No, I didn't. I am well aware of fecundity and its implications, but it is as much a response to predation and disease as it is to lethal genetic mutations. Or, to put it another way, if the percentage of lethal genetic mutations was sufficiently high, then predation and disease would be a much more deadly threat to the survival of a species than they actually are.
No you are missing the point. And fecundity is not a "response".
If a population gets heightened exposure to a mutagen (e.g. nuclear radiation) they don't respond by having more babies.
Individuals that die before breeding age or don't exist because of lethal mutations are simply out of the equation - their lethal mutations are taken away - they disappear from the scene, together with those mutations. Copies of the genome containing them take no further part in the fecundity of the population.
Only the viable copies of the genome left in the population are amplified into the next generation - due to whatever reproductive fecundity the population enjoys.
The lethal mutations are purged! The viable genomes without lethal mutations are multiplied.
The dynamics of this weeding out of bad mutations and multiplying everything else is what anti-evolutionists refuse to comprehend.
Deleterious mutations do occur at a high rate, just as the fundies claim, but simply don't accumulate in a population where they would continuously degrade genetic information as claimed by fundies. One claim is right, the other wrong.
Though, I admitted that I didn't know what the actual number was. If you can show me that the percentage of lethal mutations is at least an order of magnitude higher than my earlier estimate, I'll acknowledge your point. Say, 10% or so, since I estimated less than 1%.
Jaimehlers, setting me an acceptance standard for this is cute but unnecessary - unnecessary if you understand the point I made above. However I will look for some data for you I promise
If I can find something it'll likely be from a theoretical simulation - please bear in mind nobody can produce data from DNA that can't be extracted because an organism wasn't viable - the DNA isn't there, it got killed and eaten.
Let me give an IT analogy (I think I read somewhere you are in IT) - I hope it resonates better
If you open up the software code of a computer program and do an experiment - randomly substitute any one piece of code language, the program will likely hang or produce obvious garbage output. The programmer could immediately go to work to find the bug and fix it. You could repeat this experiment 100 times in serial and keep track of what happened. Previous versions, a working copy and backup copies would probably exist, and at some point in the future you could look at all the changes made over time.
Alternatively, if you first made 100 identical copies of the original program and repeated the experiment (a different random substitution in each copy), the vast majority (say 90%) would hang or produce obvious garbage output, but a reasonable proportion (say 10%) might still run, perhaps with some minor glitches or some minor change to perhaps the cosmetics of the screen output. In some rare cases you might have difficulty finding the fault or might even decide it doesn't even warrant fixing. Let's call these 10 copies the "survivors", even though some are a bit compromised.
Now instead of debugging around 90 copies that had a severe problem, what if you just delete all those copies?
So you'll never need to debug them or worry about them ever again. Just remove them from the scene into the trashcan and delete them from there as well. After they're deleted you'll probably never know what was changed in each copy to make it hang. Once deleted it's of no consequence to what comes next.
So now you take the 10 "survivors" ... each of which you copy 100 times, to get 1 000 individual copies in ten strains - and we run the experiment again..... see where I'm going with this?
No accumulation of lethal software bugs, and plenty of variation.
In nature we don't get a lonely single copy of a genome struggling to debug itself through generations. It simply dies. Its molecules become nutrients for other organisms. And it's not even a noticeable problem because there are thousand or even billions of other "survivor" copies still out there still working.
The DNA coding system probably has a bit more redundancy than computer programming language. There is a fair bit of scope for neutral changes. But outside of these known neutral changes most mutations in a gene coding for protein would result in protein being built and folded into a different 3D structure. And highly likely to be deleterious - and hence purged from the gene pool at first opportunity.
The reason I'm labouring this point is that I don't like to see us winning arguments against anti-evolutionists on points that aren't valid.
Mutations are indeed mostly harmful, but it doesn't matter in the slightest because the bad ones are purged, not retained, and the gene pool is topped up with good copies of the genome because of fecundity.