June 29, 2013 | David F. Coppedge

Homo erectus were good pitchers

Science news sites are talking about the evolution of human throwing, but it’s mostly speculation based on prior faith in Darwinism.  The real story is good design in the human shoulder.

Nature News, in a review entitled “Baseball players reveal how humans evolved to throw so well,” states, “A catapult-like mechanism allows energy to be stored in shoulder and torso, a video study of pitchers reveals.”  That study, published in Nature, tries to draw an evolutionary interpretation:

Compared with other carnivores, hominins are slow, weak and lack natural weapons such as fangs and claws. However, hominins were eating meat at least 2.6 million years (Myr) ago, and were probably hunting large prey 1.9 Myr ago….  Although contemporary hunter-gatherers rarely rely on throwing to kill prey, earlier hominins probably needed to throw projectiles frequently to acquire and defend carcasses before the relatively recent inventions of the atlatl and bow. We can therefore surmise that the ability to throw well would confer a strong selective benefit to early hunters. However, to test when and how hominins evolved the ability to throw projectiles effectively, it is necessary to understand both throwing biomechanics and how changes in hominin anatomy affect throwing performance.

Actually, understanding throwing biomechanics doesn’t require evolutionary theory at all.  It is the prior belief in human evolution that is propelling these scientists to “surmise” that throwing was beneficial somehow to human ancestors long ago.  Notice that the authors, by comparing contemporary hunter-gatherers (modern humans) to “earlier hominins” are saying we are all hominins.  The usefulness of the term “hominin” seems, therefore, moot.

The science news sites all leapt upon the evolutionary angle:

  • PhysOrg: “Researchers say ability to throw played a key role in human evolution.”
  • BBC News: “Origins of Human Throwing Unlocked.”
  • Live Science: “Homo erectus was the original starting pitcher.”

The authors of the Nature  paper, though, only compared modern humans (and Homo erectus, already a good thrower), with chimpanzees and australopiths.  Since chimpanzees cannot throw a good baseball game, this illustrates a gap, not a transition.  By the assumed time of Homo erectus 2.6 million years ago, “low, wide shoulders, long legs, and hyperextendable wrists” were “all present,” the paper says.

From this evolution-contradicting data, the authors nevertheless concocted an evolutionary story without evidence, saying, “Although some of these features were probably selected for functions other than throwing, their combined configuration, first present in H. erectus, would have benefited throwing performance by enabling elastic energy storage in the shoulder, providing a selective advantage during hunting.”

The popular news sites liked the story and repeated it with gusto.  “Early humans evolved to throw about two millions years ago, according to new research,” the BBC article stated confidently.   Then, with flagrant misunderstanding of Darwinism’s purposeless, aimless process, it continued, “Anatomy changes found in the extinct species Homo erectus allowed this ability to evolve.”  Explaining how those anatomy changes arrived in the first place is the issue.  And merely allowing an ability “to evolve” does not mean that it will, no more than “allowing” a helicopter to evolve from a junkyard means you can book your ticket in advance.

Live Science shows how high school biology teachers take these evolutionary stories and run the bases with them:

While the paper’s information about throwing mechanics is generally well-known to professional baseball players, the link to evolution is particularly interesting, said Tim Layden, head baseball coach and evolutionary biology teacher at Florida’s Montverde Academy….

“I’m probably going to use this next semester in my primate course, for sure,” said Layden. “It makes perfect sense from an evolutionary standpoint that there would be a selective force for high velocity throwing and the buildup of energy within the shoulder joint.”

Mr. Layden, sadly, misrepresents evolutionary theory.  Selection is no more a force than a hurdle on a track or a bumper in a pinball game.  While praising the mechanics observed by the scientists in the shoulder and torso of modern humans that allow professional pitchers to accurately toss baseballs 90 miles per hour repeatedly in a baseball game, and allow Olympic athletes to throw a javelin hundreds of feet, nothing in the paper explains what mutations could have added to a throwing-challenged Chimpanzee all the attributes that make human throwing so effective – changes to stance, shoulder width and position, wrist extension, and leg length, to name a few.

Don’t you get angry at the storytellers?  Think of what this DODO-headed, Darwine-drinking, baloney-barfing high school teacher is going to say to impressionable high school students next semester to make it appear Darwinism is scientific (and, by implication, intelligent design is not).  He is basically going to lie to them.  He doesn’t understand evolutionary theory well enough to throw it, but you can be sure his job is absolutely secure, compared to many better-educated biology teachers skeptical of Darwin, who, if they dared speak what they know, would be under threat of losing their jobs.

The scientists, the reporters, and the high school teacher have all taken a pro-ID finding and mangled it into a pot of mush to offer to their idol. We should marvel at the design in our bodies and praise God who gave us what we need to serve Him, but no— every day in the media, we are asked to believe “it evolved because it evolved.”  Why do we put up with this?  Did you catch, also, that Homo erectus is (for all practical purposes), our brother?  He ate meat, built fire, cooked, played baseball, he was a better hunter than most of us.  We insult these people by demoting them to artificial pre-human categories.  If they were alive today it would be denounced as racism.

Time to play hardball.  We must keep up the fight to get the storytellers out of science and return it to observational, repeatable, testable evidence.  No more “surmising” about what “selective forces” could have created.  Darwinism would be disqualified if all its surmisals, probably’s, could have’s and maybes were banned.  Teaching Darwinism honestly would make it honestly strike out.

Exercise: Why is this sentence self-refuting: “It makes perfect sense from an evolutionary standpoint.”  Play umpire and call foul if you see it.


Take me out to the con game,

Take me out to the crowd,

Tell me some stories by crackpot quacks

I don’t care if they never have facts,

Oh it’s toot, toot toot for some Dar-wine,

If they run out it’s a shame,

For it’s D – O – D O D O

At the Darwin game!









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  • Donald Holliday says:

    Nothing’s changed since Mike White wrote that scathing piece chastising his colleague for fabricating fictional tales. Water off a Duck’s back I guess. Did a Google image search and the usual iconic features of Homo erectus with over exaggerated Negroid and Australian Aboriginal facial feature is the flavor of choice. It must be humiliating for such peoples to read such accounts pushed off as Scientific. Many of these make James Watson look like a Saint.

    I was curious of whether or not images would show the usage of a Boomerang. I found none, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t thinking along those lines.

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