The Meaning of Life: Does Evolution Explain Human Origins?
In our exploration of the meaning of life, we have determined that God created the universe and man. But the world proposes that evolution, not God, created mankind. So this and the following post will examine some scientific arguments refuting evolution. (After that, we’ll leave science behind.)
Darwin’s Descent of Man Theory says that mankind was created by unguided, random processes, not by God. According to this we evolved gradually over time through a progression of bipedal hominids—apes, if you will. If this is true, then God, if he exists at all, is only a bystander.
To answer this theory we will present two (out of many) reasons why this theory is untrue. In the process we’ll present some surprising evidence supporting the truth of the Bible. We are indebted to Rich Deem’s marvelous website for some of this material.
1) Biochemical studies.
When geneticists studied mitochondrial DNA and the Y-chromosome, they determined that homo sapiens descended from just a few individuals in one location. (See Rich Deem’s study references, below.) Their method looked first at mitochondrial DNA, nearly all of which comes from mothers. Likewise, they examined a Y-DNA gene passed down only by fathers. Using these markers, researchers measured mutation rates across generations to determine the dates of modern man’s most recent common ancestors. If we take the average of the studies, what are the results?
a) Mankind had a common female ancestor less than about 50,000 years ago.
b) Mankind had a common male ancestor about 43,000 years ago.
This result came from the largest, most accurate study and used a very large piece of the Y chromosome (18,300 base pairs). It came up with a range from 37,000 to 49,000 years ago for a common male ancestor. A date in the middle would suggest about 43,000 years ago.
Three independent studies using different techniques all confirm that modern humans arose less than 100,000 years ago. Yet the evolution of man theory requires millions of years, not the short periods above. Note also, the correspondence of the above two dates to the biblical text:
a) Noah would have been the common male ancestor of all humans. The men on the ark were his sons, but the women all came from different families.
b) Eve would have the common female ancestor.
What does this tell us? The data supports the Bible, not the evolution of man.[Study references:
* R.L. Cann, M. Stoneking, A.C. Wilson. 1987. Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution. Nature 325: 31.
* L. Vigilant, M. Stoneking, A.C. Harpending, K. Hawkes, A.C. Wilson. 1991. African populations and the evolution of human mitochondrial DNA. Science 253: 1503.
* M. Hasegawa, S. Horai. 1991. Time of the deepest root for polymorphism in human mitochondrial DNA. J. Mol. Evol. 32: 37.
* Stoneking M, Sherry ST, Redd AJ, Vigilant L. 1992. New approaches to dating suggest a recent age for the human mtDNA ancestor. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 337: 167-175.
* Whitfield, L.S., J.E. Suston, and P.N. Goodfellow. 1995. Sequence variation of the human Y chromosome. Nature 378: 379-380.
* S. Paabo. 1995. The Y chromosome and the origin of all of us (men). Science 268: 1141.
* R.L. Dorit, H. Akashi, W. Gilbert. 1995. Absence of polymorphism at the ZFY locus on the human Y chromosome. Science 268: 1183.
* Hammer, M.F. 1995. A recent common ancestry for human Y Chromosomes. Nature 378: 376-378.]
2) Neanderthal DNA .
Evolutionists have always considered Neanderthal “man” as mankind’s most recent common evolutionary ancestor. So it’s interesting that Mitochondrial DNA has been recovered from five different Neanderthal specimens. Analysis showed that this DNA was so different from modern and ancient humans that the study’s authors concluded Neanderthal man could have made no contribution to the human gene pool. (See study reference, below.)
Neanderthals lived between 400,000 and 28,000 years ago and were the only bipedal hominid whose species overlapped with homo sapiens. The analysis of one sample was dated to 29,000 years ago—only 1,000 years before the last Neanderthal disappeared. If Neanderthals and humans had interbred, one should have expected to see this in the last remnants of the Neanderthals. It’s also interesting that all five fossils were separated geographically by over 2,500 km, showing that the Neanderthals were a homogeneous species and not “evolving” separately.[Study references:
* Adcock, G.J., E.S. Dennis, S. Easteal, G.A. Huttley, L.S. Jermiin, W.J. Peacock, and A. Thorne. 2001. Mitochondrial DNA sequences in ancient Australians: Implications for modern human origins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 98: 537-542
* Bowler, J. M., Johnston, H., Olley, J. M., Prescott, J. R., Roberts, R. G., Shawcross, W., and Spooner, N. A. 2003. New ages for human occupation and climatic change at Lake Mungo, Australia. Nature 421: 837-840.
* Krings, M., A. Stone, R. W. Schmitz, H. Krainitzki, M. Stoneking, and S. Paabo. 1997. Neandertal DNA Sequences and the Origin of Modern Humans. Cell 90: 19-30.
* Ovchinnikov, I.V., A. Gotherstrom, G. P. Romanovak, V. M. Kharitonov, K. Liden, and W. Goodwin. 2000. Molecular analysis of Neanderthal DNA from the northern Caucasus. Nature 404: 490-493.]
To be fair the studies mentioned above were done before a recent one claiming that Neanderthals and humans interbred. But when you read the criticism of that study, it appears their samples may have been contaminated by the researchers’ DNA. There is also this analysis of the study from a contributor on Wikipedia: “While Noonan et al. were unable to definitively conclude that interbreeding between the two species of humans did not occur, they proclaim little likelihood of it having occurred at any appreciable level. The study failed to reject the notion of a 0% contribution of Neanderthal DNA to the modern European gene pool.”
The headlines scream, “Man interbreeds with Neanderthal.” But the buried details say, “Wait a minute. Maybe not.”
Next time we’ll look at why chance is a highly improbable explanation for the origin of any life, human or otherwise.