Haldane’s Dilemma in Population Genetics Proves Impossibility of Ape to Human Evolution

Article # 328
by Bill Nugent
This is essentially a revision of an article about Haldane’s Dilemma which I sent out years ago. That article was well received at the time because of the clarity of the genetic facts that should settle the debate on ape to human evolution. This is a bit longer than my other articles. I hope you’ll find it interesting and worth your time.
The teacher stands in front of the classroom and says “You’re all descendants of apes. Humans and chimps are descended from a common apelike ancestor that lived six million years ago. Mutations to DNA, natural selection, more mutations, on and on and here you are! Oh, and by the way, there’s no spirit world. The material world is all there is and all there ever will be. When you die, the lights go out and all that you ever experienced will be forgotten. All of your learning and loving and thoughts and deeds will be annihilated. So you have no future! When this fleeting life is past, you’re done. You have no tomorrow!”
The above statement is a terse summation of the official public school sanctioned “religion” in the US. When I was a kid, it sounded plausible. I even became an atheist for a time. We know that mutations to DNA occur. Every once in a while a mutation is beneficial. According to geneticists, such beneficial mutations are extremely rare, less than one in a hundred.
Remember, the Darwinists claim that evolution is a blind chance process, without any intelligence driving it. This means you’re as likely to get a mutation that causes feathers to grow out of your ears or fangs growing out of your toes as you are to get a mutation for a slightly bigger brain. Even so, isn’t it reasonable to imagine that, given enough time, the accumulation of genetic mutations could change an ape into a human? It seems vaguely plausible until you do the math. An evolutionist named John Haldane did the math and turned the evolution world upside down!
Haldane gave serious thought as to how a beneficial mutation that happens in one ape could eventually come to predominate in the gene pool of a whole population of  100,000  or more apes scattered across a continent. Geneticists call that genetic substitution resulting in fixationThe mutation has to eventually be substituted into the DNA of every ape or overwhelming majority of apes in the entire population for this one small step of evolution to occur for the species as a whole. This would take many generations to happen. The study of genetic substitution is called population genetics.
John Haldane flipped the table over for evolutionists when he wrote a seminal article in 1957 that showed the mathematical impossibility of genetic substitution occurring at sufficient speed to turn apes into humans in six million years. Frankly, Haldane’s math indicates the even a billion years wouldn’t be enough! Haldane caused a great dilemma for evolutionists through his writings. The controversy continues even to this day.

John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (1892-1964), born to an aristocratic intellectual family of Scottish descent, was one of the leading evolutionists of his generation. A graduate of Oxford, he taught for many years at University College. London’s University College, established in 1826, was the first university in England founded on an entirely secular basis.

Haldane was one of the founders of the field of population genetics. Toward the end of his life he migrated to India, became an Indian citizen and taught at a leading university there. Haldane was also an atheist who embraced socialism and Marxism. He never publicly rejected evolution in spite of the mountain of evidence he gathered that substantially undermined the plausibility of evolution.
It’s a sad fact of human nature that people tend to form an emotional attachment to ideas that are drummed into their heads at an early age. A person can hang on to an idea such as evolution for emotional and philosophical reasons even when shown abundant rational evidence that disproves it. Many people die believing the lies they were taught in college. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Haldane’s 1957 article was titled, “The Cost of Natural Selection.”
In the paper, Haldane worked from the following two premises:
1) Natural selection is a destructive process that eliminates the unfit.
2) Genetic mutations can be transmitted to the next generation only by the survivors.
A beneficial genetic mutation is a mutation that occurs in one animal. That animal transmits its beneficial mutation only by reproduction. It takes a very large number of generations for that mutation to predominate (become fixated) in a gene pool. Evolution is a theory dependent on the death of all those without the beneficial genetic mutations. They die off because they are not as fit as the animals with the beneficial mutations. This is standard Darwinian natural selection. The death of the unfit is the cost of natural selection. Haldane calculated the cost of natural selection and found that evolution crumbled under the burdensome cost.
It’s interesting to note that researchers building on Haldane’s work have also calculated the speed of the occurrence and spread of harmful mutations which are more than a hundred times more common than beneficial. They have found that the DNA of all living things is gradually declining and breaking down because of harmful mutations that occur over time. This is called genetic entropy. Population genetics shows that the opposite of Darwinism is occurring in nature. (See the book “Genetic Entropy” by Dr. John C. Sanford.)
Haldane put numbers and probability calculations on ape populations allowing for favorable survivability rates for apes with beneficial genetic mutations.
Imagine an ape being born with a genetic mutation that gives it a slightly modified knee to help it walk slightly more erect. How many generations would it take for that one mutation to spread to an ape population of 100,000 apes scattered across a continent? The apes without the advantage of the knee mutation have to die off and only the ones with the slightly better knee survive. That’s only one mutation and ape to human evolution would require literally millions of mutations. It is well established according to research by geneticists that ape and human DNA differ by tens of millions of nucleotide base pairs in genes.
In the past, evolutionists have countered that most of the differences in ape and human DNA are “neutral” mutations that are not good or bad for the body. In recent years opinion has changed regarding “neutral” mutations. The latest research by evolutionists has resulted in the admission by many that neutral mutations are not totally neutral but are slightly harmful. They’ve reached the obvious conclusion that every mutation is a glitch in the DNA machinery. There is also the clear admission, even by evolutionists, that harmful mutations outnumber beneficial mutations by staggering orders of magnitude. More than 5,000 human diseases caused by bad mutations (often called “birth defects”) are being studied. Only a few dozen alleged beneficial mutations in human DNA are being studied.
I’ve read of a family in the Midwestern United States that has a mutation causing their bones to be slightly denser, heavier and stronger. How many generations would it take for that one mutation to be substituted and fixated into the DNA of all humanity which consists of over seven billion people? Would those stronger bones be enough of an advantage to enable that family to have more descendants survive over hundreds of generations? Haldane ran the numbers on such small steps of evolution.
Why does evolution require the new feature to be fixed into the genes of the entire gene pool? It’s because the scientific evidence shows that the entire human gene pool is remarkably consistent regarding intelligence and walking upright, etc. The only differences (multiple alleles) are in superficial features like skin pigment. The traits that make us human are consistent throughout the gene pool. It’s a clearly impossible task for blind chance followed by natural selection to form such a uniformly consistent human gene pool from apes in six million years. Only a creator God could design and build such marvelous DNA and make it consistent throughout the whole gene pool of humanity. Apes and humans were created as distinct species.
The genetic differences between apes and humans involve differences in base pair sequence, number of base pairs in various genes, and types of base pairs, etc. Even the grossly exaggerated favorable conditions described in Haldane’s sample calculations would substitute only a tiny fraction of the genetic changes needed to turn an ape into a human over six million years. Even allowing for multi-point mutations, the gap is still unbridgeable. Haldane openly admitted that he skewed his numbers in a way favorable to evolution to make analysis more clear, yet evolution still came up far short.
Think of the changes in DNA needed to enlarge the brain to give greater intelligence, the modification of the skull and facial features, enlarging the brain case, the restructuring of the knees and hip bones to enable walking upright and many other changes. Each of these evolutionary steps must occur in small steps because a mega-mutation causing a huge leap would require thousands of nucleotide base pairs to be re-sequenced and this would be so hyper improbable as to be totally implausible. Each of these small mutations involving one or two base pairs forming a new allele would have to be substituted and fixated into the gene pool of every human.
Haldane calculated that only about 1,667 beneficial genetic mutations could be substituted into the gene pool of the human race in six million years! Haldane used very optimistic assumptions of substitution rates in his calculations but yielded very pessimistic (for the evolutionist) numbers of substituted genetic changes. Haldane’s numbers clearly show that ape to human evolution in six million years is impossible. Evolution is effectively disproven. The only viable alternative is creation.
The fossil record is no refuge for the damned. All of the highly trumpeted “missing link” skeletons found over the years have been shown to be either fully ape or fully human. No transitional fossils (apemen) have been found.
Haldane, mindful of the mind blowing ramifications, invited his evolutionist colleagues to counter or refute his findings. His article generated much discussion for many years. Haldane’s dilemma could not be resolved in the secular, atheistic evolution context.
The concept of Haldane’s dilemma languished for decades as it was eventually ignored by the frustrated and embarrassed evolutionists. People seemed to assume that a beneficial mutation instantly changes the DNA in all of the individuals in a huge population. Of course, that is simply not the case. A genetic mutation affects the genes of one individual and all of the individuals without the mutation have to die off for the new beneficial mutation to predominate in a population.
In the 1990s, creationists revived discussion of Haldane’s dilemma with the publication of a book by Walter ReMine, titled The Biotic Message which articulated Haldane’s Dilemma and updated it with more recent scientific findings in the field of genetics. This book brought on much needed discussion and analysis. Evolutionists wrote lengthy articles invoking “genetic drift” and “convergent evolution” but ultimately offered no credible solution.
Now that both human and chimp DNA have been decoded it’s abundantly clear that human and ape DNA are far more different than what evolutionists expected. I’ve read that a claim of 50,000,000 genetic differences in base pair sequence, base pair number, type of base pair, etc. is actually a conservative number. This fact deepens Haldane’s dilemma. Emperor evolution has no clothes!
Evolution has become the origins myth of our secular society. The teaching of evolution in the government run schools has caused multitudes of young people to reject God. Every society has a concept of purpose or meta-narrative that gives it a reason for being. The meta-narrative of traditional western civilization has historically been Christianity. Now that Christianity has been largely banished from education and evolution installed in its place, western civilization has gone into a death spiral of drugs, abortion, crime and suicide. The birth rate has fallen far below replacement level. In some western countries the birth rate is around half of replacement level. Children who are taught that they are soul-less descendants of apes with no hope of life after death tend towards despair and futility. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).
The West thrived and expanded when Christianity was its civil religion. Christianity is, however, much more than just a civil religion. It is precious truth. Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of over 300 messianic prophecies written in the Old Testament hundreds of years before His birth. Additionally, Jesus worked miracles before eyewitnesses that proved He is the promised Messiah of Israel. The prophets foretold that Christ would suffer and die, taking upon Himself the punishment due to us because of our sins. Christ rose from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who turn to Him in repentance. Turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins!
My sources for much of the information in this article are “Haldane’s Dilemma Has Not Been Solved”  by Don Batten, Ph. D., Journal of Creation 19(1):20–21 April 2005 and “Using Numerical Simulation to Better Understand Fixation Rates and Establishment of a New Principle: Haldane’s Ratchet” Christopher L. Rupe Ph. D. & John C. Sanford Ph. D., 7th Int’l Conference on Creationism, 2013.

Steps to salvation:

Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

  • 1) Believe that God created you and loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
  • 2) Believe that Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of over 300 Bible prophecies to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
  • 3) Turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
  • 4) Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
  • 5) Follow Jesus Christ as Lord (John 14:21).

Prayer to receive salvation:

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:

“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

(C) 2016 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

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