 is a minimum. Surely, you are familiar with his clumsy prose about making a 'sapien out of a simian'?
Of course, here again we have your conundrum - you endearlingly refer the the E-W and K paper, which assumes not just evolution, but human-ape ancestry, and yet you call it 'circular reasoning' to invite you to discuss additional implications of their study! If you think it circular to look at one aspect, you should similarly dismiss the others. That is, if you are to retain credibility.
The problem is, the Keightley study also arrives at its numbers by first assuming simian/human shared ancestry. Thus, it is circular to use their numbers when contrasting against any arbitrary guestimate of mutations that would separate simian/man.
Well, lets hope that you stop referring to their flawed circular reasoning in your repeated allusions to their deleterious mutation rate.

In reply to Page's addendum, I will only note that I did not accuse the authors of the Genetics paper of circular reasoning. In fact I specifically said: "I doubt if the authors of the study would agree with Page that their estimate invalidates "Haldane's Dilemma. If they did, it would be a classic case of circular reasoning...".
And yet, their results do run counter to Haldane's model. I do not think – nor did I ever think this – that Wu and colleagues set out to refute Haldane – they are not like creationists whose stated goals are to 'refute' evolutionists.

Here is what Williams wrote:
Circular Reasoning The authors of the genetics study arrive at their divergence estimate by comparing intra-species DNA sequences of humans (to determine SNP frequencies), to analogous DNA sequences of old world monkeys…
So what is the problem here? 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. …
Their DNA sequence comparison work is based on this belief
It is all well and good to now claim that he was accusing me, not the authors of circular reasoning, but his own words imply something else.

My Summary

Electrical engineer Fred Williams makes numerous erroneous and often inflammatory claims in this and his previous contributions.
He has engaged in underhanded tactics – such as attempting to change his own claims so as to avoid having to admit error – and as such has revealed his true intentions and motivations.
He either has problems understanding simple english, is purposely deceptive, or is so deluded that he cannot see or simply does not care that he is misrepresenting my words.
In the end, even if we grant his beloved 'Haldane's dilemma' “inerrant and always applicable” status, he is still in trouble, as neither he nor his mentor, ReMine, have produced a single shred of evidence that human evolution could not have occurred, and his preferred “explanation” for observed genetic changes between related creatures is so unsubstantiated and contrary to observed genetic mechanisms as to be the stuff only of bizarre, dogma-driven fantasy.

Fred Williams makes up for his lack of scientific acumen with an overabundance of confidence. This confidence is based on his biblical literalist, absolutist beliefs. He knows that creationism is true. Therefore, he knows that evolution cannot be true. This absolute knowledge translates as confidence, and it can work wonders on the layfolk that know even less than he does about evolution.

And THAT is the real problem…

As I have recently acquired additional duties, I doubt that I will have the time - or the desire, for that matter - to make any substantive replies beyond this one. If Williams responds. I might, at some point, refute his claims, but not in a timely fashion.
I will, from time to time, update/'clean up' this response.


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