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 been humans
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:
Human and ape similarities?
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 blocks.
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 someearthworms, 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
Similarities 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 developmental stages.
Teaching about 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:
The core 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 Creation magazine.23
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 ‘Mitochondrial Eve.’
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 inspiring comment:
Yes, we are all animals, descendants of a vast lineage of replicators sprung from primordial pond scum.29
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 atheist:
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
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)