A human being has an estimated 30,000 genes or less, much less than previous estimates of 80,000 to 140,000. Some species of rice have 50,000 genes and up to 70,000 by some estimates. This means that rice potentially has double the amount of genetic information that we do. From this it may be extrapolated that rice, at least at the macromolecular level, is more complex than a human being. However the structure and function of genes are virtually identical across the spectrum of organisms on this planet. Rice may have 40,000 more genes than a human, but how those genes form, look, and operate is astoundingly similar.
Based on the multiplicity of evidence, the debate over the truth of the universal common descent of life is over. All of the major discoveries in genetics and molecular biology in the past 100 years have supported the theory of universal common descent by means of evolutionary processes. The astounding similarity of genes among organisms, which affects our fundamental understanding of biological complexity, is just one example. In many ways the similarities of life are more remarkable than life’s boundless variations.
Evolution requires no higher power, in fact denoting some sort of intelligence in the evolutionary process is illogical. Evolution as it is understood by modern science has often been a clumsy, wasteful process. Returning to the field of genetics, only 1 to 2 percent of DNA in the human genome is utilized to encode protein sequences. 98 percent of human DNA is effectively junk, that is it has no known biological function. At points in the evolution of our species this now inert DNA may have been utilized but eventually lost its utility. This evidence makes no logical sense if an intelligent designer is assumed, unless it is also assumed that the intelligent designer purposefully designed humans to appear as though we were designed unintelligently.
The modern theory of evolution rightfully has a great impact on modern religion and philosophy. Science has always had a tendency to infringe on the territory of ideology. In its most idealistic sense science is the pursuit of truth, and is therefore inherently philosophical. Many theologians and philosophers have expressed a great deal of chagrin when science has supposedly overstepped its bounds. Some scientists have claimed that science and ideology, particularly religious ideology, are not in conflict because they do not seek the same knowledge.
Hardline adherents from most major religions and I have one thing I believe we can agree on: science and ideology do come into conflict with each other. As science explores, analyzes, and answers more and more of the foundational questions concerning our universe religion must continually reevaluate and adjust its position. As science charges forward into new vistas of discovery and knowledge religion is left lurching behind attempting, most often unsuccessfully, to keep up.
The significant discoveries of genetics, molecular biology, geology, paleontology, zoology, and evolutionary biology are continually denied by fundamental religious individuals and groups. Staggering discoveries in the field of genetics, which provide us with the most convincing evidence for evolution to date, are meaningless when ideology trumps the truth. If the universality of common descent is acknowledged then the notion of intelligent design should be abandoned. The proof is in your genes.