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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Monday, May 19, 2003

 

Chimps aren't humans
This is among the stupidest things I have ever heard, and symptomatic of two problems in biology today. Now, I'm as big a fan of DNA as the next guy, but some biologists are far too eager to look at genotypes at the expense of phenotypes--as if it were the blueprints of a house that should be examined, not the house itself. The fact is that humans, phenotypically, are ridiculously different from chimpanzees, starting with brains many times larger, and moving down in similarities from there. Now, the fact is that every taxonomic catagory above species is completely artificial, so it doesn't really matter--and if the worldwide scientific community decides to look at genotype at the expense of phenotype when catagorizing, then go for it (whether or not this chimp-human business would go forward even under that sort of criteria is up for debate.

The second problem is doing scientific things for political purposes. This very much seems to be one of those "cheese-off-creationists" sort of movements, much like the faircely recent decision to classify birds as reptiles (which I also disagree with, and which also suffers from the genotype-phenotype problem). It also, the article suggests, could "raise their conservation profile," which I not only doubt very much, but also consider among the worst reasons in the world for changing long-standing taxonomy.

(Via Jason Skie's DNA Blog.)
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