God created us equal and science can prove it

Published February 26, 2019

by Dr. Salih V. Yumlu

Abrahamic religions tell us that God created us equal. Our behavior seems to indicate that we ignore this “command” and act like racist people. If it were possible to prove scientifically that we are indeed created equal, would people change their mind and stop being racist? Due to our increased knowledge on “genome” it is possible to do so. We will start discussing genome and its content: DNA.

Genome & DNA

Humans, like other species, are the product of its genome. Genome refers to our 23 pairs of chromosomes containing DNA and its genes. After the discovery of DNA a lot of knowledge accumulated. It established that DNA is what makes us what we are.

Chromosomes

Each of our chromosomes is a long unbroken string of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) which consists of two long polymer molecules that spiral around each other like a twisted ladder. Binding these two molecular strings together in a double helix are a series of the basic building blocks of DNA: Nucleotides. Nucleotides are organic molecules that come in four different flavors: guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine. They are identified by the letters G, A, T, and C. Each nucleotide with its corresponding partners (pairings) on the other strand of DNA, such that G is always matched with C, and A is always matched with T.

There are about 3.2 billion monogamous pairs of these nucleotides in each of our cells. Nucleotides can be arranged into a nearly infinite set of possible combinations typically several thousands of nucleotides long which form our genes. Humans have about 25,000 genes and differ from chimpanzees by 200 genes. Mice have 80% of our genes. This is the reason why mice are used for research to predict the effects of drugs on humans. Curiously, wheat has 40,000 genes, which shows that the number of genes has little or no bearing on the complexity of a species.

Genes constitute a coding part of DNA but they are a very small part of DNA. Genes provide proteins for our needs. Genes are an assembly of codons which are triplets of nucleotides that specify particular amino acids. Non coding parts were thought to have no function, but later it was discovered they do have effect on how the genes are expressed.

What do we know about our genes?

Our physical appearance is the result of our individual genome (genes). Researchers found that when a human egg is fertilized by a sperm a big “reshuffle” takes place and a unique and brand new DNA is created unlike any other. This is the reason why we all look different.

Genes may affect our health. A typical example is the Huntington disease as a result of HUNT gene repeating itself more than 35 times. We all have HUNT gene but have only 35 repeats, which causes no ill effect. There are a few genes that appear to be responsible for developing cancer, but the link is very weak, that is, many people who have these genes do not develop cancer. Breast cancer is one. For example the mutated gene (a variant of BRCA1) is only responsible for 5% of the cases causing cancer. Similarly it is found that dementia, depression, alcoholism, obesity, and others have a very low link to genes.

Scientists have searched for a connection between our genes and our behavior. One of the most studied cases was homosexuality. Some researchers claimed to have found a gene responsible for it. Other researchers found no such link, as it was discovered that people who had the alleged gene did not show homosexual behavior. Scientists also looked for genes which make a person loyal or unfaithful. Once again, no such genes were discovered. All scientific effort to connect genes to sickness or to behavior discovered no solid evidence for linking genes to them. As a result scientists came to the conclusion that “DNA is not destiny” as Professor Steven S. Heine claimed in his book with this title. If genes are not “destiny,” what controls human diversity? For this we enter into epigenetics.

Effect of Epigenetics

Epigenetics refer to ways that proteins are expressed through molecular processes that are separate from the instruction contained within the DNA sequence itself. These molecules can influence DNA through the process known as “methylation” by attaching themselves to DNA, but they are not part of DNA. A simple example to explain it is to consider a person living near the sea going to Denver then his red blood cells within a few weeks are increased by about 30%, due to a difference in elevation.

Environment Affects Our Genes via Epigenetics

Through epigenetics our genes are affected by our environment. Examples of these environments are parents’ upbringing, culture, tradition, education, religious belief, entertainment industries, TV advertisement, peer pressure, and many others such as pollution and household products.

Our genes are responsible for our sickness via the epigenetic effect and it is the result of our lifestyle and diet. Excessive use of alcohol causes cancer of the breast for those who have a variant gene of BRAC 1. Products used in our kitchen can cause illness. Pollution from diesel engines and power plants can also affect our health. This is the reason why we need regulation.

Ethnicity and Racism: I would like to make a distinction between ethnicity and racism. Ethnicity is the result of people living in a region of earth for a long time and being affected by the epigenetics which adapt them to its surroundings. Eskimos and blacks living in Africa acquired the color of skin to avoid detrimental sun rays and yet they share a very similar genome (DNA). It makes them like any people living in a different climate that have slowly adapted to it, like Scandinavians and Icelanders who live in colder climates. Race as defined currently has no DNA basis because we all belong to the “human race.” Differences in our looks or color are not sufficient enough to divide us into different races since we all share similar DNA. Due to variations in DNA from one person to another, the number of different genes could be as high as 1000 genes, therefore, people may differ in their ability, like The Beatles were talented song writers and Einstein had a brilliant mind, however he was neither a good father nor a good husband. This indicates in no uncertain terms that no one person can claim to be a supremacist as a result of our genetic makeup which makes us equal.

We can also use this argument to settle the controversy about whether we are the product of nature or nurture. Answer is nurture because if we say nature then this will break the rule of being created equal, because all our genes are paired. This pairing is the reason for humans being created equal because every gene is paired with its opposite, producing a null effect, thus we are equal. Nature really created everything in pairs, electron-positron, matter-antimatter, evil-goodness, health-sickness, and this concept assures stability on earth and in our life.

Conclusion

Although our genes are under the control of epigenetics, epigenetics are under the control of our own desires and wishes and wants. If you wish to smoke, then your genes allow you to do that. Thus we are in command, having free will to become whatever we desire to be and thus we are responsible for our actions. Thus DNA (genes) does not control us. Although DNA is not our destiny we must remember that we are also a product of our genes. Therefore DNA, to some extent, becomes a small part of our ultimate destiny. Yes God created us equal, but through our free will, epigenetics, and variations in DNA we become diverse, which, God says, is our blessings which is the cause of progress. So let us enjoy our diversity with respect and trust so we can live in peace.

Epilogue

In my presentation, I kept away from introducing religious beliefs to ensure that my argument is based on scientific evidence. However, I would like to quote a verse from the Quran: God says: “I decree on myself to be just and merciful to my creations”. This confirms why He created us equal.

Acknowledgement

I would like to express my deep gratitude to HARC for publishing this paper on its website. I am also indebted to Professor Steven Heine whose book titled DNA is not Destiny formed the basis of my argument. I would like to express my thanks to my granddaughter for her help in editing and typing the final draft.

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