Evidence for Darwin’s “Descent of Man”: Mountain or Molehill?

If you were to ask any individual, of any education level, if science does in fact have fossil evidence of Darwin’s “descent of man” (evolution from ape to modern day man) he/she would doubtless respond that indeed they do (or believe that they do). Any high school or college biology textbook will have a section devoted to this evidence in which you will read the names of our proposed ancestors: Australopithecus, Ramapithecus, Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Neanderthal, and Cro-Magnon Man to name a few. Anytime anthropologists uncover another ancestral candidate much ado is made and everyone is bound to hear about it from one news outlet or another. The problem is, when each candidate is eventually struck from the “family tree”, no updates or revisions are passed along- leaving those of us not “in the know” to believe that evolution has quite a mountain of evidence on its side. But is the evidence for Darwin’s “Descent of Man” truly a mountain, or more of a molehill? Let’s take a look and see.

First of all, you should be aware that the physical amount of evidence is not what you are led to believe. From Charles Scott Kimball’s The Truth About Cavemen: “In 1982 Dr. Lyall Watson stated: ‘The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all of the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed, with room to spare, inside a single coffin!’” This might come as a surprise to you if you are assuming that we actually have a somewhat complete skeleton of ANY of our “ancestors”. Most are identified by a very few bones- mostly jaw bones and teeth. In my humble opinion these are pretty big conclusions to come to based on such skimpy evidence. Let’s look at the most famous candidates one by one.

Australopithecus was discovered in Africa in 1924 by Raymond Dart. This is why most evolutionists believe Africa to be the “cradle of civilization”. Many specimens have been found, but by far the most famous and most complete skeleton (40% complete) has been dubbed “Lucy.” Lucy was discovered in 1973. The problem is that they come in many varying sizes and builds, so they are all classified under different names. Because many of the Australopithecus finds have been determined to be nonhuman, it has been suggested that they are actually NOT a separate species, but rather male and female examples of the same ape. In 2015, one of Lucy’s vertebrae was found to actually belong to a baboon. Whoops!

While we’re at it, just a quick note about these “reconstructions”. Boyce Rensberger, writing in Science Digest in 1981, explains them this way: “Unfortunately, the vast majority of artist’s conceptions are based more on imagination than on evidence. But a handful of expert natural-history artists begin with the fossil bones of a hominid and work from there . . . Much of the reconstruction, however, is guesswork. Bones say nothing about the fleshy parts of the nose, lips or ears. Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it . . . Hairiness is a matter of pure conjecture. The guesswork approach often leads to errors.”

Take the case of the famous “Lucy” for example. In the picture below, the center image is a mold of Lucy’s potential face (remember the fleshy parts of the face are just guesses) . The images to the right and left are different artists representations of what Lucy could have looked like based on the same face mold. Notice the artist has complete control over whether Lucy looks like just another ape or decidedly more “human” (far left) based on the distribution of facial hair (which is ALL guesswork).

So there you have it. These pictures aren’t worth the paper they’re drawn on and likely look precious little like the creature whose bones they are based on.

Ramapithecus is touted as the oldest hominid. It was identified based on a few teeth and some bone fragments that appear similar to human bones. From these few bones, some textbooks boast pictures of what a Ramapithecus “would have” looked like. Apparently, he is envisioned as a little less “apey” than his ancestors, but definitely not very “humaney” yet. I mean- think early evolutionary human. They got all that, from a few teeth and jaw fragments…

Java Man was discovered in 1891 by Eugene Dubois and was identified by one tooth, a piece of a skull bone, and a thighbone. Nevermind that the thighbone wasn’t actually found until a year later and 50 feet from where the other two bones were found. No big deal, because Dubois insisted they belonged together. When Dubois couldn’t get agreement from the scientific community of his day, he buried the bones under his house in a suitcase for 23 years before he finally brought them out again. (What!?!) Before his death in 1923, Dubois confessed that Java Man was actually a giant gibbon. Unfortunately, he is still in textbooks and museums labeled as Homo erectus.

Java Man’s cousin, Peking Man was discovered in 1928. 40 skulls of Peking Man were unearthed from a single cave amid campfire ashes and stone tools leading discoverers to obvious conclusions about Peking Man’s abilities. Unfortunately, what wasn’t disclosed about this discovery is that only skulls and no other body parts were unearthed. To make matters worse, every single skull had been smashed so that the brain could be removed and eaten. Also, seven skeletons of modern men were found at the very same site! This deleted information leads one to come up with all together different conclusions. Like Kimball’s for instance, “ Peking Man was the victim of a feast, and the fire and tools were not used by Peking Man but on Peking Man…The most plausible answer is that “Peking Man” was just another ape like “Java Man” and “Solo Man,” killed and eaten by true men.”

Piltdown Man was discovered in 1911 by Charles Dawson and was deemed to be in the neighborhood of 500,000 years old. In the 1950’s, when dating methods had improved (dating methods are still extremely problematic, but that discussion is outside the scope of this article), Piltdown Man was found to be only about 620 years old. Subsequently, his teeth were found to belong to an ape- Dawson (or someone else) had filed them to disguise them. In 1982, the jawbone was discovered to belong to an orangutan. The bones had also been stained to give the appearance of old age. So, Piltdown man was a 40 year long hoax.

The discovery of a single tooth in Nebraska in 1922 gave rise to the famous Nebraska Man. This tooth was actually entered as evidence in the famous Scopes Trial in which the ACLU sought to usher in the teaching of evolution in science class. Evolutionists of the day scoffed at the “naive, mentally inferior” Creationists who considered a single tooth to be insufficient evidence of evolution. A mere two years after the trial, when a complete skeleton was unearthed with identical teeth, they were found to belong to none other than a fossilized peccary- also known as a wild pig.

Rhodesian man is considered the African counterpart of Heidelberg Man who anthropologists generally agree are an intermediate stage between Homo erectus and modern men. One detail that somehow isn’t widely discussed, is the fact that the Rhodesian Man skull found at Broken Hill quarry (in Zambia) actually has a bullet hole in it. Kimball writes, “The skull has a small round hole in the left temple, with none of the radial cracks around it that an arrowhead or spear would have produced. The right side of the skull is shattered, having been blown apart from the inside. A German forensics expert in Berlin has testified that only a high-speed projectile, like a rifle shot, could have done this kind of damage.” So, two options: either Rhodesian man is not as old as he has been dated to be and was actually shot in the 18th or 19th century (he was found buried 60 feet deep) OR prehistoric people had guns. Either way, evolutionists don’t like what Rhodesian man brings to the table- so they just disregard the information that doesn’t align with their theories. Convenient.

Rhodesian Man Skull Reconstruction picture from Kimball’s article

Ever since Neanderthal Man came on the scene in 1856, he has been considered our slumped, not-so-bright predecessor. Research has since determined that the original Neanderthal skeleton, “Old Man of La Chappelle,” was actually crippled by arthritis, which accounts for the stooped posture. Based on other Neanderthal fossils, it has been determined that Neanderthal’s harsh features may have had more to do with the environment he lived in (an Ice Age) and the health problems that arise due to this fact such as poor diet, and rickets. Other finds have also revealed that he was in fact more intelligent than originally given credit for- the Neanderthal brain is actually a little larger than ours. Presently, scientists no longer consider Neanderthal Man to be a separate species, but instead a distinct race within the human species.

Neanderthal man has also been diagnosed with “acromegaly” (an overactive pituitary gland). Interestingly, this condition causes ordinary men to develop an “apelike appearance” due to the fact that the bones begin to grow again after maturity leading to a “thickening” since the bones cannot grow longer. Other physical characteristics of acromegaly sufferers are large extremities and drooping shoulders. This disease is also hereditary. This is significant because if Neanderthal Man lived in small isolated groups where inbreeding was practiced it would have resulted in a predominantly ape-man looking family group in the fossil record. Kimball notes a recent example of this illness in wrestler Maurice Tillet, pictured below. Imagine what conclusions evolutionary scientists would come to if his skeleton were to be fossilized and unearthed in generations to come. Incidently, Tiller’s face was the inspiration for Shrek’s appearance.

That leaves us with Cro-Magnon Man. I like what Kimball says regarding this evolutionary piece of the puzzle, “ Cro-Magnon was the same height as us and had a brain the same size, and one child’s book has a chapter on Cro-Magnons entitled ‘People Like Us,’ only to say on the next page that they were not simply like us- they were us. There is no point in making this character the missing link if the only differences between him and us are cultural ones.”

Of course, we currently have Homo antecessor that scientists date from 1.2 million to 800,000 years ago and who scientists consider the latest common ancestor of modern humans and Neanderthals. According to Wikipedia, “As a complete skull has yet to be unearthed, only fourteen fragments and lower jaw bones exist, these scholars point to the fact, that ‘most of the known H. antecessor specimens represent children’ as ‘most of the features tying H. antecessor to modern people were found in juveniles, whose bodies and physical features change as they grow up and go through puberty. It’s possible that H. antecessor adults didn’t really look much like H. sapiens at all.’” So, yeah, from 14 bone fragments we now have this picture of what Homo antecessor “probably” looked like:

I forgot to mention that H. antecessor was cannibalistic. Yikes. Anyhow- let’s give it 40 years and see how this “missing link” gets debunked.

Sources:

http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/genesis/gen05.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_antecessor

https://answersingenesis.org/human-evolution/lucy/bringing-lucy-to-life/

Could All the Diversity in the Human Race Have Come From Adam and Eve?

When you look at people today, with all of our diverse characteristics- skin color, hair color, eye shape, height, build, etc, you can’t help but wonder: Could only Adam and Eve, who lived approximately 6,000 to 7,000 years ago have been the foundation for the diverse group we have become? Evolutionary science would tell us no- that the human race must have begun around 200,000 years ago to account for the diversity that is represented among us today. Surprisingly, however, some of the most compelling evidence corroborating the Biblical creation account, is coming from evolutionary scientists.

Let’s look at the path evolutionary science takes using the example of skin color. To explain the rainbow of varying shades, (not just the four scientific classifications of race: Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid, Australoid) but the incredible diversity among each race (dark skinned Caucasoids, light skinned Negroids, varying shades of Mongoloids), the October 2002 issue of Scientific American claims that skin color is evolving in order to come to “just the right skin color”. A color dark enough to prevent the nutrient folate from being destroyed in the sun, but light enough to allow the production of vitamin D. Dr. Brad Harrub writing for Apologetics Press sums up the thought process evolutionist currently use to describe the human evolution of skin color (evolution from chimps, of course, who by the way do not have varying skin color), “For those of you keeping track, here’s a quick summary: We lost body hair to cool our growing brains. Our pink skin and folate levels were in danger of UV radiation, so we evolved lots of melanin and became dark skinned. But some humans traveled to areas where there wasn’t as much sunlight, thus they were required to evolve lighter skin.”

Of course, Creationists do not need to rely on mutations, we assert that our Creator, God, created man with the best possible combination of skin-color genes. With this knowledge we can scientifically account for skin color diversity (and most other diversity for that matter) using a simple Punnette Square straight from your high school biology class. Here’s a little refresher: The pigment melanin (which controls skin color) is mainly controlled by two pairs of genes- Aa and Bb. A and B are dominant and produce melanin well, while a and b are recessive and do not. If God created Adam and Eve “heterozygous” (meaning they had both dominant and recessive genes: AaBb) they would have been a middle brown color and capable of producing anywhere from darkest Negroid to lightest Caucasoid.

According to Dr. Brad Harrub, “The whole process is “put into reverse,” however, when people of different skin colors intermarry. Various combinations of genes occur, and the offspring thus begin to show a rainbow effect of skin colors, ranging from black to white.”

Now, obviously Adam and Eve could have literally created a rainbow of offspring within one generation. However, with all the mixing going on through the generations, many varying shades would have been produced. Notice, “race” is never even mentioned in the Bible.

I know what you’re thinking- Ok, but that’s not how it works today- white parents have white children only, black parents have black children only and so on. This is where the findings of evolutionary science fit in perfectly with the Bible.

Evolutionary scientists have come to the conclusion that there must have been some type of “bottleneck” (extreme reduction) in the earth’s population somewhere around 5,000 years ago when the population really began to diversify. Of course, creationists refer to that as the flood of Noah’s day. Dr. Jeffery P. Tomkins writes for the Institute of Creation Research, “A new study reported in the journal Science has advanced our knowledge of rare DNA variation associated with gene regions in the human genome. By applying a demographics-based model to the data, researchers discovered that the human genome began to rapidly diversify about 5,000 years ago.”

Why are scientists just now coming to these conclusions? Dr. Jeffery Tomkins explains, “Typically, evolutionary scientists incorporate hypothetical deep time scales taken from paleontology or just borrowed from other authors to develop and calibrate models of genetic change over time. In contrast this Science study used demographic models of human populations over known historical time and known geographical space. The resulting data showed a very recent, massive burst of human genetic diversification.”

This creates quite a conundrum for evolutionists, but a not so surprising affirmation for Creationists. From Dr. Tomkins article, “The authors [of the demographic study] wrote, ‘The maximum likelihood for accelerated growth was 5,115 years ago.’” Tomkins continues, “Old earth proponents now have a new challenge: to explain why- after millions of years of hardly any genetic variation among modern humans- human genomic diversity exploded only within the last five thousand years?…Since the author’s date represents maximum time, the actual DNA diversification event probably occurred even sooner. A biblical time scale indicates that a global flood occurred about 4,500 years ago, and this closely correlates with the time scale of the researcher’s estimate.”

Dr. Robert W. Carter explains the genetic implications in his article for Creation Ministries International titled Adam, Eve, and Noah vs Modern Genetics and I’ll hit the high points. We really don’t know what type of genetic mutation had occurred prior to the flood, but whatever there was, was reduced to the genetics represented in Noah’s family. Let’s start with the basics. Y chromosomes can only be passed through the male (obviously- it’s what makes a male a male), so fathers pass this on directly to their sons. This means, there was ONLY one Y chromosome represented on the ark even though there were 4 men (Noah and his 3 sons). This means whatever mutations had occurred in the Y chromosome up to that point, were effectively erased because only Noah’s sons reproduced after the flood. (The Bible doesn’t say Noah had any more children, so I assume he didn’t. But whether he did or not is neither here nor there.)

Can we know how many X chromosome lineages were on the ark? We can’t know for sure, but if you do the math, there would have been a maximum of 8 (9 if Noah had a daughter after the flood). Dr. Carter notes, “And since X chromosomes recombine (in females), we are potentially looking at a huge amount of genetic diversity within the X chromosomes of the world.”

This fits perfectly with genetic findings because, as it turns out, Y chromosomes are similar worldwide! Dr. Carter elaborates, “According to the evolutionists, no “ancient” (ie, highly mutated or highly divergent) Y chromosomes have been found. This serves as a bit of a puzzle to the evolutionist, and they have had to resort to calling for a higher “reproductive variance” among men than women, high rates of “gene conversion” in the Y chromosome, or perhaps a “selective sweep” that wiped out the other male lines.” X chromosome lineage fits just as well. Dr Carter notes, “As it turns out, there are only three main mitochondrial (female) DNA lineages found across the world.”

I hear you saying, “So how does this result in the race related diversification that we have today?!?” It all goes back to another Biblical event- the Tower of Babel. Prior to the separation that God ushered in at the Tower of Babel, the culture was described as a homologous one- all sharing the same language and intermixing freely. So much so, that they were disobeying God’s command to scatter and fill the earth. For our discussion today, the applicable verse is Genesis 10:32, “These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood.”

Dr. Carter highlights the significance of this verse on the world we see today, “At Babel, God did not separate the nations according to language. He used language to separate them according to paternal (male) ancestry! This has monumental significance and is the key to understanding human genetic history. Paternal sorting would lead to specific Y chromosome lineages in different geographical locations. Since males and females from the three main families should have been freely intermixing prior to this, it also leads to a mixing of the mitochondrial lines. It is as if God put all the people into a giant spreadsheet and hit a button called ‘Sort According to Father.’ He then took that list and used it to divide up and separate the nations.”

We also know that what little variation there is among Y chromosomes is almost always geographically specific. This means after they were separated by Y chromosome, mutations occurred among the new smaller people groups who now only mixed among themselves. This makes those mutations geographically specific. Mitochondrial DNA on the other hand, is pretty much randomly distributed around the world. The variations we see now in mitochondrial DNA are also geographically specific.

This is nothing short of a perfect parallel to the Biblical account. The people groups were separated according to their father, meaning each group only had a specific amount of genetic information from that point going forward. The groups then dispersed, each ending up in completely different geographical areas. Mutations that occurred within each group were effected by their differing climates/environments to some degree and from that point forward became characteristics specific to that group only. This gives rise to the various characteristics that we consider “race specific”.

Interestingly, today, we can see this very concept working in reverse right before our very eyes. As people groups come together (especially here in the melting pot of the USA) and intermix freely, the attributes regarded as “race specific” are mingled and contribute toward a more homologous human race. We have proven to be a scientific product of our Biblical history and as time goes on we continue to prove it.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://creation.com/noah-and-genetics

https://www.icr.org/article/6927/289

http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=82

 

Did the Human Genome Project Confirm Evolution?

Have you been told that evolution is an undeniable fact? That our very own DNA is the confirmation? That human DNA is 98% identical to chimpanzee DNA which proves that chimpanzees are the “missing link?” That, in light of these “facts” a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account is naive? Secular science would have you believe that evolution is not just a theory, but fact- that studies on genetics and DNA (based on the human genome project) have “debunked” the Biblical narrative. Making Bible believers feel like backwards, uneducated, dummies for taking the word of God literally is in fact, the favorite age old tactic that secular science employs to make us question our faith and plant little seeds of doubt that undermine the reliability of the Bible. This is the favorite tactic because it works so fabulously.  So, we tend to accept all scientific “proof” as fact and work furiously to compromise the Bible to “make it fit” current scientific claims.

Carefully selected and isolated findings of the human genome project such as the similarities between human and chimpanzee DNA are often touted as the nail in the coffin of literal Biblical creation as well as the “undeniable” evidence of evolution. This is huge for evolutionists because of the disconcerting lack of transitional fossils in the fossil record- as in not even one that hasn’t been outed as a hoax. In actuality the human genome project raised more questions than it answered. But did the project really provide monumental evidence for evolution or just bring to light how little is actually known about our origins? Before we as Christians rush to compromise the very foundational account of creation in the Bible so as not to appear “foolish” in the eyes of the secular scientific community, maybe we should actually take a look at the evidence.

Ever since Watson and Crick won the Nobel Prize in physiology in 1962 for their discovery of the molecular structure of DNA, scientists have been comparing the DNA of animals and humans in an effort to “prove” the theory of evolution. When it was discovered that human and chimpanzee DNA are 98.5% identical, indeed the entire secular community did a victory dance. In 2000, scientists announced that they had deciphered the genetic code contained in the entire human genome! No doubt, the assumption was that this new information would strengthen the link between humans and chimps. Instead, in the years since all the results of the Human Genome Project were published, scientists have discovered that comparing the genetics of primates and humans is a lot more complicated than just “homologies” or similarities in DNA.

As it turns out, only about 1.5% of the human genome consists of genes. The rest consists of non-coding information sometimes referred to as “junk DNA”. Scientists are just now trying to figure out the function of this “junk DNA”. More on that in a moment. Bert Thompson and Brad Harrub note in their article for Apologetics Press, “These finding indicate that even if all of the human genes were different from those of a chimpanzee, the DNA still could be 98.5 percent similar if the ‘junk’ DNA of humans and chimpanzees were identical.”

For a little more perspective Thompson and Harrub quote Jonathan Marks (dept. of anthropology, UC Berkely) as he points out the problem with the line of thinking that revolves around DNA similarities, “Because DNA is a linear array of those four bases- A,G,C, and T- only four possibilities exist at any specific point in a DNA sequence. The laws of chance tell us that two random sequences from species that have no ancestry in common will match at about one in every four sites. Thus even two unrelated DNA sequences will be 25 percent identical, not 0 percent identical.” As Thompson and Harub put it, “Would it be correct, then, to state that daffodils are ‘one quarter human’?”

Need even more perspective? Thompson and Harrub write, “The entire genome of the tiny nematode (Caenorhabditis elegans) has also been sequenced as a tangential study to the human genome project. Of the 5,000 best-known human genes, 75% have matches in the worm. Does this mean that we are 75% identical to a nematode worm? Just because living creatures share some genes with humans does not mean there is a linear ancestry.”

Pictured above is a nematode- see any family resemblance? If you’re beginning to think it’s a little premature to toss out a literal interpretation of Genesis’ creation of man, I’m right there with you.

In light of the human genome project, it would seem that the key components to what make a human a human, and what make a chimp a chimp are far more different than what we have been led to believe. Thompson and Harrub explain just how large the seemingly minuscule 1-2% divergence between man and chimp actually is, “The truth is, if we consider the absolute amount of genetic material when comparing primates and humans, the 1-2% difference in DNA represents approximately 80 million different nucleotides (compared to the 3-4 billion nucleotides that make up the entire human genome).”

The human genome project has demonstrated that similar organs between species, are not all created from identical genetic code as one might assume. Instead, completely different genetic coding can and does produce similar organs. This fact is nothing short of devastating for evolutionists who are attempting to connect linear evolutionary dots based on similar characteristics between species. Biologist John Randall admits, “The older textbooks on evolution make much of the idea of homology, pointing out the obvious resemblances between the skeletons of the limbs of different animals…Now if these various structures were transmitted by the same gene couples, varied from time to time by mutations and acted upon by environmental selection, the theory would make good sense. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Homologous organs are now known to be produced by totally different gene complexes in the different species. The concept of homology in terms of similar genes handed on from a common ancestor has broken down.”

Now, imagine for a moment, the audacity of a group of people who declare the results of the human genome project to be undeniable evidence that the Biblical account of creation has been “debunked” when the very same project brought to light the fact that scientists DO NOT understand the function of a whopping majority (over 98%) of the human genome. These scientists actually referred to it as “junk DNA”. Now that scientists have had several years to look into the matter they are realizing that this “junk DNA” actually does have a purpose and that the body’s “building plans” are a lot more complicated than they originally thought. (Shocking, I know…)

Ewan Birney of European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge wrote an article for Scientific American entitled “Hidden Treasures in Junk DNA”. Birney writes, “I get this strong feeling that previously I was ignorant of my own ignorance, and now I understand my ignorance. It’s slightly depressing as you realize how ignorant you are. But this is progress. The first step in understanding these things is having a list of things that one has to understand, and that’s what we’ve got here.” Now that’s certainly a refreshing admission! And much closer to the reality than the idea that science “has it all figured out”.

According to the same article in Scientific American, Birney and his team of researchers (called the ENCODE project) have “produced a stunning inventory of previously hidden switches, signals, and sign posts embedded like runes throughout the entire length of human DNA.” It has been observed that anywhere from 9% all the way up to as much as 80% (well that’s quite the range- again confirmation that they’re still in the “who really knows” phase of research) of this “junk DNA” appears to serve a regulatory function in the gene.

Even more disturbing (for evolutionists) is that this regulatory DNA seems to follow completely different “evolutionary rules” than coding DNA. Apparently it “turns over much faster” than coding DNA- in other words, more rapid evolution. This should be interesting for them to work through since a hallmark of  evolution  is the billions of years required to effect change. When refuting evidence that man is merely 6,000-7,000 old instead of the accepted “requirement” of 200,000 years- one of evolution’s “go to” rebuttals is that the rate of mutation that would be required to achieve our current state of variation (varying racial characteristics, etc) in such a short period of time would “mutate us out of existence”. So yes, this explanation should be interesting to hear.

Is it just me, or did the revelations of the human genome project actually make the theory of evolution look even more ridiculous considering the exposed layers of unfathomable complexity revealed in DNA- the “Book of Life”? The human genome project is more like a neon flashing sign that reads “Creator Required”. Unless, that is,  you are an individual who refuses to even consider that possibility.

Sources:

https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=203&topic=312

http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=1038

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hidden-treasures-in-junk-dna/