The Conversation has proclaimed “Life on Earth still favours evolution over creationism.” Despite worldwide “attack by creationists,” the essay claims modern discoveries in “comparative genomics, homeobox genes, and transitional fossils” demonstrate Darwin had it right all along.
Before getting to specifics, let’s consider how much unbiased, irrefutable information about the unobservable past we can glean from each of these areas of research. Here is the list:
Through comparative genomics, we learn that living things—designed as they are to live in the same world dependent on the same basic resources—have many similar genes. Our wise common Designer, the Creator God, naturally has used many of the same anatomical structures, physiological processes, and biochemical pathways to meet the needs of various kinds of living things.
Genomes are only records of what exists or what has existed, not of how any organism evolved into another.
When evolutionists see similar genes in organisms they believe to not be closely related, they admire the wonders of convergent evolution. When evolutionists see similar genes in organisms they believe are closely related—like chimpanzees and humans—they claim evidence of common ancestry. They dub the differences “mutations,” believing they are evolutionary footprints from their hypothetical common ancestor. Yet genomes are only records of what exists or what has existed, not of how any organism evolved into another.
The Conversation said, “Humans share 98.8% of their genes with chimpanzees.” DNA similarities are what we expect from a Common Creator. However, this number is not only out of date but also deceptive. Since the original estimates of similarity, subsequent estimates have gotten notably smaller. Additionally, many differences are not quantifiable. Read more about the deceptive nature of these numbers and the enormity of the actual differences in Dr. David Dewitt’s article “What About the Similarity Between Human and Chimp DNA?
Comparative genomics does reveal how much biodiversity can develop within each kind of living thing. Consider the varieties within the horse family, as we discussed in “Truth from Telegraph, the World’s Newest Zonkey.” The recently sequenced coffee genome may, as the various genes are linked to phenotypic traits, make it possible to engineer coffee plants with desired characteristics. Genomic analysis of Darwin’s finches has shown that speciation and even un-speciation can occur rapidly. Scientific observation shows that animals and plants and people all reproduce and vary within their created kinds, as we infer from Genesis chapter one that God created them to do.
The fossil record . . . does not demonstrate that any extinct apes evolved into humans.
This fossil record of “human evolution” contains a lot of fragments from extinct apes and a lot of fragments from extinct varieties of humans. But it does not demonstrate that any extinct apes evolved into humans. Neither does it demonstrate that ancient humans were less evolved than modern humans. Neither variation within an animal kind nor variation between humans is evidence of evolutionary “apes-to-us” transitions.
The effort to prove various extinct apes walked upright—fraught with difficulty since fossils are notoriously reluctant to walk—is strongly affected by observer bias. And even if an ape spent time walking around awkwardly on two legs, it would not thereby be able to acquire the genetic information to evolve into a new, more human-like creature.
Feel free to explore this website for more about some of the fossil evidence in the human evolutionary hall of fame. We have many articles about apes such as Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis), Karabo (Australopithecus sediba), Nutcracker man (Paranthropus boisei), and Taung Child (Australopithecus africanus). And we have many articles about humans such as Homo erectus, Neanderthals, Denisovans, Homo floresiensis, Homo heidelbergensis, and Homo antecessor. We even have articles about the difficulties of figuring out from extremely jumbled, diseased, and fragmentary bits of fossils just what or who bits of stony bones belonged to. There are, however, no articles on actual “ape-men” because not even a cute name can change an extinct ape into a human ancestor.
Apes—extinct and extant—are all variations descended from the kinds of apes God created about 6,000 years ago, the same day He created Adam and Eve, the parents of all human beings. And what about the genetics of those various humans? Well, of those for whom DNA has been recovered, it is clear these extinct varieties of humans like Neanderthals and Denisovans and fossilized people entombed in a Spanish cave are fully human.
Evolutionists believe they can trace all life backward by comparing fossils of living and extinct animals and even the genomes of living relatives of extinct animals. The essayist cites the genome of the lobe-finned coelacanth as evidence that terrestrial vertebrates evolved from its lobe-finned ancestors. But similar genes only illustrate that all vertebrates share a common Designer who provided them with certain common designs to meet some common needs. That’s not proof of evolution. (You can read more about the coelacanth’s genome in “Coelacanths: Evolutionists Still Fishing in Shallow Water.”)
Furthermore, the essayist asserts that the fossil record backs up the evolutionary conclusions about our shared past with the coelacanth’s ancestors. This is circular reasoning, for even the fossils do not show the transitions he claims, just various fish designed to function in their ecosystems. Learn more about this evolutionary rise from pool to school in Your Inner Fish, Your Inner Reptile, and Your Inner Monkey, Even the anatomy of fish raised on land remains altogether fishy in “Fish out of Water Said to Rise, Lift up Their Heads, and Walk.”
God has designed all living things with genetic information coded using the same genetic code. DNA is so complex that many of its secrets are only beginning to be discovered. Much of what used to be considered “junk DNA”—useless evolutionary leftovers—has actually, as biblical creationists have always suspected, been found to have a function. In fact, scientists have recently discovered that another so-called degenerate footprint of evolution in the genetic code is actually Genetic “Degeneracy” Goes the Way of “Junk” DNA.
The essayist makes much of homeobox (hox) genes—the genes that regulate development of structures like limbs, fins, and wings. These are genetic switches. They regulate when and where other genes become active. God, the common Designer of all, has used similar and even identical switches in many living things to govern formation of embryonic legs, wings, or fins. Geneticists can even use hox genes of one species to switch on genes in another species with some interesting results. See, for instance, “Jurassic Spark? Hatching Dinosaurs from Chicken Eggs?” “Scientists Rewind Evolution With Unique Chicken Embryo,” and “Developments in Fish Said to Show How Limbs Evolved.”
Evolutionists suppose that these genetic switches helped evolution along by turning on the genetic information for one animal to evolve into another. (Consider, for instance, “Fish Fins Are Not Fingers That Failed.”) However, switches can only switch on the information that is already there. Switches cannot produce the genetic information to become a new, more complex kind of animal.
These experiments do not demonstrate evolution, just the consistency of the genetic language used by God in the life He created. The switches themselves, and the way they interact with the properly orchestrated embryonic development of each kind of embryo, are an integral part of each kind of genome. The genome of an animal is not cobbled together like a Mister Potato Head toy.
The essayist spends a great deal of virtual ink on the supposed transitions between dinosaurs and birds. Debate on this subject is always made murkier by the fact that we have no living dinosaurs or living birds like Archaeopteryx to study. Therefore, many assumptions must be made. If a scientist already believes there must be a trail of transitions, then fossils with similar features are lined up with their differences as evidence of the prescribed transition. If a scientist does not assume molecules-to-man evolution happened, the same fossils simply reveal biodiversity.
Even the definitions become muddled in the face of evolutionary biases. Thus, some fossilized extinct birds with mature flight feathers are called dinosaurs on the basis of subtle bony traits, when in reality, if such a creature were sitting alive in front of us, we would doubtless exclaim, “Look at the bird!”
Some evolutionary scientists really think outside the box, blazing new ground by putting feathers on dino-anything!
At the same time, the essayist claims, “There are now some eight families of theropod dinosaurs known to have possessed feathers of all kinds.” Any fossil with fuzz or fibrils are called feathered, at least if evolutionary observers think it should have some. Some evolutionary scientists really think outside the box, blazing new ground by putting feathers on dino-anything! (See “Did All Dinosaurs Have Feathers?”) But dinosaurs and birds are very different kinds of animals. Trying to make chickens walk like T. rex or pretend that alligators breathe like birds doesn’t bridge the transitional chasm between these completely different sorts of creatures.
The classic transitional tale of terrestrial vertebrates hinges on Tiktaalik, an extinct lobe-finned fish about which we have recently written much to dispel imaginative evolutionary musings. (Have a look at “Did Tiktaalik’s Pelvis Prepare Fish to Walk on Land?”)
Acanthostega joins the transitional parade because it had digits, but Acanthostega is simply an extinct amphibian with a mosaic of traits. Living animal mosaics are not considered transitional forms, but extinct ones conveniently are. Evolutionists do not generally consider Acanthostega to be an amphibian because its place in the fossil record violates their presupposition about when amphibians evolved. (It seems to be too early, which simply means it is too deep.) Furthermore, living amphibians routinely transition between water and land, but they remain the same kind of animal. These living transitions do not recapitulate evolutionary transitional history.
Evolutionists nevertheless look to the water not only to see how animals supposedly learned to walk on land but also to see how the face and jaw evolved. Whether trying to make the evolutionary leap to arthropods or vertebrates, none of the evolutionary missing links actually demonstrates any sort of evolutionary transition, just varieties of functional anatomical designs suited for the animals in question.
Cambrian and Ediacaran fossils are enigmatic for evolutionists because they represent the sudden appearance of countless complex life forms in the fossil record without the simpler older ancestral forms needed to explain their existence. Nevertheless, with evolutionary confidence the essayist writes, “Finding a mammal in the Cambrian Period or a dinosaur in the Devonian Period would instantly disprove evolution.” But when we consider the Cambrian Explosion in light of the history of the Earth documented in God’s Word, this statement sounds quite silly.
The fossil record testifies to the truth of the Genesis record.
The fossil layers above Pre-Cambrian rock are easily understood as sediment that was deposited in the early upheavals of the global Flood.1 As the “fountains of the great deep” (Genesis 7:11–24) opened, the first habitats to be destroyed would have been those undersea realms wherein the creatures we see entombed in Ediacaran and Cambrian rock were living. Subsequently, additional marine habitats were destroyed, and as destruction spread, sediment-bearing tsunami-like waves raked the land, water levels rose, and habitats into which land-dwelling animals like dinosaurs would have been trying to escape were destroyed. The amazing preservation of soft tissue details and the tracks of animals deep in the fossil record attest to such rapid burial. The fossil record testifies to the truth of the Genesis record.
Finally, the essayist closes “The Conversation” by citing “irrefutable evidence for the reliability of evolution” in fossil fuel deposits. Yet coal, natural gas, and petroleum deposits are not testimonials to evolution. On the contrary, the presence of carbon-14 with its short 5,730-year half-life in coal, diamonds, and “ancient” fossils supposedly spanning over 500 million years is strong evidence against the supposed enormous timescale upon which evolutionists depend!
The Conversation claimed “life on Earth still favours evolution” but in reality it never did, and it still doesn’t. The observations of science continue to be consistent with the true history of life on Earth as recorded in the Word of God, the Creator of all that exists.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.