Human Evolution Under Marshall Law
A new law of nature falsifies human evolution
—and maybe all evolution
Michael Marshall has been a science writer for years, writing regularly for New Scientist, the BBC and other mainstream science news organizations. One of his newest stories introduces a new ‘law of nature’ he discovered. The occasion was new dates for cave art that challenge longstanding views about human evolution.
In his New Scientist article from July 15, “When did humans start making art and were Neanderthals artists too?”, Marshall reasons that certain recently discovered cave art in Spain is far too early—assuming the standard evolutionary timeline—to have been made by “modern humans,” so it must have been created by Neanderthals. The artwork clearly shows representations of animals along with dots and geometric figures that indicate abstract thought. (See details of the panel in a YouTube video by Science, posted by Kate Rogers in 2018.)
The panel is deep within a cave—another indication that the makers were purposeful and resourceful with their art project. New date estimates used by the evolutionists put it in the range of 65,000 years old. Marshall says when he shared these dates with members of a New Scientist Tour group in Spain, “there were audible gasps.” The realization began to sink in that Neanderthals had made representative cave art tens of thousands of years earlier than evolutionists had thought possible.
That was not the only bombshell. Marshall then told them about other discoveries made by Alistair Pike at the University of Southampton in the UK. Pike’s team has rocked the paleoanthropological world with additional evidence of the full humanity of Neanderthals far earlier than this cave art.
Pike points to other sites with evidence of symbolic behaviour by Neanderthals, going way back into prehistory, but which were previously dismissed. In Bruniquel cave in southern France, there is a stone circle made from broken stalagmites that is 175,000 years old. Pigments on shells in Aviones cave in southern Spain are 115,000 years old. There is evidence of Neanderthals collecting ochre, a red pigment often used in cave paintings, at Maastricht-Belvédère in the Netherlands at least 200,000 years ago.
We have reported for some time that Neanderthals have been promoted as full members of the human race (see 12 July 2017, 27 Sept 2018, 29 Dec 2018, 29 April 2019, etc.). The belief that they were dumber than so-called ‘modern humans’ has been crumbling for years now. That idea is now looked on with shame as racist (11 Oct 2017, 9 March 2021). Some, however, are apparently having a hard time giving up on those old evolutionary ideas.
Marshall’s First Law
After revealing the shocking earlier dates for Neanderthal intelligence, Marshall introduced his new law of nature:
Art may be another example of what in a previous newsletter I self-aggrandisingly called Marshall’s First Law: Never be surprised when something turns out to be older than you thought. A recent study used artificial intelligence to identify hidden evidence of controlled fires at a site in Israel from 1 million years ago – hundreds of thousands of years before evidence for fire use becomes widespread. I will lay odds that painting and symbolic expression will also turn out to be much older, once we start properly looking.
Why does he say “once we start properly looking”? Because evolutionists failed to “see” evidence that was right in front of them. They were following a century-old narrative that Neanderthals were stupid but modern humans (who arrived in Europe later, about 40,000 years ago) were smart. Marshall says there were two barriers to believing Neanderthals could have made these paintings: “prejudice against the idea that other hominins could express themselves symbolically, and issues with the physical evidence.” Pike’s team overcame the second barrier with new dating methods, leaving the first barrier untenable. The prejudice must go.
What About Those Dates?
Before the tour, Marshall had done his homework on the cave art in Spain. He discovered how hard it was to nail down the dates. Pike told Marshall that “a tiny, tiny proportion” of cave art has been reliably dated. He shared with Marshall how dating artwork by style used a circular argument: the more complex and realistic the art, the younger it must be.
The style dating method was circular because it depended on the very evolutionary belief that evolutionists were trying to establish: that “hominins” (human ancestors) evolved to get smarter over time. According to evolutionary thinking, artistic ability and symbolic thinking must have come late in human evolution. It took time for ‘modern humans’ (note the prejudice in the name) to evolve to be smart enough to make quality representative art.
Evolutionists should have learnt (using the UK spelling) their lesson when Chauvet Cave (9 May 2012) was discovered, revealing artworks that were better and twice as old as the well-known paintings of Lascaux and Altamira that had been admired since 1879. The Chauvet paintings, said to be 30,000 years old, were “just too good to be that old” according to some archaeologists.
That was an early confirmation of Marshall’s First Law: don’t be surprised if things turn out to be older than thought. To Marshall, the early dates for evidence of Neanderthal symbolic reasoning should not be surprising.
When you consider that our species, Homo sapiens, is probably more than 300,000 years old, and that our genus Homo has been around for more than 2 million years, those few tens of thousands of years are a vanishingly short span of time. Why did humans start painting so late in the day, and why didn’t other hominins like Neanderthals do it?
Well, it’s possible that we actually did make art much earlier than that, and that Neanderthals and other groups such as Denisovans did the same.
Who knows; if Neanderthals and “modern humans” lived side by side in Europe for 2,000 years, as this paper in bioRxiv (21 June 2022) alleges, maybe Neanderthals taught the moderns everything they knew about art. Maybe the old story got it backwards.
Marshall’s First Law Crumbles
And yet Marshall’s First Law is circular itself. The very opposite may be true: “Never be surprised when something turns out to be younger than you thought.” Why so?
Michael’s law was also built on the notion of evolution: that human beings slowly evolved from ape-like ancestors. If that is false, then the whole evolutionary timeline collapses. And Biblical creationists believe, it means that art and technology appeared quickly because human beings—unlike apes—were created with the capacity for thought and creativity from the beginning, which was not millions of years ago but a few thousand years ago. Marshall and Pike and other evolutionists would not accept that, of course, so look for internal contradictions within their own beliefs. There are at least four:
(1) There is no indication of slow and gradual development of art. Evidences of symbolic thinking and technological skill appear abruptly. At Chauvet, archaeologists remarked that “the earliest cave art was the best.” This runs contrary to evolutionary expectations, but fits Genesis.
(2) The evolutionary timeline contradicts what is known about human nature. If modern humans really existed for 300,000 years (or over a million, according to more recent estimates), and if Homo was thriving and migrating from Africa to Europe to Asia for two million years or more, it becomes shockingly hard to believe that our forebears, who were skilled at hunting and making weapons and even sailing across seas with intelligently designed craft, spent hundreds of thousands of years living in caves. Marshall admits that a “few tens of thousands of years are a vanishingly short span of time.” If all members of Homo were so smart, what took them so long to plant a farm, ride a horse, or invent a wheel? Why did civilization spring up suddenly just a few thousand years ago, with math and architecture? Are those assumed millions of years even real? All the bones and artifacts could easily fit into a Creation-and-Flood timeline. That makes more sense and fits what we know about human nature.
(3) Evolution undermines their own intelligence. Marshall, Pike and other evolutionists are clearly skilled at writing and thinking in symbolic and abstract terms. How did that evolve? It presupposes conceptual realities that are immaterial and non-evolving: truth and morality. Marshall seems to be interested in seeking the truth about early man, and we have no doubt that he believes it is good (moral) to tell the truth. If he were an evolving happenstance concourse of atoms, nobody would have any basis for trusting anything he says. So if he wants us to listen to him, he needs to accept the Biblical worldview that mankind is exceptional and has a conscience, with an awareness of God and non-evolving truth.
(4) If Marshall is right that intelligent design in Neanderthals is older than thought, then maybe that’s the tip of a huge iceberg. Maybe intelligent design in mammals, dinosaurs, octopuses and trilobites is older than thought—i.e., maybe it also appeared abruptly, too, not by Darwinian gradualism. Maybe cells appeared on the earth instantly, with all their parts in working order, instead of gradually coming together by chance. Maybe it’s time to ditch the prejudice that blinded paleoanthropologists for a century and look at evidence with fresh thoughts. Sometimes audible gasps are good for the lungs and heart, bringing oxygen to revived brains.
Other Early Man News
Oldest European human fossil possibly found in Spain (Phys.org, 8 July 2022). A fragment of a jawbone found at Atapuerca in Spain is said to be 1.4 million years old. This beats out another European fragment that had been dated at 1.2 million years old. They’re classifying the new record holder as a member of Homo antecessor, which is a circular designation because it assumes evolutionary relationships. To believe this tale, though, requires believing that populations of Homo co-existed in Europe for 200,000 years—an absurdly long period of time for intelligent beings to know about one another without inventing bicycles or world wars. We reported 8 years ago that Homo antecessor is an “ancestor in name only”—a made-up label sold in Paleofantasy Land by Darwin Party imagineers (10 Feb 2014, 13 March 2013)
‘Homo erectus’ from Gongwangling could have been the earliest population in China (Phys.org, 14 June 2022). This article claims that parts of a skull are 1.6 million years old. What are they doing in China, if our ancestors evolved in south African caves? How did they get to China before the other members of Homo showed up in Europe? It should be noted that most skulls labeled “Homo erectus” are in very bad condition.
Shopping with hunter-gatherers (Current Biology, 15 June 2022). Michael Gross entertains a quizzical hypothesis: “Two million years before agriculture swept the globe, the innovation of the hunter-gatherer band brought a substantial change in food provision for early humans and set us on a separate evolutionary path from our great ape cousins.” Two million years! That’s an inconceivable time for human ancestors to just hunt and gather. If they were smart enough to migrate across continents, they could have built shopping centers in a thousandth that time with whole aisles for dog food.
Gross adds absurdity to this notion by saying, “time efficiency rather than energy efficiency was the key driver in this revolutionary change as well as in later ones.” Wait a minute: time efficiency is a concept! It’s not made of atoms. It’s a thought. If human ancestors were thinking, and if they were planning ways to use their time more efficiently, why did it take them so long to invent civilization? Why didn’t the great ape cousins look at the humans and think, “You know, those cousins of ours are living the good life. We should follow their example.” And pray tell, Michael Gross, how does “agriculture sweep the globe” without intelligent design? Come now and let us reason together.
We’ve made up a few laws of nature, too, over the years.
- The First Law of CEH says that the closer you look at an organism, the more complex it becomes.
- The DAM Law says that anytime a story about the evolution of flowering plants appears, it will be accompanied by the phrase “Darwin’s Abominable Mystery” (D.A.M.)
- The Stuff Happens Law is our term for natural selection. Also named the Law of Higgledy-Piggledy by Sir John Herschel.
We pick on Michael Marshall and Michael Gross with goodwill intentions, because we are sure they are likeable gentlemen as science reporter colleagues. We just hope they will recognize the internal inconsistencies in their evolutionary worldview. And if they respect evidence, we hope they will consider how predictions of the death and resurrection of a suffering servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12) who would bear our sins, die and live again were fulfilled 700 years later in the greatest man who ever lived, Jesus Christ. We know this remarkably-detailed account to be fulfilled prophecy because it was found on the Isaiah Scroll in the Dead Sea Scrolls that dates to a century before Christ was born. Now there’s some dating that is not circular, and evidence worth believing.