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The Waiting Time Problem

Jun 8, 2021 | Science


Location: Champ’s Clock Shop, Douglasville, GA

Dr Rob describes a contentious idea: the Waiting Time Problem. Mathematical simulations tells us that the rise of specific new mutations would take a fantastically long time. This is a serious challenge to evolution. Yet, most people misunderstand the problem. We are not talking about the time it takes for a new mutation to appear but the time it takes a new mutation to appear multiple times (because most new mutations are lost to genetic drift) plus the time it takes the lucky surviving mutation to spread through the entire population and completely replace the original variant. The numbers are shocking. Even the simplest 1-letter change would take longer than evolution allows, but 2-letter and longer combinations are orders of magnitude worse.

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