Are Brains Evolving Bigger, or Fatter?
Two papers in Science Sept. 9 claimed that human brains may still be evolving. According to the authors, two genes related to brain size appear to be under “positive selection” in certain people groups. One team said their variant occurred the same time as the emergence of art, music, religious practices and sophisticated tool use, though such inferences are subjective (see 11/12/2004 entry). Michael Balter, commenting on these findings in Science,1 said that although the claims are “potentially dramatic,” caution should be exercised in interpreting the results. Francis Collins of the Human Genome Project, warned in an AP story printed on LiveScience that “is totally unproven and potentially dangerous territory to get into with such sketchy data” because scientists don’t know when the variants arose or even what the genes do. The BBC News, however, though admitting that the findings were merely a “tantalising prospect,” titled their version of the story, “‘Proof’ Our Brains Are Evolving.” New Scientist announced cheerfully, “Human brains enjoy ongoing evolution.”
1Michael Balter, “Evolution: Are Human Brains Still Evolving? Brain Genes Show Signs of Selection,” <<i>Science, Vol 309, Issue 5741, 1662-1663 , 9 September 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5741.1662].
Evolutionists are hastening to mention that the variants have nothing to do with “intelligence.” This is apparently to avoid repeating the sins of the early Darwinists, who sought ways to rank humans on an IQ scale that ensured the Brits would remain on top. But if the “haves” are better musicians than the “have-nots,” this might lead to ranking by MQ, the music quotient. The world isn’t ready for a new form of Social Darwinism characterized by a battle of the bands and survival of the hittest. Some of today’s musicians could use a little genetic engineering to reverse the descent of man, but that’s intelligent design, not evolution.