This one is really going to shake your confidence in Darwinism. We found it at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog, and it’s titled Human-Chimp Similarity: What Is It and What Does It Mean? Good question, isn’t it? Well, what does it mean? You’re about to find out.
The Discoveroid post was written by Casey Luskin, everyone’s favorite creationist. If you don’t know who he is, see Guess Who’s Returning to the Discovery Institute, followed shortly thereafter by Casey Is Back — O the Joy! Okay, let’s get started. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
For years we’ve been told that human and chimp DNA is some 99 percent identical. The genetic similarity statistic is then used to make an argument for human-ape common ancestry, and human-ape common ancestry is then employed in service of the larger philosophical point that humans are just modified apes, and nothing special. It all amounts to an argument against human exceptionalism. This sort of thinking is embodied by Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) in his 2014 book Undeniable:
[Casey quotes Bill Nye:] As our understanding of DNA has increased, we have come to understand that we share around 98.8 percent of our gene sequence with chimpanzees. This is striking evidence for chimps and chumps to have a common ancestor.
Casey is horrified and says:
But is this really true? In response to the newly released episode of Science Uprising on human origins [Link omitted!], we have recently received questions [from drooling idiots] about the true degree of human-chimp similarity. With that in mind, let’s review some past coverage on the issue.
He then quotes several articles that give different figures for the similarity of human and chimp DNA, after which he tells us:
Whatever the exact percentage of human-chimp genetic similarity (however you want to measure it) turns out to be, let’s grant that it will be fairly high, probably 84 percent or greater. Does this necessarily require the conclusion of common ancestry? [It doesn’t?] Is the case for common ancestry, based upon the degree of similarity, an objective or rigorous argument that’s capable of being falsified? For example, if a 1 percent genetic difference implies common ancestry, but then that statistic turns out to be wrong, then does a 4 percent genetic difference mean common ancestry is false? How about 7 percent or 10 percent genetic difference? 25 percent? At what point does the comparison cease to support common ancestry? Why does the percent genetic similarity even matter? [Is that a serious question?] It’s not clear that there is an objective standard for falsification here, any identifiable reason why a particular percentage of genetic similarity should be taken to indicate common ancestry.
Clever, huh? If there’s no specific number that will clinch the deal, then numbers don’t matter! He continues:
The case for human-chimp common ancestry is rendered significantly weaker once one realizes that there are other potential explanations for functional similarities: notably, design based upon a common blueprint. [Gasp!] Intelligent agents often re-use parts and components that perform common functions in different designs. It’s a good engineering design principle to follow! Everyday examples of this include wheels used on both cars and airplanes, or touchscreen keyboards used on both phones and tablets.
Casey is so brilliant! Then he spends several paragraphs quoting other Discoveroids. If you want to read that stuff, go right ahead, but we’re moving on. He says:
Of course some will cite shared NON-functional (as opposed to functional) genetic similarities between humans and chimps as better evidence for common ancestry. I agree that non-functional shared DNA could be a potential argument for common ancestry, but I’m skeptical that many of the DNA elements cited in these arguments are actually non-functional.
He cites a few instances where some DNA elements once thought to be non-functional were later found to have a function, so he dismisses that whole line of argument. Clever, huh? Then he makes a very strange argument:
Since many of the building blocks used by humans and chimps are similar, it’s no wonder that our protein-coding DNA is also so similar. Common design can explain these similarities. [Hee hee!] But it’s important to bear in mind that one can use identical building blocks — bricks, mortar, wood, and nails — to build very different houses. So it’s not just about having similar building blocks, but how you use them. This is where genetic similarities between humans and chimps probably aren’t so meaningful, when you consider how the building blocks being used can be very different.
Did you follow that? Good — you can explain it to us. Next, he quotes some of his Discoveroid colleagues about about human-chimp genetic differences. Obviously, there are differences, because humans aren’t chimps. We’re skipping that stuff. Ah, how about this:
And this leaves aside the vast cognitive and behavioral gulf between humans and chimpanzees. We are the only species that uses fire and technology. We are the only species that composes music, writes poetry, and practices religion. We are also the only species that seeks to investigate the natural world through science. We write papers about chimps; not the other way around. All of this is possible because we humans are the only species that uses complex language.
Wow — Casey’s right! We’re not chimps! Then he brings the whole thing to a thundering climax. Here it is:
The human race has unique and unparalleled moral, intellectual, and creative abilities. Regardless of the level of similarity of human protein-coding DNA to chimps, clearly that similarity is only a small part of the story. [Well, it’s obviously not the whole story!] If anything, it testifies that protein-coding DNA sequences are only one of multiple crucial interacting factors that determine an organism’s biology and behavior.
So there you are. Casey ain’t no kin to no monkey, and neither are you — unless, of course, you’re a Darwinist!
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