The missing link—has it been found?
Question: "The missing link—has it been found?"
Answer: Every so often, news outlets irresponsibly report the sensational claim that someone somewhere has finally found “the missing link.” Such reports give people the false impression that science has, at long last, discovered the fossilized remains of a half-human, half-ape creature, thereby proving Darwin’s theory of evolution. In actual fact, no missing link has ever been found—it’s still missing. Plenty fossilized remains of prosimians, monkeys, apes, and humans have turned up, but no intermediate fossil between ape and man. Eager as Darwinists are to find the ever-missing missing link, they tend to zero in on any superficial aspect of a fossil that could possibly be interpreted as a mark of evolutionary transition from monkey to ape or ape to human. News organizations are then more than happy to publish sensational headlines, which are good for business.
Darwinius massillae, for example, was presented as a missing link. This fossil, also known as “Ida” (after the daughter of the Norwegian scientist who led the research team), looks exactly like a modern lemur except that she lacks the grooming-claw common to modern lemurs. Darwinists excitedly interpreted this to mean that Ida must have been an evolutionary transition from prosimian (the group to which lemurs belong) to monkey, since monkeys lack grooming-claws. This is not the only possible interpretation of the data, as we shall see, but it suits Darwinists just fine.
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 represents a missing link between a human and a fish? That would be the same rationale used by Darwinists concerning Ida. The fact is there are people born with hands but no arms, and they are all still 100 percent human. They suffer from a condition known as phocomelia, which can either be inherited or caused by prenatal exposure to the drug thalidomide.
Could it be that the fossilized lemur, instead of being a missing link, suffered from a deformity? It is entirely possible. But what is more sensational to report—the unearthing of a dead deformed lemur or the discovery of an exciting new species that fits somewhere within the presumed family tree of human evolution? If we go with the latter instead of the former, people could proclaim Ida as “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 Darwin devotees could claim victory once and for all. In fact, all of that happened in 2009—a lot of hype over one dead lemur with some missing body parts.
The news reports, in their elation over a possible missing link, also made a big deal of the fact that Ida has opposable thumbs and nails instead of claws, which are human characteristics. 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, the rush to declare a fossil a missing link happens with regularity. More examples could be given of mere fragments of bone and even pigs’ teeth that have been imagined into ape-men, sold to the public, and photographed for use in textbooks. Bones of 100 percent humans have been wrongly thrown together with the bones of 100 percent apes to create fanciful ape-men species. Diseased human skeletons have been distorted to look more ape-like and put on display.
Human anatomy has a wide range of potential variations, and these variations have been exploited and misinterpreted to suggest the existence of a missing link. 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 the traditional Aboriginal culture, led Darwinists in the 19th and 20th centuries to imagine that Aborigines were some kind of primitive ape-men. The Pygmies of Africa fared no better. Many were rounded up and put on display in cages as “proof” of evolution.
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 [apes that look human] . . . 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 states that the future, “more civilized” human will come from the Caucasian race and that the humans closet to apes are the Negroes and Australian Aborigines (despite the fact that Negroes, Aborigines, and Caucasians are all 100 percent human, while gorillas are 100 percent ape). Essentially, this is what modern Darwinists do with the Neanderthals. Neanderthals appear to have been just another race of humans with superficial, “ape-like” characteristics like those of the Australian Aborigines. Many Neanderthals appear to have suffered from pathological conditions like rickets, scurvy, syphilis, and arthritis that exacerbated their superficially ape-like characteristics. Everything we know about Neanderthals suggests that they were just as human as we are. They were skilled hunters, lived in complex societies, buried their dead, and practiced religion.
The bottom line is that deformities and variations within genomes involve the duplication, misplacement, loss, and/or reshuffling of preexisting genetic information. The process can be observed in the natural world, and its mechanisms are identifiable and understood. But the evolution of prosimians into monkeys or monkeys into apes or apes into humans would involve the introduction 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 find any solid evidence that it ever happened in the past. It is no wonder that the missing link is still missing.
Recommended Resource: Battle for the Beginning: Creation, Evolution, and the Bible by John MacArthur
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The missing link—has it been found?