The Greek philosopher Aristotle taught that man had come from a fish ancestry. This teaching took on scientific respectability in the 19th century when Chas. Darwin published his Origin of Species and Descent of Man. Today’s education system teaches that the direct animal ancestors of mankind were ape-like, the transition to Homo Sapiens having occurred during the past few million years.
This theory is opposed to the straightforward reading of Scripture, which tells us that at the beginning God made us male and female, in His own image, of the dust of the ground; the first man Adam, and his wife Eve made from his side. (The word translated rib is in most places rendered side.)
Two ideas were put forward to support the notion of human evolution:
Professor Ernst Haeckel of the University of Jena in Germany alleged that the human embryo, during the period of gestation, replays the history of human evolution. It appears to start as a single cell in a watery environment, paralleling the first living cell in some warm pond, then goes through a fish stage with gill slits, has a tail like a monkey and is then born as a human. Haekel’s theory was considered by Darwin as the best evidence for evolution, but today it is discounted. Sir Gavin de Beer, former Director of the British Museum of Natural History, wrote:
“Seldom has an assertion like that of Haeckel’s theory of recapitulation, tidy and plausible, widely accepted without critical examination, done so much harm to science.”
Haeckel doctored his illustrations of embryos in order to support his theory, and was found guilty of fraud by his university court. The theory is easily repudiated. The fertilised egg, unlike the protozoan, is programmed to divide and differentiate rapidly into a collection of specialised cells. The apparent gill slits have no respiratory function, but are folds which develop into pharynx, etc. The embryo at no time has more than 33 vertebrae, but the rate of growth of the back bone and skull axe such that they are disproportionately large in the developing foetus.
There were once thought to be 180 vestigial organs in the human body, leftovers from our animal ancestry, with no useful function. Take the thymus, a shrivelled organ in the adult and once classed as vestigial, yet in the early stages of life it is vital in stamping a knowledge of self as opposed to foreign tissue on the immune system. Professor Goodrich of Oxford has written: “He would be a rash man indeed who would now assert that any part of the body is useless.”
Fossil Man and Apes
At the close of the 19th century, the hunt was on for fossils of man’s supposed ancestors. There were some spectacular frauds such as Piltdown Man, and cases of wishful thinking such as the pig’s tooth labelled Nebraska Man. The former Director of the Commonwealth Institute, Professor W. R. Thompson, FRS., wrote
“The success of Darwinism was accompanied by a decline in scientific integrity. This is already evident in the reckless statement of Haeckel … the alteration of the Piltdown skull . . . a similar instance of tinkering with evidence was finally revealed by the discoverer of Pithecanthropus …”
(Some of these items are illustrated in pamphlet 151, Human Reconstructions,)
Until fairly recently, one of our earliest primate precursors was thought to be Ramapithecus, known from a few teeth. It is now known that this creature was similar to the orangutan, and it has been dropped from the family tree. Largely due to fossil finds in Africa by a comparatively small number of anthropologists, our immediate ancestor is now thought by many to be Australopithecus, or southern ape; skeletons not dissimilar to that of the living Bonobo Chimpanzee have been advanced as early ancestors. Following his study of these fossils, expert anatomist Lord Zuckerman pronounced australopithecines to be long-armed, short-legged knuckle walkers.
Balance & the Inner Ear Canals
In Nature, 23rd June, 1994, p.645, Professor Bernard Wood of Liverpool reported the use of brain scanning medical instruments on fossil skulls of apes and man. Upright man requires a more complex balancing mechanism than the knuckle-walking apes. The mechanism takes the form of the labyrinth, a canal in the inner ear, which in life is filled with fluid and lined with file hairs which sense the movement of the fluid as the body moves. Australopithecus africanus and A. robustus have labyrinths closely resembling the gorilla and the chimpanzee. This confirms that these extinct apes used all fours for walking most of the time. Among fossil men, the earliest is claimed to be Homo Erectus. These fossils were found to have labyrinths similar to that of man today. Homo erectus had a pronounced eyebrow ridge, which is seen as being apelike. However, this feature probably developed to anchor the strong facial
muscles needed to chew uncooked food, possibly during the ice-age which followed the dispersal of the peoples from Babel. Recently, Homo erectus has been established as being fully human. A report in New Scientist for 16th January, 1993, p.34 entitled ‘On the Origin of Races’ reported:
“They are now proposing nothing less than the complete abolition of Homo erectus, on the grounds that the species is insufficiently distinct from Homo sapiens. All fossil remains of Homo erectus and archaic Homo sapiens (including Neanderthals) should be reclassified into a single species, Homo sapiens, which is to be subdivided only into races.”
There is nothing between apes and Homo sapiens.
Other types of fossil men are Neanderthal Man and Cro-Magnon Man. The former is found in Northern Europe while the latter is from further south. Both have brain cavities which are on average larger than that of today’s western man. (Not that brain size can be equated with mental ability. Brains of women are usually smaller than men, reflecting their smaller body build.) Cro-Magnon Man was a well proportioned, tall race, whose cave art rivals the masterpieces of historic times. There is nothing primitive about him. However, Neanderthal Man (note that in
German the h is silent) had deformed joints, was heavily built and had an eyebrow ridge. He was depicted, when first discovered in the Neanderthal Valley of Germany, as brutish and hairy. Despite the evidence that he buried his dead with some ceremony, he was considered primitive, a conclusion strongly influenced by evolutionary thinking. Today, this early man (one is known to have made a flute from the leg bone of a bear) is classified as Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis. It is thought that he suffered from arthritis and rickets due to vitamin D deficiency during the ice age in Northern Europe.
Nor are all anthropologists so sure that the question of human evolution is so neatly tied up. Dr Lyall Watson, writing in Science Digest, vol. 90, May 1982, p.44 expressed doubts.
“Modem apes, for instance, seem to have sprung out of nowhere. They have no yesterday, no fossil record. And the true origin of modem humans – of upright, naked, tool-making, big-brained beings – is, if we are honest with ourselves, an equally mysterious matter.”
In an article entitled ‘Origin and Evolurion of the Genus Homo’, the journal Nature for 27th February, 1992, p.183 recommended a radical reappraisal:
“It is remarkable that the taxonomy and phylogenetic relationships of our own genus, Homo, remain obscure. Advances in techniques for absolute dating and reassessments of the fossils themselves have rendered untenable a simple unilineal model of human evolution, in which Homo habilis succeeded the Australopithicenes and then evolved via H. erectus into H. sapiens – but no clear alternative consensus has yet emerged.”
This is not an isolated voice against mainstream thinking. The Sunday Times for 20th August, 1995 reported:
“The scientists themselves are confused. A series of recent discoveries has forced them to tear up the simplistic charts on which they blithely used to draw linkages from Australopithecus africanus to Homo habilis to Homo erectus to Homo sapiens. The classic family tree delineating man’s ascent from the apes, familiar to us from school, has given way to the concept of genetic islands. The bridgework between them is anyone’s guess. There are at least five hypotheses, none of them provable…”
Modern humans, although genetically closely related, show a range of physical characteristics. Height varies from 4ft pigmies to 7ft Masai, Content of melanin in the skin leads to colour variation from black to white. Facial features show marked variation. Brain size can vary from 800 cubic centimetres to 2,000 cm3. Remnants of culture and technology are no indication of ancestry. New Scientist for 20th February, 1993 cites the Guaja tribe of Brazil who seem to be primitive hunter gatherers but are known to be descended from people with a fairly advanced form of agriculture. Disease introduced by white settlers was probably responsible for their regression. And this is not the only instance of a retreat from high culture.
In support of the theory of human evolution, it is often argued that there is only a 2 percent difference between the DNA of men and chimps. DNA carries genetic information, for example the recipes for making the proteins present in the body. Chimps and men have a similar overall body plan, and similar mechanisms for breathing, digesting, reproducing, and so on. It is to be expected that our hormones, etc. should be very similar, and therefore the DNA coding them. However, we also have many similarities with pigs.
Analyses of genetic diversity carried out mainly at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Japan, and published in Science, 16th January, 1995, show that any two people from different ends of the earth have genes more nearly identical to one another than do two gorillas from the same West African forest. Geneticists claim that perhaps 10,000 years ago, the whole human family suffered a catastrophe which reduced us to a small population.
This finding is in line with biblical history of the Flood. Professor Solomon Katz of Pennsylvania told a meeting of UNESCO in February 1995 that the concept of Race to characterise human populations is not scientifically valid. Adaptations to various climates give rise to superficial traits such as colour, but beneath the skin we are all very much the same. Darwin would have been surprised.
Three biochemists from Berkeley, CA. in the States, have studied human DNA from the mitochondria of cells. These comparatively small gene sequences are outside of the cell nucleus and so are passed on only by the mother during reproduction. The work, published in Nature, 1st January, 1987, p.31, showed that women from all ethnic groups have virtually identical mitochondrial DNA. From this it was concluded that all humans are descended from one woman (known as ‘mitochondrial Eve’) who lived some time within the last 200,000 years. It is opined that she was not the only woman about at the time, but the only one to pass on her genes to the whole of today’s population. Were all the other women repulsively ugly or just careless when raising their kids? No, Eve must have been the only woman.
Just as mitochondrial genes are passed from mother to offspring, so genes on the Y chromosome, found only in the nuclear genes of men, are passed on from father to son. It has been found that Y chromosomal genes of men from all ethnic groups are virtually alike. It has been concluded that we all came from one ‘Y chromosome Adam’ who lived within the last 188,000 years. (This date is computed from estimated rates of mutations of genes on Y chromosomes of chimpanzees, combined with archaeological evidence of how long ago chimps and humans diverged, according to the Independent newspaper for 23rd November, 1995. In other words, it is based upon evolutionary assumptions.) The dates here are in marked contrast to the million years or more required by the human fossil hunters. Just in case any of its readers should imagine that these genetic facts should offer support to biblical history, The Times for 24th November, 1995 reported:
“He (Adam) was not the loner depicted in Genesis, but more likely a member of a small group of primitive people. His genes happened to survive while those of his colleagues did not, probably because they failed to procreate.”
How fortunate for all of us that at least this chap managed to. The Times article further added:
“There is nothing to suggest that ‘Adam’ knew ‘Eve”‘
I can think of more than five billion reasons straight away – all of us.
One of the more obvious differences between apes and men is our ability to speak. We communicate ideas, even abstract thoughts. Only in the contrived world of TV adverts for tea do chimps manage this. Simians lack Broca’s area of the brain used in human speech. They also lack the fine control over the diaphragm and other muscles involved in breathing that is necessary for speech (New Scientist, 20th January, 1996). Some workers have claimed to communicate with chimps using sign language, but so far the chimps come a very poor second to sheep dogs.
How, according to evolutionists, did man acquire his ability to speak? One theory is that language evolved to help men to hunt. However, Professor Dunbar of London pointed out in New Scientist, 19th November, 1992, that hunters try to remain silent. He put forward the notion that language evolved to enable women to gossip, replacing the grooming of fur as a basis for establishing relationships. The professor’s research included measuring the importance of gossip during coffee breaks at University College. Gossip accounted for 70 percent of conversation time. Estimates of when the brain developed enough to permit gossip range back to 250,000 years. This kind of science offers such a wholesale return of conjecture for such a trifling investment of fact.
Modern languages are less precise and sophisticated than the earliest languages, as any school-boy struggling with Latin declensions will confirm. (For a discussion of the origin of language see pamphlet 239. For a discussion of the depiction of the Genesis accounts in the Chinese language see pamphlet 284 and 387.)
The population of the world is reckoned to be increasing today by some 2 percent each year. Starting from just eight people some four and a half thousand years ago (Noah’s family) a modest half per cent growth per annul would give today’s world population. Imagine the overcrowding if the human race were 200,000 years old as geneticists aver, or over a million years as fossil hunting anthropologists assert. (For a discussion of population statistics with its implications for the time span of history see pamphlet 301.)
We have seen that the evolutionary edifice of ape to man progression is crumbling.
“The bridgework between them is anyone’s guess”
Say these experts. The scaffolding of embryology and vestigial organs has been swept away. Brain scans of fossil ear canals show that men are distinct from apes in being fully bipedal. Human beings are also distinguished by the use of speech, appreciation of beauty and innate sense of worship. Genetic studies confirm that we are all one family going back to one man and one woman, with a limited time span of history. In fact, history can be traced back to Noah in many extra-biblical sources – see After The Flood by W. R. Cooper, New Wine, 1995. (Pamphlet 274 by the sane author covers some of this ground, but of necessity more briefly.)
For the Christian, the implications of human evolution are far-reaching. If man with his sense of purpose arrived by a process which bad no purpose, then right and wrong would be only relative rather than absolute, and there would be no meaning to the word sin. If Adam and Eve were not made in the image of God, then human life would be no more sacrosanct thin animal life. (It is interesting to note that although some claim that the biblical view leads to cruelty to animals, the Bible demands kindness to animals and birds (Deut. 22).) If Adam and Eve were not the Creator’s pattern for family life (Matt. 19), monogamy between a man and woman would not be the only unit within which to raise children.
If we claim, as some do, that the Creator used a process of evolution, we sweep away the truth of Scripture along with the basis of salvation. Evolutionists do not find God necessary to their theory of the origin of man, but for creationists He is axiomatic. A god who made man by a process of evolution would be untruthful in stating that He made man from the dust of the ground on Day 6 of Creation Week. Furthermore, that god would be grossly inefficient in taking 15,000,000,000 years (or whatever) to make man in his own image and after his likeness. He would be a cruel god to use death and decay and survival of the fittest to evolve man.
There is no room in evolution theory for the Fall from a perfect humanity, and therefore no need for the redemption of mankind. If there was death before Adam sinned, then the link between death and sin expressed in Rom.5 is lost, and Christ has not died for our sin. If Adam were a mythical figure rather than the first man, the basis of our salvation would be mythical:
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. l5).