Two articles in secular science literature point to possible upsets in long-age assumptions for the earth and mankind.
Most Human Mutations Are Recent
A press release from the University of Washington states, “Harmful protein-coding mutations in people arose largely in the past 5,000 to 10,000 years.” The Exome Sequencing Project, a consortium of evolutionary geneticists, surveyed a million single-letter changes in the human “exome” (protein-coding genes) for 6,515 people. “Overall, the researchers predicted that about 81 percent of the single-nucleotide variants in their European samples, and 58 percent in their African samples, arose in the past 5,000 years.”
The researchers were able to fit this surprise into the “out-of-Africa” hypothesis by claiming that mutations became fixed more rapidly among Europeans after they migrated. “The Out of Africa bottleneck led to inefficient purging of the less-harmful mutations,” one explained. Still, if 150 mutations are passed from parent to offspring on average, it would seem that rate of damage could not go on for many tens or hundreds of thousands of years. See also the Science Daily article on this, that states, “The researchers pointed out that the results illustrate the profound effect recent human evolutionary history has had on the burden of damaging mutations in contemporary populations.”
The consortium agrees that their results indicate most harmful mutations in the human gene pool are “of recent origin, evolutionarily speaking.” Without supporting evidence, though, the researchers used standard Darwinian talking points to hope for a positive outcome, hoping that the large number of recent mutations “may have created a new repository of advantageous genetic variants that adaptive evolution may act upon in future generations.” Whatever the meaning, Science Daily said that the researchers stated, “The recent dramatic increase in human population size, resulting in a deluge of rare functionally important variation, has important implications for understanding and predicting current and future patterns of human disease and evolution.”
Tree Rings Point to a Recent Cosmic Ray Event
What on earth happened in 768 A.D.? Charlemagne was busy building his empire, unaware of something happening over his head. The “Charlemagne Event” was not caused by him; something beyond earth sent a shower of cosmic rays our way. PhysOrg asks some pointed questions:
Until recently, the years 774 and 775 were best known for Charlemagne’s victory over the Lombards. But earlier this year, a team of scientists in Japan discovered a baffling spike in carbon-14 deposits within the rings of cedar trees that matched those same years. Because cosmic rays are tied to carbon-14 concentrations, scientists around the world have wondered about the cause: a nearby supernova, a gamma ray burst in the Milky Way or an intense superflare emanating from the Sun?
In the article, Adrian Melott (U of Kansas) presents his argument that the spike came from a coronal mass ejection from the sun. This CME could have been 10–20 times larger than the largest spike observed in recent times (1859), called the Carrington Event. Stars beyond our sun have been observed to have very large flares. Other cosmic sources might include a gamma ray burst or nearby supernova, though the latter would have been observable in the sky.
If an extra-large CME occurred during Charlemagne’s battles, it might not have been noticed. It might have caused a slightly higher risk of skin cancer. But today if one that size occurred, it would disrupt the world’s power grid and blow out transformers over a wide area. We’d only have a few minutes warning before our civilization would become seriously disrupted.
We offer these findings as stimulations for further research by asking some questions. If a CME or other cosmic source could dramatically increase carbon-14 production in the atmosphere, what does that do to the calibration profile for radiocarbon dating? What could be the impact of a large shower of cosmic rays on the atomic clocks used for radiometric dating in general? Could a cosmic event stimulate accelerated nuclear decay, lowering the activation threshold to give a false reading of longer ages (e.g., more fission tracks) than actually occurred? If not, how would we know? Open-minded physicists may want to look into this.
Regarding the mutation rate, the finding appears to add more impetus to Dr. John Sanford’s theory of genetic entropy, that the human race could not purge harmful or nearly-neutral mutations fast enough to avoid extinction in very many thousands of years, let alone tens of thousands. The evolution-talk in the article seems concocted to rescue Darwin’s long ages rather than face the clear implication that humans have not been evolving for hundreds of thousands of years. Even with lower population sizes, genetic entropy takes its toll. And if you think bullets to the genome provide a pool of variants that natural selection may act upon in future generations, good luck outrunning extinction while the bad ones add up.