Are humans 98% chimp? Or 70%?

According to my googling, geneticist Jeff Tomkins has been mentioned before in this website once, by Cordova in 2015. Nobody cared back then. Now here is a recent interview with him https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxk1dZrnBR8 (it’s audio rather than video)

In this interview, Dr. Tomkins states that the claim of 98% similarity between humans and chimpanzees is only based on certain “regions of DNA”, i.e. some sequences, not the whole genome. Further specific claims:

  • The similarity between humans and chimps, taking the whole genome into account, would be rather 70% or two thirds
  • For evolution (of humans and chimps from a common ancestor) to be true, 98% similarity (across the whole genome) would be required, given the rate of mutation

To those who know better: Are these two claims true? Certainly evolutionary biologists would not be so sloppy as to declare 98% similarity of something without proper justification!

Further, at 15m20 mark, Dr. Tomkins says that genes operate in “networks and subnetworks,” apparently so that the whole genome is as if an integral system or organism by itself. This would imply that the genome would be able to evolve/change not by mutation and natural selection, but as predetermined by the inherent nature of the genome.

At 22m50 mark, Dr. Tomkins says, “Every time an unusual creature has its genome sequenced, we are finding unique sets of genes for these creatures.” Apart from the evidently unscientific term “creature,” I am interested in specific examples. Dr. Tomkins mentions “orphan genes” of shrimps, oysters and insects in that section.

How do evolutionary biologists assess Dr. Tomkins’ performance in this interview and his credentials in general?

200 thoughts on “Are humans 98% chimp? Or 70%?

  1. Corneel: Yes, but YECs do not usually grant that breaking stuff in a polyconstrained network increases fitness.

    Perhaps Behe’s new book will help them change their mind. 🙂

  2. Hum. An discussion about prior chimp/human DNA identity bullshit by this guy happened at sandwalk back in 2015. The problem back then was that Tomkins did not allow gapped alignments, which inflated the differences by rejecting complete fragments if the alignment required even one gap.

    If the video linked by DNA_Jock is correct (I haven’t checked the new “paper” myself), Tomkins continues to be quite incompetent at DNA comparisons, even after years of pretending to be an expert. My undergrads would not make those kinds of mistakes.

  3. dazz:
    Do creationists enjoy being shamelessly lied at like that? I don’t get it

    The lengths they went to defend Behe on the LYST gene speaks volumes about their willingness to believe anything coming from an IDIot.

  4. Allan Miller: No. The ‘c’ preceding ‘c100%’ is short for ‘circa’, a common means of indicating approximation.

    Yea, so you would have no problem with someone who says that its quite interesting that humans are all so different given the fact that we have c100% of the same genome. All of us. Dogs too. Their genomes are all basically 100% the same, and yet, you can have a Pekingese, and a Mastiff, with the same genome-c100% the same.

    Amazing. Almost as amazing as VJ’s numbers for the bible being true.

  5. phoodoo: Yea, so you would have no problem with someone says that its quite interesting that humans are all so different given the fact that we have c100% of the same genome.

    We don’t. Identical twins do.

  6. Rumraket: We don’t. Identical twins do.

    Oh, you mean when Allan wrote c100% he was referring to identical twins that gave birth to one monkey and one human?

    Cool!

  7. phoodoo: Oh, you mean when Allan wrote c100% he was referring to identical twins that gave birth to one monkey and one human?

    Cool!

    I read his post as saying that before the branching event began, there was only one single species, which was the ancestor of both humans and chimps. Being only one species, the genetic similarity of members of that species was extremely high.

    After some period of time, this species split into two groups, and gradually the two groups exchanged genetic material (interbred) less and less. The lower the exchange rate, the more different the groups. Eventually there was no interbreeding at all, so mutations in one group didn’t get shared with the other.

    You seem to think that branching events happen in a single generation, such that offspring are entirely one species or entirely another. The fossil record tells us that branchings can take millions of years, at the end of which neither branch would be considered the same species as the original.

  8. Entropy: The lengths they went to defend Behe on the LYST gene speaks volumes about their willingness to believe anything coming from an IDIot.

    LYST was such a successful theme that even hardcore evolutionists couldn’t deny it…
    The funniest part about it is that it’s unlikely that it is an adaptation…but Behe and I went with what Darwinists fed us with…😉

  9. Okay, we have the similarities as high as 98%…between human genome and chimp our closest living relative…
    Let’s stop evolutionary bias speculative fiction and do some experiments…
    Let’s tweak the chimp genome and make it more human…
    It’s only a few % difference… Let’s see if we could make it to straighten up a bit and make a sound similar to our speech…

    Let’s listen to excuses now… how science has progressed since Darwin proposed his theory of evolution and how human genome editing is going to be mainstream now but our closest living relative can’t be made to walk up like us and say a word how he feels about being dumb…😉

  10. Pf we were chimps cousins then we should be very close to their dNA. Indeed it is not close enough and so a cute point.
    however we do have the primate body. We are unique as being a KIND that does not have our own body but is renting another.
    This because we uniquely were made in Gods image. our true identity. so in a closed blueprint of biology we can not nave a body representing our identity otherwise God could have a body.
    so its impossible for us to have a body that shows who we are.
    So we simply were given the best body on earth for fun, profits, gymnastics.
    We should desire as close a dna as possible to apes to make this point.
    In fact its the fall that moved us in separation to the apes.

  11. J-Mac:
    Okay, we have the similarities as high as 98%…between human genome and chimp our closest living relative…
    Let’s stop evolutionary bias speculative fiction and do some experiments…
    Let’s tweak the chimp genome and make it more human…
    It’s only a few % difference… Let’s see if we could make it to straighten up a bit and make a sound similar to our speech…

    Ever seen Planet Of The Apes?

    Let’s listen t o excuses now… how science has progressed since Darwin proposed his theory of evolution and how human genome editing is going to be mainstream now but our closest living relative can’t be made to walk up like us and say a word how he feels about being dumb

    At least he would be smarter than a Trump voter.

  12. Robert Byers: We are unique as being a KIND that does not have our own body but is renting another.

    I would like to rent a newer version.

  13. phoodoo: Yea, so you would have no problem with someone who says that its quite interesting that humans are all so different given the fact that we have c100% of the same genome.All of us.Dogs too.Their genomes are all basically 100% the same, and yet, you can have a Pekingese, and a Mastiff, with the same genome-c100% the same.

    You are just being silly. In a discussion on divergence to 98% from a higher figure, it would take a particularly inept reader to infer that ‘c100%’ covered ground on the other side of 98%.

  14. A classic example of The Phoodoo Dichotomy, indeed. ‘100%’ means that Allan thinks that there is no variation in a population. No wait, I didn’t see the ‘c’, he must intend that approximate figure to cover all variation.

  15. Byers:

    This because we uniquely were made in Gods image. our true identity. so in a closed blueprint of biology we can not nave a body representing our identity otherwise God could have a body.

    God does have a body. Just ask your local Mormon missionaries. Or any Christian who believes that Jesus took his body to heaven.

  16. Robert Byers:
    Pf we were chimps cousins then we should be very close to their dNA. Indeed it is not close enough and so a cute point.
    however we do have the primate body. We are unique as being a KIND that does not have our own body but is renting another.
    This because we uniquely were made in Gods image. our true identity. so in a closed blueprint of biology we can not nave a body representing our identity otherwise God could have a body.
    so its impossible for us to have a body that shows who we are.
    So we simply were given the best body on earth for fun, profits, gymnastics.
    We should desire as close a dna as possible to apes to make this point.In fact its the fall that moved us in separation to the apes.

    Is it 5 o’clock were you are Bob?🤔

  17. keiths:
    Byers:

    God does have a body.Just ask your local Mormon missionaries.Or any Christian who believes that Jesus took his body to heaven.

    How’s God going to shake his head if he has no body???🤔

  18. God made the chimp in his own image. He got 98% of the way there with us.

  19. phoodoo:
    Allan Miller,

    Well what figure did you actually mean?

    I meant c100%. About 100%. Roughly 100%. Closer to 100% than 99%. Not exactly 100%, but close enough for internet commentary.

    It’s funny, because you don’t have this trouble with ‘70%’. Do you think Tomkins means exactly 70%? I can only imagine what life is like for you.

    Mrs Phoodoo: “I’m going shopping, I’ll be back about 8”.
    Phoodoo: “You mean 8 on the dot?”.
    Mrs P: “No, about 8″
    P: “So some undefined point in the future this side of infinity?”
    Mrs P (sotto voce): “Fucking never if you keep this up!”

  20. dazz: Do creationists enjoy being shamelessly lied at like that?

    Yes. It’s what keeps us here at TSZ.

  21. Mung:
    What kind of mistakes would they make?

    Less obvious mistakes, like forgetting to use an output format that’s easier to analyze, forgetting to use an appropriate threshold to avoid getting shitty results, etc. But then they’d see that something’s wrong and fix the problem.

    In Tomkins’ case, it seems like thinking that he might be making a mistake, and that he should fix it, is not in his list of priorities. What do you think? Should the guy continue publishing mistaken analyses for the benefit of selectively-credulous creationists? (Selectively because the same creationists would not trust my analyses simply because they disagree with their charlatan’s numbers.)

  22. Mung: Yes. It’s what keeps us here at TSZ.

    Since it’s creationists who lie to each other, reassuringly, you’d get more lies directed at you if you commented at UD.

  23. Entropy,

    In Tomkins’ case, it seems like thinking that he might be making a mistake, and that he should fix it, is not in his list of priorities. What do you think?

    I think its too early for any of us to really know what’s going on here with human and chimp similarity and differences and the real cause.

  24. colewd:
    I think its too early for any of us to really know what’s going on here with human and chimp similarity and differences and the real cause.

    Even if that were true (it isn’t), that has nothing to do with whether Tomkins should be aware that he, like anybody else, can make mistakes, and that he should be looking for them and fix them as he finds them.

  25. Mung: Yes. It’s what keeps us here at TSZ.

    No comments on Tompkins’ calculations where he averages the idents from all sequences ignoring their length?

  26. colewd:
    Entropy,

    I think its too early for any of us to really know what’s going on here with human and chimp similarity and differences and the real cause.

    It’s not too early. We can directly compare more than 90% of each genome. That figure is probably closer to 95% now. The only parts of the genomes that are left to finish are full of repeats that usually aren’t that interesting anyway.

    We also know the real cause. It is the same mechanisms of mutation we see operating in life right now.

    https://biologos.org/articles/testing-common-ancestry-its-all-about-the-mutations

  27. dazz: No comments on Tompkins’ calculations where he averages the idents from all sequences ignoring their length?

    We will comment when he does the proper controls. Those controls include a chimp to chimp comparison and a human to human comparison. A chimp to gorilla comparison would also be needed to test phylogenetic relationships.

    If the human to human comparison shows 72% similarity and the chimp to human comparison shows 70% similarity then the 2% difference still stands.

  28. Entropy: Since it’s creationists who lie to each other, reassuringly, you’d get more lies directed at you if you commented at UD.

    UD is the past. “Peaceful Science” is the future.

  29. dazz: No comments on Tompkins’ calculations where he averages the idents from all sequences ignoring their length?

    That is correct. I don’t presume to know everything he has written or the arguments for or against everything he has written.

    What I do know is that I have never, ever, in my life, put forth an argument that depends on anything he has written.

  30. T_aquaticus: We also know the real cause. It is the same mechanisms of mutation we see operating in life right now.

    You claimed that the real cause is evolution. Are you walking back that claim?

  31. Mung: You claimed that the real cause is evolution. Are you walking back that claim?

    Mutation is one of the mechanisms by which evolution happens. Let’s not pretend you didn’t know and understand this.

  32. Rumraket: Mutation is one of the mechanisms by which evolution happens. Let’s not pretend you didn’t know and understand this.

    Oh yes! Evolution happened by breaking and blunting gene functions of a 5 pound land walking mammal into a 50 ton whale…
    A story like that has gotta be true…🤣

    Funny thing is evo-delusionists gotta believe it or common descent is garbage…
    There is no antipsychotic drugs for this…😉

  33. J-Mac: Oh yes! Evolution happened

    The evolution of what specifically?

    by breaking and blunting gene functions of a 5 pound land walking mammal into a 50 ton whale…

    Says who? Where has this conclusion been published?

    The context of this OP is human evolution and our shared ancestry with the chimpanzee, and that the chemical causes of mutations explain the distribution of the types of mutations that separate us, and thus conforms to a key prediction of our common ancestry. However whales evolved is completely irrelevant here.

    Mung tried to insinuate that accumulating mutations is somehow not evolution, which is of course completely incorrect. Do try to keep up.

    A story like that has gotta be true…

    No no, a much better story is that an occult telepathic pre-historic Jedi called Jesus that raped his own mother so she could give birth to himself, caused and selected the mutations that broke and blunted the genes and THAT is how a 5 pound mammal turned into a 50 ton whale. Right?

    Funny thing is evo-delusionists gotta believe it or common descent is garbage…

    There is no antipsychotic drugs for this…

    I trust that you would know.

  34. Rumraket: The evolution of what specifically?

    Says who? Where has this conclusion been published?

    The context of this OP is human evolution and our shared ancestry with the chimpanzee, and that the chemical causes of mutations explain the distribution of the types of mutations that separate us, and thus conforms to a key prediction of our common ancestry. However whales evolved is completely irrelevant here.

    Mung tried to insinuate that accumulating mutations is somehow not evolution, which is of course completely incorrect. Do try to keep up.

    No no, a much better story is that an occult telepathic pre-historic Jedi called Jesus that raped his own mother so she could give birth to himself, caused and selected the mutations that broke and blunted the genes and THAT is how a 5 pound mammal turned into a 50 ton whale. Right?

    I trust that you would know.

    How about this:
    You put the 5 pound land walking mammal next to the thermal vents? You know like the first self-assembling, self replicating organism was created, as per your “scientific” belief…
    What’s the probability math behind this belief?
    Why don’t do an OP on that? I’m sure we would have fun with many, many testable ideas about that …🤣
    In the beginning…there were thermal vents with creative abilities beyond intelligent design of men because of sheer dumb luck miraculous intervention…😂
    Bed time stories like this gotta be true…😉

  35. J-Mac: How about this:
    You put the 5 pound land walking mammal next to the thermal vents? You know like the first self-assembling, self replicating organism was created, as per your “scientific” belief…
    What’s the probability math behind this belief?
    Why don’t do an OP on that? I’m sure we would have fun with many, many testable ideas about that …

    J-mac, can you give me the number to where you are currently institutionalized? I’d like to send you a box of crayons, and possibly a helmet, so I need to speak to one of your nearest adult handlers.

  36. Rumraket: J-mac, can you give me the number to where you are currently institutionalized? I’d like to send you a box of crayons, and possibly a helmet, so I need to speak to one of your nearest adult handlers.

    You don’t like the creative powers of thermal vents anymore?
    How about this: you disrupt the processing of quantum information during embryo development, cell differentiation of the 5 pound land walking mammal and it’s development is interrupted…
    What is the scientic inference?🤔

  37. I retract my previous support for Jeff 70% figure. It seems clearly in error. 90-95% seems more correct. But the problem is how one does the counting.

    If you take any given English language book, you compare the words in a book to a dictionary, you get close to 100% similarity. One might then, using that silly method say that the book Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is the 100% identical to The Art of The Deal by Deal by Donald Trump.

    Comparisons by individual segments thus have some level of illegitimacy. The LastZ algorithm gives a slightly better estimate.

  38. stcordova:
    I retract my previous support for Jeff 70% figure.It seems clearly in error.90-95% seems more correct.But the problem is how one does the counting.

    If you take any given English language book, you compare the words in a book to a dictionary, you get close to 100% similarity.One might then, using that silly method say that the book Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is the 100% identical to The Art of The Deal by Deal by Donald Trump.

    Comparisons by individual segments thus have some level of illegitimacy.The LastZ algorithm gives a slightly better estimate.

    So, the tweaking of the chimp genome to make it more human should be a piece of cake… That’s what Lenski should be doing rather than breaking bacteria in LTEE for another 31 years…😉

  39. How you measure genetic similarity depends on your purpose. If your purpose is to come up with a huge difference regardless of how odd the method is, Tomkins is on goal. But if you want to think about how many mutations are needed to change an ancestral ape into chimps and humans, you need a different measure. Around 87% of all differences are point mutations, which can be measured by looking at differences between aligned sites. The remaining 13% or so are indels, which can just be counted. But you have to count them the way they happen as mutations: an indel of 1000 bases is one mutation, not 1000. Then there are a tiny number, no more than a rounding error, of other mutations: duplications, inversions, transpositions. Measures of genetic similarity other than counting base substitutions in aligned sequences do not measure numbers of mutations, though they may be useful for other purposes. But you still need to understand what you’re measuring and use that measure for an appropriate purpose.

  40. John Harshman:
    How you measure genetic similarity depends on your purpose. If your purpose is to come up with a huge difference regardless of how odd the method is, Tomkins is on goal. But if you want to think about how many mutations are needed to change an ancestral ape into chimps and humans, you need a different measure. Around 87% of all differences are point mutations, which can be measured by looking at differences between aligned sites. The remaining 13% or so are indels, which can just be counted. But you have to count them the way they happen as mutations: an indel of 1000 bases is one mutation, not 1000. Then there are a tiny number, no more than a rounding error, of other mutations: duplications, inversions, transpositions. Measures of genetic similarity other than counting base substitutions in aligned sequences do not measure numbers of mutations, though they may be useful for other purposes. But you still need to understand what you’re measuring and use that measure for an appropriate purpose.

    So, it’s even easier than I thought to make the chimp evolve to look and behave like human…
    Why hasn’t this been done before? Human genome editing is going to be mainstream, why not chimp genome editing? 🤔

    Something is wrong… I think I know what that could be…

  41. J-Mac: So, it’s even easier than I thoughtto make the chimp evolve to look and behave like human…
    Why hasn’t this been done before?Human genome editing is going to be mainstream, why not chimp genome editing?

    Something is wrong… I think I know what that could be…

    But as usual you’re not telling.

    To what purpose? I mean, we have humans, and we have chimps, so …

    Eta – surely you’re not suggesting we evolved from chimps? What would taking a path evolution didn’t take prove?

  42. Why would evolutionists resist proving their assumptions?
    Unless they already know it’s simply ideology and not science…
    That’s what’s wrong…😉

    BTW: How about hybridization? I’m sure there are many evolutionists who would do it to prove their theory…😉

    Please don’t tell me hybridization is not possible with 98% genome similarity? It should much, much easier than hybridization with the banana at 50% genome similarity…🤣

  43. J-Mac:
    Why would evolutionists resist proving their assumptions?Unless they already know it’s simply ideology and not science…
    That’s what’s wrong…

    BTW: How about hybridization? I’m sure there are many evolutionists who would do it to prove their theory…

    Evolutionists do not assume that humans evolved from chimps. So they’d be proving an assumption no-one makes, which would be pretty damn stupid.

  44. Mung: When I die, will I get my security deposit back?

    That would depend on how many dents and dings you leave on the rental.

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