Friday, August 24, 2007

Evolution à la Carte

Fossil find pushes human-ape split back millions of years.

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:

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.

What's interesting about this is that Jeffrey H. Schwartz, who believes in the orangutan-human split instead of the chimp-human split, stated:

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.

(What the Bones Tell Us. 1993. New York: Henry Holt & Co. p. 262)
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!

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...


  1. OK, I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that Touchstone will most certainly have a high end refutation that will be most stimulating. If I'm right about this, T-blog owes me a T-Blog T-shirt (well, if I'm right about the attempted refutation, the rest of the stuff was just window dressing and quite unlikely)

    --the twinkie

  2. Evolutionist have always had to wrestle with severe problems in their theory. Problems that they'll rarely own up to. Too much is at stake.

  3. Exactly, Steve.

    I think one of the best things for Christians to do is to read all the various sides to the issue of evolution. Textbooks, especially for high school, only present a very distorted one-sided view of the evidence for evolution.

    This is why the disagreements between Gould and Dawkins have led so many to claim Gould was an "accidental creationist." They don't realize that there are many people specialized in certain fields who agree to what Gould said.

    This over-specialization is one of the reasons that the problems in Darwinism aren't so immediatley obvious though. In many ways, the evidence for Darwinian evolution is akin to trying to put the wrong piece into a jigsaw puzzle. We can zoom in and see that the right side fits into the gap in one place, but the top doesn't fit if it's in that place. So we pick another place where the top fits, but now the left side doesn't fit. Instead of jettisoning the piece and going for a different one, Darwinists simply cut the piece up and glue the top part into one hole, the right side into a different hole, etc. and then claim that "all the pieces fit." Because of how specialized Darwinists are, a morphologist (for example) only examines the top part of the piece (morphology) and see, "Yup, it fits in this hole"; a molecular biologist looks at the right side of the piece (DNA) and says, "Yup, it fits in this hole"; a paleontologist only examines the bottom side of the piece (fossils) and says, "Yup, it fits in this hole"; etc.

    Because of how spread out they are, the molecular biologist doesn't realize that fitting the entire piece into his "hole" contradicts both the paleontologist and the morphologist.

    Or to put it another way (for logicians):

    1: If A then ~B.
    2: If B then ~C.
    3: If C then ~A.

    The Darwinist says "A, B, & C." The morphologist looks and says, "Yup, premise 1 is valid." The molecular biologist looks and says "Yup, premise 2 is valid." The paleontologist looks and says, "Yup, premise 3 is valid." None, however, look at all three premises together.

    Case in point: the article I linked to in the post.

  4. I don't know about Einstein's theory of gravity. Inasmuch as general relativity leads us to construct space-time in a mathematically different way than Newtonian physics in order to account for anomalous observations otherwise, I would say that you have something there. As far as gravity, we consider it a law because it is self-evident. There is not proof that it exists. There is merely the observable evidence that objects of mass tend toward one another in a measurable and predictable way. Why this is we don't know. We just label the cause "gravity".

    I would say that the predictable nature of gravity makes it more certain than macroevolution as an explanation for our origin. We only have the evidence that there is abundant life on our planet with extraordinarily divergent morphologies. All life as we observe it has in common the fact that all morphologies are constructed and reproduced with an incredibly complex molecular code and the molecular machinery to manifest this code as these observable morphologies.

    What is not observable is that all genetic code are in any way originated from a single source code by some means of mutation. It's interesting that apologists for naturalism may likewise deny the cosmological argument for God by denying that there must be only one first cause.