Molecular Genetics of Whale Evolution


No we do not. God could have created us in a number of ways. Each organism could be made with radically different body plans, each out of different materials etc. He used common descent but he could have used any method. And A PRIORI we have no reason to expect a particular method of creation. Not sure why you are finding this problematic. Pretty uncontroversial and you can find it in many papers, books, etc.


Design makes no predictions about what kind of patterns we should see. Common ancestry does. The fact that we see those patterns is evidence favoring CA over D. And yes, I knkw CA isn’t opposed to design.


Let me quote Purdue University philosopher of religion Paul Draper: " Consider, for example, the special creationist who claims a high degre of similarity in the biochemistry of all known life forms is not surprising on special creationism and hence provides no evidence favoring evolutionary theory over special creationism. His premise is correct, but his inference faulty. The antecedent probability of such a high degree of similarity is very high given evolutionary theory. And while a high degree of similarity is not at all surprising on special creationism, it is antecedently improbable on special creationism because it is no more likely on special creationism than a high or middling or low or very low degree of similarity. So this evidence against special creationism would likely not be appreciated unless one is careful to evaluate the evidence using antecedent conditional probabilities rather than a notion of Epistemic surprise."



fine. there are 3 possibilities under the id scenario:

  1. this difference is because of design feature
  2. this difference is because of neutral mutations (molecular clock)
  3. this difference is because of natural selection

as for the first option: we know that many designed objects have similar external structure but different internal structure. for instance i gave an electric car. i think that we both agree that an electric car is more similar to an electric truck then to a regular car. although its external look is more similar to a regular car.

as for the second option: in this case we can get a similar result (to a common descent) if those creatures were made in a different time by the designer. for instance: if both human and chimp were made by the designer about 5-7 my ago we will get a similar result to a common descent, even if both were made separately. in this case we only need to a ssume that they were very similar to each other at their creation event. since we already know that even very different creatures are very similar at the genetic level there is no problem for the id scenario here.

  1. we have several evidence against the molecular clock. so even if we ignore my point above we can still accept id\creation without a scientific problem.

as for the third point: its basiclaly means that the mouse or the rat genome was undner a strong selective pressure, and this is why they are so different at the genetic level but not so much at the morphological one. again: id has no scientific problem here since its only variation on the same genes of both chimp\human\rat and mice.

to sum up: we can explain all of this without using evolution theory. therefore we dont need evolution theory to explain this obsevation.


first see my response to prof swamidass.

why not? we can talk about cars with the ability to reproduce with variations. in this case the analogy is great since it use traits of living things.


I am buried with work right now so I can’t get into this to the degree that I would like. It is probably a mistake to comment at all since I can’t follow up for a while, but yes, as I read the text of Genesis one that is pretty much what is going on. God commands nature itself to do something- with plants that happened. With animals God had to subsequently assist creation- it could not get to work doing what He commanded without His help. This is just the kind of world suitable for people like us because we can’t either. We are in a creation subjected to futility and it can’t do His will without His help. It was meant to be like theistic evolution, but this creation (unlike the land above) could not pull it off. That is what the text is saying when you scrutinize it closely.

The 100 year old tree parable is not something I have read before, but I am familiar with the arguments it makes, none of which are applicable to what I am trying to say (and what I am trying to say does not fit neatly into either camp so I would not expect there to be a lot of stock arguments for or against it.)

Now that does not mean that His intervention in the past is not discernible, it may be but with the mind-set both sides have now no one will even think to look. It would be subtle, because theistic evolution was the intent, but it needed Divine intervention to play out as He intended. That is all I have time for now…


Why could plants get the job done but not animals?


If you accept an ancient earth (including ancient humans) and natural selection, what is it that you object to in the theory of evolution and why?


15 posts were split to a new topic: Common Descent: Humans and Chimps / Mice and Rats


I found an article from one of my science newsfeeds this morning: Whole-genome sequencing of the blue whale and other rorquals finds signatures for introgressive gene flow

I haven’t read it yet, but it might be relevant to the conversation.


It says, among other things, that a branch of baleen whales called the “rorquals” took 3 million years to diverge. When it happened, three lines split off quickly, but it took 3 million years of building with some gene flow before the breaking point. I just keep looking at that first chart with Pakicetus and the Ambulocetus where they are shown about 200K apart even though the differences between say, a blue whale and a finback whale are very small compared to that. Indeed those two may still be cross-fertile.


@T.j_Runyon (@swamidass)

I wonder if your views are so widely embraced by the Young Earth Creationists you seem to be defending.

Why are you convinced that God used common descent, if you think it is perfectly logical for God to have
used different methods just as easily?

Why would God select just a few primates to have a broken Vitamin C gene? The point of your objection doesn’t answer the question: Why would God go through so much effort to make it look like he used Evolution, if Evolution wasn’t a fundamental tool for God’s creation?



Nice article ! Here is the abstract for it:

Reconstructing the evolution of baleen whales (Mysticeti) has been problematic because morphological and genetic analyses have produced different scenarios. This might be caused by genomic admixture that may have taken place among some rorquals. We present the genomes of six whales, including the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), to reconstruct a species tree of baleen whales and to identify phylogenetic conflicts.

Evolutionary multilocus analyses of 34,192 genome fragments reveal a fast radiation of rorquals at 10.5 to 7.5 million years ago coinciding with oceanic circulation shifts. The evolutionarily enigmatic gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) is placed among rorquals, and the blue whale genome shows a high degree of heterozygosity. The nearly equal frequency of conflicting gene trees suggests that speciation of rorqual evolution occurred under gene flow, which is best depicted by evolutionary networks. Especially in marine environments, sympatric speciation might be common; our results raise questions about how genetic divergence can be established."

The sentence I put a bold emphasis on, regarding fast radiation, once again demonstrates that the pace of Evolution has a lot to do with an life form’s population being able to respond to a propitious wave of environmental changes … - - “catching the wave” of changes that are most likely to lead to changes in form and structure.

If there hadn’t have been suitable areas where strong-finned walking fish could move up onto land easily, as well as having something to eat up on the land, evolution from fish to tetrapod could have been delayed for millions of years more.

If the planet-killing asteroid had not wiped out the giant marine reptiles, there might not have been as much of a reason for a land mammal to start foraging for food in the ocean margins - - fish populations appear to have become quite large in the absence of constant reptile predation. But, further, if carnivorous terrestrial dinosaurs were still roaming the continents, no land mammal could have become big enough to survive hunting for fish in coastal waters . . . there are no “tiny otters” in the world’s inventory of marine mammals.


I believe God used evolutionary processes. I believe there are good reasons a priori and a posteriori to think he would do so. I’m not sure in what universe I’m defending YEC. I’m arguing against their interpretation of the data…


A post was split to a new topic: Does Evolution Rule Out God?


Evolutionary theory explains this mathematically and quantitatively. Show me the math by which you arrive at 10x more different.


actually the time were mouse and rat split off is estimate to be between 10-30 my. so its not realy a prediction (300% different).


In science when quoting a date there is always an error bar quoted as well to give an indication of how precise the measurement was. In this case split occurred 20 mya +_ 10 my


an error bar of 300%?


Sure why not. Error bars tend to come down as more measurements are done, measurement technology improves. Cosmology had huge error bars in the time of Hubble and Einstein. Now with very sensitive measurement the error bars are less than 1%