Skin Variation: Explained by Evolution or...the Bible?
The first article that I found while searching for fake science news was "Did Clothing Help Determine our Shade of Skin". I was immediately intrigued by the title. It starts off by describing the known advantages of dark skin compared to light skin. Having dark skin acts as protection from skin cancer as well as aiding in the breakdown of folic acid, while lighter skin is better for producing Vitamin D. So far so good, this is all valid information. The study that the title of this article is in reference to was run by the University of California San Francisco. The study states that clothing played a part in skin variation. Those that ran the study theorized that clothing may have played a role in the selection for lighter skin in cold climates which are found near the poles. The heavier clothes acted as a barrier that darker skin usually would. Dismissing these new findings, the author of the article went on to address skin variation in relation to the Bible. According to the Bible, all of man descends from two people, Adam and Eve. The author states that “Adam and Eve were middle brown, it is possible within just one generation, that they produced skin tones from very light to dark.” Here she is saying that skin variation is completely random and there is no selection power for skin color.
All humans have the same number of melanosomes. Melanosomes produce and store melanin which is responsible for color. Variation in skin color is caused by melanosome cell structure differences as well as the size and distribution of them. There are known mutations in genes that control the expression of melanin that would affect pigmentation. Skin types have been selected for due to their different responses to UV radiation. It has been shown that those in the northern regions, with less sunlight, have lighter skin while the middle regions having darker skin to protect against high UV radiation. This is not coincidental.
Two “middle brown” people would not be able to produce offspring with such a variation in color pigmentation. With knowledge of simple genetics one knows that the theory of blending inheritance is discarded, offspring is not simply a blend of the parents. The author then goes on to say that the researchers behind this new study interpreted it the way they did because of “presuppositions”. What she actually should have said is, everything that she is claiming in this article is based on her own presuppositions with no real evidence to back it up. Lastly, she claims that skin variation is not evolution, but “caused by different combinations of genes and possibly humans adapting to diverse environments, a process that occurred in the recent past.” A large part of evolution is adapting to a new environment, but adaptation and large changes in skin pigmentation would occur over many years not over one generation or in the recent past.
Overall this article was written with the bias of someone who is extremely religious, which was assumed from the beginning based on the title of the website. The claims that she made were not backed up with solid evidence or reasoning and could easily be debunked by science.
Posted by: Leah DeLorenzo (4)