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Originally published in Creation 13(4):4, September 1991
Some of the most inconclusive and misleading reports ever published fall into the category of alleged evolutionary breakthroughs.
English journalist and novelist George Orwell said: ‘Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.’
Orwell was exaggerating of course. He had no way of knowing every fact in every newspaper to judge whether it was correct or not. And journalists who subscribe to their industry’s code of ethics should at least be able to produce unbiased news reports.
But it would be interesting to test Orwell’s conclusion against reports over the years dealing with claims of potential breakthroughs in evolution. Some of the most inconclusive and misleading reports ever published fall into the category of alleged evolutionary breakthroughs.
One which we recently featured in Creation magazine was the blatantly misleading story about ‘Nebraska man’, which appeared in The London Illustrated News of June 24, 1922. Only a single worn tooth of a pig had been unearthed, but the newspaper told readers ‘the earliest man’ had been found. Despite lack of agreement among scientists, the headline said it was an ‘astounding discovery’ of human remains. Only after some years was it revealed that the tooth was actually a pig’s.
Such ‘missing link’ claims appear in newspapers regularly. For instance, Melbourne’s Sunday Herald-Sun of June 23, 1991, headlined a story: ‘Missing link’ found. Most readers, conditioned to accept evolution as fact, would surely imagine from that headline that something like a part-ape, part-man had been discovered. The story seems to reinforce the theory of evolution, or even put it beyond dispute.
But all that was found in this case was a fossilized piece of jawbone in Namibia which contained a few teeth.But all that was found in this case was a fossilized piece of jawbone in Namibia which contained a few teeth. It wasn’t a creature which clearly linked man and ape-like animals at all. The report in fact tones down its claim later in the story by saying the jawbone belonged to an animal that ‘may have been’ man’s ancestor. The discoverer said this animal ‘probably’ walked on all four feet and ‘probably’ had a long back sloping upwards. That’s nothing definite, yet the newspaper headline said of these few teeth that the ‘missing link’ had been found.
If the ‘missing link’ which allegedly proves man and ape have evolved from the same animal has been found, why not stop the search? The reason is that none of these ‘missing link found’ headlines is accurate, yet they are surprisingly common. The average reader should realize they’re not accurate, because they continue to appear year after year. If all readers of such stories stopped to analyse exactly what was found, and question just which parts of the alleged evolutionary chain each ‘link’ was supposed to join, there would be fewer convinced evolutionists among the general public.
Our Focus section in this issue of Creation magazine reports several of the latest ‘missing link’ news items. Hardly a month goes by without some news report of an evolutionary ‘missing link’ discovery, for either humans or other creatures. Typically, the find is said to be potentially enlightening for a better understanding of the theory of evolution. But that’s as far as it ever goes. In time they all lose credibility as ‘missing link’ candidates. ‘Piltdown man’, Neanderthal man, Cro-magnon man, ‘Java man’, coelacanths, Archaeopteryx, ‘Lucy’, Ramapithecus, ‘Nebraska man’…the list of discarded or disputed ‘missing links’ reads like a Who’s Who of fossil bloopers and practical jokes.
Newspaper reporters have to get their information from somewhere of course. And reporting the discovery of a ‘missing link’ attracts more attention than reporting the discovery of an old legbone or a tooth no one can identify with certainty. But the truth is that evolutionary ‘missing links’ will always be missing. The theory of evolution is incapable of finding the link to prove how everything could evolve from nothing, how life could evolve from non-life, or how one kind of creature could evolve into a completely different kind when it doesn’t have the genetic coding to do so.
What’s missing from the thinking of those who write newspaper reports which deal with these subjects is the recognition that the Book of Genesis may be correct when it tells us how everything came into existence, how life came from non-life, how long it took, and how various kinds of animals appeared fully formed on earth right from the beginning. The part that is missing from such news reports is the part about God the Creator.
The Bible tells us that all things were created by and for Jesus Christ. If the Bible is correct on this, it is also correct in telling us that Jesus Christ is the link between sinful man and a righteous God. That is the link which is missing in so many lives. It is the Good News which also needs to be correctly reported.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.