Creative Science 30 – Filling in the Gaps

I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30 (NASB).

Although Evolutionists have presented various arguments as to why the gaps are not a big problem, they continue to hunt for a smoking gun to prove their case. Their quest is two fold – first to silence Creationists, second to remove lingering doubt in the minds of the public. A number of “missing links” have presented in an effort to fill in some of the gaps. While some are genuine and quite interesting, many fakes have created revenue and sensationalism with much less news of their later falsification.

In the 1860’s a fossil dubbed “archaeopteryx” was unearthed from a German quarry. Its unusual features include a tail resembling a lizard and unusual claws. It was first thought to be half-bird and half-reptile – the missing link from reptile to bird. Birds have a number of very distinct characteristics from reptiles including wings, feathers, wishbone, weight distribution, and so forth. Studies have proven this animal is a member of a now extinct group of birds and was not at all reptilian. Even using evolutionary index fossil dating, this particular bird is supposed to have lived later than its supposed progeny, not before. Although this was a genuine and fascinating find, it fails to fill any gaps.

Darwin’s tree of life and its supporters tell us fish grew legs and came on land. The problem is that there are no fish with leg precursors. The nearest such animal, the coelacanth, was thought extinct in the Mesozoic era until one was caught off the coast of Madagascar in 1938. It was found to have a body and bone structure identical to it’s supposedly millions of years old fossilized ancestors. This “prehistoric” fish does not have legs or any “precursor” to legs. That it lives today testifies to its uniqueness as a kind rather than its supposed place as a transitional creature.

A more recent example of a supposed transitional fossil, called Archaeoraptor, was presented in 1999 as part bird and part dinosaur. It was touted as clear evidence of a missing link until it was proven to be a fake. A Chinese paleontologist created it by gluing a dinosaur tail onto the fossil of a now extinct bird. Unfortunately many fake fossils are presented as new finds because they are very profitable.

In Florida another fossil was dubbed “bambiraptor.” It was a chicken sized dinosaur with what was purported to be turkey DNA. A reconstruction presented to the public used certain bird elements, such as eagle eyes, to make it appear more birdlike. The DNA evidence, it turns out, was actually contamination from a technician’s lunch.

Among the most interesting and compelling to the general public are fossils believed to represent the transition toward modern man from some pre-human ancestor. Of them, Java Man is thought to be the ultimate icon of missing links. Dutch scientist Eugene Dubois discovered Java Man in Indonesia in 1891/92. What he found was a skull fragment among some bones by a riverbank. Many people believe Java Man included a complete skull which was smaller than modern man’s. This idea was meant to prove earlier man had lower intelligence. Java Man actually included only a skullcap along with a few teeth and a femur. Analysis of the skullcap shows that while the bones were from a relatively small human, the brain capacity was well within modern norms.

Neanderthal has a more pronounced brow and slightly different head shape. There are a few dozen samples of these various skulls and other bones. These samples have all yielded brain sizes well within the normal range of modern humans. Other bones from these bodies, when found, have shown little if any other differences from modern man. The brow and skull differences could easily be explained by disease or, more likely in light of the biblical account, great age. The racial variation of homo erectus and especially Neanderthal compared to homo sapien have been wildly exaggerated in artistic renderings to promote the concept of Darwin’s tree. Examination of physical evidence shows the differences between these races are superficial.

Once the illusions are exposed and we are faced with the fact that early man is nothing other than early man, the next avenue is to pursue similarity between ape and man. Taxonomic classifications are based on clear distinctions between organisms of varying degrees of similarity. DNA similarity is also used as evidence for Evolution. In spite of the difficulty in DNA coming to be by Evolution, the relative similarity in DNA structure is what Evolutionists concentrate on. Ape DNA, we are often told, is about 99% similar to human DNA. This number is grossly exaggerated, based largely on similarities in specific certain similar genes. It does not consider the broader range of genetic material, interstitial DNA strands, and the incredible fact that humans and apes have a different number of chromosomes. It is interesting to note that using the same criteria, mouse DNA is also roughly 99% similar to human DNA. Obviously great similarity does not matter nearly as much as minute differences.

Darwin’s original “tree of life” was essentially just a spreadsheet. Earnst Haeckel, a contemporary of Darwin, published sketches of a tree with branches depicting various kinds of life with differences being more minute as you move from trunk to branch to twig. He based his research on the same sources used by Darwin and quickly capitalized on Darwin’s work when it was published. Haeckel then published a set of sketches as vivid proof of similarity of species at their earliest stages of development. The images showed embryos of a fish, salamander, tortoise, chicken, hog, calf, rabbit, and human side by side at three stages of development. The similarities are supposed to support his and Darwin’s tree of life sketches and the idea of common ancestry.

In the 1860s Haeckel’s drawings were proven false. Modern photographs of embryos of these creatures do not match Haeckel’s drawings. His drawings were deliberately doctored to misrepresent the real appearance of the embryos. Although thoroughly discredited, evolutionists persist in promoting this myth even today. The false images and romantic lore are compelling to impressionable minds.

Those who continue to promote Haeckel’s lie conveniently disregard the reasons why the embryo art is false. Embryo selections were “cherry picked” to give the closest appearance of similarity. There are several classes of vertebrates, yet Haeckel only used examples from a few that came closer to providing the desired result. He then compounded similarities by “editing” the pictures. Haeckel also claimed the images were from the earliest stages of embryonic development. That was also untrue. His drawings were based on mid-term development when the cells have begun to develop and grow, after the first several rounds of cell reproduction and before they begin to take on truly unique appearance. During this period there is greater similarity than either early cell division or the later obvious development of body structure.

Following in Haeckel’s footsteps, in 1996 Life published pictures of a human embryo at a stage that made it look as if the embryo had something resembling gills. Many modern biology books promote similar ideas about the appearance of the human embryo. Of course the folds of skin at a certain stage when the embryo is still doubled over itself may look a bit like gills, but it is a normal stage of embryonic development. Most of us have folds in our adult skin, but no one suggests those folds could be used for breathing under water.

In spite of all this, many modern textbooks still use Haeckel’s drawings or something similar as proof of evolution. Evolutionists who are aware of these problems still claim that while the details contain errors, the concept is still true. It is not true. Most textbooks used in high schools and college biology classes still support Haeckel’s concept if not the artwork itself. Haeckel’s basic argument was that similarity argues for evolution. Similarity of design is just as easily argued, but the argument of design is unacceptable in the modern classroom. Design also accounts for the differences, parallelisms, and other observations of nature where evolution fails. It is a travesty that science has been sacrificed on the altar of religious dogma – the religion of naturalism known as Darwinian Evolution. Perhaps the Lord’s brother, James, said it best when he said, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (Jas 1:27, ESV).


About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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