Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Darwinius Masillae Fossil Find

I would like to address something that’s circling the globe and is hot in the news and it’s called Darwinius Masillae. Some news stories have sensationalized this to the degree of saying, “It’s like finding the lost ark,” or “it’s the scientific equivalent of the Holy Grail.”[1] The hyperbole is breathtaking. It’s been called “the most important find in 47 million years,”[2] and “the mother of all monkeys.”[3]

In actuality all this is, is a silly debate among evolutionists as to whether Darwinius Masillae is an ancestor of lemurs or humans. It’s doesn’t do anything to settle the creation/evolution debate. In light of all the fanfare, we would do well to remember that past candidates like “Lucy” have bestowed fame on their finders but have done precious little to distinguish themselves as prime exemplers of human evolution.

As the corpus of hominid fossil specimen grows, it has become increasingly evident there’s an unbridgeable chasm between hominids and humans. Similar structures on different species don’t provide proof of genealogical relationships. Common descent is simply an evolutionary assumption that’s used to explain similarities. To assume that hominids and humans are closely related because both of them can walk upright is like saying humming birds and helicopters are related because both can fly.

I’ve said this before, but the distance between an ape that can’t read or write and a descendent of Adam who composes musical masterpieces or the sends men to the moon is the distance of infinity. Bottom line—evolution can’t satisfactorily account for the genesis of life, the genetic code, or the ingenious synchronistic process needed to produce life from a single fertilized human egg. It also can’t satisfactorily explain how physical processes can produce metaphysical realities such as consciousness or spirituality.

This incessable drive to produce a missing link is fraught with selling sensationalism, and subjectivism. Instead we should not be pandering, but we should promote solid science. If you’ve looked at this for any period of time, you’re aware of the fact that this hype supposes that Nebraska, Piltdown, and Peking Man, along with Pithecanthropus Erectus are not so significant now, because supposedly now we have the mother of all fossil finds, we’ve found the missing link, or “the most important discovery in evolutionary processes in 47 million years.” You can make this stuff up.

As Christians we need to be able to see through the hype and help others as well, because this has been touted in every newspaper or periodical that I’ve laid my hands on in the last 48 hours. At it’s root, though, it’s just plain old selling and sensationalism!

18 comments:

AL said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpCdQ2Tbf6s

Please talk about this on your radioshow.

John Tucker said...

I just shook my head and laughed when I first read about this "profound new discovery."

Robert said...

I heard you say over the weekend that Genesis 1 is "not a chronology," meaning, I think, that there was plenty of time -- not days, but millenia -- for evolution to have worked. We may disagree on the mechanics of evolution, but at least we can agree that there was time for it to have happened.

Actually, I think that everyone believes in evolution, we just disagree on how quickly it happens. For example, to go in a few thousand years from two bears on the Ark to all the species of bears that we see in the world today is more rapid evolution than any Darwinian would find possible. But by removing the day-by-day chronology of Genesis 1, we at least have a better basis for discussion.

Incidentally, speaking of things you have said that are insightful and true, I heard you say some weeks ago that, while the Bible itself is infallible, we are each an imperfect human, subject to mis-interpreting it. This is a profoundly important point and, had it been observed in the past, history might have turned out very differently. For example, the divine arrogance shown by the Europeans during the conquest of the Americas displayed little of your wisdom. These days, I think every Christian radio program I listen to should begin with a restatement of your truth: "I'm a fallible human being trying to figure out the Word of God. I may not have it exactly right, but here's what it seems to me to mean."

Thanks for these two important observations.

Cm said...

Robert, stop twisting scripture to fit evolution, it is right and true to believe in a literal 6 day creation. By the way every day had morning and evening according to Genesis. The book of Genesis says God created "according to its kind" meaning a human was created a human:
this may help: http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/translationResults.cfm?Criteria=according+to&t=ESV

Boris said...

In actuality all this is, is a silly debate among evolutionists as to whether Darwinius Masillae is an ancestor of lemurs or humans. It’s doesn’t do anything to settle the creation/evolution debate.

Boris says: There is no creation/evolution debate in the scientific community. This debate only exists in the U.S. and only in the warped and undereducated minds of creationists.

. It also can’t satisfactorily explain how physical processes can produce metaphysical realities such as consciousness or spirituality.

Boris says: Actually it is the creationists that cannot explain how metaphysical processes can produce physical realities such as consciousness or spirituality. In other words how does the creationist explain how minds or consciousness could arise without matter? They can’t so they must invoke God’s magical powers.

Anonymous said...

Boris you are incorrect about at least one thing. There is a thriving debate among many of us Macroevolutionists. Does Evolution supply our answer for the origin of species? We will perhaps never have that answer. This ancient lemur does not give us the answer. Creation, ID, etc. gives about as good an answer as we have yet to provide anyone. It may pain me to say that, but it is true nonetheless. I appreciate your exuberance on the atheist/darwinist side, but you are premature. And I venture that you know that full well.

Boris said...

Anonymous your post is ridiculous. The design we see in nature comes from evolution's bottom-up design mechanism. There is no evidence of any kind of human like top-down design in DNA, cells or life itself. Looking at life after 4 billion years of cellular evolution and wondering how it got so complex is backward thinking if I ever saw it.

Arthur Khachatryan said...

Boris,
To say that the simplest cell was simple enough to have come into existence on its own is just nonsense. Even the simplest cell is complex enough to defy the odds that you may claim nature accidentally beat. Spontaneous generation of life from the materialistic viewpoint has no real scientific basis and must be accepted simply by blind faith. You are eluding the argument by providing your own, which happens to be irrelevant to begin with. I urge you to delve into your own presuppositions.

Boris said...

CM,
I can't believe people are still ignorant enough to make this claim: Even the simplest cell is complex enough to defy the odds that you may claim nature accidentally beat.

The first cells had no DNA and reproduced by simply dividing or falling apart. Like a typical creationist loony you look at life after 4 billion years of cellular evolution and marvel at its complexity. Since you're the one with the asinine presuppositions perhaps you should be questioning your own presuppositions. Science isn't done on presuppositions but on facts. Get an education before you start criticizing those of us that have one.

Daniel Han said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel Han said...

Boris,

Most famous scientists who have excelled to the peak of their career, who have represented the epitome of our scientific forefront, have come to acknowledge that science is intrinsically and ultimately a mystery, which continually strays away from the adherence to a set of theoretical principles. Give some of Dr.Duane T. Gish's writings a read. He is much more articulate than me; he also has a much more creditable educational background, which is something you seem to be looking for with regards to a logically sound and reasonable argument. You may also be interested in reading up on a little bit of Albert Einstein's views on science.

With regards to your comment on evolution being a debate only in the US, I believe that wherever there are religious beliefs, there will be a battle against humanistic reason. With that being said, I highly doubt that the United States is the only country in the world that debates about this issue. But, you may be right; I haven't traveled the world conducting socio-anthropological studies in every country in the world. Whether this is true or not is an off-tangent arguement regarding evolution.

I don't believe your pernicious berating tone is an "educational" approach to making a logical argument with regards to your own views, but nevertheless thank you for sharing your honest opinions to the public! It's much appreciated to those who seek to understand other perspectives.

In His grace,

Dan

Boris said...

Daniel Ham,
Duane Gish is a thoroughly discredited liar. The following sites should be of interest to anyone truly seeking to understand other perspectives:
Duane Gish quote about ER 1470 (1997) (Off Site) by Jim Foley

An example of Gish misquoting a scientist.

Creationist Arguments: Duane Gish and Wadjak Man (1998) (Off Site) by Jim Foley

Gish claimed that Eugène Dubois concealed information on the Wadjak skulls until 30 years after their discovery. Even after being shown publications where Dubois revealed the Wadjak skulls, Gish continued to repeat his claim that the publications do not exist.

Creationist Whoppers (Off Site)

A small sampler of creationist whoppers that includes Gish's account of the "bullfrog" incident compared to Schadewald's account.

Review of Duane Gish's "Creation Scientists Answer Their Critics" (1994) by Jim Lippard

"It is impossible to read more than a few pages of Gish's book without encountering emotion-laden adjectives. And if Gish can describe an evolutionist as an 'atheist,' a 'humanist,' or a 'Marxist,' he rarely hesitates to do so.... It is ironic, then, that Gish advises evolutionists to avoid 'vicious, ad hominem attacks....'"

Duane Gish and Creationism (1994; Revised 1999) (Off Site) by Richard Trott

A critique of Gish's 1994 presentation at Rutgers University.

Gish's Response (1994) (Off Site)

Richard Trott's Rebuttal (1994) (Off Site)

Some Questions for Duane Gish (1998) by Brian Pietruszweski

Collection of questions that were "written in preparation for a visit by Duane Gish to Rice University. They are meant to be confrontational and asked face-to-face with Gish."

Robert said...

I’m not twisting words, Cm. Hank himself says that God wrote two books – the Book of Scripture and the Book of Nature – and they must be read together.
Think of the time of Copernicus. When the facts of heliocentrism came to be known beyond reasonable dispute, most scholars of the Bible were able to look back at Scripture and see that all the passages once deemed to require an Earth-centered model of the planets and sun were, in fact, entirely consistent with a Sun-centered solar system. There were a few hold-outs and Galileo paid the price for their recalcitrance, which is why Hank’s second quotation is so important: they were just flawed humans, trying to work out the meaning of the Bible, which is easy to say, as long as you’re not Galileo. But in the end the Book of Scripture and the Book of Nature were found to be consistent.
Now consider the biblical account of the Tower of Babel. Note that both modern linguistic science and Genesis are consistent on the essential point – that there once was one proto-language that all humans spoke. Given that, it doesn’t take a creative genius to read the Genesis account to be consistent with modern scientific understanding of linguistic history. This is not twisting the Scriptures; it’s just recognizing that God was trying to explain to a group of primitive people an observable fact of their reality, that folks not from around here speak a different language.
Biological evolution is more difficult to see than linguistic evolution; one can witness the birth, change, and death of languages in one’s lifetime. Biological evolution takes longer and is more difficult to see. To my mind, at least, the basic mechanics of biological evolution have been show beyond reasonable dispute. There are many details to work out, and some things now thought true will turn out to be false leads. But I think, in fact, that the principles of biological evolution are better proved now than the principles of heliocentrism were at the time of Galileo. Recall that those early astronomers were making indirect observations of the motions of the planets from Earth, using instruments less sophisticated than a modern set of binoculars, and quite primitive mathematical systems. Nevertheless, they were convincing, and the progressive biblical scholars of the day worked it out. Even the conservative biblical scholars did not hold on to an Earth-centered universe until the 1960s, when cameras were sent out to send back pictures of the planets orbiting the sun.
As, in the end, I think modern biblical scholars will come around and look anew at what inconsistencies there are between fundamental biblical principles and biological evolution, and find, as with heliocentrism and linguistic history, that there are none.

Boris said...

Robert,
It certainly makes more sense for believers to interpret the Bible in the light of what we do know about the natural world instead of trying to interpret science according to a literal translation of the Bible. I don’t think science is compatible with the Bible at all though. I don’t think science is compatible with any God either, especially the Bible God. What you are positing is theistic evolution. The question I have would be why would God use a process of creation that makes it appear that he doesn’t exist? Deistic evolution would make more sense but even that seems far-fetched to me. I think the universe and the existence of life have incomplete but satisfactory naturalistic explanations.

Robert said...

OK, but always remember this: Any God capable of creating the Universe in six days is equally capable of making it look like it took 10 billion years.

Boris said...

OK, but always remember this: Any God capable of creating the Universe in six days is equally capable of making it look like it took 10 billion years.

Boris says: Nothing like basing the premise an argument on it's own conclusion being true before you've proved it. Prove there is a God, that this God created the universe and did it in six days. Or at least that this is possible since it argues against everything we do know about the universe.

Then of course there's the problem of why God creates a universe in 6 days and purposely makes it look like it took billions of years. Why? To fool most us? To test our faith? Calling a God who would do this the "truth" is a bunch of nonsense.

Boris said...

Bottom line—evolution can’t satisfactorily account for the genesis of life, but it does indeed explain the genetic code, and the ingenious synchronistic process needed to produce life from a single fertilized human egg. It also can satisfactorily explain how physical processes can produce metaphysical realities such as consciousness or spirituality. Hanagraaf just doesn't want you to know this because he is a liar.

Robert said...

Because He has a sense of humor?