A Note From Our Editor: “Logic” In Evolutionary Biology -- By: John Warwick Montgomery
A Note From Our Editor: “Logic” In Evolutionary Biology
Richard Dawkins continually rants against Intelligent Design as being faith-based and therefore “irrational.” Let us briefly examine some recent research in his field and see where the logic really lies.
Le Figaro—one of France’s most influential national newspapers—ran a lengthy article in its 28 May 2012 issue, titled “How Man Acquired Intelligence” (our translation, as throughout this diatribe). The article was based in large part on research reported in the May 11 issue of the journal Cell, with analysis by French specialists in neuroscience. We number the essential arguments in the article to facilitate comment on the “logic” of each.
- After the successful sequencing of the human genome in 2003, followed by that of the chimpanzee in 2005, it has been concluded that some six million years ago, when a separation of the two primates from their common ancestor allegedly occurred, hundreds of additional genes appeared by duplication in the humans and the proteins issuing from these copies were able to acquire new functions—specifically the augmentation of nerve connections in the prefrontal neo-cortex.
- At California’s Scripps Institute, Francis Franck Polleux discovered that the gene SRGAP2 in mammals facilitates the migration and extension of nerve cells in brain development. A copy of this gene (SRGAP2C), unique to the human being, appears to provide the ability to amplify the number of cellular surface contact points (“dendritic spines”). These pyramidal neuron cells of the prefrontal cortex relate directly to our most complex mental functions, each having 10,000 dendritic spines capable of connecting with other neurons. When SRGAP2C was introduced into mice [our italics], the number of their spines increased two to three times!
- According to researchers at the University of Washington, SRGAP2C appeared on the scene some 2.5 million years ago, at the same time as a massive enlargement of the human neo-cortex over against that of the Australopithecus (an extinct genus of hominoids). It was at this point that the genus Homo came on the scene.
- To be sure, more was involved. As Alain Prochiantz, professor at the prestigious Collège de France, admits: “Many genomic modifications must have contributed to the humanization of the brain—not only with the appearance of these newly discovered proteins but also with mutations [our italics] affecting the regulating of the genetic expression.”
Well, what’s to be said of all this?
- Does similarity between the human brain and the chimpanzee brain signify a common origin—six million years ago or yesterday? The medieval logicians identified the logical fallacy of post hoc, ergo propter hoc: t... You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.visitor : : uid: ()
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