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Human Chromosome Two: An Open Letter to BioLogos on the Genetic Evidence, Cont.


In previous articles (here and here) I reviewed BioLogos Fellow Dennis Venema’s articles (here, here and here) which claimed that the genomes of different species are what we would expect if they evolved, and in particular the human genome is compelling evidence for evolution.

The claim that the empirical evidence powerfully confirms evolution is an objective claim that can be evaluated in the common language of science. There is no excuse why people holding even opposing views on origins cannot at least agree on what the science has to say. Unfortunately, origins discussions often get ahead of themselves, rushing to judgment and casting aspersions before the empirical science is objectively evaluated and agreed upon. My goal in this series of articles is to work toward such a common understanding.

In my previous article I responded to Professor Venema’s claims that the human genome, as well as the genomes from the other primates, together are compelling evidence for evolution. We saw several serious problems with Venema’s claim. And as always, we forestall the rebuttal that those problems can be explained. The claim was that the evidences “strongly support the hypothesis that our species arose through an evolutionary process,” not that one can envision speculative and unlikely explanations for problematic data. And there are a great many problematic data. While fair-minded thinkers can argue about the finer details and specific implications, it seems abundantly clear that the typical evolutionary claim, as exemplified by Venema, that the data (genetic data in this case) make evolution compelling, is false.

How could we possibly make this claim in light of the empirical evidence? There seems to be a disconnect here.

Human Chromosome Two

There is one piece of contradictory evidence I did not discuss in my previous article. I omitted it because Venema gives it special emphasis and so it merits its own article. This evidence is that while we humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46, the chimpanzee, bonobo and gorilla each have 24 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 48.

In my previous article I pointed out several differences in the primate genomes that contradict evolutionary theory. This difference in chromosome count is yet another fundamental problem for evolution. According to evolution, humans have 23 rather than 24 pairs of chromosomes because of a chromosome fusion event in our past history. Early in our evolutionary history we had 24 pairs of chromosomes, but the fusion event reduced this number to 23. In fact, evolutionists such as Venema present this evidence as yet another great confirmation of their theory. You can see other examples of this here and here.

But this claim made by evolutionists is at odds with the science. There are many problems with their claim, and they fall into two major categories.

First, the specific DNA sequence found in the human chromosome in question, defies any such fusion event. The repetitive telomere sequence is far too short and too dissimilar to indicate a fusion event. Furthermore the supposed fusion region is full of genes with the supposed fusion site lying within a highly expressed RNA gene. None of this makes sense on the fusion hypothesis. You can see this article for the details on why the evolutionary account is not feasible.

Second, even if, somehow, such a fusion event occurred (in spite of the DNA sequence data), it would not demonstrate evolution as evolutionists claim. For such a fusion event would have occurred in, and spread through, an early human population. There is no evolutionary relationship revealed. 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.

Disturbing Pedagogy

As noted above, in spite of these contradictions presented by the empirical evidence, evolutionists claim this as a powerful confirmation. In fact, their presentation of this evidence is carefully crafted. The failures and contradictions are not included and the student is led to believe the false conclusion that the science makes evolution compelling.

Evolutionist Ken Miller made precisely this argument as an expert witness in federal court. And here is a typical lesson informing students that these chromosomes are “striking evidence of [human and ape] common ancestry.”

And Professor Venema recounts his lecture strategy on this topic. It is a particularly disturbing account of how he sets students up for a faith-versus-science crisis that is straight out of the Warfare Thesis.

Venema explains that “only I really know what is coming,” as he carefully tailors the information that is presented to the unwitting students.

Venema takes his students through fruit fly genetics and then presents them with a graphic showing chimp and human chromosomes. But the slide is not labeled, and the students are unaware they are not looking at similar species, such as flies.

According to the class information presented, the students are led to conclude that the two unknown species in question share a common ancestor. Venema then reveals to them they are talking about the chimp and human species.

Having carefully set up the students with false science, Venema then casts their rebuttals in terms of the Warfare Thesis:

As one might expect, teaching this subject matter at times engenders controversy, crises of faith, anger and fear in students.

The students, Venema explains, are “caught between their faith communities and the science.” The students have been set up. They have been manipulated with a false narrative, and any lack of acceptance is cast as a personal issue. It’s straight out of the Warfare Thesis.


It is crucial that we understand and teach the science without bias. As we have seen, common descent in general, and the particular case of chimp-human common descent, are astronomically unlikely. This is no mystery. These problems and contradictions are from the empirical evidence. Common descent makes no sense on the science. And the arguments and evidences given by evolutionists in support of common descent do nothing to change this. In fact, generally they do not even address the problems and contradictions. I hope that changes.

Image: Human chromosomes, by Steffen Dietzel (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Cross-posted at Darwin’s God.

Cornelius G. Hunter

Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Cornelius G. Hunter is a graduate of the University of Illinois where he earned a Ph.D. in Biophysics and Computational Biology. He is Adjunct Professor at Biola University and author of the award-winning Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil. Hunter’s other books include Darwin’s Proof, and his newest book Science’s Blind Spot (Baker/Brazos Press). Dr. Hunter's interest in the theory of evolution involves the historical and theological, as well as scientific, aspects of the theory. His blog is Darwin's God.