A Critical Look at Human-Ape Evolution

An article in Phys Org caught my attention with the headline “When humans split from the apes”. Of course evolutionists are convinced we did evolve from an ape-like creature millions of years ago, so the real question they want answered is “WHEN” did this happen (not if)?

The article goes back and forth with a certain degree of certainty regarding human evolution, and I think it’s a good demonstration as to the sheer uncertainty of evolution.

The author of the article, Darren Curnoe, is trying to tackle this evolutionary enigma and admits that scientists and philosophers have been asking questions about human evolution for more than three centuries. No one knew where the hundreds of extinct apes fell within the human lineage. So he offers a number of candidates that have been proposed over the years, including Ramapithecus– an extinct ape supposedly 14 million years old. In the 1960s this ape was thought to represent a separation from humans and gorillas 30 million years ago, but now that has been significantly reduced to about 8.5 to 12 million years ago based on alternative dating methods.

Curnoe examines some of the dating techniques used to determine an evolutionary time line. Beginning in the 1960s, blood proteins were studied and compared between humans and apes. Today scientists use this method as a ‘molecular clock’, identifying certain genetic mutations scientists can use to estimate when organisms split apart into separate lineages.

One of the problems with the molecular clock is that it rests on a number of unprovable assumptions, such as the belief that evolution is true, and that all organisms are related to a single common ancestor. This means that, even if organisms are unrelated, scientists can still use the molecular clock to assign dates of divergence- as if they were related. It’s interesting to note that molecular clocks depend on other methods of dating for calibration, such as the geologic column.

Curnoe does a nice job articulating some of the uncertainty surrounding these “well established” dating techniques, pointing out that they’re not without controversy or detractors. But that doesn’t prevent him or other scientists from using these dates to reinforce evolutionary beliefs.

Nonetheless, scientists admittedly know very little about chimp evolution, in particular, and are forced to rely on genomic evidence due to scant fossil evidence. Humans were accepted as being closely related to chimps and gorillas during the nineteenth century when T.H. Huxley (Darwin’s bulldog) performed dissections and examined their similarities. But one problem with this line of reasoning is the assumption that similarities represent ancestry, which isn’t necessarily true. Humans, chimps and gorillas may share similarities without having any ancestry at all. Curnoe even admits this when he explains that some scientists dispute particular lineages by arguing that any similarities can be explained without the necessity of shared ancestry.

Even with ancestry assumed, the human lineage continued to be contested. I’m pleasantly surprised that this is a contested area; so many evolutionists want to make the case that we evolved from an ape-like ancestor, but if we’re not, then it makes sense that would be hard to fit humans into the family tree of apes based on superficial reasoning. Yet Curnoe claims that the controversy was resolved by molecular biologists in the year 2000 when they decided that humans and chimps shared a common ancestor only after gorillas had evolved in a different direction.

Despite this resolution, however, other controversies have arisen, and there are a number of anthropologists arguing that extinct apes like Orrorin, Sahelanthropus and Ardipithecus are not part of the human evolutionary branch. Curnoe is honest about the fact that there are so few fossils that scientists can’t determine when humans, chimps and gorillas separated.

Another issue I found was that Curnoe is using old data when he references his belief that humans share 99 percent of their DNA with chimps; this claim is filled with evolutionary bias and is closer to 70 percent once necessary factors are considered.

We’re told that in 2000, molecular clocks put the human- chimpanzee split around five to six million years ago. But then new fossil evidence pushed that date back, so now Curnoe admits the molecular clocks will need to be rethought. In addition he laments that we have so few fossils in the range of 4 to 12 million years that scientists are far from determining when and where the human lineage diverged from chimps and gorillas. Even if scientists could agree where to place many of these fossil apes, there would be other issues to overcome, such as the speed these creatures would have had to evolve.

The bottom line is that there are hundreds of extinct apes we have fossil evidence for, but scientists, even though they’re certain we evolved from an ape-like creature, still don’t know where humans should be placed on the evolutionary tree of life, and they don’t know which fossils apes are human ancestors.

The author seems befuddled as to how much we don’t really know about human evolution. He provides a chronological review of how far we’ve progressed in this area of evolution, but he’s just as uncertain at the end of the article as he was at the beginning and hasn’t answered any of the questions he raised. But it’s clear he has accepted evolution to be true, and he touts the molecular clock dating method with a glowing endorsement.

When I look at the evidence evolutionists present, what I observe are a bunch of ancient fossils, many of which are in horrible condition, deteriorated by years buried in the earth. The fossils are predominantly extinct apes, and in no way related to humans. Scientists, however, aren’t satisfied with this idea and insist on forcing humans into an evolutionary tree of life shared with apes and other animals based on superficial interpretations not demanded by the evidence. In other words evolutionary bias is at work.

As one who believes God created man in his image, I think the observable evidence more accurately demonstrates that humans have always been separate from animals, and that’s why there’s such an incredible gap between us and any other animal.

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One thought on “A Critical Look at Human-Ape Evolution

  1. Pingback: Things I have read on the internet – 18 | clydeherrin

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