- TIME: "What Makes us Different?"
TIME magazine’s cover story this week asked the question, “What Makes us Different?” The article manages to commit philosophical mistakes and omit important information, but Liberty University neuroscientist Dr. David DeWitt tackled many of the genetics problems in an online response article this week for AiG (see TIME to stay current on human origins).
The article’s authors are quick to point out, in the first paragraph, that “[e]ven a child can see that [ape] bodies are pretty much the same as ours, apart from some exaggerated proportions and extra body hair.” Of course, even a child can see the many differences between ape and human bodies, and see the enormous chasm between ape and human behavior.
But if man was supernaturally created in God’s image—unlike animals—then the differences in our behavior are due to more than just differences in our DNA.
However, the most glaring philosophical mistake the TIME article makes is assuming all behavioral differences must come down to genes. If genes are the only thing that determine “what” we are and how we behave, then any difference in behavior between apes and man must result from disparate elements of our DNA. But if man was supernaturally created in God’s image—unlike animals—then the differences in our behavior are due to more than just differences in our DNA.
Differences in DNA are also underemphasized—for instance, the alleged 1–4% difference in the DNA of chimps and humans equates to whole books full of information! Also, there are factors other than DNA that regulate biological functions. The TIME article explains: “This shockingly small number made it clear to scientists that genes alone don’t dictate the differences between species; the changes, they now know, also depend on molecular switches that tell genes when and where to turn on and off.”
The authors conclude the article with another philosophical slip-up:
As scientists keep reminding us, evolution is a random process in which haphazard genetic changes interact with random environmental conditions to produce an organism somehow fitter than its fellows. After 3.5 billion years of such randomness, a creature emerged that could ponder its own origins—and revel in a Mozart adagio.
There are two key problems with this thinking. First, could all this haphazardness lead to creatures that could know truth? Second, if our origin was completely random, then are our morals and values not dictated, too, by randomness?
For those who accept evolution, every similarity between apes and humans is a sign of common descent. But for those who accept God’s Word, every similarity between apes and humans is a sign of a common Designer.
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