Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A challenge on the first column

Readers challenge evolution and DNA reductionism.

A challenge on the first column

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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

About this blog
Faye Flam - writer
In pursuit of her stories, writer Faye Flam has weathered storms in Greenland, gotten frost nip at the South Pole, and floated weightless aboard NASA’s zero-g plane. She has a degree in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology and started her writing career with the Economist. She later took on the particle physics and cosmology beat at Science Magazine before coming to the Inquirer in 1995. Her previous science column, “Carnal Knowledge,” ran from 2005 to 2008. Her new column and blog, Planet of the Apes, explores the topic of evolution and runs here and in the Inquirer’s health section each Monday. Email Faye at Reach Planet of the at

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