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"I don't think so..."
(See the Myths section for more information related to this subject)
What does the fossil record tell us about human evolution?
It is impossible to go into great detail in this FAQ, but I strongly urge the interested reader to consult Bones of Contention by Marvin L. Lubenow which thoroughly examines the human evolution controversy and demonstrates its conclusion -- that the fossil evidence is so contrary to human evolution as to effectively falsify the idea that humans evolved.
The fossil known as KP 271 (the distal end of a humerus found in 1965 by Bryan Patterson of Harvard University in an excellent state of preservation) has been given by evolutionists a date of 4.5 million years ago, thus it becomes virtually the oldest hominid fossil ever found -- older than Lucy and all of the australopithecines. Much to the evolutionist's surprise, this oldest respectable hominid fossil ever found, representing a part of the anatomy where it is relatively easy to discriminate between humans and the other primates -- both living and fossil, is virtually identical to that of Homo sapiens (modern humans). This suggests that true humans existed before the australopithecines appear in the fossil record. KP 271 could not be distinguished from Homo sapiens morphologically or by multivariate analysis by Patterson, his partner, or by many others who have analyzed it since then. Yet not surprisingly, this fossil has been called Australopithecus africanus. It was called Australopithecus because of its age, in spite of the scientific evidence. Evolutionists "know" it is impossible for true humans to have lived before the australopithecines, even though the fossil evidence would suggest otherwise, because humans are supposed to have evolved from the australopithecines, so they come to the unreasonable conclusion mandated by evolution theory.
Evolutionists ignore the morphology of fossils that do not fall into the proper evolutionary time period, and wave their magic wand to change the taxon of these fossils. Thus, it is impossible to falsify the concept of human evolution (proof that it is not a scientific theory). To the evolutionist, the value of data does not depend upon its intrinsic quality but upon whether or not it supports evolution and its time scale. Good data is that which supports evolution. Bad data is that which does not fit evolution, and it is to be discarded or manipulated.
The fossil record shows us that anatomically modern Homo sapiens, Neanderthal, archaic Homo sapiens, and Homo erectus all lived as contemporaries at one time or another. None of them evolved from a more robust to a more gracile condition; in fact, in some cases (Neanderthal and archaic Homo sapiens) the more robust fossils are the more recent fossils in their respective categories. All of the fossils ascribed to the Homo habilis category are contemporary with Homo erectus. Thus, Homo habilis not only did not evolve into Homo erectus, it could not have evolved into Homo erectus.
As far as we can tell from the fossil record, when humans first appear in the fossil record, they are already fully human. It is this abrupt appearance of our ancestors in morphologically human form that makes the human fossil record compatible with the creation model. This fact is evident even when the fossils are arranged according to the evolutionist's dates (which are believed to be grossly in error under the creation model). In other words, even when we accept the evolutionist's dates for the fossils, the results do not support human evolution. The results, in fact, are so contradictory to human evolution that they effectively falsify the theory. Paleoanthropologists reinforce the notion that human evolution is a philosophy, not science, when they refuse to let observation get in the way of evolution theory.
(See Bones of Contention by Marvin L. Lubenow, pg. 57, 178-179)
Do skull sizes and morphology indicate evolution?
In seeking to establish the concept of human evolution, the evolutionist leans heavily on skull morphology and, to a lesser degree in recent years, on skull size. Both are spurious arguments and prove nothing. Typical of the charts and illustrations used by evolutionists is a display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City:
Increasing Brain Size
Homo sapiens 1450 cc [cubic centimeters]
Neanderthal 1625 cc
Pithecanthropus 914 cc
Australopithecine 650 cc
Gorilla 543 cc
Gibbon 97 cc
So what is the point of such a display? The evolutionist is obviously trying to establish that the hominid brain has enlarged by evolution over time. However, no evolutionist in the world believes that it happened in the way the chart implies it did. No evolutionist believes the evolution went from gibbon to chimpanzee to gorilla to the australopithecines to Homo erectus to Neanderthal and then to modern humans. Evolutionists believe that we evolved from some transitional form that was the ancestor to both humans and living primates (despite the fact that this transitional form, if it ever existed, would readily be called an ape by anyone who saw it). This type of display is nothing more than a cheap form of propaganda to convince the uninformed public of the "truth" of evolution.
The truth is that relative brain size means very little. The relationship between brain size and body size must be factored in, with the crucial elements being organization and complexity, not size. The human brain varies in size from approximately 700 cubic cm to 2200 cubic cm with no differences in ability or intelligence -- that's a difference of over 300 percent! (See Races, Types, and Ethnic Groups by Stephen Molnar, pg. 57)
Basing an evolutionary sequence on skull morphology is just as futile. For example the archaic Homo sapiens fossil Rhodesian Man has pronounced brow ridges making it the most "primitive", "savage", or "apelike" human fossil in existence. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this fossil is that it was found about sixty feet underground at the far end of a shaft in a lead and zinc mine. He was either mining lead and zinc himself or was in the mine shaft at a time when lead and zinc were being mined by other humans -- indicating a very high degree of civilization and technology. Not surprisingly, many evolutionists report that Rhodesian Man was found in a cave. While not an outright lie, one has to consider if calling a mine shaft a cave is not a crude attempt to minimize the technical abilities of ancient humans.
In spite of this evidence, evolutionists continue to base much of their evidence for human evolution on the alleged primitive-to-advanced contours of fossil skulls. Creationists maintain that in light of the evidence of the wide genetic diversity in the human family, skull contour is an inadequate basis for determining relationships. The Selenka Expedition to Java, for example, succeeded in revealing the nature of the human fossil record -- that the human family had wide morphologic diversity (even more so than today) and that Java Man was not our evolutionary ancestor.
(See Bones of Contention by Marvin L. Lubenow, pg. 82-85, 118-119)
Should Homo erectus really be classified as a separate species?
A number of evolutionists have expressed the fact that Homo erectus, while slightly different in morphology, is not so different from modern humans as to warrant a separate species designation. The range of variation of many features of Homo erectus (such as Java and Peking) fall within that of modern man. When considering the vast differences that exist between remote groups such as Eskimos and Bushmen, who are known to belong within the single species Homo sapiens, it seems justifiable to conclude that Homo erectus belongs among this same diverse species. Changes in locomoter anatomy from Homo erectus to modern man are relatively minor, and by earliest Homo erectus times body size was essentially modern.
Furthermore, many anthropologists believe that a modern man and a million-year-old Homo erectus woman could together produce a fertile child. In other words this species distinction is based solely on the time element, which is an evolutionary concept -- valid only if evolution is valid. If one million years would not produce significant genetic change to inhibit conception, then the differences between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens are not the result of evolution but instead represent genetic variation within one species. Although I am genetically isolated from my great grandmother because of time, this does not mean that she and I are different species. A species distinction based primarily on time is an absurd evolutionary necessity.
(See Bones of Contention by Marvin L. Lubenow, pg. 134-137)
Are australopithecines ancestors to humans?
This is yet another evolutionary fable, and an example of the inevitable circular reasoning behind evolutionary theory. The australopithecines had nothing to do with human origins, they are simply extinct primates. There is already evidence which shows that humans appeared in the fossil record before the australopithecines and lived as contemporaries with the australopithecines throughout all of australopithecine history.
The case for the australopithecines as human ancestors has been based on three evolutionist claims: that they were relatively big brained; that they were bipedal; and that they appear in the fossil record at the relevant time. In reality, the fossil record shows us that the australopithecines do not appear in the fossil record at the relevant time -- they are far too recent. Although brain organization is more important than brain size alone, the significant gap between cranial capacities of the largest australopithecine and the smallest human has not been bridged. There is no smooth transition from nonhuman to human fossils in this regard.
The evidence for australopithecine bipedality is controversial. First it should be noted that bipedality does NOT indicate a human relationship. Birds are bipedal, but no one suggests that they are closely related to humans. Evolutionists make much of the alleged australopithecine bipedality because to make a case for human evolution they must demonstrate the origin of bipedality from a primate stock.
If indeed the australopithecines were bipedal, there is strong evidence that their locomotion was significantly different from that of humans (consequently most paleoanthropologists agree that if they did in fact walk, it was not in a human manner). This brings us to the infamous Laetoli footprints, discovered by associates of Mary Leakey beginning in 1978, thirty miles south of Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania. The strata above the footprints has been dated at 3.6 million years ago, while the strata below them has been dated at 3.8 million years ago (K-Ar). These footprint trails, preserved in fresh volcanic ash by a unique combination of circumstances, are one of the greatest fossil discoveries of the twentieth century.
Mary Leakey described the footprints as "remarkably similar to those of modern man." (National Geographic, April 1979, p. 446) Three parallel trails are seen, made by three individuals, with one individual walking in the footprints of another. There are a total of sixty-nine prints extending a length of about thirty yards. Virtually everyone agrees that these prints are strikingly similar to those of modern humans, yet in spite of this fact, evolutionists have ascribed them to the Lucy-type hominid known as Australopithecus afarensis. Obviously this is totally unprovable.
The most extensive recent study of these footprints was done by specialist Russel H. Tuttle at the invitation of Mary Leakey. Not only did he confirm the remarkable humanness of the Laetoli hominid feet, but he described them as "indistinguishable from those of habitually barefoot Homo sapiens." He also said that "none of their features suggest that the Laetoli hominids were less capable bipeds than we are." (see American Journal of Physical Anthropology, February 1991, p.244) He not only rejects the notion that the Laetoli footprints were made by Australopithecus afarensis, but he found that the former work on the footprints which led to this conclusion was flawed.
So WHY then do evolutionists not ascribe these fossil footprints to Homo? Because that would not fit the evolutionary timeline. According to the theory of evolution, those footprints are too old to have been made by true humans. It is a classic case of interpreting the facts according to a preconceived philosophical bias. Evolutionists refuse to call extremely old fossils by their proper names, in order to protect evolution theory. Hence, it is obvious we are dealing not with science but with a philosophy.
(See Bones of Contention by Marvin L. Lubenow, pg. 166-168, 173-176)
Does fossil evidence confirm the Creation model?
One way to discriminate between the two models of human origins is to place all of the relevant fossil material on a time chart according to the probable dates for each of the fossil individuals and to evaluate the results as to whether the evidence favors an evolutionary or a morphological continuum. When this is done, the evidence is strongly in favor of a morphological continuum, both horizontally across species, and vertically over time. The horizontal continuum shows that anatomically modern Homo sapiens, Neanderthal, archaic Homo sapiens, and Homo erectus all lived as contemporaries over extended periods of time. The vertical continuum shows that as far back as the human fossil record goes, the human body has remained substantially the same and has not evolved from something else.
This is what the creation model would predict, that is, it is what we would expect if creation were true. The evidence, in fact, is so strong for the creation model of human origins that it is extremely unlikely that any future fossil discoveries would weaken it. New fossil discoveries have only strengthened the creationist position, which is why it is understandable that evolutionist books no longer carry this type of human fossil chart. Charts of bits and pieces of the human fossil record abound in evolutionary books, but one will not find a time chart that places all of the relevant human fossil material on a time chart according to the morphological description of the individual fossils. If you are interested in learning more about the evolutionist perspective on human evolution, check out the fossil hominids FAQ by Jim Foley.
(See Bones of Contention by Marvin L. Lubenow, pg. 139-140)
But aren't humans 97% chimp?
The notion that human beings and chimps have close to 100% similarity in their DNA seems to be common knowledge. The figures quoted vary: 97%, 98%, or even 99%, depending on who is telling the story. What is the basis for these claims and does the data actually indicate little difference between chimps and humans? The following concepts will assist with a proper understanding of this issue:
1. Similarity ('homology') is not evidence for common ancestry (evolution) or against a common designer (creation). Think about a painter. Why do his or her various paintings have so many similarities? Because they had the same creator. Whether similarity is morphological or biochemical is of no consequence to the lack of logic in this argument for evolution.
2. If humans were entirely different from all other living things, or indeed if every living thing was entirely different, would this reveal the Creator to us? No. If anything, it would indicate the existence of multiple creators instead of one.
3. If humans were entirely different from all other living things, how would we survive? We must eat food to provide nutrients and energy to live, what would we eat if every other organism on earth were fundamentally different biochemically? How could we digest them and how could we use the amino acids, sugars, etc., if they were different from the ones we have in our bodies? Biochemical similarity is necessary for our survival.
4. We know that DNA in cells contains much of the information necessary for the development of an organism. In other words, if two organisms look similar, we would expect there to be some similarity also in their DNA. The DNA of a cow and a whale, two mammals, should be more alike than the DNA of a cow and a bacterium. If it were not so, then the whole idea of DNA being the information carrier in living things would have to be questioned. Likewise, humans and apes have a lot of morphological similarities, so we would expect there would be similarities in their DNA. Of all the animals, chimps are most like humans, so we would expect that their DNA would be most like human DNA.
5. Certain biochemical capacities are common to all living things, so there is even a degree of similarity between the DNA of yeast, for example, and that of humans. Because human cells can do many of the things that yeast can do, we share similarities in the DNA sequences that code for the enzymes that do the same jobs in both types of cells. Some of the sequences, for example, those that code for the MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex) proteins, are almost identical.
6. What of the 97% (or 98% or 99%!) similarity claimed between humans and chimps? The figures published do not mean quite what is claimed in the popular publications (and even some respectable science journals). DNA contains its information in the sequence of four chemical compounds known as nucleotides, abbreviated C,G,A,T. Groups of three of these at a time are 'read' by complex translation machinery in the cell to determine the sequence of 20 different types of amino acids to be incorporated into proteins. The human DNA has at least 3,000,000,000 nucleotides in sequence. Neither human nor chimp DNA has been anywhere near fully sequenced so that a proper comparison can be made (this would also require unprecedented processing time and power). Indeed it may be a long time before such a comparison can be made because it will probably be the year 2005 before we have the full sequence of human DNA –- and chimp DNA sequencing has a much lower priority.
Where did the "97% similarity" come from then? It was inferred from a fairly crude technique called DNA hybridization where small parts of human DNA are split into single strands and allowed to re-form double strands (duplex) with chimp DNA. However, there are various reasons why DNA does or does not hybridize, only one of which is degree of similarity (homology). Consequently, this somewhat arbitrary figure is not used by those working in molecular homology (other parameters, derived from the shape of the 'melting' curve, are used). Why has the 97% figure been popularized then? One can only guess that it served the purpose of evolutionary indoctrination of the scientifically illiterate.
Interestingly, the original papers did not contain the basic data and the reader had to accept the interpretation of the data 'on faith'. Sarich et al. obtained the original data and used them in their discussion of which parameters should be used in homology studies. Sarich discovered considerable sloppiness in Sibley and Ahlquist's generation of their data as well as their statistical analysis. Upon inspecting the data, I discovered that, even if everything else was above criticism, the 97% figure came from making a very basic statistical error - averaging two figures without taking into account differences in the number of observations contributing to each figure. When a proper mean is calculated it is 96.2%, not 97%. However, there is no true replication in the data, so no confidence can be attached to the figures published by Sibley and Ahlquist.
What if human and chimp DNA was even 96% homologous? What would that mean? Would it mean that humans could have 'evolved' from a common ancestor with chimps? Not at all. The amount of information in the 3 billion base pairs in the DNA of every human cell has been estimated to be equivalent to that in 1,000 books of encyclopaedia size. If humans were 'only' 4% different this still amounts to 120 million base pairs, equivalent to approximately 12 million words, or 40 large books of information. This is surely an impossible barrier for mutations (random changes) to cross.
7. Does a high degree of similarity mean that two DNA sequences have the same meaning or function? No, not necessarily. Compare the following sentences:
There are many scientists today who question the evolutionary paradigm and its philosophical implications.
There are not many scientists today who question the evolutionary paradigm and its philosophical implications.
These sentences have 97% homology and yet have almost opposite meanings! There is a strong analogy here to the way in which large DNA sequences can be turned on or off by relatively small control sequences.
(See: Dr. Don Batten, Ph.D., Creation Ex Nihilo 19(1):21-22, Dec. 1996-Feb. 1997)
"If God wanted us to be concerned for the plight of toads, he would have made them cute and fluffy."
Posts: 451 | Posted: 8:29 PM on September 21, 2007 | IP
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