Evolution destroyed in 5 minutes!

I can’t believe how embarrassed I am for Eric Hovind and John Harris. Eric is, of course, the son of Kent Hovind, which is humiliation enough, and John is the director of Living Waters Europe, so you’d think being shackled to that doofus Ray Comfort would make you reluctant to appear in public, but no, they now appear together in a video that has them capering ludicrously and giggling like maniacs because, oh boy, they’ve got those evolutionists now. They have a knock-’em-dead argument against evolution (it’s always against evolution, because they lack a defensible alternative) that will finally finish off evolution, and it’s so simple they can present it in 5 minutes. Except they don’t. This is a 40 minute video.

Discover “How to Destroy Evolution in 5 Minutes.” Using the lens of mathematics to critically examine the evolutionary timelines from chimp DNA to human DNA renders Evolution, once again, IMPOSSIBLE!

This compelling argument has left evolutionists speechless as they watch their evolutionary science foundation implode.

Join Eric Hovind and John Harris, Director of Living Waters Europe, for an insightful look at one of the most compelling arguments against evolution you will ever hear!

I’m sure they do leave many people speechless. I know I was stunned when I heard it, because it was so appallingly stupid and grossly overhyped. You can skip the first 30 minutes of the video, because it’s just John and Eric patting each other on the back, bragging about how sciencey they are, and rehashing bits of biology 101 (“this is what DNA looks like…”) that are completely irrelevant to their argument, and boasting about how they’ve left people completely convinced that they’ve destroyed science and are now going to church. It’s extremely obnoxious, especially when you get to their actual argument, which is abysmally unimpressive.

It’s Haldane’s Dilemma. It goes in cycles, where very few years some creationist rediscovers this idea, and goes raving looney claiming that they’ve disproven evolution, and then slowly goes quiet as evolutionary biologists look at them funny and then ignore them. It was first brought up by JBS Haldane in 1957. Haldane was a great scientist, not a creationist, and he brought it up as a potential problem in population genetics that needs to be resolved. It was the problem of substitutional load, that for a mutation to go to fixation involved a cost to the population, since replacement of one allele by another involved the virtual death of members of that population over time. So how could we possibly get enough mutations to transform a chimp-like animal into a person, since surely there are a vast number of genetic changes between the two? Haldane didn’t know how many, but must be lots, right?

Very smart people — much smarter than John & Eric, who know nothing about biology or evolution — wrestled with this problem, but the real question was not whether evolution could occur, but where was the error in Haldane’s assumptions or calculations. As molecular biology proceeded onward, undaunted by a theoretical problem, it was discovered that populations were hugely polymorphic, that is, contained a huge reservoir of widespread variation, that was incompatible with Haldane’s Dilemma. Either the premises for the math was wrong, or plants and animals existed in defiance of the natural laws of the universe.

Evolutionary biologists quickly figured out the flaw. Most of that variation is neutral and can accumulate with little cost. Gosh, empirical reality overcomes the theory, especially the relatively primitive theory of the 1950s. Creationists did not get the memo, though, and every few years they bring up Haldane’s calculations as if they were an evolution-stopper, rather than an early step in figuring out the dynamics of population genetics.

You can skip the whole video, though. It’s only appeal is the spectacle of watching two bozos engaged in a 40-minute pratfall. Here’s their ultimate evolution-killing calculation, presented at about the 30 minute mark.

Note that they are bending over backwards to use numbers that will favor evolution, which is why so much of this calculation is nonsense. Humans and chimps differ by 1% of their genome (it’s more like 3%, but OK), which means there are about 30 million base pairs that differ (they neglect the fact that these are two independently evolving lineages so each needs 15 million changes…let’s forget that, since their numbers throughout are so silly.) That means that in 10 million years at the rate of 1 beneficial mutation (an absurd number) every 20 years, the population can accumulate at most 500,000 beneficial mutations. But we need 30 million! Oh noes!

Every lay person will be baffled by the numbers and will be confused. Every evolutionary biologist will look at it in shock and wonder why this idiot is roaming the streets unsupervised.

You won’t be taken aback. You’ll note that the assumption of 30 million (or 100 million, or whatever) beneficial mutations is false, since most of the differences are neutral or nearly so, so we can just throw away the whole estimate. You might also comment on the fact that their formula is very linear, assuming that evolution is a long march forward, steadily adding beneficial mutations progressively to produce us humans, rather than a process of constantly branching diversification. You’ll also acknowledge that sexual recombination allows genes to evolve in parallel and be reshuffled into novel arrangements. Their little demo disproves creationist evolution, which is an entirely different process than biological evolution.

There’s little point in engaging with anyone presenting this level of ignorance and misinformation. Just pat them on the head, give them a lollipop, and encourage them to stay in school.


  1. patricklinnen says

    Point #6 is wrong as well. More than one gene alteration can occur per generation to be passed onto the next.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    The Brits have had 14 years of pratfalls, the fun wears off surprisingly fast.
    Looking at them, I wonder how damaged Eric has become by having Kent as dad. Thinking of another infamous Eric with an infamous dad I almost feel sorry. Almost.
    BTW -is it possible to define how much of the difference between species is due to wossname (myelination ?) of DNA?

  3. Ada Christine says

    This compelling argument has left evolutionists speechless as they watch their evolutionary science foundation implode.

    I’m sure they’re speechless, but not because the foundations of the science of evolution are imploding.

  4. Reginald Selkirk says

    Their little demo disproves creationist evolution, which is an entirely different process than biological evolution.

    Yes, which clarifies why they think that humans evolved from modern chimpanzees, rather than both evolving from a common ancestor; and why they think that humans are better than chimpanzees, thus the need for all the mutations to be beneficial. Their diagram is a ladder.

  5. Dunc says

    What sort of numbers do you get if you apply this line of reasoning to the question of whether it is possible that I am descended from my parents?

  6. John Harshman says

    30 million is low. Humans and chimps differ by about 40 million mutations: 35 million point mutations and 5 million indels and a smattering of other rare events. Mostly neutral or nearly so, of course.

    It’s all in the original chimp genome paper: The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium. Initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome. Nature 2005; 437:69-87.

  7. raven says

    Humans and chimps differ by 1% of their genome (it’s more like 3%, but OK), which means there are about 30 million base pairs that differ …

    This point jumped out right away.

    The vast majority of those 30 million base pair differences will be neutral.
    The number of genes that define humans and chimpazees morphologically through developmental biology will be much smaller.

    To put this in perspective, any two humans will differ by up to 3 million base pairs. And yet, they are still humans.

    To put the 0.1% genetic diversity estimate into perspective, it is useful to remember that humans have approximately 3 billion base pairs in a haploid cell. Thus, any pair of humans differs by approximately 3 million base pairs.

    Genetic Variation and Human Evolution – ASHG
    ASHG https://www.ashg.org › uploads › 2019/09 › gen..

  8. imback says

    @2 birgerjohansson. Are you thinking of epigenetic inheritance? That is inheritance of stuff outside the base pairs. Myelination is stuff outside the nerves.

  9. says

    If you listen to the video (not recommended) they congratulate themselves repeatedly for steel-manning evolution by using fake numbers that favor the evolutionists. So don’t get hung up on the specific numbers, it’s the concept that they don’t understand.

  10. OverlappingMagisteria says

    Ok… so let’s apply this same math to some of their claims. Noah’s ark supposedly happened 4,000 years ago. Creationists claim that, to avoid over-crowding, Noah did not have to bring each species of animal, only two of each “kind.” So after the flood, two “cat kind” of animal evolved adapted into house cats, tigers, pumas, etc.

    Lions have 3.4 billion base pairs
    House cats and Lion DNA differs by about 4%
    Lion generation is about 4 years
    They got 4,000 years in order to evolve (Well, actually much less since lions are mentioned in Judges and Daniel, but let’s be generous and pretend that they just recently appeared.)

    Doing the math we need 136 million base pair changes. If we take their arbitrary number of 1 “beneficial mutation” per generation, they can only get 1,000 beneficial mutations. That’s not enough. Ergo, they debunked themselves.

  11. seversky says

    And how do Eric and John account for this fern – Tmesipteris oblanceolate – that has a genome size of 160 billion base pairs compared to our mere 3 billion? Ferns and onions must be much more difficult to decribe?

  12. rietpluim says

    @seversky #11
    Easy — It takes 157 billion generations from human to Tmesipteris oblanceolate.

  13. larpar says

    OK, evolution is destroyed (it’s not). What’s the evidence for creationism?

  14. says

    These are arrogant, knuckle-dragging, xtian terrorists whose thinking will never ‘evolve’. What a waste of oxygen and electrons.

  15. trichostalker says

    Extreme breeds of dog are more genetically dissimilar than humans and chimps. And yet, we’ve seen dogs diverge in real time via artificial selection in about 20,000 years, or approximately 20,000 generations. This is far less than the 500,000ish generations that have occurred since the divergence between humans and chimps. Maybe you can argue that canids and hominids evolve differently, or that artificial selection is more extreme than natural mechanisms of evolution. But, you can’t argue that it’s mathematically impossible when we’ve seen a similar rate in mammals with our own collective eyes.

  16. birgerjohansson says

    Imback @ 8
    Thank you. That is it.
    I am referring to -for instance- how the famine in Holland 1944 affected people in the second generation afterwards, despite not being genetic.

    BTW is methylation the reason of how we can get along with (relatively) few genes, by having an additional layer of information imposed on the genes?

  17. unclefrogy says

    I do not get it. Why do these type of religious fanatics insist that reason and real science should prove the truth of their beliefs and religion?
    When the simple truth is that Noah accomplished the task “god” gave him with the aid of “gods” divine magic. just like in the story of the “loaves and the fishes.” in the “new testament”
    Instead they come up with elaborate arguments that only prove that they do not understand how science works nor the nature of the reality they live in.
    it is profoundly pathetic

  18. birgerjohansson says

    In regard to neutral mutations, I have wondered about species that display very little morphological change over very long time periods. They have apparently found a very stable ecological niche.
    Are the same set of genes in play, or is genetic drift gradually replacing them with new genes that just serve the same purpose and lead to the same end result?

  19. birgerjohansson says

    Unclefrogy @ 19

    The best demonstration of the absurdity was in an episode of Family Guy: On one hand evolution, on the other hand Jeannie from “I Dream of Jeanie” doing her magic genie stuff, going ‘boinngh’ and making living organisms appear by magic.

  20. birgerjohansson says

    Loaves and fishes, etc.
    Eru Illuvatar at least sang creation into existence, putting an effort into an estetically pleasing result. Jahwe/El presumably left the heavy lifting to the angels.

  21. Rob Grigjanis says

    birgerjohansson @22: It was the Music of the Ainur, not the Music of Eru.

  22. nomdeplume says

    Look I realise I am becoming more stupid with advancing years, but i cannot see what Haldane’s “dilemma” consists of in the real world. “mutation to go to fixation involved a cost to the population … involved the virtual death of members of that population over time” – so what?

  23. nomdeplume says

    Thanks John, but I’m none the wiser. That a population gradually fixes favourable mutations over the course of some number of generations seems to me to be just stating the bleedin’ obvious… But don’t worry, foggy brain probably.

  24. says

    Look at it this way: selection is a process that stresses a population. There are limits to how much stress the population can take before it is unable to maintain itself.

    Take the situation to a logical extreme. Say you’ve got a really great mutation, a superman gene that gives the person bearing it extreme advantages, that allows them to survive a detrimental environmental condition that kills everyone else, reducing the population size to some tiny rump of its former self. This is not a good situation to be in, because now they’re vulnerable to a second environmental condition that wipes them out.

    That’s the cost of selection. You risk losing some advantageous traits if you select for just one trait. Look at dogs: we can breed for extremes, but those Pekinese are not going to survive the pandemic that wipes out humanity.

  25. KG says

    those Pekinese are not going to survive the pandemic that wipes out humanity.

    Now I want to write an SF story in which, following the pandemic that wipes out humanity – and all dogs apart from the Pekinese, which have innate resistance to the virus – Pekinese evolve into an intelligent, too-making species, and eventually resurrect humanity as pets, while breeding them for various life-shortening and painful characteristics which they think look “cute”!

  26. Jazzlet says

    Pretty much off topic, but . . . One of my pets hates is how often film and tv show some scene set in a dystopia where society has long collapsed, and they use a pack of dogs running wild, maybe even attacking our heroes, and all the damn dogs are pedigrees. Throws me right out of the story.

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