Here below are two article which you may want to consider in connection with your response to my earlier post:
Bonobos Join Chimps as Closest Human Relatives
By Ann GibbonsJun. 13, 2012 , 1:30 PM
Chimpanzees now have to share the distinction of being our closest living relative in the animal kingdom. An international team of researchers has sequenced the genome of the bonobo for the first time, confirming that it shares the same percentage of its DNA with us as chimps do. The team also found some small but tantalizing differences in the genomes of the three species—differences that may explain how bonobos and chimpanzees don’t look or act like us even though we share about 99% of our DNA.
“We’re so closely related genetically, yet our behavior is so different,” says team member and computational biologist Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. “This will allow us to look for the genetic basis of what makes modern humans different from both bonobos and chimpanzees.”
Ever since researchers sequenced the chimp genome in 2005, they have known that humans share about 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees, making them our closest living relatives. But there are actually two species of apes that are this closely related to humans: bonobos (Pan paniscus) and the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). This has prompted researchers to speculate whether the ancestor of humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos looked and acted more like a bonobo, a chimpanzee, or something else—and how all three species have evolved differently since the ancestor of humans split with the common ancestor of bonobos and chimps between 4 million and 7 million years ago in Africa.
This is delightful. In a BBC-sponsored debate with Richard Dawkins, Britain’s chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, tweaked Dawkins with the ENCODE project results. He does it right out of the box, in the opening moments of the encounter, observing that whereas until recently 98 percent of the genome was "dismissed as junk DNA, " “actually that 98 percent that people thought was junk isn’t junk at all. It’s absolutely essential to the maintenance of life.”
Watch the video – Rabbi Sacks provides an important lesson not only in science and philosophy but in the human art of treating an opponent with unfailing grace, warmth, and a genuine friendliness that can’t be faked and that disarms even Richard Dawkins.
On the junk DNA point, though, Dawkins manages to squirm out and seems to turn it to his own advantage (at about 13:00). In his telling now, the discovery that junk DNA is not junk at all isn’t a blow to Darwinist predictions but – yes, you guessed right – exactly what a Darwinist would expect.
I have noticed that there are some creationists who are jumping on [the ENCODE results] because they think that’s awkward for Darwinism. Quite the contrary it’s exactly what a Darwinist would hope for, to find usefulness in the living world…
Whereas we thought that only a minority of the genome was doing something, namely that minority which actually codes for protein, and now we find that actually the majority of it is doing something. What it’s doing is calling into action the protein-coding genes. So you can think of the protein-coding genes as being sort of the toolbox of subroutines which is pretty much common to all mammals – mice and men have the same number, roughly speaking, of protein-coding genes and that’s always been a bit of a blow to self-esteem of humanity. But the point is that that was just the subroutines that are called into being; the program that’s calling them into action is the rest [of the genome] which had previously been written off as junk.
If I had been whispering at Rabbi Sacks’s elbow, I would have suggested he point out that Dawkins has changed his tune. Back in 2009, in The Greatest Show on Earth (pp. 332-333), he was presenting the supposed junkiness of the vast majority of the genome as an assured scientific reality and one that is, in the specific case of “pseudogenes,” “useful for. . . embarrassing creationists.”
It stretches even their creative ingenuity to make a convincing reason why an intelligent designer should have created a pseudogene – a gene that does absolutely nothing and gives every appearance of being a superannuated version of a gene that used to do something – unless he was deliberately setting out to fool us.
Dawkins goes on:
Leaving pseudogenes aside, it is a remarkable fact that the greater part (95 percent in the case of humans) of the genome might as well not be there, for all the difference it makes.
That was in 2009, just three years ago. Back then, the purported fact that 95 percent of the human genome “might as well not be there” was an embarrassment “for creationists,” whom in typical Darwinian fashion Dawkins conveniently conflates with intelligent-design advocates. Junk DNA is just what a Darwinist would expect, in other words.
Cut to 2012, and now the evident fact that “junk DNA” isn’t junk at all but is instead vital for life has become “exactly what a Darwinist would hope for,” namely, "to find usefulness in the living world."
That is, heads you lose, tails I win. A wonderful man like Rabbi Sacks would probably have to shed his courtliness for a moment to properly call out Dawkins on this blatant, unacknowledged and suspiciously convenient self-contradiction. Ah well, as we knew already, being a Darwinist means never having to say “I was wrong.”
On Junk DNA Claim, Francis Collins Walks It Back, Admitting "Hubris"
David Klinghoffer July 19, 2016 12:44 PM | Permalink
Count on Marvin Olasky at World Magazine not to miss something like this. InThe Language of God, theistic evolutionary icon Francis Collins used so-called Junk DNA as homerun evidence against intelligent design. He has since backed down on that, honorably, admitting “hubris” in the process. Olasky:
Collins claimed on page 136 that huge chunks of our genome are “littered” with ancient repetitive elements (AREs), so that “roughly 45 percent of the human genome [is] made up of such genetic flotsam and jetsam.” In his talk he claimed the existence of “junk DNA” was proof that man and mice had a common ancestor, because God would not have created man with useless genes.
Last year, though, speaking at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, Collins threw in the towel: “In terms of junk DNA, we don’t use that term anymore because I think it was pretty much a case of hubris to imagine that we could dispense with any part of the genome, as if we knew enough to say it wasn’t functional. … Most of the genome that we used to think was there for spacer turns out to be doing stuff.”
Good for Collins – and maybe he’ll go on to deal with other times scientists feel sorry for God as they look at His purportedly poor design. For example, evolutionists use the retina of the eye as evidence against creation, because nerve endings are at the front rather than at the back, which at first glance seems better placement. Yet, as Lee Spetner explains in The Evolution Revolution(Judaica Press, 2014), physicists now see front placement as the best one for “ingeniously designed light collectors.”
The list of needed retractions should include what you probably learned in high school about apparently purposeless human vestigial organs. Robert Wiedersheim’s 1895 list of 86 has shrunk, as almost all of them have proved to have functions. For example, the most famous vestigial organ – the vermiform appendix – is a crucial storage place for benign bacteria that repopulate the gut when diarrhea strikes. The appendix can be a life-saver.
By “hubris” perhaps he means the overweening tendency to assume that scientific opinion as constituted at the moment has got everything all figured out. The repeated need to retract and walk back previous certainties should be a lesson to all, a warning that we can’t simply hand over our intellects to “science.”
In briefest form, that’s the message of Doug Axe’s book Undeniable. When it comes to big-ticket science questions like evolution, not only do you get to think for yourself. You have a positive obligation to do so.
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