Hominid fossils are either true apes or true humans


#1

Following is an exerpt from creation com written by Dominic Statham about Dennis Lamoureux’s fallacies. In addition to the following, the article http://creation.com/beyond-original-sin also deals with other issues such as raqia, original sin, scripture interpretation, and new testament references. But the following is particularly significant.

Professor Chris Stringer is a palaeontologist at the British Museum of Natural History. Commenting on the museum’s recent (2015) ‘human evolution’ exhibition he made a very significant admission:

Well, we’ve attempted here to represent about 7 million years of human evolution on one diagram and you’ll notice a lot of skulls there with different species names … But you’ll notice also, unlike many of these depictions, we haven’t joined them up with lines of ancestors and descendents and that’s a reflection of the uncertainty about how these forms are related.10
[Lamoureux] replaces the Apostle Paul’s cry, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24) with “Who will rescue me from my evolutionary self-preserving inclinations?”
In other words, despite there being “a lot” of different species, he had found it impossible to put them in an order showing a clear evolutionary progression from ape-like creatures to man. This is a far cry from Lamoureux’s “incontestable pattern of transitional fossils from pre-humans to humans.” A perfectly reasonable understanding of ‘hominid’ fossils is that they are either true apes or true humans.11


Fossils out of order?
(Andrew M. Wolfe) #2

Hi JohnZ,

Greetings.

As a foreword: You may want to split this into a separate topic. I for one don’t see the connection to out-of-order fossils.

Anyway, a thought experiment for you: Imagine you were working on a 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle with a sunrise. At the upper edges you’ll eventually see a lot of dark blue, between the edges and the center you’ll have lighter blue, and in toward the center of the puzzle maybe you’ll work on pieces with more colorful shades like pink or orange.

Looking at a jumble of disassembled pieces, one could easily say, both, “I’d be lying to you if I said I knew exactly how all this fit together” and, also, “there’s an incontestable progression from dark blue to light blue to whitish and pinkish.”

There’s no “far cry” here. Dr. Lamoureux’s and Dr. Stringer’s comments are reconcilable.


#3

This was related in the sense of fossils being out of order… in other words, the order is presupposed, and the fossils need to fit into it in some way.
You state that the statements of Lamoureux and Stringer are compatible, and I’m sure that they also likely think they are compatible. Nevertheless, your puzzle example is based on the assumption that the puzzle is premade, that it really exists. If five different but similar puzzles had 20% of each thrown into a box, you could have the same idea that they should fit together in a progression, even though that would be a false conclusion. In other words, a bunch of similar colors or progression of colors does not by itself prove that the pieces fit together.
Lamoureux “incontestability” is false, is unproven, and is proven to be unproven by Stringer’s remark, even if Lamoureux agrees with Stringer. His incontestability is a faith-based statement, and not scientific.

Thus, Statham’s comment is an equally viable statement. And perhaps more pertinent and reliable.


(Casper Hesp) #4

Hi John, your claim is a common one among young-earth creationists. However, there are clear findings that contradict this claim. For example, what do you think about the recent Homo Naledi fossils? @Joel_Duff wrote a series about these fossils (called Bones of Contention) describing how four different YEC groups published four completely different judgments of these hominid fossils (fully ape, mixture ape and human bones, human with pathological features, fully human). If YECs can’t agree among themselves which hominids are “true apes” or “true humans”, how can you claim that such a clear dichotomy exists? Below a summary of the different judgments of these fossils by YECs.


#5

You post positions, but not dates of these evaluations of the specimens. Yes, there are variations, although perhaps they have been updated. Certainly this is not in the same vein as not being able to draw a line between various fossils as was mentioned by Stringer. The point is Lamoureux’s remark that intermediates and connections are incontestable is extreme and faith-based. I don’t think Statham made the same extreme remark, but rather about a “reasonable understanding”.


(Jon) #6

The point is that creationists can’t differentiate reliably between human and non-human primate fossils. Consequently there’s no reason to take them seriously on this subject. It’s not just the Naledi fossils either.


(Dcscccc) #7

its important to note that even evolutionists cant agree about some fossils. one time is a missing link and one time it isnt. one time is one kind and one time is another. this is because fossils are not easy to interpret. one good example is the proto-avis:


(Jon) #8

Firstly you are trying to avoid the point; creationists can’t tell apes from humans. Secondly, the kind of disagreement over fossils which you say “evolutionists” have isn’t on nearly the same order as the disagreement between creationists. Finally, the example you cite is a classic example of what happens when a transitional species is found; of course there’s debate over how to classify it. This just provides further evidence for evolution. If these fossils didn’t exist at all, creationists would have a much better case.


#9

I agree. I find it a bit odd that is so hard to place the various hominids into specific ‘Kinds’ or baramins. I can understand the difficulty from an evolutionary perspective but in kinds that are supposed to be separately created and which reproduce each according to ‘their kind’…


#10

The point is that evolutionists can’t distinguish between human and non-human primates, AND they can’t draw reliable transitional pathways between them, as Stringer said. Nor can they distinguish between what is incontestable and what is not.


#12

I agree, dcs. Pathways are constantly changing, dates are changing, and evolutionists constantly come back to “well if you find a human fossil or large mammal with a dino fossil, then, well yes then, perhaps things might be out of order…” And I agree with you that as long as no such fossils are found, they will use that line, but if such fossil was found, they would be quick to revise the lines of descent. After all, it is clear that mammals were plentiful at the time of the dinos, by the fossil record; only what is missing is the size of the mammals… no large ones. An interesting dilemna, but not insurmountable for the evolutionist.

And to argue that because some creationists have made contradictory claims about some hominid fossils, that therefore their claims about differentiation between apes and humans is invalid, is absurd, because using the same reasoning, evolutionists mistakes and inabilities to definitively determine whether some fossils are birds or something else would invalidate their claims of descent entirely. You cannot claim that a fossil has intermediary characteristics if it infact does not.


(GJDS) #13

I understand there is debate and angst regarding this subject, so I will not comment, but simply place this lengthy quote on evolutionary biology and a second insertion (abstract) that claims a new theory that diminishes the importance of natural selection. I also would encourage those interested to obtain some articles in which biologists are debating the very notion of species within the context of neo-Darwinian theory.

"In making this claim, Muller and Newman are careful to affirm that evolutionary biology has succeeded in explaining how preexisting forms diversify under the twin influences of natural selection and variation of genetic traits. Sophisticated mathematically-based models of population genetics have proven adequate for mapping and understanding quantitative variability and populational changes in organisms. Yet Muller and Newman insist that population genetics, and thus evolutionary biology, has not identified a specifically causal explanation for the origin of true morphological novelty during the history of life. Central to their concern is what they see as the inadequacy of the variation of genetic traits as a source of new form and structure. They note, following Darwin himself, that the sources of new form and structure must precede the action of natural selection (2003:3)–that selection must act on what already exists. Yet, in their view, the genocentricity and incrementalism of the neo-Darwinian mechanism has meant that an adequate source of new form and structure has yet to be identified by theoretical biologists. Instead, Muller and Newman see the need to identify epigenetic sources of morphological innovation during the evolution of life. In the meantime, however, they insist neo-Darwinism lacks any theory of the generative."PROCEEDINGS OF THE BIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON 117(2):213-239. 2004 The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories Stephen C. Meyer.

I add an abstract of a paper that does not directly deal with identifying species (transitional or otherwise) but challenges the primacy of natural selection, to illustrate the topic is not as cut and dried as some comments seem to indicate.

"The new mutation theory of phenotypic evolution Masatoshi Nei*
Institute of Molecular Evolutionary Genetics and Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, 328 Mueller Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802
Edited by Daniel L. Hartl, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and approved June 13, 2007 (received for review April 16, 2007)

Recent studies of developmental biology have shown that the genes controlling phenotypic characters expressed in the early stage of development are highly conserved and that recent evolutionary changes have occurred primarily in the characters expressed in later stages of development. Even the genes controlling the latter characters are generally conserved, but there is a large component of neutral or nearly neutral genetic variation within and between closely related species. Phenotypic evolution occurs primarily by mutation of genes that interact with one another in the developmental process. The enormous amount of phenotypic diversity among different phyla or classes of organisms is a product of accumulation of novel mutations and their conservation that have facilitated adaptation to different environments. Novel mutations may be incorporated into the genome by natural selection (elimination of preexisting genotypes) or by random processes such as genetic and genomic drift. However, once the mutations are incorporated into the genome, they may generate developmental constraints that will affect the future direction of phenotypic evolution. It appears that the driving force of phenotypic evolution is mutation, and natural selection is of secondary importance."


#14

The latter paper is associated partly with neutral theory and largely with the question of mutation-rate limitation in evolution. Neutral or unselected variation is fixed to a greater degree than ‘selected’ traits.

Some of this area was reviewed by Arlin Stolzfus on Sandwalk (Larry Moran’s blog). It’s a good series to read for current thinking in evolutionary research.


(George Brooks) #15

Sometimes I think arguing over creatures is a distraction.

It might be much easier to focus on the physics and chemistry of Earth’s age! If we can reasonably demonstrate that the Earth is dramatically more than 5000 years old… GAME OVER!


(Paul Allen) #16

Creationists may not agree on what the difference is,granted but I am looking forward to the many thousands of true human fossils displaying the transitional pathway. They should exist according to evolution? No?


(Paul Allen) #17

What does this mean: they may generate developmental constraints? Why and how?


(GJDS) #19

This is an area (in addition to others matters) that has been debated for many decades. A debate means some agree and some disagree on the subject debated. For example:
In 2009, at a conference celebrating Charles Darwin at the University of Chicago, Douglas Futuyma opened the Biological Sciences sessions with a talk entitled “Evolutionary Ecology and the Question of Constraints,” arguing that constraints on variation are an integral part of the evolutionary process. Discussions of the role of constraints in evolution have thus persisted for decades; yet there is still a great deal of debate over what counts as a constraint and about how to assess experimentally the relative importance of constraints and selection in evolutionary
history.

There has been no shortage of discussions of evolutionary constraint, and biologists and philosophers have provided a series of definitions and taxonomies (Alberch 1982; Alexander 1985; Maynard Smith et al. 1985; Wimsatt 1986; Gould 1989; Antonovics and Tienderen 1991; Arnold 1992; Amundson 1994; Schwenk 1995; Schwenk and Wagner 2003, 2004; Schlosser 2007; Sansom 2009).

In fact, given the prominence accorded to the Neo-Darwinian mechanism in the biological literature, it may seem surprising that this mechanism has left so few unambiguous traces on the genomes of organisms (Nei et al., 2010; Hernandez et al., 2011). Rather, genomes show evidence that the predominant form of natural selection that occurs in populations is purifying selection; that is, natural selection acting to eliminate deleterious variants (Hughes et al., 2003; Nei et al.,2010).


(George Brooks) #20

This discussion by @GJDS as a justification for doubting evolution is just another example of why we should focus on the physics and chemistry of the Age of the Earth … rather than the dubious proofs or disproofs regarding speciation and what is genetically possible to arise on its own.

The isotope deterioration of minerals and analysis of geological stratigraphy (while by no means perfect) is much easier to explain and defend. Keep Darwin OUT of the mess…


(GJDS) #21

The discussions at BioLogos inevitably end up with evolutionary creationism or theistic evolution. This means that Darwin cannot be kept out; however, the manny questions around ND means scientists cannot simply, uncritically, accept ND as a central theory of the sciences.

My suggestion have been to focus on the harmony between faith and science, and not to make the biological paradigm, neo-Darwinian theory, the central issue.

I fail to see how dealing with geological ages of the earth would contribute to a better understanding of science and faith. An excellent beginning would be to understand how early Christian theologians deal with the many Greek and Roman schools of thought, and pagan beliefs, when discussion Orthodox theology. We would realise they were well versed in such outlooks, and discussed the failings of major philosophical schemes; they also understood when pagan philosophers dealt with aspects that displayed good reason, logic and causality, so it was not a matter of creating conflict, but instead showing how Christian faith can enable us to achieve a deeper understanding.

An additional area would be to understand the transition from Aristotle (and Aquinas) to the notion of scientific laws and theories - Christian outlook and thought was the major drive in this, and it is the reason why we have the sciences of today. We may then examine major areas, such as the intelligibility of the creation, fine tuning and constants, the physics of a beginning, just to name a few major areas.


(Preston Garrison) #22

I was looking for the most relevant thread to put this on, and this seems to be it. Yesterday’s issue of PNAS has an online section on human origins. It’s all open access.


Scroll down until you see it.

Also a free news article in Nature today about Homo floresiensis seems relevant.