Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why Are the Fundies So Averse to Accepting Human Evolution?

Photo: A portrait of human evolution
Having had over a dozen debates with creationists and ID fundamentalists, I'm still at a loss as to why they so vehemently reject human evolution. Even when presented with the hardest evidence, they tend to bury their heads in the sand like ostriches. It's as if their heads are ready to explode.  What gives with them?

My own theory is they suffer from what I call grandiosity syndrome, the belief in human exceptionalism -and that humans are somehow "fallen angels" as opposed to being risen apes. But apes these people don't want to be. NO, they aspire to sublime, supernatural greatness - which no ape will ever attain. Thus, when they look at an ape, or ape ancestor face in relation to a human, they go batshit crazy in denial, because they can't handle the similarities.

"No, dammit! That ain't me! I am special! I got a soul, and free will and all that, you damned commie atheist!"

But the hard facts belie their desperate protestations, because in the end, they really are risen apes! One of the best evidences for this is at the micro-biological level.  This is from the DNA (genomic) sequencing of the human and chimpanzee which discloses the remarkable fact that BOTH have the exact SAME cytochrome –c protein sequence! If evolution is false we’d expect the human and chimp cytochrome-c sequences to vary dramatically given that it exhibits 10^93 variations in functionality with other organisms. That is, 10 followed by ninety three zeros!

Yet the fundies either reject or refuse to process this data! They absolutely want no ape cousins!

Then there the fact is we have actual photographic evidence assembled for the telomeric fusion of the ape 2p and 2q chromosomes to become the single ‘2’ chromosome in humans. In other words, prima facie evidence of a common ancestor. (See, e.g.: Yunis and Prakash, 1982, Science, Vol. 215, p. 1525, 'The Origin of Man: A Chromosomal Pictorial Legacy')

People who know next to zippo about Darwinian evolution (they haven’t even read Darwin’s Origin of Species) constantly complain about perceived “problems with evolution” but most of these are McGuffins, red herrings, straw men or false issues.  You can generally quickly tell their specious basis on account of the near hysteria with which they're interjected into debates.


A choice one is the difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution.


By “micro-evolution” we mean minute evolutionary change, involving a small proportion of DNA. For example, as observed in changes in haemoglobins, histo-compatability antigens, and biochemical environmental adaptations (e.g. formation of blood chemicals which confer some form of resistance to environmental toxins or agents). The main point to bear in mind is that micro-evolution, whatever the changes, still preserves species' mating ability - whereas macroevolution generally does not.

 
Macroevolution, by contrast, entails a proportionately large change in the DNA underlying it that probably reflects ongoing natural selection, over significant time. For example, the change from a cold-blooded dinosaur to a warm-blooded dinosaur that’s a precursor of modern birds would be a case of macroevolution. Similarly, the change from an ape-human ancestor to Homo sapiens (by telomeric fusion of the 2p and 2q chromosomes to the ‘2’ chromosome in humans) would be a case of macroevolution, despite the fact the evidence is available at the chromosomal level.

 
 Thus far we have assembled more than 29+ evidences for macro-evolution all of which were originally set out in the context of falsifiable hypotheses, and then accepted because they passed those observational tests. See more at:http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

Another key fundie-creationist dysfunction,  showing his lack of education,  is mixing up the origin of life (or the origin of the cosmos) with evolution. The origin of life falls under the theory of abiogenesis :i.e.  the theory of the original inception of life, as opposed to its later evolution by natural selection. The origin of the universe, meanwhile, falls under the theory of cosmogenesis.- or how the cosmos originated, e.g. in the Big Bang.  If the fundie can't tell either of these theorie from Darwinian evolution - how can anything else he writes be trusted?  He really isn't fit to be in a serious debate, but perhaps he can engage in discussion concerning which  water colors a Kindergartner might use!



Then there is the old complaint concerning "gaps in the fossil record". As if a few transitional layer gaps can refute an entire theory.  But as Richard Dawkins has put it ( 'The Blind Watchmaker’, p. 240):

The reason that the transition from ancestral species to descendant species appears to be jerky is simply that, when we look at a series of fossils from any one place, we are probably not looking at an evolutionary event at all, but a migrational event. The arrival of a new species from another geographical area


I mean, after all, there’s no law that commands all species remain fixed in one place their entire lives! Even today, as water holes dry up or food reserves dip, African animals like Wildebeest, antelope and others will migrate to new areas in search of resources to support them. 


Not mentioned by Dawkins is how many other ‘holes” or gaps may have been created by virtue of tectonic plates (which make up the Earth’s crust) slipping or crushing key fossils in distinct layers. Obviously, if such tectonic traversal displaced a fossil layer, then it likely won’t be found when it may well have harbored intermediate forms.

Another question from the perpetually clueless:


If Evolution’s true then why don’t we see apes evolving into humans?


This nonsense propagates because they purveyors fail to recognize that humans, apes and monkeys are all distant cousins, as opposed to species in the same SINGLE evolutionary path. Humans don’t come from apes but from a common ancestor that was neither ape nor human in the distant past. Also, it overlooks the algorithmic branching basis of evolution, see e.g. http://www.brane-space.blogspot.com/2013/04/clearing-air-on-missing-links.html

Thus, multiple evolutionary offshoots (as shown above) confirm no (single) primate evolution is based on a single path. Thus in the past seven million years there have evolved multiple hominid species including Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus, and Homo Neanderthalis- all of which went extinct along the way- except modern humans or Homo sapiens. Meanwhile the idea of current apes evolving to humans totally turns this algorithmic-convergence on its head, and proposes a singly determined evolutionary path!

 
Another widely disseminated but misbegotten and misinformed trope:

 
Evolutionists claim the process occurs by random chance

Not so. Natural selection is not “random” nor does it operate by “chance”. What happens is that once a particular mutation is stabilized, then natural selection preserves the gains and eradicates the mistakes (to enhance better adaptation). Meanwhile, "chance" would be like me sitting a monkey down in front of a type writer or computer keyboard and hoping there is some "chance" it will type out at least one page of coherent script. But since a monkey will likely not recognize any key - or even if it does, then make a connection to words, or how to compose them into articulated thoughts - this isn't likely. It all rests on CHANCE!


Meanwhile, natural selection rests on preferred steps each of which consolidate former steps while advancing the adaptation. Thus, the eye evolved from a single light sensitive spot in a cell to the complex organ we behold today not by chance but rather by thousands of intermediate steps – each preserved because they assured better adaptation if incorporated, and hence a better eye. Many of these steps can still be observed today in simpler organisms.

Richard Dawkins perhaps put it best (op. cit.):


"What natural selection does is to consolidate particular random mutations into a more stable, adaptive adjustment – governed by deterministic factors and inputs. Thus, that while the selected trait often appears at random, its preservation in the gene structure cannot be relegated to randomness”

 
What does all this show? That most of the alleged "problems of evolution" are confections or simple red herrings which exist only in the minds of those who insist on seeing problems - perhaps because "problems" with evolution assuage some doubts that their good Book gives them the whole truth.

But I still suspect the core problem is that those who reject human evolution, refuse to see humans in any biological fellowship with the likes of the chimp  - despite the fact we share 98% of the same DNA and exhibit the same  cytochrome –c  protein sequence. So literally, we are "brothers" under the fur, or skin...as the case may be.

Human exceptionalism is unwarranted until such time we can show ourselves to be absolutely above the chimp in every way - including making war and killing our fellows. But don't hold your breath!



2 comments:

nancy john said...

thanks for sharing information really it is very useful

GRE Problem Solving

Copernicus said...

You're most welcome, Nancy! Glad you found the information useful!