Jonah Goldberg over at National Review Online wrote the following concerning the proposed bill in Spain:
Lord how [I] hate it when people do those DNA comparisons. I’m all for being nice to monkeys and gorillas, but please. We share a lot of the same DNA with dogs and, if memory serves, a big chunk of our DNA matches up nicely with some fruits and vegetables. What, exactly, should that tell us? We share 100% of our DNA with fetuses — as Ramesh would likely note — and yet that never seems to argue much in their favor among the crowd that wants animals to have rights.
This is a powerful argument to make when dealing with PETA people who are typically pro-animal rights and pro abortion rights.
I would add to Goldberg’s list that mice are said to 97.5% genetically similar to humans.Will the Socialist Party in Spain include them in the bill?Of course not.Clearly it’s not all in the DNA.
Turning to the evolutionary aspect of this discussion, the amount of genetic similarity between man and chimps is not surprising given the amount of morphological similarity between chimps and man (By the way, the article claims the two are 98.4% similar.Actually, it’s more like 95.2%).It’s important to understand that the genetic similarity does not mean the genes function in the same way.It is similar to the way in which authors use most of the same words and yet write radically different stories. As William Dembski wrote:
It’s like going through the works of William Shakespeare and John Milton, and finding that almost all the words and short phrases they used are identical. Such a similarity would not be surprising since what separates Shakespeare from Milton is not so much their vocabulary but how they used their vocabulary to express their thoughts. Different authors might use nearly identical sets of words. The crucial difference is in how those words are utilized in their respective contexts. The overall meaning only emerges from the way the words are put together. Likewise, two organisms might have nearly identical sets of genes, and even situate those genes in roughly the same order; and yet they can utilize those genes so differently as to produce markedly different organisms.
While the genetic alphabet of man and chimp may be the same, the way in which those letters are put together create vast differences.Consider the following to sentences:
Charles Darwin was a scientific god.
Charles Darwin was a scientific dog.
Both sentences contain the same number of letters, and in almost identical order.The slight difference, however, makes their meaning very different.The same goes for living things.The gene sequence diversion between humans and chimpanzees has been “found to have significant effects both on the amino-acid sequences of proteins and on the ways those proteins are regulated.”About 20% of proteins are different between the two species.An examination of chimp and human brain cells reveals that humans have accumulated 5.5 times the changes as chimps over the same period of time.The human brains produce 31% more proteins than chimps.
Evolutionists tend to overemphasize the similarities between chimps and humans and underemphasize the differences, but the challenge of evolutionists is to explain their differences.
Physical Differences between Humans and Chimpanzees
(1) The feet of chimpanzees are prehensile, in other words, their feet can grab anything their hands can. Not so for humans.
(2) Humans have a chin, apes do not.
(3) Human females experience menopause; no other primates do (the only known mammal besides humans to experience menopause is the pilot whale).
(4) Humans have a fatty inner layer of skin as do aquatic mammals like whales and hippopotamuses; apes do not.
(5) Humans are the only primate whose breasts are apparent when not nursing.
(6) Apes have a bone in their penis called a baculum (10 millimeters in chimpanzees); humans do not.
(7) Humans have a protruding nose.
(8) Humans sweat; apes do not.
(9) Humans can consciously hold their breath; apes cannot.
(10) Humans are the only primates that weep.
For humans to have come from chimps (actually it is said to be a hominid ancestor common to both man and chimps) we have to explain how 600 million base pairs in the DNA sequence were changed over a period of only 6 million years.There are only about 600,000 generations during this expanse of time, and given mutation rates we end up with a mere .6% change in DNA (and this assumes that every mutation is inheritable).This is 7x short the 4.8% genetic difference we find between man and chimps.The math simply does not add up even in optimal circumstances.
William Dembski, “Reflections on Human Origins”; available from http://www.iscid.org/papers/Dembski_HumanOrigins_062204.pdf; Internet; accessed 11 January 2005.