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A fossilized skeleton discovered in 2000 received significant press this week due to its new status as a “missing link.” The fossil was found embedded in sediment and scientists have spent the past several years carefully removing the bones, a process still incomplete.
The fossil, nicknamed “Selam,” has drawn attention because of its classification as an Australopithecus afarensis (which includes the famous “9580” skeleton), and because Selam is estimated to have been only three when she died.
One of the more interesting aspects of the find is that scientists believe Selam was buried rapidly by floodwaters. (See our Q&A on fossils to learn about how the Flood created most of the fossil record.)
Scientists believe A. afarensis such as Selam were missing links because of skeletal indications that they were upright walkers, whereas many other features are distinctly ape-like, including the shoulder blades, neck, organ of balance in the inner ear, fingers and hyoid bone (which attaches to muscles of the tongue).
Of course, even if this creature did walk upright, as some believe, this provides no indication that humans evolved from it. Similarity in features or behavior is as much evidence of common design as it is of common descent.
An upcoming article on www.AnswersInGenesis.org will take an in-depth look at Selam, and the conclusions anthropologists can extrapolate based on individual skeletons.
A diving discovery of more than 50 new marine species off the coast of Indonesia made headlines early this week, along with the announcement that one of the newly discovered animals was a “walking shark,” which hints at evolutionist's ideas of a fish-to-amphibian transitional form:
Biologists studying these sharks suggest they could serve as models for the first animals that moved from marine environments onto land[.]
First of all, most news articles refer to “walking” sharks, with quotation marks around walking, to clarify that these sharks are not actually bearing weight on their fins, but rather simply appear to be walking. In the water, animals can propel themselves through the water without having to directly support their weight (since they're surrounded by liquid); on land, limbs must support the weight of an animal's body against gravity. As can be seen in a video, the shark is using fins in a unique way-but could not walk onto shore with much success. For legs to evolve from fins, the addition of significant muscle and bone mass-all organized properly with respect to the skeletal and muscular system-would be required.
Second, there is no reason at this point to believe that these sharks' abilities represent an increase in genetic information, which would be required for molecules-to-man evolution to occur. Instead, this could be similar to a macaque who walked exclusively upright due to health problems. But this unusual behavior (presuming-for good reason-no increase in genetic information) is nothing like evolution unless one accepts the long-discredited theory of Lamarckism, which theorized that use/disuse resulted in evolution (for example, postulating that a man who spent his time bodybuilding would have offspring who were more muscular).
As with other transitional forms, one must presuppose the evolutionary worldview in order to accept a form as transitional-otherwise, there is no way to know if it is truly the descendent of a simpler organism.
Cincinnati Post religion writer Kevin Eigelbach took issue with a recent Answers Update e-newsletter (a free, weekly Answers in Genesis mailing), alleging-among other things-that the e-newsletter implied evolutionists couldn't be Christians. Eigelbach sarcastically asks:
[W]ho am I to speak, since in AIG's view, the devil has blinded me to the truth and I refuse to submit to God?
Eigelbach is referring to the closing comments of the September 2nd Answers Update:
But the evidence from the rock layers fits with what the Bible tells us concerning the judgment of the Flood. It is obvious these layers were laid down catastrophically, not slowly. But evolutionists deliberately choose to ignore the obvious-why? They have been blinded by the god of this world and don't want to submit to the God of the Bible!
Answers in Genesis is merely pointing out that if the evidence clearly points to a global flood, and evolutionists ignore the obvious, then it must be because the evolutionists are being influenced by something unscientific (after all, scientists are “supposed to” accept whatever the evidence points to, right?). What reason would there be for a scientist to reject something that the evidence points to? The answer is that a different worldview is influencing these scientists-one that does not honor God and whose root is a deception that ultimately 9897.
Furthermore, Mr. Eigelbach states that the passage the e-newsletter concerned, in 2 Peter 3, “refers to the Second Coming of Jesus,” and “doesn't concern evolution at all.” Now, it is certainly true that the passage does deal with the Second Coming. But read verses 4-7:
“Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:4-7)
Quite obviously, that passage is discussing eschatology. But does this mean it has nothing to do with creation or the Flood? The passage clearly states that people willingly forget two things-“that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water,” and that “the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.” In other words, people “deliberately choose to ignore the obvious” when it comes to creation and the Flood and “are blinded,” as we stated in the September 2nd Answers Update (see also Ephesians 4:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4).
Does Answers in Genesis believe evolutionists can't be Christians. No-see 12323, but we do clearly state in our Statement of Faith that:
The doctrines of Creator and Creation cannot ultimately be divorced from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thus, in short, our stance on the issue is that a Christian can believe in evolution, but that such a belief contradicts the foundation of the faith and can quickly lead to compromising on the rest of God's Word. For more details, see Creation: Why It Matters.
The debate over origins instruction in schools is heating up again-this time in Michigan. Although Answers in Genesis does not involve itself in legal efforts to change public school curricula, we do support more open origins instruction in public classrooms, rather than the evolution-only dogma now presented as fact.
Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn't catch last week's News to Note, why not take a look at it now? See you next week!
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