When geneticists first began comparing human and chimpanzee DNA, it could’ve been a great victory for creationism had we shared little or no DNA in common. Instead, as discussed in question #4, humans and chimps turned out to share roughly 95-98.5% of the same DNA, which was consistent with evolutionary theory. And while this is strong evidence for common ancestry, it is not absolute proof.
The problem is, no matter how similar or dissimilar our DNA, the Creationist can always claim that God designed us this way, and God reused DNA in different animals because it was (possibly) more efficient than designing each new creature from scratch.
But even if this claim is completely false, how could it ever be disproved? We could locate fossils of every extinct creature between humans and apes, and show how the 1.5% disparity emerged, but the age of the fossil DNA would likely makes this impossible.
So while I don’t know if this claim can ever be fully falsified, there do exist a number of oddities that don’t make much sense in light of the Creationist claims…
1) Man was specially made
In God’s defense, He was pretty busy making the Universe during the week of creation, so perhaps it was just easier to reuse ape parts than create us humans from the ground up. Only… the Bible actually says that God built humans from the ground up…
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground…”
~ Genesis 2:7
Not only that, but God also devoted an entire day just to creating humans, and created them in the very image of God. All of this gives the impression that we are something more special than a slightly modified chimp. Why build something “from the dust of the ground” that’s already 98.5% complete?
It would’ve been more accurate had the Bible said: “Then the Lord God took the body of one of the chimps, and enhanced it with upright posture, less hair, upgraded memory, and a more attractive behind.”
2) God doesn’t recycle other designs
If God reuses DNA, it stands to reason that He should also want to reuse specific designs in different classes of animals to accomplish the same goals… but He doesn’t.
Take flight for example. Wings have evolved (or have been re-designed) in many different ways in mammals, birds, reptiles, arthropods, and even fish. Why would God be so heavily invested in reusing DNA, yet not interested in reusing His other designs?
God should say to Himself, “I’m building a bat and I need it to fly, therefore I will reuse the wing I already designed for the pterodactyl, or the bird.” But He doesn’t, He designs a different wing, which is odd for a God who has shown an interest in recycling.
But if flight evolved independently in different classes of animals (also known as “convergent evolution”) then we would expect the resulting designs to be unique in each case, since the “designer” (evolution) is completely unaware it has already developed this solution before.
3) God doesn’t splice DNA unique to one species into another
If God wanted, He could’ve saved time by splicing sections of DNA unique to one animal into another, similar to how humans took DNA from a fish and inserted it into a tomato (to try and keep tomatoes from freezing).
God could’ve given a cat the tail of a scorpion, or a bear the arms of a crab. Then, when we examined DNA from each, we would find evidence for gene tampering — evidence that someone purposely transplanted these genes into unrelated animals in order to reuse some similar feature.
It’s also interesting to note that 15% of human DNA is more closely related to the gorilla than the chimp…
“15% of the human genome is closer to the gorilla genome than it is to chimpanzee, and 15% of the chimpanzee genome is closer to the gorilla than human.”
~ ScienceDaily, Mar. 7, 2012
This makes sense from an evolutionary prospective, suggesting that when humans and chimps diverged, each took along a good chunk of gorilla DNA. After millions of years, humans managed to retain some bits better than the chimp, and vice versa.
But to reconcile this with Creationism, we’d have to assume that when God formed Adam, He intentionally spliced in 15% gorilla DNA! This would suggest that He did have an interest in gene splicing, yet He fails to do it when it comes to more diverse species.
4) God wouldn’t copy broken genes, would He?
The most famous of these is a gene that affects our ability to produce vitamin C, like almost all other mammals can. What’s interesting about this gene is that it’s also broken in the same place in apes and most monkeys.
This makes sense if evolution is true, as the gene that produces the enzyme probably failed in a common ancestor, and was then passed down to some monkeys, all apes, and all humans. Since most primates take in vitamin C through foodstuffs, evolution didn’t see this as a loss.
It’s much trickier to reconcile this damage through Creationism. While it’s easy to claim that all genetic flaws have occurred since the fall, this doesn’t explain why the same gene failed in the same location in humans, apes, and most monkeys. It’s as if God intentionally broke this gene in most primates to make us appear related.
In copyright law, such errors are sometimes used as evidence of plagiarism. When an error is found in an early document, copies of that document may contain that same error. Just as we can use this mistake to trace plagiarized documents to their source, we can trace a broken gene back to its source.
There are several Creationist explanations for how this gene may have broken in primates, and they fall into two categories: The first is that these genes were intelligently designed this way, even if we don’t understand why (and such a claim can never be falsified, we just have to assume God had a good reason); the second is that the DNA failed in all these animals in a similar way. But interestingly, the guinea pig also can’t produce Vitamin C, but his gene is broken in a different location. Why would a God who was interested in breaking our Vitamin C gene, break it the same way in primates, but a different way in guinea pigs?
5) God has all the time in the world
Finally, why would it behoove God to save time by recycling? God has all the time in the world… and then some. God had plenty of time to make us totally unique, and why wouldn’t he want to make his masterpiece unique? Why would God take time to design many different kinds of wings, and hundreds of “disposable dinosaurs,” and millions of insects and billions of galaxies… yet not devote any time to making man completely unique?
If evolution is true, our DNA should show that the majority of human DNA is similar to that of other great apes, which it is. And if evolution is true, any new traits (ones that developed after two species have split,) must evolve independently in each animal, which they do. And if we evolved, our DNA should contain some of the same errors as other close species, which it does.
If we were created, God could’ve made us completely unique, but He didn’t. And if we were created, God could’ve reused designs and/or unrelated genes across diverse species, but He didn’t. And if we were created, God could’ve easily falsified evolution and provided evidence for the Biblical account of creation, but He didn’t. Instead, God seems to have gone out of His way to deceive us into thinking evolution has occurred.