October 21st, 2006

breaking bad

Stop me before I undermine evolution again

I like to post about idiotic articles that 'prove' gender differences from poor evolutionary biology. This one (William Tucker in the American Spectator) is unbelievably stupid. A full debunk is here.

The true fact behind this stupid article is that the Y chromosome accumulates junk mutations (mostly harmless) much more quickly than other chromosomes because it is only inherited from one parent, so it can't match-repair itself. This is why mutation to the Y chromosome is used to trace heredity (or they use mitochondrial DNA, which only comes from the mother). This accumulation of junk means the Y chromosome shows greater variation between humans and chimps than the other chromosomes.

William Tucker takes this relatively pedestrian fact and reasons like this:

'In crossing the evolutionary distance that exists between chimps and humans, most of the changes occurred in males.... what differentiates us from our mammalian relatives is changes to the male of the species.'

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