Human Origins from Ape-Like Primates or Fully Human People?

Part 2

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Searching for Adam

This article is excerpted from chapter 10 of the book Searching for Adam, available in our online store.

I. From Whom: Ape-like Primates or Fully Human People?

When considering human origins, the most natural place to start is on the question of whether humans have an ape-like ancestry. Before we can discuss the minutiae of the genetics of the human race, we need to ask whether our race is indeed human or whether we are simply highly evolved primates. Ever since Darwin, evolutionists have claimed that apes represent our closest living biological relatives.1 Evolutionary creationists (a.k.a. theistic evolutionists) agree and expect to find unequivocal genetic evidence of a common genealogical heritage between mankind and the orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees. Current evolutionary literature identifies the chimpanzee as the closest living relative of humans, and evolutionists place the split between these two lineages (from a common ape-like ancestor, not a chimpanzee) about 3 million to 13 million years ago.2

In contrast, a plain reading of Scripture reveals a starkly different narrative on human ancestry. As has been argued in an earlier chapter, Genesis 1–2 teaches that God created man in His own image, categorically distinct from any animals, and that He did so supernaturally by forming Adam from the dust and Eve from Adam’s side. Human evolution from pre-existing apelike creatures is not compatible with the Genesis narrative.

Furthermore, the rest of Scripture identifies Adam and Eve as the sole progenitors of the entire human race, and Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives as the most immediate ancestors of modern humans.3 Shortly after the global Flood of Noah’s day, the human ancestors of the modern “races”4 or ethnic groups formed as a result of the confusion of languages at Babel (Gen 11:8–9).5 Apes as precursors to humans do not enter the picture under the creation view.

Because of the nature of the genetic discussion that follows, the time element of creation is also critical to the ancestry question. Under the young-earth creation (YEC) view, Adam and Eve were created approximately 6,000 years ago, and the global Flood of Noah and the population bottleneck that followed occurred about 4,500 years ago. The Tower of Babel incident followed shortly (i.e., a couple centuries) after the Flood.6

These two strikingly different accounts — evolution and YEC — for the origin of humans lead to very different expectations about the genetics of modern humans and apes. In some cases, however, the expectations are obviously the same. For instance, from an anatomical perspective, great apes are the most similar creatures to humans, and both sides can make a general prediction that, from a genetic perspective, apes should be the most similar to humans. While humans share different levels and traits of morphological similarity with gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees that don’t seem to indicate any clear evolutionary pattern, the current evolutionary consensus is that humans should be most similar to chimpanzees genetically — although this widely accepted paradigm has recently been disputed based on analyses of morphological traits by several evolutionists who claim that orangutans are the closest human relative.7

As another example, both models accept the science of empirical genetic discovery. Hence, to claim that the existence of the basic science of genetics somehow validates one model over the other would be erroneous — a type-3 experiment that fails to distinguish among the competing ideas in question. Therefore, it is essential to clearly identify the specific predictions of each model in order to distinguish which genetic data actually constitute a type-1 experiment (e.g., one that differentiates YEC from evolution) and which constitute lesser types of experiments.

Are Humans 99% Genetically Identical to Chimpanzees?

One common example of a type-2 experiment is predicting the genetic difference between humans and chimpanzees. The evolutionary model has very specific expectations about this figure, and a discrepancy between predictions and facts should result in the rejection of the evolutionary hypothesis. However, since the YEC model does not make specific predictions about human-ape genetic differences, a match between evolutionary expectations and scientific fact would not inform the origins debate (i.e., would not be decisive in evolution’s favor).

But the silence of the YEC model on human-chimp genetic differences is not a weakness of the model. We could just as well challenge the evolutionists to predict the number of animals that were taken on board Noah’s ark. This request would be fruitless and irrelevant to the debate since a global Flood and an ark are not part of the evolutionary model. However, if the YEC model failed to predict the numbers on board the ark accurately, then we would need to reevaluate aspects of the YEC model. Conversely, since human-ape ancestry is not part of the YEC model, the actual number of genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees is, at best, a type-2 experiment for testing the claim that humans descended from ape-like creatures — successful evolutionary predictions would not vindicate evolution in the origins debate, while evolutionary predictive failures could be grounds to reject the evolutionary view.

With these experimental parameters in mind, we can now investigate the actual human-chimp genetic comparison in depth. If we think of genetic inheritance as analogous to copying the text of a book, the process of passing on genetic information from one generation to the next is similar to the process of transcribing the text of a book. To make the analogy tighter, inheritance is like copying the text of a book without having a perfect spell checker,8 and then using the corrupted copy as the template for the next round of copying.

Biologically, the text of the genetic book is contained in a chemical substance called DNA. The DNA in our cells is, in essence, a chemical instruction manual for building and maintaining our anatomy and physiology from conception to death. The actual instructions are encoded in a 4-letter chemical alphabet, and the combination of these letters into chemical “words” and “sentences” carries biological meaning. In total, the DNA in our cells is billions of letters long — a very large biological “book.”

When DNA is copied in sperm and egg cells prior to conception, the copying process is imperfect. The rate of copying mistakes (called mutations) has been measured in both humans and chimpanzees, and the rates are fairly similar. About 60 mutations happen each generation.9

Using rounded numbers, if the human and chimpanzee lineages split 3–13 million years ago, and if the years from one generation to the next are about 20 years, then 150,000–650,000 generations have passed since the two species last shared a common ancestor.10 In each lineage, about 60 DNA mutations happen in each of those hundreds of thousands of generations leading to an expectation that the DNA of humans and the DNA of chimpanzees should differ by about 18–80 million DNA letters.11

Thinking of DNA again like a book, we can measure book sizes by their word count, and if we wanted to be very technical, we could measure it by the total letter count. Since the total letter count in humans and chimpanzees is around 3 billion DNA letters,12 evolutionists expect about a 1–3% genetic (DNA) difference between these two species today.13

The actual difference is about 12% — a number that is about ten times higher than the predicted value.14 Though the scientist responsible for identifying this fact is a young-earth creationist, this discovery is not the result of creationist manipulation of data to fit a pre-determined conclusion. If you read the fine print in the original evolutionary publication that announced the determination of the chimpanzee DNA sequence, you can reach a similar conclusion.15 Humans and chimpanzees are not 99% identical. They are only 88% identical, which means that the two species differ by nearly 400 million (400,000,000) DNA letters!16

Thus, the question of human-chimpanzee DNA differences offers no assistance to the evolutionary model on at least three counts. First, whatever the difference is, it cannot falsify the YEC model, making it a type-2 experiment at best. Second, current evolutionary predictions for the human-chimp genetic difference fail to account for the gigantic genetic gap between these two species.

Third, the evolutionary prediction of a 1% difference isn’t really a prediction at all. The evolutionary time at which the human and chimpanzee lineages split has been revised to fit the genetic data. Earlier predictions for the time of divergence for these species were originally in the 3 to 6 million year range,17 and the measurement of the DNA copying error rate in chimpanzees caused some investigators to (controversially) bump the time back further to ~13 million years.18 Thus, the absolute difference between humans and chimpanzees isn’t a confirmed prediction as much as it is a post hoc retrofitting of predictions to facts.

These evolutionary problems aside, we are still left with the question of how to evaluate the YEC model on the human ancestry question. If human-ape genetic differences do not test validity of the YEC model of human origins, what experiment can? What genetic expectations follow from the specific YEC narrative?

In short, the answer is that, if YEC is correct, then YE creationists should be able to explain human-human DNA differences and ape-ape DNA differences [as opposed to human-ape DNA differences] without any need to reference or invoke common ancestry. In other words, YE creationists make predictions for genetic differences among individuals that share a common ancestor under the YEC view (i.e., all humans), not for individuals that were created separately (i.e., humans and apes), and these predictions can be compared to the genetic facts.

If genetic data matched these YEC expectations, would this result require rejection of the evolutionary model? Since evolutionists have spent years refining their own ideas about human-human and ape-ape genetic differences (and also believe that special creation as an alternative is unacceptable), this result would probably do nothing to settle the debate about human origins. In essence, it would be another example of a type-2 experiment — if the results are inconsistent with the YEC expectations, then perhaps the scientific elements of the YEC model should be reevaluated. But if the results confirm the YEC expectations, this discovery would probably do little to change the evolutionary claims about human-ape common ancestry.

Since subsequent sections will explore this question further, the major remaining question in this section is whether the claimed evolutionary evidences for human-ape ancestry are valid type-1 experiments. The evidences listed on the BioLogos website are presented as such — as being unequivocal proof of common ancestry and as very inconsistent with the YEC view. The evidences in the mainstream scientific literature assume the same. But is the claim true?

Relative Genetic Patterns/Nested Hierarchies

Nearly every single one of the evidences presented by BioLogos and mainstream geneticists represents a type-3 experiment or, at best, type-2. For example, one of the most common evidences cited in favor of an ape ancestry in the human lineage is the relative pattern of genetic differences between humans and apes, and between humans and other species. In short, evolutionists expect natural selection to produce a branching, tree-like pattern of genealogical relationships among the living species on this planet.19 They further expect that, if humans arose via the process of natural selection from an ape-like ancestor, then genetic comparisons among humans, apes, and other species should reveal a branching, tree-like pattern as well.

This expectation contrasts to the expectation about the percent DNA differences between humans and chimpanzees that we discussed earlier. The earlier expectation was a quantitative prediction; the current expectation is a qualitative prediction. That is, qualitatively, if humans have ancestry prior to the first Homo sapiens, then evolutionists expect humans to be relatively close genetically to the great apes, then slightly less close genetically to the rest of the primates, then even less similar genetically to other mammals, and quite different genetically from invertebrates and plants. To be clear, the absolute number of differences is not so critical as long as the same relative pattern (in this case, a nested hierarchical pattern) holds true.

For this argument to carry any scientific weight as a type-1 experiment in support of evolution, the YEC model would need to predict a different pattern. Otherwise, this argument would represent another type-3 experiment — useless to the overall origins debate.

However, it doesn’t take much reflection to see that YEC and evolution make the same prediction about the relative genetic hierarchies found in nature. Under the YEC model, God designed the entire universe, including the various kinds of biological life that exist in it, and we would expect to find that life fits a design pattern. Since humans are made in God’s image, we can get a sense for what kinds of design patterns God might have used by examining the patterns that result from human designs. Examples of nested hierarchies abound among the designed things in our world.

For example, designed means of transportation easily fit a relative hierarchical pattern. This fact is unequivocal. Sedans resemble SUVs more than they resemble tractor trailers, and all three vehicles have more in common than do sedans and amphibious assault vehicles. The latter two vehicles have more in common with one another than with submarines, and this simple pattern matches the type of hierarchy that we see in biology.20

Therefore, nested hierarchical patterns are as much the expectation of the YEC view as they are of the evolutionary view. The relative hierarchy of genetic differences among humans, great apes, mammals, and invertebrates fits the YEC model at least as well as the evolutionary one. So, to claim nested hierarchical patterns in the biological world as exclusive evidence of evolution would be analogous to claiming that the existence of people proves YEC. Neither claim constitutes a legitimate scientific experiment. Both are type-3 experiments and, therefore, reveal nothing about the validity of either view, despite the confident claims of evolutionists to the contrary.21

While these two examples (absolute and relative genetic differences between humans and the apes) do not constitute an exhaustive review of all the claimed genetic evidences for human-ape ancestry, they represent some of the most prominent, and they illustrate the Achilles’ heels of the remaining ones — failure to satisfy the requirements of a type-1 experiment.

Human Chromosome 2 Fusion?

Consider another example. If we return to our book analogy, just as the text of a book is broken up into chapters, so also the billions of letters in the DNA code for humans and chimpanzees are broken up into major divisions called chromosomes. However, because DNA comes from each parent, these chromosomes come in pairs.

Evolutionists have claimed for years that the human chromosome pair number 2 is actually an accidental fusion of two pairs of ancestral chromosomes inherited from ape-like creatures.22 In short, they claim that the human-chimp ancestor had 48 chromosomes. Today, humans have 46. Since chromosomes come in two copies — e.g., the ape-like ancestor would have had 2 pairs of 24 chromosomes, and humans today have 23 pairs of chromosomes — and since humans have fewer total chromosomes than apes, evolutionists claim that one of the ancestral pairs of chromosomes fused to another ancestral pair of chromosomes. This would reduce the total chromosomes count from 48 to 46.23

Since the YEC view makes no overt predictions about the differences between humans and chimpanzees in DNA organization or in the structure of DNA, the existence of a chromosome fusion would not have said anything relevant to the human origins debate. However, in this case evolutionists also made their claim prematurely, before all the evidence was acquired. Effectively, the evolutionary claims about the structure of human chromosome 2 represented a prediction rather than an observation.

Recent reanalysis of human chromosome 2 has contradicted this evolutionary prediction. No evidence for a fusion exists. In fact, the alleged site where the fusion supposedly took place actually represents a highly organized, functional gene (in our analogy, think of genes as words or sentences).24 Thus, starting from the assumption of human-ape common ancestry, evolutionists have actually made a failed prediction about the structure and function of DNA within our cells.

The failed evolutionary prediction on chromosome function extends beyond the purported fusion site. The BioLogos community has claimed that overall arrangement of DNA along chromosomes among humans and the great apes is inexplicable apart from common ancestry: “There is no good biological reason to find the same genes in the same order in unrelated organisms, and every good reason to expect very different gene orders.”25

Do evolutionists actually have a large body of experimental results demonstrating “no good biological reason to find the same genes in the same order in unrelated organisms”? In the few cases where functional analyses have been performed, the results contradict this evolutionary assertion. The chromosomal context in which genes find themselves appears to play a significant role in how the genes function.26 In fact, human-designed computer code must also follow specific formats and contextual guidelines as well. So our previous analogy of human-designed systems as we applied to the idea of hierarchy holds true here as well. Thus, whether applied to predicted DNA differences or DNA function, the evolutionary model of common ancestry has not been vindicated.

Conversely, the prediction of function is actually one of the few arenas in the question of human ancestry in which a type-1 experiment could be conducted. Evolutionists and creationists make very different predictions about the function of the billions of DNA letters in the human sequence, and experiments testing function would clearly distinguish which model makes better predictions, as we demonstrate below.

Shared Genetic “Mistakes”?

To make the point from a different angle, the members of BioLogos have made a host of claims on their website about shared “pseudogenes” and other types of purported shared biological “mistakes” in apes and humans. In fact, two of the three main “facts” that the website lists as genetic evidence for human evolution involve an implicit statement about function.27 In reality, hardly any actual experiments have been performed on the billions of DNA letters in humans and chimpanzees. “Pseudogene” actually represents a premature label for a particular segment of DNA that resembles a broken gene but which had never been experimentally tested for function. Thus, virtually all claims that BioLogos and other evolutionists have made about genetic “mistakes” are not arguments for evolution but bald assertions without a basis in experimental fact. Technically, this would make these arguments pseudoscience. However, for the sake of discussion, we’re willing to entertain these claims as predictions stemming from the assumption that evolution is true.

Conversely, from the assumptions about human ancestry inherent to the YEC model, creationists have published a testable, predictive model of genetic function28 (see references for details). For the particular DNA differences that we examined, we expect them to function in each organism’s respective biology, whereas the evolutionary model claims that these particular DNA sequences are functionally neutral and are a reflection, therefore, of ancestry alone. Since precious few experiments have actually been done on genetic function, we now have a basis for doing a type-1 experiment in the future. By experimentally changing these sequences, we can evaluate whether or not these differences are functional — and confirm or reject the predictions of each origins model.

For other DNA sequences, a few experiments have been performed, and the trajectory is not looking good for evolution. For example, after the human DNA sequence was elucidated in 2001, it was widely proclaimed that the vast majority of our billions of DNA letters were useless, non-functional leftovers of our evolutionary heritage and therefore called “junk” DNA.29 However, scientists didn’t actually do any experimental tests on the billions of letters until the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project was initiated in 2003. The first tier of ENCODE only examined about 1% of the human genome as an initial test, and they found preliminary evidence for pervasive function for the vast majority of those billions of letters.30 Then after extending this type of research to the entire human genome, using mostly human cell lines (not fresh tissues from living humans) they reported in 2012 that at least 80% of the genome had significant levels of biochemical function.31 It wasn’t useless junk after all.

Many new discoveries in recent years are now pushing this level of functionality even higher. The leader of the ENCODE project, Ewan Birney, is predicting that the human genome will soon prove to be 100% functional.32 Needless to say, the traditional neo-Darwinian evolutionists outside the practical biomedical genetics community of ENCODE are outraged that the data is not supporting their dogmatic evolutionary claims.33

In addition to these genome-wide results, other studies focusing on specific examples of “poster child” evolutionary pseudogenes regularly damage the credibility of the evolutionary claims. For example, the beta-globin pseudogene has obvious evidence for function,34 and one of the favorite pseudogene examples (e.g., vitellogenin) of the BioLogos geneticist, Dennis Venema, can also no longer be labeled a non-functional relic.

Specifically, Venema claimed, “Humans have the remains of a gene devoted to egg yolk production in our DNA in exactly the place that evolution would predict.”35 But recent research has exposed this as nearly impossible to reconcile with the facts.36 The supposed evidence for this “egg yolk” gene is so pitiful that it’s hard to imagine how anyone could have seriously entertained this hypothesis in the first place. It’s like identifying the letter “e” in the Bible, finding the same letter in Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and then claiming that the books were modified from a common ancestor — you really have to stretch your imagination to accept this claim. Conversely, there is so little DNA remnant of the egg yolk gene that it requires a real strain of the imagination to see why some evolutionists pursued this line of reasoning in the first place. Current data suggest that they mistook a functional DNA sequence (enhancer element) inside a genomic address messenger gene involved with brain tissue function, for a non-functional egg yolk gene “remnant.”37 Not surprisingly, the BioLogos community has downplayed the significance of these accumulating discoveries and tried to turn the tables on creationists with clever rhetorical games. Rather than admit the obvious damaging implications for evolution,41 the BioLogos staff has turned the argument around and challenged creationists to explain the remaining data that BioLogos claimed demonstrated non-function.38 In fact, Dennis Venema recently went so far as to claim, “Having the complete genome sequences for a variety of great apes makes looking for additional shared mutations a trivial exercise, and it is no exaggeration to say that there are thousands of examples that could be used.”39

But the BioLogos rejoinder misses the big picture and the point. First, preliminary biochemical evidence for function does not exist merely for the two examples of pseudogenes that we discussed. It exists for at least ~80% of all the pseudogenes in humans.40 And the other 20% may still yet be found to be functional in some human tissue or under some physiological condition yet to be studied . . . and there are many. That’s the catch: many noncoding RNA genes (like pseudogenes) are only expressed under certain conditions.

Second, challenging creationists to explain the remaining examples of “non-function” assumes that actual experiments have been performed that demonstrate non-function. They have not. The reality is that we have only just begun to uncover the functionality of the human genome. Consider just how many experiments would need to be performed to conclude with any sort of confidence that a particular set of DNA sequences has zero function. The number of possible scenarios in which a DNA sequence might plausibly function is now proving to be enormous. For example, in the short nine-month window of time that represents human embryonic development, a single cell turns into a fully formed baby that contains hundreds of cell types that must execute an unimaginable number of cellular tasks. Surely the developing baby calls upon enormous swaths of DNA code to execute this developmental program — and then silences or repurposes them for the remainder of its life via another type of code (a code which is being studied by investigators in a scientific field termed “epigenetics”).41 The dynamic use of DNA sequence during development is very different than the vast majority of DNA sequence use in the adult. Experimentally testing a DNA sequence during each of these unique windows of time in which sections of DNA are used and then silenced would be an enormous (and morally questionable) experiment. However, expressed RNA sequences have been analyzed in organ donors, aborted fetal tissue, and embryonic stem cells, with the latter two involving the murder of innocent babies. Nevertheless, these morbid data have only served to increase the known functionality and complexity of the human genome. In addition, until experiments are performed in living humans, which is also unethical, it is both inappropriate and scientifically uninformed to claim “non-function” for human DNA. In short, the recent decade of experimental results on human DNA sequences that demonstrate biochemical evidence for function are just the beginning of our understanding as to the complexity and function of the genome. Perhaps the most important point that can be taken from all this is the trajectory of these results — we watched the scientific community go from claiming high levels of non-function in the early 2000s to claiming evidence for nearly pervasive function just a decade later. This suggests that more experiments will only increase the percentage of human DNA sequence that performs a biological function just as the current leader of the ENCODE project is predicting. This upward trajectory does not bode well for evolution, a fact that the BioLogos community is very reticent to admit.

Neanderthal Ancestry?

On a side note, related to the question of human-ape ancestry is the question of the relationships between Neanderthals and modern humans. Interestingly, most people would be surprised to know that evolutionists consider Neanderthals to be fully human, hence they are given the technical name “archaic humans” as opposed to modern contemporary humans. An increasing number of publications claim to have recovered DNA from ancient human or human-like samples, and the comparison of these DNA samples with those of modern humans could inform the ancestry question.

Though YEC advocates and evolutionists both agree that modern humans and Neanderthals had a common ancestor (YE creationists would say that Neanderthals are post-Flood descendants of Adam and Eve), these two positions disagree on when the Neanderthals lived — tens to hundreds of thousands of years ago (evolutionary model) versus about 4,500 years or less (YEC model). Evidence for a prehistoric42 human population could add credence to the evolutionary claim that human ancestry stretches far back in time — so far back that it touches on the boundaries of an alleged divergence from an ape lineage. Time is the magical key to the evolutionary equation, despite the fact that no viable human-ape transitional forms exist in the fossil record, as discussed in a separate chapter.

Without going into great technical detail, the short answer to the question of what Neanderthal DNA implies regarding the origins issue is that Neanderthal and ancient DNA samples appear to be too degraded and often untrustworthy for use in rigorous genetic analyses. In addition, analyses are perpetually plagued with DNA contamination from microorganisms and modern human DNA from lab workers.43 Finally, no one knows the rate at which Neanderthal DNA changes from generation to generation — and it might change at a rate much faster than that reported for modern human individuals.44

As things stand now, the most credible research comparing Neanderthals to modern humans merely shows that their DNA is human. The dating of the bones from the sites in which Neanderthals are found are not based on DNA, but other types of spurious data, and the evolutionists are constantly changing the dates of the material found in these locations — a fact in and of itself that shows how subjective the whole process really is.

Summary

To summarize, on the question of human-ape common ancestry, all of the claimed evolutionary evidences are type-2 or type-3 experiments that fail to eliminate the main competing hypothesis, YEC (Table 2). Instead of being a minor side issue in the bigger human ancestry debate, this very poor scientific track record for evolution represents a systematic failure across the board. In nearly every type of genetic comparison that can be performed between humans and chimpanzees, the evolutionary model has made erroneous predictions (Table 3).

Table 2. Factually erroneous evolutionary claims about human-primate ancestry
Evolutionary Claim Actual Data Type of Experiment
Human-chimpanzee genetic identity is 98-99% Actual genetic identity is only 88% (i.e., 400,000,000 DNA differences exist between the two species) 2
Humans are genetically closer to apes than to other animal species, unequivocally demonstrating common ancestry Relative hierarchies are characteristics of design 3
Human chromosome #2 arose via fusion of two ape-like chromosomes The purported “fusion” site is actually a functional DNA element in a human gene 2
Gene order along chromosomes has no function, therefore shared gene order demonstrates common ancestry Gene order along chromosomes does indeed perform a function 2
Humans and chimpanzees shared genetic mistakes (e.g., pseudogenes) Pseudogenes appear to be functional DNA elements, not mistakes 2
Humans possess the broken remnants of an ancient chicken gene (vitellogenin) No such remnant exists; instead the “fragment” appears to be a functional DNA element 2
Table 3. Grand Summary of Human-Chimpanzee Genetic Comparisons
Type of Genetic Comparison/Analysis Evolutionary Success or Failure?
Total DNA differences between humans and chimpanzees Failure to predict total genetic differences (a big genetic gap separates the two species)
Relative genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees Irrelevant to debate (evolutionary comparison fails to refute the YEC model, thereby making it scientifically invalid)
Chromosome differences between humans and chimpanzees Failure to predict chromosome differences (no evidence for claimed fusion event)
Total genetic function in humans Current scientific trajectory points toward much more function than predicted by evolution
Specific examples of genetic function in humans Failure to predict functional DNA sequences (pseudogenes and chromosomal gene order were mislabeled as “non-functional”)

In an attempt to move the discussion forward and into the realm of type-1 experiments, creationists have published a testable, predictive model of DNA function from a YEC perspective on one of the few remaining areas of DNA function that has not yet been thoroughly investigated45 (see reference for technical details). If the evolutionists are as confident in their ideas as they claim, then we invite them to publish similar predictions of genetic function, and then to do a head-to-head experiment to test both of the ideas in the laboratory. If evolutionists are unwilling to engage in the experiment that we have proposed, at a minimum, they need to propose a different type-1 experiment.

In short, on the question of human ancestry, evolutionists have a history of making erroneous scientific predictions; they have yet to articulate a genuine genetic test by which to eliminate YEC from the discussion; and their model does not look promising in light of the trajectory of experimental results in areas where evolution and YEC could theoretically be compared head-to-head.

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Footnotes

  1. The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium, “Initial Sequence of the Chimpanzee Genome and Comparison with the Human Genome,” Nature 437 (2005): 69–87, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v437/n7055/full/nature04072.html.
  2. Kevin E. Langergraber et al., “Generation Times in Wild Chimpanzees and Gorillas Suggest Earlier Divergence Times in Great Ape and Human Evolution,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109 no. 39 (2012): 15716–15721, http://www.pnas.org/content/109/39/15716.full; Oliver Venn et al., “Strong Male Bias Drives Germline Mutation in Chimpanzees,” Science 344 (2014): 1272–1275.
  3. Eve was “the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20) and from the eight people on the ark “the whole earth was populated” (Gen. 9:19).
  4. As is shown in the later chapter by Bergman, biblically speaking there is only one race, Adam’s race.
  5. Note that the genealogies of Shem, Ham, and Japheth in Genesis 10 abruptly end after a few generations — consistent with the writer of Genesis 10 being unable to communicate with the members of additional generations due to a language barrier brought about by the Tower of Babel incident.
  6. Chris Hardy and Robert Carter, “The Biblical Minimum and Maximum Age of the Earth,” Journal of Creation 28 no. 2 (2014): 89–96, http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j28_2/j28_2_89-96.pdf; Robert Carter and Chris Hardy, “Modelling Biblical Human Population Growth,” Journal of Creation 29, no. 1 (2015): 72–79. Since Peleg was born 101 years after the flood and lived 209 years, and we are told that the division of humanity at the Tower of Babel was some unspecified date “in the days of ” Peleg, we cannot be precise on the dating of the division.
  7. John R. Grehan and Jeffrey H. Schwartz, “Evolution of the Second Orangutan: Phylogeny and Biogeography of Hominid Origins,” Journal of Biogeography 36 (2009): 1823–1844.
  8. DNA repair machinery exists in the cell, but some copying mistakes still apparently slip through each generation.
  9. For the chimpanzee reference, see Oliver Venn et al., “Strong Male Bias Drives Germline Mutation in Chimpanzees,” Science 344 (2014): 1272–1275. The human rate has been measured on multiple occasions; for an example, see Donald F. Conrad et al., “Variation in Genome-wide Mutation Rates Within and Between Human Families,” Nature Genetics 43 no. 7 (2011): 712–714, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3322360/.
  10. An example of the math: 3,000,000 years / 20 years per generation = 150,000 generations.
  11. An example of the math used to derive the figure of “80 million DNA letters apart” is as follows. In 13,000,000 years, about 650,000 generations pass [13,000,000 years / 20 years per generation = 650,000 generations]. Using this number, 60 DNA changes per human generation x 650,000 generations = 39,000,000 DNA changes total. Since the identical process would occur in chimpanzees, the total would need to be multiplied by two [39,000,000 x 2 = 78,000,000 DNA changes total in both the human lineage and the chimpanzee lineage]. Rounding numbers, the total is ~80,000,000 DNA changes in 13,000,000 years.
  12. Technically, since our DNA comes in two versions (in technical terms, we are a dipoid species — versus a haploid species), humans have 6 billion total DNA letters (as do chimps). But 3 billion is a useful simplification for our purposes in this section.
  13. An example of the math used: 78,000,000 predicted DNA differences between humans and chimpanzees / 3,000,000,000 total DNA letters in humans = 0.026 = 2.6%, or about 3% difference.
  14. Jeffrey P. Tomkins, “Genome-Wide DNA Alignment Similarity (Identity) for 40,000 Chimpanzee DNA Sequences Queried against the Human Genome is 86–89%,” Answers Research Journal 4 (2011): 233–241, https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/dna-similarities/genome-wide-dna-alignment-similarity-identity-for-40000-chimpanzees/; Jeffrey P. Tomkins, “Documented Anomaly in Recent Versions of the BLASTN Algorithm and a Complete Reanalysis of Chimpanzee and Human Genome-Wide DNA Similarity Using Nucmer and LASTZ,” Answers Research Journal 8 (2015): 379–390, https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/dna-similarities/blastn-algorithm-anomaly/.
  15. In the 2005 Nature paper describing the elucidation of the chimpanzee DNA sequence (accessable at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v437/n7055/full/nature04072.html), the authors stated, “Best reciprocal nucleotide-level alignments of the chimpanzee and human genomes cover ~2.4 gigabases (Gb) [2,400,000,000 DNA letters] of high-quality sequence, including 89 Mb [89,000,000 DNA letters] from chromosome X and 7.5 Mb [7,500,000 DNA letters] from chromosome Y” (p.71). Only these 2,400,000,000 DNA letters were used to calculate the published 1.23% DNA difference between humans and chimpanzees. In table 1 of the same paper, it is clear that 2.7 gigabases (GB) — 2,700,000,000 DNA letters — in total were sequenced, leaving 0.3 GB — 300,000,000 DNA letters (about 10% of 3 billion) — unaccounted for, consistent with Jeff Tomkins’ independent findings. Furthermore, by last count (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genome/, accessed 09/28/15), the total number of DNA letters in chimpanzees is 3,309,000,000, and in humans it is 3,259,520,000 DNA letters, leaving even more potential DNA differences unaddressed. Clearly, a DNA difference between humans and chimpanzees of 1.23% represents a careful selection of a subset of the facts.
  16. Assuming that humans possess 3,259,520,000 total DNA letters, a 12% DNA difference from apes (the result of only 88% identity — see previous footnotes) entails the following: 0.12 x 3,259,520,000 total DNA letters = 391,142,400 DNA letters difference, which is about 400 million DNA differences between chimps and humans.
  17. Kevin E. Langergraber et al., “Generation Times in Wild Chimpanzees and Gorillas Suggest Earlier Divergence Times in Great Ape and Human Evolution,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109 no. 39 (2012): 15716–15721, http://www.pnas.org/content/109/39/15716.full.
  18. Oliver Venn et al., “Strong Male Bias Drives Germline Mutation in Chimpanzees,” Science 344 (2014): 1272–1275. We give special thanks to Rob Carter for bringing this evolutionary discrepancy to our attention.
  19. For example, see Michael Buratovich, “Biological Evolution: What Makes it Good Science? Part 1,” https://BioLogos.org/blogs/archive/biological-evolution-what-makes-it-good-science-part-1; for a non-BioLogos reference see Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolution (Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, Inc., 2013).
  20. Nathaniel T. Jeanson, “Darwin vs. Genetics: Surprises and Snags in the Science of Common Ancestry,” Acts & Facts 43 no. 9 (2014): 8–11, http://www.icr.org/article/darwin-vs-genetics-surprises-snags.
  21. For example, “Humans share more DNA with chimpanzees than with any other animal, suggesting that humans and chimps share a relatively recent common ancestor.” See Anon., “What Is the Genetic Evidence for Human Evolution?” https://BioLogos.org/common-questions/human-origins/what-scientific-evidence-do-we-have-about-the-first-humans/.
  22. See Anon., “Genetics,” http://biologos.org/resources/audio-visual/genetics, and Dennis Venema, “Theory, Prediction and Converging Lines of Evidence, Part 3,” http://biologos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/theory-prediction-and-converging-lines-of-evidence-part-3.
  23. Diagrams for this supposed evolutionary event typically show the fusion of only one member of each pair.
  24. Jerry Bergman and Jeffrey Tomkins, “The Chromosome 2 Fusion Model of Human Evolution — Part 1: Re-evaluating the Evidence,” Journal of Creation 25, no. 2 (2011): 106–110, http://creation.com/chromosome-2-fusion-1; Jeffrey Tomkins and Jerry Bergman, “The Chromosome 2 Fusion Model of Human Evolution — Part 2: Re-analysis of the Genomic Data,” Journal of Creation 25, no. 2 (2011): 111–117, http://creation.com/chromosome-2-fusion-2; Jeffrey Tomkins, “Alleged Human Chromosome 2 ‘Fusion Site’ Encodes an Active DNA Binding Domain Inside a Complex and Highly Expressed Gene — Negating Fusion,” Answers Research Journal 6 (2013): 367–375, https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/dna-similarities/alleged-human-chromosome-2-fusion-site-encodes-an-active-dna-binding-domain-inside-a-complex-and-hig/.
  25. Dennis Venema, “Signature in the Synteny,” https://BioLogos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/signature-in-the-synteny.
  26. Michael D. Wilson et al., “Species-specific Transcription in Mice Carrying Human Chromosome 21,” Science 322 no. 5900 (2008): 434–438, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3717767/; Nathaniel T. Jeanson, “An Update on Chromosome 2 ‘Fusion,’ ” Acts & Facts 42 no. 9 (2013): 13, http://www.icr.org/article/update-chromosome-2-fusion.
  27. Anon., “What Is the Genetic Evidence for Human Evolution?” https://BioLogos.org/common-questions/human-origins/what-scientific-evidence-do-we-have-about-the-first-humans/. Evidence #2 references “genetic scars” and implicitly assumes that these sorts of genetic differences (the “scars”) represent mutated and non-functional or functionally neutral sequences. For the “genetic synonyms” argument to work in Evidence #3, the argument must assume that these “synonyms” represent functionally neutral sequences.
  28. Nathaniel T. Jeanson, “Recent, Functionally Diverse Origin for Mitochondrial Genes from ~2700 Metazoan Species,” Answers Research Journal 6 (2013): 467–501, https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/mitochondrial-dna/recent-functionally-diverse-origin-for-mitochondrial-genes-from-~2700-metazoan-species/.
  29. BioLogos Editorial Team. “On Reading the Cell’s Signature,” https://BioLogos.org/blogs/archive/on-reading-the-cells-signature; Dennis Venema, “Understanding Evolution: Is There ‘Junk’ in Your Genome? Part 1,” https://BioLogos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/understanding-evolution-is-there-junk-in-your-genome-part-1; Dennis Venema, “Is There ‘Junk’ in Your Genome? Part 2,” https://BioLogos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/is-there-junk-in-your-genome-part-2.
  30. ENCODE Project Consortium, “Identification and Analysis of Functional Elements in 1% of the Human Genome by the ENCODE Pilot Project,” Nature 447 (2007): 799–816.
  31. ENCODE Project Consortium, “An Integrated Encyclopedia of DNA Elements in the Human Genome,” Nature 489 (2012): 57–74, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7414/full/nature11247.html).
  32. Ed Yong, “ENCODE: the Rough Guide to the Human Genome,” http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/09/05/encode-the-rough-guide-to-the-human-genome/#.V_AxDtx4yoI.
  33. For example, see Dan Graur et al., “On the Immortality of Television Sets: ‘Function’ in the Human Genome According to the Evolution-free Gospel of ENCODE,” Genome Biology and Evolution 5 no. 3 (2013): 578–590, http://gbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/3/578; for a response to Graur et al., see: Nathaniel Jeanson and Brian Thomas, “The Resurrection of ‘Junk DNA’?” http://www.icr.org/article/resurrection-junk-dna.
  34. Jeffrey P. Tomkins, “The Human Beta-Globin Pseudogene Is Non-Variable and Functional,” Answers Research Journal 6 (2013): 293–301, https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/human-genome/the-human-beta-globin-pseudogene-is-non-variable-and-functional/.
  35. Rachel Held Evans and Dennis Venema, “Ask an Evolutionary Creationist: A Q&A with Dennis Venema,” https://BioLogos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/ask-an-evolutionary-creationist-a-qa-with-dennis-venema.
  36. Jeffrey P. Tomkins, “Challenging the BioLogos Claim that a Vitellogenin (Egg-Laying) Pseudogene Exists in the Human Genome,” Answers Research Journal 8 (2015): 403–411, https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/dna-similarities/challenging-BioLogos-claim-vitellogenin-pseudogene-exists-in-human-genome/.
  37. Ibid.
  38. Dennis Venema, “ENCODE and ‘Junk DNA,’ Part 1: All Good Concepts are Fuzzy,” https://BioLogos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/encode-and-junk-dna-part-1-all-good-concepts-are-fuzzy; Dennis Venema, “ENCODE and ‘Junk DNA,’ Part 2: Function: What’s in a Word?” https://BioLogos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/encode-and-junk-dna-part-2-function-whats-in-a-word.
  39. Dennis Venema, “Common Ancestry, Nested Hierarchies, and Parsimony,” https://BioLogos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/adam-eve-and-human-population-genetics-part-6-common-ancestry-nested-hierarchies-and-parsimony.
  40. See Figure 4A of Cristina Sisu et al., “Comparative Analysis of Pseudogenes Across Three Phyla,” PNAS 111 (2014): 13361–13366, http://www.pnas.org/content/111/37/13361.long.
  41. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes that do not involve changes in DNA sequence.
  42. E.g., a population living at the time that the evolutionists propose — hundreds of thousands of years ago.
  43. Brian Thomas and Jeffrey Tomkins, “How Reliable are Genomes from Ancient DNA?” Journal of Creation 28 no. 3 (2014): 92–98.
  44. Nathaniel T. Jeanson, “Mitochondrial DNA Clocks Imply Linear Speciation Rates Within ‘Kinds,’ ” Answers Research Journal 8 (2015): 273–304, https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/clocks-imply-linear-speciation-rates-within-kinds/.
  45. Nathaniel T. Jeanson, “Recent, Functionally Diverse Origin for Mitochondrial Genes from ~2700 Metazoan Species,” Answers Research Journal 6 (2013): 467–501, https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/mitochondrial-dna/recent-functionally-diverse-origin-for-mitochondrial-genes-from-~2700-metazoan-species/.

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