Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Even Our Bacteria Show How We Evolved

The distribution of H. pylori populations in Asia and the Pacific.
I've written a couple of blogs recently showing how several different strands of evidence support the idea that modern humans diversified from an initial population in Africa. With Speaking of Evolution I reported on the findings of a team who had examined language difference and similarities of Pacific Islanders and analysed them using a program designed for examining DNA differences to produce evolutionary trees. The findings closely paralleled archaeological and other evidence. The point of this was to show how the basic principles of Darwinian Evolution apply not just to biological evolution but to any system which has variation, replication and selection, such as language.

In an earlier blog, Lousy Creator, I explained how obligate parasites like lice evolve in parallel with their hosts and how the three human lice exactly parallel and confirm archaological and genetic evidence for human evolution from a common ancestor with the other African apes and subsequent diversification into Euro-Asia and then the rest of the world.

So, not only do we have genetic and archaeological evidence showing how we evolved but we also have linguistic and parasitic evidence. Now I've learned of another piece of research which not only supports this theory but neatly brings the latter two strands together.

Global patterns of migration between eight pairs of H. pylori populations
as calculated by the isolation with migration model.
In The Peopling of the Pacific from a Bacterial Perspective, Yoshan Moodley of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Department of Molecular Biology, Berlin, Germany, et al. showed how an analysis of the distribution of different variants of the human bacterial parasite, Helicobacter pylori closely parallels the language distribution and reinforces the idea of two main phases of human migration into Austronesia and the Pacific from south-east Asia, with the second phase originating in Taiwan.

I'm grateful to blogger Grumpy Bob, of The British Centre For Science Education for bringing this to my attention.

It's really becoming quite astonishing how even adult Creationists manage to ignore the massive amount of evidence such as this and continue to insist, despite there being not a single scrap of supporting evidence, that the infantile fairy-tale of a magic man in the sky magicking all forms of life into being as is, a few thousand years ago, is somehow a better explanation of the observable facts.

It's not difficult to see why the frauds, professional liars and pseudo-scientists of the Discovery Institute continue to pedal their anti-science agenda. They know full well how science undermines their political ambition to set up an extremist, Taliban-style crypto-fascist Christian dictatorship in which they become the self-appointing government without having to bother with being elected, and have pursued the Wedge Strategy of trying to discredit science with lies. What is difficult to understand is how their followers - the credulous simpletons who eagerly buy their propaganda - manage to avoid reading the evidence for themselves, with such a wide availability of good, scientific sources on the Internet.

It is truly astonishing how a subversive organisation like the Discovery Institute, which depends entirely in ignorant superstition and scientific illiteracy, manages to keep its dupes in the required state of brain-dead credulity. It takes a special skill at self-delusion to know what you must avoid reading because you know it will shake your faith if you see it written down.

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  1. I find the problem with the discovery institute and answers in genesis etc is that they have people "debunking" the science. Basically these guys sit there and come up with far fetched ideas as to why the science is incorrect. Also Answers in Genesis for one states, that if it contradicts the bible then the science is by default incorrect.

    1. The aim of the Discovery Institute is not to tell the truth about science as they see it - which one could respect - but to discredit science in the eyes of the electorate because they know that science, properly understood, discredits religion, especially Bible literalism. They have chosen evolution as the battle-ground because this is what they think the American public finds most difficult to believe. They perceive a fault-line between US public opinion and what science says there.

      The Wedge Strategy is to drive a wedge of doubt into this fault-line until they have split science away from public opinion completely and destroyed its influence on politics, thus removing a barrier to a fundamentalist, Levitican Christian theocratic dictatorship. Note that the word 'democracy' or the idea of government of the people, by the people and for the people, appears nowhere in the Bible.

      Modern democratic government is not a Biblical or Christian concept but comes from the very Age of Enlightenment liberalism which these extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalists despise. This is their real enemy, not science, and truth is the first casualty in their war on it.

  2. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. The problem is that many people don't understand that the word 'theory' in science is used differently than it is in day-to-day speech. After all, gravity is a theory and yet no religious person I've ever met disputes its existence.

    1. And for most creationists it seems, nothing at all will be allowed to dissuade them of that precious misunderstanding which they cling to like a drowning man clings to a straw.


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