Milk Genes

I was thinking about lactose tolerance the other day and managed to scrounge up an article that I had remembered reading.  This article relates the findings that lactose tolerance is something that evolved in humans rather recently.

The findings supports the idea that milk drinkers became widespread in Europe only after dairy farming had become established there—not the other way around.

This has been a contentious issue for some time now, about how/when lactose tolerance came about.  The new findings support that lactose tolerance came about after dairy farming was established, and this presents a tough problem for evolution.  Why would humans undertake dairy farming if they couldn’t actually eat/drink dairy products?  This question alone is enough to dispel the evolutionary hypothesis.  If, however, we were designed to drink milk, then it is only natural that we would search for other milk sources that we could utilize.

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11 responses to “Milk Genes

  1. It seems you’re not thinking this through, there are several mutually compatible schemes that would fit:

    1) Do we know that cows were farmed first for milk? Or for meat?

    2) Cheese has effectively zero lactose in it.

    3) Milk would allow women to wean their babies earlier, providing a selective environment for the development of lactose tolerant adults.

    Any or all of these could work.

    Now, let’s examine the design idea:

    Most human populations are lactose-intolerant as adults (except European derived populations). Are you suggesting that these other populations are defective relative to Europeans? Which group was the prototype of the Designer? Or were they independently designed? (And the designer only wanted European populations to be able to enjoy a nice cafe au lait?)

  2. Do you have no responce to the comment I sent you?

    It has been posted at ATBC. Perhaps you will reply there to defend your impossible claims.

  3. factician,
    I’ve thought this through quite well, it is the Darwinist that has not. This is a classic chicken and egg controversy. Even if cows were farmed for meat, how does that relate to milk production? In case you didn’t realize, cattle farming and dairy farming are quite different things. Some cheese has low lactose, but those are not the types of cheese that one would expect a less advanced civilization would partake in. As for weaning, you are assuming that children had lactose tolerance at that time, which is not proven.

    As for defections in other populations, that’s not what I said at all. Nice try.

    Mr. Hurd,
    I’m not sure what response you are talking about. It might have been picked up in the spam filter and I might have missed it. Either way, do you really think that I would go to ATBC where many have a militant mindset against ID and ID practitioners?

  4. Even if cows were farmed for meat, how does that relate to milk production?

    Ummm… everything else being equal, two human populations farming cows, the one that both a) realizes that milk is yummy and high in necessary nutrients and b) develops the lactose tolerance so they don’t get the runs every time they drink milk is going to outcompete the population of humans who are merely using their cows for meat.

    As for weaning, you are assuming that children had lactose tolerance at that time, which is not proven.

    Hmmm… I suppose it’s possible that human milk contained fructose at the time that cows were being domesticated, but it’s considerably simpler to suppose that human milk composition was similar then as it is now. That is, roughly 10% lactose by weight.

    Children are almost always lactose tolerant until weaning. It is after weaning that they develop lactose intolerance (if memory serves, around age 8-12).

    Some cheese has low lactose, but those are not the types of cheese that one would expect a less advanced civilization would partake in.

    The process of making cheese removes the lactose via 2 methods. 1) The fermentation process itself removes lactose. 2) The starting material is curdled milk solids (i.e. protein). No lactose there. Lactose is present in cheese only as a low level contaminant. Even primitive cheeses were likely very low in lactose.

    As for defections in other populations, that’s not what I said at all. Nice try.

    Beg pardon, I didn’t assume that you did. I’m merely trying to make some positive predictions from your model. Would you like to make some predictions about your model and how different populations ended up lactose tolerant and others didn’t? Should we assume lactose intolerance is a genetic disease visited by a vengeful god (a la Behe?) or should we assume that the designer didn’t imagine that all populations would want to have lattes? What are the positive predictions of your model?

    I’ve thought this through quite well

    Wonderful! Then you’ll be able to answer my questions!

  5. factician,

    …the one that both a) realizes that milk is yummy and high in necessary nutrients…

    Remember, those people didn’t have lactose tolerance according to MET, so they would have gotten sick from the milk. Don’t you think they would have figured that out and stopped drinking it, a la the Jews and pork?

    Hmmm… I suppose it’s possible that human milk contained fructose at the time that cows were being domesticated, but it’s considerably simpler to suppose that human milk composition was similar then as it is now. That is, roughly 10% lactose by weight.

    What in the world are you talking about? Please stay on topic.

    Children are almost always lactose tolerant until weaning. It is after weaning that they develop lactose intolerance (if memory serves, around age 8-12).

    And I suppose that it’s not a problem for you to actually show that children then were lactose tolerant?

    As to cheese, why would they even make cheese considering they would be using a substance that they wouldn’t think they could eat? Further, I’m not an expert on cheese, but there are many ways to make cheese, are there not?

    Beg pardon, I didn’t assume that you did. I’m merely trying to make some positive predictions from your model.

    I was born at night, but not last night. Don’t try and peddle your bull here.

    Would you like to make some predictions about your model and how different populations ended up lactose tolerant and others didn’t?

    There are quite a few possibilities here. If front-loading is true, then lactose tolerance could have been an expressed trait that was damaged in other populations. Or, it could have been an instance of design for a specific purpose for that group. Or, most likely, all groups had it and some lost it. This is testable.

  6. Whew. Perhaps I’m not being clear, or perhaps you’re being aggressive. Relax. I’m just trying to have a conversation here.

    All* human children are lactose tolerant. Even children in populations that are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance doesn’t become an issue until children are older. (*I hate to say all children, because of course there are children with pathologies, but children who are in primitive societies who are lactose intolerant cannot nurse. And will almost certainly die of starvation at a very young age, removing themselves from consideration here).

  7. And, would you expect that the norm is that all children would be lactose tolerant and all adults not, until some adults developed tolerance (isn’t this verging on Larmarckian evolution)?

  8. Let’s consider acquisition of lactose tolerance as a Lamarckian and Darwinian evolution:

    1) Lamarckian. Normal children are able to drink milk, but adults are not. One day, an adult *wants* to drink some milk, so he does, and immediately becomes lactose tolerant. He passes this trait to his offspring.

    2) Darwinian. Normal children are able to drink milk, but adults are not. Of the thousands of primitives farming cows in Europe, one of them finds that he doesn’t get fierce diarrhea when he drinks milk. He continues to drink milk, and discovers he likes it. He gets fat, and has more energy to reproduce. His children also are able to drink milk. Eventually, this tribe starts making war on neighboring tribes, and the fact that they have a source of fat and sugar in their diet gives them the extra energy to conquer their neighbors, and reproduce with healthier children than their neighbors, etc, etc.

    Does this help?

  9. No, not really. My comment about Lamarckian evolution was aimed at the fact that your comment seemed like it might be headed in that direction. I find it to be just as improbable as you.

    For point number 2, it still doesn’t make sense why the ability to digest lactose would not be present in adults by default and then simply become present. What was the selection that allowed this? How did one person achieve this and then lodge it into the population? Evolution works on populations, not individuals. Perhaps you didn’t know that. Either way, the Darwinist story is just not adding up.

  10. Well, if you are that delicate, read my refutation of your silly comment and reply here. We can do a creationist two-step.

  11. You haven’t refuted anything. And, I’m not a creationist, so save your breath.

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