Here at s8int.com one of our favorite sites is "CreationEvolution Headlines--link provided below. It's the source of the commentary on this article, wherein yet another stake is driven into the heart of the theory of evolution. CreationEvolution headlines provides expert commentary on scientific articles related to this topic. Do yourself a favor and put them into your favorites.
.... “We are glad to be able to announce the downfall of Saddam Darwin to end this eventful year, 2004. Now there are just a few Darwin Party insurgents to mop up, and the public will be free of this deadly totalitarian regime. (Would that it were so easy; it would be like Bush’s premature victory speech.)
The science outlets are spinning this story without letting go of Darwinism. They are throwing around phrases like strong selection, intensified selection and other nonsense as if random mutations conspired to sculpt the most complex piece of matter in the known universe.
They know better. Orthogenesis (straight-line evolution) is out. Teleology is out. Personifying natural selection is out, so all they have to work with are thousands of random, undirected changes over thousands of different genes that have no ability to conspire with one another.
(In fact, they counteract one another;.
But if even one beneficial mutation is hard to find how is any rational person to believe that thousands – “and that is a conservative estimate” – accomplished such a feat? The gig is up, Darwin Party: surrender. It’s over. Throw down your arms.
The award for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week goes to Bruce Lahn for his one-liner that “selection has worked ‘extra-hard’ during human evolution to create the powerful brain that exists in humans.”
This can serve as USO entertainment for the liberation troops as they begin their clean-up operations.” ..CreationEvolution Headlines
Emergence of society may have spurred growth
Alok Jha, science correspondent
|...Dead, but unlikely to rest in peace.|
Wednesday December 29, 2004
The sophistication of the human brain is not simply the result of steady evolution, according to new research. Instead, humans are truly privileged animals with brains that have developed in a type of extraordinarily fast evolution that is unique to the species.
"Simply put, evolution has been working very hard to produce us humans," said Bruce Lahn, an assistant professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
"Our study offers the first genetic evidence that humans occupy a unique position in the tree of life."
Professor Lahn's research, published this week in the journal Cell, suggests that humans evolved their cognitive abilities not owing to a few sporadic and accidental genetic mutations - as is the usual way with traits in living things - but rather from an enormous number of mutations in a short period of time, acquired though an intense selection process favouring complex cognitive abilities.
Evolutionary biologists generally argue that humans have evolved in much the same way as all other life on Earth. Mutations in genes from one generation to the next sometimes give rise to new adaptations to a creature's environment.
Those best adapted to their environment are more likely to survive and pass on their genes to the next generation. The evolution of a large brain in humans, then, can be seen as similar to the process that leads to longer tusks or bigger antlers.
In general terms, and after scaling for body size, brains get bigger and more complex as animals get bigger.
But with humans, the relative size of the brain does not fit the trend - our brains are disproportionately big, much bigger even than the brains of other non-human primates, including our closest relatives, chimpanzees.
Prof Lahn's team examined the DNA of 214 genes involved in brain development in humans, macaques, rats and mice. By comparing mutations that had no effect on the function of the genes with those mutations that did, they came up with a measure of the pressure of natural selection on those genes.
The scientists found that the human brain's genes had gone through an intense amount of evolution in a short amount of time - a process that far outstripped the evolution of the genes of other animals.
"We've proven that there is a big distinction," Prof Lahn said. "Human evolution is, in fact, a privileged process because it involves a large number of mutations in a large number of genes.
"To accomplish so much in so little evolutionary time - a few tens of millions of years - requires a selective process that is perhaps categorically different from the typical processes of acquiring new biological traits."
As for how all of this happened, the professor suggests that the development of human society may be the reason. In an increasingly social environment, greater cognitive abilities probably became more of an advantage.
"As humans become more social, differences in intelligence will translate into much greater differences in fitness, because you can manipulate your social structure to your advantage," he said.
"Even devoid of the social context, as humans become more intelligent, it might create a situation where being a little smarter matters a lot.
"The making of the large human brain is not just the neurological equivalent of making a large antler. Rather, it required a level of selection that's unprecedented."