Re: [asa] How big a deal is homology?

From: Iain Strachan <>
Date: Tue Mar 27 2007 - 14:10:38 EDT

I think Francis Collins deals with it very clearly in his book, and also his
talk "Faith and the Human Genome", presenting, it seems to me pretty well
overwhelming evidence for evolution. As David has indicated below, even the
pseudo-genes and mistakes (to do with something called "Ancient Repetitive
Elements") seem to get replicated.

One particularly telling example concerns the order of three genes that is
preserved between (I think) human and dog genomes. Except that in the human
one the middle one has a mutation that switched it off and turned it into a
pseudo-gene. If one wants to liken God to a tinkering software developer,
then He'd be rather a messy programmer, like me , in commenting out bits
of code that might not be necessary (turning the gene into a pseudo-gene),
and not bothering to tidy up the mess afterwards. My normal reason for
commenting out a bit of code in a program is because it might come in handy
later & I don't know if I'll need it or not. Presumably an omnipotent
programmer wouldn't be subject to the same limitations as me, however.

For this reason, though I once thought that software-module re-use was a
good explanation (and several creationists I've tried to argue with have
made such arguments as Jim presents below), I no longer do so. I try
hitting the creationists with Francis Collins but they either go silent, or
refer to him as an "evolutionist" , or just "Collins" & they go all hostile
and sniffy.


On 3/27/07, Jim Armstrong <> wrote:
> The problem, as I see it, is that there is a very plausible
> non-technical retort. "If God had a successful recipe, it makes perfect
> sense to use and reuse the same formula with slight variations in all
> living creations. There's no need for an evolutionary explanation for
> such commonalities."
> It's very difficult to respond to that in kind. If anyone has a good
> response, requiring only a comparably slight understanding of the
> science, I for one would sure welcome it. JimA
> Brent Foster wrote:
> >This is a question for those on the list who know more molecular genetics
> than I do (almost everyone!). Now that the human genome has been sequenced,
> as well as that of several other organisms, sequences can be compared and
> checked for similarity. Much has been made of the 95 odd percent similarity
> between the genomes of humans and chimps. And of course the 80 odd percent
> similarity between mice and humans. Anti-evolutiuonists point out that the
> similarity is only 95 or so percent, not the 98% once claimed. Ha! And of
> course mice are even less similar. But isn't the problem that there is any
> similarity at all? Aren't family relationships demonstrated by matching
> identical sequences of DNA that are long enough to rule out coincidence? And
> aren't these same types of similarities found linking different species,
> genera, families etc, such as humans, chimps and mice? Maybe I'm
> demonstrating my ignorance of molecular genetics. Does 95% similarity
> between human and chimp DNA mean!
> !
> > that 95% of the sequences are similar? I ask because I am involved in
> discussion with someone who is skeptical of DNA comparisons.
> >
> >Brent
> >
> >
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Received on Tue Mar 27 14:12:00 2007

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