Answers in Genesis v EvoAnth #6:The conclusion

And so we arrive at the grand conclusion of Answers in Genesis response (parts 1, 2,3 4 & 5). It follows the standard creationist formula of “finish with a pat on the back of how right we are and some Bible verses showing how God


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And so we arrive at the grand conclusion of Answers in Genesis response (parts 1, 2,3 4 & 5). It follows the standard creationist formula of “finish with a pat on the back of how right we are and some Bible verses showing how God is best” which you’ll recognise if you’ve ever read anything from AiG, the ICR or any of the other similar organisations.  Like AiG I’d also like to finish with two final points, although they aren’t quite as self-congratulatory as their’s.

1: what is the significance of a bipedal Lucy?

Lucy appears to be an extinct ape with some anatomical variations not seen in living apes. Anatomical variations, however, do nothing to threaten biblical authority or to support evolution.

….

But even if Lucy and her cousins had a more versatile anatomy than some other apes, tiptoeing through the jungle didn’t make anything ape-like turn into a person. Nothing could. God created Adam and Eve, the first humans, in his image the same day He created apes. We have His own Word on the subject.

Human bipedalism is unique. Whilst other apes are capable of walking upright, none of them do it habitually or as efficiently as us. Even amongst the world of obligate bipeds – such as birds, kangaroos and the such – humans are unique; no other animal walks with our gait. Therefore if evolution were true on would expect to see a group of apes spending more and more time walking bipedally with increasing efficiency until they’re walking like us. Until they are us.

Lucy and her ilk appear to spend some of their time in the trees and some of their time walking bipedally on the ground, which they do more efficiently than an ape, albeit with less efficiency than a human. As such she’s excellent confirmation of evolutionary anthropology’s prediction, vindicating the science human evolution. And she’s not the only one; in the decades since Lucy was first discovered we’ve found hundreds of fossils all of them telling the same story: a family of apes spent more time being better bipeds until they were indistinguishable from modern humans.

Further, bipedalism isn’t the only trait which tells this story. Humans have reduced sexual dimorphism when compared to chimps, so if these bipedal apes were our ancestors we should expect to see male and females becoming more similar. We have bigger brains than other apes, so we’d expect our ancestors to gradually get bigger brains. Humans have much flatter faces than apes, so prognathism should gradually reduce. And lo’, Lucy shows less sexual dimorphism than chimps (but not as a little as a human), had a bigger brain than a chimp (although not much bigger) and a slightly flatter, more human shaped face. Later species were even more human like in these regards.

These are just some of the predictions made regarding our ancestors and they’re being continually vindicated by new discoveries.  Whilst there are many surprises, anomalies and failed predictions enough of them have been confirmed to justify claiming that humans evolved (although the specifics are a little iffy). Further, all of these similarities serve to align Lucy and her ilk with humans. If they had an archaic form of one human like trait that would be suspicious, but when she has several? That’s evolution. As such, when Answers in Genesis claim that Lucy was simply a type of extinct ape and not the “transitional form” evolution would have you believe her to be hopefully you can appreciate how spectacularly they are wrong.

Au. africanus, H. erectus & H. sapiens

2: Answers in Genesis

Previously I’ve avoided examining AiG because they appear to know what they’re talking about. Whilst they’re still wrong, they’re competent enough to make points which would take more time to examine and refute than I was willing to invest in a post. I just don’t have the time to spare to review the literature necessary to offer a cogent reply to what they had to say. Or at least, that’s what I thought until I had to examine their rebuttal. Turns out I had greatly over-estimated their competence.

For starters there’s the inclusion of various snide remarks. Whilst I won’t try and claim I’ve never mocked anyone, I typically try and make it part of a grander, cogent point. AiG has no such illusions, doing little more than poisoning the well. For example, the purpose of my blog is to provide information on evolutionary anthropology since I think there aren’t that many sources out there doing what I do. Their response?

 our recent Google search of the phrase “human evolution” produced 230,000,000 results, so there doesn’t seem to be such a paucity of sources

In my original criticism of AiG’s exhibit I wrote about how a biped will “want” their foramen magnum orientated a particular way. I though this was a very obvious metaphor; a linguistic shortcut to simplify the science involved to make it easier and quicker to explain. AiG’s response?

But does evolution address wants and needs? Even among evolutionists, this sort of Lamarckian thinking disappeared a long time ago.

Peel back these childish asides and we arrive at the science. Except it isn’t as half well thought out as I expected it to be. Instead it’s horrifically cherry picked, with so many key examples and facts absent I’m half tempted to say it they’re being intentionally deceitful. For example:

  • Whilst they claim the ENCODE project vindicates a creationist prediction (that DNA is all functional), they fail to mention that it has yet to vindicate that prediction even though other AiG writers have admitted it.
  • Although some estimation was required to calculate the foramen magnum index of the AL 444-2 skull they don’t mention that you can calculate the foramen magnum index of the AL 822 skull with less ‘guesswork’ and the results closely match those of the AL 444-2 skull.
  • Whilst critiquing both the AL 822 skull and AL 444-2 skull for being incomplete and found in pieces, they fail to mention the DK 1-1 skull which is complete and was found intact. DK 1-1 also vindicates the conclusions drawn from the other two skulls, something else they don’t mention.
  • They note that some australopithecines have a much lower foramen magnum index that the AL 444-2 skull (19 v 23%) but do not point out that the smaller number is still significantly higher than the foramen magnum index of quadrupedal animals
  • The support for their claim that animals which are not habitual bipeds can develop lumbar lordosis comes from two case studies of young gorillas from the 19th century. Not only do they forget to mention that this data comes from young gorillas (who walk bipedally more often than adults) they apparently cannot find any more rigorous examples since specific measurements of the angle of lumbar lordosis were not actually taken from these specimens.
  • The single study they cite in support of the claim Lucy was a knuckle walker identifies knuckle walking traits which aren’t actually associated with knuckle walking, fails to realise a bone being examined is broken, has been almost unanimously rejected by the scientific community and doesn’t even conclude that Lucy was a knuckle walker!
  • Their claim that Lucy’s hip would’ve prohibited bipedalism is supported by a single 1994 reconstruction of pelvic musculature that couldn’t actually identify where the muscles were really located. Subsequent research was more successful and refuted the conclusions of the 1994 paper.

And with that I sign off, hoping to have convinced you I was right the first time. There’s 5 other posts for you to read which I believe make my case. AiG’s case, conversely, sites upon cherry picked data and snide asides. However, if you still have doubts then please leave a comment below.

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14 thoughts on “Answers in Genesis v EvoAnth #6:The conclusion”

  1. Pingback: Answers in Genesis v EvoAnth #5: The hip « EvoAnth
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  3. Senator Jason says:

    Masterfully done, but I fear they’ve gotten to the point where any such refutations of their claims will fall on deaf ears. Give them a month. They’ll act like none of these posts exist and declare victory.

    Additionally, groups like AiG tend to keep the offensive pressure on evolution and cosmology simply in order to avoid their burden of proof. Even if you and other evolutionary anthropologists were completely *wrong* about everything you’ve written about, it still wouldn’t provide any support for the supernatural claims of the bible. They’d still be on the hook to make their case, and would fail miserably even without any outside opposition.

    1. Adam Benton says:

      I think it’s telling that of the ~6,000 words they wrote only a handful are based around the Bible. Clearly it’s an excellent science book! Further, there’s no attempt to connect the claims concerning the Bible with those about the science because you’re right, they can’t be linked. “No evolution, therefore God” doesn’t work. It’s the same with most creationist articles which use the same formula of concluding with a bit about how great the Bible is – the shift from science to the Bible is jarring.

  4. Ashley Haworth-Roberts says:

    I spotted what appears a typo in your fifth para – “decreased efficiency”. Did you mean “increased efficiency”?

    I flagged this on the BCSE Community Forum btw.

    1. Adam Benton says:

      I did mean decreased efficiency when compared to humans, but I think there is a better way of phrasing that sentence.

  5. Ashley Haworth-Roberts says:

    And the designer of the ‘Lucy’ fraud at the ‘Creation Museum’ holds a BA in biblical studies from Kentucky Christian University and has been a professional sculptor/illustrator for nearly 25 years. NO science there. And AiG clearly wish to pretend that ‘Lucy’ is almost the only specimen of Australopithecus afarensis ever found…

    “When we began our research of evolutionary representations of Lucy, we did not find a consensus of what evolutionists think Lucy looked like. Instead, we found well over a hundred different interpretations, everything from perfectly ape-looking to almost human. Several were created following the very best methods of forensic reconstruction, but even they looked nothing like each other.” REALLY?

    “The main reason evolutionists make Lucy walk upright is based, in large part, on a separate and unrelated find—a set of fossilized footprints from 932 miles (1500 km) away in Laetoli, Tanzania”. A bare-faced LIE.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v8/n1/bringing-lucy-to-life

    I’m forwarding this blog and its comments to the AiG/Creation Museum FRAUDS.

    1. Adam Benton says:

      I think it’s telling that there story of the “scientific” reconstruction of Lucy contains only one, internal reference. They talk about evolutionists falsely adding length to her legs, how there is bitter controversy over how she looked and no evidence of bipedalism. Not a squat of evidence provided for any of these claims.

      Don’t get me wrong, there is such controversy and some may well have offered differing interpretations of her leg length. But if you look at the most modern, consensus views of Lucy you’ll find more accuracy and more consistency, given there’s more Australopithecine specimens on which to base them.

      Whilst there will still be some disagreement over the small points I don’t think they justify rejecting the entire model. “Oh evolution can’t agree on the orientation of her nose, therefore Lucy was a knuckle walker.”

  6. Ashley Haworth-Roberts says:

    Another scientific paper for the Creation Museum to ignore:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/12/26/1208717110
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2255407/Did-Lucy-walk-climb-How-modern-hunters-Uganda-help-researchers-shed-new-light-best-known-ancestors.html

    Because it’s an indoctrination centre for kiddies.

    Apologies for bringing up ‘Lucy’ again…

    1. Adam Benton says:

      Ah, thanks for finding the paper. Someone else sent me the science daily report on it but I couldn’t find a link to the original article, nor the name of it for me to go search. You saved me several minutes on google scholar searching for “modern feet”

  7. Jim Birch says:

    Thanks for doing this work Adam.

    While anyone living in the parallel universe where Genesis is taken literally would be extremely unlikely to be swayed by rational argument or scientific evidence it is important that their cherry-picking and deceit are documented and the mainstream reasoned alternative is put out there in the public view. Unfortunately, these people are so driven that there a fair bit of ongoing work.

    At one time I would have thought that believing quaint old bible stories didn’t matter that much, but the older I get, the more I notice the negative effects of this kind of stupidity. The problem of choosing believable but counterfactual narratives is everywhere and has become a major obstacle to human development. It seems to me that the capacity for retaining and sharing narratives has been a (or even “the”) key feature in the evolutionary success of homo sapiens but we have reached the point where the our stuck narratives bring potential for disaster. In a prehistoric tribal world, dysfunctional belief systems will eventually eliminate their unfortunate holders. In a connected technological world their impact is multiplied with potentially disastrous consequences.

    We can’t escape narratives. They are built into our genes. Science itself is a kind of narrative – a set of stories about what the world is and how it works – but it incorporates the radical and redeeming strategy of continuously improving itself to better fit the actual observable world. This doesn’t guarantee good results, but it does at least give a genuine reason to be hopeful.

    1. stephen vincent says:

      Well said Jim Birch! Reminds me of an enlightened statement made by Ruth Hurmence Green: “There was a time when religion ruled the world. It is known as the Dark Ages …”.

  8. Ashley Haworth-Roberts says:

    By sheer coincidence I’ve just read this: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323320404578214511574497932.html
    Not the Ham ‘dynasty’ but the Kim one.

  9. Pingback: EvoAnth vs. Answers in Genesis. | Crimes Against Divinity
  10. Trackback: EvoAnth vs. Answers in Genesis. | Crimes Against Divinity
  11. Pingback: Lucy the knuckle walker? Answers in Genesis v EvoAnth | EvoAnth
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