Unique Origin Research Discovering Human Uniqueness

Articles

Photo by Pavel Nekoranec

Humanly Possible

Humans are uniquely capable of creativity, gamesmanship, planning, abstraction, ceremony, language, and on and on. In all these respects, we far surpass what a mere animal can do. Here we gather but a sampling of the effusion of human creativity and striving. Photos from Unsplash

Primitive man and his woman sitting near the fire in the cave
Primitive man and his woman sitting near the fire in the cave

A Single-Couple Human Origin is Possible

Abstract: The problem of inferring history from genetic data is complex and underdetermined; there are many possible scenarios that would explain the same data. It can be made more tractable by making reasonable simplifications to the model, but it is continually important to remember what has been demonstrated and what is merely a parsimonious working assumption. In this paper we have chosen to model the demographic ancestry of humanity using the simplest of assumptions, with a homogeneous population whose size can vary over time. All other assumptions such as the mutation rates were standard, and no natural selection was in operation. Using a previously published backwards simulation method and some newly developed and faster algorithms, we run our single-couple origin Read More ›

Photo by daria lisovtsova

Human Singularities

Our identifiable fingerprints are but a microcosm of a body and soul that is utterly unique, from its innards to its intuitions. Every human person is a singularity.

luxury suit in store

The Mismeasure of Man

You have probably heard that our DNA, the stuff that makes us human, is only 1% different from chimps. The claim that we are little more than apes is now part of the Zeitgeist of our culture, having been propagated in the popular press for nearly forty years. However, that statement and the conclusions drawn from it are false. Let’s look at the first claim, that we are only 1% different from chimps. That measurement only compares base changes in human and chimp DNA. It doesn’t include other kinds of changes to the DNA, like deletions and insertions or rearrangements. In addition, because of the sequencing methods used, repetitive DNA is not included. Now that complete or nearly complete genome Read More ›

Human Uniqueness Continued

“In terms of what makes us human, it’s not the things that are the same, it’s the things that are different that matter.” Jonathan Marks For something light-hearted: Imaginative FictionSupposed the table’s turned,And she was in my place,Then she’d be up late typing And I’d stare off in space.I think I’d like the next day off To vegitate and doze.But I ask, dear readers, how much sense expect–It’s vagrant typing that makes a chimpanzee’s prose.(That is, before she defecates on the typewriter or throws it across the room.)

Photo by Vince Fleming

On Being Human — A Reflection

Evolutionary biologist David Barash is a man on a mission. He wants to make sure that we all know we are only human, and that means we are only animal. We share DNA, mitochondria, organelles, our very flesh with animals, and so are animals too. We might as well give up any hope of being sons of God. That story in the Bible that we were created specially is just a story according to Barash, and a dangerous one at that. I heard him give an interview on the Seattle NPR station. He has a winsome way of speaking. He makes a point of telling the story of our common evolutionary origin to his classes at the University of Washington Read More ›