On Sunday evening, the American TV network CBS—on its premier news program, 60 Minutes—aired a highly speculative segment on the controversial Indonesian fossil find called “Flores Man.” (For more background regarding the specifics of this alleged new species of man in the evolutionary timeline, please see “Hobbits” Were True Humans!)
During the opening minutes of the program, the CBS correspondent declared that “We Homo sapiens have been the only ones on the block for such a long time,” adding that we arrived on the scene 200,000 years ago, and that by 30,000 years ago “all the other guys” (Neanderthal Man and Homo erectus) had disappeared. As is often the case with the media, there is no preamble to such claims that would hint that there is no unanimity about these beliefs.
Since the bones were in a soft, damp condition, it is highly unlikely that they could be anywhere near as old as is claimed.
The Hobbit (aka “Flores Man”) supposedly lived 18,000 years ago (and perhaps even much more recently). There was no mention of the dating method researchers used to determine their age of the remains; any way, the public generally will accept dates on the evolutionary timeline without questioning the dating methods (especially if radiometric dating is involved—see Doesn’t Carbon-14 Dating Disprove the Bible? for details). In fact, since the bones were in a soft, damp condition, it is highly unlikely that they could be anywhere near as old as is claimed, anyway.
A visual representation (created by graphic artists) was shown of what the Hobbit probably looked like. In typical fashion, great artistic license was taken in making the outward appearance (particularly of the face) look very ape-like, with much hair on the body. These artistic notions of what the individual’s soft tissue features looked like are not based on any actual evidence.
The most interesting characteristic of Flores Man is the small size of his frame and the apparent small brain size (about 1/3 that of a typical human being). “60 Minutes” mentioned that on islands such as Flores, and over the millennia, small animals get larger “so they can survive better” and large animals get smaller, “so they can live on less food.” The broadcast implied that the same happened to Flores Man (i.e., he got smaller to be able to live on less food). A viewer might gain the impression that these changes are volitional, that the creatures are striving to change in order to give themselves (and their offspring) a significant advantage in the “survival of the fittest” game. Many of us have seen countless programs on evolution in which changes are described in this manner. In reality, this is just another example of natural selection at work, which, contrary to popular belief, cannot be an adequate mechanism for molecules-to-man evolution (see Q&A: Natural Selection).
Much evidence on the program was given about the intelligence of Flores Man (e.g., his tools, use of fire, ability to collectively hunt, and a mention of how intricately wired his brain was: “packed with intelligence”). This certainly was no “primitive apeman.” In fact, some evolutionist experts themselves argue strongly that this was a modern human who had a brain-shrinking disorder (called microcephaly). AiG’s previous “hobbit” web articles discuss this view, but tends to favor the view (pending more evidence and analysis) that this was not a one-off, but a smaller version of Homo erectus. And although evolutionists try to classify erectus as a separate species, even some evolutionist experts would argue (and most creationists would agree) that it is really the same species as modern man, i.e., a variety of Homo sapiens.
In fact, as one of the AiG web articles showed, northern Australia and the whole Indonesian region are known to have had groups of “little people” living there in modern times. One of the Indonesian scientists involved with the Flores find has in the last few days announced the discovery of a group of pygmy humans in the vicinity of the Flores Man find.1
When it comes to whether or not to classify Flores Man as a new human species, the evolutionary tendency is to say, “Yes.” Otherwise the find would lose its evolutionary significance, which is meant to be that “other human species evolved and co-existed with us.” The lead Australian researcher of Flores Man concluded on the CBS broadcast that there are “obviously many more branches to the human tree than we suspected” and that this find is “definitely going to change our worldview of ourselves.” In other words, one more blow to the idea that man was uniquely and specially created in God’s image.
The final verdict may be out for a while yet as to whether Flores Man was a pygmy version (or indeed a pathological specimen) of modern man, or was a pygmy version of Homo erectus. But as we have already seen, this makes little difference to the obvious conclusion that the remains discovered were of a fully intelligent descendant of Adam. As Genesis 1 points out, therefore, he/she was made in the image of God, notwithstanding the desperate attempts by evolutionists to convince themselves that a “separately evolved human species” has been discovered. So it is no surprise that there is so much evidence on the site of intelligent human activity. Even the ability to get to the island in the first place requires advanced seafaring and navigational skills!
For a great resource dealing with alleged human evolution, read Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils by Marvin Lubenow and see numerous other articles in the Q&A: Anthropology and Apeman section of this website, including the one mentioned earlier specifically on Flores Man/the Hobbit.