The Flood and Mutation Rates

I normally don’t get too involved in this level of discussion.  It is so obviously wrong that anyone can find totally unresolvable issues with Noah’s Flood.  However, this is a pretty good lesson in genetics and some very interesting requirements.  This is taken from a discussion at After the Bar Closes.

For my understanding:

1) Only 2 allele are found per gene correct?

2) The 700 HLA-A alleles represents the total pool available.

3)  Of these 700 each gene will only have a specific 2 correct?

Thanks for you patience.

My reply was

Right.  One allele from each parent.

An allele is a variant of a gene.  Everyone has two alleles for blood type.  However, there are three alleles.  You know them as A, B, and O.  The AB blood type is just having one allele for A and one allele for B.  I happen to have an ‘A’ allele and a ‘B’ allele… so my blood type is AB.  I got the ‘A’ from my mom (who is blood type A) and the ‘B’ from my dad (who is blood type B).

My kid picked up a ‘B’ allele from me (since I could only give him one of the two and which one he gets from me is effectively random) and an ‘O’ allele from my wife, so he’s blood type ‘B’.

Having two different alleles means you are heterozygous (hetero meaning ‘different’) for that gene.  Having two alleles that are the same means you are homozygous (homo meaning ‘same’) for that gene.

There are 673 HLA-A alleles… all variants for the HLA-A gene.  Every person has two alleles.  That’s all that they can have… one from mom, one from dad*.

So either, after the flood a maximum of 10 alleles** (assuming that everyone on board was heterozygous) somehow mutated into 673 in less than 4000 years (depending on the date of da Flood), which results in sometime like 1 valid mutation every 6 years… in the HLA-A gene.***

Their other choice is front-loading.  Which, simply has been proven wrong.  The human genome would have to contain another 671 HLA-A alleles, another couple hundred HLA-B alleles, another few hundred HLA-C alleles, plus all the blood type alleles, etc. etc. etc.

As I said, the human genome has been sequenced completely****.  Those other alleles were not found.  Therefore, front loading didn’t happen.  Think about it, in 4000 years, with a mutation rate than YECs can accept, there is no way that several thousand alleles would be changed so much as to be impossible to see in the genome… in everyone’s genome.

Another way to think about that last bit is that you must have a population of 340 people to have every possible HLA-A allele expressed.  Given birth rates, if everything went perfectly for Noah and his offspring, then it would still take over 60 years just to have every allele in an expressed position.  And honestly, what is more likely, that every child born will just happen to have two completely unique alleles? or will there likely be some doubling going on?

So a minimum time for this is 60 years, if every parent has two children and all parents and offspring survive to reproduce and all parents have children well into their elderly years (like 80+).  If you assume anything reasonable, the minimum time approaches several hundred years for all HLA-A alleles to be expressed.

Then you have to get rid of all those extra alleles so that they don’t show up when the human genome project finishes some 4000 years later.  It can’t be a lucky mutation in just a few people… it must be a concerted effort to hide the evidence of those hundreds of alleles that now, must not exist in the population of (at a minimum) hundreds of people… and the YECs have less than 4000 years, probably less than 3000 years to do it.  Again, with what we know of mutations and mutation rates, there is no way that these populations would survive the massive mutation rates.  (Remember it has to happen to multiple genes, not just HLA-A.)

Finally, we get into the whole haplotype, which can be used to trace human migration patterns over the course of human existence.  Not only did kids have to be born with unique alleles, but they also had to get those in such a way and then move as to allow certain haplotypes to move into certain regions at the same time.

For example, The Super-B8 haplotype is enriched in the Western Irish, declines along gradients away from that region, and is found only in areas of the world where Western Europeans have migrated. The “A3-B7-DR2-DQ1” is more widely spread, from Eastern Asia to Iberia. (from wikipedia)

This is akin to having a giant jar with thousands of marbles of all different types all mixed up.  You dump the jar out and all the marbles not only roll into groups, but the groups are consistent within each other (all the turtles in one pile, all the aggies in another pile, all the pearls in a different pile).  Again possible, but massively unlikely.

So, in conclusion, to accept the YEC belief, you must accept at least 3 widely improbably claims (not to mention the ark, the animals, feeding, where’d the water come from, where’d it go, depth, heat generated by rainfall, etc, etc, etc).  And all of those claims are directly opposite of what is known to actually occur.

One must ask the question, when did the rules change and why?

Their only option is many, many miracles.  But that’s not science.

*With the exception of a couple of trisomy issues, but those are universally bad.

** 2 from Noah, 2 from his wife, and 6 from the three wives.  Noah’s boys don’t count, because they could only have what Noah and his wife have.  If you make an allowance for mutation in every single allele for the boys (which is highly unlikely), then you could make the claim for 16 alleles.

*** Considering that there is more than one gene with a massive number of alleles, you end up looking at something like 2-3 valid mutations per year in the entire population.  Which is fine if your population is 7 billion.  If your population is 20, that’s a big deal.  And that fact destroys any chance of the YECs saying ‘mutation is bad’, ‘mutation degrades the genome’, ect. etc.  They MUST have massive positive mutation rates… which BTW are way higher than any biologist would consider feasible.

**** well… mostly.  There is a small section (less than 8%) which has not, because of technical reasons.  However, I suspect that will not remain unsequenced for long and does any YEC want to make a bet as to whether all 673 HLA-A alleles are in that 8%?

This entry was posted in Biology, Creationism / ID, Religion, Science, Skepticism and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Flood and Mutation Rates

  1. genrepair says:

    A prevalent mutation every 6 years, that is genetic diversity on steroids??? Maybe Noah’s ark was more like a Carnival cruise line. I wonder if Isaac was tending bar on the mythical love boat.

  2. Pingback: Genetic Mutation since the Flood « Confessions Of A YEC

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