By Editorial Staff
Published December 22, 2007
The science of finding and identifying man’s “prehistoric ancestors” runs in a predictable pattern. A press conference is announced, the discovery of an ape-like “ancestor” revealed with an artist’s impression of what the creature looks like, and the discoverer becomes famous, earning money on lecture tours. The actual fossil bones are scanty and the imagination runs wild. Later, when more evidence is found, the “ancestor” turns out to be totally human or totally ape. The Neanderthal man is an example of one find that turns out to be totally human. Once this find is removed as an intermediate form, you can expect another great discovery to save the day. The latest discovery is “Lucy.”
If you are of the impression that there are many intermediate ancestors to man, take notice of the following statement by an expert in the field: “The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed with room to spare inside a single coffin.“1
This is still an exaggeration since it concedes that various specimens are part of human evolution. Australopithecines, for example, are not considered transitional forms anymore, but a branch of the primate evolutionary tree. True transitional forms are still missing. (“Transitional forms” refer to those creatures which represent intermediate states of development for a supposed ape-like ancestor down to man.)
But what about Lucy? This most recent discovery in Africa is being heralded by many as a true transitional form, typically a replacement for the outmoded australopithecines. Could this be hasty judgment? Let’s examine the evidence. Lucy is a partial fossil skeleton, about the size of a chimpanzee, supposedly female, discovered by paleontologist Dr. Donald Johanson on November 30, 1974, in Hadar, Ethiopia. It is more complete than most fossil finds in that about 40 percent of the bones of the body have been recovered.
The age is “estimated” to be 3.2 million years. The find includes a V-shaped jaw, part of hip and large bones, and other assorted bones with very little skull fragments.2 There were other finds at the same location, other skulls and U-shaped jawbones.
What evidence makes this creature a transitional form? According to Dr. Johanson, she walked upright! Her brain size is still small, ape-like in proportion, and most of the other features are predominantly ape-like. Some say that anatomically it is not different than a modern chimpanzee. The jaw, in particular, is distinct in that it is V-shaped, totally unlike human jaws.
And what evidence supports the idea that this creature walked upright? The angle that the upper leg bone makes with the lower leg bone at the knee. Looking head on, chimpanzee and gorilla legs have an angle of 0 degrees. Humans have an angle of about 9 degrees. If the angle is much greater it gives a “knocked kneed” condition in humans. Lucy and the australophithecines have a larger angle of about 15 degrees.3
Does this make her an upright walker? Present day orangutan and spider monkeys have the same angle as humans yet are extremely adept tree climbers. Some experts argue that the higher angle makes her a better climber.4 This appears to be a knee-jerk reaction rather than clear scientific thinking.
But hold on, the story gets better. Dr. Johanson gave a lecture at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, Nov. 20, 1986, on Lucy and why he thinks she is our ancestor. It included the ideas already mentioned and that Lucy’s femur and pelvis were more robust than most chimps and therefore, “could have” walked upright. After the lecture he opened the meeting for questions. The audience of approximately 800 was quiet so some creationists asked questions. Roy Holt asked; “How far away from Lucy did you find the knee?” (The knee bones were actually discovered about a year earlier than the rest of Lucy). Dr. Johanson answered (reluctantly) about 200 feet lower (!) and two to three kilometers away (about 1.5 miles!). Continuing, Holt asked, “Then why are you sure it belonged to Lucy?” Dr. Johanson: “Anatomical similarity.” (Bears and dogs have anatomical similarities).
After the meeting, the creationists talked with Dr. Johanson and continued the questions. Dr. Johanson argued that homology (particularly DNA homology) is good proof for evolution. Tom Willis responded that “similar structures nearly always have similar plans, (like) similar bridges have similar blue prints.” After more discussion along this line, Dr. Johanson gave this amazing reply: “If you don’t believe homology, then you don’t believe evolution, and evolution is a fact!“5
What about Lucy? Just another partial find of some primate, put together to look like a human ancestor? Could the wide separation of Lucy’s bones (200 feet by 1 mile) better point to a catastrophic scenario – such as a world wide flood?
What about Dr. Johanson’s credibility? To his credit, he does talk about the tentative nature of this type of science. But another evolutionary writer says this about the search for humanlike (homonid) bones; “When it comes to finding a new ‘star’ as our animal ancestor, there is no business like bone business.“6
Tom Willis, the creationist who attended the U. of Missouri lecture puts it this way, “By any reasonable standards, Johanson misrepresented the evidence and he did so for money! A businessman who made claims like those to sell his products would be charged with fraud rather than be paid an honorarium.“7 Regardless of the motives involved for finding our evolutionary “ancestor”, we can be sure that when Lucy is acknowledged as an evolutionary dead end, there will be another press conference with another knee-jerk explanation.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Science
Your comments are welcome!
With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the free Study Guide!
Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)