Side Comments on Suarez and Swamidass


(George) #21

Does your analysis change if you refer to “Genealogically Descended” instead of Genetically Descended?

(Antoine Suarez) #22

Thanks Josh!

To avoid talking at cross purposes I would like to provide some clarification.

Regarding the theological question of “original sin” I endorse the following position:

Transmission of original sin is NOT bound to the fact that humanity is genetically or genealogically descended from a single primeval couple.

Regarding “genetically descended”,
my proof (presented in my previous posts) works like the well known proof by contradiction (or “reduction to the absurd") in mathematics: “if some statement were true, a logical contradiction occurs, hence the statement must be false”.

Now you (@Patrick and @John_Harshman) seem to claim that:

On the basis of available methods and results we can exclude with certainty that humanity is descended from a single primeval couple, if we assume this couple is more recent than 6 million years ago, that is, the bifurcation separating the taxa pan and homo.

Such a claim would strongly reinforce my argument by contradiction, and actually I have advanced it already in my peer reviewed articles on this topic.

On the other hand, Joshua states [I insert here again my quote of Joshua’s statement already quoted in post 4 to this thread]:

So I would be thankful to know whether or not you three would agree with the following statement:

On the basis of the available results through computational analysis of genetic divergence we can exclude with certainty that humanity is descended from a single couple, if we assume these characters were more recent than 700,000 years ago.

Thanks in advance for suggesting corrections to the preceding statement.

Regarding “genealogically descended”,
my proof proceeds by reference to human Extraterrestrials, as we are arguing in the main thread of this “Side Comments” thread.

(John Harshman) #23

“Certainty” isn’t a word science is comfortable with. “High confidence”? And I would say that we can exclude this “with reasonable confidence” back past the divergence of the human lineage from the Old World monkey lineage.

All this is referring to the bottleneck scenario. If we’re talking about fiat creation of humans, we can exclude that with high confidence based on the genomic and fossil records that show us related to the rest of life. (Always barring a deceptive creator.)


Can you clarify or lead me to a website on this? Thanks.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #25

In my view, @John_Harshman is overstating current knowledge here. This line of evidence might exclude it in the future but has not yet.

I disagree with this.

This continues to be my assessment. If and when that changes, it will be noted prominently.

(John Harshman) #26

Well, they could have been if you discount the evidence 1) from conserved allelic variation, 2) from phylogenetics, and 3) from the fossil record. The evidence against a bottleneck of 2 is less extensive than the evidence against separate creation of humans.

(John Harshman) #27

The point is that if there are any loci with more than four alleles that we share with other primates, there can’t have been a bottleneck of two individuals. The tree shown in Figure one here demands at least 6 alleles at that locus. Joshua would say that we can’t rule out convergence, but then again neither can we assume convergence. I expect that more sequencing effort would locate more alleles at more loci, but nobody is really interested in testing various Genesis scenarios. You have to wait until sequences are the byproduct of ordinary scientific research.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #28

Once again, @John_Harshman we discussed this at length. In a couple loci their might be transpecies variation more than 4 alleles, however this also might be convergent evolution.

You can maintain your scientific opinion on this uncertainty. This is a far diminished case than has been understood before. We need more data to sort it out. It is not a settled question.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #29

@swamidass I think that you are picking a conclusion first - that there was a bottleneck of two and then you are finding data to support this conclusion. As you know that is not how real science is done. You analyse all the data, you do more and more analysis until an hypothesis emerges, then you test the hypothesis and analyze some-more until a conclusion is reached. Realize that science doesn’t care about the Adam and Eve story. I am more interested whether I got a diabetes gene from my Neanderthal ancestors and what can be done about it now to prevent/cure/treat the large number of mutant genes in every one of my cells.

(John Harshman) #30

What isn’t a settled question? A bottleneck of 2 or separate creation of humans? We were discussing both, you know.

Convergent evolution is conceivable, but is it the most likely hypothesis given current data? Unfortunately, until there’s more population-level sequencing of several primate species, what we see is all we have.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #31

Merely the bottleneck. The special creation + bottleneck created the issues you describe.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #32

Not even a little bit true.

I’m testing a hypothesis that I do not even personally think has much theological or religious value at all. @John_Harshman and I agree on this assessment:

We do not know yet, but there certainly isn’t any unequivocal evidence against a bottleneck. This could change in the future. We both encourage this inquiry, but it is to difficult for us to undertake on our own. Perhaps others will collect the data and we can analyze it here at a future date.

With this assessment in mind, this is a correct statement:

And @John_Harshman is sort of correct here.

We have, for very good scientific reason discounted all these lines of evidence.

(John Harshman) #33

Who are “we”? Why would you discount the conserved allelic variation? It isn’t conclusive, but should it be ignored? It’s evidence against sole-genetic progenitorship. The rest can’t be discounted, as it’s completely conclusive. Unless you’re talking about a bottleneck, in which case it’s irrelevant, but then “discounted” isn’t the correct word.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #34

Discount does not equal ignore. It means precisely what you wrote here:

It is not definitive yet. Maybe it will be soon.

(John Harshman) #35

Yeah, that’s not what “discount” means; it refers, in context, to considering worthless. So we both agree that the allele data are not conclusive but are certainly suggestive. I’m still at a loss to understand what you mean by discounting the fossil and phylogenetic data.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #36

It certainly is not worthless. It is just not definitive. We are on the same page. We just need to be clear with people that it is not currently ruled out, but it might be in the future. We can’t tell clearly yet from evidence. The way you were explaining it, it seemed like you were arguing it had been ruled out clearly by evidence.

Of course, you are convinced its likely it will be ruled out. I’m more agnostic. It certainly is not high on my priority list to settle the question at the moment.

(John Harshman) #37

One of my functions here is to attempt to force clarity on you. (You’re welcome.) One way to achieve unclarity is to use pronouns without referents, as here. I have asked about allelic data, fossil data, and phylogenetic data. You have claimed to “discount” all three. I have asked why, even given your favored definition of “discount”, you discount the last two.

Now, why do I suppose that we will find good evidence against a bottleneck of 2? First, because frequency-dependent selection should act to preserve many alleles. Second, because a bottleneck of 2 is much more likely to result in extinction than any other outcome and thus has a low probability of being in the ancestry of any species. (Mind you, we do have examples of what are apparently bottlenecks of 1, i.e. allopolyploid speciation, but most of those probably result in quick extinction too.)

(Antoine Suarez) #38

My claim is:

Transmission of “original sin” is NOT bound to genetic descent from a single couple.

Now you John state:

Science can exclude with “high confidence” but NOT with certainty a bottleneck of 2, if we assume these characters were more recent than 700,000 years ago.

Therefore I cannot prove my claim by stating that “genetic descent from a single couple” is ruled out with certainty by the available methods and results.

In conclusion, to prove my claim I best use first my argument by contradiction, and then in support of my argument add the statement:

the assumption of genetic descent from a single couple is ruled out by the available scientific methods and results with high confidence, if one assumes this couple is more recent than 700,000 years ago.

I would be thankful to know whether you all agree to this last statement in bold.

(John Harshman) #39

Yes. However, “prove” is another word one doesn’t use in science. What does any of this have to do with your claim?

(Antoine Suarez) #40

As a quantum physicist I dare to say that a main work in Physics and Mathematics consists in “proving” theorems.

Are you claiming these domains of knowledge are not science?