What you should know, but don't.
I created this as a short primer for my friends at various social networking sites I have visited lately. For the record I am not a scientist nor expert so expect errors and corrections. It is my hope that this will at least get readers to start thinking more deeply about basic biology, evolution and human origins. Please, don't take my word for it. Do the research yourself.
The Reality of Evolution: What you should know, but don't.
By Reginald V. Finley Sr
That evolution happens is a FACT. How that happens is called, "The Theory of Evolution". A theory in science is a well worked out explanation for certain phenomena in our observable Universe that is based on sound science. Unlike your common variety "theory" which is nothing more than an opinioniated guess.
I'd like to take the time to give you, my friends, skeptics and anti-evolutionists, FIVE arguments for evolution that you must take seriously. I hope you research even deeper yourself and adopt the truth. Don't take my word for it, look it up yourself.. in many cases.. you can do the physical experimentation yourself.
Due to some religious beliefs, evolution is viewed as abhorrent and despicable. However, that doesn't change the fact that evidence for evolution is insurmountable. If evolution is true (which it is), this doesn't mean that there isn't a god(s), though evidence for such particular being(s) is lacking, it simply shows that the Bible and other creation myths are simply and horribly wrong about our origins.
1.) ENDOGENOUS RETROVIRUSES:
Within our DNA are remnants of an invasion. An invasion that happened to our ancestors not long ago. Sometimes, viruses can invade our germ(sex) cells, write it's self into our DNA and pass it's information on via our sex cells. Luckily, thanks to the miracle of imperfection, when cells replicate, they produce errors. Provided it isn't disastrous to the organism it has infected, the virus eventually becomes inactive and is passed on to future generations. These are called endogenous retroviruses.
What's cool about ERV's is that these are primarily passed on via sexual reproduction. So.. essentially, if you can find the same "viral remnants" located on the gene at the exact same location you can determine, quite well, ones' ancestry.
Here's the kicker. In Chimpanzees, we share many ERV's. But again, remember, the common way to have an ERV in your genes is if an ancestor acquired the same ERV. How is it possible that many apes and humans share many of the same ERV's? We must share a common ancestor that at one time contracted this virus. We are cousins, with all modern apes and primates. We share a common ancestor in the Tree of Life.
2.) THE VITAMIN C BROKEN GENE
Another example is the fact that humans and apes both cannot produce Vitamin C naturally. Most other mammals can produce Vitamin C on their own, (the exceptions being a few rodents like the Hamster). As a result, Apes and Humans have to acquire Vitamin C from outside sources, Fruits etc. What happened? Why would apes and humans have this same problem? It turns out, that when we look at the genes, that not only has something gone wrong with producing Vitamin C, but that our Ape cousins have the exact same gene.. broken, in the exact same place as humans. Our common ancestor at one time lost the ability to produce Vitamin C, and passed that trait down to us. Our hamster cousin? Well, the genes that would help him manufacture Vitamin C have changed and are broken too, non-functioning for the task of Vitamin C making. But, the hamster's Vitamin C gene is broken in a different place. Exactly what evolution would predict as we aren't closely related.
3.) CHICKENS with TEETH
There are chickens with teeth? Yep! A few chickens have been found with teeth. One was found 50 years ago with teeth similar to a Crocodile. It's a mutant chicken called a Talpid. But here's the clincher! Scientists can actually turn on the gene that express teeth in normal chickens and cause teeth to grow. How in the world is this possible if evolution isn't true!? It's pretty much widely accepted that birds and reptiles share a common ancestor. Teeth genes in chickens prove this. This is another smoking gun of the truth of evolution. Genes can ONLY express certain morphologies if they are setup to express them. In other words, scientists didn't create the teeth, the genes were already there. For example, though extremely cool, there are no genes for humans to grow wings for instance. Therefore, scientists cannot activate a wing gene as it isn't there. Chickens have a common ancestor that at one time had teeth. This, is a fact!!
4.) THE MISSING CHROMOSOME
Lastly.. and one of the biggies for a non-biblical human ancestry is our chromosomal number. When the technology came about where we could look at the chromosomes of creatures, scientists were puzzled when, what we thought was our closest living relative, the Chimpanzee has one more pair of chromosomes than us. Many creationists heralded this as proof of God's purposeful and distinct creation, that human and apes were NOT related.
That has since changed and changed in a very big way. Some scientists speculated that a total deletion of a chromosome pair just didn't make sense in an evolutionary model. Some speculated that a well known biological process seen in other animals may have occured in humans. It's called, Robertsonian Translocation. Sure enough, we found it. RT is when a pair of chromosomes fuse. We know this happened in other animals and now, in humans. It's at Chromosome 2. http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/basics/howmanychromosomes We found an extra telemere ring in the chromosome which shows a fusion did occur at some point in Chromosome 2.
Chimps have 24 pairs and humans have 23. We now see where the fusion took place. Combined with thousands of other evidences, it's now sealed. Apes and Humans share a common ancestor that existed over 5 million years ago. However, we have one more to go.
5.) DNA EVIDENCE:
Lastly, I figured I'd show you my family tree compared to an evolutionary tree so that you know how this all works.
The pic on the right shows a Tree of Life, using ONLY DNA relationships. This is significant because.. if we had these samples and were ignorant of their origin, the tree would still be represented this way. We simply cannot deny the facts here.. the DNA show a common lineage. It just so happens that when we add the names, humans and apes share the same common ancestor. DNA analysis, provides amazing evidence for evolution and our ancestry.
Now, let's look at one of my ancestors family tree's in a similar Tree of Life depiction.
Interesting isn't it? It's the same distribution you'd expect in a 'modification with descent' scenario. David is the root, and the children are the branches, different than him, but similar, and so on. And those children start their own branches. It never ends. Allow a few million years of this branching and voila', speciation can occur. New species do emerge on the Tree of Life. We see this even more clearly with organisms that reproduce rapidly, such as bacteria and viruses.
We can see the genes in bacteria change with each mutation, with each new generation. The fly genome is becoming more and more well understood. We have seen flies become new species in the lab and in the wild. . Genes are the blueprints that allow all of our organs and appendages to form. Some genes have remained virtually unchanged since the very first lifeforms appeared on the planet.
Recent technological tools have begun a new science of repairing broken genes. We are now beginning to see how we are all interconnected, how we are cousins. This isn't playing God. This is man using the tools available to us to improve the human condition.
If God didn't wish for us to have these tools, he could have very easily disallowed us to find them.
We are all part of a very beautiful tree of life. Tracing our family tree is a very small part, of a very large and wondrous story of human evolution. This story, is our "Tree of Life."
PS: All the earliest human fossils are coming out of Africa. Many creation myths assert that southern Iraq is the region where man began. What's true? You know my answer. Think about it.
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