Humans: images of God
or advanced apes?
First published in
Humans are very different
from animals, especially in the ability to use language and logic.
Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science points out a
number of contrasts between humans and apes on page 83. But Teaching
about Evolution forcefully indoctrinates readers with the idea that
humans have descended from a simple cell via ape-like ancestors.1
The arguments used involve alleged apemen and DNA similarities. This
chapter analyzes the fossil record, and also discusses the large
difference in genetic information content between apes and humans.
The best-known fossil apemen are the extinct
australopithecines (the name means ‘southern ape’). Teaching about
Evolution on page 20 illustrates a series of five skulls:
Australopithecus afarensis (‘Lucy’), A. africanus, early
Homo, H. erectus, and H. sapiens (modern man).
However, many evolutionists disagree with this picture. For example,
Donald Johanson, the discoverer of ‘Lucy,’ places A. africanus on
a side-branch not leading to man.2 Anatomist Charles Oxnard
performed a detailed analysis of different bones of A. africanus
and concluded that it did not walk upright in the human manner and was
more distinct from both humans and chimpanzees than these are from each
other.3 More recently, Oxnard made the following comments
about the australopithecines, including ‘Lucy’:
It is now recognized widely that
the australopithecines are not structurally closely similar to humans,
that they must have been living at least in part in arboreal [tree]
environments, and that many of the later specimens were
contemporaneous [living at the same time] or almost so with the
earlier members of the genus Homo.4
Oxnard, an evolutionist, is one of
several experts who do not believe that any of the australopithecines
were on the human line.
Humans have always
Marvin Lubenow, in his book
Bones of Contention, also shows that the
various alleged apemen do not form a smooth sequence in evolutionary
‘ages,’ but overlap considerably. He also points out that the various
finds are either varieties of true humans (e.g. Neandertals, Homo
erectus) or non-humans like the australopithecines, which probably
includes the so-called Homo habilis. There are several lines of
evidence to support this:
analysis of a Neandertal skeleton found that the sequence differed
from modern humans in 22 to 36 places, while the differences among
modern humans are from 1 to 24 places.6 Despite some
statistically invalid claims that this makes the Neandertals a
separate species, the differences are within the range of modern
humans.7 Also, DNA is quickly broken down by water and
oxygen, so under favorable conditions, DNA might last tens of
thousands of years at the most.8 This raises serious
questions about the 100,000-year ‘age’ that some scientists have
assigned to this skeleton.
X-ray analysis of the
semicircular canals of a number of apemen skulls showed that the
Homo erectus canals were like those of modern humans, meaning they
walked upright. But those of the A. africanus and A.
robustus were like those of great apes. This shows they did not
walk upright like humans, but were probably mainly tree-dwelling.9
‘Homo habilis’ turned out to be even less ‘bi-pedal’ than the
Human and ape
Teaching about Evolution
emphasizes physical and especially DNA similarities between human and
other living organisms, and this is alleged to be evidence for
evolution. However, again this is not a direct finding, but an
interpretation of the data.
A common designer is
another interpretation that makes sense of the same data. An
architect commonly uses the same building material for different
buildings, and a carmaker commonly uses the same parts in different
cars. So we shouldn't be surprised if a Designer for life used the same
biochemistry and structures in many different creatures. Conversely, if
all living organisms were totally different, this might look like there
were many designers instead of one.
Another good thing about the
common biochemistry is that we can gain nourishment from other living
things. Our digestive systems can break down food into its building
blocks, which are then used either as fuel or for our own building
Since DNA contains the coding for
structures and biochemical molecules, we should expect the most similar
creatures to have the most similar DNA. Apes and humans are both
mammals, with similar shapes, so have similar DNA. We should expect
humans to have more DNA similarities with another mammal like a pig than
with a reptile like a rattlesnake. And this is so. Humans are very
different from yeast but they have some biochemistry in common, so we
should expect human and yeast DNA to be only slightly similar.
So the general pattern of
similarities need not be explained by common-ancestry evolution.
Furthermore, there are some puzzling anomalies for an evolutionary
explanation—similarities between organisms that evolutionists don't
believe are closely related. For example, hemoglobin, the complex
molecule that carries oxygen in blood and results in its red color, is
found in vertebrates. But it is also found in some earthworms,
starfish, crustaceans, mollusks, and even in some bacteria. The α-hemoglobin
of crocodiles has more in common with that of chickens (17.5 percent)
than that of vipers (5.6 percent), their fellow reptiles.10
An antigen receptor protein has the same unusual single chain structure
in camels and nurse sharks, but this cannot be explained by a common
ancestor of sharks and camels.11
between human and ape DNA are often exaggerated. This figure was not
derived from a direct comparison of the sequences. Rather, the original
paper12 inferred 97 percent similarity between human and
chimp DNA from a rather crude technique called DNA hybridization. In
this technique, single strands of human DNA were combined with DNA from
chimpanzees and other apes. However, there are other things beside
similarity that affect the degree of hybridization.
Actually, even if we
grant that degree of hybridization entirely correlates with similarity,
there are flaws. When proper statistics are applied to the data,13
they show that humans and chimps have only about 96 percent similarity.
But we frequently hear larger figures bandied about—the alleged
similarity grows in the telling!
A point often overlooked is the
vast differences between different kinds of creatures. Every
creature has an encyclopedic information content, so even a small
percentage difference means that a lot of information would be required
to turn one kind into another. Since humans have an amount of
information equivalent to a thousand 500-page books, a 4 percent
difference amounts to 40 large books (again, even if we assume that the
hybridization data really correlates to gene sequence similarity).
That is, random
mutation plus natural selection is expected to generate the information
equivalent of 12 million words arranged in a meaningful sequence. This
is an impossibility even if we grant the 10 million years asserted by
evolutionists. Population genetics calculations show that animals with
human-like generation times of about 20 years could substitute no more
than about 1,700 mutations in that time.14
Teaching about Evolution states
on page 1:
As organisms grow from
fertilized egg cells into embryos, they pass through many similar
Evolution has no embryo drawings. However, many evolutionary books
have drawings purportedly showing that embryos look very similar. They
are based on the 1874 embryo diagrams by Ernst Haeckel, Darwin's
advocate in Germany, whose evolutionary ideas were instrumental in the
later rise of Nazism. However, in 1997, a detailed study by Mike
Richardson and his team,15 including actual photographs of a
large number of different embryos, showed that embryos of different
kinds are very distinct (see illustration below).
Thus, the only way for
Haeckel to have drawn them looking so similar was to have cheated.
This study was widely publicized in science journals16 and
the secular media, so a book published in 1998 has no excuse for being
unaware that the idea of extensive embryonic similarities is outdated
and based on fraud.17
More recently, Richardson and his
team confirmed in a letter to Science that they still believe in
evolution, and that the marked dissimilarities are consistent with this.19
But this contradicts the usual textbook20 prediction from
Darwinism that embryo development should go through similar stages as
Haeckel's faked drawings illustrate. If evolutionary theory predicts
both similarities and differences, then it doesn't really predict
anything! On the basis of Richardson's letter, evolutionists have
claimed he really believes that Haeckel was ‘basically right.’21
But Richardson confirmed in a later letter to Science:
scientific issue remains unchanged: Haeckel's drawings of 1874 are
substantially fabricated. In support of this view, I note that his
oldest ‘fish’ image is made up of bits and pieces from different
animals—some of them mythical. It is not unreasonable to characterize
this as ‘faking.’ ... Sadly, it is the discredited 1874 drawings that
are used in so many British and American biology textbooks today.’22
A good account of
Haeckel's embryonic fraud was published in
Teaching about Evolution says on page 19:
According to recent
evidence—based on the sequencing of DNA in a part of human cells known
as mitochondria—it has been proposed that a small population of modern
humans evolved in Africa about 150,000 years ago and spread throughout
the world, replacing archaic populations of Homo Sapiens.
This evidence deals with comparing
the DNA from mitochondria. This DNA is inherited only through the
mother's line. The similarities indicate that all people on earth are
descended from a single human female. Even evolutionists have called her
While this is consistent with the
biblical account, we should note that it is not proof. Evolutionists
contend that ‘Mitochondrial Eve’ was one of a number of women living.
The mitochondrial line of the others would have died out if there were
only males in any generation of descendants.
Evolutionists believed they had
clear proof against the biblical account, because ‘Mitochondrial Eve’
supposedly lived 200,000 years ago. However, recent evidence shows that
mitochondrial DNA mutates far faster than previously thought.24
If this new evidence is applied to ‘Mitochondrial Eve,’ it indicates
that she would have lived only 6,000–6,500 years ago.25 Of
course, this is perfectly consistent with the biblically indicated age
of the ‘mother of all living’ (Gen.
3:20),26 but an enigma for
evolution/long age beliefs.
Interestingly, there is a parallel
account with males: evidence from the Y-chromosome is consistent with
all people being descended from a single man.27 The data is
also consistent with a recent date for this ‘Y-chromosome Adam.’28
Teaching about Evolution aims to
indoctrinate students with the belief that they are evolved animals and
ultimately are, in effect, nothing more than a chance re-arrangement of
matter. A senior writer for Scientific American had this
Yes, we are all animals,
descendants of a vast lineage of replicators sprung from primordial
What this leads to is aptly shown
by this dialog between two evolutionists. Lanier is a computer
scientist; Dawkins is a professor at Oxford and an ardent Darwinist and
Jaron Lanier: ‘There's a
large group of people who simply are uncomfortable with accepting
evolution because it leads to what they perceive as a moral vacuum, in
which their best impulses have no basis in nature.’
Richard Dawkins: ‘All I
can say is, That's just tough. We have to face up to the truth.’30
References and notes
about Evolution goes to great pains to ‘investigate the
misconception that humans evolved from apes,’ pointing out that
evolutionists believe that humans and apes share a common ancestor (p.
57, 62, 83). However, a leading atheistic evolutionary paleontologist,
the late G.G. Simpson, called this sort of pedantry ‘pussyfooting.’ He
wrote: ‘In fact, that earlier ancestor would certainly be called an
ape or monkey in popular speech by anyone who saw it. Since the terms
ape and monkey are defined by popular usage, man's ancestors were apes
or monkeys (or successively both). It is pusillanimous [mean-spirited]
if not dishonest for an informed investigator to say otherwise.’ The
World into Which Darwin Led Us, Science 131:966–969;
cited in W.R. Bird, The Origin of Species: Revisited, Vol. 1,
(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1991), p. 233.
D. Johanson and T.D. White, Science
203:321, 1979; 207:1104, 1980.
C.E. Oxnard, Nature 258:389–395,
C.E. Oxnard, The Order of Man (New
Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1984).
Mitochondria (singular mitochondrion) are
the structures within cells that help produce energy. They have their
own genes which are passed down the female line with the occasional
A group led by Svante Pääbo analyzed one
379-unit sequence (cf. a total of 16,500 base pairs in intact
human mitochondrial DNA) from an upper arm bone from a Neandertal
skeleton supposedly 30,000–100,000 years old. M. Krings, A. Stone, R.W.
Schmitz, H. Krainitzki, M. Stoneking, and S. Pääbo, Neandertal DNA
Sequences and the Origin of Modern Humans, Cell 90:19–30,
Neandertal mtDNA: An Evaluation,
CEN Tech. J.
T. Lindahl, Instability and Decay of the
Primary Structure of DNA, Nature 362(6422):709–715,
1993. Pääbo himself has found that DNA fragments decay a few hours
after death into chains 100–200 units long, that water alone would
completely break it down by 50,000 years, and that background
radiation would eventually erase DNA information even without water
and oxygen, Ancient DNA, Scientific American 269(5):60–66,
F. Spoor, B. Wood, and F. Zonneveld,
Implications of Early Hominid Morphology for Evolution of Human
Bipedal Locomotion, Nature 369(6482):645–648, 1994.
H.M. Morris and G.E. Parker, What is
Creation Science? (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1987), p.
52–61. See also M. Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis,
(Chevy Chase, MD: Adler and Adler, 1986), chapters 7, 12.
Proceedings of the National Academy of
Science 95:11, 804; cited in New Scientist 160(2154):23,
3 October 1998.
C.G. Sibley and J.E. Ahlquist, DNA
Hybridization Evidence of Hominoid Phylogeny: Results from an Expanded
Data Set, Journal of Molecular Evolution 26:99–121,
Similarity: Evidence for Evolutionary Relationship?
19(1):21–22, December 1996–February 1997. This article has much
important information about this matter.
Discussed briefly in chapter 5; for full
details, see W.J. ReMine,
The Biotic Message (St. Paul, MN: St.
Paul Science, 1993), chapter 8.
M.K. Richardson et al., There Is No Highly
Conserved Embryonic Stage in the Vertebrates: Implications for Current
Theories of Evolution and Development, Anatomy and Embryology
E. Pennisi, Haeckel's Embryos: Fraud
Rediscovered, Science 277(5331):1435, 5 September 1997;
Embryonic Fraud Lives On, New Scientist 155(2098):23, 6
There is a related idea called embryonic
recapitulation, or ‘ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny,’ that embryos
allegedly pass through stages representing their evolutionary
ancestry. This was thoroughly discredited decades ago, and no informed
evolutionist uses this ‘evidence.’ In particular, no ‘gill slits’ ever
form in mammalian embryos; rather, structures called pharyngeal
(throat) arches form, and they have no relation to breathing. This
idea was based on other fraudulent embryo diagrams by Haeckel.
These embryo photos used in this article
were kindly supplied by Dr. Michael K. Richardson. They originally
appeared in M.K. Richardson et al., footnote 15, © Springer-Verlag
GmbH & Co., Tiergartenstrasse, 69121 Heidelberg, Germany. Reproduced
here with permission.
M.K. Richardson et al., Haeckel,
Embryos, and Evolution, letter to Science 280(5366):983–986,
15 May 1998.
B. Alberts et al., Molecular Biology of
the Cell, (New York: Garland, 1994), p. 32–33.
E.g., the pretentiously named National
Center for Science Education, the leading U.S. organization devoted
entirely to evolution-pushing—NCSE Reports 17(6):14,
officially dated Nov/Dec 1997.
M.K. Richardson, Haeckel's Embryos,
Continued, letter to Science 281(5381):1289, 28 August
Rediscovered, Creation 20(2):49–51,
1998; see also R. Grigg,
Evangelist for Evolution and Apostle of Deceit,
Creation 18(2):33–36, 1996, which documents other known
frauds by Haeckel.
T.J. Parsons et al., A High Observed
Substitution Rate in the Human Mitochondrial DNA Control Region,
Nature Genetics 15:363–368, 1997.
L. Loewe and S. Scherer, Mitochondrial Eve:
The Plot Thickens, Trends in Ecology and Evolution 12(11):422–423,
1997; A. Gibbons, Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock, Science
A Shrinking Date for ‘Eve’,
CEN Tech. J.12(1):1–3, 1998.
R.L. Dorit, Hiroshi Akashi, and W. Gilbert,
Absence of Polymorphism at the ZFY Locus on the Human Y-Chromosome,
Science 268(5214):1183–85, 26 May 1995; perspective in the
same issue by S. Pääbo, The Y-Chromosome and the Origin of All of Us
(Men), p. 1141–1142.
CEN Tech. J. 9(2):139–140, 1995.
J. Horgan, The New Social Darwinists,
Scientific American 273(4):150–157, October 1995; quote on
Evolution: The Dissent of Darwin,
Psychology Today, January/February 1997, p. 62.
This chapter from the book
Refuting Evolution, published and graciously provided at no charge
to Answers in Genesis by Master Books, a division of New Leaf
Press (Green Forest, Arkansas).
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