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واحد عالم, واحد جنس: ‘One world, one species’

by Abdel Irada,
republished from a review of an article on evolutionary biology on io9.com, originally written on 11 May 2011

This article makes the case against xenophobia, not from a moral perspective, but purely from a genetic one. In short: We H. sapiens sapiens — although no two of us are or could be altogether alike — are fundamentally one people, and the seeming distinctions of race, color and ethnicity that are so often used to divide us are startlingly inconsequential and shallow-rooted.

In a world in which we are all related to one another, and our most recent common ancestor could have lived as recently as the epoch of Jesus and Augustus, it is hard to justify contempt based on superficial, mostly cosmetic variations. Each of our phenotypic traits can be found on a continuum of infinitesimal gradations. Each such continuum is a limited infinity; therefore the number of possible combinations that defines our genetic diversity is also a limited infinity.

The result is precisely what we see: Countless (over time) unique individuals — similar but not the same — all essentially equal and all sharing common ancestors.

It’s amusing to reflect on one unexpected consequence: that evolutionary biology now confirms what the Bible affirms. Whether through the twelve tribes of Israel and the Adam and Eve of Genesis, or merely through Y-chromosome Adam and Mitochondrial Eve, we all find ourselves related, and not so very long ago.

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