Ken Miller gave a fascinating talk where he, in part, hoped to sway creationists to accept the theory of evolution. But as a long-ago biology major in college, what fascinated me about the talk was how far genetic analysis has come.
One of the closest genetic relatives to humans is the chimpanzee, yet chimpanzees have 24 pairs of chromosomes and humans have only 23 pairs.
How do biologists explain that? Somewhere along the way, did the human species lose an entire chromosome of genetic material? Not likely. Genetic cousins should have the same number of chromosomes, and suddenly (evolutionarily speaking) taking away an entire chromosome from a species would simply wreak too much genetic and real world havoc. So what happened? How do biologists explain the lost chromosome?
Through some clever genetic analysis that searched for matching sequences and patterns, biologists found very strong evidence that the missing chromosome number 24 had fused with the genetic material in chromosome number 2. Very cool, yet also very odd.
Miller then challenged creationists to explain this result. Why would a creator “design” such an artifact? Why would a creator hide the chromosome from us or make it look like two chromosome fused? Creationists are likely to shug off the questions and just say “the Creator works in mysterious ways,” and we don’t need to explain why. Fine. But science does try to explain things, and this was a fascinating solution to a long-time question.