Friday, January 19, 2007

What are the speed limits of naturalistic evolution?

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Categories : Intelligent Design

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published: vendredi 19 janvier 2007 5:45:00

What are the speed limits of naturalistic evolution? We know from experience it takes time to evolve a species. Would naturalistic evolution be fast enough in geological time to turn a cow into a whale, an ape-like creature into a human? What are the speed limits of evolution?

To give an illustration of just how hard it might be to evolve a population, consider that there are about 6.5 billion people on the planet geographically dispersed. Suppose a single advantageous mutation (say a single point mutation or indel) occurred in a single individual in one of those 6.5 billion people. How long would it take for that mutation to propagate such that every human on the planet had this mutation? It would be a pretty long time. Sufficient numbers of people would have to have their descendants exchange genes for centuries. And this measly change is but one nucleotide in 3,500,000,000 base pairs!

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