The Missing Link - has it been found?
Question: "The Missing Link - has it been found?"
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Battle for the Beginning: Creation, Evolution, and the Bible by John MacArthur.
Every so often, news outlets irresponsibly report the sensational claim that someone somewhere has finally found “the missing link.” This gives people the false impression that some scientist somewhere has, at long last, discovered the fossilized remains of some kind of half-human, half-apelike creature (thereby proving Darwin’s theory). In actual fact, no such fossil has ever been found. All that has ever been found are the fossilized remains of prosimians, monkeys, apes and humans. But, eager as they are to find the ever-missing “missing link” and lay the controversy to rest, Darwinists tend to hone in on any superficial aspect of a fossil that they could possibly interpret as a mark of evolutionary transition from monkey to ape, or from ape to human, and news organizations are more than happy to print sensational headlines (which, needless to say, are good for business).
Take Darwinius massillae for example, the fossil discovery also known as “Ida” (after the daughter of the Norwegian scientist who led the research team). Ida looks exactly like a modern lemur except that she lacks the tooth-comb and grooming-claw common to modern lemurs. Darwinists excitedly interpreted this to mean that she must have been an evolutionary transition from prosimian (the group to which lemurs belong) to monkey, since monkeys don’t have tooth-combs or grooming-claws (and neither does Ida). This is not the only possible interpretation, as we shall see, but it suits Darwinists just fine. And it is sensational, of course, which suits the media as well.
Now, what happens if we find a man born with hands but no arms, so that his hands are attached directly to his shoulders? Should we believe that he is evolving into a fish? That would seem to be the same rationale being used here by Darwinists. The fact is there are people born with hands but no arms and they are all still 100% human. They are known as “phocomeli.” They suffer from “phocomelia,” a condition which can either be inherited or caused by prenatal exposure to the drug thalidomide.
Could it be that just as phocomeli suffer from a terrible deformity, so, too, did this fossilized lemur? It is entirely possible. But what would be more sensational to report—the discovery of the fossilized remains of a dead deformed lemur or the finding of an exciting new species that might fit somewhere within the presumed family tree of human evolution? In fact, if we go with the latter instead of the former, people could make outrageous claims like it’s “the eighth wonder of the world…” Google could incorporate Ida’s image into their logo for a day… headlines could proclaim that we’ve finally found the missing link… and eager Charles Darwin devotees could claim victory once and for all, all of which actually happened with Ida in 2009, all because of one dead lemur with two missing body parts.
The news reports also made a big deal out of the fact that Ida has opposable thumbs and nails instead of claws, which are human characteristics, but they didn’t bother to mention that modern lemurs also have opposable thumbs and nails instead of claws, so those features have no evolutionary significance whatsoever.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Example after example could be given of mere fragments of bone and even pig’s teeth that have been imagined into ape-men, sold to the public and placed in textbooks. Bones of 100% humans have been wrongly categorized with the bones of 100% apes to create non-existent, ape-men species. Diseased human skeletons have been distorted to look more ape-like and put on display. Even the wide range of potential anatomical variations among humans has been misinterpreted, not only among dead human specimens but among living humans as well.
Modern Australian Aborigines, for example, are known for their deep-set eyes, short faces, heavy brow ridges and large, jutting jaws. These so-called ape-like features coupled with their traditional Stone Age culture led Darwinists of the 19th and 20th centuries to imagine that they were some kind of primitive ape-men. The pygmies of Africa fared no better. Many were rounded up and put on display in cages.
Some 19th- and 20th-century Darwinists thought that all non-Caucasian people were ape-like and therefore inferior to whites. Darwin himself wrote that “at some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes...will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla” (Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 2nd ed., John Murray, London, p. 156, 1887).
Notice how Darwin coupled Negroes and Australian Aborigines with gorillas and contrasted them with Caucasians (despite the fact that Negroes, Aborigines and Caucasians are all 100% human, while gorillas are 100% ape). Essentially, this is what modern Darwinists do with groups like the Neanderthals. Neanderthals appear to have been just another race of humans with superficial “ape-like” characteristics like the Australian Aborigines. They appear to have suffered from pathological conditions like rickets and arthritis which exacerbated their superficial ape-like characteristics (rickets is a vitamin D deficiency which softens the bones and can cause people to hunch over). Not only can humans be born with “ape-like” traits like heavy brow ridges and large, jutting jaws, but pathologies like cephalic disorders, syphilis, scurvy and rickets can make them look even more ape-like later in life. But everything we know about Neanderthals suggests that they were just as human as modern-day Australian Aborigines. They were skilled hunters, lived in complex societies, buried their dead, and practiced religion.
The bottom line is, deformities and variations within genomes involve the duplication, misplacement, loss and/or reshuffling of preexisting genetic information and are observed in the natural world and have mechanisms that are identifiable and understood. But the evolution of prosimians into monkeys or monkeys into apes or apes into humans would involve the addition of new genetic information into a genome, a process that has never been observed in nature and whose mechanisms have not been identified by scientists. It’s no wonder, then, that we cannot seem to find any real, solid evidence that it ever happened in the past. It is no wonder that the missing link is still missing.
While he is not the author of every article on GotQuestions.org, for citation purposes, you may reference our CEO, S. Michael Houdmann.
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The Missing Link - has it been found?