Thursday, August 9, 2007

Pardon Me, But Your Presuppositions Are Showing (again)

I have touched on this subject previously, but this week's report from the Journal Nature casts further doubt on the assumptions surrounding the naturalistic account of human origins. That assumption has been that the evolutionary tree branch on which we homo sapiens live was sprouted from our ancestor homo erectus which, in turn, rose from the earlier ancestor, homo habilis. But new evidence confirms that habilis and erectus actually lived "in the same place at the same time for as much as half a million years."

The fact that these two species seem to have been contemporaries is a surprise to anthropologists, say Fred Spoor of University College London and his colleagues, who discovered the hominin fossils seven years ago.

Spoor explains further ...
H. erectus has always been viewed as similar to H. sapiens in both body shape and lifestyle. Spoor points out that the new discovery suggests a family set-up more akin to that of modern gorillas in which dominant males mate with a harem of females ... A similar set up is inferred from fossils of the earliest hominins, such as the australopithecines, but there has been a widespread assumption that sexes of more or less equal sizes arose when our ancestors ditched their more ape-like characteristics, evolving from Australopithecus into the more genteel Homo. "To find such a difference in H. erectus ... was quite a surprise, actually."
Let me be clear. I am not suggesting that theories do not require updating and refinement with the gathering of new evidence. That is what science is all about. But my point in addressing this find is to show that evidence like this does not just serve to "refine" evolutionary anthropology. It does not just suggest that the branches of the evolutionary tree be trimmed or rearranged. These findings suggest that the entire Darwinian Tree model is suspect, further proving the point Phillip Johnson first made in 1991 (Darwin on Trial, p. 50) that "... the outstanding characteristic of the fossil record is the absence of the evidence for evolution."

Darwin's legendary "Tree of Life" suggests that the central, narrow trunk of early life branched gradually into a more and more diverse forms as it grew through time. That is the theory, and the paradigm lens, through which Spoor and his ilk interpret their studies. Now, however -- and here I must acknowledge and applaud Spoor's honest assessment -- the evidence paints quite a different picture:

Overall what it paints for human evolution is a "chaotic kind of looking evolutionary tree rather than this heroic march that you see with the cartoons of an early ancestor evolving into some intermediate and eventually unto us," Spoor said in a phone interview.

This comment bares an eerie resemblance to Jonathan Wells' claim (Icons of Evolution, ch. 3), made 7 years ago, that Darwin's tree of life has been turned on its head. The evidence, especially since the Cambrian Explosion 540 million years ago, is not of a tree, but of a bush -- a bush that is upside down -- wherein widely varying lifeforms appear suddenly, with great complexity and fully formed, only to remain the same for millions of years until they gradually go extinct.

But even with that, he cannot help himself in speculating about what it all means:

They have some still-undiscovered common ancestor that probably lived 2 million to 3 million years ago, a time that has not left much fossil record, Spoor said.

And there it is. Despite all actual evidence to the contrary, Spoor still tries to squeeze the accepted presuppositions into his conclusions. In the purely naturalistic Darwinian world, it cannot be the case that modern humans did not evolve from one of these hominids. There must be "something missing."

I simply cannot accept the paradigm. The evidence forces me to do otherwise. And for those who claim to be committed to an honest pursuit of the truth based on evidence, I challenge them to consider PhD Biochemist Fuz Rana's Who Was Adam?. Rana shows that for many years the actual scientific evidence has shown that we modern humans share no genetic or evolutionary link to Neanderthals, australophithecines, or homo erectus in the ways that the establishment continues to claim and on which they demand conclusions in support of their presuppositions. There the reader will find a different paradigm -- one that takes the evidence at face value. It is a model that correlates well with the molecular anthropologist's "Out of Africa" hypothesis which "posits a recent origin for humanity in a single location (apparently Africa) and from a small population" (Rana, p. 73).

If that model sounds familiar to one you may have read about in Genesis 1, so be it. Scientific evidence should not be condemned or rejected based on the repugnance of its implications to its interpreter. Rather, scientific theories should be judged and interpreted on the weight of the evidence itself.

If doing so challenges the paradigm your presuppositions demand, maybe it's time to rethink those presuppositions.

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