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The “factor that makes human beings human” error published in the Turkish daily Radikal

The Turkish daily Radikal published a report headed “What is it that makes human beings human?” in its 3 October, 2006 edition. This short article, which summarized examples of the genetic and molecular differences between human beings and apes revealed over the last few years, maintained that evolution was a process influenced by environmental factors and not dependent upon specific rules, and that the question “what is it that makes human beings human” would soon be answered.

One can see in this article of daily Radikal that the answer to this question is sought in the light of molecular comparison analyses. Yet this endeavor is a hollow one, because human beings, as entities with minds, cannot be explained solely on the molecular scale. To put it another way, molecules do not have the quality with which to make human beings human.

For example, the genes that differ between human beings and apes are molecular chains made up of such bases as adenine, guanine, cytosine and thiamine, which are chemical entities that can neither think nor feel. The belief that human mind stems from these genes is totally irrational and is based on no scientific foundation.

A book review published in Nature magazine contained the following words on the subject:

. . . can we explain how genes make minds?. . .  This book shows that genes build brains and that brains are designed to be flexible and to learn, but the jump from genes to the mind is an indirect one. The question cannot yet be answered, and it is not entirely clear where the answer will come from. (Anthony P. Monaco, “A recipe for the mind,” Nature 427, 681, 19 February 2004)

The belief that human nature stems solely from the genes is therefore scientifically baseless. As an article in Science magazine stated:

 . . . the interaction of genes and environment is much more complicated than the simple “violence genes” and “intelligence genes” touted in the popular press. The same data that show the effects of genes, also point to the enormous influence of nongenetic factors. (C. Mann, “Genes and behavior,” Science 264; 1687 (1994), pp. 1686-1689)

Indeed, the geneticist Craig Venter, president of Celera Genomics, admits this by saying that “Genes can”t possibly explain all of what makes us what we are”. (Keay Davidson, “No Easy Link between Genes, Behavior; DNA Studies Dash Quest for Easy Answers; Genome’s Link to Behavior Hard to Prove,” The San Francisco Chronicle, 13 February 2001,


Due to its devotion to materialism, daily Radikal assumes that human beings can be explained on the molecular level. The fact is though, as we have seen, that the best-known scientific journals, Nature and Science, have cited statements clearly revealing that the factors that make human beings human cannot be restricted to genes. We call on the paper’s management to cease reporting materialist assumptions as if they were true scientific findings.

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