Three years ago we wrote Discoveroids Defend Their ‘Adam & Eve’ Model. That was about work done by Ann Gauger (a/k/a “Annie Green Screen”) about a “research project” she was involved in to test whether humanity could have come from a single first pair of humans. Her work was done together with Ola Hössjer — that’s his page at Stockholm University. We regard him as a Discoveroid fellow-traveler.
Today there’s more news about this epic collaboration at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog. It’s titled New Bio-Complexity Paper: We Could Have Come From Two, written by none other than Annie Green Screen. As you know, she works in obscurity at the Discoveroids’ clandestine creationist research facility, Biologic Institute. The work done there sometimes appears in the Discoveroids’ captive “peer reviewed” journal, BIO-Complexity. Annie’s work was so sensitive that the interior of her lab could never be seen by outsiders. You can read all about that in Klinghoffer Defends Photo Trickery.
That’s enough background. Let’s get to the news. Here are some excerpts from Annie’s new post, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. It begins with an editor’s note:
Editor’s note: We’d like to announce a new paper by Swedish mathematician Ola Hossjer and Biologic Institute Senior Research Scientist Ann Gauger in the journal Bio-Complexity. The new research describes scientific work that demonstrates that it’s possible for the human species to have originated with a pair rather than thousands. What follows is the first of two posts by Ann describing the work in detail.
Isn’t this exciting? Okay, let’s get started. Annie says:
If you asked pretty much any population geneticist about human origins they would say, “All the evidence says the effective population size has never been below several thousand.”
[Skipping a few paragraphs about Darwinist skepticism]
When I first met Ola at a meeting in Copenhagen, we discussed the outlines of what would become the model whose results we report today. The key to addressing the question of our possible origin from two was to model the question directly: start with a population of two and go forward, while keeping track of genetic diversity, to see if we could duplicate the diversity we see in the human population today. The difficulty was that this kind of forward modeling is extremely memory intensive and all but the largest computers cannot go very many generations into the future. Besides that difficulty, I gave him a long list of variables the model should incorporate, an impossible list, I thought.
Then she tells us:
Time passed, and then I had occasion to check in with Ola again. He had a model we now call Haplo that contained within it a simple but brilliant idea. He would start first from current data and use a method called standard coalescence to trace the lineages backward in time, like growing a forest from stems to branches to trunks. Then once he had that forest of trunks, he pruned the picture of all non-productive branches, those that did not have any progeny in the future, the “dead ends,” and used it as a framework for a new forward-looking model. The pruning saved considerable memory and reduced the computational load. This meant we could go deeper in time or handle larger populations.
Skipping a few paragraphs describing the model, Annie continues:
There are two ways to arrive at a situation with two individuals as founders of the human race. One is a sudden extreme bottleneck [Like the Flood?], from a pre-existing population of thousands down to just two. … The idea was that sudden isolation would bring a new combination of genes together and lead to new behaviors or morphologies. If the isolation continued the new traits would potentially become the norm and speciation would be complete. One can imagine this scenario in a world still populated by other hominids, but the pair was isolated in a valley or gorge; one can imagine a scenario more extreme where all hominids except those two were wiped out. [Verily, it is the Flood!]
The second way to arrive at a single pair as founders would be by a unique origin, de novo, by means unknown. [Hee hee!] This situation could either have identical chromosomes, mixed chromosomes, or unique chromosomes.
This is fascinating research! Annie’s blog post goes on and on, describing the model she and Ola developed. We’ll let you enjoy the excitement of reading that for yourself. Moving on to the final two paragraphs, Annie says:
It is definitely possible for us to have come from a starting point of two. Whether by a bottleneck or by a unique event the numbers say it is possible. … But these numbers are not fixed in stone. They are subject to change: a change in population structure, mortality, mutation rate, birth rate, migration, selection, all can influence the results. The amount of initial diversity, or its distribution, can as well. Changing the population size or time by half can be reversed by multiplying the mutation rate by two. In other words, we have a relationship than can be tweaked and studied, and its parameters can be worked out, but as one of its creators said, the model is “underdetermined.” That’s putting it mildly.
And she ends with this:
Once again, the precise age of the first couple is not the main point of this study. That there could be a first couple at all is the point.
So there you are, dear reader. And remember, it’s about an actual paper at the Discoveroids’ own journal, Bio-Complexity, so you know it’s good.
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