Possibly the most interesting thing about this debate was how it demonstrated the power of rhetoric to persuade those incapable of understanding dialectic. More than a few of JF’s fans sincerely believe that he blew both me and my case away despite the obvious fact that he didn’t even begin to address the latter. For example:
- He claimed that mutation rates rather than fixation rates were more relevant to my case, even though “the fixation probability is one of the cornerstones of population genetics.”
- He failed to grasp that the 2009 Nature study specifically involved parallel gene fixation, thereby accounting for the entirety of his objection to my case. He thought my case assumed a successive-mutations regime even though the study obviously concerned a concurrent-mutations regime.
- He retreated to rhetoric and misdirection by bringing up that list of genome sizes and population mutation rates, neither of which said anything about actual fixation probabilities or time frames.
- The fact that there are “millions and billions of mutations” says absolutely nothing about how fast a single mutation propagates through an entire population, let alone provides part or all of the basis for a speciation event. The fact that each human child is born with an average of 70 mutations doesn’t say anything about how long it took to fix the genetic structure of the human eye throughout the entire human population.
Now, if you don’t understand the significance of a scientist resorting to rhetoric rather than directly addressing the subject at hand, I don’t think you’re tall enough for this ride. These things should become considerably more clear once I have the transcript of the debate and can analyze it at my leisure.