How Many Mutations Are Accumulating Each Generation?

Exactly how many deleterious mutations are accumulating inside humanity each generation? To put this another way, at what rate is the mutational load increasing? How quickly are the deleterious mutations accumulating in our genomes over time, and is this accumulation a danger to our future existence?

Let’s start by stating that mutation rates affect different species differently. Single-celled asexually reproducing organisms tend to have far lower genetic complexity so obviously experience fewer mutations per individual. E. coli has 4.8 million nucleotides while humans have 3 billion. E. coli is a single cell while we have between 50 and 100 trillion cells. Natural selection is also extremely severe in these “simple” species as every single cell is independently subject to natural selection after every single cell division.

Therefore mutations are a much larger problem in sexually reproducing larger species of trillions of cells and billions of reproductive cells which divide many times before reproduction. The potential for something to go wrong rises exponentially with time. In addition, larger sexually reproducing organisms have a greater accumulation of mutations in the male reproductive cells before reproduction, because of their Y chromosome. Mutations double every 16.5 years in human males as they age, resulting in 76% of all mutations coming down through the paternal line.

Many larger animal species have the additional problem of a relatively low population size with a highly complex genome. Humans have a different problem; a large population but a very low reproductive rate. Finally, the larger the species, the smaller overall effect of each individual mutation on the individual and therefore the less likely it is to be removed via natural selection. In these species, including us, the environment and homeostasis will have a far greater influence on reproduction than natural selection.

The Nobel Prize winning grandfather of modern human genetics, Herman Muller  established in 1950 that a mutational load of 0.3 mutations per individual per generation was the limit of human mutational tolerance. The logic was simple. If we have three children per family, we can only afford one of them to carry a large increase in mutational load, and if all carried mutations at this low level they could easily be selected out. However, if all our children had mutational loads above this level then they could not be eliminated from the human race. Mutations would begin to accumulate in a linear fashion over time. Instead of evolving upward, the human race would be on a one way trip to eventual extinction.

In 1971 fellow Nobel Prize winner, Manfred Eigen, also calculated that the maximum number of mutations allowable for evolution to progress as 1/n, or one per genome. Any figure above this would eventually result in genetic “error catastrophe”, a term he coined. For many years geneticists, such as James Crow have continued to worry about the effect of increasing numbers of deleterious mutations are having on the human population, particularly with the trend toward older parenting.

So, how many mutations per person per generation are we actually producing? Is it still within the confines needed for evolutionary theory to work suggested by Muller? Advanced studies on the human genome have now shown us the true figure. Sadly, we now know that the single point mutations (SNV’s) alone, without even counting the many other types of mutations, are accumulating on average at between 75 and 175 in our reproductive cells per person, per generation!

This is a profound discovery with huge ramifications for the future of humanity. Because this astounding fact is foundational to the evolutionary thesis, I have quoted the following admissions from evolutionary geneticists to these mutation rates in humans:

  1. Michael W. Nachman and Susan L. Crowell, Estimate of the Mutation Rate per Nucleotide in Humans.

The average mutation rate was estimated to be approximately 2.5 x 10(-8) mutations per nucleotide site or 175 mutations per diploid genome per generation. The authors find this figure hard to reconcile with evolutionary theory and suggest a mutual cancelling out of mutant nucleotides via epistasis.”

  1. Catarina D. Campbell, Evan E. Eichler, Properties and Rates of Germline Mutations in Humans

Recent genome-wide studies of the SNV mutation rate in humans have started to converge. Studies based on whole-genome sequencing and direct estimates of de novo mutations give an average SNV mutation rate of 1.16 × 10−8 mutations per base pair per generation.”

In plain English this estimate is about 30 new SNV’s per person per generation. Table one of their paper gives a mean mutation rate of 96.3 per person per generation. They go on to say that this is a “lower boundary” estimate and that…

Notably, when considering the total number of mutated base pairs between SNVs and CNVs, CNVs account for the vast majority. CNV’s being copy and deletion mutations covering large number of nucleotides. Put together these two sources of mutations represent hundreds of new mutations per generation.”

  1. Neel JV, Satoh C, Goriki K, Fujita M, Takahashi N, Asakawa J, Hazama R, The Rate With Which Spontaneous Mutation Alters the Electrophoretic Mobility of Polypeptides.

The implication, if these exon rates can be generalized, is of approximately equal to 20 nucleotide mutations per gamete per generation. This estimate of the frequency of point mutations does not include small duplications, rearrangements, or deletions resulting from unequal crossing-over, transcription errors, etc.”

  1. Ellie Dolgin, Nature The Real Mutation Rate Revealed, August 29, 2009

 “Every time human DNA is passed from one generation to the next it accumulates 100–200 new mutations, according to a DNA-sequencing analysis of the Y chromosome.”

Confessions do not come clearer than that, and from the pens of the worlds leading human population geneticists. We are clearly generating an abundance of deleterious mutations, and practically zero beneficial mutations. This has profound implications for anyone who has built their worldview on the assumption that evolutionary theory has slam-dunked all opposing theories of our origins.

Christianity: From AD 600 – 700

Political Milestones: 600AD to 700AD

Many events of profound long-term historical significance occurred in this century, and they mostly revolved around the dramatic birth of Islam. So we will deal with this topic first.

Muhammad, an illiterate orphan, was born around 570 AD. Deeply devout and superstitious, he received his first “vision” in 610 AD, calling him to start a new faith. Prior to this event, there were hundreds of “gods” in the Kaaba in Mecca. Muhammad borrowed a concept from Christianity and declared there was but one true god, Allah, who just happened to be the god of his tribe. Devotion to this god was to be superior to any tribal or ethnic loyalties, and Muhammad was the prophet of this god.

In 622 AD Muhammad fled Mecca for Medina as his message was no longer tolerated by the cities elite. It was at this point that his religion switched from being pacifist to militant. After gaining control of Medina by force and slaughtering the Jewish minority for refusing to acknowledge his prophetic claim, he marched on Mecca and secured it by force of arms. From this power base Islam began to grow to consume the Arab Peninsula.

Many of the unsettling teachings and of the Muslim faith familiar to us today can be traced directly to the lifestyle of Muhammad himself, including militarism, religiously justified violence, paedophilia, lies and deception, extreme religious intolerance, sexual exploitation, superstition, ethnic cleansing and the hegemony of the Arabic culture over all others.

Muhammad died in 632 AD but his armies continued to conquer surrounding tribes in what they saw as a holy war to rid the world of pagan religious impurities. Sadly, Islam also copied many of the ritualistic practices and doctrines it saw in the Christianity of the day.

This new religion sprung up in an era fertile for change. The plague and famine had ravaged both the Persian and Byzantine empires, weakening both sides of the Arabian Peninsula. In what was seen as a sign of divine favour, the Islamic armies quickly defeated both the Persian and Byzantine armies in battles where they were far outnumbered. Persia succumbed in 650 AD and adopted Islam. The Byzantines, twice besieged, recovered by 720 AD and kept Islam out of Eastern Europe for a thousand years. Undaunted by these setbacks, Islamic armies marched across North Africa, demanding conversion or slavery.

In 680 AD a permanent division occurred in the House of Islam that led to the establishment of Shia Islam in Persia and Sunni Islam in Arabia. These two religious and cultural factions have had an uneasy, and often violent relationship ever since.

By 700 AD Islamic armies controlled all the lands from the western tip of North Africa to the Indus River valley in Pakistan. In less than a century, Arabs had come to rule over an area that spanned eight thousand kilometres and was roughly the size of Russia today.

In other parts of the world life was still on the move. In 601AD, the Turkish general Tardu, sacked the capital of China. Early in the century the Vikings started invading England and Ireland. This was also the century when the Mayans began building their pyramids. In 621AD Japan adopted Buddhism as its state religion, as did China in 691AD. China was again invaded by the Khitan Mongols in 686AD.

Spiritual Milestones: 600AD to 700AD

In six centuries the Gospel had succeeded in winning one fifth of humanity to some form of Christian faith, often more diluted than pure. In the first half of this era it had overcome intense spiritual, political and cultural opposition without an army, money or allies. Some 2.5 million believers had been slaughtered in the process just for being Christian.

This all ended when Islam became the new superpower in the middle of the super continent. They now dominated the political, economic, military and spiritual landscape for the next thousand years. The Christian leadership centres of Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch were lost forever, as were the key Nestorian centres of Edessa and Adiabene. Christianity slowly became a stagnant religious backwater on the western edge of Europe.

For the first time, religious Christianity had a copy-cat religious enemy. Although deriving much from our faith, Islam openly denounced the core tenets of Jesus’ teachings. Its teachings and values came from the warlords of the Middle East and as such it emphasised works instead of grace, death and war instead of life and love, fatalism instead of rationalism, honour/shame instead of turning the other cheek, revenge instead of patience. Jesus and Muhammad could not have been more distant in origin, method and message. By 700 AD it looked like Muhammad’s violent approach to religion had won.

However, the century was also successful for our faith in Northern Europe, Central Asia and China. As the century opened, about 8 million people in the ethnic groups in Central Asia had adopted Nestorian Christianity, and the faith continued to grow for many more hundreds of years. Today these are the countries that end with the suffix “stan”. It would take 700 years for the strong faith of the Central Asians to disappear under the relentless violence of Islam.  In 635 AD one of their missionaries, Alopen, reached China, planted churches there, received Imperial favour, and the Gospel grew rapidly.

From 612 AD onwards, humble and God-fearing Celtic missionaries, were evangelising Switzerland and Northern Italy. By 650 AD they were evangelising the Netherlands and revitalising Christianity in England. However, in 664 AD, at the Synod of Whitby, Oswy, king of a large part of England abandoned the Celtic Church and accepted the faith of Rome. This marks a major decline in the influence of the more Biblical Celtic faith in favour of the rising influence of Roman Catholicism in Britain. This ushered in a large and unnecessary persecution that would eventually see the Celtic faith die out, leaving England Catholic for 900 years.

In the meantime, over in Jerusalem, the Persians slaughtered 90,000 Greek Christians in 615 AD. They then invaded Egypt and killed another 10,000 Coptic believers. This relentless killing of Christians by Zoroastrians continued until 628 AD when they finally gave up. By this stage 30-40% of Persia was Nestorian Christian. A fact lost to history is that those Christians who lived under Persian rule suffered more death and persecution thane those who lived and died under the cruel hand of Rome. But in 642 AD Persia was itself conquered by Muslim armies! This was straight after Islam had taken Jerusalem from the Persians and killed another 80,000 Greek Christians, setting the stage for the Crusades 462 years later.

In the decade of 640 AD a call back to New Testament Christianity emerged in Asia Minor, home of many of the original churches in the Book of Revelation. They called themselves “Paulicans” and their message would be very familiar to modern believers. They sought a return to the simple holiness of Jesus and his followers. This was to be the first of many movements calling Christianity back to its roots. None succeeded until Martin Luther.

In the second half of the century the Christian Berbers of North Africa put up stiff resistance to the invading Muslim armies. It took ten military campaigns to fully destroy Christianity in the 5 million strong Berber communities. Even today they still regard themselves as forced converts, or “sword Muslims”.

The Seventh Century marked the first century since 33 AD that the percentage of people in the world claiming to be Christian declined. There was a new ideology on the block, and it was an uncompromising violent army, convinced of his own manifest destiny and set on the total destruction of any religion in its path. The next century would almost see the death of European Christianity.

God Loves Maths

The secular world would like to think that mathematics is the product of the human mind and these same people struggle greatly with the fact that maths is the only language by which the universe  can be understood. There is a universal maths behind every aspect to the physical universe that screams to us  “we are dealing with a sublime mathematician”.

Consider the following: All life is biology. all biology is physiology. All physiology is chemistry. All chemistry is physics. All physics is math (Dr Stephen Marquardt) The whole universe can be reduced to mathematical formulas, with no “apparent” reason why this should be so.

Seth Lloyd was the first person to design a functioning quantum computer. He said that ” the history of the universe is, in effect, a huge and ongoing quantum computation”.

That the universe is a comprehensive mathematical miracle has not been lost on other great scientists either. Sir Fred Hoyle said that “a super intellect has monkeyed with the physics”. While professor Paul Davies continues the awe with “It seems as though somebody has fine-stunned natures numbers to make the universe. The impression of design is overwhelming.”

What are they talking about. Well, here are some examples:

The gravitational force is fine tuned to within one hundred millionth. If it was any larger or smaller the universe would not exist.

The ratio between the gravitational force and the electromagnetic force is fine tuned to ten to the fortieth. Any variation on this exquisite tuning would collapse the universe.

The strength of the electromagnetic interaction within the atom is governed by a constant that is 1/137.035999070. Richard Feynman said of this remarkable number that “It’s one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics. A magic number that comes to us with no understanding by man. You might say ‘the hand of God’ wrote that number and we don’t know how he pushed his pencil”.

I could go on for a long time on this topic, but I trust you get my point. God loves maths!!!

God bless


The Watched Universe

In my first post I told you how quantum physics has shown that an electron can have mass and no mass, and that it “knows” when humans are watching, behaving as matter only when we are watching. The rest of the time it just doesn’t exist. It is like it materialises out of another dimension. I think this idea needs a little more unpacking as it is the central tenant of quantum physics.

That an electron can be an energy field and a solid particle means that matter materialises out of energy waves that are not local. They could be anywhere. On a larger scale this would be called magic, and still is by many quantum physics experts. This reality tells us the existence of matter is uncertain and non local. Only through observation by intelligence can it manifest as matter.

I mentioned John Wheeler in the first post. He is a world-class physicist and the man who invented the term “black hole”. Wheeler gave a lot of thought to the above mentioned observer effect on electrons and came to the conclusion that the entire universe can only exist if it is being watched, that an observer is absolutely essential to the Big Bang’s materialisation and existence. He asked the question “what sort of a creature qualifies for this position.”

This fits in perfectly with the Biblical worldview, but no other. Not the atheistic views of various shades, or pantheistic New Age beliefs, nor Hindu or Buddhist. You see it is only an intelligent observer who creates the effect. If that leaves you feeling uncomfortable, then good, it was meant to.

God bless