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  (Source: Matt Groening/Fox)
Crucial gene controls higher brain growth

To the uninformed observer it may seem baffling how geneticists, biochemists, paleontologists, and other researchers can claim that two creatures that look as different as a man and a monkey could not only be "related" but have been produced by evolution over the last couple million years.

I. It's All in the Genes

But the key to understanding evolution is to understand genetics: our body is driven by protein enzymes, which catalyze critical processes inside the body.  Many proteins share common domains.  And the blueprints to all the proteins a creature makes are stored in a special highly-ordered storage construct called DNA.

While living organisms go to great lengths to preserve their genetic code without errors like swapped sections or deletions, occassionally during the process of making sperm and eggs such an error is made.  Most errors result in infertility or death of the offspring.  But occasionally just the right combination of protein domains has accidentally been clumped together, producing something that fundamentally transforms the organism.

Researchers have finally found a gene -- perhaps the gene -- which separates humans from the ancestors they share with apes.

Humans and apes, both members of the order Primates, share 96 percent of their genetic code.  Most of the remaining 4 percent is so-called "junk" DNA; stretches of mostly inactive code.

Rhesus macaque
Humans share 96 percent of their genetic code with primates, like this Rhesus macaque monkey.
[Image Source: Mark Snelson]

Of course, junk DNA is not useless geneticists and biochemists have recently discovered.  It has been shown to in many cases play a key role in regulation of other genes' expression and other "epigenetic" effects.

But researchers had yet to discover a truly active gene that humans have that apes lack -- until now.

II. miR-941 May Hold the Key to How Mankind is so Crafty

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have discovered a gene called miR-941, which is only found in humans and is absent in their primate relatives.

The gene was absent not only in the gorilla and chimpanzee genomes, but also in the genomes of other non-primates, such as mice and rats.  The gene, absent in all the other critters except for man, is mainly active in the brain; particularly in areas of the brain associated with so-called "higher brain" functions.  

The gene was actively being transcribed in the regions of the brain responsiible for language learning and decision making. Researchers hypothesize that it may play a key role in abilities that are largely unique to humans, such as formulating, understanding, and preserving multiple complex communications codes (languages) and developing advanced tools (weapons, machinery).

Human brain activity
The newly discovered human-unique gene is active in areas of the brain associated with higher thinking processes. [Image Source: Neuroimages Tumblr]

Some other creatures -- gorillas, parrots, dolphins, and whales -- show different levels of sign language or spoken/sung language skills.  And chimpanzees, octupi, and other creatures have been shown to use basic implements, like sticks, as tools.  However, only humans are known to manifest these helpful survival skills in more complex manners.

Now, modern genetics may have cracked a key mystery of human evolution and explained why.

The research was published in the prestigious peer-review journal Nature Communications.

Source: Nature Communications

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junk dna
By zephyrprime on 11/23/2012 1:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
The junk dna is probably where cellular programming is stored.

RE: junk dna
By Lord 666 on 11/23/2012 3:08:03 PM , Rating: 3
Or for CRC checking

RE: junk dna
By drycrust3 on 11/23/2012 3:21:06 PM , Rating: 2
Its like the 19th Century concept of junk organs. Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean its junk. Look at the different programs on an Android phone: they all have a purpose.

RE: junk dna
By Arsynic on 11/23/2012 6:42:09 PM , Rating: 3
Smartest thing I've read in here so far. "Junk" is science speak for "magic". It won't allow for anything intelligent or purposeful.

RE: junk dna
By xthetenth on 11/24/2012 1:52:50 PM , Rating: 5
That would be biting and insightful were the term used by knowledgeable people junk DNA rather than noncoding DNA and many types of noncoding DNA which have uses for the organisms with said noncoding DNA.

The term junk DNA is just like the god particle, a description chosen first and foremost for appeal to the ear and then as a distant second accuracy to the scientific knowledge of the time.

And you know what won't allow for anything intelligent or purposeful? Evolution itself. Why do we get goosebumps? Why are vestigal organs in general existant. Why is the vertebrate eye so badly flawed (only high precision in the fovea, the retina is back to front with the photocells facing the rear of the eye and the nerves run along their back with a blind spot where they all go back into the skull)? Why does one branch on each side of the neck of the laryngeal nerve go from the brain to the vocal cords via a route through the chest and around an artery (a detour of 15 feet in a Giraffe)? Why are hox genes so similar in insects, vertebrates and many other animals and laid out in the same serial order in the chromosomes? Why does the vas defrens loop around the ureter?

All animals are full of compromises that would quickly and easily be fixed if they were designs where the designer could go back to the drawing board, but instead show the effect of the past and a step by step process of only considering marginal cost. You know, evolution. Many of these would be mind-bogglingly stupid if they weren't the results of a very specific type of development forced by ruthless culling of changes with a net positive marginal cost where changing designs had to be accomplished in such a manner that every single intermediary step is an improvement.

RE: junk dna
By JediJeb on 11/26/2012 1:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like automobiles followed the evolutionary track, since it is inconceivable why so many important parts are placed in a position where nobody can get to them when they need repairing. Example: The best way to change the spark plugs in a 99 Trans Am is to unbolt the engine and front member and raise the body of the car off the engine.

RE: junk dna
By jtemplin on 11/29/2012 9:17:17 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like someone needs to do some additional reading on goosebumps and the architecture of the eye.

1. Goosebumps have a practical adaptive function. Elementary physiology!

and two, would you really want an eye that works like a shoddy pinhole camera? take a look at this image:

How would your implied "fovea everywhere" model account for this focusing? I'm sure you're aware, but its worth repeating: many people consider the eye to be the crowning achievement of evolution. There is a reason intelligent design advocates cite the complexity and amazingness (higly technical superlative) of our eyes and resulting color vision as proof that a higher being must have created us.

IMO, you only got rated up to 4 by techies unfamiliar with biology :)

RE: junk dna
By drycrust3 on 12/7/2012 2:24:45 AM , Rating: 2
Why is the vertebrate eye so badly flawed (only high precision in the fovea, the retina is back to front with the photocells facing the rear of the eye and the nerves run along their back with a blind spot where they all go back into the skull)

I just watched a Creationist program on this, and they weren't afraid of you question, in fact they had an answer for it. Eagles are renowned for their incredibly good eyesight, and they have exactly the same retina setup as humans do.
Your eye can detect the arrival of just one photon, so with that sort of sensitivity why do you need to have the retina your way around?

RE: junk dna
By Samus on 11/24/2012 4:36:51 AM , Rating: 2
New studies have just begun to reveal the appendix might have primitive functions as well. There's always a reason for something :)

RE: junk dna
By Kurz on 11/24/2012 7:55:42 AM , Rating: 2
Its an incubator for Bacteria!
A Petri dish!

RE: junk dna
By geddarkstorm on 11/23/2012 5:55:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yep. The ENCODE project recently found that at least 80% of it is transcribed at some time by some cell in your body. It's all regulatory elements, and it may well hold the key to what makes a species a species, since the structural genes (genes that encode proteins) are so similar between most related species even as far out as humans to mice. It's a whole largely unexplored world, but we've already found that two regulatory elements that encode RNAs from that "junk" DNA are the source of heart disease, for instance. Get rid of them, and suddenly no more heart failure:

Personally, since even the faintest glimmers of this new regulatory network has yielded such stunning results, I think these elements will turn out to be more powerful and important to our medicine than the structural genes.

RE: junk dna
By inperfectdarkness on 11/23/12, Rating: 0
RE: junk dna
By BugblatterIII on 11/24/2012 8:40:23 PM , Rating: 2
So it's not the DNA for our junk then?

RE: junk dna
By JasonMick on 11/26/2012 1:25:26 PM , Rating: 2
So it's not the DNA for our junk then?
That would mostly be the X and Y chromosomes... ;)

Religion and science.
By Felix_Kumbaya on 11/24/2012 10:29:29 PM , Rating: 5
Seeing as I have a degree in Molecular Biology, and am a Christian, I have skimmed through these comments and felt like making a few of my own.

Firstly, this trivia about us sharing 99,5% (number varies) of our genes with the apes, is a fact, but it does not give people the correct picture. Think of 2 pianos, almost identical. One plays a melodi, and the other plays a whole other.

It is the same with us, it is not just only about the genes or the piano keys, it is also about how often a key is pressed down, and with what intensity, or at what concentration.

You are not the piano, you are the melody the piano is playing. A gene being present in both man, and ape, can be used sparringly, or in high concentration in the different beings.

Next point, about mutations, and the fetus' inability to survive such. We all statistically have 1 mutation, that happened in us, and which we don't share with our parents. The proofread capacity of the protein network, coupled with the amount of genes and the size of DNA, results in a single mutation pr individual on average.

About the survival of the fittest, and that it is "fact". Try to discern, what is fact and what is theorising upon said fact. You can with your eyes see the struggle of life, and that the fittest survive. Lets call this fact. Now you go on, and theorize that this struggle serves to evolve species into other and more refined beings.

Here I can say, no I don't think so. I think, that life is falling apart, ever so slowly, and that all life strive to remain a status quo. Slowing the decay simply. Here I am supported by the observations, that life always choses the "archetype". The lion that gets the girl is the one that looks mostly like a lion. Same with all other species. Deviation is always regarded as weak and is weeded out.

Assuming the deviated and weak is a mold for improvement, does not seem to be supported in nature.

So, Christians believe we were created perfectly in Adam and Eve, and thus as a consequence, we and life around us is decaying. They might have a point. At least, to make you understand that the explanation you come up with, is not "the fact". The observation is the fact, your theory is an attempt to explain.

Lastly, as a critiscism of the idea of evolution. There is one thing that hardly makes sense, and it is relevant here. That is, that intelligence as we know it, took hundreds of millions of years to show up, yes even billions of years. And have only happened once, in us.

This is hard to grasp, because: As the article here states, it is the result of rather minor mutational change in the specimen. And, the gain for the species is enormous.

So animal have evolved, whole new limbs, wings and other very specialised tools in order to improve. But none of them endured the basic mutations that would make them intelligent.

You could argue, that if Darwins theory was in effect, the Dinosaurs would have grown intelligence, and each and every animal since then too. It's simply too easy not to.

So why is only man intelligent? It makes no sense. it is here, one can point to Darwinists and talk about them conveying a religious identity upon their knowledge. The concept of life evolving has it's own beauty, and satisfies our inner craving of justice in the explanation. But it can also just be falling apart.

See this Article, it is telling you something that you won't like to read

RE: Religion and science.
By retrospooty on 11/24/12, Rating: 0
RE: Religion and science.
By elderwilson on 11/26/12, Rating: 0
RE: Religion and science.
By retrospooty on 11/26/2012 10:43:48 AM , Rating: 1
Exactly... For the religious, you can say its "Intelligent design" because there is no evidence to the contrary. There is however mountains of evidence proving that the Earth is over 4 billion years old and that life evolved from single celled organisms and that mankind evolved from early apes. Its simply irrefutable and that debate is over. Anyone still having that debate is living in fantasy land.

In fact, the procession of events that led complex life to evolve here is rather amazing, so its almost an easy leap to say it was somehow "guided". That is a matter of belief. Saying that evolution did or didnt happen isnt a matter of belief, its a matter of fact and the fact is it did. For anyone to say "It has not been proven" is a complete falsehood. It has been proven and re-proven thousands of times over by many different scientific disciplines. The different methods support each other thousands and thousands and thousands of times over with collaborative data from fossil evidence , geological evidence, archaeological evidence and DNA evidence.

RE: Religion and science.
By JediJeb on 11/26/2012 2:23:51 PM , Rating: 3
The only question I see that is unanswered is what came first, the workings of the inside of the cell, or the cell membrane?

If the membrane came first, how did the rest of the nucleus get inside, and if the nucleus came first(DNA,RNA, proteins, protoplasm ect) how did they stay together before the cell membrane formed?

Looking at it as strictly a chemist which I am, the odds of all the components coming together to form the first viable cell are astronomically huge to the point of it never happening, then to have a second or more form is infinitely greater. Biology is nothing more than complex chemistry, and yet it is known in chemistry that things search for the lowest energy state, which is counter intuitive to biology which requires the system to have energy for survival.

After single cell organisms began, what brought them together and made some decide to become skin cells, others brain cells, others bone cells, muscle cells, liver cells ect. Some say that invertebrates developed skeletons to better help them survive, but that would suggest some intelligence behind the development. Did a worm form a single bone and survive, then more mutations later it had more bones that somehow formed into complex shapes that joined perfectly to form a spine? The fact that some frogs develop and extra leg is not evidence of this, since the genetic code for a leg is already present in the frog, it simply deployed incorrectly to form the extra limb. A bee larva becomes a Queen when it is fed Royal Jelly to trigger the development, otherwise it becomes a worker, if a Queen can not exist without that, and a worker can not exist without the Queen to lay the eggs, which came first?

The "overwhelming evidence" to support evolution through mutation alone and refute "intelligent design" fails to explain the things that defy the ability to exist through mutation alone. For the Evolutionist to say that the first cells "just formed from a primordial soup of chemicals" without having a detailed explanation of how it could actually happen is just as bad a Creationist to say "God made it, so it happened". If Evolutionists know how the first cell formed then they should be able to duplicate that procedure and produce viable cells, which they have yet to accomplish. The conditions for forming life can not be so harsh that we can not duplicate them in the laboratory otherwise those conditions would denature the very proteins needed for life to exist. How life began is still a mystery that can not be explained in detail. Until then no one can say for certain just how it did begin.

RE: Religion and science.
By retrospooty on 11/26/2012 6:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. It all seems way too intelligently designed to have just randomly happened. So long as we agree it did happen. The more you learn about the history of Earth back into deep time and the amazing set of circumstances astrologically, geolocially that have taken place and even more so in the DNA and the attributes and mutations that come from it have all happened in amazing symmetry to bring us where we are. It all actually seems far more miraculous than a magic man just zapping it all into being. LOL.

RE: Religion and science.
By elderwilson on 11/27/2012 8:48:35 AM , Rating: 2
I personally believe in a creator, and I believe that evolution and natural selection are simply the tools used to create life. The understanding of a divine act does not diminish its divinity.

The argument you are using is called “Irreducible Complexity” which basically states that even the sub-components of simple cells are too complex to have given evolutionary advantages. Everything that you mention as being too complex to have evolved has been researched and there are very good answers for all of them (many produced by chemists).

You seem to think that in order for evolution to be valid it must start with an entire modern, eukaryotic (meaning it has an enclosed nucleus) cell. This is simply not true. Most cells on this plant are prokaryotic (no enclosed nucleus) which are significantly simpler. Spontaneous formation of phospholipids has been shown in vitro and self-replicating RNA molecules and proteins have been created. All it takes if for one self-replicating molecule to find its way into a phospholipid bubble and you have a primitive cell. Very simple cells have been created in labs which are capable of performing one or two metabolic reactions.

The problem most people have is the inability to understand the magnitude and power of time. I completely agree that the odds of chemicals spontaneously forming self-replicating molecules is astronomical, but what you don’t understand is that the timeframes evolution deals with are astronomical. Our perspective is so limited that it is difficult to comprehend hundreds of years, but evolution works with millions and billions of years.

I could refute every one of your points, but so could any 101 biology text book. I suggest that you research what you are talking about a little more before you make assertions as to what is or isn’t impossible.

RE: Religion and science.
By Gurthang on 11/28/2012 12:40:48 PM , Rating: 2
On the question about human level intelligence and why it is so "rare".

It is well known that humans pay a heavy price to have such a large and complex brain. (energy costs, extended dependance on the parents, etc.) This along with the difficulty in even producing such large brained prodgeny likely represents a large hurtle that required just the right conditions for it to develop.

Systems like evolution tend to favor "least cost/change" solutions. So the question becomes what happened at the dawn of hominids that put us on this trajectory? There is no simple answer to that. So I would expect that for a proto-hominid to move from a social but mild tool user to a highly social heavy tool user you would need a push like some large disaster or climate change altering existing habitats, increased competition in the existing habitat, preditory pressure, or some combination there-in.

Now one thing I wonder is why we don't see any pockets of other hominids left, my guess is that none could develop a niche large enough that they could survive "unchanged/challenged" in since each new line only expanded their range.

By theplaidfad on 11/23/2012 12:23:34 PM , Rating: 5
"I see that your miR-941 is inactive today."

By chromal on 11/23/2012 10:13:23 PM , Rating: 2
Morality/Ethics aside, does this mean we can now hack the genome of chimps/monkeys/apes/gorillas or other animals in general to make the more intelligent?

RE: interesting
By Rukkian on 11/26/2012 11:39:46 AM , Rating: 3
Sounds like the plot of a recent movie!

Change the pictures
By corduroygt on 11/23/2012 12:43:34 PM , Rating: 4
When you say "junk DNA" first thing that comes to mind should be Danny DeVito from the movie Twins.

By FITCamaro on 11/26/2012 7:30:20 AM , Rating: 2
By wannabemedontu on 11/27/2012 10:51:06 AM , Rating: 2
These people believe anything but the simple truth of Creation.

Jason Mick maaan??
By bobogo2013 on 11/23/12, Rating: -1
RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By bobogo2013 on 11/23/2012 2:35:58 PM , Rating: 2
And for the record, you aren't nearly as bad as your fellow associate Tiffany Keiser, jeez, her posts are almost unreadable! :P

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By drycrust3 on 11/23/2012 4:05:52 PM , Rating: 2
Even just a simple re-read yourself or someone nearby to point out the "wrongness" of what you are going to post?

There is another way of thinking about Jason's posts, which is they are a good example of what is wrong with the theory of Evolution. A well written article would clearly convey Jason's arguments and have a consistent theme, but bad grammar makes the article confusing and hard to understand, or even nonsensical.
Recently I chopped the tip of my finger off while shearing a sheep, and the amazing thing isn't just that its healed up so perfectly, but that even the missing bit of the finger print is returning.

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By inighthawki on 11/23/2012 4:34:04 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure I understand what your point is...

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By Tequilasunriser on 11/23/12, Rating: -1
RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By drycrust3 on 11/23/2012 8:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
A bit of bad grammar turns fact into fiction?

YES! DNA is a exactly the same as any computer program: the grammar has to be perfect or you will get the wrong result! Every computer programmer knows that computers require the right grammar be used, and that bad grammar will get you the wrong result.

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By inighthawki on 11/23/2012 9:59:22 PM , Rating: 2
As a programmer myself I am highly offended that you would make such a terrible comparison. Just because an article has bad grammar does not mean that the entirety of the article's content is wrong, or that the opposite is true. Just in the same way that "bad grammar" in a computer program doesn't always result in a completely opposite and wrong result. In many cases, that "bad grammar" might result in completely correct behavior with a few minor bugs that do not really affect the end result.

Unless you mean "bad grammar" == "bad syntax" which will just fail compilation, at which point you don't even have a result, thus it cannot be wrong, and would be more akin to him having never published the article because a built in editing layer detected grammatical errors before him publishing it.

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By drycrust3 on 11/23/2012 10:21:34 PM , Rating: 2
Unless you mean "bad grammar" == "bad syntax"

My thanks for pointing out my mistake. Its a long time since I've done programming.
In regards to failing compilation, I think the biological equivalent would be death, i.e. the organism would be dead before they got a chance to pass their DNA on.

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By ihateapple on 11/24/2012 1:55:17 AM , Rating: 2
I think the biological equivalent would be death, i.e. the organism would be dead before they got a chance to pass their DNA on.

Nope. The biological equivalent would be not getting born at all.

And I think this is a lot like the video game "Prototype" in which there is a virus called the Blacklight Virus. The Blacklight Virus activates the junk DNA, resulting in superhuman abilities.

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By melgross on 11/24/2012 10:49:00 AM , Rating: 2
Not necessarily. My major was evolutionary biology. I can say that there are so many possible outcomes that it can't be stated in an online article such as this one. But while it's possible that the fetus may not be formed at all, or could die in the womb, it's just as likely that it will die upon birth. It just depends on the mutation.

Living creatures are far more adaptable than software or machines, where one bad part, or line of code can prevent it from working.

What concerns me though, it that this is getting closer to the time when a gene, plus a few other small changes could transform a lower animal into a somewhat intelligent being. What would happen if this were inserted into a chimp fetus? Major ethical concerns there, and while the law over most of the planet disallows experiments of this type, we know that at some point, somewhere, someone will attempt it.

And if it survives, what is it? And what rights would it have?

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By drycrust3 on 11/24/2012 4:08:58 PM , Rating: 1
plus a few other small changes could transform a lower animal into a somewhat intelligent being.

From personal observation, I'm of the opinion that most animals have a good degree of intelligence, probably very close to that of humans.
I think one of the big failings of Darwin's ideas was to regard every action an animal makes as somehow purely mechanical. As I see it, by trying to plant in "intelligence genes" into already intelligent animals the scientists won't get the result they want because they couldn't see the intelligence of that animal to start with.

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By JediJeb on 11/26/2012 2:32:25 PM , Rating: 2
I have seen cows learn to use their tongue to turn on a water faucet without ever being trained to do so, they simply observed and learned. That in itself would imply that a cow in intelligent to some extent. Also it was not only one cow in the group that learned that, it was several, and was very annoying because it ran up the water bill quite a bit with the water running all night at times.

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By xthetenth on 11/24/2012 12:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe try the mechanical equivalent, performing not exactly to spec. It's a more accurate parallel than computers, which are very artificial and analogous to pretty much nothing in the natural world.

Stillbirth is probably a pretty good equivalent, though.

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By FaaR on 11/23/2012 6:15:18 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure what makes you think Jason's poor typing skills would somehow prove there's anything wrong with the "theory" of evolution. You sound confused, and have probably been lied to by a priest. They're good at misleading people into doubting science (which, may I remind you, is the ONLY reason you can type up your posts on a website; there weren't any blueprints for computers included in the bible...)

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By johnzz on 11/24/2012 8:47:27 AM , Rating: 2
The difference between both is in their brain. Can you tell me how DNA can explain different between two brain? Even in humans, the person who goes to mental hospital and one who got good brain got same physical DNA. I think, these guys don't knew what they are doing in research. check website Phdguy,

RE: Jason Mick maaan??
By xthetenth on 11/24/2012 12:57:26 PM , Rating: 2
Other than asserting that all people have the same DNA, in which case DNA fingerprinting wouldn't work, you'd have to ask a scientist. You know, the people who devote their lives to answering questions like that would be much better than the random folks on a news site.

By TSS on 11/23/2012 1:01:52 PM , Rating: 5
Then again, we might need to redefine "higher brain functions"....

By Motoman on 11/23/2012 2:33:20 PM , Rating: 2
Well, you can probably test for it pretty easily..."Hey, do you believe in religion?" "Yes, why?" "Oh, no reason." [checks box for "no higher brain functions"]

By xthetenth on 11/24/2012 12:46:22 PM , Rating: 2
Explain how believing in only what is verifiably, repeatedly true is religion? Science is looking at the unknown, admitting it's unknown, and trying to find out enough about it and how it works to understand it while religion is just poring over the same book which is true because it says it is and stating that if we don't have an answer it's a mystery and therefore it was our invisible sky daddy that did it. Admit it, either you don't know what religion is or you're just too uncomfortable that people are perfectly capable of living happy, productive and ethical lives without the representatives of their invisible sky daddy telling them what to think. Also congrats on holding up a bunch of writers as paragons of intelligence and knowledge. As it turns out most scientists, who if religion were true would be the ones witnessing most of the divine mysteries are overwhelmingly atheist.

By retrospooty on 11/24/2012 1:28:02 PM , Rating: 2
Where have you been for the past 150 years? The "theory of evolution" was called that prior to it being proven, now that it has long since been proven, it is just called evolution, also called scientific fact. It's been proven many times over. Its not even a debate anymore. There are those that understand the true history of Earth and what happened here, and how life evolved and there are uneducated dorfs that cant accept reality. It's been proven time and time again. Its been proven int he 100's of thousands of fossils found all over hte earth, its been proven in our DNA, its been proven via geological evidence as well as archaeological evidence. It has also been witnessed as strains of germs develop resistances antibiotics. It is also proven in human skin color. The difference between black and white people is simply that white people skins lightened as they moved to less sunny environments to allow the body to get more vitamin D. The UV rays of the sun kill it and dark skin is a mutation to protect it. Skin color evolved to maintain the correct levels. There is no debate that evolution happened. We may not know how it started, and/or who started it or possibly created the laws of the universe that enabled it but we know it happened.

If you want to have a religious debate, it can be said that a god or whatever created the universe and the laws of physics that allowed evolution to happen. You could even debate that a god created evolution with humans in mind as the end result, but you CANNOT say that evolution didnt happen... It is absolutely 100% proven. IF you think it isnt you need to go back to school, because your bible college has lied to you and given you false talking points to try and discredit proven science.

By xthetenth on 11/24/2012 2:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
The key thing about evolution is that it is a proposed mechanism which inherently makes predictions about the world and those predictions have repeatedly shown themselves true.

Things like forests, where all the trees could save energy and nutrient intake by being shorter but each individual tree has an incentive to grow taller invariably show that the changes which increase individual fitness even at the cost of serious expense for the ecosystem as a whole are favored strongly. The competition between species where average individual success is rewarded rather than the good of the ecosystem as a whole is a major claim of the scientific theory of evolution and the myriad examples of it are evidence for it (I'm using scientific theory to distinguish "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment" from "a bunch of ideas they've been kicking around for a while").

The fossil record is another vital piece of evidence. A single evolutionary descendent that could be proven to have existed before its predecessor would discredit the whole theory. None so far have been found, but many, many "missing links" have been found (the missing link is a ridiculous concept because species are an artificial distinction applied to a gradual progression with no fixed beginning or end which is as ridiculous as trying to look at the gradient of all colors and trying to pick the precise wavelength at which light stops being red and starts being orange when the reddest orange and orangest red will be nearly indistinguishable).

A scientific theory is a proposed mechanism which explains why some things work the way they do and it makes predictions and those predictions must never be false. Otherwise it will cease to be a theory.

By Cheesew1z69 on 11/24/2012 7:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
Evolution is as far as science is concerned is DEAD.
You really are an idiot aren't you? Evolution is real. There is nothing to debate about it. It's a FACT.

It has no basis and really only exists today as a religious fantasy.

By retrospooty on 11/24/2012 7:31:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm starting to think now that your trolling. Because no 1 can be that incredibly and totally made by scientists about evolution haven't been disproved, they support each other thousands and thousands and thousands of times over with collaborative data from fossil evidence , geological evidence, archaeological evidence and DNA evidence. Just because you're to mind numbingly ignorant to understand these things doesn't make them not true, it just makes you ignorant.and if you are just trolling, whatever that's almost equally ignorant. I really hope that you are trolling because it saddens me to think that people are really that dumb. your intellectual level has come nowhere for the past 2000 years. Proving that some of us evolve faster than others

By Cheesew1z69 on 11/24/2012 7:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
Because no 1 can be that incredibly and totally ignorant
Not true, there are a few on here that are. Won't name names though.

By retrospooty on 11/24/2012 7:52:39 PM , Rating: 1
You are probably right. Its ironic that those who are intellectually closer to apes than the rest of us are the ones that don't think we evolved from them. LOL

By Cheesew1z69 on 11/24/2012 7:55:15 PM , Rating: 2

By AntiM on 11/23/2012 1:28:33 PM , Rating: 5

...evolution is the choice for you. Too bad it's all a lie.

Is this guy serious, or is it a trolling expedition? I think I'll let this one pass, else I might find myself being reeled in.

By DeGhost on 11/23/2012 1:37:37 PM , Rating: 2
I agree,
The truth is the Flying Spaghetti Monster create all things
Don't let those with logic and evidence cloud you,
They were set there by The Flying Spaghetti Monster to test your faith.

Stay strong brothers!!

By Flunk on 11/23/2012 1:56:34 PM , Rating: 2
What's an "evolutionist", do you mean scientist? Most of what you've written here is nonsensical ramblings but I get the distinct feeling that you are under the misconception that evolution isn't the overwhelming scientific consensus here. At this point you would need an earth-shatteringly revolutionary discovery to disprove evolution at this point.

By ElConquistador on 11/23/2012 4:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
The theory of Evolution has never been upgraded to a Law because it has never met the requirements, nor will it ever meet the requirements

And could you please enlighten us as to which those requirements would be?
I'm sure many physicists would like to know, so they can finally promote that stubborn Relativity thingie from Theory to LAW

By LRonaldHubbs on 11/23/2012 9:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
I realise you don't think these have much to do with Relativity

WTF are you talking about? Both red shift (Doppler effect for light) and gravitational lensing are well-known phenomena described by Relativity. Why would anyone here not think that they have much to do with it?

By drycrust3 on 11/24/2012 12:40:28 AM , Rating: 2
... red shift (Doppler effect for light) and ... are well-known phenomena described by Relativity.

Is it? Thanks for the update, I was unaware that anyone else thought that pulsars were actually so distant galaxies that the light from them had red shifted to the point that the light had become microwaves, and that in the process the electromagnetic radiation fragmented into a series of pulses.

By drycrust3 on 12/4/2012 6:55:28 AM , Rating: 2
Just to let you know, if the cause of the red shift was gravitational red shifting, then I think that one can argue that c (as in the speed of light) isn't constant. It could be that what we see as star light has spent most of its time traveling through space as a radio wave, at much higher speeds than what we normally expect.

By drycrust3 on 11/25/2012 10:24:17 AM , Rating: 2
I did a search for images relating to gravitational lenses and found this website:
The interesting thing is all the images they show where light has bent due to the gravitational force of a mass are blue. I would have expected there to have been a range of colours, not just blue. This makes me think that there is something else happening here.

By drycrust3 on 12/4/2012 3:44:44 PM , Rating: 2
When I look at those Hubble pictures, it looks to me like gravitational lensing is quite common, and that the most popular colour is blue, and that multiple images of the same galaxy can occur.

By gladiatorua on 11/24/2012 3:39:22 AM , Rating: 3
Scientific theory can NOT be "upgraded" to a scientific law. RTFM(look up the descriptions)!
What you call a "theory" is actually a hypothesis. And with substantial proof it can become or be included into the theory. And hypothesis is not some shot in the dark. It has to have strong basis in reality and has to be disprovable.
SCIENTIFIC theories can not be upgraded or even proven. It's a body of work about phenomenon. It either works or it doesn't. Gravity, relativity, plate tectonics work. And evolution is a stronger theory than some of those.
In fact, we have people like Haeckel who fabricated evidence to try and prove the theory of Evolution was true.
Haeckel tried to prove his own hypothesis in the field of embryology, which is related to evolution but is not the same thing. Haeckel has nothing to do with credibility of the theory of Evolution.

By gladiatorua on 11/25/2012 9:22:29 PM , Rating: 2
He is usually mentioned.
If the book is any good he is either mentioned as a fraud or not mentioned at all.
And he published his drawings years after Darwin's work.
His REJECTED HYPOTHESIS was on embryology. His fraud was found out fast enough. Read the wiki.
As with most frauds the were somehow related to evolution, it's not the scientist that were fooled. Haeckel's book was aimed at general public. His "findings" spread like a wildfire and creationists got a powerful weapon and scientific community got the mess.

By xthetenth on 11/24/2012 3:31:01 PM , Rating: 2
The theory of Evolution has never been upgraded to a Law because it has never met the requirements, nor will it ever meet the requirements.

A law is a statement based on repeated observation that describes an aspect of the natural world. It has no predictive power.

A theory is a statement based on repeated observation that explains an aspect of the natural world. It makes predictions about the rest of the natural world outside the observed circumstances.

Those are the scientific definitions of a law and a theory. Kindly note that a theory is stronger than a law. In fact, if a theory is proven false in some circumstances it will be downgraded to a law for the circumstances in which it is proven false. For example, if a god shows up and starts changing animal's genomes, the Theory of Evolution would probably become the Law of Natural Evolution.

The reason for the stronger statements with predictive power being labelled theories is because science is obsessed with being correct, and no predictive statement is entirely verifiable. Laws are laws because they make no prediction and are therefore entirely verifiable.

It isn't even a very good theory, it is actually a very poor theory because one of the main traits of a good theory is being able to make predictions, and especially predict important discoveries, prior to proof of that discovery. Darwin didn't predict DNA, nor, as far as I know, did any of his disciples.

This is entirely backwards as well. It is a very good theory because what it predicts has been shown in every single fossil discovered and in the anatomy of every living being on the planet. The anatomy of every living animal shows the signs of common ancestry and the changes from that common ancestor being driven by a mechanism where if the marginal cost of any change to the animal is a net negative it is more likely to be passed on to its descendents and become more prevalent until it becomes the norm. It didn't predict a mechanism because it didn't need to. It's a prediction of a pattern of development followed by all of biology. The mechanism by which animals are changed is irrelevant to a prediction of the pattern those changes will follow. I could just as easily say the Theory of Relativity is a bad theory because it doesn't predict or explain Higgs Bosons. However, the predictions it makes are all verifiable, and it explains some important things, such as the perihelion shift of Mercury.

In fact, we have people like Haeckel who fabricated evidence to try and prove the theory of Evolution was true. In 1976 I went took my science book to the school library and compared Haeckel's drawings to the photographs in the Encyclopedia Britannica and the fabrication was plainly evident! If a theory is credible, then why do you need to fabricate evidence?

In the case of Haeckel you need to fabricate evidence because you aren't trying to prove the theory of Evolution in that case, you're trying to prove the Biogenetic Law (which has since been falsified and is discussed in depth here: ). Basically he was trying to prove that the development of an individual organism passes through stages represented by adult representatives of its evolutionary ancestors. Among other things he predicted a linear phylogeny rather than a branching one in the way Evolution does, and that isn't borne out by the evidence. He did popularize Evolution but his later work was bad and just so happened to be on an incorrect hypothesis.

By JPForums on 11/29/2012 11:01:30 AM , Rating: 2
It seems some people around are confused about what Scientific Theory and Scientific Law are as well as the purpose of each. Wikipedia does well enough for a basic refresher.

Scientific Law

Scientific Theory

Scientific Hypothesis

A law is a statement based on repeated observation that describes an aspect of the natural world.
It has no predictive power.
No. A law is demonstrable, always repeatable under the same conditions, and implies a cause effect relationship. Laws are constrained to the conditions under which they are observed. Laws applicability can be expanded when observed to be true under new conditions. If new data legitimately contradicts the law, it may be falsified. It has great predictive power in the sense that you can rely on the fact that if you affect the exact same conditions, the same result will occur. Otherwise the law would be falsified.

A theory is a statement based on repeated observation that explains an aspect of the natural world.
It makes predictions about the rest of the natural world outside the observed circumstances.
No. Predictions are made based on the theory to test and verify the accuracy of the theory. Let me say that a different way. It has no predictive power. If you could affect the conditions of a theory and observe the result, thus demonstrating reliability, it wouldn't be a scientific theory. If observations are made that contradict the theory, it may be adapted to fit the new data or discarded for a theory that more closely fits the facts. Scientific theories are expected to change from their original conception.

Point of interest: Laws may be observed in the process of testing theories.

Kindly note that a theory is stronger than a law.
It's not. It is more comprehensive than Scientific Law, but it is also not both observable and repeatable; thus it is less reliable. It is therefore neither stronger nor weaker than Scientific Law. It simply serves a different purpose. Choose the tool appropriate to what you are trying achieve.
In fact, if a theory is proven false in some circumstances it will be downgraded to a law for the circumstances in which it is proven false.
No. No. No. If a scientific theory is contradicted, the theory is adapted to fit the new data or supplanted by a theory that more closely matches the currently available data. Scientific laws are observable and repeatable. Theories, whether true or false are not both observable and repeatable. They therefore cannot become a law unless for some reason they becomes so. Even then, it is more likely that a small portion of the scientific theory becomes a law or several laws as scientific theories are comprehensive, where scientific laws describe singular relationships. Furthermore, if anything is proven false, it fails the repeatable requirement. So a "false" scientific theory will never be "downgraded to law".

The reason for the stronger statements with predictive power being labelled theories is because science is obsessed with being correct.
Scientist have an obsession with explaining the world around them. I've seen far more excitement over contradictory observations from scientists than another run of supporting observations as it generally means they've found something new. As a side note, a real scientist will adapt theories to support facts rather than adapt facts to support theories.
Laws are laws because they make no prediction and are therefore entirely verifiable.
Scientific law starts out as a scientific hypothesis or in other words a testable explanation for a phenomenon. To be testable, you have to be able to define what results would prove or disprove the explanation. You are, therefore, making a prediction that may be proved true or false (true in the case of scientific law). It is not prediction that separates scientific law from scientific theory. It is observability and repeatability.
It is a very good theory because what it predicts has been shown in every single fossil discovered and in the anatomy of every living being on the planet.
It is actually a very bad theory in its current form as it selectively ignores a preponderance of data. To give a few examples: The fact that measurable levels of carbon14 has been found in fossils that are supposed to be hundreds of million years old. The fact that the supposedly immutable radio radiometric dating methods result in vastly different aging for rocks that should be similarly aged in the grand canyon. The fact that the criteria Darwin himself proposed by which the theory of evolution could be contradicted was actually observed in several places (I'll mention the Flagella). These are just a few of the holes in the Theory of Evolution. Nonetheless, the strength of a scientific theory is measured by its ability to make falsifiable predictions with respect to the phenomena it tries to explain. The fact remains that competing theories fail in regards to making falsifiable predictions with which they may be tested.

By AppleMaggot on 11/23/2012 2:25:14 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, you managed to Godwin this thread just two comments in! Congratulations!

By Ringold on 11/23/2012 5:33:21 PM , Rating: 2
Not surprised, but still disappointed that the majority of comments on this centered on the old religionistas vs atheists battle. Was hoping for more insight on the science.

Naive of me, I know :P

By inperfectdarkness on 11/23/2012 8:49:48 PM , Rating: 2
Athiests are religious---they just don't subscribe to intangibles and the supernatural. Ask Leonard Peikoff.

By Ringold on 11/25/2012 7:43:56 PM , Rating: 3
Oh, I know, and they'll pretend to be open-minded and tolerant, yet turn in to the worlds most arrogant bigots if you have a different opinion. I know it.

By Retrospotting on 11/23/2012 7:20:32 PM , Rating: 2
Your ignorance is strong.

By Cheesew1z69 on 11/24/2012 7:10:24 PM , Rating: 1
You really shouldn't talk about ignorance Pirks, you are about the most ignorant fuckwad on this site.

By geekman1024 on 11/23/2012 9:11:42 PM , Rating: 2
You are a lucky one, you live a blissful life.

By FastEddieLB on 11/23/2012 10:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not even going to bother reading your post because the headline tells me everything I need to know about you:

You are narrow-minded.

Not because you are religious, but because you refuse to believe the possibility that evolution is the answer to how, but not the answer to why. The two ideas of God and Evolution are not mutually exclusive and do fit together, provided you have the open mind to accept it.

People who dismiss God and similar theistic concepts due to absence of evidence are just as narrow-minded as those who dismiss science because of imagined conflicts with their religious beliefs. After all, nobody believed the world was round for a long time because there was no evidence of it.

By xthetenth on 11/24/2012 1:25:32 PM , Rating: 2
Why shouldn't someone dismiss god due to lack of evidence? There's a huge difference between believing something doesn't exist due to lack of evidence (which is effectively trying to prove a negative) and believing that since something has no observable effect on any of the universe that it is of inconsequential importance and there's no reason to include it in your view of the cosmos. Occam's Razor is a pretty good guiding principle here. It doesn't matter what's lurking out there in the unexplained gaps until it does something, and in doing something it gives us measurements to discern its nature from. Until then there isn't much point guessing. Sure, denying the possibility is narrow-minded, but believing in one specific theistic explanation as a major component of your worldview and denying the infinite other possibilities is even more narrow-minded because it's adding terms to the equation where the net effect of those terms has to be zero and it's insisting that one specific answer is the right one. What if there's something extra and it just so happens to be the one that I am invested in rings pretty hollow as a line of reasoning.

Just so you know, the Greeks had pretty good estimates for the circumference of the Earth. Look up Eratosthenes. He calculated a remarkably accurate value for the circumference of the earth and for the axial tilt of the Earth. Equally important to what you're saying, he tried to calculate the circumference of .the Earth.

Once people had the basic geometric tools to reason about such things, they discovered them rapidly. Such is the progression of all science and technology. Discover something about the workings of the universe, and derived knowledge follows quickly

By drycrust3 on 11/24/2012 7:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
Just so you know, the Greeks had pretty good estimates for the circumference of the Earth. Look up Eratosthenes. He calculated a remarkably accurate value for the circumference of the earth and for the axial tilt of the Earth. Equally important to what you're saying, he tried to calculate the circumference of .the Earth.

You are right, the work of Eratosthenes is amazing. According to Wikipedia he calculated the earth as about 25000 miles in circumference, while modern measurements say it is 24909. To get that close with the numbering system he was using and that all the maths was done the long way is an amazing feat, but did you know the Bible contains a feat of mathematical precision is actually even more incredible? In fact this feat would have left Eratosthenes astounded. True!
Did you know that someone calculated the number of days from the issuing of the decree to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem by Artaxerxes Longimanus to the day when Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem was exactly 173880 days?. "So what" you say. "That isn't anywhere near as good as what Eratosthenes did". The big difference is this person did it IN ADVANCE, i.e. they calculated the number of days BEFORE even the decree was issued! No, I'm not kidding, this person calculated that 173880 days after the issuing of the decree to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem which the Babylonians had destroyed Jesus would ride the donkey into Jerusalem. The decree was issued about 169 years before the birth of Eratosthenes. After doing the calculations, the person sent his most important messenger to the prophet Daniel with the results in his writings that have come to us from antiquity.
Here is the link for you to look at:
p.s. the person I elude to as "the person" is God.

By retrospooty on 11/25/2012 1:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
At least, that is how it was written after the fact. Then milled over and changed by teams of control freaks at the Vatican before finally "canonized" into what we know as the bible today.

I find the bible nothing but a joke. If you aren't in agreement, I beg you to go read the old testament again. The god described there isn't some all powerful all knowing being that created us all. The god described in the bibles old testament is childish, petty, jealous and vengeful. A true picture into the mind of the primitive uneducated men that wrote the book.

By drycrust3 on 11/25/2012 9:07:55 PM , Rating: 2
At least, that is how it was written after the fact.

How can something be written after the fact when the main language used changed about 200 years before the birth of Jesus? You didn't read the link that I included, which gives very good reasons why what I said was correct.
I'm sure you would blindly accept the first writer's bit about Eratosthenes without any hesitation, yet the Book of Daniel is one of the most thoroughly attested documents to come to us from that time in antiquity and you don't believe it?

By retrospooty on 11/26/2012 7:05:45 AM , Rating: 2
Written, re-written, re-rewritten and re-re-re-rewritten, then mulled over , picked apart and re-packaged.

By elderwilson on 11/26/2012 10:42:16 AM , Rating: 2
You forgot to add translated, re-translated, and re-re-translated. Anyone who speaks more than one language knows how even one translation can completely change the meaning.

This is not to say that the collection of independent works commonly known as the Bible is without value, you just have to understand what you are reading and where it comes from.

By retrospooty on 11/26/2012 11:09:40 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly... If you are looking for it, it has some wisdom and real life value and morality and all that, but it is NOT anything of a history of life on planet Earth, and how it came to be.

By Wolfpup on 11/29/2012 9:45:13 AM , Rating: 1
LOL I can not believe there's someone reading a tech/science site that rejects science.

Did you have your secretary transcribe your ridiculous comments from from your pad of paper? Or is paper too advanced for you too?

By wgbutler on 11/29/12, Rating: -1
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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