Genes, Environment, Culture – Its All About Who We Are

Preface – If you read Post Scripts, then regardless of your politics, there’s one thing for certain…you are not afraid to discuss tough subjects. This is going to be one of those subjects, and perhaps it’s the toughest I’ve ever been challenged to address. But, my intellectual honesty says, I have to do it. I believe the following is worthy of [searching] for the truth, but it’s also subject to debate and I’ve included several counter-points at the close of this article for balance.

The consensus of opinion says that human evolution ended in prehistory. Science proves it did not and that we continue to evolve. In our past, especiallymtdna during the days when eugenics was touted, the discussion of human biological differences was counterproductive to scientific inquiry and even harmful.

For the above reason we don’t talk much about our biological differences, even in academic settings where all subjects are supposed to fair game. The dark veil of political correctness has descended, but let’s dare to peek under that curtain!

But, before we do I want to acknowledge one of my main sources, Nicholas Wade, a Cambridge grad and deputy editor Nature magazine and a former science writer for the New York Times. His most recent book is titled a Troublesome Inheritance and for the sake of brevity, I will try to keep this in my own words. However, I’m forced to quote quite a bit, so if you see the quotes assume its from the book unless states otherwise.

The decoding of the human genome in 2003 opened a whole new understanding of human evolution, and while it raised many interesting facts, it also came with some awkward questions and that’s the part we will explore. Click here for the National Geographic study.

For most of us, it’s beyond any [scientific] doubt that human evolution is a continuous process. Although recent evolution, as in the last few hundred years, is harder to measure. Unfortunately, the mere discussion of these findings is complicated by racial sensitivities and sometimes religious doctrine. I take no position here, but if you feel compelled to speak out in rebuttal or defense, please feel free! We’re all about free speech at PS.

Paraphrasing…”Since the great migration that began near the tip of South Africa and spread to the continents, our human evolution has evolved, but mostly independently of each other. Each family adapted to its own regional environment and under these forces developed major races we know today as African, East Asians and European, as well as many smaller groups. Because of these divisions any scientific interest into recent human evolution they’re by default forced into racial study…sorry.

Biologists scanning the human genome have detected evidence of many genes that have been favored by natural selection in the recent evolutionary past. About 14% of the human genome has been changed within the last 5000-30,000 years, that’s just the blink of an eye in earth’s 3 billion year history.

One of the most recent changes took place about 3,000 years ago when Tibetans developed a gene variant that lets them live at high altitude. Several other instances that have shaped human traits have come up within the last few hundred years. For example, a recent medical study showed age at menopause is increasing. These subtle human changes are of no particular value, except to show changes are still occurring.

Yale biologist Stephen Sterns concludes 14 recent studies of living human population has not only be recent and extensive, it’s been regional.”

By studying the 3 main races, evidence shows that a different set of genes has changed independently within each race and sub-races. This is exactly what one might expect to find when people are forced to adapt to the challenges of their regional geography. “This includes skin color, metabolism and some aspects of of our brain function, although the latter occurs in ways that is not yet fully understood.”

Social scientists generally tell us that evolution, as far as our personality traits go, stopped over 10,000 years ago. “They assume there has been no change in innate human behavior during the historical period.” Modern social scientists say race is about culture, not biology and in that sense they claim there is no such thing as race, its just an invention to explain skin color and they warn against believing it’s biological. This is a long held view and its designed to support a heavily invested political view. It’s not easy to change views when there has been so much investment. They prefer to believe human behavior is shaped [only] by culture. What genetic science has found is a bit more more, its a combination of culture and biology. This has undercut the social scientists narrower view and caused controversy.

But, the inescapable reality is, genetics really has played a major role in shaping various societies with unique cultures. This is not to say that exploring our racial differences will automatically lend itself to racism, however there is that fear. Wade does his best to make it clear… no racism is intended! He also points out that academic peer pressure has resulted in this subject being shelved for discussion at times. Wade thinks scholars ought to be encouraged, not discouraged to explore wherever the facts/truth takes them.

A number of researchers believe clues to our personality is in our genes.

Wade says, there is currently no reason to think that one race is superior to another, however those minor biological and cultural differences do account for certain unique traits or behaviors. I agree – no one race is in any way superior to another, but there are slight differences that make us who we are. (Hold that thought as you read further)

Next up, culture and biology, how it affects our society.

Tribalism is one of the earliest known civilizing methods that is thousands of years old and it has affected millions of humans, mostly in Africa and the Middle East. Despite its drawbacks it provided a great degree of social order and protection without law books, police or courts.

Tribalism rests on the idea of group protection. People will rely on their closest relatives for justice when wronged and conversely the alleged offender will turn to his relatives for protection. While hostilities may break out between opposing sides, there is ample reason to find a quick resolution, so the right of the individual is protected, but its by force. Tribalism means you have to stand up for your side or you may be seen as disloyal and dishonor or that you become unworthy of protecting when it’s your turn.

Group loyalty is supreme and from childhood you are taught your group is always right and must be supported no matter what. You support the nearest group of relatives against the more distant group. “This results in monopoly of power, ruthless oppression of opponents and the accumulation of benefits. In tribalism bequeathing wealth and power to descendants is integral to our biological needs to protect their young. short it is a recipe for despotism.” And the most violent prospered.

Tribalism has no government, but it extracts taxes for the promise of security, but little else. This has led to economic stagnation wherever it is found. Tribalism has persisted in Africa and the Middle East. This has led to kleptocracy, whoever gains power uses it to his best advantage, to enrich his family and or tribe. This is particularly true in countries with abundant natural resources.

“Despite large amounts of western aid many African countries are little better off than they were under colonial rule. Corruption is rampant and many services for the poor are siphoned off for the elite.”

A number of African countries have a lower per capita income now than they did over 30 years ago and some lower than in 1960. “Half of Africa’s 800 million people live on less than one dollar a day” writes journalist and author, Martin Meredith, ” Africa is the only region where school enrollment is falling and illiteracy is common. It is also the only region where life expectancy is falling.”

We’ve seen too examples of where African leaders have failed to provide effective government. The big bosses have caused no end of suffering while lavishly living as the ruling elite. “Much of their wealth has been squandered away or stashed in foreign bank accounts. The World Bank estimates that about 40% of Africa’s private wealth is held off shore. This culture of corruption has permeated every level of African society. This has also caused a brain drain, the flight of capable and educated people who are desperate to get out. Some 70,000 skilled people are reported fleeing the continent each year.

One third of African counties are now in hostile conflict. Sudan has been locked in a series of civil wars, same for the Congo. Nigeria is awash in oil and corruption and despite their wealth expressed in the GNP income inequality is rampant. Fierce pressures are in play across the continent and people will adapt to them, exactly what this means remains to be seen, but a reduction in tribalism is certainly one possibility.

“If running a western style government is simply a matter of culture, then is should be easy for African and Middle Eastern countries to import western institutions and business methods, just as East Asian countries have done.”

Much of the regional problems were blamed on colonialism, but after their independence and several generations later, this excuse is losing traction. The ills of tribalism persist and this points to more than just a cultural problem, it may be due to genetics as well. “Tribal behaviors are ingrained and this may explain why it taken thousands of years to break free of its deadly grasp.” Africans have had plenty of opportunity to lose tribal behavior and behavior, but it’s been extremely difficult. Tribalism is built around kinship and that is incompatible in a modern state. This requires those caught up in tribalism to develop higher levels of trust for those outside the tribe. A second evolutionary trait requires a population’s transition from a violent, short term, impulsive behavior endemic among hunter-gatherer societies to a more disciplined, future oriented behavior, as seen in East Asian society.

Could any of this account for the current racial tensions in the USA, in particular Ferguson, Mo.? I ask the question, I do not have the answer. However, tribalism has played any roll in culture and evolutionary traits, it is not beyond reason to think its possible. Many of the actions by African-American protestors of late seem highly illogical, but very logical in an abstract way if viewed in the backdrop of Wade’s assertions on tribalism and hunter-gatherers.

When documenting the history of each major race, it’s easy to see that each has followed a different evolutionary path as people adapted to their local environment. “From an evolutionary standpoint, no path is better than any other, its only criteria for success are how well it’s adapted to its local environment.”

If you would like to know more I suggest you buy the book, A Troublesome Inheritance, Genes, Race and Human History by Nicholas Wade. But, for now I hope I have imparted some of Author Wade’s incredible insight and wisdom.

We carry our past into the future whether we like it or not. Our past is part of us. However, knowing our past is a step that could help us adapt more effectively in the future.

On balance: A pretty decent critique and rebuttal can be found here, just click. One more worth reading….click here.

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35 Responses to Genes, Environment, Culture – Its All About Who We Are

  1. Tina says:

    Random thoughts:

    I don’t believe humans evolved. I do believe humans adapted to various environments and this supplies the illusion that humans are “different.”

    People choose to seek enlightenment or to remain in darkness. The question for me is what is the catalyst that compels individuals or groups to seek enlightenment and civility?

    It seems that humans in most cases will inevitably fall to some form of tyranny, whether ruled over by a king, a tribal chief, or a dictator. Leaders were benevolent or brutal through the centuries within a single region. I don’t think this reality is limited to one region (or race) or another. People are people and without enlightened structure, might will make right.

    People who have an opportunity to gain in knowledge are more likely to become civilized, inventive and productive but there are no guarantees.

    It would be difficult to make the case that there wasn’t a very poor, ignorant, oppressed class under the kings of Europe. The Irish, for instance, came to our shores in desperation and poverty often placing themselves in indentured servitude seeking the opportunity to one day be free.

    The article doesn’t specifically address the impact of the Judaeo and Christian religions, or the philosophy that flowed from the ancient Romans and Greeks. Both had a very big influence in European nations, especially in terms of civility and greater enlightenment.

    Jack you seem very enthusiastic about this subject. How much weight would you give genes as an influence for cultural, economic and political realities?

  2. Chris says:

    From your second rebuttal link:

    “Over 130 geneticists have signed a letter to the New York Times saying that Nicholas Wade’s book A Troublesome Inheritance is inaccurate and misrepresents their work. This includes the authors of articles that are central to Wade’s argument. When the very scientists your book relies on announce that that book is wrong? Ouch.”

    That about says it all, doesn’t it? Wade’s “three main races” theory has been disproven for many decades, and apparently he didn’t do the work necessary to re-prove it.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Chris, I tried to include all points and opposing opinion. The three main races was a new one to me, I always thought there were four. I did a quick search and found this: All of Earth’s people, according to a new analysis of the genomes of 53 populations, fall into just three genetic groups. One group is the African. It contains the descendants of the original humans who emerged in East Africa about 200,000 years ago. The second is the Eurasian, encompassing the natives of Europe, the Middle East and Southwest Asia (east to about Pakistan). The third is the East Asian, the inhabitants of Asia, Japan and Southeast Asia, and – thanks to the Bering Land Bridge and island-hopping in the South Pacific – of the Americas and Oceania as well. Then I found this one…” A human race is defined as a group of people with certain common inherited features that distinguish them from other groups of people. All men of whatever race are currently classified by the anthropologist or biologist as belonging to the one species, Homo sapiens.This is another way of saying that the differences between human races are not great, even though they may appear so, i.e. black vs white skin. All races of mankind in the world can interbreed because they have so much in common. All races share 99.99+% of the same genetic materials which means that division of race is largely subjective, and that the original 3-5 races were also probably just subjective descriptions as well.”

      Chris, so this is not correct? Where could I find more info.?

  3. Chris says:

    Tina, the bulk of your reply is a reasonable rebuttal to the article, but unfortunately your refusal to believe in evolution–a theory accepted by nearly all scientists, and which has almost as much evidentiary support as gravity–severely weakens your argument, as well as any others you might make about scientific matters such as climate change.

  4. Post Scripts says:

    Tina, if I seem somewhat enthusiastic, its only be cause I like to solve mysteries. I wonder why blacks are overrepresented in the justice system? Why the high crime, violence, unemployment, high infant mortality, high child accident rates, too many dysfunctional single parent families, too many school dropouts, etc….why?

    Obviously I know not all black people have these problems, but there’s too many similar appearing problems in too many black communities to be a mere coincidence. I wonder why? Whats the key different here? Could this be a personality trait developed over thousands of years from a hunter-gather society or the bi-product of tribalism? I have no idea.

    This is all just a search for answers so we can do better in the future. We ought to be to talk about it openly and honestly. Eric Holder told me so.

  5. Tina says:

    Thanks Jack, I enjoy your enthusiasm but I was having trouble getting what was on your mind.

    Alcoholism, fighting and crime are big problems for some Indians on reservations in this country. Those that leave seem to do better. Does a lack of purpose or usefulness contribute to this or, as you suggests, could the tribal tradition, embedded in their genetic makeup make and now at odds in their world be the greater influence?

    To continue with problems in the black community I’d say something in the last few decades has changed. In the forties, fifties, and sixties black families were intact, most were religious, and many were either entrepreneurial or working. The car factories in the Northeast gave a lot of Southern blacks an opportunity. Dr. Walter Williams addresses this issue in many of His articles:

    Along with the decline of the black family comes anti-social behavior, manifested by high crime rates. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Using the 94 percent figure means that 262,621 were murdered by other blacks.

    You might also enjoy reading this interview in which Dr Williams speaks of the value of liberty and self-sufficiency:

    Q: In a recent lecture you said, “The big task before us is to somehow convince our fellow Americans of the moral superiority of personal liberty.” How do we do that?

    —Caroline Emberton, Cornell University

    A: I’d start with the concept of “self-ownership.” You don’t own me, and I don’t own you. Then I’d point to the fact that reaching into your own pockets to help your fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into another’s pockets to do the same is despicable and deserving of condemnation. In that regard, I’d point out that when God gave Moses the commandment “Thou shalt not steal,” he didn’t add “unless you got a majority vote in Congress.”

    Check out for more such arguments.

    The welfare state has done a lot of damage in the black community. The severity of the situation now could be an indication of a society that has made the black man, father, husband, protector, and provider unnecessary.

    The black people I’ve known or been aware of that have become a success had either an intact family or a single mother that was able to sustain her authority (As a father would). Most have also been religious.

    In another of Dr Williams articles he contrasts “being black and poor in the 1940s and ’50s with today’s experience.”

    It’s a fascinating subject Jack.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Tina, you make good points and I would agree about the welfare state causing a lot damage to lots of people of different races. Just the kind of thing I was hoping to read in response to this article. It is a fascinating subject and one that being updated almost every week with another new discovery.

      I felt squeamish about posting it, even though I was just paraphrasing someone else on the subject. I do appreciate diversity and I think its healthy, but I’m also a student of human behavior and I just wonder why we have the cultural traits we do? Are genetics linked to certain traits? I don’t know – wish I did.

      • Post Scripts says:

        This is enteresting…”The so-called warrior gene comprises particular variations in the X chromosome gene that produces monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), an enzyme that affects the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. The variants, known collectively as MAOA-L, produce human MAOA “knockouts” with a low level of the enzyme.

        MAOA was the first candidate gene to be linked to antisocial behavior, identified in 1993 in a large Dutch family that was notorious for violence. It has been a media favorite ever since, acquiring the nickname “warrior gene” in 2004 as a result of an article in Science, of all places. This I learned from John Rennie’s John Horgan’s fine rant about the exploitation of MAOA genetics at Scientific American, which describes weaknesses in the research.

        The most recent appearance of MAOA-L is a paper Molecular Psychiatry published a week ago from a host of researchers based mostly in Finland. It showed that Finnish criminals convicted of several violent crimes frequently possessed either MAOA-L or a mutant version of another gene, CDH13, while the nonviolent controls did not. Find details in John Gever’s piece at MedPage Today.”

  6. Post Scripts says:

    Chris, you said all races share 99.99% of the same genetic composition as all others. Not to quibble, but apparently your information may be out of date. The latest estimate is closer to 89%, some say even lower.

    “The Human Genome Project found all humans to have a 99.9 % similar genetic content and identity, but this is challenged by a new more detailed research suggesting a higher genetic diversity, with further medical and evolutionary implications.

    Previous studies focused on analyzing polymorphism (variation) in DNA nucleotidic bases. But the new approach tackled deletions or duplications of code among relatively long sequences of individual DNA and then compared the so-called copy number variations (CNVs) across individuals from different human breeds. This method uncovered a complex, higher-order variation in the code and better explains why some populations or races are vulnerable to certain diseases and respond well to specific drugs, while counterparts swiftly fall sick or never respond to treatment.

    Two technical breakthroughs, a faster, accurate sequencing of DNA and a powerful software programme to spot the CNVs allowed the new approach. 1,447 CNVs were located in roughly 2,900 genes, which means around 12 % of the human DNA. “Each one of us has a unique pattern of gains and losses of complete sections of DNA,” said Matthew Hurles from Britain’s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “One of the real surprises of these results was just how much of our DNA varies in copy number. We estimate this to be at least 12 % of the genome.”

    “The copy number variation that researchers had seen before was simply the tip of the iceberg, while the bulk lay submerged, undetected. We now appreciate the immense contribution of this phenomenon to genetic differences between individuals.”

    Some missing or duplicated DNA fragments are very large, thus CNVs might have a big impact on gene expression. About 16 % of genes related to disease have been found to possess CNVs, like those involved in the rare DiGeorge, Williams-Beuren and Prader-Willi syndromes or more common schizophrenia, cataracts, spinal muscular atrophy and atherosclerosis. But kidney disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and vulnerability to malaria and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which recent research has blamed on single-letter variations in the gene code, are also suspected for CNVs. “The stage is set for global studies to explore anew… the clinical significance of human variation,” said Huntington Willard at Duke University in North Carolina.

    The new data also shows that our species is so recent that the vast majority of CNVs, around 89 %, was found to be shared among the 269 people belonging to Mongoloid Race (Japanese and Chinese), African Negroid (Yoruba Nigerians) and Caucasoid (of Northern and Western European ancestry). But there are also widespread specific differences in CNVs according to the race and even inside the same race according to population (geographical origin). This means that over 200,000 years or so, natural selection favored subtle variants allowing different humans populations to adapt to their different environments, with specific climate, pathogens, and food resources.”

  7. Tina says:

    Chris: “…but unfortunately your refusal to believe in evolution–a theory accepted by nearly all scientists…”

    Same old consensus thinking, a throw back to the flat earth consensus.

    My comment wasn’t meant to be contentious or a rebuttal, which is why I started it with “Random thoughts…”

    I am not a scientist nor do I pretend to be. I am an observer. I’ve noticed that there isn’t a single thing in our world that doesn’t suggest design. I haven’t seen scientific evidence of evolution as evolutionists talk about it. Where are the bones that suggest one species evolved into another? We have plenty of evidence that humans and animals have adapted to their environment but none that prove a crossover.

    Chris yours is a limited world view in my estimation, partly because you think you have all the answers. There are more questions than answers when we are talking about the mysteries of life.

    Regarding evolution, good information can be read here:

    The theory of evolution posits a process of transformation from simple life forms to more complex life forms, which has never been observed or duplicated in a laboratory.[13][14] Although not a creation scientist, Swedish geneticist Dr. Nils Heribert-Nilsson, Professor of Botany at the University of Lund in Sweden and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, stated: “My attempts to demonstrate Evolution by an experiment carried on for more than 40 years have completely failed. At least, I should hardly be accused of having started from a preconceived antievolutionary standpoint.”[15][16]

    The fossil record is often used as evidence in the creation versus evolution controversy. The fossil record does not support the theory of evolution and is one of the flaws in the theory of evolution.[17] In 1981, there were at least a hundred million fossils that were catalogued and identified in the world’s museums.[18] Despite the large number of fossils available to scientists in 1981, evolutionist Mark Ridley, who currently serves as a professor of zoology at Oxford University, was forced to confess:

    “In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation.”[19]

    Relax kid, there’s plenty to contemplate over the course of a lifetime.

    If I had the power of God I could offer the answers to the world’s great mysteries with certainty. As it is I am a mere human being…and so are you.

  8. Tina says:

    Jack at #’s 8 & 9.

    In my humble observations of human behavior, I would say there is strong evidence that chemical (And genetic?) tendencies in individuals help to determine their aggressive/passive tendencies

    By the way, thanks for the giggle: “Eric Holder told me so.”

    Scroll through the Conservapedia link. You might find some information on genetics and evolution theory from various perspectives.

  9. Harold says:

    Hey, what about “Alien intervention”,

    just to be clear, “Off world” theories, not the current migratory (PC) border violation kind.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Harold, yeah I was gonna say…we’ve got lots of alien intervention alright. Hey, did you hear Jerry Brown is making a rule we can’t say alien or illegal in reference to people here without permission? lol

  10. Chris says:

    Jack: “Chris, you said all races share 99.99% of the same genetic composition as all others”

    What? No I didn’t. You quoted that in your own comment #6.

    “The three main races was a new one to me, I always thought there were four.”

    There is only one.

    It is true that there are variations in how different ethnic groups react to medicine on average, but this does not hold true for every member of each ethnic group. Other than that, there is no evidence of a need for scientific classifications of race. People of different races have more biology in common than even the closest dog breeds have with each other. If we were another species studying humans, we would not see a need to divide them into different races.

    There is certainly no scientific evidence for Nick Wade’s theory that some groups have evolved to be better suited to democracy, or that some are more prone to violence. These are “just so” stories; Wade apparently has no actual understanding or interest in socioeconomics, anthropology, or history, so he just makes up convenient sounding explanations. If he had lived in the early 1900s he’d be writing about how Italians and the Irish have evolved for greater violence than the Englishman, and going on about head sizes. Scientific racism isn’t some new thing that PC liberals are suppressing; it was popular for a long time, and the history is well documented. It was discredited because it was wrong.

    You say you wish to understand why African Americans have such poor results in America, but let’s say Wade’s theory was right. What would that help? Nothing. Wade’s entire theory is just “they’re naturally like that.” Oh, ok then. Well I guess we shouldn’t do anything! If the problems are due to genetics, then all that does is let us off the hook for solving societal problems. It’s too convenient to be true.

  11. Chris says:

    Tina: “Same old consensus thinking, a throw back to the flat earth consensus.”

    No, it’s nothing like the flat earth consensus. Our understanding of the world and our ability to observe it are far superior today than in the days of the flat earth theory. Perhaps even more importantly, the process of science is more open and transparent today than at any other time in history. If scientists have reached a consensus on a theory, it is therefore almost certainly because that theory is extremely well supported.

    “I am not a scientist nor do I pretend to be. I am an observer. I’ve noticed that there isn’t a single thing in our world that doesn’t suggest design.”

    Even if that’s true, there are many who do not see design as incompatible with evolution. Millions of Christians believe in evolution and see no contradiction with their faith. It is silly to reject scientific evidence just because you think it goes against your religious beliefs, which are a result of faith rather than rational observation.

    “I haven’t seen scientific evidence of evolution as evolutionists talk about it.”

    No one but fringe people use the word “evolutionists.” You’re talking about over 99% of scientists; you can just say “scientists.”

    “Where are the bones that suggest one species evolved into another?”

    Speciation of plant and fruit fly species has also been directly observed:

    Of course, most speciation takes thousands of years so cannot be directly observed. But we have been able to determine the life cycles of stars without directly observing individual stars be born and die, so this argument is irrelevant.

    Of course there are more questions than answers when determining the origins of life. But you won’t get the answers by throwing out all we do know simply because of fear of questioning your religious beliefs.

  12. Tina says:

    Harold I had completely forgotten about the aliens who collinized this world…thanks for the reminder 😀

  13. Tina says:

    Chris your Wikipedia page acknowledges the following right off the bat:

    Most of the fossils shown are not considered direct ancestors to Homo sapiens but are closely related to direct ancestors and are therefore important to the study of the lineage.

    In other words as long as you believe people evolved from lower forms you can also believe that fragments of bones are “closely related.” This is at best a leap of faith.

    And for the record I have not rejected scientific evidence; I have just acknowledged what I believe to be significant information that’s been left out or set aside in the search for truth. Once again that is not consistent with the scientific approach.

    Scientific American used to be an excellent publication.

    You willingly believe truth has been found when admittedly, “…most speciation takes thousands of years so cannot be directly observed.

    Another supposed consensus built on faith rather than science.

    Evolutionists (Go pound sand) are atheists and agnostics and most would love to find actual proof that we evolved…they haven’t, and I assert they won’t if they haven’t been able to find evidence so far.“>Evolution is Not Science:

    Genuine science is objective and invites scrutiny and investigation. It does not ridicule the critics of its conclusions, but instead silences their criticisms by setting forth the evidence from which those conclusions are drawn.

    Genuine science seeks the truth that explains the observed evidence. It does not prejudice the investigation by ruling out, from the start, hypotheses that may very well provide the best explanation for the observed evidence.

    Genuine science rejects any hypothesis that consistently fails to fit observed scientific evidence. It does not persistently assume that the fault lies in the evidence rather than in the hypothesis itself.

    Everything in our world, down to the smallest particle, suggest design. This can be proven.

    Smugness is not a good trait to cultivate. I’d give it up if I were you.

  14. Chris says:

    Tina: “Evolutionists (Go pound sand) are atheists and agnostics”

    Oh dear lord…do you really believe that no one who believes in evolution is religious? The Catholic Church has accepted evolution for decades. Gregor Mendel was a friar for God’s sake. This poll shows that many religious people accept the science of evolution:

    This theory is not based on “faith” and it is pure projection for you to say it is. You want to put scientific evidence on the same level as your subjective religious opinions. It’s not. You don’t know the difference between fact and opinion.

    “Scientific American used to be an excellent publication.”

    And you call me smug! You know absolutely nothing of science.

    “Everything in our world, down to the smallest particle, suggest design. This can be proven.”

    It absolutely has NOT been proven; if it had, the consensus would support your view, and we wouldn’t be having this debate.

    Continue calling me smug and arrogant for accepting the views of nearly the entire scientific community while you reject them with your zero science degrees and several decades of church services. It’s the perfect combination of arrogance and ignorance, and yes, it absolutely does deserve to be ridiculed. Ridiculing such positions is an ethical imperative.

  15. Tina says:

    Chris: “…do you really believe that no one who believes in evolution is religious?”

    No, I should have said many or most. And there certainly have been some who argue vociferously against even the idea of God.

    A few quotes I appreciate:

    “True, there are religious scientists and Darwinian churchgoers. But this does not mean that faith and science are compatible, except in the trivial sense that both attitudes can be simultaneously embraced by a single human mind. (It is like saying that marriage and adultery are compatible because some married people are adulterers.) ~ Jerry Coyne Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago”

    “This disharmony is a dirty little secret in scientific circles. It is in our personal and professional interest to proclaim that science and religion are perfectly harmonious. After all, we want our grants funded by the government, and our schoolchildren exposed to real science instead of creationism. Liberal religious people have been important allies in our struggle against creationism, and it is not pleasant to alienate them by declaring how we feel. This is why, as a tactical matter, groups such as the National Academy of Sciences claim that religion and science do not conflict. But their main evidence–the existence of religious scientists–is wearing thin as scientists grow ever more vociferous about their lack of faith. “Seeing and Believing” The New Republic February 4 2009 p.41″

    “To produce this miracle of molecular construction all the cell need do is to string together the amino acids (which make up the polypeptide chain) in the correct order. This is a complicated biochemical process, a molecular assembly line, using instructions in the form of a nucleic acid tape (the so-called messenger RNA) which will be described in outline in Chapter 5. Here we need only ask, how many possible proteins are there? If a particular amino acid sequence was selected by chance, how rare of an event would that be?

    This is an easy exercise in combinatorials. Suppose the chain is about two hundred amino acids long; this is, if anything, rather less than the average length of proteins of all types. Since we have just twenty possibilities at each place, the number of possibilities is twenty multiplied by itself some two hundred times. This is conveniently written 20200 and is approximately equal to 10260, that is a one followed by 260 zeros!

    This number is quite beyond our everyday comprehension. For comparison, consider the number of fundamental particles (atoms, speaking loosely) in the entire visible universe, not just in our own galaxy with its 1011 stars, but in all the billions of galaxies, out to the limits of observable space. This number, which is estimated to be 1080, is quite paltry by comparison to 10260. Moreover, we have only considered a polypeptide chain of a rather modest length. Had we considered longer ones as well, the figure would have been even more immense. Life Itself (1981) p. 51-52.”

    “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going. Life Itself (1981) p.88 – Francis Crick (1916–2004) Co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, Nobel laureate 1962, Professor at the Salk Institute”

    Chris: “It absolutely has NOT been proven; if it had, the consensus would support your view, and we wouldn’t be having this debate.”

    Good! Now name something that doesn’t have design elements. While you’re at it supply the evidence of evolution as opposed to adaptation.

    Stop guessing about my religious practices…you’re really lousy at it. While I acknowledge I am not a scientist and have minimal education in the sciences I am capable of reading and understanding materials written by scientists (see above quotes).

    Adaptation has been scientifically observed. Evolution has not, indeed it requires a leap of faith not unlike belief in God. The difference is that the religious person knows his belief is a leap of faith. Those who mock the design theory don’t acknowledge a leap of faith but insist that they are right.

    People believe a lot of things they’ve been taught to believe…even global warming…no, cooling…no, warming…it doesn’t make it fact.

    When scientists have been found to come to conclusions (absolute conclusion by “consensus) by nefarious means over the past several decades it’s difficult to say for certain that at least some of the accepted conclusions about evolution have been arrived at by similar means.

    I like to keep an open mind realizing that new discoveries emerge all the time but as some scientists have observed, after decades of searching they have not found a missing link that would demonstrate one animal has evolved from another.

    Unless I missed it…have you an example?

    “Continue calling me smug and arrogant for accepting the views of nearly the entire scientific community…”

    That’s not why I called you smug.

    “Ridiculing such positions is an ethical imperative.”

    Ooooo…pure Alinsky. The trouble is, when you’re wrong you look like a clown.

  16. More Common Sense says:

    I have to agree with Chris on this one, because I am one of the people that believes there is merit in the Theory of Evolution yet I have very strong religious beliefs. Let me point out that I can not accept Evolution as fact because it has never been proven, and I am a firm believer in the scientific method, but I see merit in the “argument” of Evolution. And, I have no problem reconciling religion and Evolution. If Evolution is proven it does not mean that creation and design are incorrect and visa versa.

    I base my beliefs on a very simple physics concept call entropy. The concept of entropy says that in a isolated environment nature moves from order to disorder, not the other way around. An electron in an excited (high energy) orbit within an atom will change by moving to a lower energy orbit and emitting a photon. It never jumps to a higher energy orbit on its own because that would be creating energy from nothing. As another example, a spinning top in an imaginary frictionless environment will spin forever at the same speed. The speed will never increase on its own. Again, that would be creating energy from nothing.

    The concept of entropy seems to be at odds with the concept of Evolution. Evolution is used to explain the path of a simple organisms evolving into much more complex organisms not less complex organisms. The mechanism driving Evolution is mutation with natural selection eliminating inferior mutations while superior mutations survive even to the point of dominating the original organism. But what caused the mutation in the first place. The trigger that causes a mutation is not really understood. Keep in mind what we are talking about is something that changes DNA, but not just changes it, but changes it in a positive way that leads to more complex DNA and a more complex organism.

    Outside triggers in the environment are possibilities such as exposure to chemicals, radiation, lighting, anything that might have the effect of damaging DNA and causing it to reassemble in a different way. However you would expect, in a similar way as entropy, that the resulting DNA would only be a damaged version of the original leading to a damaged organism. Keep in mind there are rules as to how DNA can disassemble and reassemble. If not, simple cell division would lead to mutation after mutation. How does a DNA strand get damaged and as a result the organism mutates to a more complex organism. Well…., maybe the mutation is not as a result of damage. Consider the possibility the mutation is directed to follow an intelligent design.

    Also for your consideration… There is fossil evidence of the change or evolution of some species over time. Again, the argument is mutation and natural selection lead to these more complex organisms. However, if the trigger for these mutations were just random environmental events I would suspect you would see evolution going the other way too. What I mean is you would also see evidence of devolution. The DNA would be damaged, reassemble into a simpler organism and natural selection would cause the superior of those simpler organisms to survive while the inferior organisms would disappear. Keep in mind a more complex organism does not imply a superior organism. The environment determines superior and inferior, not the complexity of the organism. So why do we not see fossils that show a devolution path to simpler but superior organisms?

  17. Chris says:

    Interesting comments, MCS. I’m glad to see science has not damaged your faith, nor has your faith damaged your understanding of science, as it has so many…

  18. Tina says:

    Entropy: 2. lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder:

    synonyms: deterioration · degeneration · crumbling · decline · degradation ·

    MCS I’m a bit confused maybe you can help me out. On the one hand you say that entropy is the thing that supports your belief in or acceptance of the theory of evolution. On the other you describe entropy as a destructive or declining event, not something that would lead to a higher form of life.

    Here’s something to consider:

    Evolutionists teach that over millions of years, lower life forms gradually changed into higher forms, acquiring more and more information in the DNA until the final result is modern humans. But can genetic mutations, which are copying mistakes, achieve this?

    For mutations to form new species, this upward changing would have to occur in a precise and orderly manner, not just randomly. But what is observed about present-day mutations? Information is lost, rearranged, or sometimes added. The result can be destructive (e.g. Down syndrome) or benign.

    Mutations, to be beneficial, must cause a gain in function. The second law of thermodynamics tells us that everything, if left to itself, tends to move downward from organization to disorganization. Observable mutation adheres to this law; evolution violates it. – Walter Pettifor, John Q. Citizen

    I could find no listing for Walter Pettifor so I don’t know his credentials, if any.

    You also say, “There is fossil evidence of the change or evolution of some species over time.”

    Isn’t this adaptation rather than evolution? A bird may develop a longer beak in order to eat in a changed environment but there is no evidence that the bird “evolved” into a tiger or an elephant.

    Here’s another paper of interest:

    What is evolution? The problem with defining the term is that the concept of evolution is subject to so many interpretations it is nearly impossible to find its core meaning. It is not considered a single unitary concept by some authors.3 It has even been called a smorgasbord of concepts.4 The lack of a clear, consistent definition of evolution poses a problem for those who wish to engage in a disciplined, critical discussion of it. What does Dobzhansky mean by “evolution” when he claims that nothing in biology makes sense without it?

    Let us begin with a brief summary of evolution given by Plantinga:5

    Organic life somehow arose from non-living matter by way of purely naturalistic means and by virtue of the workings of fundamental regularities of physics and chemistry. Once life began, all the vast profusion of contemporary flora and fauna arose from those early ancestors by way of common descent. The enormous contemporary variety of life arose, basically through natural selection operating on such sources of genetic variability as random genetic mutation, genetic drift and the like.6 (continues)

    Like you I “…can not accept Evolution as fact because it has never been proven, and I am a firm believer in the scientific method.”

    I can’t ignore the scientists with very good arguments against the theory as our friend Chris seems to want to do.

    Also for the record science has not “damaged my faith” nor has it “damaged” my understanding of science. My religious belief is strong and it is, admittedly, based entirely on faith. When it comes to science I understand it is always subject to new theories and emerging ideas. Nothing is written in stone. So I keep an open mind but I don’t swallow hole what a consensus of scientists insist is fact.

    I don’t think we disagree at all but maybe you see it differently.

  19. Chris says:

    Tina: “Isn’t this adaptation rather than evolution? A bird may develop a longer beak in order to eat in a changed environment but there is no evidence that the bird “evolved” into a tiger or an elephant.”

    No, but birds HAVE evolved into different species of birds, and we have seen it happen:

    No one has ever posited that a bird could evolve into a tiger or an elephant–you reveal your fundamental ignorance of evolutionary theory when you make such a bad straw man argument. You don’t even seem to know what evolution actually is or what scientists believe on the subject. Your opinion is not informed.

  20. More Common Sense says:

    Tina, I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. As I indicated entropy seems to be in direct contradiction to evolution. Entropy says things tend to go to lower energy states, decay, become simpler while evolution is an attempt to explain why organisms become more complex. A spinning top tends to slow down and never ever speeds up, unless energy is added that causes it to speed up. In other words the only way to beat the effects of entropy is to add energy to the system. How then is it possible in the biological world that organisms tend to mutate to more complex organisms. I don’t believe they do on their own. I believe this is evidence of intelligent design. Consider each forward moving step a little step in creation. What I am saying is evolution is the process but creation is the driving force that causes evolution to move to more complex organisms.

  21. Tina says:

    More Common Sense your explanation does marry evolution and religion, a conflict that most of us would like to resolve. People have been trying to figure it out from the beginning, even before the theory of evolution. But the more we discover the more miraculous life becomes; the more design becomes a proposal that cannot be denied.

    I would be able to accept your position (In fact I once held that position) except that there is not, to my knowledge, observable evidence that organisms mutate to more complex organisms. Organisms do adapt to different environments and I think that process has inaccurately been called an evolutionary process.

    The notion of consensus continues to rub me the wrong way. I resent the closed mind aspect…move along, it’s been decided, no need to explore or question. That isn’t realistic or scientific.

    Oregon State University scientists have released a new study debunking the alleged evolution of dinosaurs into birds…

    …The research hinges—almost literally—on the femur (upper leg bone) of birds. Unlike other walking creatures, a bird’s femur does not move significantly, and birds instead articulate the lower portion of their leg to walk or run. Quick’s surprising discovery is that this “knee running” anatomy, with nearly fixed femur bones and musculature, is crucial in preventing a bird’s air-sac lung from collapsing whenever the bird takes a breath.

    Quick explained, “This is fundamental to bird physiology. It’s really strange that no one realized this before. The position of the thigh bone and muscles in birds is critical to their lung function, which in turn is what gives them enough lung capacity for flight.”

    Dinosaurs lack this fixed femur, however, and that includes the theropod dinosaurs from which birds supposedly evolved. Oregon State zoologist John Ruben, a coauthor on the paper, commented, “Theropod dinosaurs had a moving femur and therefore could not have had a lung that worked like that in birds. Their abdominal air sac, if they had one, would have collapsed. That undercuts a critical piece of supporting evidence for the dinosaur-bird link.”

    He continued, “It’s really kind of amazing that after centuries of studying birds and flight we still didn’t understand a basic aspect of bird biology.” Ruben added that the appearance of birds before dinosaurs in the fossil record is a “serious problem” that is ignored by those who advocate dinosaur-to-bird evolution (see also The Early Bird Catches the Dinosaur).

    I’ve enjoyed this exchange, MCM. We humans have yet to come close to understanding the complexities of our universe but we do keep seeking and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  22. Chris says:

    MCS: “A spinning top tends to slow down and never ever speeds up, unless energy is added that causes it to speed up. In other words the only way to beat the effects of entropy is to add energy to the system. How then is it possible in the biological world that organisms tend to mutate to more complex organisms. I don’t believe they do on their own. I believe this is evidence of intelligent design.”

    I think your argument has a few gaps in it, MCS. Of course organisms don’t create energy on their own; they get it from their environment. So the concept of entropy doesn’t contradict the concept of evolution. Entropy is about the timescale of the universe as a whole; it doesn’t mean simple things can’t become more complex things. If it did, it would be contradicted simply by the formation of planets from space debris.

    Apparently this is a common argument against evolution, one I’ve never heard before:

    “A common argument against biological evolution is that the theory contradicts the second law of thermodynamics. The second law says that disorder, or entropy, always increases or stays the same over time. How then can evolution produce more complex life forms over time? The answer is that the second law is only valid in closed systems with no external sources of energy. Since the Earth receives continual energy from the Sun, the second law does not apply.”

    I know you weren’t using this as evidence that evolution doesn’t exist, just that it requires an intelligent designer to push it along. Even so, I don’t think your argument indicates that either. Of course I’m not ruling out an intelligent designer, I’m just saying there’s nothing about entropy or evolution that necessarily requires one.

    • Post Scripts says:

      When it comes to intelligent design, logic tells me there is more possible than impossible in the universe, or should I say multi-verse? Anyway, the amazing complexity and diversity of life, it’s need for balance, the accidents/experiments along the evolutionary path of life that failed and died out and the experiments that were better adapted, multiplied and endured to this day are all fascinating. Call it God’s hand, natural selection, its all good. The discoveries are coming so fast now, its hard to keep up! Makes me wonder where we will be in another 100, 200 years? If we are going to hang around another 10,000 years or more, we better not let our technology overrun our humanity.

  23. Chris says:

    Tina: “I would be able to accept your position (In fact I once held that position) except that there is not, to my knowledge, observable evidence that organisms mutate to more complex organisms.”

    There is plenty of observable evidence of this happening with bacteria. It is not hard to find.

    That there is debate over whether birds evolved from dinosaurs or vice versa does nothing to rebut the theory of evolution as a whole. The scientists quoted in the article you excerpted suggest that birds and dinosaurs do share a common ancestor even if birds are not the direct descendants of dinosaurs.

    • Jack says:

      Chris, if there’s one good thing here, its that there’s plenty of room for interesting debate. I like reading it anyway…hope others do too. I am aware of the bird – dino connection too. Seems there is a number of similarities…

      “The first birds shared the following major skeletal characteristics with many coelurosaurian dinosaurs (especially those of their own clade, the Maniraptora, which includes Velociraptor):

      Pubis (one of the three bones making up the vertebrate pelvis) shifted from an anterior to a more posterior orientation (see Saurischia), and bearing a small distal “boot”.
      Elongated arms and forelimbs and clawed manus (hands).
      Large orbits (eye openings in the skull).
      Flexible wrist with a semi-lunate carpal (wrist bone).
      Hollow, thin-walled bones.
      3-fingered opposable grasping manus (hand), 4-toed pes (foot); but supported by 3 main toes.
      Reduced, posteriorly stiffened tail.
      Elongated metatarsals (bones of the feet between the ankle and toes).
      S-shaped curved neck.
      Erect, digitgrade (ankle held well off the ground) stance with feet postitioned directly below the body.
      Similar eggshell microstructure.
      Teeth with a constriction between the root and the crown.
      Functional basis for wing power stroke present in arms and pectoral girdle (during motion, the arms were swung down and forward, then up and backwards, describing a “figure-eight” when viewed laterally).
      Expanded pneumatic sinuses in the skull.
      Five or more vertebrae incorporated into the sacrum (hip).
      Straplike scapula (shoulder blade).
      Clavicles (collarbone) fused to form a furcula (wishbone).
      Hingelike ankle joint, with movement mostly restricted to the fore-aft plane.
      Secondary bony palate (nostrils open posteriorly in throat).
      Possibly feathers… this awaits more study. Small, possibly feathered dinosaurs were recently found in China. It appears that many coelurosaurs were cloaked in an external fibrous covering that could be called “protofeathers.”

  24. Tina says:

    “There is plenty of observable evidence of this happening with bacteria.”

    Okay. But is it still bacteria? If so I would call it adaptation, not evolution. And if this is supposed to prove evolution, I would think we would have found evidence in higher forms as well. We haven’t.

    ” The scientists quoted in the article you excerpted suggest that birds and dinosaurs do share a common ancestor even if birds are not the direct descendants of dinosaurs.”

    I would say they might have a common ancestor. But there are no bones that indicate a transition occurred. This still requires a belief…a leap of faith.

    We might want to ponder on the concept of time, as we look at evolution: “The fact that the present which gives us the most real feel of time cannot be measured while the inaccessible past and future can be measured as strongly suggests that the way we perceive time (present-ism or the block universe view) is an illusion… Every event in time has a place like feeling to it, giving support to the block universe view of time in which time is fixed and laid out like a time-scape. In the block universe past, present and future exist together superimposed in different dimensions. This view of time suggests that dinosaurs are still alive and roaming the earth in other time dimensions; so are multiple copies of us and
    the whole universe. This view is reinforced by Einstein’s General Relativity (GR) in which time extends as the fourth dimension from the past to the future. Lack of simultaneity in Einstein’s SR and an interpretation of the Lorentz transformation equation known as the Rietdijk–Putnam argument also promote this view to explain the Andromeda paradox as an alternative reality existing in a different time dimension.”

    Blink of an eye? There’s so much that we don’t know.

  25. Tina says:

    Jack this has been an interesting discussion. Glad you posted it.

    You wrote: “I am aware of the bird – dino connection too. Seems there is a number of similarities…”

    Given the similarities in all of animal life is it so surprising that designs would be repeated, though not duplicated? Clones we are not 🙂 Don’t the similarities in life forms have a lot to do with functionality and survival?

    “Much to learn you still have, my old Padawan. This is just the beginning!” – Yoda

  26. Chris says:

    Tina: “Okay. But is it still bacteria? If so I would call it adaptation, not evolution.”

    It’s still bacteria, but we have seen it evolve into a new species of bacteria. That’s what evolution is. You can call it schmevolution if you want to–it’s still the scientific definition of evolution.

    “And if this is supposed to prove evolution, I would think we would have found evidence in higher forms as well. We haven’t.”

    Again, we have absolutely seen birds evolve into new bird species.

  27. Tina says:

    Chris: “It’s still bacteria, but we have seen it evolve into a new species of bacteria. That’s what evolution is.”

    Evolution: “the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth. synonyms: Darwinism · natural selection

    What you describe is…

    Adaptation: Biology.

    any alteration in the structure or function of an organism or any of its parts that results from natural selection and by which the organism becomes better fitted to survive and multiply in its environment.
    a form or structure modified to fit a changed environment.
    the ability of a species to survive in a particular ecological niche, especially because of alterations of form or behavior brought about through natural selection.

    Evolution is described in terms of everything being connected…that requires transitional evidence of one species evolving into another. It has to or all of life on earth would be the same. But we have no evidence of these transitional forms of life. We do have examples of adaptation within different species.

    Examples of the theory of evolution in studies (Emphasis mine):

    Live Science:

    Evolution by natural selection is one of the best substantiated theories in the history of science, supported by evidence from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including paleontology, geology, genetics and developmental biology.

    The theory has two main points, said Brian Richmond, curator of human origins at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. “All life on Earth is connected and related to each other,” and this diversity of life is a product of “modifications of populations by natural selection, where some traits were favored in and environment over others,” he said.

    National Geographic:

    All life on Earth evolved from a single-celled organism that lived roughly 3.5 billion years ago, a new study seems to confirm.

    The study supports the widely held “universal common ancestor” theory first proposed by Charles Darwin more than 150 years ago.

    National Geographic

    Earth’s first cellular life probably arose in vats of warm, slimy mud fed by volcanically heated steam—and not in primordial oceans, scientists say. …

    The concept, based on the latest cellular and geologic research, resembles a suggestion by famed naturalist Charles Darwin that life could have sprung from a “warm little pond” rich in nutrients.

    Scientific American

    Woese asserts that only by sharing their genes—or evolutionary inventions, as he calls them—could simple cellular organizations have given rise to more complex cell designs. In the beginning, he says, primitive cells “did not have stable genealogical records.” But eventually, these lines—including the three that spawned all extant life forms—reached what Woese terms the “Darwinian threshold,” the point at which a lineage matures to genetic stability. Here the cellular organization became fixed, leading to a traceable cell line via reproduction. “Crossing a Darwinian threshold leads to a more solidified, organized cellular design,” he explains.

    The idea could overturn conventional cell evolution wisdom. Instead of the individual, “it is the community as a whole, the ecosystem which evolves,” Woese remarks. “We can¿t expect to explain cellular evolution if we stay locked in the classical Darwinian mode of thinking,” he adds. “The time has come for biology to go beyond the Doctrine of Common Descent.”

    Woese rejects Darwin’s theory but at the same time imagines something even more miraculous, a whole ecosystem that evolved from bacteria.

    The more we learn and the harder they try to prove evolution the closer Scientists get to Intelligent Design…and a higher being.

    Thank you Chris, for the civil response. I appreciate that you were willing to assert your position without deriding mine.

  28. Chris says:

    Tina: “Evolution is described in terms of everything being connected…that requires transitional evidence of one species evolving into another. It has to or all of life on earth would be the same. But we have no evidence of these transitional forms of life. We do have examples of adaptation within different species.”

    Tina, the adaptations I showed you were not “within” species–again, they produced NEW species of birds and bacteria.

    Since we have seen species evolve into new species, it is thus more than possible that humans also evolved from previous species of primates.

    The alternative is that humans were created in our present form. Such a creation, of course, has never been observed in any species.

    It is creation and intelligent design that are impossible to observe, not evolution.

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