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Author Topic:   How Creationism Explains Hominid Fossil Skulls (FINAL STATEMENTS ONLY)
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 1031 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


(1)
Message 1 of 137 (598960)
01-04-2011 1:14 PM


How Creationism Explains Hominid Fossil Skulls

"The main cause, however, of innumerable intermediate links not now occurring everywhere throughout nature, depends on the very process of natural selection, through which new varieties continually take the places of and supplant their parent-forms. But just in proportion as this process of extermination has acted on an enormous scale, so must the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely-graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory."
-- Charles Darwin, 1859.

Out of all the different evidences for common descent, none is more powerful and compelling as the now-many fossils of seeming human ancestry, especially the skulls--the most obvious illustrations of evolutionary transition. When Jonathon Wells captioned the series of images progressing from primitive ape to modern man the "Ultimate Icon" of evolution, he was right. Upon the urging of the acolytes of Darwin's theory, the paleontological record went from destitute to rich with fossils of intermediate forms. It remains a false popular myth among the skeptics that intermediate forms are somehow lacking, that the "missing links" are still missing. For fifty years, a trip to a natural history museum should have been the remedy to that error. Nowadays, all it takes is an Internet search and a mouse click (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Human Evolution Evidence).

The Evidence
To this end, Douglas Theobald, in his web series, "29+ Evidences of Macroevolution," compiled a series of images of fossil skulls from the Smithsonian website. Sourcing that compilation, the following animated GIF illustrates that series.


(Images 2000 Smithsonian Institution.)

For a static image and source details, see 29+ Evidences. The links in the list are now out of date, but I have updated the links in the following list.


Do not misunderstand this series of skulls. It is not meant to illustrate a direct lineage. Instead, each species would be placed variously within a family tree, with a species similar to (but not the same as) a modern chimpanzee at the root of the tree and the species of modern humans at one of the tips of the many branches. Because of the diversity and uncertainty of ancestral history, we can not expect to either find or certainly identify any species exactly along the lineage of human ancestry.

The Evolutionary Explanation
But, we can expect to find features transitioning from ancestral features to modern features among the species in the family tree, because all species would be variously connected to the lineage of human ancestry. Three of the most obvious and relevant spectra of transitioning features are:

  • Increasing cranium size. The ancestors had small brains, but modern humans have large brains.
  • Decreasing snout protrusion. The ancestors had a long protruding snout like a chimpanzee, but modern humans have a snout that is flush with the face.
  • Decreasing eyebrow protrusion. The ancestors had eyebrow ridges that protrude, but modern human eyebrows are flush with the forehead.

With progressing time, each of these three transitional qualities among the set of fossils progress roughly along each spectrum. This matches evolutionary expectations. Before Darwin, none of these fossil skulls were known, and nobody expected them. Darwin predicted that such transitions should be existent in the fossil record. The scientific adherents of Darwin's theory were motivated to look for them, and indeed they found them.

The Creationism Explanations
So how do creationists explain this evidence?

They certainly do not explain all of the evidence of hominid fossil skulls all at once. They seemingly do not ever bother with explaining the apparent transitions in the features of the whole of the fossil evidence. Instead, at best, they focus on the specifics, and they pigeonhole each specimen as either "human" or "ape," as their model demands.

The following table reports the creationist opinions, among four prominent creationist organizations, of the identities of seven of the fossil skulls in the above series.

Skull specimenSpecies Creationist opinions
AiG CMI ICR True.Origin
STS 5Australopithecus africanusApeApeApeUnstated
STS 71Australopithecus africanusApeUnstatedApeUnstated
KNM-ER 1813Homo habilisHuman and ApeApeApeApe
KNM-ER 1470Homo rudolfensisHuman and ApeHumanHumanApe
Dmanisi cranium D2700Homo erectusHumanHumanUnstatedUnstated
KNM-ER 3733Homo ergasterHumanHumanUnstatedHuman
Kabwe 1Homo heidelbergensisHumanHumanHumanUnstated

For the transitional features among hominid fossil skulls that go from chimpanzee-like to human-like, there generally is little difficulty for the creationists on the two opposing ends of each spectrum. The problems emerge with the fossil specimens with features that fall within the middle of the spectra. In this case, two such specimens are KNM-ER 1813 (Homo habilis) and KNM-ER 1470 (Homo rudolfensis).

AiG (Answers in Genesis) is internally conflicted about whether Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis should be classified as human or ape. One of their contributing members, Dr. Todd Charles Wood, conducted a study using probabilistic methods that placed both species within the taxon of humans (Baraminological Analysis Places Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, and Australopithecus sediba in the Human Holobaramin). This upset some of the other members, who seemingly preferred to rely on their God-given intuition (Baraminological Analysis Places Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, and Australopithecus sediba in the Human Holobaramin: Discussion). They called the result a "false positive."

Some evolutionists find revealing irony in the disagreements among creationists. Jim Foley of TalkOrigins.org researched thoroughly and established that point beautifully (Comparison of all skulls). But, I find more relevance on the points where creationists agree. AiG is conflicted, but two prominent creationist organizations, ICR (Institute for Creation Research) and CMI (Creation Ministries International), both assert that KNM-ER 1813 (or the Homo habilis) is an ape and KNM-ER 1470 (or the Homo rudolfensis) is a human.

A. W. Mehlert of CMI says about KNM-ER 1813,

Whatever else may be said of the enigmatic specimen
ER 1813, its post-cranial features are very similar to those
of OH 62. Whatever the various authorities choose to call
these creatures, australopithecines or habilines, the fact
remains that apart from brain-size in a few of them, they all
still overwhelmingly display the same chimp-like features
of the 'early' specimens.
(Australopithecus and Homo habilis Pre-Human Ancestors?)

Duane Gish of ICR says about the species of the KNM-ER 1813,

Furthermore, the postcranial skeleton (that portion of the skeleton below the skull) was every bit as primitive, or ape-like, as that of "Lucy," who is supposedly two million years older than this allegedly 1.8-million-year-old adult female, H. habilis. Recovery of the remains of the arm of this H. habilis fossil revealed the fact that, just as is true of apes, it had very long arms, with finger tips reaching almost down to the knees.
(Startling Discoveries Support Creation)

Peter Line of CMI says about the KNM-ER 1470,

The interpretation of fossil cranium KNM-ER 1470, from Koobi Fora, Kenya, which has a cranial capacity of about 752 cm[sup]3[/sup],has been problematic for both evolutionists and creationists. In 1999 creationist Bill Mehlerts analysis, which focused on the disputed reconstruction of the face of cranium 1470, led him to believe that the cranium looks increasingly like a larger-brained gracile australopithecine. However, creationist Marvin Lubenow has long argued for its human status, and, in his revised and updated book Bones of Contention, recently stated that comparisons suggest that skull 1470 is more modern than any of the Homo erectus fossilseven the Kow Swamp material, which is only about 10,000 years old. Creationist Malcolm Bowden has also argued that KNM-ER 1470 is simply a small human skull. Although there are variations between specimens KNM-ER 1470 and KNM-ER 1813, much of it can be explained, according to evolutionist Wolpoff, if we assume that the larger crania and faces with powerful postcanine dentitions (and their structural consequences) of specimens such as ER 1470 reflect body size differences. Although a gorilla skull has been found with the same cranial capacity (752 cm[sup]3[/sup]) as that of KNM-ER 1470, the cranium of the latter is much more likely that of a human than an ape.
(Fossil evidence for alleged apemenPart 1: the genus Homo)

Duane Gish of ICR says about the KNM-ER 1470,

The small cranial capacity for this skull is difficult to reconcile with the fact that everything else about it is reportedly essentially indistinguishable from modern man (Dr. Alec Cave, an English anatomist, has described the skull as "typically human"). Even the pigmy must possess a cranial capacity in excess of that reported for 1470, although an Australian aboriginal female with a cranial capacity of about 900 cc has been reported.
(Richard Leakey's Skull 1470)

So there is agreement that KNM-ER 1813 is an ape and KNM-ER 1470 is a human. Now, the following images are those two skulls. The first is the "ape," and the second is the "human."


(Image 2001 msu.edu.)

This distinction between "human" and "ape," especially among the extinct species, is apparently not easy.

To illustrate the sort of contrast between ape and human that creationists should expect, the following images are of two more skulls. The first is modern ape (chimpanzee), and the second is modern human. The chimpanzee is the modern species most similar to the human species.


(Image 2009 ConnecticutValleyBiological.com.)

Creationist authors often make a point that evolutionists are strongly conflicted about the identifications of hominid fossils. However, disagreements of classification are expected among evolutionists, because the theory itself expects the objective evidence to be ambiguously transitional. The theory of evolution expects messy transition and overlap, not only between "human" and "ape," but between all of the narrowest delineations of "ape" that may relate to the human ancestry.

Creationists, on the other hand, expect cut-and-dry delineations of created "kinds," of which all humans belong to a single "kind," all descended from Adam and Eve. There should be no ambiguity within the model of young-Earth creationism about which fossil specimens are human and which are not, and the criteria of such decisions would be predicted to be as plain as day. After all, according to Genesis, only one species was created in the image of God.

Edited by Admin, : Reduce table width.

Edited by Admin, : Change table background to make links more visible.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Add "(FINAL STATEMENTS ONLY)" to topic title.


Replies to this message:
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Admin
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Message 2 of 137 (599139)
01-05-2011 8:20 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the How Creationism Explains Hominid Fossil Skulls thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
frako
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Posts: 2402
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 3 of 137 (599148)
01-05-2011 8:56 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by ApostateAbe
01-04-2011 1:14 PM


simple

God did it


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Taq
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Posts: 5168
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 2.6


(2)
Message 4 of 137 (599218)
01-05-2011 4:47 PM


"If we reject the natural explanation of hereditary descent from a common ancestry, we can only suppose that the Deity, in creating man, took the most scrupulous pains to make him in the image of the ape. This, I say, is a matter of undeniable fact -- supposing the creation theory true -- and as a matter of fact, therefore, it calls for explanation. Why should God have thus conditioned man as an elaborate copy of the ape, when we know from the rest of creation how endless are His resources in the invention of types?"
George J. Romanes, 1882
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ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 1031 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 5 of 137 (599233)
01-05-2011 10:27 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Taq
01-05-2011 4:47 PM


"Why should God have thus conditioned man as an elaborate copy of the ape, when we know from the rest of creation how endless are His resources in the invention of types?"

Obviously, it is efficiency of engineering. Intelligent design in practice is recycling and upgrading what you have already successfully produced.


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Coyote
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Message 6 of 137 (599234)
01-05-2011 10:40 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by ApostateAbe
01-05-2011 10:27 PM


ID in practice?
Intelligent design in practice is recycling and upgrading what you have already successfully produced.

Intelligent design was "designed" to sneak creationism back into schools after it was banned as creationism, then again as creation "science."

In either case, ID will have the same opinion of hominid fossils as creationism does. A few ID wild cards accept the evidence for an old earth, until they are reined in by the creationists. But it is almost impossible to find an IDer who accepts all of evolution and is still accepted by creationists. That is not what ID was designed for.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 1031 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 7 of 137 (599237)
01-05-2011 11:35 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Coyote
01-05-2011 10:40 PM


Re: ID in practice?
Your prejudices about creationists seem to be clouding your judgment about the most obvious explanation for the similarity between men and apes. Find me an engineer who doesn't recycle old code for new designs. You can't. The intelligent designer of human beings did the same. He may have even borrowed the code for apes that someone else wrote for his own design of Homo sapiens. That is very much like the way we all know intelligent design is done, in all fields of engineering. QED.
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Coyote
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Posts: 4674
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Member Rating: 2.2


(2)
Message 8 of 137 (599242)
01-06-2011 12:07 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by ApostateAbe
01-05-2011 11:35 PM


Re: ID in practice?
Your prejudices about creationists seem to be clouding your judgment about the most obvious explanation for the similarity between men and apes. Find me an engineer who doesn't recycle old code for new designs. You can't. The intelligent designer of human beings did the same. He may have even borrowed the code for apes that someone else wrote for his own design of Homo sapiens. That is very much like the way we all know intelligent design is done, in all fields of engineering. QED.

Sorry, I can't agree with that.

In graduate school I spent six years, half of it studying fossil man and human osteology. I have studied those fossils in detail.

In my first human osteology class we spent a semester working through all of the 200+ human bones, and near the end the professor brought out a number of primate skeletons. It was truly amazing--but we knew all the bones! Some had slightly different shapes, but there was no problem at all of looking at those bones and quickly identifying which bone and which side of the body, as well as sometimes age and sex. Telling which primate took a lot more time.

The simplest explanation is that all primates are related, and that we are descended from, or closely related to, various fossil specimens.

To come up with an alternate solution you have to document something for which there currently is no evidence--you have to document some unknown designer who did some designing at some unknown time in the past for unknown reasons using unknown means.

Isn't it much simpler to just look at all of those skeletons and arrange them according to morphological similarities? At least we have good evidence for that. It is quite easy to go from Australopithecus and other early critters right down to modern humans, showing relatively small changes at each different species.

Why can't you accept that clear and straightforward evidence?


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 1031 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 9 of 137 (599243)
01-06-2011 12:32 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Coyote
01-06-2011 12:07 AM


Re: ID in practice?
Shucks, I can't troll on that. It is a long way up, but I wrote the OP.
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Taq
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Message 10 of 137 (599290)
01-06-2011 11:53 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by ApostateAbe
01-05-2011 11:35 PM


Re: ID in practice?
Find me an engineer who doesn't recycle old code for new designs. You can't.

Find me an engineer whose designs fall into a nested hierarchy.

Also, engineers recycle old designs and old code because of time and resource constraints. An omniscient and omnipotent supernatural deity who resides outside of time with access to infinite resources would not need to recycle designs. For such an entity starting from scratch would require the same effort as recycling old designs.


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ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 1031 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


(1)
Message 11 of 137 (599348)
01-06-2011 4:09 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Taq
01-06-2011 11:53 AM


Re: ID in practice?
quote:
Find me an engineer whose designs fall into a nested hierarchy.

Also, engineers recycle old designs and old code because of time and resource constraints. An omniscient and omnipotent supernatural deity who resides outside of time with access to infinite resources would not need to recycle designs. For such an entity starting from scratch would require the same effort as recycling old designs.


OK, you win, I believe in the theory of evolution, now.
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ICANT
Member (Idle past 3 days)
Posts: 5182
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007


Message 12 of 137 (599576)
01-08-2011 11:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by ApostateAbe
01-04-2011 1:14 PM


Re: Genesis species
Hi Abe,

ApostateAbe writes:

Creationists, on the other hand, expect cut-and-dry delineations of created "kinds," of which all humans belong to a single "kind," all descended from Adam and Eve. There should be no ambiguity within the model of young-Earth creationism about which fossil specimens are human and which are not, and the criteria of such decisions would be predicted to be as plain as day. After all, according to Genesis, only one species was created in the image of God.


There was a man formed from the dust of the ground according to Genesis 2:7 before any other living life form on earth during the day God created the Heaven and the Earth according to Genesis 2:4.
Since this man was formed the day God created the Heaven and the Earth in Genesis 1:1 we have no idea when that was.

There was a modern man created in the image/likeness of God in Genesis 1:27 on the sixth day after all other living life forms on earth was called forth including the sea monsters (translated as whales) created in Genesis 1:21.

This man came into existence some 6,000+ years ago.

Therefore according to the Genesis account there was two races of mankind that began to exist with an indefinite period of existence between them.

BTW I am a creationist as I believe God created the Universe.

Just like everybody else believes that God or a God created the Universe, whether they will admit it or not. Whether it was my God, Hawkings instanton, the God partical, or the creator of the two branes that bumped together and created the Universe. Whatever caused the Universe to begin to exist would be God as it would be everything that is, was, or ever will be.

God Bless,


"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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 Message 15 by Dr Adequate, posted 01-09-2011 3:18 AM ICANT has responded

  
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 1031 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 13 of 137 (599578)
01-09-2011 12:04 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by ICANT
01-08-2011 11:45 PM


Re: Genesis species
ICANT, I think you are reading Genesis correctly. The way critical scholars tend to make sense of it is to discern two creation stories from two separate traditions that were merged into one narrative. It is called the "documentary hypothesis." You may notice that the passage from Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:3 uses the Hebrew phrase Elohim, translated "God." But, Genesis 2:4 and onward uses the phrase YHWH Elohim, translated "LORD God." This marks the two separate Jewish traditions.

Edited by ApostateAbe, : No reason given.

Edited by ApostateAbe, : No reason given.


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ICANT
Member (Idle past 3 days)
Posts: 5182
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007


Message 14 of 137 (599590)
01-09-2011 12:45 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by ApostateAbe
01-09-2011 12:04 AM


Re: Genesis species
Hi Abe,

You can find out what I believe about the two stories in the thread found beginning in Message 1

God Bless,


"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by ApostateAbe, posted 01-09-2011 12:04 AM ApostateAbe has responded

Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 12655
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 15 of 137 (599597)
01-09-2011 3:18 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by ICANT
01-08-2011 11:45 PM


Re: Genesis species
Therefore according to the Genesis account there was two races of mankind that began to exist with an indefinite period of existence between them.

Which of the skulls belong to which of the two races, and which are just apes?

Whatever caused the Universe to begin to exist would be God as it would be everything that is, was, or ever will be.

Oh, don't be silly.


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