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What does Neo-Darwinism Predict with regards to Chromosomal History in Humans and Apes?
Under Neo-Darwinism, humans and extant apes obviously share a common ancestor. But how many chromosomes did that alleged ancestor have? Miller made his prediction that there was a fusion event simply by counting chromosomes in apes and humans—not by analyzing the chromosomes themselves.
Miller started off his "prediction" by simply observing that humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes and apes have 24 pairs; therefore two ape chromosomes were fused into one human chromosome. Miller claims that this simple chromosome-counting requires a fusion event if common ancestry is true. But is that really the case?
Why couldn't it be the case that the common ancestor had 23 distinct chromosomes, and one chromosome underwent duplication in the line that led to apes? Or maybe the common ancestor had 20 distinct chromosomes and there have been 4 duplications events in the ape line, and 3 in the human line?; or maybe the ancestor had 30 distinct chromosomes and there have been 6 fusion events for ape-line but 7 fusion events for the human-line.
Do you see my point? Simple chromosome-counting or comparisons of numbers of chromosomes does not lead common ancestry to make any hard predictions about how many chromosomes our alleged ape-human common ancestor had. So, under Miller's logic, there is no reason why a chromosomal fusion event is a necessary prediction of common ancestry for all upper primates.
In fact, if we find evidence that humans have two distinct chromosomes that have evidence of fusion (i.e., let's say human chromosome #2 has fusion evidence, and then, hypothetically, we also find evidence for fusion on human chromosome #9), then under Miller's logic, if apes lack any evidence for a fused chromosome, then this should count against common ancestry. Thus, at the present time, absent a full analysis of fusion evidence in our chromosomes, we cannot necessarily say that the presence of one fused chromosome in humans is a prediction of common ancestry. Much more research still needs to be done.
If Miller's Cold (Chromosomal) Fusion Tale is True, What does it mean for Common Ancestry?
But let's take Miller's word for a second, and assume, ad arguendo (for the sake of argument), that there MUST have been a chromosomal fusion event which created human chromosome #2. What does this mean for common descent?
Miller then testified how human chromosome #2 has two centromeres, which are the central - attachment points used for pulling a chromosome to one end of a cell during mitosis. Chromosomes normally only have one centromere, but human chromosome # 2 looks like two chromosomes were fused together, because it has two centromeres (or at least, it has one normal centromere, and another region that looks a lot like a centromere). Futhermore, Miller noted how chromosome #2 has a section where there are two telomeres, structures normally at the tips of chromosomes, which are found in the middle of chromosome #2. Essentially, these two telomeres are oriented in a way that it looks, genetically speaking, like the ends of two chromosomes were fused together.
So I am more than willing to acknowledge and affirm that Miller did provide some very good direct empirical evidence for a chromosomal fusion event which created human chromosome #2. But I'm more interested in two other questions: if we accept Miller's chromosomal fusion evidence as accurate, then (1) is his chromosome fusion story good evidence for Neo-Darwinian common ancestry between humans and apes? Or (2) does it perhaps pose great problems for a Neo-Darwinian account?
The answer to question (1) is "NO" and the answer to question (2) is "YES!"
Evidence for Fusion in a Human Chromosome Tells you NOTHING about Alleged Common Ancestry with Apes
All Miller has done is documented direct empirical evidence of a chromosomal fusion event in humans. But evidence for a chromosomal fusion event is not evidence for when that event took place, nor is it evidence for the ancestry prior to that event.
The fusion-evidence implies that some of our ancestors likely had 48 chromosomes. But Miller has not provided any evidence that the individual with 48 chromosomes was historically related to modern apes. (I grant that our chromosome #2 has banding patterns similar to two ape chromosomes, but given that our chromosome structure is generally similar to that of apes anyways, it is not a stretch to assume that any 48 chromosome ancestor of you and me had a chromosome structure similar to apes, regardless of whether or not that individual was related to apes. Claiming that banding pattern similarities is evidence of common ancestry with apes simply invokes the “similarity = ancestry” argument, and thus begs the question.) It is entirely possible that our genus Homo underwent a chromosomal fusion event within its own separate history.
Under Neo-Darwinism, the common ancestor of humans and apes is thought to have lived about six million years ago. But under Miller's account, it is entirely possible that this chromosomal fusion event happened only 50,000 years ago. In such a case, this chromosomal fusion event thus needs not have anything to do with making us human-like as opposed to ape-like. Clearly this chromosomal fusion event could be extremely far removed from any alleged ancestry with apes.
In essence, we don't know that this chromosomal fusion event happened on a line which leads back to some alleged common ancestor of apes and humans. All we know is that this fusion event happened in the line that led to you and me. Whether that line has common ancestry with apes is a separate question which cannot be answered by this fusion evidence.
All that evolutionists have claimed is that this fusion event occurred after the split that led to humans, so it occurs only in the human lineage. Evidence of a chromosomal fusion event is not evidence that our line leads all the way back to apes.
Given that we had a 48-chromosome ancestor, we don't know if our 48-chromosome ancestor was an ape or not. For all we know, our 48-chromosome ancestor was a part of a separately designed species, as fully human as anyone you meet on the street today. There is no good reason to think that going from a 46-chromosome individual to a 48-chromosome individual would make our species more ape-like.
Common descent could not have been falsified if there was no evidence for a fusion event, but common descent certainly is not refuted by the presence of a fusion event. The question now stands, does this fusion event provide any evidence for common ancestry between humans and apes? The answer to that question is no.
Biochemical changes do not seem to be a main driving force in the diversification of living organisms…It is not biochemical novelty that generated diversification of organisms…What distinguishes a butterfly from a lion, a hen from a fly, or a worm from a whale is much less a difference in chemical constitutes than in the organization and the distribution of these constituents.” Francois Jacob, a founding father of biochemical genetics, 1977.
The researchers who cracked the genetic code immediately realized that it was universal. Sermonti
For example, the same gene that’s responsible for the tail of the mouse, as well is responsible for the rear extremities of the grasshopper. Sermont
It is not the genes that elicit nascent form, but the nascent form that selects the genes and recruits them for its program Sermonti