This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

 
Issue Features
  
View this issue online as it looks in print
Reason and Revelation Volume 32 #3

Australopithecus Sediba: Evolutionary Game Changer?

The media has already deemed the find an “evolutionary game changer.” In a South African cave in 2008, two sets of fossils were discovered by paleontologists that they allege may be from a transitional creature—a “missing link” between modern man and the ancient ancestor he allegedly shares with modern apes. According to ABC News, and several other news outlets, scientists have proclaimed the fossilized creature an evolutionary “‘game changer’ in understanding human evolution,” potentially being the “best candidate yet for the immediate ancestor of our genus, Homo” (Potter, 2011). Scientists have deemed the fossil species containing the fossil find, Australopithecus sediba. The fossils of special interest in the find includes a “foot, hand, and parts of the pelvis and skull” (Potter). The cave wherein the fossils were found was dated, using uranium-lead dating combined with paleomagnetic and stratigraphic analysis (evolutionary dating techniques), to be 1,977,000 years old, which caused scientists to give the same age to the fossils. According to evolutionists, this age predates “the earliest uncontested evidence for Homo in Africa” (Pickering, et al., 2011, 333[6048]:1421).

Lee Berger of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa holding the cranium of Australopithecus sediba

The truth is, as we have documented time and time again (e.g., Harrub and Thompson, 2003; Thompson, et al., 2002), the fossil evidence that is desperately needed to prove the theory of evolution is simply not there. As ABC News writer, Ned Potter, admitted in the article splashing the fossil find, researchers know that “[t]here is a gap in the fossil record, so far unexplained” (2011). This admission ultimately results in the media and many scientists jumping to quick conclusions when a hopeful find is made, as is the case in this instance. One would think that scientists and media personnel would be more cautious, remembering the many blunders that have been made by paleontologists over the years in their quick claims to have found missing links, including Java Man, Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, Flipper Man, and Orce Man (cf. Thompson and Harrub, 2002). Potter conceded that “researchers in the past have made many finds that turned out to be dead ends” (2011). That is certainly an understatement. Some scientists appear to be getting the picture. Science writer and biologist, Michael Balter, admitted that “few scientists are ready to believe” that these fossils represent the immediate ancestor of the genus, Homo (2010, 328[5975]:154). After all, caution must be taken when all of the hype and alleged “game changer” status of the species is based entirely on only a foot, hand, and small parts of a pelvis and skull.

It is important to watch for small—but significant—disclaimers that appear throughout evolutionary literature and the media’s coverage of fossil finds, like the present specimen. While some evolutionists use decisive terminology when discussing macroevolution, as if it has been proven to be true (e.g., Potter quotes Darryl De Ruiter of Texas A&M University as saying, “It’s strong confirmation of evolutionary theory,” 2011, emp. added), the truth is, it is an unproven theory, and those “in the know” in the evolutionary community realize this problem. In fact, it is a theory that will never be proven, (1) since there is no evidence in the fossil record that transitional evolution between kinds of living organisms ever occurred, (2) since the scientific evidence indicates that life cannot come from non-life, much less could the laws governing that life write themselves into existence, and (3) since no one was around to witness the origin of life, even if atheistic evolution were true, which means the question of origins is ultimately immune to the test of empirical science. Some, at least, like Potter, have learned to use more cautious terminology when discussing evolution and the fossil record. Phrases such as “may be,” “might,” and “could be” are important, because they highlight the fact that the speaker or writer, in this case, is stating an assertion or conjecture—not a proven fact. Such words highlight the fact that even the evolutionists themselves know they have not proven their case and that their belief in evolutionary theory is a blind belief—not based on the facts.

Disclaimers are often skipped over by Americans when reading about science, because the climate in America—as promoted in large part by many in our school system—lends itself to believing scientists no matter what. A person is pressured to believe scientists, whose theories can pretty much be taken as “gospel,” regardless of the evidence. They are demi-gods. Their “maybes” are equivalent to the common man’s certainty. This unquestioning, blind belief should never have been granted to the scientific community, and especially not in the last 50 years. As morality and ethical integrity in America erodes, less and less confidence should be placed in the “elite” minds of our society, who are often biased against the truth because of the desire for prestige, money, and because of the desire to eliminate that which gives them accountability in their personal lives.

If macroevolution ever occurred, there should be millions of transitional fossils, if not billions, documenting the evolution of the various species, including man. Darwin, himself, believed that “the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, [must] be truly enormous” (1956, p. 292). After well over a century of fossil digging and analyzing the geologic strata, such proof has simply not come forth, and frankly, that truth puts to rest the General Theory ofEvolution. Finding only sporadic, questionable fossils, that even the evolutionary community itself cannot agree upon, only further proves the fact that evolutionary theory is inadequate in explaining what is seen in the fossil record. The evolutionary community is in constant chaos and disagreement over fossils and the fossil record. If the evolutionary community cannot agree with itself, how can the student, listener, or reader be expected to believe what they allege?

One of the two sets of allegedly two-million-year-old bones from
Australopithecus sediba found in South Africa

Years ago, many in the evolutionary community began to reject all australopithecines, which would include sediba, as being ancestral to man at all. Lord Solly Zuckerman, the famous British anatomist who studied australopithecines for over 15 years, concluded that if man did descend from an ape-like ancestor, he did so “without leaving any fossil traces of the steps of the transformation” (1970, p. 64). The late evolutionist, Ashley Montagu, said, “[T]he skull form of all australopithecines shows too many specialized and ape-like characters to be either the direct ancestor of man or of the line that led to man” (1957, emp. added). Based largely on the nature of Orrorin tugenensis teeth, Martin Pickford, evolutionary geologist from the College de France in Paris, and Brigitte Senut, French evolutionary paleontologist of France’s National Museum of Natural History, believe that all australopithecines should be placed in a side branch of the “evolutionary tree” leading to Orrorin tugenensis and dying out 1.5 million years ago, rather than in the evolutionary line leading to Homo sapiens (cf. Senut, et al., 2001; Balter, 2001; Schuster, 2001).  If it be the case that the australopithecines do not lead to man—and it is—then Australopithecus sediba is totally irrelevant in a discussion of human evolution altogether, regardless of the media hype.

Time will tell whether the majority of evolutionists themselves deem this new find to be of importance to them, but regardless, the truth will still stand firm: if evolution is true, it should not be so hard to verify it. If atheistic explanations for the origin of the Universe were true, we should be witnessing the spontaneous generation of life and matter all over the place, or at least once somewhere, as well as witnessing transitions between kinds of living organisms. But true science simply does not support such things. [NOTE: See Butt, 2010 for more on Australopithecus sediba]

REFERENCES

Balter, Michael (2001), “Early Hominid Sows Division,” ScienceNOW, February 22, http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2001/02/22-03.html.

Balter, Michael (2010), “Candidate Human Ancestor from South Africa Sparks Praise and Debate,” Science, 328[5975]:154-155, April.

Butt, Kyle (2010), “Australopithecus Sediba: Another Relative We Never Had,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2872.

Darwin, Charles (1956 edition), The Origin of Species (London: J.M. Dent & Sons).

Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2003), The Truth About Human Origins (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Montagu, Ashley (1957), Man: His First Two Million Years (Yonkers, NY: World Publishers).

Pickering, Robyn, Paul H.G.M. Dirks, Zubair Jinnah, Darryl J. de Ruiter, Steven E. Churchill, Andy I.R. Herries, Jon D. Woodhead, John C. Hellstrom, and Lee R. Berger (2011), “Australopithecus sediba at 1.977 Ma and Implications for the Origins of the Genus Homo,” Science, 333[6048]:1421-1423, September 9.

Potter, Ned (2011), “Evolutionary ‘Game Changer’: Fossil May Be Human Ancestor,” ABC News, September 8, http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/fossils-south-africa-called-evolutionary-game-changer/story?id=14474976#.TmouXw8wezs.email.

Schuster, Angela M.H. (2001), “Special Report: Ancient Ancestors?” Archaeology, 54[4]:24-25, July/August.

Senut, Brigitte, Martin Pickford, Dominique Gommery, Pierre Mein, Kiptalam Cheboi, Yves Coppens (2001), “First Hominid From the Miocene,” Comptes Rendus de l’Academie des Science, Series IIA-Earth and Planetary Science, 332[2]:137-144, January 30.

Thompson, Bert and Brad Harrub (2002), “No Missing Links Here…,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=1353.

Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Eric Lyons (2002), “Human Evolution and the ‘Record of the Rocks,’” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=153.

Zuckerman, Solly (1970), Beyond the Ivory Tower (New York: Taplinger).



Copyright © 2012 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
U.S.A.
Phone (334) 272-8558

http://www.apologeticspress.org

Web Store

Butt/Ehrman Debate: Suffering and the Existence of God - DVD

In this debate, national best-selling author and self-professed agnostic, Bart Erhman, contends that the pain and suffering in the world show that the loving God of the Bible does not exist.

Featured Audio

Listen

Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio