An extract from Chapter 6, ‘What God’? One aspect being our human origins:
Note: The Chapter discusses, in part, the futility of engaging fundamentalists on what came before the ‘singularity’, or Big Bang. The faithful rely wholly on the fallacious ‘first cause’ argument, and while science has several valid explanations based on quantum theory this has yet to be proved. But there is substantial evidence which mitigates against any likelihood of there being a god — the subject of the Chapter. A valid argument is based on the evidence of our human origins:
So, where do we go from here?
We have previously discussed the scientific perspective of the universe and its origins, and we look next at the evidence from science for the origins of humankind – as being a natural process. The discovery of DNA and its related research, including the human genome project, has proved as false one of the oldest biblical myths – that “Man was created in God’s image”.
God as a primate does not sit well with most Christians — especially fundamentalists — but primates we most certainly are. Understanding DNA makes our evolutionary path irrefutably clear, being one of natural selection. We evolved along with other modern primates from a common ancestor around 13 million years ago,3 rather than the “in God’s image” theory of a customised divine creation.
This snappy 5-minute video 4 is ideal for gaining a quick and simple understanding of DNA and how it works. It leads smoothly to another 7-minute video 5 that explains, with equal clarity, exactly how humans diverged from other primates and why our DNA is 98% similar to chimpanzees.
Critical to this natural evolutionary divergence was the fusing of a pair of our own chromosomes, located at chromosome No 2, explained in the video reference above. Thus, instead of 48 chromosomes (as with chimps, gorillas and orangutans) our earliest human ancestors ended up with 46 chromosome.
So began a new line in evolution that resulted in modern humans. The discovery of DNA corroborates everything that had been predicted by Charles Darwin and the fossil record. And just for the record, the latest research also shows we all carry between 1% and 4% 6 of Neanderthal DNA. 7
Homo neanderthalis was the last of several other ‘Homo’ lines, finally dying out around 28,000 years ago,8 leaving ourselves – Homo sapiens – as the one remaining ‘human primate’.
Needless to say the internet is alive with articles and videos from Christian organisations that use junk science to desperately convince their wavering faithful that evolution is a hoax.
The analogy is that fundamentalists take a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of a formless abstract painting and jam pieces into places where they don’t fit. From a distance it may still look like modern art but up close you can see they’ve cheated, it’s a fake, all the pieces are mismatched. Evangelism’s pseudo-science follows this same deceitful pattern.
But DNA evidence is chiselled in stone, it’s rock solid, humans are unmistakably ‘primate’ on the taxonomic scale.9 Our earliest modern ancestors on the new human branch of evolution – the Australopithecines – were anything but god-like.
To complete the detailed evolutionary evidence, there’s an informative short video from the Smithsonian Institution 10 (at the base of their page). And while ‘moderate’ Christians may grudgingly accept the fossil record, and DNA, they still strive to inject the concept – “by the Hand of God” – somewhere into evolutionary history.
This leaves them with a long journey back to the primordial swamp where, according to their beliefs, a supernatural intervention by God took place — when he allegedly injected ‘life’ into the first simple cells — around 3.6 billion years ago.11 And it’s worth scrolling down that page, from the prokaryotes, and tracking through the evolutionary timeline to modern humans.
The ‘moderate’ Christian notion of “God injecting life” into prokaryotes is as absurd as the fundamentalist fiction of Adam and Eve, from Genesis. A belief still held as “literally true” by the 31% 3 creationists 4. Yes, one third of Australians believe this!
The scientific truth is that the development of all life on this planet is guided purely by genetics and it’s best described by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book “The Selfish Gene“ – not to be confused with human ‘selfishness’ but rather the driving force of genes to methodically replicate all natural life forms, without the need for paranormal intervention.
This is not the place to discuss ‘divergent evolution’ of new species; the point here is that evolution is a chemical process over billions of years that can be analysed and explained scientifically, logically and rationally.
So; what else points to the extreme improbability of God?
God watches and waits – for what exactly? For those Christians who accept modern science, it’s been a very long wait since their God allegedly created our home planet, 4.6 billion 12 years ago. It then took a billion years of strikes by comets and asteroids to provide water,13 and for cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) to generate enough oxygen 14 needed for Earth’s early atmosphere.
At around 3.6 billion years BCE the first simple cells (prokaryotes) evolved.15 For a crystal clear overview of this natural process of nature this short video 16 by science writer Peter Hadfield is highly enlightening.
Over that 3.6 billion years of evolution there have been five mass global extinctions due to calamitous climate events, and we know this from the geological record. Of all living species that ever evolved, 99.9% have become extinct.
If that is the evidence for Christians to claim evolution by “the hand of God” then he clearly didn’t have much luck keeping his creations alive; and it draws seriously into question his alleged omnipotence.
Plain Reason: Promoting science, logic, reason and critical thought.