Creation 17(4):17–19, September 1995
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An interview with human-fossils researcher Marvin Lubenow
Carl Wieland [CW]: Professor Lubenow, how would you summarize your approach to the study of human fossils?
Marvin Lubenow [ML]: In a sense I built upon the foundation of Professor Bill Rusch at Concordia College. Using the evolutionary time scale (for the sake of argument only), we categorize all the relevant fossils on a chart and then we can demonstrate that the human fossils, even as interpreted and dated by the evolutionist, do not demonstrate human evolution.
[CW]: Do you mean there is no evolutionary sequence in time?
[ML]: Right. The evidence shows that the various categories of humans were living as contemporaries—perhaps not on the same continent or in the same community, but at the same time, rather than being one grouping ancestral to the other.
An Australian specialist in human evolution, Dr Colin Groves, took you to task on this by saying that if the alleged ancestors and descendants are found all living at the same time, that proves nothing because a proportion of a population type 'A' might evolve into type 'B', while type 'A' persists to live alongside its evolutionary offspring.
I was rather surprised by his comment, because it seemed to me that he was saying something different to virtually all the other evolutionists I have read. The theory goes that population 'A' receives some mutations that give it a degree of superiority. If you have populations that are slightly superior living alongside populations that are slightly inferior, over a long period of time you're going to have interbreeding, and the organisms that have the inferior genes are going to compromise those that have the superior ones — so evolution could not proceed. Evolution allegedly proceeds by the death of the unfit as much as by the survival of the fit.
Could one say that the primary expectation, or prediction, of evolutionists would have been to find all these fossils — erectus, Neanderthal, archaic sapiens, and so on — in an evolutionary time sequence?
Yes. Note that Hitler believed that his purpose — as a good, consistent evolutionist — was to try to eliminate the 'inferior' Jewish people so they would not hinder the further evolution of the 'superior' German people. I don't mean to imply that all evolutionists are of Hitler's mentality, but I find it interesting that when evolutionists, correctly, maintain the equality of all of the races, they are actually denying the basic concepts of their own theory, because if all of the sub-species of a given group were absolutely equal, evolution would not have taken place.
Do you accept the evolutionary dating?
No. I am a young-earth creationist. I think that an outside age for the earth is perhaps 15,000 years, which is as far as we could really stretch the chronologies of Genesis, and even that is stretching them quite a bit.
Are you aware of any contradictions among evolutionary dates for human fossils?
In the evolutionary framework there is a rather high degree of conformity because they make it so. If a date for a given fossil does not conform to the theory, at least roughly, it is changed. The history of Skull 1470 — the skull that Richard Leakey found in 1972 — reveals that very clearly. Even though you had consistency of four or five different methods of dating at 2.9 million years, because the skull was 'too modern' in appearance, for 10 years there was a bitter argument in scientific circles as to the dating of this skull. And it was dated by many different approaches. At first they had conformity at 2.6 million years and then 2.4 million years, and later on they couldn't get conformity at the age they wanted, which is now about 1.9 million years, and so they used other assumptions entirely, as documented in my book, Bones of Contention. [See also 'The pigs took it all' Creation magazine, Vol.17 No.3 (June-August 1995), pp. 36-38.]
Evolutionists themselves have published comments (republished by us) suggesting that all the evidence for man's ancestry would fit in a single coffin or on a billiard table. Yet there seem to be many more fossils discussed than that. What do they mean by this?
I've wondered about that too — because already in 1977 the British Museum published data indicating over 4,000 relevant fossil discoveries — including the australopithecines, Ramapithecus, and so on. The only thing I can think of is that they were saying there were only a few fossils that they could use. For instance, most of the human fossils are useless to them because they're basically modern.
We often quote the work of Charles Oxnard, Professor of Anatomy, on the australopithecines (like 'Lucy') to show that the anatomy was not intermediate between apes and men.
It's not. And in contrast to what Colin Groves said, in an article in Nature a few years ago Oxnard stated that since true humans appear to be as old as the australopithecines, this removes them from the ancestry of humans. This is the conclusion evolutionists would normally draw. Australopithecines are very real, extinct primates. Evolutionists refer to the footprints at Laetoli in Tanzania to say the australopithecines walked upright. However, the Lucy-types, which they say made these fossils, had curled toes, were only about three to four feet tall, had long arms ... in fact, they admit that, from the neck down, Lucy is basically a chimpanzee. But that's the only 'hominid' evolutionists are permitted to put in that time frame. Russell Tuttle at the University of Chicago investigated a tribe of people in Peru, who go habitually barefoot. He demonstrated with casts that their footprints are identical with those in Laetoli. And in an amazing statement, he not only denies that a 'Lucy' made these footprints, he says there was living at that time, as a contemporary with Lucy, another 'unknown primate' that made those footprints. Well, we believe that the 'unknown primate' was man, disregarding the evolutionary age, of course.
You've written that future discoveries are unlikely to be able to reinforce the situation for evolution. Why do you believe this?
There are fossils such as the Kanapoi hominid in Kenya, virtually identical to modern humans, going back 4.4 million years on their time-scale, and so that would rule out any transition from australopithecine to human after that point. In fact, most evolutionists say that these would be called modern humans if not for the time-scale. Therefore, any fossils found suggesting a sequence toward humans after that point have already been ruled out. I throw out a challenge: I say that my thinking can be falsified if they find a sequence from earlier australopithecines to human before 4.4 million years. Of course, there the fossil record is virtually blank.
How would you view the fossil individuals like Neanderthals, erectus specimens, archaic sapiens, and so on? If they were living at the same time in different parts of the world, what were they?
Varieties of post-Flood humans. The severe conditions of the post-Flood Ice Age would have contributed not only to genetic selection pressures, but to the disease of rickets, which can effect great changes in bony morphology, beginning from a very early age. I view Homo erectus and Neanderthal as being basically the same, Homo erectus being a smaller variant. And of course, there is tremendous diversity within the Homo erectus and the Neanderthal groups. And what is interesting is that some of the Neanderthals get more severe in their 'archaic' morphology as they approach the end of the Neanderthal sequence, the opposite of evolutionary expectations.
Finally, as a theologian, if you stick to exegetical and hermeneutical principles only, is there any doubt or room to move about what the days in Genesis were meant to be, or whether the Flood was global?
I don't feel there is. There's internal evidence and then external evidence in Exodus 20:11 for the days. And if you read the Flood account in Genesis, where it says so clearly that all the high mountains were covered, I don't see how anyone could legitimately interpret it as anything else.
Also, there have been many devastating local floods in history and yet God promised that he would never destroy the world again in that way. Frankly, I think we have to be honest, that if one says the Noahic Flood was just local, then that is saying God's a liar, which of course cannot be.
Professor Lubenow, thank you very much.
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