"Human Evolution" An Update
by Frank Sherwin, M.A.
In a 1979 college textbook on evolution by Ayala and Valentine, the authors assert: "To be sure, both butterflies and humans have descended from a remote common ancestor, most likely a small worm-like marine animal resembling a flatworm." Such a statement is void of empirical evidence, and it must therefore be taken by faith. Scientific research has shown that the origin and complexity of the biological world cannot be explained by neo-Darwinian principles.
Since science is found in science journals and Darwinian explanations are absent, Darwinism is not science (Michael Behe, Commentary, September 1996).
The worldview of the evolutionary community precludes asking if the evolution of man occurred, only how such a strange process occurred. The alternative, creation, is anathema to the naturalist. Therefore the secular community will continue to teach—as fact—the evolution of man from lower life forms. "To be sure, the possibility of there being humans at all resulted from a process of biological evolution through some billions of years . . ." (G. D. Kaufman, Zygon, June 1997). In the field of anthropology one must work with so few facts and little physical evidence that such dogmatism as the previous quote must also be taken by faith.
What do we know about evolutionary anthropology? In December 1996, one of the world's leading paleoanthropologists and archaeologists, the late Mary Leakey, said: "All those trees of life with their branches of our ancestors, that's a lot of nonsense." Nonsense? Taught as fact? At almost the same time as this startling pronouncement, Carl Swisher of the Berkeley Geochronology Center " … published his results and set the world of anthropology on its head" (Newsweek, December 23, 1996). Why? Swisher's discovery places Java Man (H. erectus), in the era of modern humans … and argue(s) against an ancestral relationship" (Macleans Magazine, science section, December 23, 1996). Despite the vigorous damage control undertaken by the evolutionary community, this discovery conflicts with the concept of human evolution.
Much of what we see in evolutionary science magazines and television science programs is artistic speculation. Boyce Rensberger, writing in Science in 1981 states:
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.
Such a revealing quote is supported by artist John Gurche who said in reference to his work on Australopithecus afarensis in the March, 1996, issue of National Geographic, "I wanted to get a human soul into this apelike face, to indicate something about where he was headed."
We find the track record of human evolution to be dismal:
- Ramapithecus—a pongid or great ape, not a hominid.
- Piltdown Man—greatest paleontological hoax.
- Nebraska Man—extinct pig.
- Cro-Magnon Man—indistinguishable from modern Europeans.
- Homo habilis—In 1992 Dr. Ian Tattersall stated in Evolutionary Anthropology that: " … it is increasingly clear that Homo habilis has become a wastebasket taxon, little more than a convenient recipient for a motley assortment of hominid fossils from the latest Pliocene and earliest Pleistocene...."
- Neanderthals—Researcher L. A. Yaroch, writing in the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, 1996, stated that "the uniqueness of Neanderthals appears to have been exaggerated ... " They were fully human.
- Australopithecus—In a 1995 biology text published by Prentice Hall, the two authors state: "At the present time, scientists cannot agree on how many species of Australopithecus there were or whether or not they were the ancestors of human beings." Perhaps one reason is because they are so apelike. Upright walking that these creatures may have engaged in is hardly reason to speculate that they were on the way to becoming human. The living pygmy chimpanzee walks upright. Australopithecus anamensis of Kenya was discovered in August 1995. However, this creature coexisted "4 m.y. ago" with another "early pre-human species" Ardipithecus ramidus, causing "conflicting interpretations" according to Worldbook Science Year, 1997.
In May 1997, Homo antecessor of Spain was reported. But once again there is a problem according to Science magazine: "But identifying these people as a new species, not to mention claiming them as a key human ancestor, is highly controversial.... What's more, if H. antecessor is indeed the last common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans, it could bump two other favored contender—H. erectus and H. heidelbergensis—off the main line of descent leading to modern humans.... "
Two months later, Scientific American reported the discovery of Morotopithecus hominoid (the term encompasses the great apes and humans) of Uganda, East Africa. The report went on to say: " ... the jury is still out on the ape from Moroto and its role, if any, in our own genesis."
A 1994 issue of Time magazine said "Yet despite more than a century of digging, the fossil record remains maddeningly sparse. With so few clues, even a single bone that doesn't fit into the picture can upset everything. Virtually every major discovery has put deep cracks in the conventional wisdom and forced scientists to concoct new theories, amid furious debated."
Does the new field of molecular anthropology lend support for man's alleged evolutionary past? In his article, "A Genetic Perspective on the Origin and History of Humans," Dr. Takahata, writing in the Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 1995, stated that: "Even with DNA sequence data, we have no direct access to the processes of evolution, so objective reconstruction of the vanished past can be achieved only by creative imagination."
In 1992, Bernard Wood reported in Nature magazine that "it is remarkable that the taxonomy and phylogenetic relationships of the earliest known representatives of our own genus, Homo, remain obscure. Advances in techniques for absolute dating and reassessments of the fossils themselves have rendered untenable a simple unilinear model of human evolution, in which Homo habilis succeeded the australopithecines and then evolved via H. erectus into H. sapiens—but no clear alternative consensus has yet emerged."
The December 4, 1995 issue of U.S. News & World Report addressed work done by Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona. The article said something that shouldn't come as a surprise to creationists: "We are finding that humans have very, very shallow genetic roots which go back very recently to one ancestor ... that indicates that there was an origin in a specific location on the globe and then it spread out from there ... researchers suggest that virtually all modern men 99.9% of them, says one scientist—are closely related genetically and share genes with one male ancestor, dubbed Y-chromosome Adam."
Here, then, is human evolution in the '90s: little more than phrases like, "creative imagination," "so few clues," "highly controversial," "conflicting interpretations," "maddeningly sparse," "furious debate," "remain obscure," "not enough fossil records," "(evolutionists) cannot agree." No wonder evolutionists must concoct new theories every time the world of anthropology is "set on its head." As recently as 1995 anthropologist Takahata said: "However, there are not enough fossil records to answer when, where, and how H. sapiens emerged" (author's emphasis). This is an altogether refreshing and incredible admission, especially with the eleven references Takahata lists after this quote! Clearly, such a lack of evidence calls for a non-evolutionary theory. For the time being, however, these evolutionists will continue, as G. K. Chesterson has said in Everlasting Man, to display their chunks of bone as weapons. One can only wonder, and protest, why tax dollars are used to teach impressionable young minds the "fact" of human evolution.
* Mr. Frank Sherwin has an M.A. in zoology and is a speaker for ICR.