Mito and Y-MRCA Appears to Rule Out Recent Bottleneck


Of course not. I’ll just be honest about what I see.

I’m not arguing for falsehood. I’m arguing for honesty.

As I understand it, the data is solidly against YEC. I do not need a strawman model of YEC to demonstrate that. I it seems even the strongest models fail. Nonetheless, it serves no one to overstate the case. While I cannot see how it can work with all the data (or even just the genetic data), why resort to a strawman argument? I’d rather come up with even better arguments then they have put forward. If the data cannot even fit that sympathetic read, it makes the case against YEC stronger. If an angle does work, that becomes interesting too!


It has been brought to my attention that this not at all obvious what is wrong with science in that article. Sorry about that. I suppose I’m just a bit idiosyncratic. A few clear errors:

  1. They used an absurdly unrealistic mutation rate (about 100 to 200 times higher than all other human DNA). Dr. J attempts to justify this in a referenced paper, but he is incorrectly reading the data. The justification of this is so wrong that their own data table can be reject with a p-value of 0.000672. Admittedly that is not so obvious. Using the right data would have shown the “evolutionary theory” bar matching perfectly the data, but the YEC bar far to low.
  2. The more obvious problem is that they did not include y-Chromosome data, which is a key corroborating control. Y Chromosome mutation rates independently determined by three methods (which is not possible for mtDNA). While there is no way to directly determine mtDNA mutation rates, we can do so several different ways for Y Chromosome; and it matches the phylogenetic rate reasonably closely.

The exclusion of the Y-Chromosomal DNA seemed to be the most obvious exclusion. That is what I though everyone would pick up on.

Also, there is nothing intrinsic to evolutionary theory that says mt-MRCA must be 180,000 years ago. That is not an assumption, but a finding. If it did turn out that the MRCA was more recent, there is no real problem. The real challenge for evolutionary theory would have come if the directly measured mutation rates were totally different than the phylogenetically (i.e. distance) determined rates (because rate * time * 2 = distance) without a good explanation for why this was so. Once again, stability in rates is not required by evolutionary science.

It turns out that the experimentally determined rates are close to the phylogenetically rates, so this is an example of how evolutionary theory is experimentally verifiable and predictive. Any how, sorry if that puzzle annoyed you. I’ll be more direct next time.


Bill Dembski has expressed some regret at having been bound to a young-earth creed during his employment at a religious institution/school. He ultimately left for work in another field. I am sympathetic to the notion that one must find a means of providing for one’s family while trying to balance one’s conscience with the work entailed. There is often not a perfectly comfortable situation.

That said, I’m not completely sympathetic. There are other jobs and other ways of earning a living that do not require affirming a false oath. And exactly what are the funds of AIG paying for? Sequence comparison and analysis of existing data sets does not require deep piles of money. It’s actually pretty cheap and something one can easily do on a home PC or for a few dollars on a virtual machine one can spin up on the Amazon Cloud Services. That’s something anyone could fund out of pocket themselves (cheaper than golf or fishing as a hobby). So, what can AIG provide that one couldn’t get from networking with others without a burdensome oath? I seriously doubt AIG has access to the level of funding required to set up a serious biological research lab that performs much of its own sequencing, cloning and biochemical characterization work. In contrast, if one worked in a decent academic or private-sector lab, I think they could easily run side projects in their spare time with the excess resources available in those facilities.

I wouldn’t call this dishonesty. Having freely taken such an oath despite the myriad of other options available, I think one should assume it is an honestly held belief of the person who takes it.


Key passage: “At times”. Meaning, there is perfectly good work out there that suggests the ‘recent bottleneck’ models don’t hold up well even if one incorporates heterozygosity in Adam and Eve.

I fully support using the best science to evaluate any proposition and calling out shortcomings when they appear.


People get the impression that YECs have suggested the cloning idea, because YECs like Creation Ministries has said stuff like this.

There is an intriguing possibility that Eve was a clone of Adam. The science of cloning involves taking DNA from an organism and using it to manufacture an almost perfect copy of the original. Here, God is taking a piece of flesh, with cells, organelles, and, importantly, Adam’s DNA, and using it to manufacture a woman. Of course, she could not be a perfect clone, because she was a girl! But what if God had taken Adam’s genome and used it to manufacture Eve? All he would have had to do was to leave out Adam’s Y chromosome and double his X chromosome and, voilá, instant woman!”

They go on to say this later.

“There are indications, however, that Eve may not have been a clone.”

But they still say the cloning idea is one of two available possibilities. Meanwhile, another YEC organization says this.

“Since Eve was made from one of Adam’s ribs [Genesis 2:21-22], she would have been a clone of Adam and, had there been any genetic mutation in Adam, this would have been reproduced in Eve and expressed in their offspring.”

So before AiG get all outraged about strawmen, they should check what other YECs are saying.


Some have taken homozygous clone position, and even YECs agree that is not plausible. To demonstrate that the position does not match the evidence, you have to deal with the best of their models, not the worst.


I do wish someone would keep track of their best models… Or better, if there was some clearinghouse of failed models.