Monday, August 24, 2009

A Bogey Moment: The Human Chromosome Count

In the 1954 movie The Caine Mutiny, Humphrey Bogart plays the compulsive-paranoid Captain Queeg who is relieved of duty when unable to deal with a dangerous storm at sea. Upon return to port two officers face a court-martial for mutiny. The trial goes badly for them and they appear to be destined for prison until the final testimony of Captain Queeg where his underlying paranoia is suddenly revealed. In the courtroom sideways looks and wide eyes reveal a collective revelation: "Ohh, noooowwww I understand."

Bogart's masterful portrayal of Captain Queeg, nervously rolling ball bearings in his hand as he defended himself against the world, shows how underlying motivations, sometimes bizarre, can work and how they can suddenly manifest themselves at points.

Evolution is full of such teaching moments. Darwin's book, for instance, could ramble on for pages with meaningless speculation and thought experiment as boring as any courtroom. But then, suddenly, Darwin would pronounce that this or that collection of biological facts was "utterly inexplicable on divine creation."

Darwin could only speculate about how his theory could create such marvels, but he knew they must have evolved. Ahh, now we understand. The theory may make no sense, but it must be true.

Today it is no different. The evolution literature is loaded with metaphysical claims that come out of nowhere and reveal the underlying calculus of evolutionary thought. This is where the certainty comes from. This is why evolutionists agree, their theory must be a fact.

I call these Bogey Moments and here's a typical example. Most great apes have their DNA organized into 48 chromosomes but humans have only 46 chromosomes. Why is that? A likely explanation is that we once had 48, but a chromosomal fusion event occurred. It happened to spread throughout the human population, reducing our count to 46.

Evolutionists such as Barry Starr see this as "great evidence for evolution." In fact, this was a powerful evidence that evolutionist Ken Miller used in the 2005 Dover trial to convince Judge Jones that evolution is a fact.

There's only one problem: such a fusion event has nothing to do with evolution.

Bizarre claims such as this make people wonder. What are the evolutionists thinking? The fusion event occurred in, and spread through, the human population. Even if evolution is true, this fusion event would give us no evidence for it. The fused chromosome did not arise from another species, it was not inherited from a human-chimp common ancestor, or any other purported common ancestor.

Furthermore, beyond handwaving evolutionists cannot explain the phenomenal complexity of chromosome structures and the army of nanomachines that attend to them. Chromosomes are not what evolutionists should be pointing to, especially with apparently specious arguments. So what gives?

Evolutionists are not stupid. They have not mistakenly forgot that the chromosome fusion event does not reveal evolution. Instead, their conviction is that such chromosome fusion would never have been designed or created. It is, in the words of Darwin, "utterly inexplicable on divine creation." As Starr writes:

An alternative explanation is that the designers fused the two chromosomes together when they created humans. ...

The difficulty with this idea is that there is no obvious advantage to having 46 chromosomes instead of 48. ...

And even if there were, a designer who can easily put in the 60 million or so differences between humans and chimpanzees should be able to accomplish whatever results a chromosome fusion gives more elegantly than sticking two ape chromosomes together.

There you have it--a Bogey Moment. The argument seemed absurd, but suddenly the underlying reasoning is manifest. The scientific problems with evolution--and there are many--don't matter. Evolution must be true, regardless of how unlikely it is. For no creator or designer would have done it this way. The ball bearings are rolling.