In installment number six of this series, we will continue to examine how creationists and evolutionists view how life came to be.  One of the strongest arguments creationists feel they have in support of intelligent design being responsible for biological organisms is what has come to be called irreducible complexity.   

Irreducible complexity:  

       The term irreducible complexity was introduced by biochemistry professor Michael Behe in his book, Darwin’s Black Box.  Behe defines irreducible complexity as “a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning." Mr. Behe goes on to say:

       "An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly by numerous, successive, slight modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional..... Since natural selection can only choose systems that are already working, then if a biological system cannot be produced gradually it would have to arise as an integrated unit, in one fell swoop, for natural selection to have anything to act on" (Page 39, Darwin’s Black Box). 

       Behe is saying that for a particular body part to work in a certain way, it must have all its component parts present at the same time. Its component parts cannot gradually evolve into existence.  They must all appear at the same time for the body part to properly work.  It cannot work if it is missing a component.  It cannot work if it is reduced to less than what it is. Therefore it is an irreducible complexity.

       As an illustration, Mr. Behe uses the mouse trap which is composed of a platform, hold-bar, hammer, spring and catch.  If the mouse trap was missing its base or its hammer, it could not function as a mouse trap because it takes all five parts, working together, to catch a mouse.  Its five part structure cannot be reduced and still have it function as a mouse trap.  Therefore, the mouse trap is an irreducible complexity.  It could not come together gradually and function as a mouse trap. 

       For it to catch mice, all its parts must be present at the same time.  A precursor mouse trap consisting of only a hammer, base, catch and hold-bar but having no spring would not catch mice.  Such a precursor mouse trap would be non functional as a mouse trap.  

       If a mouse trap was a mechanism of a living organism, it could not be working as a mouse trap if one or more of its five parts were missing.  Since natural selection, as part of the evolutionary process, can only choose a system that is already working, it would not choose a non functional mouse trap.  The mouse trap would have to be fully functional in order to be of use to an organism and therefore be selected in an evolutionary process.  Therefore, all the parts of a mouse trap would have had to come together at the same time in order to be a functioning mouse trap. 

       However, this goes against evolutionary teaching. Evolution teaches that biological organisms came into existence through gradual and random development of the various components that make up its parts. Behe is saying evolution could not be responsible for structures illustrated by the mouse trap. Such structures must have all their parts present at the same time in order to work.   The components of irreducible complexities could not have evolved into such complexities.  All their components must appear at the same time.  This, however, is not how evolution is seen as working.

      In his book on the origin of species, Charles Darwin used the terms "numerous, successive, slight modifications" in describing the conditions that had to be met for his theory to be true. Darwin wrote that if one could find an organ or structure that could not have been formed by "numerous, successive, slight modifications," his theory would absolutely break down."  It is felt by creationists that the identification of irreducible complexities is a decisive blow to Darwinian theory.

       Classical evolutionists believe that biological organisms came into existence through gradual and random development of the various systems/structures that make up such organisms.  For example, there are hair-like structures on the surface of cells called cilia that move fluid across the surface of cells and help move a cell from one place to another.  In human anatomy we see such structures lining the respiratory system where they help sweep mucus into your throat for elimination.  You will also fine them in the digestive tract where they play a vital role in the absorption of nutrients. 

       Classical evolutionists see these cilia coming to be and doing what they do as a result of fortuitous molecular activity occurring incrementally over millions of years of evolutionary development.  Michael Behe, sees cilia as irreducible complexities that must have been designed to be and do what they do. 

       Cilia, as simple as they appear to be, are rather complex structures made up of around 200 protein parts.  Included in their complex makeup are nine pairs of microtubules (long thin flexible rods) which encircle two single microtubules.  The outer microtubules are connected to each other by a structure called a nexin linker.  Each microtubule has a motor protein structure called a dynein which attaches to one microtubule and has an arm that reaches over and grabs the dynein of another microtubule and pushes it down. These two rods start to slide lengthwise in relation to each other. The nexin linkers, which start as loose rope like structures, get stretched and become tight.  As the dynein pushes farther and farther, it begins to bend the hair-like structure and then pushes the other way to bend it back.  This is how you get the wave like motion of cilia. 

       According to evolutionary theory, the cilia would have had to gradually come into existence through small incremental structural changes taking place over a long period of time.  The problem is that unless the rods, linkers and motor proteins, along with the many other parts of the cilia are all present at the same time, you don’t have working cilia.  You don’t even have cilia.  Cilia, by definition, are complete complex structures that include rods, linkers, dyneins and a great deal more.  You can’t reduce this complexity to less than what it is and still have working cilia. Thus you have irreducible complexity.  You can’t reduce the complexity of something and still have it do what it is suppose to do.  If it can’t do what it is suppose to do, it reduces or makes impossible the workability of the organism as a whole. 

       In Behe’s most recent book, “The Edge of Evolution,” he discusses the cilia of the certain single-celled algae.  Through a high powered microscope, it was discovered that moving up one side and down the other side of the cilia were a series of “bumps.”  Further study of theses bumps revealed they are the machinery that builds and maintains the cilia.  If a cilium is cut off an algae cell, another one will be generated in an hour or so by this machinery. 

       This machinery operates throughout the lifetime of the cilia and routinely brings in new copies of cilia components while removing old material.  In a several hour period, over eighty different kinds of proteins are exchanged.  There are motor proteins responsible for carrying particles up and down the cilium and for a variety of other cilium functions.  It has been demonstrated that the proper maintenance of cilia is very important to the function of an organism.  For example, a genetic mutation of one of the proteins in the cilium machinery can cause cilia to lack a certain part resulting in the cilium not working and causing infertility and chronic sinusitis in human males.

      As already covered, the cilia must have all its parts present at the same time in order to work in a beneficial manner. The parts of cilia have several hundred proteins. All these proteins must be present at the same time in order for the parts of the cilia to be properly assembled. This type of complexity is true of all life.   Therefore, we have irreducible complexity not only of the parts of the cilia but also of the molecular components that produce the parts.  In order for cilia to be made and be maintained, its molecular structure must also be in a state of irreducible complexity.  All its molecular components must be present at the same time and in a particular configuration in order for cilia to be made, exist and function. 

       Mathematical probability studies have demonstrated that this kind of simultaneous accumulation of specific components could not be achieved through random mutation and natural selection.

       Random mutation and natural selection have no conscious goal. There is no focus in the random expression of genetic material. Mathematically, there are many directions molecular components can travel. This makes it the probability of just the right ones randomly coming together to facilitate a specific irreducible complexity mathematically problematical.  Creationists believe the existence and necessity of irreducible complexities negates the Darwinian process of gradual development of molecular structures and their derivatives.

       Proteins have been found to have complex shapes and must fit into the shapes of other proteins to make possible the working of cellular machinery. Therefore, proteins work together to facilitate a particular result.  It has been determined that nearly every major process that takes place in a cell is facilitated by an assembly of ten or more protein molecules interacting with additional assemblies of protein molecules.  Therefore, the cell is a virtual factory of interacting assembly line workers all needing to be simultaneously present to complete a task. Such required synergy of activity shows the difficulty of all this coming about through unintelligent, random and aimless processes.

       Michael Behe points to certain bacteria that have a swimming device called a flagellum and are able to move about by rotating their flagellum much like a rotating propeller.  The energy required for this function is generated by a flow of acid through the bacterial membrane.  The flagellum is composed of a paddle, a rotor and a motor mechanism. It needs all three plus the energy making system in order to work.  A lack of any one or more of these devices makes the flagellum inoperable.  Mr. Behe sees this as an irreducible complexity.

       Creationists see in irreducible complexity the impossibility of the gradual development of the thousands of structures that make up living organisms. Complete development of such structures is seen as being required to facilitate the workability of the structure and in turn facilitate the survival of the organism. The human eye is often used as an example.

       The human eye is enormously complicated - a perfect and interrelated system of about 40 individual subsystems, including the retina, pupil, iris, cornea, lens and optic nerve. For instance, the retina has approximately 137 million special cells that respond to light and send messages to the brain. About 130 million of these cells look like rods and handle the black and white vision. The other seven million are cone shaped and allow us to see in color.

       The retina cells receive light impressions, which are translated to electric pulses and sent to the brain via the optic nerve. A special section of the brain called the visual cortex interprets the pulses to color, contrast, depth, etc., which allows us to see "pictures" of our world. Incredibly, the eye, optic nerve and visual cortex are totally separate and distinct subsystems. Yet, together, they capture, deliver and interpret up to 1.5 million pulse messages a mille-second!  It would take dozens of Cray supercomputers programmed perfectly and operating together flawlessly to even get close to performing this task.

      Evolutionary theory postulates that random processes, operating through gradual mechanisms of natural selection and genetic mutation, produced the highly complex 40 separate subsystems that make up the even more complex functional eye.  Creationists point out that if all the separate subsystems of the eye aren't present and performing perfectly at the same instant, the eye won't work and has no purpose. These subsystems, however, provide no advantage to the whole until they all appear together at the same time. 

       Since these subsystems of the eye have no functional purpose on their own in separation from the whole, it is asked why they would evolve in the first place. Creationists see the only logical explanation to be that all structures that make up the eye appeared at the same time and could not have evolved.  Creationists conclude that irreducible complexity cannot evolve and therefore can only be attributed to an intelligent designer and creator.   

       The Evolutionist response:

       Evolutionists have observed that simpler organisms have simpler eye structures and therefore postulate there was a gradual development from simple to complex eyes over time. However, this view has been largely negated as paleontologists have discovered that the so-called simple organisms emerged in the world with complex structures already intact. Even the simple trilobite, which is considered by evolutionists as one of the first organisms to evolve, has a very complex eye structure.  This same phenomenon is seen in countless other structures of so-called simple biological organisms.

       Evolutionists respond to the postulation of irreducible complexity by suggesting such structures could have evolved in response to genetic variation and/or environmental influence (natural selection).  They point to the Venus flytrap as an example of irreducible complexity evolving. 

       This plant is a member of one of the largest genera of carnivorous plants called sundews, having over 170 species.  Sundews are found on every continent except Antarctica. The species Venus flytrap has a tooth-edged trap which catches insects and digests them. When an insect brushes against the trigger hairs in the center of the trap, the lobes snap shut and the insect is digested over the next few days. The trap is made up of two lobes, the hinge between the lobes (the midrib of the leaf, which anchors the lobes), the trigger hairs, and spines projecting from the edges of the lobes that make a set of bars as the trap closes. All these parts are needed to make the trap work.  Therefore, it is an irreducible complexity.

       There are other species in this genera which trap insects.  Some do so by having a sticky surface on their leaves.  Once an insect gets stuck, the leaves of the plant slowly fold around the insect and ultimately digest it.  Others, not having as sticky of a surface, close their leaves a lot faster to trap an insect.  All the different mechanisms these plants have to trap insects are in themselves irreducible complexities as all their parts must be present for the insect catching phenomenon to work. 

       In comparing sundews that trap insects with a sticky surface or quick closer with the Venus flytrap which gobbles up insects with teeth, evolutionists see evolution in action. They see a gradual movement of from a less sophisticated method to a more advanced method of trapping insects. While evolutions agree that all the parts of a particular component of an organism must be present at the same time for such component to properly work, it is believed that such parts evolve into coming together and once together form the irreducible complexity.  Therefore they see evolutionary development from plants that can only trap insects by secreting a sticky substance to the Venus flytrap which developed teeth to trap insects.

       Creationists respond by pointing out that if sundews evolved more sophisticated ways of catching insects, why haven't the species or varieties with less sophistication long ago died out?  Natural selection postulates that organisms have evolved from simple to complex with the more complex eliminating the less complex.  If movement from simple to complex and survival of the fittest (natural selection) is the goal of evolution, why are there still many organisms within a species or variety of a species with less complex structure still existing and reproducing?  If such less complex structure was sufficient for survival, why evolve into something more complex?

       Another argument put forth to advance the contention that irreducible complexities can evolve is the development of bacteria that eat the highly toxic chemical pentachlorophenol (PCP). This is a man made chemical that began to be used in the 1930’s and is part of a class of chemicals called chlorophenols, some of which appear naturally in nature.  The bacterium, S. chlorophenolica, uses three enzymes in succession to break PCP down and ultimately use it as a food. All three enzymes are necessary to accomplish this task so we have here an example of irreducible complexity as reducing to two or one enzyme would not get the job done.

       It’s been found that two of these enzymes are produced by this bacterium in response to the presence of milder forms of chlorophenols which naturally occur in nature.  The third enzyme involved is produced all the time and is always available. When PCP is present, this third enzyme combines with the other two enzymes to break down the PCP.  This combining of the third enzyme with the other two enzymes is viewed as evolution of an irreducible complexity.   Since PCP is a man made substance of recent date, some evolutionists believe a recent mutation changed the way this third enzyme is deployed which is what made PCP degradation possible for this bacterium.

       Creationists point out that two of the enzymes only appear when chlorophenols are present and only then do they combine with the third enzyme to break down the PCP chlorophenol.  This suggests a genetically built in capacity to deal with chlorophenols. While it may appear that the manner in which the third enzyme is deployed is in response to the appearance of PCP in the environment, this has not been proven and may not be the case.  The third enzyme may have always been deployed in the manner it currently is and may always have had the ability to combine with the two other enzymes to break down PCP.  However, this complexing of enzymes would only take place when PCP appeared in the environment.  This would not be evolution of an irreducible complexity but a manifestation of an irreducible complexity prompted by the presence of PCP.  The ability of the bacterium to destroy PCP did not evolve but was always there.  Yet in order to do so, the three enzymes have to work together to accomplish this task and therefore constitute an irreducible complexity.

     Behe challenged:

       Evolutionists have taken issue with Behe’s statement that "An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly by numerous, successive, slight modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional.”  They have apparently taken Behe’s statement about “any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional” as meaning any component of an irreducible complexity   found in some other molecular structure is nonfunctional.  They point out that components found in the flagellum also exist in other molecular structures where they are perfectly functional within such molecular structure.   

       Evolutionists point to certain bacteria having specialized protein secretory systems whereby they are able to secrete virulent material into a host cell. Molecular studies of proteins in such systems have found that the proteins that make up the system are similar to the proteins in the basal portion of the bacterial flagellum and have common chemical properties. It is pointed out that a small subset of the full complement of proteins in the flagellum makes up these specialized secretory systems.  In other words, these bacteria do their work of secreting material into a host by using similar proteins as those found in the base of the flagellum.  Since the secretory structure is made up of the same types of proteins as the base of the flagellum and is able to perform a function without having the other parts of the flagellum, it is believed that Behe’s contention that “any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional" is negated.

       The creationist’s response is that the evolutionist is assuming that the proteins that make up the secretory mechanism are a precursor to the proteins that make up the flagellum.  There is no evidence this is the case. The makeup of the secretory mechanism in no way negates the irreducible complexity of the flagellum.  The fact that similar proteins are found in the secretory mechanism as those that make up the flagellum does not prove they are a precursor to those found in the flagellum.  In every respect the secretory mechanism is its own irreducible complexity. To say that since the secretory mechanism has similar proteins to the flagellum and therefore the flagellum evolved from the secretory mechanism is to again introduce comparative anatomy as a determinative in how organisms have appeared.  As discussed in part five of this series, similar anatomy does not show evolution but is a strong indicator of design.

      It must be pointed out that Behe is not saying that the individual parts that make up the irreducibly complex flagellum can’t also make up the individual parts of irreducible components of other organisms.  What he is simply saying is that a flagellum cannot be functional if it is missing one of its parts.  You can’t have a partial flagellum work in the manner that a whole flagellum works.  Only a whole flagellum can facilitate movement of a bacterium in the manner that it does. Therefore, it is an irreducible complexity. It would have to come together all at once to function in the way it does.  Evolution would have had to bring all the parts together at the same time to make the flagellum work the way it works.  The chances of this happening and happening repeatedly have been found to be highly improbable.

       Evolutionists respond that a flagellum with fewer parts could have preceded the fully equipped flagellum allowing for a different kind of movement of the bacteria in the historical past.  They point to Behe’s mouse trap illustration.  You can modify the mouse trap by removing the catch and hooking the hold-bar to the end of the spring mechanism and it will still snap to kill mice.  Therefore, Behe’s mouse trap is not irreducibly complex.  Behe readily admits there are other mouse traps that will catch mice but if you want one to work in the specific manner in which the trap he uses as an illustration works, all its parts must be present at the same time.  The same goes for the flagellum, cilia and thousands of other structures that must have all their parts present at the same time in order to work as they work. 

       Evolutionists agree but maintain that in the biological world there is constant development of new molecular structures as living organisms expand into multiple millions of varieties.  It is maintained that as genetic changes take place and natural selection exerts it influence on survival of livings organisms, molecular complexities gradually develop over time to facilitate particular functions only to be replaced by other molecular complexities as evolutionary development continues.  

       Atheistic evolutionists maintain that if you are going to insist that irreducible complexity results from the activity of a designer, then that designer must be constantly at work designing new molecular structures as new molecular structures are constantly occurring as mutation and natural selection lead to new varieties of organisms on a continuous basis.

       Evolutionist don’t’ deny irreducibly complexity. They readily admit that a particular component of a living organism can only work in a certain way based on the way in which the parts of that component have come to be arranged.  In that respect it can be identified as an irreducibly complexity.  However, atheistic evolutionists insist that components that make up living organisms only become irreducibly complexities through evolutionary processes and not through design by a supernatural agent. 

     As I have said several times in this series, I am not out to show that evolution doesn’t occur. All strips of creationists admit to evolution occurring in some manner and to some degree.  The disagreements occur as to in what manner and to what degree evolution occurs and how did/does it come about. Did it start with God beginning the process in the primordial past and simply letting it fly?  Did it start after an initial creation of different kinds of living organisms as seen in the Genesis creation account and it is from those basic kinds that multiple millions of organisms have evolved?  These are the questions we will continue to explore as we proceed with this series.

     Let's review: 

       Evolutionists believe irreducibly complex structures have evolved like all other biological components.  They see organisms gradually developing structures composed of various parts which become irreducible complexities in so much that such structures must have all their parts working together to produce a particular function at that point in the organisms evolutionary development.  As organisms continue their evolutionary progression, parts and components of parts continue to evolve into more advanced irreducible complexities.  Therefore, evolutionists see no need to view development of irreducible complexities any different from evolutionary development in general.

       Creationists counter that since all component parts of a system or structure must be present at the same time for a particular function to work, it is highly improbable that such parts would all come together at the same time through natural selection and/or genetic mutation.  When considering the multiple numbers of irreducible complexities that can be identified in any given organism, the probability that they all came together at the same time is astronomical.  Furthermore, it is pointed out that there are no transitional forms in the fossil record to show evolving irreducible complexities.  While evolutionists like to point to certain organisms as transitional life forms in the geological record, creationists maintain that the fossil record only shows completely developed biological entities with completely developed structures, including what can be defined as fully developed irreducible complexities. 

     The development of man:

       Evolutionists postulate man has come to be as a result of many years of evolutionary development from apes or a common ancestor to apes and man. The belief is that all living organisms are descended from a single common ancestor that appeared in the distant past. This belief is behind the "tree-of-life" picture often seen in books on evolution. Such single ancestor is believed to have developed from the fortuitous coming together of elements that produced a living organism that was able to develop and reproduce. This is sometimes called "the theory of universal common descent."

       In 1856, fossilized limb bones, a pelvis, ribs and a skull cap were found in the Neander Valley near Dusseldorf Germany.  Similar body parts were found some years later in Belgium and southern France.  A study of these specimens led researchers to postulate the existence of what became known as Neanderthal man. 

       Neanderthals are characterized as having large brow ridges and an elongated cranial vault. Bodies are seen as being very muscular.  The remains of several hundred Neanderthals have been discovered. A number of largely complete skeletons are preserved, providing detailed knowledge of their biology.  The Neanderthal skeletons were found in graves with hands neatly folded, surrounded by fossilized pollen. This would indicate they were buried with flowers in some sort of funeral ceremony. Tools have been found with some of the Neanderthal remains.  Evolutionists believe Neanderthals are between 36,000 and 82,000 years old.  Some evolutionists believe Neanderthals are an intermediate stage between apes and modern man.

       Some Neanderthals had a brain size of around 1,740 cc as compared to 400 cc for apes and 1,350 cc for modern man.  Other Neanderthals were found to have a brain size comparable to modern man.  In 1908 a Neanderthal skeleton was found in Poland incased in a suit of armor that had not fully rusted.  This and other such finds would indicate that Neanderthals are not anywhere near as old as evolutionists have concluded.  In the case of the find in Poland, the armor would have been totally rusted if the skeleton was as old as evolutionists make Neanderthals out to be.

       There has been much controversy in evolutionary circles as to Neanderthal and what role they played in the development of man.  Some evolutionists have concluded that Neanderthals were not much different from modern man because the evidence shows they had ability to use fire, make tools, bury their dead and form culture.

       It appears Neanderthals have been arbitrarily classified as pre-human based on assumptions as to their mental capacity.  Yet it is evident from artifacts found in association with Neanderthal remains that they developed hunting tools, produced cooking utensils, jewelry and built dwellings to live in.  All this shows their mental capacity allowed them to be creative, make decisions and accomplish pre-determined objectives no different than all humans throughout recorded history.

       Evolutionists claim Neanderthals were of a different species from modern day man and are now extinct. In 2010 Swedish biologist Svante Paabo, along with a team of some fifty scientists, was able to sequence the genetic code (genome) of the remains of a Neanderthal. When compared to modern human DNA, it was discovered that Neanderthal DNA makes up one to two percent of the genome of many modern humans.  This shows Neanderthals were at one time contemporary with modern man and of the same species as modern humans in that sexual relations between them resulted in offspring. In view of these findings, it is apparent that Neanderthals are not a different species from modern day humans but simply a variety of a single human species. 

 Evolutionary embarrassments:

      In association with the quest to discover the origins of man, there have been a number of embarrassments in the field of paleontology which is the study of fossils.  In 1922 a single molar tooth was found in Nebraska and was determined to belong to a transitional form in the evolution of ape to man.  This tooth was embedded in what was determined to be million year old Pliocene stone deposits.  An English anatomist and a museum artist collaborated to produce a painting of what they thought this “Nebraska Man” looked like.  When John Scopes was tried in 1925 for teaching evolution in the school system contrary to Tennessee law, this tooth was introduced as evidence for evolution. Two years after the Scope’s trail, paleontologists returned to the Nebraska site where the tooth was found and discovered that enough additional rock had weathered to expose additional fossilized body parts which revealed the tooth belonged to an extinct pig.

       In 1912, an amateur archeologist found pieces of a cranium and a jaw along with remains of mammals and some stone and bone tools in a gravel pit at Piltdown, Sussex, in southern England. The cranium appeared human but the jaw was ape-like.  A canine tooth was found later in the same area and this collection of body parts was pieced together and became known as the Piltdown man.  These body parts were dated to be over 500,000 years old. Anthropologists hailed this as a great find supporting the evolution of man and these fossils were placed in the Natural History Museum in London.

       Some forty years later, it was determined that in 1911 someone had placed a human cranium and an orangutan jaw in the gravel pit.  The orangutan teeth had been filed to make them look more human and the jaw had been deliberately broken at the hinge to obscure correct identification.  All the bone fragments had been stained brown with potassium bichromate to make them look old. The cranium turned out to indeed be human and was re-dated to be around 500 years old. The Piltdown man turned out to be a complete hoax.  Yet this discovery was used for years to support evolution.  A number of "scientific" papers were written in support of the Piltdown man being a pre-human in the development of man. 

        The Piltdown man was also used as evidence for evolution in the John Scopes trial and like the tooth of the so-called “Nebraska Man,” turned out to be false evidence in support of evolution.   

       Hominids and hominins: 

       The word hominid is used to describe all modern and extinct Great Apes which include modern humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and all their immediate ancestors. The word hominin is used to describe the most recent ancestors to modern humans. Since there is some confusion in scientific circles as to hominid versus hominin, I will simple use the word hominid in referring to fossils believed to be ancestors of modern man.

       One of the most famous discovered hominids is Lucy who was found in 1974 in Ethiopia. Lucy has been dated to have lived 3.2 million years ago.  Lucy is seen as having characteristics that are similar to modern man and is therefore seen as a human ancestor from which man has evolved.  Lucy is often described as an upright walking ape-like precursor to humans.

       What is interesting is that only 40% of her skeleton was found and much of that was rib fragments. Her bones were found scattered over a hillside and it is uncertain whether all the bones that were found belong to the same skeleton. In 2015, it was decided that one of Lucy's vertebrae was probably from a baboon. Though a number of paleontologists have found problems in identifying Lucy as a pre-human, Lucy continues to be touted as a direct ancestor of modern man.

       Lucy is typical of what transpires in the world of fossil discovery.  Typical hominids are constructed from fragments of jaws, scraps of skulls and chips and pieces of other body parts. This makes it very difficult to formulate definitive conclusions as to the actual makeup of an organism's morphology and relationship to other organisms if any. Yet we often see such fossil parts with sketched in additional body parts that make the organism to look like modern day man or something close. Such man made constructs are then promoted as human ancestors. 

       Harvard zoologist Richard Lewontin, in his book entitled Human Diversity, stated that "despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor." 

       In 2015, several prominent paleoanthropologists reviewed the fossil evidence as to human evolution and posted their findings in the journal Macroevolution. They admitted that the evolutionary sequence for the majority of hominin lineage is unknown. They concluded that most human taxa (population of organisms), and especially early hominins, have no obvious ancestors. 

From Ape to Man:

       There is the Peking Man, the Man of Heidelberg, Cro-Magnon Man, Java Man and a variety of other so-called hominids that have been offered as evidence for a gradual development from apes to modern man (Homo sapiens).  Many of these hominids were lumped together and called Homo erectus because they are believed to walk in an upright position.  All these hominids have come about as a result of piecing together jaw fragments, parts of skulls, bones and other body parts obtained in various excavations around the world. 

       While various dating methods have been applied to determine the age of these body parts, as discussed in installment three of this series, such dating methods are problematic.  For example, in 1951 a skull and jaw was found and named Nutcracker Man.  It was announced as being 600,000 years old.  In 1961 the skull of Nutcracker Man was dated by the potassium-argon method and found to be 1.75 million years old.  In 1968 the skull was dated using the carbon-14 method which found it to be only 10,100 years old.  It is these kinds of discrepancies in dating that has produced significant suspicion as to their validity.

       It must be noted that while apes and humans share some skeletal similarities, such similarities do not prove apes are the ancestors of humans.  As discussed in Part Five of this series, comparative anatomy does not equate with evolution of organisms but is more indicative of common design.

       While there are comparable skeletal structures between apes and humans such as the rib cage, there also are major differences in the skeletal structure of apes and humans.  Structurally, apes are designed to walk on four limbs while humans are designed to walk on two limbs. Humans have a rigid big toe which enables the foot to move forward when walking. The big toe of apes is not rigid, does not point forward and is more like a thumb.  Therefore, apes have difficulty trying to walk on two limbs and find it virtually impossible to run on two limbs.  

       If apes are a developmental step in an evolutionary process leading to the appearance of humans, there should be transitional forms of apes that show a gradual but observable movement from having a flexible thumb like big toe to the rigid big toe found in humans. No such transitional forms have been found.  Apes have flat feet. Humans have an arched foot. No intermediate ape to human organisms have been found where there is seen a gradual transformation from flat feet to arched feet.

       In humans the spinal cord enters the skull at its bottom which allows for the natural position of the head to be vertical to the ground and in a forward looking position. If a human places himself in a horizontal position to the ground, he must raise his head upward to see straight ahead. With apes, the spinal cord is located more to the back of the skull which allows for the head to be naturally looking forward while in a horizontal position.  If an ape wants to look forward while in a vertical position it must bend its head downward. 

       Evolutionists claim the location of where the spinal cord enters the skull slowly moved from the back of the skull to the bottom of the skull in the development of ape to human. If this is the case, there should be fossil evidence of this transition taking place. There is no such fossil evidence. 

       Many other pronounced structural differences between apes and humans could be cited. Nowhere are there intermediate stages found in the fossil record showing gradual change in these structures leading to a transition from ape to human.   

      As pointed out above, evolutionists have taken a great deal of artistic liberty in producing replicas of fossils or in drawing up artistic illustrations of the gradual evolution of humans from ape like ancestors. These replicas and artistic illustrations of the various stages of evolutionary development place a fleshly body on discovered skeletal body parts. In doing so, missing body parts must be supplied to make a whole body.  Sometimes a skeleton with flesh on it is made from nothing more than the analysis of fossil imprints found in sedimentary rock.  Much assumption and imagination is used in this process. How close to the real thing these replicas or artistic illustrations are is very questionable and highly problematical.

       In 1965, Time-Life Books came out with a foldout illustration showing supposed progressive development from ape to man. This illustration was entitled "The Road to Homo Sapiens" and later came to be called the "March of Progress."  This was largely based on artistic imagination as no such progression of development has ever been identified. Yet this illustration became a standard in numerous publications dealing with evolution and remains so to this very day. 

       In chapter 14 of the 2017 published book "Theistic Evolution," The author, after a comprehensive look at the evidence, concluded that "Despite the claims of evolutionary paleoanthropologists and unceasing media hype, the fragmented hominin fossil record does not document the evolution of humans from ape-like precursors. While the hominin fossil record is marked by incomplete and fragmented fossils, known hominins fall into two separate groups: ape-like and human-like, with a distinct gap between them." 

       It is instructive that in 2014, in a paper coauthored by leading paleoanthropologists, the admission was made that we have no explanation of how and why our human linguistic computations and representations evolved since nonhuman animals provide virtually no relevant parallels to human linguistic communication.

Recent findings:

      Having discussed traditional evolutionary teaching as covered above, I must point out that the twenty-first century has brought about a change in thinking among evolutionists as to how the development of humans has come about. This change has occurred because of the sequencing of the human genome. All of the nearly six billion linked letters found on the 46 chromosomes in human cells have been identified. These letters represent four different chemicals that in various combinations make up our genetic code.  This has allowed geneticists to look at how our present human genome compares to the genomes of what are believed to be evolutionary precursors of humans. 

       Population genetics:

       Population genetics is a field of study that investigates and describes how the genetic makeup of one group compares with the genetic makeup of another group. Since genetic makeup differs between different populations of humans throughout the world, a study of the genetic makeup of these populations can reveal how genetic changes have occurred over time. 

       In comparing the genomes of modern day humans with our ancestors, population geneticists have concluded that humans did not evolve in a straight lower to higher continuum as depicted in the above diagram but instead evolved from a population of organisms having similar traits. Genetic research claims to have established that the nearest relative to humans is the chimpanzee.

       Population geneticists claim that by comparing the human genome with our ancestors, it has been proven that we humans could not have begun as a race with just two people (Adam and Eve) but that we came about from out of a population of at least 10,000 individuals. It has been determined by population geneticists that the diversity we see in the human genome of today is too large to be explained by our ancestry beginning with just two individuals.  Genetic biologists have presented what they believe is indisputable evidence for this conclusion.

       Some Christian theologians and apologists have been so impressed with the data that they have sought to coordinate these findings with new ways of understanding the Genesis creation account of Adam and Eve.  As briefly discussed in Part One of this series, one idea is that Adam and Eve were chosen from a group of humans who were living outside of the Garden of Eden.  Another idea is that that Adam and Eve were a special creation within an already existing community of humans that were living on planet earth.

       These ideas have led to the conclusion by some that Adam and Eve are not our genetic ancestors but are our genealogical ancestors. Therefore, it is believed that evolutionary science and the understanding that Adam and Eve were de novo created (literally created by God as recorded in Genesis) are not in conflict. Under this perspective, the existence of a literal Adam and Eve is seen as compatible with the evolutionary teaching of common decent from lower life forms. It is believed that both can be true.

       The recent claims of population geneticists as to how man evolved is being investigated by both theologians and scientists involved in genetic research. Research is currently going on to determine whether the human race could have begun with two individuals having the genetic diversity to account for the diversity seen in present day humans. It has been determined that the same mathematical formulations used to arrive at the conclusion that humans must have developed from an ancient population of humans can also show development starting with two individuals.

        It has also been determined, contrary to common evolutionist belief, that there is a significant difference in the genetic makeup of humans as compared with what is considered our nearest evolutionary ancestor, the chimpanzee.  This in itself makes the idea of human decent from nonhuman ancestors problematical.  I will continue to study the matter of population genetics and report on it as time allows.

    Accelerator Mass Spectrometry:

       In the late 1970s a new method of measuring carbon-14, called AMS, or Accelerator Mass Spectrometry dating, was developed. This involved directly counting the carbon-14 atoms, using a tandem accelerator. We discussed carbon-14 dating in installment two and three of this series.  When using the AMS method, carbon atoms are first negatively charged. This eliminates most of the interference from nitrogen-14, which is much more common than carbon-14 but does not easily take a negative charge.  In addition, each atom is accelerated by a very high voltage, and several tests can be done to make sure that we are in fact measuring carbon-14 instead of some interfering isobar, or cosmic rays. Theoretically, the machine should have zero machine background, which makes it ideal for attempting to detect carbon-14 in geologically old specimens.

       The standard radiocarbon dating technique only attempts to count the disintegration's of carbon-14 atoms which are sometimes confused with other types of disintegration's.  The AMS method only identifies and counts carbon-14.  What is of much interest is that the AMS method has consistently detected at least some carbon-14 in every organic specimen tested, even materials formally tested and concluded to be millions of years old.  Millions of years old materials would not have detectable carbon-14 still in them.  In fact any organic specimen older than 70,000 years should have all their carbon-14 decayed. The fact that the AMS method has detected carbon-14 in every organic specimen it has tested indicates such specimens are much younger than previously believed.

       According to a report in the book, “In the Beginning” by Walter Brown, page 245, eleven sets of human bones previously thought to be very old were dated at about 5000 radiocarbon years or less using the AMS method.  Some believe that if more of supposed evolutionary ancestors of man are tested and are found to contain carbon-14, scientists will be forced to seriously consider that fossils of living organisms are not as old as previously thought.  All research to date using AMS suggests that fossils are younger than previously thought.   


       Various questions come to mind as to the evolutionary approach to the development of man.  If Homo erectus evolved from ape like animals, why did the brain size take such a sudden leap from apes to man?  Creationists point out that the number of vertebrae in erectus is different from apes and, most significantly, the DNA of erectus and sapiens is distinctly different form apes, monkeys and all other wildlife.  Another question is why written accounts of human activity don’s go back further than 6000 years if hominids/humans have existed for hundreds of thousands of years.  Tools and other artifacts of ingenuity have been found with fossil remains of Homo erectus.  His brain capacity appears to be equal and even superior to Homo sapiens.  It would be logical to conclude that Homo erectus would have developed language and writing skills based on what is known about his IQ.

       Careful investigation of Homo erectus has by and large shown them to have the same general characteristics as modern man.  Characteristics that have been thought to be peculiar to erectus have been found to be present in modern man in various societies and cultures to this present day. The fossil record shows the same basic morphology and anatomical structures whether it be Neanderthal, Homo erectus or Homo sapien. This being the case, these designations as pertaining to ancestors of modern man becomes irrelevant. 

       In essence, there appears to be only one species of man with a variety of genetic variations within that species.  Assigning ancient dates to fossils of body parts identified as human is problematical for the reasons given earlier in this series. The new method of measuring carbon-14, called AMS, or Accelerator Mass Spectrometry may prove to be the Achilles heel of the proposition that life has evolved over millions of years.  If AMS can validly show the age of fossils to be much younger than presently believed by evolutionists and some creationists, it should create a significant challenge to the current evolutionist paradigm that postulates fossils are millions of years old.