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Human Genome Confirms Evolution

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the hand-of-god dept.

Science 933

xpccx writes "Here is a very interesting article at MSNBC by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He states that "The genome reveals, indisputably and beyond any serious doubt, that Darwin was right - mankind evolved over a long period of time from primitive animal ancestors. Our genes show that scientific creationism cannot be true." This is arguable but should spark quite a debate." Even Kansas agrees.

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Let's hope little girl doesn't do project on this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#411227)

Let's hope a little girl doesn't do a science fair exhibit [] on evolution. Remember, if it's "controversial", then it must too be "wrong" and will be supressed.

Do kids still read copies of Huckleberry Finn in school that don't have "Nigger Jim" edited out of them? (The term is NOT racist as used in the book nor in the context of the era in which it was written.) Just like the acronym NAACP was chosen by blacks themselves. But what does the "C" in that acronym stand for? And what would happen to someone who used that word to refer to blacks today? Why is there a demand to get rid of the rebel flag from the Georgia state flag but not for the NAACP to change it's name? Hypocrites everywhere!

Re:First Evolution (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#411242)

All our genes are belong to Darwin.

Kansas, eh? (2)

abischof (255) | more than 13 years ago | (#411243)

That "even Kansas agrees [] " bit seems almost tantamount to Bill Gates saying, in 2004 or so "That Linux 2.6 kernel, it's grrreat!"

Alex Bischoff

You cannot "disprove" something (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 13 years ago | (#411248)

Nothing can ever be disproven, things can only be proven. You cannot *prove* that you are not some program running in someone else's computer, you can only prove that you are here right now reading this.

This does bring some basis to Darwin's theory, as it now seems to fit better, but it certainly doesn't even prove that, let alone disprove Scientific Creationism.

The genome reveals, indisputably and beyond any serious doubt, that Darwin was right -- mankind evolved over a long period of time from primitive animal ancestors.

That is an opinion. An early one, and one to spark debate. I cannot believe a serious journalist reported that.

Our genes show that scientific creationism cannot be true.

Not only can something like that not be proven, as aforementioned, this statment is inflammatory.

Hey, if someone posted the *story* as a *comment* to this Slashdot story, it'd probably get modded as Flaimbait!

ticks = jiffies;
while (ticks == jiffies);
ticks = jiffies;

Won't change closed minds (1)

Groucho (1038) | more than 13 years ago | (#411250)

There is NO WAY this news will change the minds of hardcore creationists. All it will do is make them look even sillier in the eyes of those who know better.

Many creationists believe the entire fossil record was deposited by Noah's flood. If you ask them why there are different species at different layers, they will reply with the theory of "hyrdrological sorting". (What's that? See link below)

As soon as I read the article I knew what the reply would be, at least from some of them: a) God was economical and once he came up with genes that worked he used them over and over in other creatures, and b) there's no proof that the genes changed slowly over time instead of being created in one fell swoop. Never mind why that's absurd; when you question creationist "theories" they develop baroque rationalizations and ask idiot things like "how do we really know anything for sure except God's word?" AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!

If you want to know what so-called scientific creationists think and why they're wrong, there's no better resource than The TalkOrigins Archive. []


Scientific Creationism? What is it? (5)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 13 years ago | (#411254)

The only form of creationism I know involves an omnipotent creator. Such a creater can obviously do anything (that's omnipotent for you), including faking evidence of evolution. However, any theory requiring an omnipotent creator is unscientific, as it can never be disproved. One requirement for a scientific theory is that is falsifable, i.e. it is possible to design an experiment with a possible outcome that would disprove the theory.

Which makes me wonder, what is this "scientific creationism" thing? Creationism without an creator? Or just another abuse o fthe word scientific?

Note that "scientific" does not mean "true". A theory can be scientific and false, or unscientific and true.

Interesting Editorial (5)

WaldoJMU (2651) | more than 13 years ago | (#411267)

This is a very well-written and interesting editorial... but it's not a scientific article.

Dr. Caplan does an excellent job of pontificating his viewpoint - that Darwin was right and "all those who thump their bible and say there is no proof" are wrong; he very clearly and concisely tells us that the proof of evolution is in our genes, and that every scientist worth his/her salt agrees that there is no other explanation other than Darwinian evolution.

However, not once does he lay out the proof of which he speaks. Whether Dr. Caplan's viewpoint is correct or not, this article is nothing more than an emotionally persuasive argument with no scientific credibility whatsoever. It's well and good to say that there is undeniable evidence of Darwinian evolution in the human genome - that's what most people have been hoping for, searching for; but if such a sweeping statement is going to be made, especially to the rather scientifically ignorant masses that MSNBC and other mainstream media outlets serve, then it must be backed up by the actual evidence in question, lest we fall into the trap of believing a Big Lie that simply gets repeated enough times.

Science is detailed observation of the natural world, and this article offers no such observations, only emotionalism. I would greatly enjoy reading a scientific paper on this subject.

Re:I wonder... (1)

lambda (4236) | more than 13 years ago | (#411276)

What moon landing? 2001: A Space Odyssey?

Other breaking news... (3)

jamiemccarthy (4847) | more than 13 years ago | (#411277)

In other news, the NEAR probe's landing on Eros finally proves, once and for all, that Copernicus' heliocentric model of the solar system was correct!

I'm glad we can finally know for sure that Aristotle's earth-centered model [] was wrong.

Jamie McCarthy

Re:This Doesn't Disprove "Scientific Creationism" (2)

Psiren (6145) | more than 13 years ago | (#411288)

Yeah, and this annoys me somewhat. You will never be able to get these people to see your point of view.
They have faith in God, and thats all they need. The fact that the rest of us thinks its silly at best, and ludicrous at worst seems inconsequential to them.

Proof of Evolution? (4)

bgarrett (6193) | more than 13 years ago | (#411289)

Please distinguish between the "Bible-thumping zealots" and people who actually practice the tenets of Christianity while at the same time taking a reasonable viewpoint. By "reasonable" I do not mean "scientifically mainstream", however. The fact that living things change over time is quite plainly true. The fact that all DNA is constructed from the same basic building blocks is also true. The revelation that a fraction of the former estimates for human DNA are actually relevant is interesting, but ultimately it doesn't prove anything along the lines of "we are descended from bacteria". The fact that we may have genetic sequences in common with bacteria is not in itself proof; we're also composed in part from minerals like iron, and I see nobody suggesting that human beings evolved from rock. Shared components do not in and of themselves prove ancestry.

Re:This Doesn't Disprove "Scientific Creationism" (5)

caveman (7893) | more than 13 years ago | (#411299)

If DNA is god's signature, then all we need is his credit card number. And behold, let there be sixteen-way xeon systems! And the users did rejoice, and did feast upon the CPU cycles.

Re:Not going to change any minds (1)

ElrondHubbard (13672) | more than 13 years ago | (#411340)

Not that I disagree with him, but if I were a creationist I wouldn't find Dr. Caplan's article very convincing. He provides little real evidence or argument to back up his claim that the human genome "proves" that humans evolved via natural selection. In fact, the closest thing I can find to an argument is his observation that the genes for crucial human traits seem "jerry-rigged" in a fashion which seems incompatible with intelligent (or omnipotent) design. This article reads more like a statement of faith than one of science. Surely someone can do better.

Re:Scientific Creationism? What is it? (1)

st. augustine (14437) | more than 13 years ago | (#411348)

Scientific Creationism is a peculiarly American delusion that for the same evidence that has led most educated people to believe that the universe is many billions of years old, that the Earth is several billion years old, and that humans evolved from African plains apes, and so on and so forth, one can construct an equally plausible or even more plausible explanation putting the age of the Earth and the universe at a few thousand years, with all life created roughly simultaneously and at its current level of complexity shortly thereafter.

Symptoms include: The acceptance of the Bible as validated experimental evidence; the invocation of a great flood in order to explain away geological evidence; and various contorted attempts to do away with general relativity, some of which sound plausible if you don't look at the math too closely.

Noooo! (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#411373)

That wailing denial you hear is the Board of Education and the legislature of the state of Kansas, United States of America.


Won't change anyones mind (2)

rw2 (17419) | more than 13 years ago | (#411377)

The belief in creation was already irrational. It won't take much for a mind already willing to accept a 10K year old earth, a flood for which there is no evidence, the manipulation of physics needed for us to see light from 10B years ago and the hundreds of biblical self contradictions (the death penalty being ok in one part then contradicted in another, different numbers of kids for the same dude depending on the author...) to bend further and contradict this evidence.

PBLCs (PBLC [] ) have there beliefs and will stick to them. We could find ETs and they would come up with a way to relate it to Genesis.

Since I link to the PBLC node above, let me also throw in a plug for an anti-literal world view Things creationists hate [] .


Re:Proof of Evolution? (1)

Fly (18255) | more than 13 years ago | (#411381)

Why would one not say that we are evolved from rock? Many would say that the first life did evolve from non-living matter (e.g. rock) and, thus, we are descended from that. I believe one of Carl Sagan's favorite lines was, "We are the stuff of stars."

Finally They Get A Clue (1)

ckuske (19234) | more than 13 years ago | (#411383)

Finally Kansas is looking at the same facts that Physical Anthropology students have been looking at for years now, like vestigial organs, and the commonality of DNA among primates and man. Even mitochondrial DNA backs up the fact that we have evolved. Mitochondria are actually bacteria living in our cells, in a symbiotic relationship. Kansas, thanks for waking up, the rest of the world appreciates it.

Re:Not necessarily (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#411384)

> I mean, God could have been one half-assed programmer.

He (or she) apparently won the Obfuscated Genome Contest, and got the IP rights to planet earth as the prize.


Re:This article confirms that scientists are troll (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#411385)

Yeah, I just submitted an article to The American Journal of Flamebait.


Alas (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#411386)

Alas, when the author claims that "Our genes show that scientific creationism cannot be true", he grossly underestimates the ability of "scientific" creationists to ignore facts that conflict with (their interpretation of) divine revelation.

If you ever decide you want a quick synopsis of the creationist mode of thought, drop over to and look a the asinine arguments and lame rhetorical tricks that creation advocates use over and over again, ever failing to address the actual evidence that is brought up to refute their claims.

You can also find out a lot about creationists and evolution by reading some of the FAQs at [] .

Re:This Doesn't Disprove "Scientific Creationism" (5)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#411387)

> But not only could it be God's creative signature but also an "easter egg" left in our programming to baffle scientists for millenia.

And the easter egg is a pop-up that says


First things first. . . (3)

Salgak1 (20136) | more than 13 years ago | (#411390)

Talking about science disproving a religious belief, or vice versa, it 100% grade-AAA bovine excrement. They aren't really in competition: science relies on the repeatable experiment as its' basis, and religion relies on articles of faith as its' basis. It's not that they're incompatible, it's that they're asking totally different questions.

Science asks: How ???
Religion asks: Why ???

And now, I'll sit back, and await the flames from both the pure-science fanatics and the pure-religion fanatics. . .

Evidence not Proof (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 13 years ago | (#411399)

I'll start by pointing out that I'm trained in paleontology, and think the theories of evolution are more or less right although Darwin's part is just a fair attempt at a small piece of the whole process. I don't 'believe' in evolution because that's not what you do with scientific theories.

Having said that - this article is a bunch of crap. While the human genome data strongly supports evolution it doesn't prove anything.
This is a lot of new data that is probably a map of human DNA. (Keep in mind that lots of experiments have turned out to be measuring something other than was intended.) A lot more work needs to be done before anyone can make serious claims about what the data says.

The statement that anyone seeing the data would come away with the same conclusion is nonsense as well. It just shows that the author is grasping at a new straw to try and convince people about his favorite theory. A creationist could just as easily conclude that God chose to build the same basic code in all DNA, and claim that it proves creationism.

This is the kind of reporting that pushes real science back rather than advancing it.

still a theory *sigh* (1)

wemmick (22057) | more than 13 years ago | (#411404)

But the "scientific" creationists will still contend that it's still the theory of evolution... *arrrggh*


Darwin VS God (5)

Numeric (22250) | more than 13 years ago | (#411405)

To play Devil's Advocate:

I took a Darwin class in college and debated the issue Darwin VS God, where I interviewed a Catholic priest as a primary source, as well, as read through some Church documents. From what I gathered and remember, the Church states, God began the process of creating humans (The presence of a soul in humans separates man/woman from animals). In other words, he didn't say "Hocus Pocus, I am going to pull Adam and Eve from my magical hat." The "process of creation" could be something quite similar to Darwin's evolution theory. The Biblical tale of Adam and Eve should be interpreted as "folklore". So this story doesn't fully address nor fulfill "Creation vs. Evolution" debate in the present day. God and Darwin can be both correct.

Not going to change any minds (2)

SnowDog_2112 (23900) | more than 13 years ago | (#411416)

Speaking as someone who was raised in a very bible-oriented "Christian" home, I can say this won't change any minds.

Yes, this may be a more impressive "proof" than the fossil record. But it still doesn't stand up to the unwavering faith these people have in their bibles.

The belief that their god created everything as part of his master plan doesn't really depend on implementation. Why are our genes the wacky way they are? Well, for the same reason dinosaurs walked the earth for so long only to die out -- because their god wanted it that way, and made it that way.

There isn't a fact out there that can challenge their beliefs. That's the whole point of faith, isn't it?

Not necessarily (5)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 13 years ago | (#411422)

I mean, God could have been one half-assed programmer.

Bush's assertion: there ought to be limits to freedom

This Doesn't Disprove "Scientific Creationism" ... (4)

IntelliTubbie (29947) | more than 13 years ago | (#411426)

All the DNA evidence in the world can't disprove "scientific creationism." In fact, nothing can disprove scientific creationism. It's unfalsifiable, and therefore there's nothing "scientific" about it. A creationist could simply say that God chose to create us with DNA containing similar components from other living things. And who are we to question His choice? Maybe these virtually identical strands of DNA are God's creative signature -- his way of demonstrating that all life is connected to its Creator. I don't believe it, but hey, you can't disprove it.


Some detail would have been nice.... (3)

Janthkin (32289) | more than 13 years ago | (#411443)

The story, I'm afraid, was completely useless. "This proves evolution!" they say. "These discoveries are the end of the argument!" they trumpet. But the story doesn't really explain HOW this result marks the end of creationism. Anyone seen a good scientific paper on this yet, or must we wait until they get published? Before alienating millions of fundamentalist Christians, it'd be nice to have the facts....

Re:This Doesn't Disprove "Scientific Creationism" (2)

wiredog (43288) | more than 13 years ago | (#411488)

This is why I don't follow any particular religion, but am not an atheist. You simply cannot prove the existance, or non-existance, of an immaterial being.

Creationism is Impossible to Disprove (1)

Sammy76 (45826) | more than 13 years ago | (#411493)

Unfortunately, when one brings God into the context of an argument, there is no real counter-argument. One of the neat things about God is that he all-powerful and omnipotent, therefore anything is possible, including having human genes that are similar to other organisms.

With God, since we are not privy to his master plan, nothing "doesn't make sense." Of course it makes sense, it just isn't what you were expecting. So this argument of creationism versus evolution boils down to something ephemeral frustrating for scientists - faith. It is impossible to argue with faith, so don't try.

The article was really about some PhD who wants a headline and knows the easiest way grab it is to piss off a large group of people with a black and white statement -- "Darwin Vindicated, Creationism is Dead!" Instead, his headline should be "Genome Mapping Consistant with Previous Scientific Thought" because that is all the new evidence provides.

Did anyone ever doubt it? (2)

omarius (52253) | more than 13 years ago | (#411506)

No. But to those people who have true faith that the world is five thousand some-odd years old and that the dinosaurs are a hoax, it means nothing. It's just injurious blather from some missionary from that religion of science to which so many of us subscribe. :)


That's a bit misleading (2)

bugg (65930) | more than 13 years ago | (#411541)

Kansas didn't change their standards because of this study, nor do they say they supported it. They did it some time last week, too.

To say that Kansas agrees with the statement that the Genome undeniably proves evolution is, well, a statement without any fact backing it up.

Creationist Argument (1)

Markee (72201) | more than 13 years ago | (#411574)

Of course, the Creator has created all living beings in such a way that their "evolution", as the rationalist "Spock" type of guys understand it, is plausible within their model of the world. Much like the dinosaur bones that he implanted into the dirt for our scientists to find them.

Disclaimer: This remark is meant to be ironic.

Does it really prove it? (4)

Manic Miner (81246) | more than 13 years ago | (#411585)

Ok, I'm a Christian and a scientist and I would like to point that I do think evolution could have happened.

However, I would like to point something out which I think people usually fail to take into account. If we take as red for a moment that there is an almighty, all powerful God who created the universe. And that he created us in his own image (thats what the bible says). Well, I have a sense of humor so I think that God probably does to.

Given all of this, what is to stop God having created us the way he did, and then leaving a couple of "jokes" for us to fall for? I could just imagine him laughing... ha, you guys have got it sooooo wrong!

But as I said I actually think that evolution is correct, but is it really "proved" (can you actually prove something which you can't observe and recreate? and even then is it proved?) does knowing that we evolved actually help? Where did the whole universe come from? - the big bang? Well what created the big bang? Don't forget the ask the next question... I found that it led me to God. I find believeing that we are only here because of random chance impossible to believe, just look at the work around us - it's incredible, I can't believe it wasn't designed by God.

"Indisputable"? Well.... (1)

BobGregg (89162) | more than 13 years ago | (#411613)

I'm not sure why an editorial - which this article obviously is - rates posting on /., unless it's just to spark debate. For a serious scientist to say "you can't question this" is pretty flaky. And even his "arguments", such as they were, weren't presented particularly well. Yes, there's plenty of evidence for long-term human evolution hidden in the genes - see Matt Ridley's "Genome" for some really good examples. However, the author of this article doesn't provide any examples at all, or anything else to back up his views, other than saying "you can't argue with me". Gee, how convincing.

In fact, the one scientific claim the author does try to appeal to is that we must have "descended from bacteria", because we carry "clumps of genes" from them. However, my understanding of those clumps - assuming he's talking about transposons and the like - is that those DNA sequences simply "invaded" our own DNA en masse, and have been hitchhiking along ever since. Yes, that's a form of evolution, but it isn't the same as saying we "descended" from them, as he claims to do.

In short, there is plenty of exciting evidence in the genome that shows how humanity has evolved over the eons. Too bad this article doesn't contain any of that. I can save people the trouble of reading the article by summarizing it for them here: "Darwin was right. I say so. Other scientists all say so. See, I must be right. You can't argue with it. Therefore, Darwin was right."

Maybe I'm just getting too cynical in my old age, but I expect better from scientists, even in the mass media, than this.

Re:Not the best written piece (1)

BobGregg (89162) | more than 13 years ago | (#411614)

> Of course, the creationists will not drop their
> case (no evidence imaginable would disprove
> it to them)

Oh come now, give them a little credit. After all, they've dropped their claim about the Sun revolving around the Earth, haven't they? :-)

...well, most of them, anyway.

Re:This Doesn't Disprove "Scientific Creationism" (1)

god_of_the_machine (90151) | more than 13 years ago | (#411617)

Of course, in pure scientific terms nothing is ever proved, and this would have to be included in that. But what this does tell us is that if some form of creation were true, we were designed to appear as if we evolved. Just like the universe was designed to appear as if were millions of years old instead of 6,000 biblical years.

You will never prove the religious crackpots wrong -- because you can never prove the non-existance of something. Besides, they have a further weapon: faith. That can make any sort of evidence disappear into the deep recesses of denail.


Re:Not going to change any minds (1)

MicroBerto (91055) | more than 13 years ago | (#411621)

Sounds more like stubbornness to me.
Sounds more like ignorance to me.

Mike Roberto
- GAIM: MicroBerto

We need DETAILS and REASONS! (2)

MicroBerto (91055) | more than 13 years ago | (#411622)

I like this a lot -- but if I'm going to stand up and argue against somebody about evolution, I'm going to need more details than a PhD saying "This is for sure, without a doubt, correct!"

They say that evolution is the *only* explanation for what we have. Explanation to what? Where can we find a better in-depth look at this?

I'm not trying to argue, i'm trying to better educate myself. And i hope that i can defend evolution if i get more details

Mike Roberto
- GAIM: MicroBerto

Re:First Evolution (1)

SaxMaster (95691) | more than 13 years ago | (#411634)

Funny! If i had mod points...

Re:Not necessarily (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 13 years ago | (#411635)

> I mean, God could have been one half-assed
> programmer.

Normally I am not the one to defend any gods, however, I would point out that - all good programmers reuse code. No strike that, all programmers re-use code.

I mean hey, who has written more than "one or two" programs (of any type) and never said "Oh, I had to do something just liek this over in..." and went and grabbed a subroutine?


What about the missing link? (2)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 13 years ago | (#411638)

"Eric Lander of the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass., said that if you look at our genome it is clear that "evolution ... must make new genes from old parts.""

If this is so, combine the fact that race is not recorded in the genes: If evolution didn't create races, then what did? We certainly can't stem from the same primate Adam and Eve. Where's Missing Link these days?

It appears to me that evolution would automatically tend to simplify genes as much as possible. Basically so that a simple mutation of a gene could lead to a simple change in attribute of the individual. However, you can't switch race this way and it makes you wonder. Because emmigration and climate changes are nothing new under the sun..

I'd love to hear someone who knows about the subject explain this to me, in a calm and mellow voice ;-)

- Steeltoe


cybercuzco (100904) | more than 13 years ago | (#411653)

Mod the parent up!

But the LORD GOD looked upon his credit report and was wroth. HE looked down upon the sleeping earth and saw that man was corrupted by the might of his bandwith, and pron flowed freely among the systems. And the LORD GOD called upon his credit card company and cancelled the card number and woe unto he who used it after said date. Meanwhile, not less than a swallows flight away, Saint Atalark snuck a hand greande from the arsenal of the great black beast of AARGH. Then saint Atalark raised up the hand grenade on high and said "O LORD bless this thy hand grenade, that it may blow thine enemies into tiny bits, in thy mercy." And the lord did grinand blessed the hand grenade. And the people feasted upon the lambs, and the sloths, and the orangutangs, and the breakfast cereals, and the fruit bats....

Yeah well... (1)

jgerman (106518) | more than 13 years ago | (#411673)

Interesting article, though more than a little biased. This guy seems like he's just gloating that the theory he believes in, evolution, is correct.

Now don't get me wrong, I tend to lean towards evolution myself, (for a really wild, mind blowing description of eveolution check out The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins), but to make blanket statements, such as "there is no other possible explanation, when referring to the validity of Darwins Theory. Bullshit, there are an infinite number of possibilities. If I were a religious man I could say that God made us that way, case closed. It's pure arrogance that make the author, and humans in general, believe they know what is truly going on. The truth is we don't know... science only serves to build a consistent framework through which we view the world.

Einstein characterizes science really well with his watch analogy. It goes something like this: Imagine a watch that we cannot open, we can observe it's behavior, and possibly make reasonably educated guesses about it's internal workings, we may postulate that there are gears, springs ect. inside which give this watch it's distinctive behavior, but if the watch is unopenable, we can never really know what is going on.

All this is not to say that science is worthless. Like I said before it provides a framework for us to operate in, but any explanation we have for our world is not necessarily the true one.

In order for this article to have been a little more accurate, the author should have said, "there is no other possible explanation... that we are aware of". Truth is a function of time, fifty years from now a biologist may discover something that completely revolutionizes biology in the same way that Quantum Mechanice altered physics. We also cannot rule out the possiblility that humans do not even have the capacity to understand certain things, and never will.

Re:This Doesn't Disprove "Scientific Creationism" (1)

jgerman (106518) | more than 13 years ago | (#411674)

Theres nothing scientific about science either. All science is based on concepts that are unfalsifiable. Besides the fact that the laws of science, which science is ruled by state that in order for anything to exist, it maust have mass and be extensible. Niether of which are qualities possesed by the laws of science, therefore they do not exist. And science vanishes in a puff of logic.

Really though, we can't rule out any possibility that we cannot disprove... I tend to believe in evolution as well, but it is not the only possibility.

No, it's BAD news for darwinists (5)

Wizard of OS (111213) | more than 13 years ago | (#411678)

Quoting from the 'Geeks4christ [] ' site:
Ted Bardusch writes "Since the news that the human genome only contains 30000 genes or so (speculation had been like 142000), the model of one gene, one protein seems to be broken. As the NY times put it in the op-ed pice by Gould tml [] the model is now going to have to be far more complex. And the more complex it gets, the harder it is to see how a "simple" change can produce a series of mutations that leads to macro-evolution working. Like the irreducible complexity argument that Behe uses, this provides further fuel to the need to revisit the validity of Darwin. After all, Darwin himself stated that his theory would be invalid if there were complexity found at the cellular level. This shows there is huge complexity at an even deeper level. "

This says exactly the opposite.


This proves nothing of the sort. (3)

MikeTheYak (123496) | more than 13 years ago | (#411687)

You cannot 'disprove' Creationism. To do so, you would have to prove that God (or whoever) was unable to create a genome that looks like it had evolved from bacteria. Mapping the genome and seeing consistent patterns is no more compelling, in my opinion, than noting the similarities in human and mouse physiologies. It may be astronomically improbable that the human genome got to its current state in any way other than evolution (good luck proving that), but probabilities don't count when you're talking about religion.

I believe in evolution. I agree that the results presented here are independently corroborating evidence of evolution. However, the article does not present a single piece of evidence that invalidates the theory of Creationism. The author hypocritically takes the same tone as one of the bible-thumping zealots he derides.

This article confirms that scientists are trolls. (1)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 13 years ago | (#411698)

Beyond any doubt.

Not the best written piece (1)

Kotetsu (135021) | more than 13 years ago | (#411711)

No one can look at how the book of life is written and not come away fully understanding that our genetic instructions have evolved from the same programs that guided the development of earlier animals. Our genetic instructions have been slowly assembled from the genetic instructions that made jellyfish, dinosaurs, wooly mammoths and our primate ancestors.
There is, as the scientists who cracked the genome all agreed, no other possible explanation.

From a scientist, the last statement is not put well. Certainly, evolution explains the observations well (and even predicted them), but to make the statement that there is "no other possible explanation" leaves these scientists looking no less dogmatic than the creationists. Of course, the creationists will not drop their case (no evidence imaginable would disprove it to them), but real scientists should always keep in mind that there may be alternatives which haven't been thought of yet which might explain things a bit better. And the real job of a scientist is to keep looking for that better idea.

Could this signify... (2)

Electric Angst (138229) | more than 13 years ago | (#411716)

Well, I think most people are right when they say that it won't change the minds of the hard-core creationers, but think about it this way... Would it be possible with this evidence to change it from the "Theory of Evolution" to the "Law of Evolution"? That one word would make for such a powerful rhetorical shift that I doubt that creationists could possibly hold on to the meager strip of credibility they have now with the less educated...


Darwinism (1)

woody_jay (149371) | more than 13 years ago | (#411763)

What i find completely ironic about this, is that "Survival of the Fittest" or if you would rather Darwin's theory of "Natural Selection" was refuted later by Darwin himself. He said:

"To believe that something as complex as the eyball was produced by natrual selection makes me ill."

Just a thought.

Re:Darwinism (1)

woody_jay (149371) | more than 13 years ago | (#411764)

My comment has nothing to do with eyesight. It's the fact that the very arguement this article is "vindicating" was Darwin's theory of Natrual Selection. (do you have an education?) He later renounced his own theory. There is no need to vindicate him. Get the picture or do I need to explain it further?

Prepare for the toads you blasphemeres (2)

DEATH AND HATRED (158846) | more than 13 years ago | (#411780)

This doesnt totaly disprove religion, even though common sense does. I know lots of bible thumpers that believe in evolution. Religion tends to evolve itself. It evolves its story to fit the scientific facts of the day.

Re:Big, but not a cure for ignorance (2)

HiQ (159108) | more than 13 years ago | (#411784)

Good post! The news about 'only 30,000' was brought here (in the Netherlands) as a victory, as in 'now it will be much easier to read & understand the genome). I believe it's a bit of a setback. There's now more to be sought in emergent & material properties and mathematical functions. And that's up till now not a widely researched field.
How to make a sig
without having an idea

Re:Creationists Still Won't Buy It (1)

kerrbear (163235) | more than 13 years ago | (#411793)

They will pull out their unarguable trump: It appears that way because God created it that way.

I've always been a little perturbed as to why the battle over evolution is quite so intense for those who believe in God or not. There seems to be this pervasive view on both sides that if evolution is true then God must somehow not exist. A leap of faith which cannot be reconciled from the facts.

Just because evolution is true does not indicate the non-existense of a creator who may have set the entire thing in motion. In fact, to my mind, it speaks of an incredibly sophisticated and intelligent God rather than the more "magic" God of the creationists. One may recall that Einstein himself came to believe in God after reflecting on the simplicity of the equations that define the universe.

Evolution can describe the mechanism, but there is still plenty of room for discussion as to why the mechanism is there and what its purpose is.

Not so obvious to me (1)

Tosta Dojen (165691) | more than 13 years ago | (#411801)

If the author had enumerated some of the evidences brought to light by the project, I might be able to make a call as to whether his conclusions are sound. Unfortunately, he sticks to the too-often used, "The evidence makes it obvious."

I am not so much of a sheep that I will simply swallow that. The evidence may very well be quite convincing, but without seeing any of it, I am not going to blindly accept his conclusion.

Evidence is never obvious to those who never see the evidence. Looks like he doesn't know that:

"The genome reveals, indisputably and beyond any serious doubt..."
"The proof is right here..."
"There is no other way to explain..."
"There other possible explanation."
"The theory of evolution is the only way to explain..."

Nice, neat conclusions, with absolutely no evidence. No matter how 'obvious' the thing is that you are trying to prove, this method is simply unacceptable.

Re:This Doesn't Disprove "Scientific Creationism" (1)

Fat Rat Bastard (170520) | more than 13 years ago | (#411815)

Well, I'm certainly not what you would call a "believer", but that's a pretty arrogant attitude. EVERYTHING is based on faith. Study logic and mathematics for any amount of time and you realize that all proofs are based on assumptions (just another word for faith). To others what you choose to believe in is just as "ludicrous" as their beliefs are to you.

Can't fight religion with science (1)

VSarkiss (173815) | more than 13 years ago | (#411832)

No matter how much scientific evidence is presented, those who prefer religion over science will continue not to listen to it. They will always find some objection, reasonable or not.

Still, for those of us for whom religion and science co-exist, it's nice to put yet another brick in the edifice.

Almost (5)

pizen (178182) | more than 13 years ago | (#411843)

"Darwin was right - mankind evolved over a long period of time from primitive animal ancestors" Too bad that's not Darwin's theory of evolution. If one were to actually read The Origin of Species, he or she would learn that Darwin believed that all creatures evolved together from more primitive versions of themselves, not that humans evolved from monkeys who evolved from lesser creatures. That is the common misconception about the theory of evolution.

Re:still a theory *sigh* (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 13 years ago | (#411858)

About 10-15 years ago in the UK, the Catholic Church made an official formal statement that the principle of evolution was "so obvious that it is not worthy of being called a theory". This of course is not the global Catholic view, just the UK.
Talk about changing colours, and _then_ adding an insult to the scientists as well.



Re:Not a Shocker (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 13 years ago | (#411859)

The creationists (some of them) still demand proof that speciation has happened in "higher" animals.
To them viruses don't really count, and also finches growing shorter or longer beaks is still irrelevant - it's still a finch.
I believe that they will never be satisfied. They have a defence mechanism that will make them move the goalposts whenever a 'proof' challenges their current wording. It'll eventually get to "Put a banana in an environment that favours a wombat - and show me it evolve into one" and then you know the argument is no longer worth having.

(was it ever)


Re:First things first. . . (1)

lucius (189447) | more than 13 years ago | (#411871) relies on the repeatable experiment as its' basis, and religion relies on articles of faith as its' basis.

jesus christ, are apostrophes so fucking hard.

its : belongs to it

it's : it is

In related news (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 13 years ago | (#411888)

Not only does he share the same number of genes, but Art Caplan was found to have about as much integrity as an ear of corn, as well. Most in the philosphical/ethical-minded community agree: Talking heads don't come any more hollow. But we can thank Art for one thing - he'll certainly get the Jeezers riled up. It's one thing for that Scopes fella' to compare us to apes, but ears of corn? Some southern-fried fundamentalizers are gonna git you, sucka!

A PhD doesn't mean you can make an argument (2)

mblase (200735) | more than 13 years ago | (#411903)

The core recipe of humanity carries clumps of genes that show we are descended from bacteria. There is no other way to explain the jerry-rigged nature of the genes that control key aspects of our development.

That's just one of the "no one"s, "no other"s, and "no doubt"s that permeate this article. Without taking positions for or against, it's hard to take the above quote as a compelling argument that the human genome proves evolution as the sole cause for humanity's origin. Methinks the writer is just a teensy bit biased.

Of course, so is Slashdot. "Kansas agrees" because their original reason for removing Darwin from the curriculum was flawed, according to the linked article [] , not because they read this guy and came to the abrupt conclusion that There Is No God.

Trivia (1)

robbway (200983) | more than 13 years ago | (#411904)

The genome conference was held on Charles Darwin's birthday, February 12th. It was probably intentional.


This is 20 years old though (1)

Phillip2 (203612) | more than 13 years ago | (#411911)

The thing that I don't understand is what sequencing the genome has to add to this debate. We have known for a long time that genes in all organisms are highly related, and that the same themes turn up again and again. We know that the genes that are involved in developmental regulation, that were found in flies, also turn up in toads, and humans, and even plants. But this has become increasingly clear over the last 20 years of work. It hasn't convinced many creationists in the past, why should it now?


It doesn't prove anything. (2)

wd123 (209211) | more than 13 years ago | (#411927)

DISCLAIMER: I am not a Creationist (let alone a Christian).

The human genome proves nothing. The basics of Creationism state that some omnipotent being (God) created the universe. If this Being did this, then there is no reason he couldn't have setup our genetics in such a way as to supposedly lend credit to such an argument. Proof schmoof.

What nobody refuses to explore is how humans evolved so rapidly in comparison with all other species. It would be interested for someone to take the genome project, map out the genome of our closest 'ancestor' in the animal kingdom, and see what is different and why. I would be fascinated to find out the answers behind this, and I would be interested to hear an account of what caused the rapid evolution of humans. Trying to use science to disprove the unprovable is absolutely ridiculous, however, and people need to stop wasting their time.
chip norkus(rl); white_dragon('net');
mercenary albino programmer for hire

Hey, wait a minute!! (2)

GrievousAngel (220826) | more than 13 years ago | (#411943)

Okay, don't get me wrong; I believe in evolution. But did anyone else notice that this MSNBC story contains no actual scientific facts to back up his argument? This article is bereft of content, and contains nothing but the same chest-thumping the author despises from the creation crowd. (or something)

Not a Shocker (3)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 13 years ago | (#411946)

Some guy with a PhD found out that MSNBC would actually listen to him and write a couple paragraphs that "Darwin is vindicated" because of the "Human Genome". I know how these guys work. They have Genetic data where they then try to explain differences using evolution. Fairly reasonable thing to do. All he's doing is take the explaination for the differences and using it to say "Darwin is vindicated", which is not a reasonable thing to do.

Instead you should just state, "Evolution is a fact". Human beings, in thier short time of recorded history have seen cows in Australia evolve to the enviroment, virii and bacteria evolve to resist drugs, new breeds of dogs and cats appear, et al. There is NO disputing the fact of evolution. Now if you want to suggest human evolved from other primates, you'll have some resistence, but once its explained that Evolution is a fact, it's not that hard to see it happening.

Creationism and Evolution work TOGETHER (2)

kyz (225372) | more than 13 years ago | (#411948)

Given both the evolution theory and the creation allegory are so undeniably true, some people have researched how these two interact to give the overall result of humanity. This link [] has the details.

It's still premature. (1)

JeremyYoung (226040) | more than 13 years ago | (#411955)

Scientific Creationism has no method laid out for HOW humans were assembled. Darwin essentially laid out the HOW. Creationism doesn't so much point to the HOW, as to the WHY. Good for Darwin, but it still doesn't mean that life on this planet happened by blind chance.

Not quite (2)

bmj (230572) | more than 13 years ago | (#411964)

While these discoveries may rule out _creationism_ as most people know it (that is, God just plopping Adam 'n Eve in the garden, which in theological terms, is considered to be part of the literal interpretation camp of creationism) it does not rule out creationism completely. Who is to say God didn't brew the primodial stew to set the whole evolutionary process in motion. Even Christian scientists who don't subscribe to the literal interpretation of the Genesis story believe that there is hard scientific fact that backs evolutionary theory (check out Michael Behe's _Darwin's Black Box_). While there are still holes in evolutionary theory (such as the development of our Behe's book to find out why), the concepts still hold scientific weight.

Truth is, any Christian who says that evolution isn't possible with God needs to rethink her theology...last time I checked, the God of the Bible is omnipotent, meaning he can do as he pleases.

Jumping the gun (5)

Private Essayist (230922) | more than 13 years ago | (#411967)

Let's slow down a bit. This wasn't a news article, but an opinion piece. Although I agree with the author's conclusions, it's because of what I've read elsewhere, not because of what I read in this column. He didn't go into details, but asserted things with general statements. Even if he is right, that won't convince anyone. You need a more thorough treatment of the subject, using detailed scientific information, before you could even begin to convince someone.

Just to prove my point, what if this had been an opinion piece asserting that the human genome findings supported creationism? Would all those who support evolution suddenly decide that creationism is correct? Of course not, for it would only be an opinion piece and we would say his opinion is wrong, let's see the scientific data instead.

Next week I'm going to post to MSNBC an opinion piece that asserts that the universe is actually a few thousand light years in diameter, but looks much bigger because of the use of strategically-placed mirrors. Trust me, my opinion piece will absolutely, positively prove the point, even without the use of messy scientific facts...

Creationists won't care. (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#411978)

Creationists, by definition, ignore scientific facts. They believe in fairy tales because they want to. Intelligent people already understand evolution. This discovery won't change the minds of ignorant Christians.


OlympicSponsor (236309) | more than 13 years ago | (#411985)

And GOD said to Man, oooh, you are so grounded, let not thy foot leave the LAND for unto many years. For I, the LORD thy GOD hath spoken, and ye shall not make another trip unto the MOON, even unto the second and third generation. And Man looked, and saw that indeed, no TRIPS were taken.
-- 346238&mode=thread

Exactly (3)

OlympicSponsor (236309) | more than 13 years ago | (#411996)

I was going to post the very same thing.

I might also add, to be fair, that this doesn't prove evolution "indisputably" either. For one thing, nothing can be proved "indisputably". For another, evolution is a theory about history--using facts about the present alone isn't necessarily conclusive.

All that said, I fully support evolution (and, more specifically, natural selection)--but I also doubt any True Disbelievers will be swayed by this evidence.
-- 346238&mode=thread

Like we didn't know this already? (1)

Bonker (243350) | more than 13 years ago | (#412019)

Seriously, one more piece of unquestionable evidence is going to do nothing to dissuade the revisionist religious right that the first few pages of the bible are untarnished fact. These people have been fighting in the face of darwin, hundreds of archeological discoveries, hundred of biological studies, daily evidence of natural selection, and sight of their own inbred hillbilly children for so long that genetic proof of the evolution of man has no chance in making a dent in these luddites' brains.

Big, but not a cure for ignorance (3)

RareHeintz (244414) | more than 13 years ago | (#412021)

Our genes show that scientific creationism cannot be true.

Don't get your hopes up that the "scientific" creationists will have the sense to close up shop - theirs is not a desire to find the truth, but to believe that they have it already. These data will not be some kind of silver bullet to cure willful ignorance.

Ignoring the creationsists for a minute, data from the genome map will require rethinking of some of our earlier conclusions, not least of all those about the basic functioning of genes - with only 30,000, synergy and emergent properties are will become radically more important, and related branches of mathematics will probably see new interest.

Where's Buckminster Fuller when you need him?

- B

I wonder... (1)

glsiii (247900) | more than 13 years ago | (#412031)

... how long it will be before they say the Genome project was made up like they say the moon landings were staged...

Re:Prediction (1)

Bedouin X (254404) | more than 13 years ago | (#412038)

Where does it say this?

Second article irrelevant. (2)

Bedouin X (254404) | more than 13 years ago | (#412042)

Though it would have been nice to see the Kansas Board of Education overturn their decision on the discovery of the human Genome, it appears as if the change was fundamentally political:
"The 7-3 decision came after November elections that saw three board members ousted after voting to remove Charles Darwin's theory of mankind's origin from public school science standards and allowing alternative theories to be taught."
Though I personally think that evolution is the most likely of the origin theories, I don't really see a problem with allwing other theories to be presented as long as there is proper evidence presented (which pretty much wipes out biblical creationism). I also am a little skeptical is the absolute nature of this analysis of the human genome. Maybe because the religious leaders (the creators of the field) haven't used their "anointed" spin cycled in gear on it yet.

But maybe it could be because they can't spin it...


Nonsense (1)

Ananova (255600) | more than 13 years ago | (#412050)

I have never head such a lot of unscientific nonsense in my life.

You cannot prove that something like this is not true. This is about the most basic logical axiom that there is.

Furthermore, 'evidence' of evolution from supposed changes in genes is nothing more than evidence.

We have:

1. one set of genes - we are required to accept very many things here; the validity of the analysis of those genes, the validity of the research, the validity of the samples, etc.
2. another set of genes - again, the same ASSUMPTIONS, which CAN NEVER BE PROVED for certain persist
3. a deduction from this that there is evolution.

To take 3, there is absolutely nothing that compels us to draw the deduction suggested. All it is a hypothesis, and one that assumes a large number of things - certainly not sufficient evidence to make people change their beliefs.

To consider the wider issue, there are just as many problems (and more) with evolutionism as there are with creationism. For example, the evolutionists assert the earth is billions of years old, and yet they have not a shred of evidence for this. Their dating techniques, for example - the primary argument used by evolutionists for evolution is the fossil record.

Dating techniques are used to show that these fossils are supposedly millions of years old - and yet these same dating techniques have been shown to be unreliable to useless - thereby making their argument untenable. An example of this was where a rock, known only to be a few hundred years old, was dated at several million years.

In fact, there is no reliable evidence provided by the evolutionists to rebutt the very strong evidence (among others, the clear evidence of design in the world) that the earth was created a few thousand years ago.

I suggest that to get a balanced view on this, you read one of the many good creationist websites. For answers to each of the incorrect beliefs of evolutionists (don't forget, of course, that Dawin himself decided evolution was wrong shortly before his death), try here:

the myth of natural selection []
the error of the fossil record []

and some of the other creationist sites.

When you've done that, and only then, come back to me, and if you can provide *any* proof of evolution I will eat my hat.

Re:This Doesn't Disprove "Scientific Creationism" (1)

Fizzlewhiff (256410) | more than 13 years ago | (#412054)

I agree. But not only could it be God's creative signature but also an "easter egg" left in our programming to baffle scientists for millenia.

Humbling... (1)

Mercaptan (257186) | more than 13 years ago | (#412055)

The creationists aren't going to buy evolution just because humans have fewer genes than scientists theorize. While the information does strengthen the arguments and proposed mechanisms behind evolution, it doesn't put a dent in creationism. But then again, I don't think any of the concrete evidence ever did. Scientific creationism generates a religious problem anyways. How can you have real faith if there is physical proof of God's existance?

It does help knock down the self-centered image our species has, that we're somehow special or the acme of evolution. We're an animal like any other. That we can learn and create is important, but we need to use it wisely.

Perhaps God is an OO programmer? (1)

typical geek (261980) | more than 13 years ago | (#412064)

And he keeps reusing modules, which is why the human gene seems to have a lot in common with other animals.

And that might be why I don't understand C++, for the ways and programming of God is inscrutable to man.

Re:Linnaeus Vindicated - Open Source (1)

chrylis (262281) | more than 13 years ago | (#412065)

Go away, troll. HTML is by definition open-source. And anyone has permission to quote anything of mine with credit--in this context, it would be considered "fair use."

Linnaeus Vindicated (2)

chrylis (262281) | more than 13 years ago | (#412081)

All that this proves is that Carolus Linnaeus was right when he classified humans as primates along with monkeys and gorillas. This apparently completely uninformed commentary ignores the "Bible-thumper" response that of course the gene sequences would be similar--the body of a human is quite similar to that of a chimp. The assembly instructions for a Suburban would look a lot like those of a Durango. (Note that I am arguing neither for nor against Darwinistic evolution, simply saying that this article is mostly irrelevant.)

Re:still a theory *sigh* (2)

chrylis (262281) | more than 13 years ago | (#412082)

I'm not sure whether you understand the term "theory." Einsteinian relativity is a theory. Maxwellian quantum mechanics is theory. A theory is a hypothesis which has been proposed and scientifically tested. They are considered reliable until disproven.

While such constructs as the big-bang theory have been calculated and tested and refined, macroevolution as such has not been scientifically proven or even proven to be plausible. As of now, no plausible method for speciation (the separation of one species into two) has been proposed, and not one single instance of it has ever been documented. Decades of concerted efforts to create new species from fruit flies, for instance, have been completely unable to do so--and this was guided as opposed to the chaotic forces of nature.

Re:Not a Shocker (2)

chrylis (262281) | more than 13 years ago | (#412083)

Once again, we have two ships passing in the night.

I don't know anyone--even the most dogmatic of Christians--who denies microevolution--the alteration of an organism within its genetic bounds. Body sizes change, beak chapes change, but the underlying organism is still of the same species. Macroevolution requires that different descendants of one organism become different species (i.e., can't breed). No documented cases of speciation have yet been found.

BTW, Darwin's idea of "gradual change" that produced drastically different species came out a short time before the first genetic discoveries. It is doubtful that he would have published his books ten years later. Darwinian evolution is analog, genetics is digital. The two aren't compatible.

Re:First Evolution (2)

JLyle (267134) | more than 13 years ago | (#412091)

All Your Base Are Belong To Us
Or perhaps more on-topic, "All Your Base Pairs Are Belong To Us" ;)

Creationists Still Won't Buy It (1)

ddillman (267710) | more than 13 years ago | (#412095)

They will pull out their unarguable trump: It appears that way because God created it that way. God also created the fossils and everything else that makes it appear that evolution happened.

Me, I'm wondering if maybe David Brin was writing SF, or maybe he's on to the real story, Uplift! :-)

So? (1)

ooze (307871) | more than 13 years ago | (#412115)

Anybody living on the south half disk?

Re:Darwinism (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 13 years ago | (#412118)

That he doesn't like natural selection, does not make that statement "refute" it. If anything, there's plenty of examples of intermediate steps between no eyesight and the quality of eyesight of humans in nature.

Prediction (2)

Graelin (309958) | more than 13 years ago | (#412122)

And tomorrow they're going to tell us the earth is round - shea right.

This reminds me of the old comic (1)

Razzious (313108) | more than 13 years ago | (#412136)

A kid is in a courtroom and the prosecutor says."farmer Hiram and 3 of his friends saw you steal that goat" kid in trial says. "so I have 3 friends that didn't see me steal it" How many creationist out there will view the study the opposite way? Scientist have an INCREDIBLE ability to take whatever information out there and to shape it to fit their belief.
Razzious Domini

It should spark any debate. (2)

Razzious (313108) | more than 13 years ago | (#412137)

Bottom line a true creationist doesn't need any genetic proof of their belief. The belive that God created it and that is sufficient for them. To the ones that seek proof, they view such similarities as "a mark of ownership". They would say well since God created the animals, and everything else, the same building blocks were used here, so sure there are simularities. Most creationist feel evolutionist use evolution as a way to dispell the idea of a diety(with the acknowledgement of a diety you then have to make a decision as to what you will do with it.) SIDE NOTE: After reading the kansas article, nothing there inplied that the State education board used the Genome study in their decision.
Razzious Domini

Re:First things first. . . (1)

envelope (317893) | more than 13 years ago | (#412143)

I'm not a fanatic, pure-science or pure-religion, but... Science may only be asking "How", but many religions address the "how" as well, and many religious people perceive the two as being in conflict. This isn't the problem now that is has been in the past, ie no one is going to be executed for promulgating such "heresy". But some people still would like to see science suppressed.

Gee, that was stupid. (1)

justynblack (318820) | more than 13 years ago | (#412150)

While I do belive in Evolution. That article didn't prove to me that Creation was false. All it said was Creation is false, Evolution is true, end of story. Thats not proof.
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