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 Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition 
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
Gents:
I have been thinking about this, and praying about it since I last responded, and have come to some conclusions that I believe each of you need to hear.

First: I made the initial mistake of stepping into a conversation that I am not qualified to discuss, nor do I have enough scientific back ground to even comment intelligently on. For that I’d like to apologize.

Second: By my stepping into a conversation that I was not even remotely qualified to discuss, I have participated in creating angst within the thread, which was not my intent, but is the results of my efforts.

Third: I am responsible for how each of you views Christianity to some extent. As I live my life of faith, even here in these threads, you get your opinions based upon what you see or believe from my actions. Because I have been “dogmatic” and stubborn in my actions and responses, that view could be less than favorable; which was also not my intent, and for that I strongly apologize.

Fourth: I have heard your comments, and request about being willing to at least look at the other side of the coin, and my refusal to do that generates a frustration and then firmly entrenches y’all when I turn around on the same coin and ask you to look at my information instead. Why would you? What makes my information more relevant and worth looking at, as compared to yours? Again, I strongly apologize for that as well!

Fifth: What I have tried to communicate and could not do so with any kind of accuracy finally came into view last night, and so I wanted to share it with you, in hopes that you will understand my position. Don’t worry it’s not an argument or defense, as much as it is an explanation of my perspective, and why some of the above happened.

My relationship with Jesus Christ is of the utmost importance to me. Everything else takes a second seat. Because of my determination to live “Souled Out” I do not focus on the peripheral items that would take my eyes off of him. It has been my experience that losing focus of that relationship is like taking your eyes off the trail, or disregarding the map. You lose your way and quickly discover that you are lost! Because I have interjected my faith in many of these discussions, I have now placed myself on a stage where my actions are seen and judged by you, and that judgment is influenced by what you see. I do not mean any disrespect to anyone else’s belief, or ideas concerning the “peripheral items” but because of my decision, I choose not to focus on them. The “rabbits” that I encounter along the trail should not catch my attention, as I keep walking towards my ultimate goal, which is to know Jesus Christ. This does not down play the importance of these topics in your lives, it just means that I should not be stepping into conversations or areas that I’m not qualified to discuss or willing to pursue. So having said that, let me officially offer an apology for upsetting the tea kettle, and illustrating that even a man who knows and loves Jesus, can make mistakes. In another thread or maybe it was this one, a comment was made about my being consistent. The only thing that I can guarantee is that I will consistently fail in my efforts to know Christ. But my relationship with Him does not depend upon me, it just is. Having said that, I count upon His grace and mercy to rectify those areas that I've messed up along the way because often times I am unaware of the mistakes, unless called on it. Thankfully, much of what you’ve said as a group yesterday contributed to me being able to see my position, and the potential damage to your perspectives that I was doing. With that I will take my leave of the conversation and stick to what I know, or at least try to. Have a blessed day!

Paul

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March 20th, 2012, 11:48 am
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
I edited my response from the original, because this seemed more appropriate then that. This little post is to bump the thread.

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March 21st, 2012, 8:27 am
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
Do you believe that rejecting a literal interpretation of the creation story amounts to rejecting Christianity entirely?

I understand your incredulity in terms of believing single cell organism -> all life on earth. It's kind of amazing when you look at it like that. But, two things:

1) Bringing God into the explanation actually makes it more amazing/complex. So citing God makes the problem worse, not better.

2) Evolutionary theory is just an expression of the flow of life. You can see evolutionary processes in all kinds of things. Look at massive corporations like GM, Apple, Google: once upon a time, these businesses were just a guy or two in a garage somewhere. When you say one guy in his garage started a process to create a global organization that commands billions of dollars and thousands of people it sounds amazing--but that's exactly what happened. Small changes over long periods of time compound.


March 21st, 2012, 11:10 pm
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
Blue:

I do not believe that rejecting the literal interpretation means you are rejecting Christianity, I believe it muddies the water. For example: If I'm driving from Battle Creek to Kalamazoo (Michigan) on I 94, why would I bother to take all of the exits along the way? My destination is clear, I know where I want to go, so taking each exit that comes up, because "hey that looks interesting" is fruitless, distracting, and delays the arrival at the original goal.

To this point I stated, my first mistake was getting involved in a conversation that I had NO BUSINESS being in. Not because I don't have a point of view or perspective, but because my involvement riled some fellars, and alienated myself because of my dogmatic point of view. This is counter productive to my mission, and takes my eyes off the goal.

Bringing God into the explanation doesn't make it worse, it actually clarifies it, and relieves humanity of the responsibility of having to find out why. However, that's not an acceptable train of thought, so we as humans will keep kicking over stones until we get what we think is the truth, but in truth our sights are set way to low, and we keep missing the obvious. But that goes back to perspective, and takes me right back to my original stand point which riles some fellars up, and is a wasted argument and detrimental to those I'm trying to reach.

Evoluntionary Theory may be an expression but it isn't exactly a credible one. Change might be a better term, or even adaptation, but evolutionary theory is snagged on the premise that something existed and then began to change. Creation Theory states that nothing existed till God said it did, and then BANG it happened. So out of nothing he created something, where as evolution would have you believe that there was a beginning organism that all life began to stem from because life begats life. But it doesn't give you the origin of the first micro-organism.

Take a look here if you wish:

http://delveintojesus.com/articles/26/O ... -Life.aspx

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2 Chronicles 10:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."


March 22nd, 2012, 8:37 am
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
I had a read, WaEr, and it's a poor article I am afraid.

Yes, the theory of evolution does not explain how the first building blocks of life came into existence. But then, the theory of evolution does not explain how the earth orbits the sun, the effects of force on an object with mass or what happens in nuclear fission. It doesn't explain those things because it does not attempt to explain those things.

Equally, it doesn't explain how the building blocks of life came into existence, merely how those building blocks, over a period of time that is incredibly difficult for humans to comprehendm, can lead to the diverse array of biology we see today. And it does a very good job of explaining that process.

Attacking the theory of evolution by saying "ah but it doesn't explain how the first building blocks of life appeared" is silly - it's not trying to explain that. Is there a gap in our knowledge (ie how those building blocks were formed)? Yes. Is that gap a valid pursuit for scientists? Yes. Does that gap harm the theory of evolution? No.

Also, to fill a gap in knowledge with "God" would be to end science's pursuit of knowledge and the advances it has brought mankind. If your answer to any unknown is "God did it", why look for any further answers?

Now I've read your article, any chance you read the blind watchmaker?


March 22nd, 2012, 9:26 am
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
UK,

I appreciate your perspective, and I agree that the mention of God makes it ever so difficult for those who need tangible, physical, hold it in my hand proof. But I can only refer you to what I know to be proof. The Bible discusses the very answers that you have raised questions for. Orbits, planets and so on, are spoken of in Job. Where God in questioning Job, who has suffered undue torture, loss, and harassment from friends who perceive to know. Job endured all this, but then began to question why me, what have I done, why did I deserve this...... yadda, yadda, yadda. In Job Chapter 38 - 42 God puts it back on Job, starting here:

" 31 “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons"

This is just a foretaste of what these sections of Scripture have to offer. If you'll notice the word LORD is capitalized to show that it is the Lord speaking, and this is a conversation that has been recorded. In these same sections, God goes on to speak of the Behemoths and Leviathans, long thought to be the dinosaurs and great sea monsters.

Basically God is claiming to establish the paths of what you ask, he holds all of the answers. But because this is too much for us to believe we discredit it outright. The Bible is filled with story, fable, conjecture, truth, history, and so on, but GOD is filled with relationship.

What I'm trying to say, and have been trying to say, is that in a perfect environment like a vacuum where nothing exists, it's like an artists canvas. He knows the picture he wishes to paint. He applies the details to highlight the picture, adds the color, or takes it away as needed. The artist is the one in control, not the painting. Can a lump of clay jump off the potters wheel because it doesn't wish to be fashioned into a piss pot? Can the clay do anything other than exist and endure the shaping? We, as humans, are little more than living clay. We are made up of the same basic elements as clay or dirt in varying portions. Between that and water.

Trust me when i say that I KNOW it is to big to completely grasp. If I took responsibility for trying to contain all these wonders, I'd be mad. But when I release that responsibility to it's rightfull owner and rest in the fact that they only thing I can control is my own personal relationship with the artist, then there is peace and rest.

Striving for the answers, although leading to more knowledge, is still striving and takes me away from my goal, which is to know Christ. That's all I'm saying, and I apologize if my dogmatic, stubborn, refusal to "chase rabbits" infuriates anyone. I KNOW of my relationship with Jesus, I can not fully explain how real it is, because the experience is as individual as you in relationshp with your spouse. There are secrets and knowledges taht the world just can not know or discover, because it is personal and deep, and many ways unspoken.

So whether it be in this thread, or the other on Christianity, I don't want to debate all the mysteries of earth, space, and micro-earth. I'm afraid I'd be unarmed and out of sync, upsetting the tea kettle which I did earlier. My hearts biggest desire is to introduce you and anyone else to the one with whom I have a relaitonship so that you too can know what I know. This is not to convince you that my position is right, it is to say, heyonce you know this man, who is God, you will know what I'm talking about. How you choose to live or pursue that relationship, is totally up to you. I can only arrange the meeting, or illustrate my personal relationship with him. Sorry if that falls short, but it's the best I got.

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2 Chronicles 10:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."


March 22nd, 2012, 10:37 am
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
WarEr4Christ wrote:
So whether it be in this thread, or the other on Christianity, I don't want to debate all the mysteries of earth, space, and micro-earth.

Well, that's absolutely fine and your choice. You don't have to discuss, or consider, those things.

What I would suggest, though, is that if you wish to avoid debating those issues then don't post your arguments for why the theory of evolution is incorrect. If you post those arguments, people are going to debate them with you.


March 22nd, 2012, 11:06 am
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
Long story short UK, the answer is no he won't read the Blind Watchmaker despite the fact that you have read what he suggested. And therein lies the frustration of a one-way street. I'm going to continue to push my agenda on you, expect you to read, digest and consider it, however I won't waste one second of my precious time considering anything you fnd important (like truth and knowledge).

WarEr4Christ wrote:
Striving for the answers, although leading to more knowledge, is still striving and takes me away from my goal, which is to know Christ.


And there you have it! At this point WE4C, please refrain from asking/expecting me to read any further material. I see relationships involving both give and take, it is quite obvious your definition of a relationship is very different indeed.

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March 22nd, 2012, 11:18 am
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
And so the pile on begins!

I'm sorry maybe I wasn't very clear, so let me type it s.....l.....o.....w.....e....r! I have heard your suggestions, and you are correct I probably will not read them. I prefaced this by saying I..... GOT......... INVOLVE.......... IN.......... A........... CONVERSATION........... I......... WAS.............. NOT ............. FULLY.............. PREPARED...........FOR, .......... OR............... WILLING.............. TO.......... RESEARCH........... THE............OTHER........... SIDE............... OF.............. THE............COIN. I apologized for even stepping into this arean, see here:

First: I made the initial mistake of stepping into a conversation that I am not qualified to discuss, nor do I have enough scientific back ground to even comment intelligently on. For that I’d like to apologize.

Second: By my stepping into a conversation that I was not even remotely qualified to discuss, I have participated in creating angst within the thread, which was not my intent, but is the results of my efforts.


Pablo: to your point, I have not made mention to you nor suggested any reading material for you since October. The material that I recently asked you to look at via a FB message was my own personal book that I am seeking publication on, and is based upon my personal experiences and learnings, and how Scriptural truths were taught to me through that. It has NOTHING to do with any of the above, and I'm not even sure whether or not you followed up with the initial book that was supposed to be added to your que, from last year. No mention has been made, so I am assuming that it has not made it past the inital conversation.

Another point that you attempt to make is that you seem to claim that you know truth and knowledge. However, we've debated in other arenas that Truth has become relevant only to the perspective. It's situational, because the standard of truth has been consistantly demolished by those who can not and will not use that as a standard. So IN TRUTH, if you have no medium by which you weigh your results, you can't have positive or negative to your "tests" because the known standard of truth has been made irrelevant, because it proves that the life now choose is false. I believe they call this sickness moral relativism.

UK: As I tried to point out, my destination is point B, to get there I must continue in this direction. In taking exits to look at this or that, distracts me from my goal of reaching destination B. It is not that your information is worthless, or wrong, or any other particular descriptor, I am trying to say that for me to start chasing after these rabbits, takes me away from my original goal. And that's what I tried to pull back on and stated in the above bolded part, where I identified my mistake.

The evolutional theory argument came out of something I found in looking up a Scripture reference that I was trying to use for a response to Blue.

IF you have a piece of evidence you wish for me to see, post it here, but for me to spend the time to track it down, read through it, is just not on my priority list. I'm not trying to be rude, but I am trying to suggest that I don't trust the author. This is not a judgment based upon character, it is a recognition of their sights being to low, and they can't see the forest because the trees are in the way.

Ubereducated vocabulary, and grandiose schemes and theories might make for a fabulous read, but if it comes at it from the angle that their is no divine creator, it's a waste of print. (my opinion). My relationship with the Lord is viable, real, and without question. You fellas can't understand that, and maybe not believe it, and I accept that, so battling back and forth is wasted effort and emotion.

Pablo: your comment about relationships is correct in the appropriate context, but in error if taken out of context. To highlight my point here let me put it in this perspective.

If your son has chosen to proceed down a path that is terribly wrong, you as his father will talk, show, and do whatever is necessary to wake him up right? It's because of the relationship with him, and your love for him that you do this. On the reverse side, you son says "but dad, this that, and the other thing," and you shut him down because you don't wish to hear it. It's not that you don't love your son, it's not that your son doesn't love you, it is that you are aware of the consequences, and so you are asking him to come to the realization of his path.

I can only speak of what I know. I know I got involved in this conversation and shouldn't have. I konw that people have been frustrated by my "dogma." I know that relationships continue to sour SEE: At this point WE4C, please refrain from asking/expecting me to read any further material. 2nd time you've said this in this thread alone.

What drew me back into this discussion was Blue's comment about God, and because this is someone I know about, (albeit very little) I chose to answer his question to the best of my ability.

So here's a question: Is this why Steesn quit coming or responding to the LB threads? Aint seen him in a while, and I sure do remember him getting dogpiled from time to time.

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March 22nd, 2012, 1:16 pm
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
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Ubereducated vocabulary, and grandiose schemes and theories might make for a fabulous read, but if it comes at it from the angle that their is no divine creator, it's a waste of print. (my opinion). My relationship with the Lord is viable, real, and without question. You fellas can't understand that, and maybe not believe it, and I accept that, so battling back and forth is wasted effort and emotion.


The bolded this is where you'll lose the attention of anyone listening. Even as a christian, that comes across as closed minded. I read liberal news all day, even though I don't agree with it. I read scientific data even if see holes in it. But I can understand those holes because I look at both sides. If I pay attention to just thing I agree with, you never learn anything or strengthen your own argument. It'd be like boxing while blindfolded. Reading about evolution isn't going to automatically make you change your mind. You still have choice in the matter.

There is nothing in evolution that excludes creation. And there is nothing in creation that excludes evolution. You can understand both and come to the exclusion that both exists. There will be those that think one or the other is the only explanation, but you'll find that in anything and everything. Science is the search for the unknown, not the search for proof God doesn't exist. Reading about someone else's interpretation doesn't make that your interpretation. Everyone has a slightly different view on things, even those that agree. If everyone had to agree and nothing could be printed that showed a different view, we'd all live in an extremely boring world.


March 22nd, 2012, 2:13 pm
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
Sorry if you feel I piled on, I'm simply trying to get you to at least put some consideration into another point of view - something I have had no success in doing so. I would hope that since, per your admission, you know little about this subject you might be open to a little research - might help you explain your own viewpoint better in the long run. It might also, in a strange way, also bring you closer in your relationship with God/Jesus.

While you haven't PM'd or FB me in a while, you do continue to post articles/links/reading suggestions in your posts for everyone to see with zero intention of ever showing the same respect to others by reading their suggetions. As you might imagine, this is rather frustrating and the crux of why that frustration is coming out in our responses. You further exacerbate the sitution by making comments like when you just said it is a "waste of print".

As for my son, if he proceeded down a path as you suggest I would certainly hear him out and try to understand where he is coming from. To shoot him down from the beginning, without any consideration to his point of view, will turn him off listening to my viewpoint and quite likely make me miss critical parts of his thinking that are the keys to understanding and eventually turning him down the right path.

As for steesn, he had his own private reasons to stop posting on the board, for which I will respect and not communicate here.

I don't mean to dogpile, please let me apologize, I was only trying to get you to for a moment to consider other angles to some of these discussions we have had. I understand you have no intention of doing so, as such (much like my son might in the scenario above if I would listen to him), I'm shutting down from trying to understand your point of view. I had hoped to reach some common ground, but that requires at least a little compromise on both sides. You have drawn a line that you not only won't cross, you won't even glance over, I understand that now.

Regardless, I'm glad it works for you. I really am. Please understand other people have other methods that work for them. There are multiple paths to follow in life, I like to explore as many of them as I can. "It's not the destination but the journey" my friend, we are just taking different journeys.

njroar - just read your post as I was posting my response - spot on my man. That is what I am talking about, some common ground and that is where progress can be made. Well done!

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March 22nd, 2012, 2:36 pm
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
First and foremost: type communication is not appropriate communication by any stretch of the imagination. Mainly becaue of tone flexions, facial features and the other % of communication that is non-verbal is not communicated through text. So I automatically implied that your responses had angst in them or tone, when there may not have been.

Second: I did look up the Blind Watchmaker according to Wiki, but have a problem with their definition.

They proposed 3 arguments and the second or third was my culprit. In their definition or argument they stated that because life is so intricate even down to the most molecular level, this is used as a basis for divine design. But in using said argument they went backwards as saying since life is so intricate and was provided by divine design, who created the life that created life.

My problem with this, and you might want to buckle in, is that they are talking two DIFFERENT forms of life. One Spiritual, the other Physical. The Spiritual always has been and always will be, the physical was God's creation. Now I can back this up with Scripture, but I think this provides a big enough discussion point already, and in fact could be the basis for all of the trouble to begin with. Just because you and I live in the tangible, physical world does not mean that this is all there is. I can seriously tell you with absolute certainty about personal involvement with the Spiritual world. But getting you to believe it is the difficult part, and this is where faith comes in.

Do you see where I'm going? It's as if we're talking about two different worlds, and we are, but I happen to have the personal evidence for ME that confirms it's existence. But my PERSONAL information will not convince you.

In looking at said argument in relation to what man has come up with, namely evolution, it is man's attempt to explain how something Spiritual designed something physical, for the purpose of relationship, but that relationship was damaged, and restored. But the kicker is, you can't get the proof till you believe, and to believe takes faith.

Sorry fellas, I didn't make the rules, I've just been trying to introduce you to the one who has the answers.


Btw, who's posted articles or links on here that I could follow up with? I don't recall seeing any, and if I missed it, I'll check it out. I wouldn't mind adding my two cents worth if you have a specific link to a point like I've shared. Heck, if the Christians have done it, I know darn well the others have too!

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March 22nd, 2012, 3:52 pm
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
Hey Fellas'

I just wanted to say thanks! This morning I took a look at the recent conversation on this, and could see quite clearly how much of what you said concerning my dogmatic stubborness was true. I looked specifically at NJ's response and realized that there was a lot of truth in his statement.

I still believe that I added my two cents to a conversation that I had no business being in. But I also believe that a one sided debate is not a debate. My apologies on that one!

So in closing, I just wanted to say thanks for your patience in dealing with a slow growing, dogmatic, stubborn, born-again Christian that still has a lot of work to do in my own walk. Hope there's no hard feelings?

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March 29th, 2012, 2:03 pm
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
This ought to get it back on topic, and it's a view from the other side, but speaks to the same subject.

http://www.icr.org/article/first-phase- ... mp-genome/


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First Phase Complete in Human and Chimp Genome-Wide DNA Comparison
by Jeffrey Tomkins, Ph.D. *
The ICR life sciences team has been conducting a large-scale comparison project of human versus chimp DNA sequence, the first phase of which has now been completed. The research involved the use of 40,000 purportedly random chimpanzee DNA sequences obtained from the National Center for Biotechnology that were produced as part of the chimpanzee genome project.1, 2 The sequences, on average, were 740 nucleotides each and were compared to four different versions of the human genome that were each ~3 billion bases. The DNA sequences were compared using a commonly employed algorithm called BLASTN.1

The BLASTN algorithm works by finding initial DNA base matches for the query sequence (chimp) compared to a target database (human) of a certain pre-specified length called “word sizes.”3 These initial matches are then extended outward in both directions until the matches are no longer statistically significant for similarity based on a pre-specified level of mathematical stringency called an “e-value” (or the query sequence ends). The end result of each successful query is called an alignment, often referred to as a database “hit.” Common default values used for BLASTN alignments include a word size of 11 and an e-value of 10. In this study, 15 different experiments testing combinations of three different word sizes (7, 11, and 15) and five different e-values (1,000, 10, 0.1, 0.001, and 0.00001) were performed. A simplified illustration of a hypothetical DNA alignment between two DNA sequences is shown in Figure 1.

If present, the top alignment data (database hit) for each chimp query sequence were obtained. Depending on the e-value and word size combination, the average aligned region of each chimp sequence varied between 122 to 181 bases, 16 to 24 percent, respectively. Excluding data for the large amount of chimp sequence that failed to align, a very conservative estimate of human-chimp DNA similarity genome-wide is 86.4 to 88.9 percent, based on the initial round of research data. It is noteworthy that the parameters that produced the longest and more statistically robust alignments also produced the lowest similarities. Obviously, if the non-aligning chimp data were included in the final data summary, estimated similarities would be even lower.

The initial phase of this study was conducted with 600,000 attempted alignments under conditions that allowed for the comparison of all DNA sequence in both the chimp and human data sets. However, it may surprise people to know that when evolutionists compare DNA sequences, they employ something called low-complexity sequence masking, a feature that is thought to remove abundant DNA sequences that are less complex than those commonly associated with protein-coding regions. The masking (electronic removal) of these sequences in the comparison process speeds up the algorithm significantly.

Therefore, the second phase of these experiments is being conducted using the same algorithm parameters (word size and e-value combinations), with the addition of low complexity sequence masking to more accurately represent conditions that an evolutionist would use. A report on this second round of experiments, along with a complete summary of the entire study, will be provided in an upcoming issue of Acts & Facts.

References

1.More information is available at blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
2.The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium. 2005. Initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome. Nature. 437 (7055): 69-87.
3.Altschul , S. F. et al. 1990. Basic local alignment search tool. Journal of Molecular Biology. 215 (3): 403-410.
* Dr. Tomkins is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and received his Ph.D. in Genetics from Clemson University.

Cite this article: Tomkins, J. 2011. First Phase Complete in Human and Chimp Genome-Wide DNA Comparison. Acts & Facts. 40 (12): 6.

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March 30th, 2012, 12:51 pm
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Post Re: Gorilla genome could hold key to the human condition
Here was another article, that I HAVEN'T read in its entirety, but seemed to speak to Pablo's Chinese Skeleton, and I couldn't find the thread.


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Evolutionary 'Game Changer' Doesn't Change Anything
by Brian Thomas, M.S. *
Widespread news reports recently proclaimed that a collection of primate fossils discovered in a collapsed cave in South Africa just might be an evolutionary “game changer.” ABC News reported that this creature, called Australopithecus sediba, “could be a key link in the process of evolution that led to modern human beings.”1 One headline read, “Rethinking Human Origins: Fossils Reveal a New Ancestor on the Family Tree.”2 But none of these claims is true, and it’s relatively easy to understand why.

If this fossil is a real “game changer,” then it should clearly demonstrate human evolution. Otherwise, it’s just an extinct kind of ape. It should show transitional features, such as bones and body proportions that are on their way to becoming shaped like a human’s. It should also be found in earth layers that are significantly below, and that therefore pre-date, evidence of humans. Does this new fossil meet either expectation?

Confusion over Sediba’s Age Assignment

Five technical papers in the September 8, 2011, issue of the journal Science offered analyses of the various Australopithecus sediba bone fossils. In one, researchers explained why they believe that the fossils’ age assignment makes them valid candidates for pre-human ancestors.3

The study authors argued that the “Sediba” fossils are almost exactly 1.977 million years old. They then asserted that no Homo—the scientific name for human—fossil remains are any older than 1.9 million years, so that Sediba supposedly existed 77,000 years before humans. They reasoned that man therefore could have evolved from Sediba or a Sediba-like creature.

But genuine human remains have been discovered in earth layers below, and thus were deposited before, Sediba fossils. These must be ignored for Sediba to possibly be an evolutionary precursor of humans, because descendants cannot pre-date their ancestors.

In response to 2010 Sediba-related headlines, creation anthropology author Marvin Lubenow noted recognizably human fossils dated by evolutionists at or even older than Sediba’s 1.977-million-year age assignment. Lubenow wrote in an online article:

I list three fossils from Kenya and Tanzania dated by evolutionists at older than 2 million years that, morphologically [based on shape], are indistinguishable from modern humans. Further, I list at least 18 Homo erectus fossils that are dated by evolutionists between 1.75 and 2 million years. More recent Homo discoveries include an upper jaw (maxilla) from Ethiopia and a lower jaw (mandible) from Malawi, both dated at 2.3 million years.4

But there is more evidence of humans before Sediba. In agreement with the original assessment published in Science in 1980, two recent analyses concluded that the famous Laetoli footprints in Tanzanian volcanic mud were made by feet that were essentially identical to those of humans.5,6 The tracks were tacked onto the evolutionary timeline at 3.7 million years ago—long before Sediba—but despite their foot shape, the tracks were assigned to extinct apes!

A human foot bone fossil—the fourth metatarsal—was recently found in Ethiopia among an assemblage of hundreds of unattached bones and assigned an age of three million years. Researchers, also publishing in Science, compared it with those of the modern human, chimpanzee, and gorilla.7 Though their analysis rigorously demonstrated that it perfectly matched a human’s and was totally unlike the apes’, they claimed it was the foot bone of an extinct ape.8 Was this because it did not match the evolutionists’ consensus time of man’s supposed “emergence” at 1.9 million years?

And what about the evolutionary dating of “the first appearance of stone tools at 2.6 million years ago” that the Sediba authors acknowledged?9 As far as is known, only people make stone tools. And as described below, Sediba’s hands were not fit for tool-making.

How did the authors promoting Sediba as a “game changer” deal with these human bones, human foot tracks, and human tools, all deposited before Sediba? They simply dismissed them by saying “their age is uncertain.”3 They must say this in order to isolate Sediba’s candidacy as a pre-human ancestor from the fossil facts.

The many pre-Sediba Homo remains are the real “game changers.”

Human Evolution from Sediba?

Even if the human bones, tracks, and artifacts that predate Sediba were somehow not from Homo, what is the feasibility that a creature like Sediba could have evolved into a human in 77,000 years? According to the researchers, morphing Sediba into Homo would require refashioning at least these features:

Increased brain size and organization, dentognathic [protruding mouth] reduction,…(a projecting nose), increased body size, biomechanical reorganization of the pelvis for locomotion, relative lower limb elongation, enhanced bipedal characteristics of the foot (a longitudinal arch), and the potential for tool use and manufacture.3

All those precise alterations by randomly occurring natural forces in only 77,000 years?

Such drastic changes are not only impossible over such a relatively short time, but no amount of time would be sufficient for natural forces to transform one fully formed, well-fitted ape creature into a human because nature alone cannot and does not build complicated machinery. According to observable science, the ravages of time don’t construct, they deconstruct.10

Sediba’s Ape Hand

Pre-Sediba human remains must be ignored to maintain this fossil’s “game changer” status. However, did Sediba at least have transitional features, such as a part-ape, part-human hand?

One of the Science reports examined the features of each bone in the wrist and hand from what appears to have been an adult female of this extinct ape kind. The unique hand doesn’t look like a modern ape’s, a modern human’s, or any kind of gradual transition between the two. The researchers wrote that it had a “mosaic” of features.9

Its finger bones were long, curved, and—“together with its primitive australopith-like upper limb”—demonstrate that this small primate was fitted for swinging through trees.9 Human finger bones are straight.

Also, Sediba’s thumb was long and skinny. A human thumb is proportioned to bear “large loads during stone tool production.” So Sediba’s thumb probably “was not subject to the same type or frequency of loading as that of other contemporary or later hominins.”9 Thus, it could swing from tree branches and probably could not make tools out of hard stone.

The study authors concluded that the uniqueness of Sediba’s hand “adds to the range of morphological [shape] variation previously documented in the hominin carpometacarpal [wrist] joints and to the ambiguity surrounding the polarity and functional significance of some of these features.”9

“Functional significance” refers to the fossil hand’s potential to make tools. As far as is known, only the human hand, integrated with human muscles, nerves, and mental processes, has this capability.11

“Game Changer” Label Totally Unjustified, but Typical

So, if Science says that this fossil adds “ambiguity”—a synonym for “uncertainty”—then how can media reports justify the claim that it “reveals a new ancestor”? When it comes to human evolution, headlines don’t match reality. For example, the fossil nicknamed “Ida” was promoted as the “missing link” in 2009, but almost immediately was debunked as an extinct variety of lemur with no evolutionary significance whatsoever.12

Preliminary reports of these same Australopithecus sediba fossils made similar claims of possible human ancestry. But it was quickly seen as “not a missing link.”13 These new Sediba fossil descriptions confirm that it is still “not a missing link.” Rather than showing any transitional features between ape and man, its anatomy, including its hand, was a mosaic of well-matched features that were fitted together as though specially created.

Australopithecus sediba had a unique and separate suite of physical and therefore genetic characteristics. It was not a transition toward man, but an extinct ape kind. It is not an evolutionary game changer, but the hype surrounding it shows that the game of promoting human evolution with premature and misleading headlines has not changed at all.

References

1.Potter, N. Evolutionary ‘Game Changer’: Fossil May Be Human Ancestor. ABC News. Posted on abcnews.go.com September 8, 2011.
2.Kluger, J. Rethinking Human Origins: Fossils Reveal a New Ancestor on the Family Tree. Time Science. Posted on time.com September 8, 2011.
3.Pickering, R. et al. 2011. Australopithecus sediba at 1.977 Ma and Implications for the Origins of the Genus Homo. Science. 333 (6048): 1421-1423.
4.Lubenow, M. The Problem with Australopithecus sediba. Answers in Genesis. Posted on answersingenesis.org August 11, 2010.
5.Raichlen, D. A. et al. 2010. Laetoli Footprints Preserve Earliest Direct Evidence of Human-Like Bipedal Biomechanics. PLoS One. 5 (3): e9769.
6.Crompton, R. H. Human-like external function of the foot, and fully upright gait, confirmed in the 3.66 million year old Laetoli hominin footprints by topographic statistics, experimental footprint-formation and computer simulation. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Published online before print July 20, 2011.
7.Ward, C. V., W. H. Kimbel and D. C. Johanson. 2011. Complete Fourth Metatarsal and Arches in the Foot of Australopithecus afarensis. Science. 331 (6018): 750-753.
8.Thomas, B. 2011. “Lucy’s” New Foot Bone Is Actually Human. Acts & Facts. 40 (4): 17.
9.Kivell, T. L. et al. 2011. Australopethecus sediba Hand Demonstrates Mosaic Evolution of Locomoter and Manipulative Abilities. Science. 333 (6048): 1411-1417.
10.Sanford, J. C. 2005. Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome. Lima, NY: Ivan Press, 96.
11.Bell, Sir Charles. 1852. The Fourth Bridgewater Treatise on the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God as Manifested in the Creation: The Hand; Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design, 5th ed. London: John Murray, 1.
12.Thomas, B. 2009. The Ida Fossil: A Clever Campaign for a Lackluster “Link.” Acts & Facts. 38 (7): 17.
13.Choi, C. Q. Fossil Skeletons May Be Human Ancestor. LiveScience. Posted on livescience.com April 8, 2010.
Image credit: University of Zurich, Peter Schmid. Usage does not imply endorsement.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Thomas, B. 2011. Evolutionary “Game Changer” Doesn’t Change Anything. Acts & Facts. 40 (12): 16-17.

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2 Chronicles 10:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."


March 30th, 2012, 12:56 pm
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