Despite having access to the largest medium of information in history, creationists like to charade around as though the evidence for evolution really isn’t as airtight as biologists say it is. They like to pretend that we don’t live in a society where we can predict the genes of a human based on what we see in a monkey’s. And how do we respond to this? At the end of the day the layman might not know what to do: On one hand you have the creationists calling the scientists liars, and on the other hand the scientists calling the creationists liars (though the significance of the creationists crying wolf is much less than I make it out to be). So, perhaps we ought to take a step back. Ignore, if you will, for one second the interpretative frameworks that we use to discuss dna, fossils, morphological similarity, etc. and look at the raw data without any glasses. I would not ask, nor would a scientist ask you, to believe the consensus on evolution because of a bunch of reports saying that it is true. Rather, look at the raw data, the dna itself, and see just how powerful the evidence for evolution is without any assistance.
Do you know what a genomic alignment is? It’s when scientists take two separate genes that serve the same function from two separate species and analyze their DNA to see how similar/different they are.
Allow me to show you a few examples. I am going to be displaying the actual DNA strands so you can look at them yourself and make a decision. You will be viewing Chromosome #13 in each of these gene alignments.
Look at our Chromosome 13 compared with a Tasmanian Devil’s (So you know, dots mean we do not know what that particular nucleotide, or ‘gene letter’ is. It hasn’t been analyzed; it’s a lot of work to put all that under the microscope and keeps scientists in jobs!)
Now we are barely related to Tasmanian Devils at all, they are a marsupial while we are a primate. They arose and evolved in Tasmania (obviously) while we came from Africa. We might be both mammals, but besides that we’re far apart in the evolutionary tree of life. That means we should only be able to find a few similarities between each other. And that’s true: most of the gene letters end up different with the occasional similarity. Now, if the ‘common design’ gambit of creationism is true, this is what we should typically expect for most species. Mainly differently laid out genes, with the occasional similarity sprinkled here or there. This should be the rule and there should be no reason we should be able to predict a further deviation or increase in genetic similarity as we look at various organisms.
Now, let’s move on: Let’s look at a gene alignment, still with Chromosome 13, with a cat. We’re not CLOSELY related to cats, but we are closer to them than we are Tasmanian Devils. http://uswest.ensembl.org/Homo_sapiens/Gene/Compara_Alignments?align=614&db=core&g=ENSG00000139618&r=13%3A32889611-32973805
We see a tiny bit more consistentency in the actual gene sequences themselves. Like I can spot things like a “ATTTT” and just more consistent letters between genes than I did with the alignments do-able on the Tasmanian Devil.
Now, let’s look at our alignment with pigs. http://uswest.ensembl.org/Homo_sapiens/Gene/Compara_Alignments?align=577&db=core&g=ENSG00000139618&r=13%3A32889611-32973805
I find this one interesting, because we’re more closely related to pigs. That’s why the known gene alignment for pigs is more similar to ours than in cats.
Now, you’re not going to get any commentary on the last gene alignment; We’re going to go a LOT closer in evolutionary relationships with humans: We’re going to look at gene alignments between humans and other primates. No commentary from me: You guys tell me how to interpret the data.
Nick Duncan is the Operations Director at Atheist Analysis. He’s always had a mind for skepticism and been an atheist since his childhood. When he’s not protesting religious bigotry or working on his History major, he can be found lost in a book, getting way too angry over a game of Civilization, and sipping on incredibly strong coffee.