History Channel Documentary on Human Ancestry: History or Fiction?
The History Channel aired a program called “Ape to Man” Monday evening August 7, alleging that modern science had finally pieced together the solution to the puzzle of human evolution. Although it included debunking episodes of Piltdown (11/18/2003) and Java Man (02/27/2003), the flavor of the show was that the picture of human origins has become clear because we now “know” (02/15/2002) that tool use and not brain size (12/30/2004, 11/05/2002, 07/04/2002) is the key to understanding what makes us human, and we “know” (11/05/2003, 10/20/2003, 03/07/2002, 02/15/2002) that humans emerged from Africa and not Europe (as the proud Europeans had wanted to believe, making them gullible for the Piltdown hoax). An animation, often repeated, showed a long string of transitional forms over millions of years in a lineup that the animation camera swept over in rapid succession, giving the impression of linear and slow gradual change over hundred thousands of generations. Another episode portrayed clumsy, imbecilic Neanderthalers (02/25/2005) sneaking up to a wildfire to learn the secret of the mysterious flames.
Ape to Man was rebroadcast on Thursday evening Aug. 11. The History Channel advertising poster mocked the Michelangelo fresco The Creation of Man by showing the hand of God pointing to a hairy half-ape arm. Below it, a timeline purports to show 5 million years of human evolution. Brad Harrub at Apologetics Press, co-author of The Truth About Human Origins, was quick to post a rebuttal listing the inaccuracies and falsehoods in the show.
Brief glimpses at this program by your faithful editor led to the perception that the writers of Ape to Man were either liars (11/19/2004), clueless (12/21/2004, 05/24/2004, 03/25/2004) or had not done their required reading assignment on Creation-Evolution Headlines (12/30/2004, 09/23/2004, 07/23/2004, 06/11/2003, 03/28/2003). The animated ape-to-man lineup, for instance, is contrary to what even the evolutionists believe (02/16/2005). They admit that the human family tree was not a Victorian picture of orthogenesis, leading in a single line from ape to man, but was a complex, branching bush of mosaics of features that are difficult to classify. Understanding this background, Ape to Man appears as unvarnished bluffing, tarnishing the credibility of the History Channel (usually one of the few watchable cable networks). Harrub will tell you everything else you need to know about this travesty of casuistry, this mockumentary that does little more than deceive the public while providing job security for fully-human but depraved actors (03/19/2003) who like to wear makeup and hair (06/10/2003) instead of clothes. Don’t show it to impressionable adults. They might not be as bright as Brother Neanderthal (see 10/01/2004, 05/19/2005, 03/27/2003).
This seems to be Evolution Promotion Week on the cable channels. The Science Channel is preaching molecules to man evolution in back-to-back specials, complete with the usual weird avant-garde music and dreary British narration in deep baritone, 500 million years ago, as the Uth coooled, bluff bluff, the first life emerged, bluffity bluff bluff, eyes evolved, blah blah, dinosaurs sprouted wings and took to the skies, and so on, and so forth, zzzzzzzzz. What is this, a campaign to soften the opposition to evolutionary mythology? If so, it’s not working. Actually, it is standard daily repertoire on all the “non-fiction” channels. It hasn’t worked since before TV was invented, or else the polls wouldn’t be showing the majority believing in creation. Viewers seem to understand that movie technique can’t substitute for evidence, common-sense and reasonable interpretation of the observable facts. They seem to sense when storytelling is being passed as truth. Any sufficiently financed doxology to evolutionary biology is indistinguishable from tragic fiction. Unless they are already Charlie Church fundamentalists, most people watch it for entertainment, or as a cure for insomnia.