Six articles by Kirk Straughen and Anonymous appear below:


Design Flaws in Human Anatomy

Kirk Straughen

(Investigator 157, 2014 July)

 
Introduction

Intelligent Design is a variation of creationism (a form of Christian fundamentalism that asserts God created the world as outlined in Genesis) which claims the existence of the universe and life are best accounted for by the operation of an intelligent cause (God) rather than natural evolutionary processes.

In this article I will examine the human body to see if it can be considered a product of intelligent design. If our bodies have been designed by an omniscient engineer then they should be free of basic design flaws, but is this really the case? I shall now proceed to examine the issue.


Anatomical Imperfections

Below is a table of anatomical imperfections (by no means an extensive list), or flaws in the design of the human body that could have been easily solved by an all-powerful and all-wise intelligence.


Anatomical imperfections

Organ/Function
Problem
Solution
Brain Spiky ridges exist inside the skull. Blows to th
e head cause the brain to collide with these ridges resulting in increased trauma.
Better insulation and smoother inner surfaces would reduce injury.
Swallowing 
Choking results when swallowed substances pass into the trachea rather than the oesophagus. The epiglottis usually closes off the trachea during swallowing to prevent this.   
Separate pathways for air, food and water to enter the body.
Ears
The Eustachian tubes connecting the back of the mouth to the middle ear are too long and narrow making humans prone to ear infections because poor air circulation promotes bacterial growth. Also, the hair cells in the organ of Corti are easily damaged by loud noises leading to deafness.
Wider Eustachian tubes to allow better air circulation, and hair cells like those in bird's ears, which automatically re-grow when damaged.
Testicles Testicles are permanently at
risk of injury due to external placement.
Testicles to be internal like those of birds.
Appendix The appendix appears to be involved in the suppression of destructive antibody responses. In the digestive system. Unfortunately, it is prone to appendicitis a potentially life threatening infection. Appendicitis occurs when the appendix is blocked by stool or foreign matter. The appendix needs to be modified so it is self cleaning, per-haps squeezing out the blockage by peristalsis.
Ulnar Nerve The nerve is exposed at the elbow, making it vulnerable to injury. It is the only nerve in the body to face this risk. Run the nerve through the inside of the elbow.
Knees Our knees suffer a huge amount of damage due to the impact of walking and running. This results in cartilage damage, and cartilage IS not good at repairing itself.
Better cartilage re-generation and the redesigning of the knee joint so that it bends backwards to decrease wear and tear on knee and foot joints.
Feet
Our feet are poor at absorbing impact. As a result the force of walking and running is transmitted to the knees and hips risking injury.
Impact absorbing tissue such as fat or collagen on soles of feet.

       
That the above design deficiencies exist is at odds with the belief that the human body was planned by a super-intelligent designer/engineer who is allegedly conversant with all the laws of nature.


Assumptions of a Designer

The supposition of the design argument is the assumption that intelligence is required — a human-like intelligence external to nature.

But is this assumption well founded? Humans are intelligent and can design things, but what is human intelligence? Although our brains can design things they are, at a fundamental level, composed of microscopic mechanistic and non-conscious steps — chemical reactions and interactions that have no intelligence whatsoever.

Intelligence arises as a result of the sum of these interactions. No one postulates an exterior force that enables the human brain to design things. It is the interaction of physical non-conscious entities within the system itself that leads to the emergence of intelligence and design — matter (the brain) designing matter (external things).

As with the brain so too with the rest of the world — the microscopic mechanistic and non-conscious steps of evolution — chemical reactions and interactions that have no intelligence whatsoever, give rise to complexity that is mistaken for design by a conscious intelligence. Nature designs things; it just uses processes different from those we employ.

There is no evidence that the human body is the product of intelligent design, or that there is a designer capable of creating humans. On the contrary, all the evidence leads to the conclusion that human beings, along with all other living things, owe their existence to natural evolutionary processes. Non-conscious nature has done the best job that it could through the process of natural selection operating over eons of time: that our bodies have shortcomings is to be expected in the light of this fact and is evidence of design by non-conscious processes.


Lastly, as a final thought:

"Theodicy is the age-old conundrum of how to reconcile a just God with a world containing evils and flaws. With respect to biological imperfections, evolution can emancipate religion from the shackles of theodicy.

No longer need we feel tempted to blaspheme an omnipotent deity by making him directly responsible for human frailties and physical shortcomings; including those we now know to be commonplace at the molecular and biochemical levels. No longer need we be apologists for God in regard to the details of biology. Instead, we can put the blame for biological flaws squarely on the shoulders of evolutionary processes. In this way, evolutionary science can help return religion to its rightful realm — not as a secular interpreter of the biological minutiae of our physical existence, but rather as a respectable counselor on grander philosophical issues that have always been of ultimate concern to theologians." (John Avise)



References

Intelligent Design:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent _design

Function of Appendix: www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-the¬function-of-t
Scientists redesign human beings:
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117637 &page= 1#.Txrin PnCaSo

Design Flaws in the Human Body:
www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-476607/The-¬tantalising-design- flaws-bodged-bodies.html

Five Body Flaws:
www.health24.comIMan/Your_ Health/748-4418-¬4431,40085.asp

What's Really Wrong with the Argument from Design?
www.eskimo.com/~msharlow/philos/argument_from_design.pdf

Human Evolution Evidence:
http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence

John A vise quotation:
www.eurekalert.org/pub_ releases/2010-02/uoc-¬nbe021110.php

Design Arguments for the Existence of God:
www.iep.utm.edu/design/#H3





DESIGNED OR NOT?

Anonymous

(Investigator 158, 2014 September)


DESIGN?

Is the human body a product of design?

Mr Straughen (#157) says "No" and points to alleged "Design Flaws in Human Anatomy" and suggests improvements.


IMPROVEMENTS

I could suggest improvements too.

How about eyes with lenses which can slide in and out like a telescope and magnify images, making it easier to see and identify criminals running from a crime scene?

How about skin with a top layer composed of asbestos to reduce burns from fires started when we fall asleep while smoking cigarettes?

Straughen says "hair cells in the organ of Corti" are easily damaged by loud noises. Perhaps this shows poor design of the atmosphere — we need a thinner atmosphere so that loud sounds travel less effectively, and the thinner air could be countered by having bigger lungs. Alternatively, what’s wrong with covering one’s ears or staying away from overly loud noises?

Straughen also wants testicles to be internal like those of birds to reduce risk of injury to them. Couldn't the risk also be reduced by getting into fewer fights or otherwise being careful?

Straughen also wants feet that better absorb impact. What's wrong with shoes that absorb impact? Or what's wrong with using the stairs instead of jumping off the balcony?

The point is that ethics, carefulness and common sense can guide our conduct; and no supposed improvements to our physical bodies would compensate if ethics, carefulness and sense are disregarded.

We also live in a Universe that permits (or is designed to permit) the invention of technology that helps us cope better. I mentioned shoes and stairs, but a full list of inventions would list millions.


MARVELOUS BODIES

The healthy human body works marvelously — all its parts cooperate effectively for survival and reproductive success. It begins as one cell and is built up toward adulthood via trillions of cell divisions powered and guided by tens of thousands of chemical reactions occurring in each cell.

Straughen needs to show that the changes he wants in the finished product i.e. in human adult anatomy are compatible with this process. A tiny alteration early on might have a cascading effect, causing multiple detrimental results further along. Perhaps the internal testicles Straughen wants in imitation of birds can only come about if human fetal brains also develop into bird-brains. We don't know.

It's a topic fraught with countless value judgments regarding what sort of body is better than what we have, along with assumptions on whether the "better" item can develop from a single cell without other bits suffering loss in function.


DEGENERATION

Also relevant is the Christian doctrine of human degeneration which teaches that sickness and death entered the human race when the first humans decided against God's guidance. Genetic mutations presumably multiplied in humans due to changes in diet, stress, radiation and viruses. Later came interbreeding with at least one inferior species — several verses in Genesis imply such a scenario.

If humans degenerated then we don't know what body parts have become degraded or to what extent.

Straughen's criticisms, therefore, are like evaluating a car-design by looking at a car after a crash rather than examining the new product in the shop.



DESIGN

An alternative criterion to judge whether something is "designed", other than seeking deficiencies along parameters of our choosing, is to consider whether it can fulfill or potentially fulfill its purpose.

The Bible states that humans can collectively achieve virtually anything — "nothing that they propose to do will be impossible". Unlimited achievement and mastery of every environment is therefore, according to the Bible, part of our purpose. I would therefore predict that future humans will control and manipulate ever greater energies and technologies and do ever greater things previously considered forever impossible.

If nothing is impossible then humans will also improve on today's "designer babies" and eventually design humans far superior to our present-day selves. Straughen could then have his "organ of Corti" and testicles and feet according to his own design.

This raises the question: "Can anything that is not designed, design and create superior versions of itself?"

 



Designed or Not — Reply to Anonymous

K. Straughen

(Investigator 159, 2014 November)


Anonymous, in his response to my article "Design Flaws in Human Anatomy" makes some suggestions of his own about how the human body could be improved, such as asbestos coated skin. My suggestions were made with the view that they were in the realm of biological possibility. It is difficult to view Anonymous' improvements in a similar light, so I can only conclude they are merely tongue in cheek frivolities.

Anonymous goes on to argue that the improvements I mentioned are not needed, that any alleged deficiencies can be overcome through the use of caution and ethical behaviour. The same can be said of motor vehicle accidents. Should we remove seat belts, airbags and other safety devices and rely solely on ethics and caution? Ethics and caution are important, but things can go wrong and it is always wise to have a failsafe.

Is it a value judgment when it comes to deciding the kind of bodies we would like as Anonymous suggests? It probably is when it involves aesthetic concepts of beauty, but one of the improvements I suggested was an appendix that was more resistant to infection than what it is.

Appendicitis is not a rare condition, and can prove fatal. A modified appendix less prone to infection would have been beneficial in past ages when modern medicine didn't exist. Of course one could always claim that it is a value judgment to think that reducing human suffering is a good thing, but I'll let my readers make up their own minds on this issue.

Another objection Anonymous raises is the possibility that having internal testacies similar to those of birds may result in humans having bird brains. His argument is that if we change one aspect of human anatomy, genetically, it could well have unintended consequences. This might apply if we start to experiment on ourselves using genetic engineering, particularly if we think we know what we are doing when we don't. However, I don't see this as a problem for a hypothetical all-wise god, particularly when we have examples of internal testicles already existing in nature.

Anonymous goes on to suggest that humans have degenerated due to the sin of Adam and Eve — that the human body was originally perfect, but is no longer so. The problem is that there is no evidence that the human body was ever perfect. Indeed, all the evidence points to humanity arising from prehuman ancestors through the natural evolutionary process.

Anonymous' article "Lavoisier's influence on the Third Reich: Everyone who was anyone embraced Chemistry" (No 155, page 14), appears to indicate he considers the evidence for evolution well established. If he accepts the evidence that life evolved, then why persist with a belief in a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation myth?

The authors of Genesis weren't scientists. They tried to explain the origin of the world as best as they could using the limited knowledge and concepts of the age in which they were writing. That evolution isn't mentioned is understandable. The same applies to quantum mechanics and all other aspects of contemporary science. Genesis gives us an insight into the beliefs if an ancient culture, but that is all it can do.



 

DESIGNED OR NOT?

Anonymous

(Investigator 161, 2015 January)


Straughen (Investigator 159) says that "appendicitis" can kill which proves the appendix was not designed.

That argument, however, would imply that a defective TV was also not designed whereas it was.

Defects do not necessarily prove non-design — they could prove something went wrong during the item's creation or that it suffered damage later.

The human race suffers thousands of diseases and genetic defects, affecting every organ, structure, cell and cell component. The biblical answer which I've stated before is twofold:

1. Humans were created with resistance to disease and powers of recuperation beyond what we have now, but began to degenerate after rebelling against God.

2. The original intention was that humans be guided supernaturally (Genesis 2:16) to avoid serious harm but humans rejected guidance and suffer the consequences of ignorance.

Straughen says "there is no evidence that the human body was ever perfect…"

Absence of evidence can occur if something never happened or if the evidence has been lost or destroyed.

Scientific investigation of the past has barely begun and future methods will uncover much more. For the present we have the biblical prediction "Nothing that they [humans] propose to do will now be impossible." (Genesis 11:6) Potentially this includes everything that God can do or is said to have done — which would include creating "perfect human bodies".

"Perfect bodies" are not predicted by evolution theory and therefore would, if ever they become scientific fact, confirm our origin as God's creation.


Straughen says: "all the evidence points to humanity arising from pre-human ancestors…"

But to argue from "all the evidence" when most of it has not yet been discovered is premature.



AN ILLUSTRATION

Some science writers foretell that science will create humans who don't get sick, or grow old, and with bodies able to outdo all present-day athletes, and minds that beat today's highest IQs.

New Scientist even has a name for them "the incredibles". (May 13, 2006) The name I once picked was "Homo superior". If future scientists create "Home superior" what would the fossil record show regarding his origin?

The fossil record would show similarities in anatomy between Homo superior and fossil apes and a seeming "progression". But since his origin is by intelligent design in the laboratory this "progression" would be a false conclusion based on irrelevant observations.

Suppose Homo Superior mates with an ordinary woman who introduces into his descendants the genes of Neanderthals and other extinct races. That would, if Homo superior's origin in the lab is forgotten, lead everyone who relies on fossils and genes for final answers to wrongs conclusions.

Adam and Eve are comparable to this illustration. Harry Edwards (a prominent atheist in Australia) noticed that Genesis implies there were people who were not descendants of Adam and Eve. (#91) Other readers of Genesis in recent centuries noticed this too. In 1997 science proved that Neanderthals are a separate species that interbred with humans.

Therefore, as explained above, to determine whether humans ever had "perfect bodies" requires that we look into the future rather than to the past.


GAPS

Furthermore, the fossil record has countless gaps, requiring leaps of faith that intermediary species existed.

In the late 1970s some students (including myself) at Adelaide University noted the paucity of intermediate fossils in human origins and asked in the Zoology Department for something decisive.  

We received an article from Scientific American about Ramapithecus — Volume 236, 1977, Issue 5, 28-35. This "decisive" evidence, however, soon became a dud — Ramapithecus was exposed by paleontologists as not an ancestor of humans.

Did the evidence get better after 1977 and become "decisive"? No! We read in Scientific American in 2014: "scientists have had to revise virtually every chapter of the human story." (Wong 2014)

Nor is Genesis limited as Straughen claims to ancient, false beliefs. That planet Earth suffered catastrophes which covered it in water (Genesis 1:2) — something I knew in 1974 — is now confirmed by science. (Marshall 2014)

Imagine if Churches had accepted the error regarding Ramapithecus or the error that humans evolved from Neanderthals and reasoned: "The Bible is wrong; there is now no basis for our ministries, charities and good works and it should all be liquidated." Hundreds of millions of people would have suffered loss in education, prosperity, technology and medical care. They would have suffered for a delusion.


PURPOSE INDICATES DESIGN

As stated in #158 an alternative way to judge whether something is "designed", than by looking for supposed defects in its structure, is to consider how well as a whole it functions and whether it fulfils or potentially fulfills a purpose.

The Bible shows that humans are meant to be companions of God and rule all creation and reach heights where "nothing that they propose to do will be impossible." (Genesis 11:6) This implies mastery of the Universe and who knows what more! Perhaps future humans will master time travel and praise God in past and future eternity. (Jude 25 and II Peter 3:18)

Evolution adapts life to planet Earth. If humans can adapt to the whole Universe then humans were designed.


DISTINGUISH TWO KINDS OF DESIGN

Finally, don't confuse questions of bodily design with the "design" in the Universe as indicated by its "fine turning". In previous discussions we considered six reasons to believe God exists, of which one reason is the laws of physics and chemistry that run the Universe. (#157)

Those "finely tuned" laws made possible the existence of stars, planets, rocks, rain, wind, life, humans, natural selection and everything else that naturally exists. Such secondary things based on the original "fine tuning" may or may not come by intelligent intervention. The creation of a knife or computer, for example, requires intelligent manipulation of existing laws and matter, whereas rocks on a remote hillside came about without intelligent action.

The Bible suggests that creation — i.e. creation in the secondary sense by making products by applying the laws of physics and chemistry — can proceed slowly. God, for example, is said to have "created" Israel (Isaiah 43:15) as well as "all mortals" (Psalm 89:47) which were slow processes. Although I think the creation of Adam and Eve was quick, comparable to Homo Superior in the lab, I'm open to belief in a slower process.


REFERENCES

Investigator #83 Genesis, Creation and Evolution

Investigator #110 Genesis and Human Origins

Investigator #157 God's Existence Certain

Lawton, G. The Incredibles, New Scientist, 13 May, 2006, 32-37

Marshall, M. Seriously big rocks hit Earth's early life, New Scientist, 16 August, 2014, p. 11

The Bible NRSV

Wong, K. The Human Saga, Scientific American, September 2014, 20-31





Designed or Not - a Final Reply

Kirk Straughen

(Investigator 162, 2015 May)


As part of his argument that the human body is designed Anonymous (Inv. 161, pg. 38) claims that humans had superior bodies that have deteriorated due to original sin, and that this accounts for our biological imperfections such as the appendix being prone to infection, and goes on to say in connection to the lack of evidence for his claim:

"Absence of evidence can occur if something never happened or if the evidence has been lost."

This is all very well, but in order for us to consider that there is evidence that humans were perfect divine creations and that evidence for this has been lost, we must have reasonable grounds that humans were divinely created in the first place. In my opinion Anonymous has not presented any reasonable grounds for believing this is so.

It is important to remember that the idea of divine creation was the prevailing view. The reason why the scientific community, motivated by a search for truth, moved away from this belief is because the testimony of nature leads to evolutionary conclusions rather than the mythical account of human origins found in Genesis.

Of course Anonymous and other similar minded individuals are entitled to believe what they like, but because their beliefs are contrary to the consensus of experts, consensus that has been arrived at through over one hundred years of research and debate, it seems to me that creationism in all its forms is highly unlikely to be true.

Anonymous goes on to mention gaps in the fossil record. Do gaps disprove or weaken evolution? The answer is no they don't for the following reasons:

While it's true that there are gaps in the fossil record, this does not constitute evidence against evolutionary theory. Scientists evaluate hypotheses and theories by figuring out what we would expect to observe if a particular idea were true then seeing if those expectations are borne out. If evolutionary theory were true, then we'd expect there to have been transitional forms connecting ancient species with ancestors and descendents. This expectation has been borne out.

Palaeontologists have found many fossils with transitional features, and new fossils are discovered all the time. However, if evolutionary theory were true, we would not expect all of these forms to be preserved in the fossil record. Many organisms don't have any body parts that fossilize well, the environmental conditions for forming good fossils are rare, and of course, we've only discovered a small percentage of the fossils that might be preserved somewhere on Earth. So scientists expect that for many evolutionary transitions, there will be gaps in the fossil record. (1)

And again:

One of the issues most frequently raised by both creationist and intelligent design writers is the question of gaps in the fossil record. These writers assert that there are large, significant gaps, and that the conventional scientific picture of a smooth sequence of species through the ages is a myth. It is not entirely clear what proposition the creationist and intelligent design writers would insert in the place of evolution in this regard, but these criticisms are nonetheless prominently featured in their writings. Creationist Henry Morris, for instance, asserts that there are "systematic gaps" in the fossil record, and "There is no evidence that there have ever been transitional forms between these basic kinds." [Morris 2000, pg. 78-79]

In discussing this issue, one first must carefully define the context. Does one mean a "gap" that had been identified in Darwin's time, or one that was identified in the mid¬-twentieth century, or one that exists now? After all, at least one if not more transitional fossils have been found for virtually all gaps thought to exist in Darwin's day. Along this line, if one transitional fossil is found for a given gap, does that mean that two more gaps have suddenly appeared and must be filled (one on each side of the new fossil)? This is obviously a game that no amount of scientific research can ever fully satisfy…

Many significant transitional fossils have been found over the past few decades, filling "gaps" that once were thought to be well-nigh unbridgeable. In general, the paleontological (fossil) history of the earth is now much better understood than even a decade or two ago.

For example, creationists have long listed ichthyosaurs, namely dolphin-like reptiles that lived in the ocean during the age of dinosaurs, as a leading counter-example to evolutionary theory. Ichthyosaurs are hypothesized to have evolved from earlier terrestrial creatures that subsequently re-entered the water, yet until recently no transitional fossils were known. But in November 2014, a team of researchers from the U.S., Italy and China announced that they have discovered a perfect intermediate fossil, a 50 cm-long specimen that lived 248 million years ago. Unlike ichthyosaurs, this species had large flippers to facilitate walking on land like a seal. (2 & 3)

Concerning human evolution specifically: New Scientist recently published Issue 4 of their "New Scientist the Collection: The Human Story" — a 127 page anthology of new and updated articles on human origins. Nowhere does it mention evidence for a supernatural creation for the simple reason there is no evidence to support the idea.

New discoveries (as outlined in New to the Family, pg. 26 of Issue 4) are indeed forcing evolutionary biologists to rethink a crucial period in human evolution. This, however, is a refinement of our understanding rather than a disproof of the theory. Science works by modifying theories in the light of new evidence so we come to a closer understanding of the truth.

On page 40 Anonymous suggests that if rejection of the Bible's account of divine creation occurred that there would be no basis for good works. This is simply nonsense. Good works and charity don't depend on what the Bible says or doesn't say. Good works and charity spring from human nature itself, which transcends all religions.

Finally, for those wanting to know more about human evolution I recommend New Scientist's Human Evolution webpage:
http://www.newscientist.com/topic/human-evolution



Bibliography

(1) http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/misconceptions_faq.php#e4

(2) http://www.sciencemeetsreligion.org/evolution/fossils.php

(3) http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=11079

 



DESIGNED OR NOT Part 3

Anonymous

(Investigator 163, 2015 July)


DISCUSSION WIDENED

The disagreement about whether humans were designed has widened to include evolution, and Straughen (#162) claims:

…the testimony of nature leads to evolutionary conclusions rather than the mythical account of human origins found in Genesis.

My explanation of Genesis 1:2 as a description of Earth when the planet was ruined by an asteroid impact prior to the six days of creation, implies an old planet. (#38; #62)

The Bible's reference to God as "creator" of Israel (Isaiah 43:1-15), of "all mortals" (Psalm 89:47), and of new plantations and rivers (Isaiah 41:18-20) suggests, since such did not appear instantly, that "creation" can occur slowly.

That Genesis is not "myth" is seen because the description of Earth in 1:2 is now confirmed and probably happened multiple times. Mann (2014) for example reports a 3.26 billion-year-old impact by a 45km-wide object that "shook the planet … generating seismic waves and tsunamis…"

Consistent with belief in long time periods is what I stated years ago, that I accept evolution to the extent science demonstrates it.


FOUR PROBLEMS

Setting up a sequence of primate fossils that progressively look more human seems inadequate evidence of human origins for four reasons:

1 Fossils Cannot Demonstrate Creation

It is difficult to determine intelligent input or lack of it in human or other origins, solely from fossils.

Intelligent input to life on Earth by human efforts includes domestication of animals, selective breeding (Pell & Allen 2015), development of numerous new fruits and vegetables, and medical advances that permit millions of people who would previously have died to live and have children.

 If, however, we limit ourselves solely to fossil evidence then none of this could be attributed to planning or intelligence even though we know that planning and intelligence contributed.


Varieties produced by selective breeding are "intelligently designed" and would not otherwise exist. Evolution and design are therefore not the opposing and distinct concepts Straughen makes them out to be.

2 Evolution Is Not Contrary To Design

The same would be the case if "God created man in his own image". Fossils don't confirm or refute such a creation. As argued previously, if future geneticists create a superior human or "Homo superior" in the lab it would seem from the fossils that Homo superior is another branch on the "evolutionary tree" whereas his origin would be by creation.  

3 Errors, Doubts and Genesis

Human evolution gets regularly revised. I mentioned how the University's Zoology Department directed students to Ramapithecus in 1977, but Ramapithecus as our ancestor was later dismissed by paleontologists.

Sectarian pamphlets routinely mention Piltdown man (a manufactured hoax) and Nebraska man (an extinct pig). But errors are still happening. Barras (2014) reports:

One of our closest long-lost relatives may never have existed. The fossils of Australopithecus sediba, which promised to rewrite the story of human evolution, may actually be the remains of two species jumbled together.

A human evolution specialist writes:
"The latest salvo in the ongoing Homo floresiensis battle has placed the science of human evolution in deep conceptual crisis." He adds that human fossils are "exceedingly rare … and specimens are often incomplete or damaged… And, a single find can offer a major challenge, effectively sweeping away long-entrenched ideas." (Curnoe 2013)

What about the popular "out of Africa" hypothesis? Brahic (2014) writes:

The "out of Africa at 60,000 years ago" … is slowly being challenged as ancient bones are uncovered in the east.

And Barras (2013) reports:

There are even whispers that one of the most important evolutionary events of all — the appearance of our genus, Homo — may have occurred under Eurasian rather than African skies.

Discussion with Straughen on human origins in #109 to #114 (nine years ago) included "Mitochondrial Eve" and the 84,000-year difference between her and the common ancestor of all men.

The 84,000-year difference has now shrunk. Pilcher (2013) reports:


But new research at Stanford University suggests that Y-chromosomal Adam lived … between 120,000 and 156,000 years ago — roughly the same time as Mitochondrial Eve, who lived between 99,000 and 148,000 years ago.

The genetic "Adam and Eve" were not the Adam and Eve of the Bible, nor the only people on Earth. What we have are suggestive similarities between science and the Bible as follows:

1.    Both Eves were "the mother of all";
2.    Both Eves lived about the same time as an "Adam";
3.    Other people (now called Neanderthals and Denisovans) existed alongside the descendants of both Eves;
4.    All men descend from one human "father";
5.    No known fossils link humans to earlier hominids — this is true scientifically and also anticipated from Genesis.

Except for point "5" this evidence was unavailable in my University days. And since numerous other controversial biblical claims have turned out correct, why not expect more scientific support of Genesis in future?

In 2010 science identified "Denisovans" who died out 30,000 years ago and interprets them as a "sister group to Neanderthals". Denisovans interbred with early modern humans in SE Asia and 4% of the genome of Melanesian peoples is on average Denisovan. Marshall (2014) writes:

…the unexpected discovery of the Denisovans tells us … there is still a lot to learn about human evolution. Despite decades of research, we had missed an entire species…

That "there is still a lot to learn" is a good point.  

4 Gradual Morphing Dubious

How different were Neanderthals from Homo erectus, or humans from alleged predecessors? How many mutational steps are required to change one into the other?

Let's guess that morphing from one to another requires 200 mutational steps. To prove that the entire 200-step process occurred would require the discovery of fossils corresponding to all 200 steps.

Alternatively we could argue inductively: "We have fossils corresponding to five supposed steps [or whatever the number is]; therefore the other 195 steps also occurred."


Such an inductive argument presumes that progressive step-by-step conversion is possible whereas maybe it's not. I'll explain with an illustration:

Suppose an electronics technician tries to convert a radio into a computer by making step by step alterations. Suppose the technician can achieve the conversion through a sequence of 500 alterations. The question is: "Can he do the conversion in such a sequence as to leave every part of every in-between version of the radio/computer functional and useful? That is, do all 500 in-between stages have only functional and useful parts? I doubt that this is possible.

Judging from this analogy, all species should if they developed in stages have plenty of useless parts. Indeed evolutionists used to list hundreds of "vestigial organs", i.e. organs and structures that seemed to have no function. However, functions were later discovered — every organ in every healthy organism (and apparently every organelle in cells) contributes to survival and wellbeing!

To assume that all species evolved without divine intervention at any stage requires us to imagine the existence of billions of missing links. To infer billions of in-between varieties from the relatively-few discovered, takes induction (or faith?) to an extreme.

The paucity of predecessors is also true of genes. Pilcher (2013) writes:

When biologists began sequencing genomes, they discovered that up to a third of genes in each species seemed to have no parents or family of any kind. Nevertheless, some of these "orphan genes" are high achievers, and a few even seem to have played a part in the evolution of the human brain.


CHARITY

Straughen says:

Anonymous suggests that if rejection of the Bible's account of divine creation occurred that there would be no basis for good works. This is simply nonsense. Good works and charity don't depend on what the Bible says or doesn't say.

Straughen forgets that people often have reasons for doing what they do. For Bible believers the reasons for charity and other good works may include:

•    The example of Jesus;
•    Biblical commands to do good;
•    Sharing in bringing the "blessing to all the nations" announced in Genesis 18:18;
•    Demonstrating in small measure that the peaceful, prosperous world of Bible prophecy is possible (Isaiah 9:1-7; 11:1-9; 25:6-10).

Remove these reasons and millions of past and current ministries would not have happened.


CONCLUSIONS

Straughen and I discussed human origins in #86 to #90 and #109 to #113 and he has failed again to prove his beliefs.

As argued in #161 "design" is indicated if something fulfils a purpose. Humanity's purpose includes achieving Godlike powers where "Nothing will be impossible". (Genesis 11:6)

Evolutionists did not make this prediction.

Humanity's unlimited potential confirms our descent from humans designed "in the image of God".



REFERENCES:

Barras, C. Missing link may be a jumble of species, New Scientist, 12 April, 2014, p. 11

Barras, C. Our Asian origins, New Scientist, 11 May, 2013, 41-43

Brahic, C. Humanity's forgotten pioneers, New Scientist, 9 August 2014, p. 10

Curnoe, D. Hobbit Saga Highlights a Science in Crisis, Australasian Science, May 2013, 15-16

Mann, Adam
www.wired.com/2014/04/giant-asteroid-impact/

Marshall, M. Mystery relations, New Scientist, 5 April 2014, 34-38

Pell, R.W. & Allen, L.B. Bringing Post Natural History into View, American Scientist, May-June, 2015, 224-227

Pilcher, H. Genetic Adam and Eve lived around the same time, Focus, October 2013, p. 24

Pilcher, H. All alone, New Scientist, 19 January, 2013, 40-43.


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