Anyone who thinks the evidence for gradual human evolution is unmistakeable should look at recent literature by secular experts.
Racial characteristics are recent: Creationists who teach that all the so-called “racial” traits like skin color diversified after the Tower of Babel might gloat over what the secular scientists are now saying. A paper in PNAS claims to offer “Direct evidence for positive selection of skin, hair, and eye pigmentation in Europeans during the last 5,000 y[ears].” That kind of dating is not just babble, but Babel. Science Now adds,
Why do some humans have lighter skin than others? Researchers have longed chalked up the difference to tens of thousands of years of evolution, with darker skin protecting those who live nearer to the equator from the sun’s intense radiation. But a new study of ancient DNA concludes that European skin color has continued to change over the past 5000 years, suggesting that additional factors, including diet and sexual attraction, may also be at play.
If those kinds of changes can occur in a few thousand years, it becomes implausible to expect that human traits like height and intelligence remained stable for many tens of thousands of years. Can we believe what PNAS co-author Sandra Wilde said when she tried to maintain long ages? “This is particularly interesting as the darker phenotype seems to have been preferred by evolution over hundreds of thousands of years,” she said in Science Daily. “All our early ancestors were more darkly pigmented.” But why should evolution “prefer” anything? Like creationists, these researchers are saying that most of the changes occurred after the Ice Age – except that creationists condense the Ice Age into a few centuries after the Flood.
In a similar announcement, Nature found evidence for lighter skin and modern immune genes in a skeleton from Spain said to be 7,000 years old. Meanwhile, National Geographic tried to make a case that dark skin evolved to protect from skin cancer, contrary to Darwin’s explanation. “Other scientists, including Charles Darwin, have long dismissed skin cancer as a force in evolution because it typically strikes those past childbearing age,” the article says, then explains why a London cancer researcher thinks otherwise.
Domestication is recent: PhysOrg places the domestication of cattle within the last 10,000 years in the Middle East. Once again, that is much closer to a Biblical time frame than the evolutionary expectation. The article says that Africans took this knowledge with them from the Middle East into Africa. If all this occurred so quickly and recently, one wonders what cavemen were doing for many tens of thousands of years before that. Paleoanthropologists believe that anatomically modern humans with similar brain capacities existed at least 300,000 years ago – perhaps a million.
Neanderthal news: Reports continue to accumulate about evidence that Neanderthal is a questionable category:
- Nature published another paper about “The genomic landscape of Neanderthal ancestry in present-day humans.”
- Science Magazine added a paper, too, to the growing evidence that the groups were interfertile, not separate species as long assumed.
- Also in Nature, Ewen Calloway wrote a witty article about the surprising discovery of “The Neanderthal Within,” leading off with a family photo with a Neanderthal-faced dad. (This has all come to light with the ability to sequence “ancient DNA” that evolutionists believe is up to a million years old.)
- Science Daily tries to place the triumph of modernity over Neanderthality in climate change, not the paleo diet.
- In another PNAS paper, researchers disputed the notion that Neanderthals had different proportions in their shoulder bones. “It is the relative abbreviation of Neandertal humeri, a reflection of ecogeographical body proportions and population history, that distinguishes the Neandertals from many modern humans,” they say; “It is therefore inappropriate to use Neandertal clavicular length to assess their biology and evolutionary relationships.”
Uniquely human: New Scientist reported that humans are “born to chat” – i.e., they appear to have an innate language instinct. Our ability to construct meaningful sentences with semantic hierarchy implies that there is a “universal grammar” innate to humans. A. Patel in PLoS Biology asks “Was Darwin Wrong?” about musical ability. “In The Descent of Man, Darwin speculated that our capacity for musical rhythm reflects basic aspects of brain function broadly shared among animals.” It’s a big deal to challenge the father of evolutionary theory, but Patel does: “Although this remains an appealing idea, it is being challenged by modern cross-species research.” Implication: this ability is not broadly shared among animals.
Wayback waypoint: PhysOrg says that a new analysis suggests that “Peking Man” used fire 770,000 years ago. This claim, again, raises the question of what these people, able to manage a complex task like building fire, maintaining it and using it for cooking, were doing for hundreds of thousands of years before someone thought about domesticating animals or growing their own vegetables. By comparison, Vikings (not renowned for their brains) invented their own version of GPS, according to Live Science, using crystals in a sun compass that could work after sunset. This is another example of the resourcefulness of Homo – a trait reasonably attributable to alleged “archaic” humans.
The story goes on: These findings are not mentioned to suggest that evolutionists are giving up. For instance, Nature wrote a book review with the silly title, “Human Evolution: Just Add Water,” claiming that the hunt for water “shaped human evolution.” In another example, according to PhysOrg, kiwi anthropologist Graeme Finlay wrote a new book asserting that while “Controversy over human evolution remains widespread,” not to worry: “the human genome project and genetic sequencing of many other species have provided myriad precise and unambiguous genetic markers that establish our evolutionary relationships with other mammals.” He thinks retroviruses and jumping genes are among evidences that clinch the evolutionary story.
Finlay, a former cancer researcher, calls himself a Christian and appears to be on a campaign to convince other Christians that belief in evolution is OK.
“To discover that we share particular retroviral sequences with chimps, gorillas, orang-utans, gibbons and other primates, was to me extraordinary, because it was an overwhelming demonstration of common ancestry.”
“I’ve spent a bit of time writing and trying to spread these ideas in church circles. I decided we need a book so people can really appreciate the compelling nature of the evidence,” says Dr Finlay.
Finlay is himself a Christian and believes that there are excellent theological reasons why the evolution of the created order should be acceptable to all Christians.
Finlay is either ignorant of or willingly deceptive of evidence countering his claims. “I was aware of conflict over evolution from people who were very suspicious of science and I found a lot of their arguments were very disturbing because they were simply not true,” he says. But there is a long history of research by creation scientists that refutes common ancestry, or that rebuts the alleged theological reasons why it should be acceptable. For instance, in Dr. Jeffrey Tomkins at ICR, a geneticist with impeccable scientific credentials, has written extensively that epigenetics and genetics refutes the notion of similarity with chimpanzees and other apes.
Even in the intelligent design community, which does not necessarily disbelieve in common ancestry and millions of years, evidence has been adduced to refute Finlay’s claim (see Evolution News & Views here and here, for instance). A few years ago, the Discovery Institute published a book, Science and Human Origins, compiling scientific refutations (not “church” views) of human evolution. If anything, Finlay’s belief in “an overwhelming demonstration of common ancestry” is not settled science that is being disputed in only “church circles.”
It’s time to put the squeeze of reason and evidence on the Finlays of the world who wander about with a chip on their shoulder, going on personal campaigns to push Darwin down the throats of their fellow rational creatures, assuming that only they have “science” on their side. The best defense is a good offense.
Exercise: Think of pointed questions you would ask Dr. Finlay. Examples: “Are you telling us that so-called hominids with the same (if not superior) physical stature and brain capacity as Einstein, with innate language capacity and musical ability, sat around in caves for nearly a million years, doing nothing but hunting animals, then suddenly, just a few thousand years ago, started domesticating animals and building farms and cities? Dr. Finlay, how can you expect rational people to believe that? And if you claim to be a Christian, why did Jesus Christ come to defeat death, if there was death before sin for millions of years? Dr. Finlay, do you ever read the creationary literature, including the peer-reviewed journals, that refute your scientific evidence? Isn’t it a bit haughty to dismiss these evidences (by PhD scientists) as simply “not true”? What if we turned the tables and said your claims are not true? What would you do about that? Is it just about power? Isn’t evidence more powerful than bluffing? Are you willing to debate Dr. Jeffrey Tomkins or Dr. Douglas Axe?”