A challenge on the first column

I got a great response to my first column. Thank you to everyone who read it and commented or asked a question. Here's one from Ted Siek, the same reader who posed the original question about the genetic similarity between humans and other primates. 

"These DNA comparisons will go in circles for a long time.  My information is that the size of the chimp genome is 11.5% higher than that of humans.  Paleontology was simply making whole body form comparisons and speculating about evolutionary relationships, the same thing that geneticists are doing on a molecular scale.  I do not believe in DNA reductionism.  DNA without all the other components of the cell and its membranes would be nothing.  I am not skeptical about science, but I am more than skeptical of the claims of universal common descent (the definition of evolution I  have in mind).  I do hope you take up the question of what scientific advances have been made on the basis of evolutionary theory or what contributions to human well-being evolutionary theory has actually made."

Is there a biologist in the house? If you want to take a stab at any part of this question, please post a comment or e-mail me at fflam@phillynews.com