A Monkey's Uncle
Much hype is being made these days about the similarity between human and chimp DNA. Apparently, this is further "proof" of evolution. According to most lay people, the degree of similarity is between 98 and 99 per cent. The figures even found their way into some entertaining commercials. Actually, the real number that the evolutionists should have been hyping is closer to 96.2 per cent when a proper mean is taken.1 Dr. Don Batten, of AiG, has noted, however, that:
This number was inferred from a fairly crude technique called DNA hybridization where small sections of human DNA are split into single strands and allowed to re-form double strands (duplex) with chimp DNA. However, there are various reasons why DNA does or does not hybridize, only one of which is degree of similarity (homology). Consequently, this somewhat arbitrary figure is not used by those working in molecular homology (other parameters, derived from the shape of the 'melting' curve, are used). Why has the 97% figure been popularised then? One can only guess that it served the purpose of evolutionary indoctrination of the scientifically illiterate. 2In fact, it appears that in their eagerness to push the human-chimp common ancestry myth, the evolutionists spoke too soon. Recent studies as of 2003 have shown that the difference between human and chimp DNA is not a mere 1 or 2 percent but at least 15 percent.3
It must also be noted that chimpanzees have 24 pairs of chromosomes and humans have 23 pairs, so there is a definite discontinuity.4 Human genes are also arranged differently compared to chimps.5 Furthermore, neither human nor chimp DNA has been fully sequenced. Human DNA will probably be sequenced within the next two years, but chimp DNA has a much lower priority, and so will be completed much later. Until they are both fully sequenced, a proper comparison cannot be made.
We must further remember that DNA similarity does not prove evolution. There are reasons why chimp and human DNA are similar, and they would be even if evolution were not true. Why? Because DNA contains the information that controls the development of an organism. Therefore, if two organisms look similar, the DNA should also be similar, by definition. Many of the similarities between humans and chimps exist simply because the skeletons are similar. David Plaisted has pointed out that, "Given any animal that is partially upright, with grasping hands on its forelimbs, there may just be one optimal way to design the rest of the organs."6
In The Biotic Message, on page 449, Walter ReMine noted that DNA is not always so important. There are two virtually identical species of fruit flies that share only 25 per cent of their DNA in common. If human and chimp DNA is 96 per cent similar, then the DNA of those fruit flies is "30 times more different than that between humans and chimpanzees." This is due to the fact that some genes are more crucial than others, acting as "switches" for certain traits. This is certainly something to keep in mind. In fact, evolutionists frequently fail to mention (except when it's convenient) that it also depends on which study you use as to what is our closest relative. If you compare eyes, it is the octopus. If you compare teeth and palates, we are more closely related to orangutans than chimps. If you compare hearts, we are closest to pigs (ever stop to wonder why they are cloning pigs for organ transplants rather than chimps?). Compare cytochrome C and our closest relatives are sunflowers!
A further point to remember is that all life on earth contains similar DNA to an extent. If this were not so, life would not be possible. For how could one organism digest another if they were fundamentally different biochemically? Every organism must take in nutrients from other organisms, and if the amino acids, sugars, etc. were different, digestion would be impossible.
Also, as Dr. Batten noted, "Certain biochemical capacities are common to all living things, so there is even a degree of similarity between the DNA of yeast, for example, and that of humans."7 This is quite easily explained by the theory that all organisms on earth share a common Creator. If every organism on earth was completely different than all other organisms, we would logically conclude that there were many creators rather than just one.8 So, while this would logically rule out evolution, it would effectively rule out an omnipotent God as well.
An article in Creation ex nihilo noted that even a 1.5 per cent difference would still represent a huge amount of information, something along the lines of 150 large books.9 In deed, this 2 per cent of DNA must account for the immense structural, functional, behavioral, and psychological differences between humans and chimps.
The question still remains, regardless of the relevance of DNA similarity to evolution, why did God create the chimpanzees so similar to man? To answer this question, we must go back to Genesis. In Genesis, we find that man was formed from the dust of the ground. So it is not the physical body that sets us apart from the animals. In deed, when Genesis 1:27 says that God created man in His image, it does not refer to our physical bodies, because God is a Spirit (John 4:24). We were created in God's image in that we possess moral conscience, abstract thought, appreciation of beauty, emotional feelings, and, especially, the capacity for worshipping and loving God.
We must also remember that God created a perfect world for us (before the curse). The animals were made in order to bring us happiness. I must confess that this occurred to me after reading David Plaisted's article. The apes may have been created similar to us simply because it would amuse us. When I go to the zoo, I always look forward to seeing the monkeys. In fact, I have wanted a pet monkey since I was a child. Do we insist that God, the Supreme Being, should have created apes differently, merely because some people who refuse to acknowledge His existence would use them as "proof" of His absence? That is absurd.
We can never know all the reasons why God has done what He has done, for this would require infinite knowledge, something that we can never achieve. What we do know is that chimps and humans share a common design, not because they share a common ancestor, but because they share a common Designer: I am not a monkey's uncle, and neither is a monkey my uncle.
1. Batten, Don. Human/chimp DNA similarity: Evidence for evolutionary relationship?
3. The Japan Times. Riken finds bigger gap in chimp, human genes, July 12, 2003.
4. Plaisted, David A. The Ape-Human Connection
5. Creation ex nihilo, vol. 21, no. 4, Sept.-Nov. 1999, p. 8.
6. Plaisted, David A. The Ape-Human Connection
7. Batten, Don. Human/chimp DNA similarity: Evidence for evolutionary relationship?
9. Creation ex nihilo, vol. 21, no. 4, Sept.-Nov. 1999, p. 8.