Monday, April 05, 2004

Monkey Jaws

There's one thing I never understand about people who say that they base what they believe on logic and hard science, then make spectacular leaps of logic without actually examining the question they pose.

My friend Zen has a nice little article on how the identification of a particular gene for jaw muscle-building in primates, found "switched-off" in humans, has sounded the death-knell for creationists. He references an article by the "Living Code Guy" Carl Zimmer. Carl does a nice job of democratizing a rather arcane subject, then takes a parting shot:

"I don't want to turn every post about evolution in(to) an attack on
creationism, but here's a parting question. MYH16 is clearly essential to
the well-being of other primates. We have a copy of MYH16, but it doesn't
work. Where is the intelligence of this design? If we don't need the
gene, why did the designer insert it into our genome?"

While this is logical on the surface, it shows that Mr. Zimmer knows his genetic subject matter, but not that which he criticizes. Now, let me make it clear that I'm not a Young Earthist. I personally believe that the Earth is old, that life's been around longer than we think, that the preparation for man's entrance on the scene was a long process, but I do believe that the separate species were specially and purposely created. Most importantly, I don't think you throw out science because of what the religious scriptures say. That said, let's take a quick look at Genesis:

First Genesis 1:24-26
"24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

Then Genesis 2:7
"7...the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

You see, when God created the animals and man, He had already created all matter, all of the elements, all of the building blocks from which animal and human life would be made. All of the materials were in existence. The matter here was a creative combining of elements to create the individual life forms. God created man by applying His "image" to the materials already at hand. Similar life forms would have similar genemaps, with certain things turned on and turned off as needed to complete the purpose. You could envision it as a cosmic dipswitch, turning different switches on and off depending on the purpose of the machine. The very idea that a particular gene that is turned off, or seemingly useless, should somehow put the "nail in the coffin" of creation science is a silly one if one wishes to truly examine the subject matter. That's tantamount to saying, "If I, simple finite creature that I am, were God, I would do it this way," with the assumption that God has only our mental capacity with which to work.

Not that I don't appreciate the work of science. However, perhaps the scientists should stick to science rather than Biblical interpretation if they aren't going to give it the care and effort they put into their own very valuable work.


It's about me, dummy!!!


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