By definition, evolution offers an explanation for how things got to be the way they are without any intelligence (Im referring to whats known as the general theory of evolution).
This is why it made such a splash. Do you think that if God could be worked into the evolutionary picture, then evolution would have taken off the way it did? Of course not.
No one invented the ToE based on preconceived beliefs; that rather begs the question of where those preconceived beliefs arose. The observations of the fossil record and other observations predated Darwin and his contemporaries' and predecessors' various ToEs; even the ancient Greeks were observant enough to propose some variant of the theory.
Being a biochemical process, evolution offers no explanations of anything. The ToE explains the process, and, like any scientific theory, is religion neutral. I do not need to resort to calling upon God to explain chemical reactions; I need only understand how atoms interact with each other. Physical phenomena behave identically regardless of whether the observer is Christian, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, or atheist. Evolutionary theory "took off the way it did" (as you put it) because it is a wonderful predictive theory; we have made incredible advances in life sciences using that tool. Our current state of medicine wouldn't be possible without it.
If you read the creation science literature, you will see that they clearly state that they want public schools to teach all the scientific data, censoring none, but do not want any religious doctrine to be brought into science classrooms.
Of course they say that. If they were to come right out and say they wanted one specific religious version of creationism taught in the guise of science, they would get no support at all. So they disguise their intent by claiming that they just want "all points of view" taught, as if scientific facts can be determined by democratic vote instead of by empirical observations.
The creation model questions vertical evolution, which is the emergence of complex from simple and change between kinds, but it does not challenge what is often called horizontal evolution or microevolution, which creationists call genetic variation or species or subspecies formation within created kinds.
The creation "model" is a subterfuge. Like any pseudoscience, it contains just enough real science or scientific sounding language to sound authentic to those who have little scientific training. It is neither scientific nor biblical.
In my view, the genetic differences between organisms are mathematical show-stoppers for evolution. A simplistic comparison of human and chimpanzee DNA shows that the genetic divergence is at least 4%. (The difference is certainly much larger than this number which was derived from a technique not as precise as lining up sequences as in our example above. This 4% difference does not take into account the different number of chromosomes in the two genomes, the different arrangement of genes among the chromosomes, and a lot of non-coding, but regulatory DNA that show significant variations.)
Estimates of the differences between humans and chimps vary, but are generally between 95% and 99%. So, let's take the lower number, 95%, and analyze it mathematically.
The haploid human genome contains about 3.2 billion base pairs. According to this blog, written by a biochemistry professor, there are about 130 mutations per human zygote (the assumptions and calculations are at the blog). Humans and chimps diverged ~5 million years ago. Assuming 20 years per human generation, this (roughly) comes out to:
(5,000,000 years/20 years per generation) = 250,000 generations.
(250,000 generations x 130 mutations/zygote) = 32.5 million mutations [using a zygote as a proxy for a generation]
(3,200,000,000 base pairs x 0.05 human-chimp genome difference) = 160 million differences (mutations)
(160 million mutations/32.5 million mutations) = 5 (rounded up)
Thus, all you would have needed would have been 5 individuals in the ancestral population to account for all of the DNA mutations between humans and chimps. Since it's highly unlikely that such a small population could have survived, the original population was more than 5, and from a purely mathematical perspective, the difference between human and chimp genome is fully explainable.
As for gene duplications, rearrangements, chromosome breakage (chimps have one more chromosome than humans), etc., those are all fairly common occurrences. During the process of meiosis, extensive chromosome rearrangement occurs; except for the Y or X chromosomes donated by the sperm, no chromosome in an offspring is identical to any chromosome in a parent. (That's in mammals only; other species have other mechanisms for determining male and female, and, therefore, this mechanism would be different for them.)
Note that the websites I used gave varying numbers; I took the extreme number from each range so as to maximize the calculated number of mutations and minimize the amount of time for the mutations. Higher than 95% homology between chimps and humans would decrease the number of calculated mutations. A divergence more than 5 million years ago would increase the amount of time for mutations to accumulate. Even using the extreme range values, the mathematics clearly support the evolutionary model.
RE: No one invented the ToE based on preconceived beliefs;
I’m sure Darwin did not have preconceptions. Unfortunately, his fans and followers DO.
This despite the many problems with Darwins theory that have been shown since he died.
Darwin of course described his theory as a species undergoing genetic change over time.
That is, over many generations a species can evolve into something quite different, and those differences are based on changes
in the DNA, which originate as mutations. The species of animals and plants living today werent around in the past,
but are descended from those that lived earlier.
Those were not preconceived beliefs, those were his theory which to his credit, he was willing to concede is falsifiable.
In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin acknowledged that the fossil record presented difficulties for his theory.
Darwin knew that the major animal groupswhich modern biologists call phylaappeared fully formed in what were at the time the earliest
known fossil-bearing rocks, deposited during a geological period known as the Cambrian. He considered this a serious difficulty for his theory,
since if the theory be true, it is indisputable that before the lowest Cambrian stratum was deposited long periods elapsed and
that during these vast periods the world swarmed with living creatures. And to the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits
belonging to these assumed earliest periods prior to the Cambrian system, I can give no satisfactory answer.
So the case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.” ( That was in
Chapter 10 of his Origin of Species).
Darwin called The Origin of Species one long argument for his theory. I acknowledge that he was a fine scientist
willing to admit mistakes if evidence could not be uncovered to support his theory in the fossil records.
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for many of his followers.
I have seen too many cases of academics trying to defend Darwinian evolution by rearranging the fossil record;
by misrepresenting the development of vertebrate embryos; by ignoring evidence for the functionality of allegedly vestigial organs
and non-coding DNA, then propping up Darwinism with theological arguments about bad design; by attributing some biogeographical patterns to convergence due to the supposedly well-known processes of natural selection and speciation; and then exaggerating the evidence for selection and speciation to make it seem as though they could accomplish what Darwinism requires of them.
The actual evidence shows that major features of the fossil record are an embarrassment to Darwinian evolution;
that early development in vertebrate embryos is more consistent with SEPARATE ORIGINS than with common ancestry;
that non-coding DNA is fully functional, contrary to neo-Darwinian predictions; and that natural selection can accomplish nothing more than artificial selectionwhich is to say, minor changes within existing species.
Faced with such evidence, any other scientific theory would probably have been abandoned long ago.
Judged by the normal criteria of empirical science, the evidence do not support Darwin at all.
RE: that rather begs the question of where those preconceived beliefs arose.
Richard Dawkins, a Darwinist the classical sense of the word, is one such person.
Where does Dawkin’s ( and his ilk ) get his preconceived beliefs? ANSWER: Hatred of religion and belief in God.
Unfortunately scientists like Dawkins DO exist. I’ve see so many of them to ignore their existence.
RE: Physical phenomena behave identically regardless of whether the observer is Christian, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, or atheist. Evolutionary theory “took off the way it did” (as you put it) because it is a wonderful predictive theory; we have made incredible advances in life sciences using that tool. Our current state of medicine wouldn’t be possible without it.
I beg to disagree.
Our state of medicine would remain unaffected even if medical scientists did not believe in Darwinian evolution.
In fact, I am not sure if the great discoveries in biology and medicine over the past century depended on guidance from Darwinian evolution.
In 1978, microbiologist Werner Arber received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (sharing the honor with Daniel Nathans and Hamilton O. Smith) for the discovery of restriction enzymes and their application to molecular genetics.
Arber conducted extensive scientific research in genetics, evolution, and related areas. In his Nobel Prize autobiography, Arber described his research as long but fruitless attempts to document evolution with experimental evidence. For this reason, he wrote that much of his work in this area remains largely unpublished.
Arber’s findings have been confirmed by many other scientists.
The most recent replication is by Lenski et al, who evaluated the changes in over 30,000 generations of E. coli, concluding that millions of mutations and trillions of cells were needed to produce the estimated two to three mutations required to allow cells to bring citrate into the
cell under oxic condition ( see Blount, Z., C. Borland, and R. Lenski. 2008. Historical Contingency and the Evolution of a Key Innovation in an Experimental Population of Escherichia coli. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 105: 7899-7906.)
This corresponds with Lehigh University Biochemist, Michael Behe’s deductions that if one mutation is required to confer some advantage to an organism, this event is likely; if two are required, the likelihood is far less; but if three or more are required, the probability rapidly grows exponentially worse, from very improbable to impossible. Evolution by mutations for this reason has very
Based on this I am not sure I can agree with the statement: “Our current state of medicine wouldn’t be possible without it.”
Darwin’s theory isn’t the basis for comparative medicine. Comparative medicine antedates Darwin by several millennia. Aristotle developed a system of comparative biology, and Galen, the father of classical medicine before the Enlightenment, used the principles of comparative biology
in his dissection of Barbary apes and other animals as the basis for his system of human anatomy.
The pioneers in seventeenth and eighteenth century anatomy and physiology, such as William Harvey and William Hunter, based nearly all of their research on extrapolation from animal to human biology, which of course is comparative biology.
The father of modern comparative biology—the modern system of classification of species—was Carol Linnaeus, who worked a century before Darwin was born. Most of biological science before Darwin was comparative biology. Darwin offered one particular explanation for the similarities and differences between species, but the similarities and differences were known centuries before he lived. Darwin’s theory depends on our understanding of species similarity (and differences), but the converse is not true.
Our knowledge of these similarities and differences doesn’t depend on Darwin’s theory.
Comparative medicine depends on the actual study of human and non-human biology, not theories as to how these similarities came about.
Darwin’s theory depends on the data, but the data for species similarity and differences is independent of Darwin’s theory. And it is the data, not the conjecture, that is essential to modern comparative medicine.
Neither does our knowledge of genetics depend on Darwin’s theory of non-teleological variation and natural selection. Our knowledge of genetics depends on physics, chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, etc. The proposal that biological complexity is non-teleological, which is the cornerstone of Darwin’s theory, contributes nothing to the study of genetics.
In fact, by definition, virtually all experimental research in genetics involves genetic engineering (design) and artificial selection in the laboratory, both of which are quite purposeful and thus are examples of breeding, not of Darwinian evolution. Advocates for Darwin’s
theory of course use modern genetics in their work, but the converse is not true.
Molecular geneticists gain little or nothing from the assertion that all biological complexity arose by “chance and necessity.”
Genetic engineering, which is the real basis for most of our progress in molecular genetics, is, in a very real sense, the antithesis of Darwin’s theory.
RE: Of course they say that. If they were to come right out and say they wanted one specific religious version of creationism taught in the
guise of science, they would get no support at all.
And what would be deceptive about what they say? If this TRULY reflects their personal desires, I see no reason why we should attribute
deceptive inent on their part.
RE: So they disguise their intent by claiming that they just want “all points of view” taught,
Well, that’s YOUR VERSION of what you think they want. Not sure if it’s correct, but I would suspect some bias on your part.
RE: as if scientific facts can be determined by democratic vote instead of by empirical observations.
I’m sure they will agree with you here. All they want is FEAR be taken out of the classroom. If a teacher expresses his doubts
and would like an alternative view presented, LET HIM DO SO WITHOUT FEAQR OF REPRISAL. If his alternative view is found wanting,
I’m sure it will be discovered.
THAT is exactly what they want. How do I know this? I’ve spoken to at least 2 of them — Dr. John Morris and Dr. Carl Weiland.
Of course you don;t believe them and you use the word “subterfuge”... that is well within your personal rights.
I’m not going to waste my time changing your mind. I can only speak for what I personally see they want and we part ways in our views here.
This post is already too long. I’ll get back to your haploid human genome estimations later.
RE: Humans and chimps diverged ~5 million years ago.
Hmmm.... this of course is the point of contention.
If the hypothetical divergence of humans and chimpanzees occurred about 5 million years ago (As your PBS link tells us, and I am paying for it with my taxes am I not? ) and given that a human generation is about 20 years (and a chimp slightly less), then 250,000 generations have passed from the time humans and chimpanzees diverged from a common ancestor ( that’s what your calculations show too ).
To get 150 million nucleotide changes in 250,000 generations, the two lines of descent would require 600 beneficial mutations fixed in each population of ancestral humans and chimpanzee per generation.
Here’s where the problem of ASSUMPTIONS and OBSERVATIONS come into play...
Nearly all mutations are NEUTRAL, having NO EFFECT and therefore are not selectable, or are slightly deleterious, causing genetic deterioration in a population of organisms.
*THAT* is what most observations show.
I will agree that a few beneficial mutations have been observed, such as mutations that confer antibiotic resistance in bacteria and sickle cell trait in humans.
But even these mutations are DELETERIOUS when the individual is returned to optimal conditions for survival and forced to compete with other individuals lacking the mutation.
In fact, Recognizing the high genetic cost of fixing any mutation in a population, J.B.S. Haldane, an evolutionist, determined mathematically that it would take 6 million years to fix just 1,000 beneficial mutations in humans through natural selection ( SEE : Haldane, J. B. S., 1957. The cost of natural selection. Journal of Genetics 55:511-524)
If only 1,000 of the mutations are beneficial, then nearly all of the 150 million mutations in the human lineage would be slightly deleterious or neutral. Deleterious mutations would lead to DEGENERATION of the genome resulting in extinction, and the neutral mutations would cause no change.
This does not lead to some “great leap forward” to a more adapted creature. Because there is no feasible evolutionary solution to this problem, this whole situation has been termed “Haldane’s dilemma.”
Even if the difference in homology of humans and chimpanzees is just 98.5% there still would be 250,000 beneficial mutations to be fixed in both populations in the last 5 million years, far too many than are feasible by Haldane’s calculations.
So, in my opinion, the differences between humans and chimpanzees cannot be determined simply by the amount of sequence homology. The regulation of genes is also an important factor.
Differential expression of proteins in humans and chimpanzees has been identified in brain and liver cells. In a comparison of 538 proteins expressed in brain and liver cells in both humans and chimpanzees, 31% of these proteins showed different levels of expression between humans and chimpanzees (See: Enard, W., et al., 2002. Intra- and interspecific variation in primate gene expression patterns. Science 296:340-343)
For comparison, two species of mice, Mus musculus and Mus spretus, also were analyzed for protein expression differences, but showed just a 7.5% difference in the number of differentially expressed proteins. The larger difference between humans and chimpanzees would support the position that they are two separate “kinds” while the mice, which are classified in the same genus, are likely one “kind.”
The differences in expression are not trivial either, as some of the differentially expressed proteins had more than a 10-fold difference in expression levels between humans and chimpanzees (SEE: Watanabe, H., et al., 2004. DNA sequence and comparative analysis of chimpanzee chromosome 22. Nature 429:382-388)
One likely candidate controlling the different levels of proteins in the brain and liver cells are differences in the DNA sequences of the gene promoters in humans and chimpanzees.
These differences might affect the binding affinity between DNA and the enzymes necessary for the expression of the gene that encodes the respective protein. Differential expression of proteins is one likely way the Designer (whoever he is ) specified some of the physical and behavioral differences between humans and chimpanzees. At least I am not CLOSED to that kind of explanation.