This sort of thing always amuses me. You see, we are told that evolutionists have figured out the vast majority of issues already, and that the rest of the problems are intermural, minor details. Creationists are told to shut up and accept the theory of St. Darwin, else they are little more than flat earthers. Evolution is as certain as Einstein's theory of gravity, say the Darwinists (who never seem to realize that this illustration only goes one way; a physicist will never say Einstein's theory of gravity is as certain as Darwinism).
So there haven't been fossils found in Africa from the millions of years range that was needed for human-ape evolution to occur. Never mind that--we can use molecular clocks to figure out when the split should have occured. We get our answers and tell the Creationists who question the validity of molecular clock results that they are not real scientists, that they can't get peer reviewed, that no one takes them seriously.
Then along comes this new study:
The most startling implication of the find, the scientists agree, is that our human progenitors diverged from today's great apes -- including gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees -- several million years earlier than widely accepted research based on molecular genetics had previously asserted.Don't worry. We will ignore the fact that this find, if accurate, calls into question all molecular clock dates for this range of time. Further, we will ignore the fact that molecular clocks, if right, call into question the dating of this fossil for this particular time. With evolution à la carte, we can just pick and choose which evidence for the theory we want to accept.
In fact, despite the fossil's date throwing molecular clocks into disrepute, molecular clocks are still used to determine that:
What's interesting about this is that Jeffrey H. Schwartz, who believes in the orangutan-human split instead of the chimp-human split, stated:
There is broad agreement that chimpanzees were the last of the great apes to split from the evolutionary line leading to man, after gorillas and, even earlier, orangutans.
Conventional scientific wisdom, based on genetic "distances" measured by molecular geneticists, had placed the divergence between chimps and humans some five to six million years ago. Orangutans are thought to have parted company with our ancestors 13 to 14 million years ago.
If we are going to accept an exclusive human-chimp association, then we are going to have to accept the consequences that go along with it. The most profound consequence is, I think, that morphology has to be viewed as unrevealing when it comes to resolving the evolutionary relationships of organisms. Otherwise, the uniquenesses shared by chimps and gorillas, especially in their forearm anatomy, provide overwhelming evidence of their close evolutionary relationship. If we accept molecularly based phylogenies exclusively, and not as potential alternative hypotheses, we must reject fossils as being informative sources of data, because fossils are known only as preserved morphological entities. And, thus, because fossils cannot be placed reliably in schemes of phylogenetic relationships--that can result only from a morphological analysis--they cannot be used to provide dates from which to calibrate any evolutionary clock, molecular or otherwise.But we can ignore that a Darwinist pointed out the same flaws 14 years ago. We can pretend that new finds that show our previous results to be wrong by millions of years are no big deal (what's a few million years amongst friends anyway? Come on, it's a baseball season for cryin' out loud). We can pretend that this "startling" bit of data only confirms Darwinism yet again!
(What the Bones Tell Us. 1993. New York: Henry Holt & Co. p. 262)
One must wonder how it can be that Darwinism is proven by evidence that is contradictory, and that the same theory "predicts" and "explains" results of data that are millions of years in conflict with one another. I wish I could get this kind of number crunching at Vegas.
On the other hand, don't wonder about that at all. Anything is better than letting those grubby little Creationists look respectable...