Christian students in secular schools have been unnecessarily troubled by evidence from DNA (genetic material found in the nucleus of virtually all cells) that allegedly shows chimpanzees to be our close evolutionary cousins. We are told that over 98% of human and chimpanzee DNA is the same, and this gives credence to an unknown common ancestor for the two groups. But since people and chimpanzees eat the same food, breathe the same air, and drink the same water, wouldn't much of their DNA be the same?
As is always the case there's scientific evidence to this evolutionary story that is not being told, "Molecular phylogenetics [tracing `human evolution' using DNA and/or protein] has provided new insights into human evolution, but many of its findings and interpretations have been vigorously challenged. The controversy surrounding molecular phylogenetics is now so heated that the field cannot be discussed without also considering the controversy surrounding it."1
"If molecular data [such as comparing DNA] have provoked strong reactions among researchers interested in the evolution of whales, that is nothing compared to the hornet's nest stirred up among palaeoanthropologists [those who study `human evolution']"2
No wonder evolutionist James Trefil states, "I am skeptical of arguments, like those of the molecular biologists, based on long strings of theoretical assumptions."3
Many evolutionists are unaware that, "There is less variation between the DNA of two human beings from opposite ends of the earth than there is between the DNA of two gorillas from the same African rain forest."4 This statement is supported by recent research, "The extent of DNA sequence variation of chimpanzees is several-fold greater than that of humans."5 How do these facts support our alleged ape ancestry? Shouldn't our DNA sequence variation be as plastic as the rest of our "ancestors"?
Perhaps the most important thing we can say regarding this evidence is how much scientists still don't know about DNA and its supposed evolutionary connections. Recent research shows just 2.5% of DNA is different between people and mice, and only 1% different from a chimpanzee.6 A UK chief scientist said, "We share half our genes [DNA] with the banana."7 This convoluted field of molecular evolutionary biology is obviously becoming more puzzling--??not less--??and secularists would do well to say nothing regarding supposed evolutionary relationships until all facts are in.
1. Long, J.C., "Human molecular phylogenetics" Annual Review of Anthropology 22:251-272, 1993.
2. Gura, T. "Bones, molecules . . . or both?" Nature, v. 406, July 20, 2000, p. 231.
3. Trefil, 101 Things you don't know about science. Mariner Books, 1996, p. 269.
4. Trefil, p. 270.
5. Nature Genetics, February 2001, p. 155.
6. Mural, R.J., et al., Science, v. 296, May 31, 2002, p. 1661.
7. May, R., Quoted in Coglan & Boyce, New Scientist 167 (July 1):5, 2000
Cite this article: Frank Sherwin, M.A. 2002. The Rapidly Unraveling Thread between DNA and "Human Evolution". Acts & Facts. 31 (10).