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91 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good companion piece to Shubin's Your Inner Fish
Shubin's excellent work Your Inner Fish looks at human evolution from the perspective of paleontology and anatomy: how structures such as hearing and vision developed. Shubin shows how genetic material is such that implanting a mouse gene that triggers the growth of an eye into a fruitfly can trigger the growth of an eye--a fruitfly eye. So the basic building blocks...
Published on February 2, 2008 by David W. Straight

versus
15 of 209 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Conclusions support Intelligent Design
For those of you with the fanaticism of one of Eric Hoffer's True Believers in the religion of evolution, I'd like you to take a deep breath. I too at one time felt that feverish burn you get when confronted with anyone who would be ignorant enough to doubt the evolution of life on earth. As I write I can feel the burn already starting in those of you who embrace...
Published on May 22, 2009 by Frank Mele


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91 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good companion piece to Shubin's Your Inner Fish, February 2, 2008
By 
David W. Straight (knoxville, tennessee United States) - See all my reviews
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Shubin's excellent work Your Inner Fish looks at human evolution from the perspective of paleontology and anatomy: how structures such as hearing and vision developed. Shubin shows how genetic material is such that implanting a mouse gene that triggers the growth of an eye into a fruitfly can trigger the growth of an eye--a fruitfly eye. So the basic building blocks help establish evolution. Fairbanks comes at human evolution from a different angle--genes and DNA. Where Shubin was out in the Canadian Arctic searching for fossil evidence, Fairbanks could work in a lab.

Fairbanks' interests lie in the DNA evidence: comparing human DNA with that of chimpanzees, orangutangs, and other animals. You'll gain a good understanding of transpons, retroelements, and pseudogenes, and how these can be used to analyze evolutionary processes: the evidence is as solid as fingerprints. The DNA makeup of the immediate common ancestor of both humans and chimpanzees, for example, can be deduced. Another interesting point that Fairbanks talks about is the using the diversity of current human DNA to determine human origins. The greatest diversity in the DNA of any species is at the point of origin. As people brought seeds, for example, to a new part of the world, they were bring mostly one strain--little diversity in the DNA. The greatest human diversity is in Africa: you can gather DNA and do not have to be in the field in Olduvai Gorge (the DNA work backs up Leakey's discoveries and work). Native American DNA matches most closely with Asians: this is further evidence for the land bridge and migration from Asia.

There are lots of diagrams of genes, DNA, and chromosomes to supplement a very well-written text. Fairbanks' work is a fine scientific complement to the field work of the Shubins, Leakeys, and others, and he makes a very compelling case.
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164 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relics of 'Eden' Reside Within Us All, January 17, 2008
By 
Carl Flygare (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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The debate over evolution in revanchist religious circles has been rabid and ribald ever since Darwin published "On the Origin of Species" in 1859. Currently, bibliolatrous neocreationists and Intelligent Design ideologues have contrived superficially plausible - to scientific illiterates at least - and generously funded PR campaigns (not science), that sophistically portray evolution as little more than moribund malarkey, desperately maintained by a vast and shadowy scientific omerta. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In "Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Human Evolution in DNA" author Daniel J. Fairbanks unleashes an avalanche of data from the Human Genome Project, and other studies, that leave biblical creationists and c-design-proponentsists (of Dover vs. Kitzmiller infamy) without a fig leaf to cower behind.

"Relics" exclusively utilizes molecular evidence in lieu of fossils and fearlessly addresses the major controversy raging on the origins front of the talibanesque culture war - human evolution and our relationship to other primates - as expressed in the DNA of every person on earth. These relics are millions of non-coding segments of DNA, snippets of our genome that eloquently document common descent with uncommon clarity and incontrovertible evidence.

From chromosomal fusion and pseudogenes to retroelements and transposons the scientific reality of evolution is discussed in articulate, accurate and engaging prose alongside carefully designed illustrations that emphasize and illuminate key points.

Specifics include detailed treatments of how human chromosome 2 resulted from the fusion of two separate chromosomes (corresponding to chimpanzee chromosomes 2A and 2B) after the lineage leading to modern humans split from the one leading to contemporary chimpanzees.

A through discussion of transposable elements, also known as transposons and retroelements (aka 'jumping genes'), such as Alu elements, HERV-K, CMT1A, and GULO provide exacting confirmation of human evolution and our ancestral affiliation with other primates.

Pseudogenes (including unitary pseudogenes, duplication pseudogenes and retropseudogenes) are covered next. Comparisons of pseudogene sequences across species reveal a consistent pattern. Human pseudogenes are most similar to those in chimpanzee DNA, and are highly similar to those of other primates. Species as divergent as rodents and humans also display some degree of ancient pseudogene similarity - additional evidence of our shared evolutionary history with kindred primates, and more distantly related mammals.

"Solving the Trichotomy" (Chapter 4) addresses the evolutionary relationship between humans, chimpanzees and gorillas. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences both show that humans and chimpanzees are more closely related to each other than either is to gorillas. Genome-wide comparison of the human and chimpanzee genomes spectacularly confirms that the genes, chromosomes, transposable elements, and pseudogenes of humans and chimpanzees are strikingly similar. As Fairbanks notes:

"Although the molecular differences constitute only a fraction of the two genomes, they are not trivial. They represent some of the most powerful evidence of common ancestry because they are fully consistent with known mechanisms of chromosome rearrangement, generation of recent transposable elements and pseudogenes, and the effects of natural selection we expect to observe in certain genes and their regulatory regions. The comparison is massive, including thousands of genes and pseudogenes, millions of transposable elements, and billions of base pairs in DNA."

Human mitochondrial DNA diversity, X-chromosome diversity, Y-chromosome diversity, and diversity of DNA sequences in all chromosomes unambiguously reveals that the cradle of humanity (the 'Eden' title reference) is located in sub-Saharan Africa, and also tracks subsequent migrations across the entire globe - initially to the Middle East and Asia, then Europe, Australia, and the Americas.

Three appendices allow readers to delve into these, and other topics, in additional detail. A comprehensive glossary and bibliography are also provided. Fairbanks has written a book that is simultaneously accessible and scientifically sophisticated - a wonderful achievement.

In the final chapter Fairbanks confronts Americans who "...still claim that evolution is a 'theory in crisis,' unsupported by solid evidence, and one that should be abandoned." He addresses "the ongoing assault on science by highly organized and well-funded groups whose political objectives are to cast doubt on the reality of evolution and to restrict or dilute it in the science curricula of public schools."

As a person of faith Fairbanks appeals to co-religionists to disavow the false dichotomy erected by fundamentalists between science (especially evolution) and religion. His spirituality is nourished by wonder and excited by exploration, not shackled by superstition or held captive by fear.

Huckabee huckleberries should embrace, not eviscerate, Fairbanks - he has written one of the most insightful popular works on human evolution in recent memory - and boldly demonstrates that scientific integrity needn't be sacrificed to religious dogma.

Other titles you might enjoy include The Last Human: A Guide to Twenty-Two Species of Extinct Humans (reviewed seperately) by G. J. Sawyer, Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body (reviewed seperately) by Neil Shuban, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters by Donald J. Prothero, and The Age of Everything: How Science Explores the Past by Matthew Hedman.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening evidence for common descent, February 2, 2008
Whether Bible-believing Christians are comfortable with it or not, biological evolution is an issue that is not going away anytime soon. As the very strong case for common descent settles down upon conservative and fundamental Christianity in the coming years, many will be deeply troubled by it's implications. To dismiss the issue as inconsequential ignores the impact it will have on the faith of many. The head-in-the-sand approach of many believers who refuse to study the question, choosing to hold on to their long-held beliefs strikes me as dangerous. For this reason, I am suggesting to my friends who wish to be informed on this subject this book, Relics of Eden by Daniel J. Fairbanks.

Fairbanks, writing from his perspective as a research geneticist, lays out in layman's language some of the basic building blocks for reconstructing the history of life on our planet from DNA. He proceeds to give the reader an overview of what DNA tells us about the interrelatedness of species. I found the book easy to read, and informative. Some of the early chapters (as he develops the building blocks of genetic understanding) are somewhat technical. But the payoff comes as he demonstrates how these bits of information are used to paint a remarkably consistent picture of our past.

The principle of common descent is no longer deniable in the face of DNA evidence. Either humans share a common ancestry with all living things, or the Creator went to a great deal of trouble to make it look that way, right down to the tiniest details of our DNA. If evolution did not happen, then the Creator is a trickster and a deceiver, and all science is rendered meaningless. Relics of Eden powerfully confirms this understanding (Fairbanks describes the mounting evidence as "spectacular"). But the trail of DNA science does not stop there. Comparative DNA is like an accurate time clock, giving us strong clues regarding the "when" of various evolutionary events. This growing treasure trove of information is also being used to reconstruct the great human migrations across our planet, and to do so with a precision which has never been possible for the anthropologist before. And perhaps most significantly, DNA science today is able to trace the history and development of various diseases, and offer up new ways of combating them. It is ironic that so many who resist what DNA is telling us about the history of life on our planet are more than ready to accept the great medical advancements of our day which are based upon the same science. Modern medical science is built upon the evolutionary model.

The final two chapters consist of an appeal to both sides of what Fairbanks characterizes as a false dichotomy: that somehow faith and reason cannot co-exist. Without detailing his own beliefs, Fairbanks makes it clear that he is a man of faith who believes in God as Creator. He appeals to those who choose to perpetuate psuedo-scientific creationism and Intelligent Design to reexamine the evidence, and lay down their battle-axes. I say, "Amen!"
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's No Controversy, April 5, 2008
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I've been expecting a book on this subject and Fairbanks does a superb job.

Tracking fossil evidence in DNA means following the histories of mutations in non-coding DNA segments. There are several different kinds of mutations - some of them more unique than a birthmark. When mutations occur in active coding genes (>2% of the genome), an impaired embryo usually results and neither the new life-form nor the new mutation survives. The mutations that occur in most non-coding segments of DNA have no effect on the embryo, so the life-form is normal, and any mutations accumulate harmlessly in that life-form and its descendants. The earlier on the "tree of life" the mutation occurs, the more species will carry it. Our DNA is full of these gene-prints left by our ancestors.

Here's the simple version of how it works: Orangutans, gorillas, chimps, and humans all had a common ancestor. Then orangutans forked off, leaving gorillas, chimps and humans. Then gorillas forked off, leaving chimps and humans. If a mutation is not in gorillas, chimps, or humans but is in orangutans; you know the mutation happened after orangutans forked off from the common ancestor to all four. If a given mutation is in gorillas but not in the chimps, you can expect it won't be in humans, either.

With a boost from the human genome project, hundreds of species' genomes have been published in the last few years. Studying DNA sequences in species thought to be closely related shows exactly when one species branched off in relation to the other. Since you can use this method for all living things, including living species that haven't changed in 400 million years, molecular biologists are having a field day. A few species have been relocated but by and large, the tree of life painstakingly put together from fossil and geological evidence by paleontologists has been confirmed.

If you just want one good example of how to use DNA "fossil" evidence, read chapter one. Fairbanks explains with words and pictures how the 24 chromosomes of the chimp became 23 chromosomes in the human. Briefly, chimp chromosome two and three fused. The very specific chromosomal and molecular details as to what happened are there for you. Importantly, data like that is only the tip of the iceberg. With such incontrovertible documentation throughout the tree of life as recorded in DNA, I have to ask myself how any reasonable person who honestly studies this subject could doubt evolution.

In 1998, the National Academy of Sciences issued this statement, written before common usage of genome comparison: "It is no longer possible to sustain scientifically the view that living things did not evolve from earlier forms or that the human species was not produced by the same evolutionary mechanisms that apply to the rest of the living world." Now large scale experiments based on DNA analysis have spectacularly confirmed what we already knew.

Fairbanks doesn't overwhelm the reader with details of molecular biology, but those without a bit of an appropriate background might have their hands full. Even so, technical parts can be skipped without missing the point. Anyone thinking there's a controversy about evolution should read this book. As Theodosius Dobzhansky said, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."

DB
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reaching reasonable certainty by way of overwhelming evidence, April 3, 2009
By 
Michael Heath (North Woods of Michigan) - See all my reviews
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Fairbanks' book takes off at a sprint, kicking off with the report on one of the most impressive discoveries in molecular biology, the history and recent validation of the fusion of our chromosome 2 with an additional chromosome we possessed that is nearly exactly the same as the additional chromosome of other great apes (as is our current chromosome 2 when compared to other great apes' chromosome 2A. Any one who has been guided through the past and current structure of these two chromosomes can not reasonably doubt their evolutionary history of once having been two chromosomes at one point identical to other great apes who shared a common ancestry with homo sapiens. That's because this one chromosome still has the attributes of an additional chromosome. Fairbanks doesn't merely provide the finding, he expertly explains the physical evidence, with the helpful use of diagrams that causes this form of physical evidence to be so convincing to anyone who authentically seeks understanding. Fairbanks also preempts any anticipated contradictory arguments by non-scientists creationists; not by mere rhetoric, but instead via a rational accounting of the physical evidence as it is understood not merely by him, but as it has been independently reviewed and accepted by his peers in the field of molecular biology.

While I was cognizant of this fairly recent discovery and expected its inclusion in the book, I wondered how Fairbanks could top that explosive find to keep the book compelling given its position early in the book. Compelling though it is, Fairbanks goes on to provide discovery after discovery that moves deep into the structure of DNA. One of the more fascinating tutorials was how the mutations that occur over time are utilized by species when their environment changes, where Fairbanks does an expert job of explaining how mutations are leveraged by natural selection. He follows this summary with an explanation, supported again by overwhelming evidence; on how populations evolve to the point they are now a different species. In fact his reportage in this area was the most impressive I've encountered in all my general science reading. This is especially important when making an argument for evolution in human DNA coupled to the reality that most non-scientists do not understand the mechanism that could cause a population to evolve to a point they are a new species.

Fairbanks also provides great insight into how science can methodically track back our current genome to its origins, even tracking into the DNA of common ancestral species by using the DNA available in modern day flora and fauna. Fairbanks describes how the DNA in all life provides the "fossil" evidence for our common ancestry along with the evidence needed to relate the closeness of our relationships and the rational inferences on when certain speciation events occurred. The fact this trail is independently confirmed by both the geologic record and the fossil record amply closes the door that "intelligent design" is at work, unless the designer was very unintelligent given the inefficiency of mostly extraneous material in DNA from a design perspective. The fact the actual fossil and geologic record are independently validated by this new evidence has firmly established the theory of evolution as one with overwhelming evidence with no imaginable alternative explanations. Don't believe it? Read this book and then reassess your position.

In terms of reading level, I think anyone who understands high school biology or can read at the college level will enjoy and learn from this book. You may not understand the properties and laws at play but the story will sufficiently emerge, be understood, and provide an enjoyable read. My one criticism of the book is that given Fairbanks provides no primer on molecular biology; the glossary's definitions should have been more expansive. I suggest reading the book near an on-line computer so you can look up the terms in a superior glossary.

There are several book formats available to the general reader to consider the strength of the theory of evolution. I've categorized a few while offering some recommendations that are very readable for the general reader. Other criteria considered was the integrity of the author and the fealty to reporting only peer-accepted work rather than creating arguments that lack peer-accepted evidence:

1) A general tutorial that exposes the reader to the physical evidence while also serving as either a tutorial or inferred case study on scientific methodology. These sorts of books often tie together the multitude of disciplines which have independently validated the evidence though also tending towards some bias in terms of focusing more on fossil evidence at the expense of DNA evidence - especially those published prior to several years ago. These books often ignore creationist arguments given those argument are not scientific. Carl Zimmer's Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins [SMITHSON INTIMATE GT HUMAN ORI] is an excellent example and worthy of any library especially given its photographs and illustrations. I have strong confidence that Zimmer's about to be released book The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution will also be a worthy edition to one's library given that I anticipate his new book will have far more DNA evidence than the Smithsonian book (he's stated as such in his blog).

2) A general tutorial similar to the above example while considering creationist arguments is Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True. Its recent publication date allows Coyne to incorporate much of the more recent DNA evidence that corroborates the fossil evidence. Choices in this area and the former argue for new publications given the wealth of recent discoveries, especially in molecular and developmental biology as we continue to use new technologies to map and observe genomes of an increasing number of species, including our own. Coyne's selection of evidence is also biased towards evidence that falsifies any notions of a creator/designer, especially pseudogenes; genes that were once active in ancestors but have become inactivated.

3) A book that focuses primarily on the debate between science and creationism is Ken Miller's Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul. Given Miller's status as a cell biologist who also teaches a introductory level biology course at Brown University, Miller is an excellent instructor that doesn't avoid molecular biology as much as previous general evolution books.

4) Profiles and memoirs of scientists engaged in evolution that also present evidence of evolution though focusing on a particular discovery or the personal experiences of the scientists themselves. These take on a more personal tone while often reporting on an aspect of the compelling evidence for evolution. Two masterpieces have been recently published, Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Vintage) and Sean B. Carroll's Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species. Shubin and Carroll present the romantic aspect of the journey and discovery that can make a scientific life so personal fulfilling while greatly advancing human knowledge. However, the amount of evidence, along with the breadth of these offerings' coverage is astonishing. I was most impressed and amazed at how broad a functional expert Shubin is, going well beyond the fame he's earned with his fieldwork right into the lab in terms of his discoveries in developmental biology.

5) A comprehensive review of a subset of the functions that contribute to our current set of findings and understanding. These made good follow-up books to the more general books like Coyne's aforementioned book. Examples in this category have authors focusing specifically on the fossil evidence, or the evidence in our DNA. Three books appear to have risen to the top in this area, all are very worthy reads. Fairbanks' offering reviewed here, Carroll's competing offering, The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution, and regarding the fossil and geologic evidence, Donald Prothero's Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evidence of Evolution via Genetics, March 30, 2008
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'Relics of Eden' presents a very nice summary of how current investigations in molecular biology are providing evidence for evolution. With the advent of the modern synthesis, the incorporation of genetics with Darwinian evolution, the theory of evolution is gaining additional support. Much of this new evidence comes from what Daniel Fairbanks refers to as the relics of Eden, the pseudogenes or that part of our DNA not currently being used for coding purposes. A short history describing the development of the modern synthesis is included as an appendix. Today, genetics is the major player in evolution and this book explains how this work is proceeding.

The book focuses on human evolution and the similarities and differences in our genes compared to those of chimpanzees. Not only the similarity in genes between closely, or even distantly, related species, but their differences show how modern species developed and how they are related. Although we have more than 98 percent of our DNA in common with chimpanzees, the differences are also important in showing the link and in making us who we are.

This book is a good companion book to Donald Prothero's `Evolution', which describes biological diversity in terms of the fossil record. `Relics of Eden' is well written, easy for the lay person to read and is recommended for the beginner interested in learning how we got here. A well-chosen glossary at the back of the book provides a quick reference to the definition of common terms used in the book, something I would like to see in other scientific books aimed at the lay person.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very handy for defending evolution from the naysayers, September 23, 2008
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M. Gallagher (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
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The only improvement that could be made upon this book would be for Fairbanks to have been a bit more aggressive in explaining exactly HOW each piece of evidence supports evolutionary theory, and how it does NOT support the hypothesis of an intelligent designer. He does this to some extent, but Sean Carroll beats home the point better in his "The Making of the Fittest". Overall, though, this is a very good book with concise examples of molecular evidence for evolution. A brief introduction to genetics, molecular biology, and evolutionary biology, however, may have supplemented the evidence nicely so that someone who isn't well versed in these topics can see EXACTLY why the evidence is so convincing.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent companion to Why Evolution is True, May 4, 2009
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Relics of Eden is a great companion to Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True. Whereas Jerry Coyne sampled evidence from many different disciplines and didn't dig very deep into the DNA evidence, Fairbanks fills in the blanks with a book-length summary of the evidence in understandable terms for the uninitiated. This book gets into more technical details of DNA than other books on evolution I have read, but that makes sense because I've never read a book whose topic is exclusively DNA. But Fairbanks always defines his terms and explains them to the reader - often with helpful diagrams - so that you can get a handle on the meaning even if you know nothing about DNA.

The remainder of this review constitutes a summary of selected pieces of the book:

The vast majority of DNA is mostly functionless; it doesn't code proteins and doesn't have any direct effect on embryology. But within this wasteland is a world of information, such as remnants of mutated genes that no longer function. For instance, the GULO gene allows other animals to make vitamin C, but humans and primates have a mutated version of the gene that no longer functions (called a pseudogene). Presumably, our ancient ancestors consumed plenty of vitamin C and had little need for this gene - so when an offspring was born with a mutated (and disabled) GULO gene, there was no decrease in fitness, allowing the mutated gene to be passed on to future generations. It was "selectively neutral." Any further mutations to the gene were also selectively neutral - they had no impact on the fitness of the individual carrying the mutation. Regardless of why we ended up with a mutated GULO gene, Fairbanks writes "the fragment that's left is loaded with mutations; about 20 percent of the DNA sequence is mutated." "Although this pseudogene is highly mutated and utterly useless, humans and chimpanzees have almost identical copies of it. The chimpanzee genome contains the same GULO pseudogene, in the same place in the DNA, and the chimpanzee and human versions are 98 percent identical. The same can be said for almost every other pseudogene in the human genome. With a few notable exceptions, chimpanzees and humans have the same pseudogenes in the same places, and they are, on average, about 98 percent similar."

So even though humans cannot make vitamin C, our ancestors once could, and there is a trace of this ancient capacity left in our DNA. The human genome actually contains more pseudogenes - about 20,000 - than real genes, providing volumes of information about our evolutionary past. As Fairbanks noted above, the fact that chimpanzees share the vast majority of our nonfunctional pseudogenes, including almost all of the same mutations to them, speaks volumes about our common ancestry. Why would an intelligent designer put thousands of useless, mutated versions of genes in our DNA, then put almost identical copies in chimpanzee DNA, and slightly less similar copies in gorillas, and slightly less similar copies in orangutans, etc?

A retrovirus, such as the AIDS virus and the flu, makes a copy of its genetic code and inserts it into the host's DNA. In rare cases, "a retrovirus inserted itself into the DNA of an immature reproductive cell that gave rise to sperm or egg cells." The virus is now part of the offspring's DNA and can be copied to any future progeny. When a retrovirus becomes mutated and cannot infect new cells, it is called a retroelement. "Retroelements make up a whopping 42.8 percent of the human genome." There are millions of copies of retroelements in human DNA, relics of ancient infections. How ancient? "In case after case, transposable elements [a retroelement is one kind of transposable element] in human DNA were present at exactly the same positions in chimpanzee DNA, and to a lesser degree in other apes and monkeys." The obvious explanation is that the infections occurred in the common ancestors of those species who share them. Why would an intelligent designer scatter millions of virus-like retroelements throughout our DNA and put nearly identical copies in chimp DNA, in all the same locations? And why is the degree of similarity of retroelements in different species related to the degree of similarity in pseudogenes, the degree of physiological similarity of the species, and the fossil record?

Of course the hypothetical designer could have inscrutable motives that we could never understand, but the patterns observed in DNA fit perfectly with a wealth of other independent evidence (outside the scope of this book) such as the fossil record, comparative anatomy, vestigial organs, comparative embryology, etc, etc. All the evidence points to one obvious conclusion, one simple explanation: common descent with modification. To quote Jerry Coyne "if a designer did have discernible motives when creating species, one of them must surely have been to fool biologists by making organisms look as though they evolved."

Chapters 9 and 10, entitled "when faith and reason clash" and "abandoning the dichotomy" are aimed at reconciling the overwhelming evidence of common descent with religious faith. Fairbanks writes "I hold deep religious convictions," but it seems that he has kept his religious convictions separate from his scientific work. In any case where his religion makes falsifiable empirical claims and those claims have been falsified beyond a reasonable doubt, he seems to have chosen reason over faith, relegating faith to those matters which are unfalsifiable. If one insists upon faith in anything, this is the most reasonable position in my opinion. However, if those falsifiable claims made by your religion have been falsified, then what does that tell you about the reliability of the unfalsifiable ones? I, for one, am not inspired with confidence. But these chapters are rather aside from the main thrust of the book, which is no worse off for the author's religious convictions.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, consice, amazin, August 26, 2008
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I took a class from the author and came across this book a few years after and was immediately taken to it. I could not put the book down. He explained all the ideas very simply yet was also able to really nail the ideas as well. I would recommend this book to anybody looking for a book about evidence of evolution in our DNA. Great read.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelming evidence that humans share an ancestor with the apes, July 15, 2009
Despite being about a topic as intimidating as genetics, this book is very easy to read. Many creationists deny the existence of transitional features in fossils, dispute the accuracy of radiometric dating, and claim that the world's geologic features can be explained by a worldwide flood (all nonsense of course), but the DNA evidence put forth in this book leaves no room to argue against our evolutionary past.
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