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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Humans and chimps? Not close relatives, but Y be surprised?

Whereas I did a series of posts on an interview with Dr. William Dembski,  I am a Young Earth Creationist and a Christian.   I am happy to say that Dr. Dembski has done some fine work in the field of Intelligent Design and thereby has helped secular science begin to accept that organisms are indeed designed.   But the best work being done to advance the understanding of Christians and scientists is being done at organizations like ICR, AIG and,  the latter being the source of the article, below:

Y chromosome shock


Researchers were unprepared for what they would find when they recently completed sequencing of the chimpanzee Y chromosome, and compared it to the human Y chromosome.

“The Y is full of surprises,” said David Page of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He and his team had just found that the Y chromosomes of chimps and humans are “horrendously different from each other”1,2
Why did Dr Page use the word “horrendously”? Because he believes evolution—that chimps are our closest evolutionary relatives. But Page’s team found that the chimp Y chromosome has only two-thirds as many distinct genes or gene families as the human Y chromosome and only 47% as many protein-coding elements as humans. Also, more than 30% of the chimp Y chromosome lacks an alignable counterpart on the human Y chromosome and vice versa.

‘The relationship between the human and chimp Y chromosomes has been blown to pieces.’David Page, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Upon seeing these and other stark differences between the respective Y chromosomes, Page now says “the relationship between the human and chimp Y chromosomes has been blown to pieces”.

However, that doesn’t mean that Page and his research colleagues doubt evolution. Indeed, the cleverly spin-laden announcement in Nature journal heralded that “Rapid evolution distances chimp Y chromosome from human equivalent”.3 But Page’s language tellingly invokes creator-like powers to explain the chimp/human genomic origins: “It looks like there’s been a dramatic renovation or reinvention of the Y chromosome in the chimpanzee and human lineages.” 

It surely makes much more sense that the “extraordinary divergence”2 of the human and chimp Y chromosomes has nothing to do with supposed evolutionary ancestry but everything to do with having been designed that way. Design explains not just Y chromosomes, but why (there can be) chromosomes. They certainly didn’t happen by accident (Genesis 1:26–27, Romans 1:20).

Readers’ comments 

(Note - CMI responses in blue)

Al M., United States, 13 August 2012
How can they admit such things, and still believe evolution is plausible?

David Catchpoole responds:
Indeed! You have to wonder. But then again ... (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11)

Errol B., Australia, 13 August 2012
It’s not surprising that ardent evolutionists aren’t phased by contradictory data in their own fields of expertise, considering everything they’ve been exposed to in all fields relating to origins (cosmology, paleontology, archaeology, biology, geology and genetics) is already filtered via ‘Peer Review’ which has become a ‘Naturalistic Filter’ where all intelligent design hypotheses are prohibited from competing. Dr Humphreys’ evolutionist colleague who was a geophysicist, turned to Gould, a paleontologist when challenged with data from his own field of geophysics, while paleontologist Feduccia turned to biology (corn changing into corn) when challenged for evidence for evolution. Do these obviously intelligent scientists ever talk to each other about the data that is filtered out of publication?

Jack C., Australia, 13 August 2012
Atheistic scientists are becoming more and more like politicians. They will do anything to avoid admitting they got it wrong, including spin, lies and cover-ups.

Daniel R., Canada, 14 August 2012
Apparently Darwin forgot to check the Y chromosome, pretty negligent. Seems he spun the lie of evolution straight off the cuff. But there is far greater evidence than the Y chromosome: the Word of God. If that's not the end all, what else possibly is? God took a rib from Adam and made Eve! End of Story!

David Catchpoole responds:
In Darwin’s defence, the technology of his day wasn't sufficiently advanced for him to “check the Y chromosome”. Nevertheless, as Romans 1:20 says, Darwin had “no excuse”. And as for evolutionary geneticists today, who DO have knowledge of the Y chromosome, they have even less excuse! (If that were mathematically possible.)

Juergen R., Canada, 14 August 2012
Why do so many commentators assume evil intent on the part of researchers? By doing this they only feed into the either/or model for the science-faith relationship. This advances the agenda of the new atheists. They too see only two choices. There are many other ways Christians have in the past and do at present relate their faith to the findings of science. It does not have to be so antagonistic.

David Catchpoole responds:
Does this mean you're saying that a 'moderate' position is possible? Not so, as there is in reality No fence to sit on.

David H., United Kingdom, 14 August 2012
How strange that this didn't seem to get much coverage in the media! Facts are quickly buried by evolutionists aren't they?

Chandrasekaran M., United Kingdom, 14 August 2012
No wonder that Ivanov’s ape-human hybrid project for Stalin’s mutant ape army was a horrendous failure!!
The Bible explicitly says that a kind will produce only its kind not another kind.
Given the horrendous failure of ape and human hybrid in producing the missing link, ape and human are not of the same kind.

Steve W., United States, 14 August 2012
When someone denies the truth it does not matter if they do it ignorantly or with hatred and vehemence. It is still denying the truth.

Juergen R., Canada, 14 August 2012
[Ed. note: we print this comment, then repeat it below with Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s responses intercalated point-by-point.]

Yes there are many alternatives to the antagonistic approach you seem to favour. Have you looked at Or the Faraday Institute at Cambridge University? Or Hugh Ross at Or the Discovery Institute at All are committed to Scripture as the Word of God and treat science less hostilely than I see in many comments on these pages. It is possible to have peace with evolution and hold to God as Creator, using evolution as his means of creation. Before you delete me as deluded, I have spent five years in transition from a YEC position to an embrace of evolution and it has deepened my sense of awe at God's marvellous working in and through his creation. The theological issues we rightly have are being addressed. There are deep articles by great theologians and scientists at and the Faraday Institute. Read and become aware that there is a diversity possible amongst believers. May love bind us together as we differ in our imperfect understandings!
Juergen R.: Yes there are many alternatives
Dr Jonathan Sarfati replies: Yes, we know, hence our page on Creation compromises. One rule for feedbacks, as stated on the site where you entered the comment, is checking out our site. It will be shown that you have disobeyed this rule.
Juergen R.: to the antagonistic approach you seem to favour.
JS: Well, no more antagonistic than our opponents, objectively speaking, but then there is apparently one rule for creationists and another for our detractors. See also ‘But it’s divisive!’.
Juergen R.: Have you looked at
JS: If you had performed a rudimentary search, you would easily have found:
Juergen R.: Or the Faraday Institute at Cambridge University?
JS: This is led by Denis Alexander, whose ideas we have effectively countered in:
Juergen R.: Or Hugh Ross at
JS: Heh heh, I wrote a whole book in effect demolishing his claims, called Refuting Compromise. It seems that Dr Ross won’t (can’t) reply.
(Radar note - I went to a Worldview Conference at which Dr. Hugh Ross had agreed to debate one of the speakers but when the time came to debate Dr. Jonathan Sarfati Dr. Ross backed out.   The conference sponsors substituted a legal scholar to take Dr. Sarfati's place.   It seems Dr. Ross was and is afraid to take on Dr. Sarfati under any circumstances?)

Juergen R.: Or the Discovery Institute at
JS: See CMI’s views on the Intelligent Design Movement.
Juergen R.: All are committed to Scripture as the Word of God
JS: Oh really? Such as this comment on the BioLogos site:
If Jesus as a finite human being erred from time to time, there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John wrote Scripture without error. Rather, we are wise to assume that the biblical authors expressed themselves as human beings writing from the perspectives of their own finite, broken horizons.
Juergen R.: and treat science less hostilely than I see in many comments on these pages.
JS: Really? They seem to be committed to uniformitarianism and evolutionism more than real science (note that the article author and I have earned Ph.D.s in real science).
Juergen R.: It is possible to have peace with evolution and hold to God as Creator, using evolution as his means of creation. Before you delete me as deluded, I have spent five years in transition from a YEC position to an embrace of evolution and it has deepened my sense of awe at God's marvellous working in and through his creation.
JS: The issue is not whether I think you are deluded. Your fellow evolutionist Richard Dawkins said this:
I think the evangelical Christians have really sort of got it right in a way, in seeing evolution as the enemy. Whereas the more, what shall we say, sophisticated theologians are quite happy to live with evolution, I think they are deluded. I think the evangelicals have got it right, in that there really is a deep incompatibility between evolution and Christianity, and I think I realised that at the age of about sixteen.
Another fellow evolutionist Jacques Monod thought similarly, when he said:
Namely, selection is the blindest, and most cruel way of evolving new species, and more and more complex and refined organisms. … The more cruel because it is a process of elimination, of destruction. The struggle for life and elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethics revolts. An ideal society is a non-selective society, is one where the weak is protected; which is exactly the reverse of the so-called natural law. I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is the process which God more or less set up in order to have evolution (emphasis added; more evolutionary quotes at Response to the evolution appeasers).
Also, what counts is quality not quantity of research.
Juergen R.: The theological issues we rightly have are being addressed.
JS: Hmmm … How about some of the above?
Juergen R.: There are deep articles by great theologians and scientists at and the Faraday Institute. Read and become aware that there is a diversity possible amongst believers.
JS: As amply shown above, we have read the leading experts you recommend. You, like they, have not done the same in reverse, despite your boast of five years of researching the issues.
Juergen R.: May love bind us together as we differ in our imperfect understandings!
JS: That would be a nice sentiment, but apparently your idea of love is a brutal struggle for survival. After all, your belief is that Darwin’s “war of nature, from famine and death” is what God called “very good” in Genesis 1:31, although He called death “the last enemy” in 1 Corinthians 15:26.

Arek P., United States, 16 August 2012
You know, it’s funny to me that so many scientists will waste so much trying to prove the unprovable, when the real answer is right in front of them. They will waste money and time chasing something that the very evidence they study shows is wrong, all because they cannot accept that there is something greater than themselves.
And then they try to claim that it’s religion that holds back the advance of science? Right. …

Related articles

Further reading

References and notes

  1. Buchen, L., The fickle Y chromosome, Nature 463(7278):149, 14 January 2010. (Unless otherwise indicated, quotes from David Page sourced from here.) Return to text.
  2. Hughes, J., and 16 others (including David Page), Chimpanzee and human Y chromosomes are remarkably divergent in structure and gene content, Nature 463(7280):536–539, 28 January 2010. Return to text.
  3. Ref. 1 contents page, i.e. p. 129.

Currently I am reading Dr. William Dembski's book  "The End of Christianity."   I had asked Dr. Dembski if I could use some of his online materials, to be specific, how I might be able to use them.   He surprised me by a quick email response and we corresponded briefly.   Bill Dembski is a mega-brain and this is immediately clear when reading his writings.   I am halfway through his aforementioned book at the moment. 

There is no doubt that Dr. Dembski is a Christian who believes in Christ as his Savior.   He is intimately familiar with all the philosophical issues involved in crafting a cohesive Christian worldview.  I will finish the book before saying much more, but he was not as familiar with Young Earth Creationism at the time of writing the book as he was with Intelligent Design.   For this reason his book should make a great blog topic and also I will check back with him after reading, as I promised, to get his response to my thoughts if he cares to comment.  Since he is a famous and busy guy he may not write back but who knows?  He was courteous enough to reply to me earlier and I was thereby impressed by his manners.   I am a nobody in charge of nothing much so he was just being a good guy.   But famous folks are often NOT good guys.

ID proponents do real science that shows the world that organisms are designed and contain information and irreducible complexity.   This work is helpful to the world of science and I applaud them for that.

On the other hand, they have stated that they are NOT a Christian organization and that is quite true, even if there are Christians among them.  Because they are NOT a Christian organization, they have as a group no allegiance to the Christian faith and no reason to be concerned about Who the Designer might be or when the Universe came to be.   There are many ID scientists who figure the Universe is about 13.5 billion years old and the Earth may well be 4.5 billion years old and some even believe that some simpler designed organisms may have evolved into more complex beings over time!   Anyone who claims that ID is YEC in disguise doesn't know much about either scientific point of view.

Old Earth Creationists, Biologos and other Theistic Evolutionists and other non-classic Christians like Dr. Hugh Ross have placed their confidence in fallible man above that of the infallible God, some to a very small extent and some to a great extent.    Secular Science keeps changing their version of truth whereas Young Earth Creationists adhere to the Bible as being Truth and therefore in every segment of science to which the Bible speaks, it is Truth that will not change.   Those who do not believe this will keep discovering that what they believe to be true will keep changing.   For instance, the idea that chimps are close relatives of man is now circling the drain.   Funny to read a scientist complain about how fast evolution has worked when it is too slow for anyone to have ever observed it.   I know why, because it just doesn't happen.   What we do observe is devolution and that is going to be what we continue to observe.   Someday secular science will have to agree.  


Anonymous said...

I wonder what the article in Nature was about. A couple of quotes mined by deceptive creationists and hardly any context aren't much to go on.

Jon W said...

The Nature article does not seem to be on their website yet, at least not the public version. But this Science Daily article gives a summary:

As you would expect, the creationists misstate the research and misunderstand its implications. They make the mistake of thinking that evolutionary theory says the modern chimpanzee is identical to the human/chimp last common ancestor (LCA), and that chimps have remained genetically frozen while humans were evolving over the last six million or so years. This is, of course, as ridiculous as all their other phony claims about genetics. Chimps have had just as much time to evolve away from the LCA as humans have, and (as the Science Daily article says) chimp biology and social dynamics suggest that sexual selection should be having major effects on chimp biochemistry and genetics, with a particular focus on the Y chromosome and its males-only genes.