I try to keep this blog religion free but this post will probably cut close to the line (and if it crosses a line, it’s your fault not mine – religion doesn’t have to conflict with evolution, you just want it to). I just want to make it clear I’m not attacking any beliefs – I just want to make some things clear whilst championing truth and logical reasoning. If it makes you sleep better, you’re free to believe that evolution was “set into motion” by a god, but the fact is that evolution is very real.
On a side note, I’m sick of theists trying to use science to disprove science. It doesn’t work that way. You can’t suddenly decide to believe in a certain, small amount of science taken out of context to “prove” your god, and then turn around and ignore all the other science pointing to another answer. If you’re a believer, stick to your beliefs and stop trying to justify it. If you feel the need to use an opposing ideal to verify your own, then you obviously don’t have enough strength in your beliefs to rely on it alone. You don’t see scientists saying god proves that there is no god.
Back on topic: here are some facts about evolution that many people might not know.
- The Catholic Church has changed its public stance to accept evolution as a fact, the same way it changed its opinion on a heliocentric solar system (Earth revolving around the sun). I lead with this because the Vatican seems to have no problem reconciling its beliefs with this particular scientific fact, although its reasoning is a bit sketchy. In a nutshell, the Church says they’re not sure whether cosmological and biological evolution exist but if it does, then it’s because of god. As for evolution, the Church accepts that we evolved from other biological life forms, but claims that god “specially created” our “soul”.
- Humans did not come from monkeys. This claim is an oversimplification commonly employed by theists to try and disrepute evolution and is a combination of both the Strawman and appeal to emotion logical fallacies (making it a doubly stupid claim). First of all, humans are closer to modern apes than monkeys, which automatically makes theists using this claim a whole deal more ignorant. Second, we didn’t evolve from these apes either, we share a common ancestor. About 5-8 million years ago, our common ancestor diverged into two separate lineages, one of which went on to become modern apes and the other became us humans. In fact, even this is oversimplifying it. Our common ancestor evolved into the earliest hominid species 5-8 million years ago, and since then, there have been dozens of different species of human-like creatures. It’s not as simple as take a monkey, pop, oh look it’s a human; it’s millions of years of dozens of species evolving slowly over time, with homo sapiens being the greatest survivor. It’s almost like the mitochondrial Eve.
- Humans have roughly a 96% DNA similarity to chimpanzees. This figure was previously as high as 99% but has been revised over time. DNA comparison by itself is somewhat limited so let’s introduce the next point.
- The missing chromosome between humans and apes has been discovered. Some of you might know about this, but for those who don’t, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans have 48 chromosomes (if traced back far enough, humans have a common ancestry with these three separate species, with chimps being the closest). Humans, however, have only 46 chromosomes. If common ancestry were to be valid, one would expect humans to have a same number of chromosomes as our distant cousins. Chromosomes can’t just disappear, which would be fatal, so there are only two possibilities – either humans do not share a common ancestry with apes or two chromosomes got fused. Well, Dr. Ken Miller and other associates have located the two chromosomes that were fused through whole genome sequencing techniques. Chromosomes have centromeres which are DNA sequences used to separate them in the middle during mitosis and telomeres, which are DNA sequences at the ends. If two chromosomes were fused, we would have telomeres in the centre of the chromosome (instead of at the end). Guess what? They found the chromosome, it’s the Human Chromosome #2, which shows the exact point at which this fusion took place.
- There are many examples of evolution happening right before our eyes. It’ll take far too long for me to list them and why, so I’ll give a quick list of the names and you can Google these for yourself if you don’t believe me (which you should). Peppered moths, three-toed skinks, crabs and mussels, Italian wall lizards, cane toads, Darwin’s finches, butterflies and parasites, viruses and superviruses (SARS, swineflu), flatfish, Australian skinks, elephants, fish in the Hudson River and many other species of lizards besides the ones I’ve mentioned.