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Monday, September 26, 2005

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 New evidence supports evolution

When scientists announced last month they had determined the exact order of all 3 billion bits of genetic code that go into making a chimpanzee, it was no surprise that the sequence was more than 96 percent identical to the human genome....

Using a mathematical formula that emerges from evolutionary theory, [scientists] should be able to predict the number of harmful mutations in chimpanzee DNA by knowing the number of mutations in a different species' DNA and the two animals' population sizes.

"That's a very specific prediction," said Eric Lander, a geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., and a leader in the chimp project.

Sure enough, when Lander and his colleagues tallied the harmful mutations in the chimp genome, the number fit perfectly into the range that evolutionary theory had predicted....

Evolution's repeated power to predict the unexpected goes a long way toward explaining why so many scientists and others are practically apoplectic over the recent decision by a Pennsylvania school board to treat evolution as an unproven hypothesis, on par with "alternative" explanations such as Intelligent Design (ID), the proposition that life as we know it could not have arisen without the helping hand of some mysterious intelligent force....

"What makes evolution a scientific explanation is that it makes testable predictions," Lander said. "You only believe theories when they make non-obvious predictions that are confirmed by scientific evidence."

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3 Comments:

Blogger Bigg said...

I live in PA, and while I'm not close to the school district in question, I live amongst the same mind-set. It's rather sad when a few people with an agenda seize control from the majority.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Electro said...

Oh, you men like when a few people want to change something that the majority don't agree with. Like Gay marriage? By the way let me see if I have this correct about evolution. There was a big bang and matter was everywhere unformed into anything just light from the "bang" then stars and planets started to form, like earth and the sun. Then the earth cooled and there was one great continent and a huge ocean. then plants and things began to grow on the Earth. then living things began to live in the ocean, and later birds and animals were living on the land. later and last on the scene are humans. OK I think I got it. Gee sounds very simular to the very first story in the Bible. I mean except it took 6 Billion years instead of seven "days". We are just now figuring this out? I thought this story had been around for a long time.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

Electro:

Your criticisms of evolution are misdirected. You are erroneously associating evolution with abiogenesis, the proposition that living organisms came from inorganic matter. Evolution only addresses how already existing organisms change from one form to another. That does not mean abiogenesis is necessarily wrong; just that there is much more research to carry out and complete before it reaches the same level of confidence that the theory of evolution now enjoys.

Note that evolution does NOT directly support the atheistic view. In fact, many people embrace both a belief in God and a belief in evolution. While evolution may contradict particular creation stories such as the Genesis account, it has nothing to say about the existence or non-existence of a Creator in general, because that is not a scientific question.

I find it ironic that creationists only attack a scientific theory when it contradicts their beliefs in the Bible. Otherwise, they seem content to accept theories of other scientific disciplines -- even such notoriously difficult to understand theories as Einstein's relativity -- without question.

10:17 AM  

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