Human Evolution Falsified
The title of this entry comes from the data, not from the claims being made about it. The cover story in Cell1 this week has set off a flurry of startling headlines: EurekAlert pronounces, “Evidence that human brain evolution was a special event” and “University of Chicago researchers discovered that humans are a ‘privileged’ evolutionary lineage.”
The gist of the research by Dorus et al. from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of Chicago is that there is a huge genetic gap between human brains and those of our nearest alleged ancestors. EurekAlert explains:
One of the study’s major surprises is the relatively large number of genes that have contributed to human brain evolution. “For a long time, people have debated about the genetic underpinning of human brain evolution,” said [Bruce] Lahn [HHMI}. “Is it a few mutations in a few genes, a lot of mutations in a few genes, or a lot of mutations in a lot of genes? The answer appears to be a lot of mutations in a lot of genes. We’ve done a rough calculation that the evolution of the human brain probably involves hundreds if not thousands of mutations in perhaps hundreds or thousands of genes — and even that is a conservative estimate.”
It is nothing short of spectacular that so many mutations in so many genes were acquired during the mere 20-25 million years of time in the evolutionary lineage leading to humans, according to Lahn. This means that selection has worked “extra-hard” during human evolution to create the powerful brain that exists in humans.
1Dorus et al., “Accelerated Evolution of Nervous System Genes in the Origin of Homo sapiens,” Cell Volume 119, Issue 7, 29 December 2004, Pages 1027-1040, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2004.11.040.
We are glad to be able to announce the downfall of Saddam Darwin to end this eventful year, 2004. Now there are just a few Darwin Party insurgents to mop up, and the public will be free of this deadly totalitarian regime. (Would that it were so easy; it would be like Bush’s premature victory speech.)
The science outlets are spinning this story without letting go of Darwinism. They are throwing around phrases like strong selection, intensified selection and other nonsense as if random mutations conspired to sculpt the most complex piece of matter in the known universe. They know better. Orthogenesis (straight-line evolution) is out. Teleology is out. Personifying natural selection is out, so all they have to work with are thousands of random, undirected changes over thousands of different genes that have no ability to conspire with one another. (In fact, they counteract one another; see 11/29/2004 and 10/19/2004 headlines). But if even one beneficial mutation is hard to find (see 03/19/2002 headline), how is any rational person to believe that thousands – “and that is a conservative estimate” – accomplished such a feat? The gig is up, Darwin Party: surrender. It’s over. Throw down your arms.
The award for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week goes to Bruce Lahn for his one-liner that “selection has worked ‘extra-hard’ during human evolution to create the powerful brain that exists in humans.” This can serve as USO entertainment for the liberation troops as they begin their clean-up operations.