“Up From the Apes”—Time magazine, August 23, 1999
It is surely no coincidence that Time publishes such a ‘showcase’ article (a better description might be propaganda piece) for human evolution at this time of public interest in the creation/evolution issue and what our children should be learning at school. The Kansas school board’s vote has certainly stirred up the secular humanists to rant about expunging evolution from the school curriculum (the decision does no such thing—see what was really decided), scientific ignorance, dark ages, laughing-stock of the world, etc.
Time’s article starts with a shot at ‘creationists and their intellectual allies’ and claims that ‘science has long taught that human beings are just another kind of animal’ (our emphasis). In saying this, the authors attack Christian belief. Indeed, evolution itself is an attack on Christian belief—that’s why so many atheists figure prominently in pushing evolutionary teaching in schools, colleges and universities. For some of the high-profile players, see A Who’s Who of Evolutionists and How Religiously Neutral are the Anti-Creationist Organisations?
Professor Stephen Jay Gould, a self-professed atheist/Marxist, also gets to strut his stuff in Time over the Kansas decision. Gould has, in public, appeared to downplay the religious implications of evolution, claiming that it is possible to be ‘religious’ and also an evolutionist. Of course it is possible to have ‘faith’ and also be an evolutionist, but it is not the faith revealed in the Bible (the Word of God, who knows everything, who was there at the beginning, and without whom we would not be here.)
Of course the evolution-compatible ‘religion’ to which Gould refers (and to which he doesn’t subscribe) is not intended to relate to the real, objective world—that is the exclusive domain of ‘science’! This is also an attack on true Christian faith, which is firmly grounded in historical truth. God (really, not just metaphorically) created a real world, including Gould’s earliest ancestors, Adam and Eve. God has been involved in His creation since its inception, including ultimately in His coming as the (real) man Jesus, suffering real death, and really rising bodily from the dead. One could be forgiven for wondering if Gould’s recently-espoused tolerance for ‘religion’ is a mere strategy to win acceptance of the teaching of evolution in schools by Christian parents who do not understand the ‘Trojan horse’ nature of this teaching. The tactic is not new—Charles Lyell, the inspiration for today’s geology with its supposed billions of years, promoted this approach with Darwin and others last century.
What does the Bible say?
The Bible tells us that man is not ‘just an animal’, and did not come from an ape by the natural processes of mutations and natural selection, or any other. God told us, in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 that He took dust and made a man and that He took part of the man’s side and made a woman. Man was created special, ‘in the image of God’ (Genesis 1:26,27). Far from being ‘just animals’, people are made in God’s image, and basically we all know that to be true. People compose sonatas, occupy professorial chairs in universities, and fly to the moon, while apes scratch themselves for our amusement in zoos.
Because man (male and female) is a creature, man has similarities to other creatures, but he is uniquely made in the image of God. The similarities that run through all living things tell us that there is one Almighty Creator, not many. Romans 1:20 tells us that no one has any excuse for ignoring their Creator because His attributes are evident in what He has made. This has never been truer than today with all that is known of the mind-boggling complexity of the biochemistry of living things, for example. Yet never has it been shouted with more strident zealotry that ‘evolution is a fact, everything made itself; there is no creator, man is just an animal’.
The Bible also tells us that death, suffering and disease came into God’s ‘very good’ (Gen. 1:31) creation after Adam and Eve sinned (they effectively told God to get lost, they were going to do it their way - just like the atheists who are driving the evolutionary agenda in America today). In fact, the whole creation is in decay, cursed, because of sin (Romans 8).
The death, suffering and disease seen in the fossil record must therefore have come about after the first people were created, not before. Death is even called ‘the last enemy’ (1 Cor. 15:26). So something is seriously wrong with the evolutionists’ dating schemes and understanding of the fossils. The Bible suggests where many of the fossils would have come from—the great global catastrophic Flood of Noah’s day.
The Bible makes it clear that all people are descendants of Adam and Eve—there are no ‘pre-Adamites’ coming before the first people. The different fossils which are distinctively human (Neanderthals, Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, etc.) must all be descendants of Adam and Eve. It is likely that many of these specimens come from the time after the Babel dispersion. Many of the resulting small people groups would find themselves without city-building technology, so would need to resort to stone tools and finding shelter in caves—as many people do even today, although they are no less intelligent than city-dwellers.
In short, the story presented in Time is wrong.
What about the fossil evidence?
The article claims that ‘amazing new discoveries reveal the secrets of our past’ and ‘remarkable new evidence is filling in the story of how we became human’. In reality, there is actually little new in this article. What is new is trivial, and does not establish human evolution, any more than similar claims (now mostly discredited) did so in the past.
The article papers over the profound disagreements amongst evolutionists themselves about the significance of the various claims. For example, Ardipithecus ramidus is proudly portrayed as our ancestor closest to the apes. When the evidence is examined, it is found most wanting, especially when it is remembered that it was claimed as THE missing link at the time it was announced to the eager media. The bits and pieces were found scattered over about a mile and put together to get ‘the missing link’.
Homo habilis is now widely recognized as a mixture of different types, technically called an ‘invalid taxon’. Skulls 9,11,12,13,14 and 15 are all just variations of the true human kind. Various respected evolutionists have provided evidence that Australopithecus spp. (pictures 2-8) did not walk upright, certainly not in anything like the human manner (e.g. Oxnard on anatomy,1 Spoor on inner ear balance organ structure2), and are not transitional between apes and people. This is totally left aside by the article. There is no reason to connect the australopithecines to humans, except in the belief system of evolutionists.
When complete fossils are found, they are easy to assign clearly as either ‘ape’ or human, there are only ‘ape-men’ where imagination colored by belief in evolution is applied to fragmented bits and pieces.
Consider the following resources on humans and apes:
- Anthropology (human ancestry, alleged ape-men) Q&A
- Is There Really Evidence that Man Descended from Apes?
- Apes on the Run
- Did you know ‘Lucy’ isn’t the missing link?
- Nebraska Man Revisited
- Bones Overthrown
- Differences between Animals and Humans
- Man in the Image of God
- Ape and Human DNA Similarity: Does it prove evolution?
- Are evolutionists the ones with closed minds?
- Refuting Evolution (see also study guide) by Dr Jonathan Sarfati, Chapter 6: Images of God or Advanced Apes?
- Bones of Contention by Marvin Lubenow (details on nearly all the fossils in Time, including the uncertainty in the ‘dating’ methods, which heavily overlap anyway, even under evolutionary assumptions).
- In the Image of God Video by Keziah Films, CMI/ICR (contains interview with Dr Spoor re the crucial CAT scan evidence about upright walking).
- ‘The Cause of Anomalous Potassium-Argon “Ages” for Recent Andesite Flows at Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, and the Implications for Potassium-Argon “Dating”’ by Dr A.A. Snelling.
- ‘Radioactive “Dating” in Conflict’ by Dr A.A. Snelling
- ‘The Cause Of Anomalous Potassium-Argon “Ages” for recent andesite flows at Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, and the Implications for Potassium-Argon “Dating”’ by Dr A.A. Snelling.
Summary / conclusion
Such glossy, attractive articles as that in Time, full of pictures and ‘authoritative’ statements are impressive to those unaccustomed to distinguishing between facts and their interpretation, especially in such a contentious field (even among the experts) as ‘human evolution’. This piece in Time refers to real fossils. However, its conclusions are not factual ‘science’, but a story designed to ‘sell’ an idea which is fundamental to the religion of secular humanism (‘no-one made us, we all just evolved, so there are no absolutes, and the only rules or standards for living are those we choose for ourselves’). It is thus an overwhelmingly religious article.
- C.E. Oxnard, Nature 258:389-395, 1975; The Order of Man, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1984. Return to text.
- F. Spoor, B. Wood and F. Zonneveld, ‘Implications of early hominid morphology for evolution of human bipedal locomotion’, Nature 369(6482):645-648, 1994. Return to text.