Is This Good for Evolution?

I came across an interesting article recently that links climate change to the idea that homo sapiens evolved from Neanderthals.

But growing credence is being given to the theory that homo sapiens evolved from the Neanderthals, who mysteriously died out some 28,000 years ago.

A new study to be published on Wednesday in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says evidence of huge climate change supports that theory.

The idea is that extended harsh weather caused a dearth of game for the Neanderthals to eat.  This, in turn caused a plummet in population numbers, which supposedly allowed rare mutations to become fixed.  Thus, we have a problem.  Evolution works best with larger populations, because there’s more chances for beneficial mutations and more genetic diversity to work with.

But, there’s another problem as well.  How does a smaller population allow rare mutations to become fixed?  Selection is what allows rare mutations to become fixed, not the population size.  If those rare mutations are deleterious, they should be selected out, and that is even more true with a small population.  Yet, they are proposing something that just doesn’t jibe with evolutionary theory.  I guess it’s all right as long as you claim that it supports evolution in the end, right?  When it’s all based on a worldview where the ends justify the means, instead of science, you can get away with a lot I suppose.

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2 responses to “Is This Good for Evolution?

  1. I would wait on accepting this study. There are several things that don’t seem to fit. Perhaps the reporting is somewhat inaccurate.

    First, modern humans are known from many other areas of the world at the time that this study deals with.

    Second, initial DNA studies find that Neanderthal is not a human ancestor, nor a close relative. Separation from the human line is usually given at some 500,000 years.

    Finally, Professor, you write “When it’s all based on a worldview where the ends justify the means, instead of science, you can get away with a lot I suppose.”

    This describes creation “science” and ID to a fine degree. Both claim to have the final answers (TRVTH) and as a result massage the data to make sure it leads where it is supposed to.

    Science, on the other hand, lets the data lead the way.

  2. Coyote,
    It’s true that the reporting does get it wrong sometimes, so of course we should wait for more evidence. That’s my stance on everything pretty much. There’s always more we can learn and figure out.

    This describes creation “science” and ID to a fine degree. Both claim to have the final answers (TRVTH) and as a result massage the data to make sure it leads where it is supposed to.

    Science, on the other hand, lets the data lead the way.

    That may be true in the case of some creationist ideas, but the rest is pure projection on your part, as the OP points out. Your comment here boils down to nothing more than, “Nuh uh, you’re the not-following-science person, so there.”

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