Re: News on fossil man

William A. Wetzel (
Fri, 26 Mar 1999 18:24:15 -0800

Glenn R. Morton wrote:
> I have been offline for a month now and have this brief access. I won't
> be able to respond to anyone since I will be offline again after this
> tomorrow. And to the 50 people that left messages for me over the past
> month, I am sorry that I haven't replied, but I just got them and won't
> have time to reply before I lose touch with my provider here.
> But there are two items which are of considerable importance in the
> creation/evolution area which have come up over the past month and a
> half since my last post in early February. I must confess disappointment
> that no one posted anything about this on either of the lists! These
> items have tremendous implications for where fossil man fits with the
> Bible.
> First, lots of Christians have taken the path of least resistance to the
> anthropological issues and have identified Adam with the first member of
> our species. I say path of least resistance because it is the position
> which is least controversial. But as I have pointed out over the past 3
> years this position totally ignores the very human activities which
> earlier hominids performed. These include art, religion, the use of
> tools to make other tools, murder, long range planning, the manufacture
> of boats with which to cross the oceans etc.
> Examples of this position include David Wilcox:
> "Both cultural and physical evidence suggests an abrupt establishment of
> the image about 100,000 years ago." ~ David L. Wilcox, "Adam, Where Are
> You? Changing Paradigms in Paleoanthropology," Perspectives on Science
> and Christian Faith , 48:2( June 1996), p. 94
> Hugh Ross who mistakenly claims that this appearance occurred no earlier
> than 60,000 years ago:
> "Some differences, however, between the Bible and secular anthropology
> remain. The Bible not only would deny that the hominids were men, it
> also would deny that Adam was physically descended from these hominids.
> Even here, support from anthropology is emerging. New evidence
> indicates that the hominid species may have gone extinct before, or as a
> result of, the appearance of modern man. At the very least, 'abrupt
> transitions between [hominid]species' is widely acknowledged." ~ Hugh
> Ross, The Fingerprint of God, (Orange: Promise Publishing, 1991), p.
> 159-160.
> And Stoner:
> "More recently, some remains promoted as being 'fully modern humans'
> have been found which date (using exotic methods) as early as about
> 100,000 years old. These fossils are presently classified as 'modern
> men' although some of them are said to display some 'primitive
> features.' The supplement (loose poster) to the February 1997 National
> Geographic pictures one of these skulls. That skull is certainly
> missing the brow ridges of the Neanderthals and of Archaic Homo, but the
> eye and nose sockets look Neanderthal--not human.
> "Are these fossils truly modern men, as has been claimed? Are they
> really some new creature which falls between Archaic Homo and modern
> men? Or is something else entirely different going on? Although these
> questions might keep both scientists and theologians up nights, they
> really aren't that important to us right here; for the present purposes,
> it is only important that man fits into his proper place in the
> chronological order of God's creation." This much has been properly
> established. The conventional date of 35-40,000 years for the age of
> true men might be correct, but we must allow that it might be
> substantially in error." ~ Don Stoner, A New Look at an Old Earth,"
> (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1997), p. 168
> All of these authors are resting spirituality upon what the man looks
> like, i.e. spirituality only rests in the modern human form.
> For the past 4 years I have been arguing that more ancient hominids were
> spiritual in the same way modern humans are spiritual. I have based
> that upon their behaviors inferred from the fossil record. For
> references I would point to a evolution reflector note on Oct 11, 1995
> entitled Another flood Problem in which I suggested that H. habilis was
> human. In my critique of David Wilcox's article dated June 8, 1996 on
> the ASA reflector, I argued for the humanity of Neanderthal. And on June
> 13, 1996 on the evolution reflector I said that humanity goes back at
> least 2.7 myr ago. On 2/28/97 on the ASA list I wrote:
> " I don't like either of these choices and would offer a Turing test for
> ancient man. If he acts like us (or a technologically primitive version
> of us, the I would include him in humanity. By this definition, Homo
> erectus Archaic Homo sapiens and Neanderthal are all human."
> I list those documentations because I want it clearly shown that my
> theological/scientific position ANTICIPATED the following. Unlike other
> positions my position does not have to react to the latest discovery by
> immediately pooh poohing it which will be the modus operandi of many
> Christian apologists. Why Christians would rather always be reacting to
> new discoveries rather than smiling because we anticipated the results,
> I don't understand.
> Genetics has come to support my position. First, there is the discovery
> that paternal mtDNA does get passed on to the offspring although it is
> rare. So the mitochrondrial Eve, just might have been a mitochrondrial
> Adam. But the real implication of this is that the last common
> mitochondrial ancestor would have lived longer ago than 200,000 years.
> If this is the case, then there were NO anatomically modern people on
> the planet at that time and Eve was NOT an anatomically modern human.
> This is reported on the web at:
> "WIRE:March 10, 0:02 p.m. ET
> Eve is a lot older than previously
> thought-studies
> LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) - Eve, the mother of
> humankind, is probably a lot older than
> scientists had thought, researchers said on
> Wednesday.
> Evolutionary biologists, who used mitochondrial
> to trace human evolution, had estimated that
> the woman from whom all others descended lived between
> 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.
> But two studies reported in the journal Proceeding of the
> Royal Society discovered that using mitochondrial DNA to
> track genetic lineage isn't as accurate as scientists had
> assumed.
> ``Eve may be older than we thought,'' Adam Eyre-Walker of
> the University of Sussex said in a telephone interview.
> ``We thought she lived about 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
> She might be anything up to twice as old now.'' "
> The second item concerns a gene which iindicates that Africans and
> non-Africans were two separate populations PRIOR TO THE ADVENT OF
> ANATOMICALLY MODERN MEN. Here is the report:
> Science & Ideas 3/29/99
> Out of the African past
> Modern DNA provides clues to a division
> in the ancestral tree of human forebears
> Backed by their analysis of a minuscule mutation on a single gene, two
> researchers contend that the ancestors of Africans and non-Africans
> split into separate populations long before modern man walked the Earth.
> Population geneticist Jody Hey and anthropologist Eugene Harris estimate
> that the subdivision took place nearly 200,000 years ago, predating the
> earliest known fossils of modern Homo sapiens by about 70,000 years.
> The Rutgers University-based duo, who published their results in last
> week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, studied a gene
> called PDHA1, involved in glucose metabolism, in 16 Africans, 19
> non-Africans, and 2 chimpanzees. Hey and Harris first located 25 spots
> in the gene's DNA sequence where their human subjects differed from
> chimps. Assuming that the forerunners of humans and chimps became
> separate species 5 million years ago, and that mutations occur at
> regular intervals, the pair calculated that the PDHA1 gene in ancestral
> hominids-Homo sapiens's early relatives-dates back 1.86 million years.
> Differences. They next found a place on the gene where every non-African
> test subject differed from every African, by virtue of a mutation that
> altered a lone base pair of DNA. Extrapolating from their previous
> estimate of the age of the gene's origin in hominids, they concluded
> that Africans and non-Africans split into separate populations 189,000
> years ago.
> Hey and Harris caution that their results do not imply that the two
> populations evolved into modern humans independently of one another.
> Even if they were geographically separated, members of the two groups
> probably intermingled, allowing genes to flow between them. Beneficial
> genes would have been favored by natural selection, and ultimately the
> two populations would have ended up virtually identical-a hypothesis
> supported by the fact that racial groups differ very little at the
> genetic level. Nor can much be inferred regarding the time line of human
> migration. "I don't think our study says very much about where the
> ancestral populations were," says Hey. "They could have both been in
> Africa for some time after the split."
> While welcoming the study as provocative, other researchers of human
> evolution would like to see more proof. Genetic data rely on broad
> assumptions about time scales and are thus subject to large margins of
> error. In a commentary accompanying the PNAS article, Rosalind Harding,
> a geneticist at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England, hails the
> work as "unusual" but adds that the estimate of when the split occurred
> could easily be off by 100,000 years.
> This means that IF one postulates that Adam was subsequent to this
> split, then either Africans or non-Africans are NOT descendants of
> Adam. This is an awful choice full of bad theological consequences.
> The way to avoid this problem is as I have suggested, believe that Adam
> was very very ancient and that the ancient hominids were fully human, as
> were their descendants, both Africans and non-Africans. In this way an
> awful theological problem can be avoided. I would repeat my mantra of
> the past 4 years: Current Christian apologetics is totally inadequate
> and falsified by the anthropological data. It is time for Christians to
> belly up to the theological bar and deal with it.

This is bar far the best and simplelist argument thus far...
William of Occam would had been pleased!
And with that - I'm outta here :)

William A. Wetzel
icq-uin# 13983514