Human Origins Icon Human Origins

Neo-Darwinism and the Big Bang of Man’s Origin 

Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig

human origins

When law professor Phillip E. Johnson1 was asked whether he wouldn’t be “a bit out of [his] element” writing about evolution, neo-Darwinism,2 and intelligent design, he gave the following intriguing answer. It is acutely relevant for all readers and researchers who are interested in the origin of man but who are not paleoanthropologists: 

Well, if I am out of my element then Charles Darwin must also have been out of his element because his training was in medicine and theology3 although he was, in fact, a very good scientist, self-taught, a gentlemen amateur like others of his time. Charles Lyell, the father of modern geology, was a lawyer. But you know, the thing about Darwinian evolution today is that it is a general philosophical concept that connects many disparate fields of science. So that you see, a molecular biologist [is] relying on fossil experts, paleontologists, and vice versa. And they are all relying on geneticists and each one of these groups of scientists outside their own element is just a generalist, is just a layman like anyone else. So there aren’t really any specialists in evolution. It’s a generalist’s country.

He could have mentioned as well the Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel4, often called “the father of genetics,” and many others in biology up to the present5. A further statement by Johnson is all the more relevant for the general reader, as well as for any philosopher, scientist, or other researcher:

The other thing to be said about the outsider is that every one of the great authorities of Darwinism, from Charles Darwin and T. H. Huxley at the beginning, through Dobzhansky, Simpson, Julian Huxley a generation ago, to Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins and so on today, is that every one of those authorities wrote books for the general public. They addressed the general public and not a single one of them ever said “this evidence is inaccessible to you. Don’t try to figure it out because you can’t understand it.” Indeed, the implied premise of all the books was, it’s easily understood and anyone who isn’t completely prejudiced or ignorant can see that it’s obviously true. So, I like to think of myself as the reader for whom all those books were intended and I’m speaking back to the authors and explaining to them what they overlooked, that, in fact, their books are not convincing because they’re assuming at the beginning of the inquiry the point that they claim to have demonstrated at the end and so there is a thinking flaw…. [Emphasis added.]6

Simply put, the proponents of the ruling theory tell us that we are all undoubtedly intelligent enough to fully grasp their theory, as long as we concur with it. But we are nothing but totally unqualified outsiders if we raise critical questions concerning any of its basic tenets, or if we come to the conclusion that it is mostly wrong. Applying this method to Johnson himself, an evolutionist wrote in Wikipedia: “Despite having no formal background in biology, he felt that he could add insight into the premises and arguments.”7 Nevertheless, if an intelligent outsider has honestly and painstakingly checked an argument and raises fundamental questions and objections, he should also be taken seriously.

So, let’s reject this self-contradictory yardstick of neo-Darwinism, and reassess the theory. In particular, let us check and investigate some important points on the origin of humans.

The Dominant Theory of Evolution

According to today’s dominant theory of evolution — neo-Darwinism, also called “the synthetic theory of evolution” or the “modern synthesis” — humans have evolved gradually from extinct apes. This process occurred through natural selection of an almost endless array of mutations with “slight or even invisible effects on the phenotype” (in the words of Mayr, one of the architects of the modern synthesis), or phenotypically, exactly as in Darwin’s formulations of his theory between 1859 and 1882 by “innumerable slight variations,” “extremely slight variations,” and “infinitesimally small inherited variations.”8

This key point of the theory, its bottom line, core, and essence, even “the same yesterday, and today and forever”9 — gradualism in combination with omnipotent natural selection10 — can hardly be overemphasized. Thus I would like to continue to point out that Darwin correspondingly imagined the origin of species (and, in fact, of all life forms) by selection of “infinitesimally small changes,” “infinitesimally slight variations,” and “slow degrees.” He hence imagined “steps not greater than those separating fine varieties,” “insensibly fine steps” and “insensibly fine gradations,” “for natural selection can act only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a leap, but must advance by the shortest and slowest steps,” or “the transition [between species] could, according to my theory, be effected only by numberless small gradations”11 (emphasis added). Virtually the same is said by neo-Darwinists today.12

How many transitional links are then required on the assumed evolutionary road to humans? How many, in fact, must actually and historically have existed during the last approximately 17 million years of geologic time, as stipulated for the last common ancestor of humans and great apes?13

Well, on the basis of the ruling theory: Certainly millions! In Darwin’s own words in the Origin (which are yet fully up-to-date) “the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, [must] be truly enormous,” and “the number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have been inconceivably great.” And of these millions of links, a few suggestive representatives have been shown by a popular image like the following one14 (presented with small variations almost worldwide). It is a faulty caricature, which is nevertheless thought to be sufficient to convey to the uninformed reader ad oculus the gradual origin of humans:

However, the unavoidable implication of the theory is, of course, that not only “truly enormous” and “inconceivably great” numbers of transitional links must have existed for the postulated continuum, but also infinite numbers of intermediate links on the extinct side branches. This is hinted by the only illustration in Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859, pp. 116-117), below:

Yet, this propagandist oversimplification can almost be set aside compared with the iconic image’s basic scientific faults and misconceptions, which Bernard Wood, Professor of Human Origins at George Washington University, has designated an “illusion”:

There is a popular image of human evolution that you’ll find all over the place, from the backs of cereal packets to the advertisement for expensive scientific equipment. On the left of the picture there’s an ape — …. On the right, a man … Between the two is a succession of figures that become ever more like humans … Our progress from ape to human looks so smooth, so tidy. It’s such a beguiling image that even the experts are loath to let it go. But it is an illusion.15

The Illusion of Gradualism  

Carefully analyzing and scientifically testing the icon shown above reveals that it is, in fact, an illusion on several levels.

First: Apart from connotations to orthogenesis, “the biological hypothesis that organisms have an innate tendency to evolve in a definite direction towards some goal (teleology) due to some internal mechanism or ‘driving force’”16 (a concept emphatically denied by all protagonists of the modern synthesis), I would like to point out that even on the neo-Darwinian presuppositions of evolution by mutation and selection, it has not been possible to document and prove the essentially assumed gradual process of man’s origin. This is in spite of enormous efforts and copious financial expenditure. Quite the opposite: the discoveries made by paleoanthropology during the last some 150 years proved to be neither smooth nor tidy. That observation is briefly documented by the following clear statements of several of today’s leading paleoanthropologists (generally accepted as “insiders”): 

Ian Tattersall (Professor and Head of the anthropological department of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City from 1971 to 2010; now curator emeritus): 

We differ from our closest known relatives in numerous features of the skull and of the postcranial skeleton, in important features of brain growth, and almost certainly in critical features of internal brain organization as well. These differences exist on an unusual scale. At least to the human eye, most primate species don’t differ very much from their closest relatives. Differences tend to be largely in external features such as coat color, or ear size, or even just in vocalizations; and variations in bony structure tend to be minor. In contrast, and even allowing for the poor record we have of our closest extinct kin, Homo sapiens appears as distinctive and unprecedented. Still, we evidently came by our unusual anatomical structure and capacities very recently: There is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became what we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense. [Emphasis added.]17

The aforementioned Bernard Wood: 

Even with all the fossil evidence and analytical techniques from the past 50 years, a convincing hypothesis for the origin of Homo remains elusive.18

Jeffrey H. Schwartz (Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburg, past President of World Academy of Art and Science): 

[W]e should not expect to find a series of intermediate fossil forms with decreasingly divergent big toes and, at the same time, a decreasing number of apelike features and an increasing number of modern human features.19

Professors John D. Hawks, Keith Hunley, Sang-Hee Lee, Milford Wolpoff (see the endnote for their universities and academic positions20): 

…no gradual series of changes in earlier australopithecine populations clearly leads to the new species [Homo sapiens], and no australopithecine species is obviously transitional. This may seem to be an unexpected statement, because for 3 decades habiline species have been interpreted as being just such transitional taxa, linking Australopithecus through the habilines to later Homo species.

We, like many others, interpret the anatomical evidence to show that early H. sapiens was significantly and dramatically different from earlier and penecontemporary australopithecines21 in virtually every element of its skeleton and every remnant of its behavior.

…Our interpretation is that the changes are sudden and interrelated and reflect a bottleneck that was created because of the isolation of a small group from a parent australopithecine species. In this small population, a combination of drift and selection resulted in a radical transformation of allele frequencies, fundamentally shifting the adaptive complex (Wright 1942); in other words, a genetic revolution (Mayr 1954 ; Templeton 1980). [Emphasis added.]

For further documentations, see the excellent scientific expositions of paleontologist Günter Bechly (2017 to 2019)22 and biologists Christopher Rupe and John Sanford (2019).23

A Big Bang at Man’s Origin?

To repeat the key points quoted above, we may emphasize that

  1. “differences exist on an unusual scale” 
  2. Homo sapiens appears […] distinctive and unprecedented”
  3. “There is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became what we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”
  4. “…we evidently came by our unusual anatomical structure and capacities very recently.”
  5. “…a convincing hypothesis for the origin of Homo remains elusive” 
  6. “[W]e should not expect to find a series of intermediate fossil forms with decreasingly divergent big toes and, at the same time, a decreasing number of apelike features and an increasing number of modern human features.”
  7. “No gradual series of changes in earlier australopithecine populations clearly leads to the new species [Homo sapiens], and no australopithecine species is obviously transitional.”
  8. “…early H. sapiens was significantly and dramatically different from earlier and penecontemporary [as well as coexisting] australopithecines in virtually every element of its skeleton and every remnant of its behavior.”
  9. “Our interpretation is that the changes are sudden and interrelated,” “a genetic revolution.”

Evolutionary biologists have further designated the origin of humans as an “explosion” and “an abrupt evolutionary emergence.”24 Correspondingly, one may agree with a commentary by Diane Swanbrow, ISR Director of Communications, Lead Public Relations Representative of the University of Michigan, speaking of a “big bang theory of human evolution.”25

However, one should keep in mind that the vocabulary used by many evolutionary biologists is sometimes not identical with that of common/normal language usage. “Very recently,” for example, can mean one hundred thousand years and more. Even so, the terminology of the abrupt appearance of man is all the more revealing since no creationist nor (as far as I know) intelligent design hypothesis is implied by the statements of the evolutionary paleoanthropologists quoted above. Thus, it seems that these researchers were driven by paleontologic and anatomic facts and findings alone to choose a vocabulary starkly at odds with gradualism. 

On the other hand, there is no question that there are many further authors who, almost totally focusing on similarities between humans and apes, prefer to overlook the enormous differences between humans and the problematic ape-like links. They even go so far as to speak as if there were hardly any notable distinctions and dissimilarities between them at all.

Yet, as paleoanthropologist Jonathan M. Marks so clearly and convincingly stated:

It is not that difficult to tell a human from an ape, after all. The human is the one walking, talking, sweating, praying, building, reading, trading, crying, dancing, writing, cooking, joking, working, decorating, shaving, driving a car, or playing football. Quite literally, from the top of our head (where the hair is continually growing, unlike gorillas) to the tips of our toes (the stoutest of which is non-opposable), one can tell the human part from the ape part quite readily if one knows what to look for. Our eye-whites, small canine teeth, evaporative heat loss, short arms and long legs, breasts, knees, and of course, our cognitive communication abilities and the productive anatomies of our tongue and throat are all dead giveaways.26

And one may go on with Ann Gauger, emphasizing the following points (some overlapping with those mentioned by Marks, yet written from another perspective, and adding other important observations):

We write motets, we calculate equations that take us into space, we write jazz songs about flying to the moon and sing them at age 7, we plan ways to terraform Mars (no chimp does that!) and study Greek plays by people long dead.

We use voice dictation software that others of us have made, that is sometimes almost poetic in its interpretation of what we just said, in fact, so poetic that we can’t tell what it was supposed to be. No chimp does that.

We build incredible cities. We do horrible things well beyond what animals are capable of to each other. We have language, that wonderful, marvelous, treacherous gift. We have music, that powerful, glorious, dangerous gift. And we have art, that beautiful, transcendent, painful gift. All these gifts are things that animals don’t have. They are qualitatively, not just quantitatively, different, and they are well past anything that could have evolved.27

According to Ian Tattersall, the reason for what others have called the big bang of man’s origin probably was “a short-term event of major developmental reorganization,” “driven by a rather minor structural innovation at the DNA level.” This has been my answer to this hypothesis:

Nonetheless, “…a rather minor structural innovation at the DNA level” appears to be, for all that can be known at present, a rather unsatisfactory proposal for a comparable origin of some 696 new features (out of 1065) which distinguish man from chimpanzees, 711 from orang, 680 from gorilla, 948 from Gibbon (Hylobathes), presupposing a similar magnitude of different anatomical and other features (“distinctive and unprecedented”) from his supposed animal ancestor, “our closest extinct kin,” not to speak of 15.6% differences on the DNA level between man and his alleged closest cousin, the chimpanzee, which means, in actual numbers, more than 450 million bp differences of the some 3 billion bp constituting the genomes overall.28

This does not include most of the further points referred to above by Marks and Gauger. So here we are, after more than two centuries of materialistic speculations (starting with Lamarck in 1809). Apart from the dominant neo-Darwinian theory, these hypotheses include neo-Lamarckism (Jablonka), punctuated equilibrium (Gould and Eldredge), neutral evolution (Kimura), evolution without (any) selection (Lima de Faria), cybernetic evolution (Schmidt), evolution by transposons (McClintock), saltational evolution (Goldschmidt), and more. None of these has ever produced a satisfactory explanation of the origin of species in general or of humans in particular. The question may then be raised: Why should we not be allowed to include intelligent design in our theories? (Please see below.)

Man “Was Not Planned” — Science or Illusion?  

Second: One of the many implications of the Darwinian icon shown above is the idea that man was not planned. This is somewhat in line with the basic premise of materialism that “nothing made everything for no reason and made life from non-life for no reason and made meat robots who think they have purposes but don’t for no reason.”29

Or as George Gaylord Simpson, who established the modern synthesis in paleontology, emphatically stated:

Man is the result of a purposeless and material process that did not have him in mind. He was not planned. He is a state of matter, a form of life, a sort of animal, and a species of the Order Primates….Man was certainly not the goal of evolution, which evidently had no goal. He was not planned, in an operation wholly planless.30

Now, the questions may be raised: How did Simpson — like the large majority of evolutionary biologists today — know all this? And how can such statements be scientifically tested? In the words of Stephen Jay Gould and other biologists, the process of evolution is “utterly unpredictable and quite unrepeatable.”31 As far as I can understand it, the assertion of the “purposeless and material process” of the origin of man seems to be entirely beyond any rigorous scientific testability. Or in stronger words: It appears to be nothing but a doubtful part of an essentially unverifiable, non-falsifiable, and unquantifiable theory. In that theory, “chance” (from random mutations to historical contingency) occupies an important place. As integral parts of its teaching structure, it includes — to underline Gould’s key points — the principal non-reproducibility of the main events and results postulated (macroevolution) as well as the unpredictability of future macroevolution. Thus the theory falls largely outside the realm of science. It eventually constitutes nothing but a seductive mirage of the materialist worldview, not only without any real substance but also convenient to divert truth-seekers from essential biological and philosophical questions, as for example whether “A single-couple human origin is possible.”32

Nothing to Do with Randomness?

Third: There is an awkward tendency among the proponents of the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution to deny the utmost importance of chance for their theory. Richard Dawkins, for example, comments:       

Where did this ridiculous idea come from that evolution has something to do with randomness?…The statement that “evolution refers to the unproven belief that random undirected forces [produced a world of living things]” is not only unproven itself, it is stupid. No rational person could believe that random forces could produce a world of living things.33

He admits after the first sentence quoted above that “The theory of evolution by natural selection has a random element — mutation.” Yet he tries to downplay this admission by saying “by far the most important part of the theory of evolution is non-random: natural selection.”

So, the first question may be whether natural selection really has nothing to do with randomness. Theodosius Dobzhansky commented in his book Genetics and the Origin of Species (often viewed to be the crystallization point for the origin and growth of the modern synthesis): 

With consummate mastery Darwin shows natural selection to be a direct consequence of the appallingly great reproductive powers of living beings. A single individual of the fungus Lycoperdon bovista produces 7 x 1011 spores; Sisymbrium sophia and Nicotiana tabacum, respectively, 730,000 and 360,000 seed [orchid Cycnoches 3,751,000 per ovary, i.e. in case of some 30 flowers per plant 112,530,000 seed], salmon, 28,000,000 eggs per season [cod 6,500,000, turbot 9,000,000]; and the American oyster up to 114,000,000 eggs in a single spawning. Even the slowest breeding forms produce more offspring than can survive if the population is to remain numerically fairly stationary. Death and destruction of a majority of the individuals produced undoubtedly takes place. If, then, the population is composed of a mixture of hereditary types, some of which are more and others less well adapted to the environment, a greater proportion of the former than of the latter would be expected to survive. In modern language this means that, among the survivors, a greater frequency of carriers of certain genes or chromosome structures would be present than among the ancestors…34 [Species in square brackets added.]

However, especially from the 1950s onward, French biologists, such as Cuénot, Tétry, and Chauvin, who did not follow the modern synthesis, raised the following objection to this kind of reasoning (according to Litynski):

Out of 120,000 fertilized eggs of the green frog only two individuals survive. Are we to conclude that these two frogs out of 120,000 were selected by nature because they were the fittest ones; or rather — as Cuenot said — that natural selection is nothing but blind mortality which selects nothing at all?35

I commented in an encyclopedia article that similar questions may be raised about the 700 billion spores of Lycoperdon, the 114 million eggs multiplied with the number of spawning seasons of the American oyster, for the 28 million eggs of salmon and so on. King Solomon wrote around 1000 BC: “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, […] but time and chance happeneth to all of them” (KJV 1611).

Further, if only a few out of millions and even billions of individuals are to survive and reproduce, then there is some difficulty believing that it should really be the fittest who would do so. Strongly different abilities and varying environmental conditions can turn up during different phases of ontogenesis. Hiding places of predator and prey, the distances between them, local differences of biotopes and geographical circumstances, weather conditions and microclimates all belong to the repertoire of infinitely varying parameters. Coincidences, accidents, and chance occurrences are strongly significant in the lives of all individuals and species. Moreover, the effects of modifications, which are nonheritable by definition, may be much more powerful than the effects of mutations which have only “slight or even invisible effects on the phenotype,” specifying that kind of mutational effects most strongly favored for natural selection and evolution by the neo-Darwinian school. Confronting the enormous numbers of descendants and the never-ending changes of various environmental parameters, it seems to be much more probable that instead of the very rare “fittest” of the mutants or recombinants, the average ones will survive and reproduce.

So, can there be the least doubt that also in natural selection there is a strong element of chance and randomness? 

Indeed, this conclusion is corroborated by population genetics. Most of these slight phenomena belong to the neutral range of genetic differences, which remain virtually unrecognized by natural selection. Even mutants with a selective advantage of 1 percent have — according to population genetics — to occur at least 50 times independently of each other in order to have a chance to spread in a population.

Moreover, survival in natural selection is clearly build on the functionality of all the structures and organs of the organisms: A hare is assumed to run faster, a lion to jump farther, a zebra senses a carnivore better, an eagle spots prey at a greater distance, a chimp responds more effectively than his or her conspecifics. Why? Because — according to the neo-Darwinian doctrine — the chance events of mutation have equipped them as needed, with all structures originating until then as well as the newly gained improvements. All this is assumed to occur in a continuous process of evolution by “innumerable slight variations,” “extremely slight variations,” and “infinitesimally small inherited variations.” Thus, chance events determine everything in evolution: form and function of all structures dominating natural selection in the struggle for life and hence the entire phylogeny of plants and animals.

So, Nobel Laureate Jacques Monod was right in characterizing the modern synthesis by affirming that “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, [is] at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.”36 And Dawkins is absolutely right in saying that “No rational person could believe that random forces could produce a world of living things.”

A Time Frame for the Evolution Man

Fourth: In my experience with countless discussions, in which I present a series of biological facts that my neo-Darwinian interlocutors cannot explain under their theory, the frustrated scientist (or whatever he or she may be) eventually appeals to the enormous amount of geological time: “But consider the millions of years. Everything was possible by mutation and selection within such a time frame, things that we cannot explain with our theory today.”

However, Sanford et al. have shown that any time frame offered so far is definitely too short for mutations and natural selection to transform apes into man: 

To establish a string of five nucleotides required on average 2 billion years. We found that waiting times were reduced by higher mutation rates, stronger fitness benefits, and larger population sizes. However, even using the most generous feasible parameters settings, the waiting time required to establish any specific nucleotide string within this type of population was consistently prohibitive.…

Some of the subsequent papers have been critical. Yet even those papers show that establishing just two specific co-dependent mutations within a hominin population of 10,000 can require waiting times that exceed 100 million years (see discussion). So, there is little debate that waiting time can be a serious problem, and can be a limiting factor in macroevolution.37

Thus, the necessary hundreds of coordinated mutations would not occur even in a time frame of billions of years of random mutagenesis.

The Fallacy of Connecting Links 

Fifth: Almost any larger science museum around the globe presents a series of connecting links between extinct apes and humans such as Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Australopithecus afarensis (“Lucy”), Ardipithecus ramidus, Orrorin tugensis and others. For a brief overview on such assumed links see Lönnig (2019).38 I include there a series of references to papers and books that do not simply presuppose evolution and neo-Darwinism as the final truth on the origin of species without any scientific alternative (as is common practice nowadays). Instead, these works critically discuss the relevant details, showing in depth the untenability of the evolutionary scenarios usually given to these would-be links generally put forward as indisputable scientific facts.

Now evolutionary biologists in general and paleoanthropologists in particular have also produced an array of phylogenies on the origin of man. But these clearly contradict each other on basic questions (including those researchers honestly admitting larger numbers of question marks for all the fossils, of which they cannot assign a scientifically testable sure place in their evolutionary schemata), thus showing the insufficiency of the answers presently given. For a detailed discussion of such contradictory phylogenies, please see The Evolution of Man: What do We Really Know? Testing the Theories of Gradualism, Saltationism and Intelligent Design.

98.5 Percent Human/Chimp DNA Identity?

Although long disproved, the assertion that human and chimp DNA display approximately 98.5 percent identity is still forwarded in many papers and books. The present state of the art has been clearly articulated by Richard Buggs, Professor of Evolutionary Genomics at Queen Mary University of London. He asks, “What does the data say today in 2018, and how can it be described to the public in an adequate manner?” Key answer: “The total percentage of the human genome that I can know for sure has one-to-one orthology with the chimp genome is 84.4 percent” (“our minimum lower bound”)39, i.e., more than 450 million differences (15 percent of 3 billion bp = 450 million). Also, “We are beginning to see that there are profound ape/human differences that transcend DNA sequences. These includes many epigenetic systems such as differential nucleosome formation, 3-D DNA structure, DNA methylation, transcription, RNA splicing, RNA editing, protein translation, and protein glycosylation.”40

“What Makes Paleoanthropologists Tick”

Richard G. Delisle, evolutionary paleoanthropologist and philosopher at the University of Lethbridge, Canada, has published a series of captivating observations in his article “The Deceiving Search for ‘Missing Links’ in Human Evolution, 1860-2010: Do Paleoanthropologists Always Work in the Best Interests of Their Discipline?” I would like to direct the reader to some points under his subheading, “What Makes Paleoanthropologists Tick?”41

He calls it “a common paleoanthropological practice: namely, the twofold strategy of claiming that one’s discovery is likely a direct evolutionary link to living humans, and of displacing other specimens from this position (if necessary).”

Why? Well, scientific fame is at stake. “Without doubt, the discovery of a claimed ‘missing link’ attracts more attention than discovering a specimen that is deemed an ‘evolutionary dead end.’ Indeed, the pursuit of recognition within and beyond the boundaries of one’s discipline is a common feature of scientific endeavors, paleoanthropology being one.”

Media attention is of utmost importance: “for example, radio, television, documentaries, popular science magazines, semipopular books, and even high-impact scholarly magazines and journals — are likely to cover an event announcing the discovery of a new ‘missing link,’ especially if it impacts views of human evolution. This is so even at the risk of distorting the scientific message in order to attract public attention.” (See several references for these statements in the original article.)

Funding imperatives play a role: “Funding agencies are usually more generous when significant discoveries, such as those dealing with missing links, are involved.” He continues: “Unfortunately, given increasingly limited financial resources, funding agencies are forced to weigh the potential impact of the research projects they subsidize. Consequently, the search for potential missing links is intrinsically more appealing than adding another specimen to a known fossil record, especially if this merely corroborates the identity of evolutionary dead ends.”

Further points are discussed in the article. “To sum up: (1) scientists in human evolution are often driven by extra-scientific considerations, including fame, media attention, funding, and being lucky (along with a few other reasons); and (2), much of this is due more to the sociology of the sciences than to scientific or epistemic rigor. … That discoverers repeatedly claim to find missing links, even though most of them will be wrong — as they themselves probably suspect — is troubling, and it reveals paleoanthropology’s lack of rigor and scientific maturity.”

The Case for Intelligent Design

A series of comprehensive books and articles has been published on this topic in recent decades. The authors include Axe, Behe, Bethell, Dembski, Denton, Johnson, Leisola, Lönnig, Meyer, Moreland et al. (eds.), ReMine, Sanford, Scherer, Sewell, Swift, Wells, and many others. What I can do in this article is hardly more than give a few hints and invite the reader to consult the authors’ publications, which can easily be found on Google (usually just by searching the names of a respective author plus “intelligent design”).42

Perhaps just one additional observation, though, from cell physiologist Siegfried Strugger: “The cell is the most perfect cybernetic system43 on Earth [consisting of thousands of spatio-temporally precisely matched gene functions, gene interactions, cascades and pathways in a steady-state network of ingeniously complex physiological processes characterized by specified as well as (often) irreducible complexity including an abundance of information probably in the gigabyte to terabyte range and more]. All the automation of human technology is, in comparison to the cell, only a primitive beginning of man in principle to arrive at a biotechnology.”44

Consider, please: Conscious action, imagination, perception, intelligence, intellect, wisdom, mental concepts, spirit, and mind were already absolutely necessary at the “primitive beginning.” How much more is an inference to design demanded by the origin of the infinitely more complex cybernetic systems of life’s45 “endless forms most beautiful and wonderful.”46 That includes, of course, all of biology’s specified and irreducibly complex47 structures!

In my view, only ingenious design — rather than randomness and the materialistic philosophy that “nothing made everything for no reason” — can adequately explain the big bang of the origin of man. Gradualism is an illusion. Mutation and selection have been weighed and found wanting. All evolutionary time frames offered are too short for the tasks to be met. Contradictory phylogenies and diametrically opposed interpretations of almost all the supposed links have shown that “Even with all the fossil evidence and analytical techniques from the past 50 years, a convincing hypothesis for the origin of Homo remains elusive.” I would add “…for the evolutionary origin of Homo remains elusive.” The 98.5 percent DNA identity of chimps and man has been revealed as a propagandistically effective delusion. And this leaves aside the fact that “scientists in human evolution are often driven by extra-scientific considerations, including fame, media attention, funding, and being lucky (along with a few other reasons).”

The evidence is overwhelming: for human uniqueness as well as for the staggering complexities of synorganized structures on all organismic levels, from DNA, RNA, cellular and tissue systems perfectly fine-tuned into organs and coordinated organ networks, integrated into whole organisms and species to biocenoses and vice versa involving the origin of enormous magnitudes of information for generating their necessary specificity and irreducibility. All this, I hope, invites the non-dogmatic reader to seriously consider the theory  of intelligent design in his or her further scientific studies. 

Endnotes:

  1. Phillip E. Johnson: 18 June 1940 – 2 November 2019, professor at Boalt School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley (faculty member from 1967 to 2000 and subsequently emeritus professor).
  2. For the usage and development of the term “neo-Darwinism” please see http://www.weloennig.de/BegriffNeodarwinismus.html See also http://www.weloennig.de/PlantGalls.pdf footnote p. 1. For more recent examples you may check, for example, Denis Noble 2020: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128160534000213 and many more instances at Google Scholar (https://scholar.google.de/): Neo-Darwinism 2020 and/or since 2016 or any time.
  3. “…this [being an outsider] could perhaps also be said of Darwin (Wuketits, 2015) who after two years of studies dropped out of medical school in Edinburgh and then decided to become a clergyman, enrolling at Christ’s College, Cambridge, for the necessary BA — the first step to prepare him for a career in the Church of England.” Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “Mendel’s paper on the laws of heredity (1866): Solving the enigma of the most famous ‘sleeping beauty’ in Science.” ELS (March 2017, p. 2). For an abstract, see https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9780470015902.a0026823
  4. See, please, again: Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “Mendel’s paper on the laws of heredity (1866): Solving the enigma of the most famous ‘sleeping beauty’ in Science.” ELS (March 2017). For an abstract, see https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9780470015902.a0026823
  5. Cf. for a comprehensive book on the topic: Harman and Dietrich: Outsider Scientists. Routes to Innovation in Biology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013). https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/O/bo16643152.html .
  6. Focus on Darwinism – An Interview with Phillip E. Johnson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc4Pz_f4OPo (online 13 August 2014). For an independent analysis of the Darwinian method regarding outsiders see Lönnig http://www.weloennig.de/mendel06.htm 1998 and 2001.
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillip_E._Johnson (retrieved 3 December 2019; emphasis added)
  8. For all the references of the Darwin quotes, see, please http://darwin-online.org.uk/
  9. Hebrews 18:8; Authorized King James Translation 1611: https://books.google.de/books?redir_esc=y&hl=de&id=SF1CAQAAMAAJ&q
  10. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig,“Evolution by Natural Selection – Unlimited and Omnipotent?” See http://www.weloennig.de/OmnipotentImpotentNaturalSelection.pdf (2018): and Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig (2016): “On the Limits of Natural Selection.” Cf. http://www.weloennig.de/jfterrorchipmunks.pdf
  11. See please again http://darwin-online.org.uk/
  12. See documentation by Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “The evolution of man: What do we really know? Testing the theories of gradualism, saltationism and intelligent design.” http://www.weloennig.de/HumanEvolution.pdf
  13. Various numbers are given for the assumed split between Homininae and Ponginae: 14 to 18 million years ago, for example in: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orangutan%E2%80%93human_last_common_ancestor (retrieved 31 December 2019) 7 to 10 million years: https://www.britannica.com/science/human-evolution/Background-and-beginnings-in-the-Miocene However, the latter source seems to refer only to the hypothesized split between the tribes Hominini and Gorillini.
  14. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c2/Human_evolution_scheme.svg/1024px-Human_evolution_scheme.svg.png?uselang=de (Original by José-Manuel Benitos) See also: comment at https://latentparadigm.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/neo-lamarckian-confusion-as-a-weak-attack-on-nativism/ Illustration below: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Origin_of_Species.svg
  15. Bernard Wood, “Who are we?” New Scientist 176 2366: 44-47. 26 October 2002: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg17623665-300-who-are-we/
  16. Wikipedia: “Orthogenesis” (retrieved 12 January 2020).
  17. Ian Tattersall, Masters of the Planet: The Search for our Human Origins (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012, and New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013), 207.
  18. Bernard Wood, “Human evolution: Fifty years after Homo habilis.” Nature 508: 31-33 (2014).
  19. Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Sudden Origins. Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1999), 378. See also: Jeffrey H. Schwartz (Ed.), Rethinking Human Evolution (Cambridge, Mass. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2018. For a critical discussion of the hypotheses of Schwartz (1999), see Stephen C. Meyer (2013/2014): Darwin’s Doubt, pp. 317-321.
  20. John D. Hawks: Associate professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison; Keith Hunley: Associate Professor Department Chair, the University of New Mexico; Sang Hee Lee: Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside; Milford Wolpoff: Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Museum of Anthropology.
  21. As to “penecontemporary australopithecines”: See, however, Chapter 11 Coexistence Australopith & Man: Pp. 233-267 of Christopher Rupe and John Sanford, Contested Bones (Canandaiguam NY 14424: FMS Publications, First edition, Second [revised and enlarged] Printing 2019).
  22. Günter Bechly: Check please https://evolutionnews.org/ there all eight contribution by Bechly on Human Origins up to 6 Sept. 2019.
  23. Christopher Rupe and John Sanford, Contested Bones (Canandaiguam NY 14424: FMS Publications, First edition, Second [revised and enlarged] Printing 2019). Since apart from the exquisite scientific analyses, sometimes (although rarely and briefly) specific religious ideas are implied or addressed by Rupe and Sanford (“Our Personal Perspective”, pp. 351-353), I would like to mention that I can follow the authors only partially on this level, yet would have to contradict them on several basic points. This can also be said about the materialist religion of the Darwinian authors, as in part discussed in the present article (“re-ligio”: bound to a postulate). For more on this point, see http://www.weloennig.de/HumanEvolution.pdf p. 33 (2019). In brief: I respect their different world views without following them.
  24. For the references cf. “Missing transitions: Human origins and the fossil record,” Chapter 14, pp. 437-473 in J. P. Moreland et al. (ed.): Theistic Evolution. (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2017).
  25. http://ns.umich.edu/Releases/2000/Jan00/r011000b.html
  26. Marks J., “What is the viewpoint of hemoglobin, and does it matter?” Hist Philos Life Sci 31(2):241-62, p. 246, 2009.
  27. https://evolutionnews.org/2019/01/on-being-human-a-reflection/
  28. See again: http://www.weloennig.de/HumanEvolution.pdf (now pp. 10/11)
  29. Michael Egnor, “Atheism Is a Catastrophe for Science,“ https://evolutionnews.org/2016/09/atheism_is_a_ca/ (September 2016).
  30. George Gaylord Simpson, The Meaning of Evolution (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950). Quoted according to Richard Weikart, The Death of Humanity and The Case for Life. Introduction. (Washington and New York: Regnary Faith, 2016). Simpson similarly in his revised edition of 1967, pp. 295, 345.
  31. Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life. The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1989). Paperback 1990.
  32. Ola Hössjer and Ann Gauger, “A single-couple human origin is possible“ BIO-Complexity (2019) (1): 1-20, See also https://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/BIO-C.2019.1/BIO-C.2019.1
  33. Richard Dawkins, “The Alabama Insert”. Excerpted from: Charles Darwin: A Celebration of his Life and Legacy. Editors: James T. Bradley and Jay Lamar.
  34. Theodosius Dobzhansky, Genetics and the Origin of Species. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1937).
  35. Litynski, Z. (1961). “Should we burn Darwin?” Science Digest 51 (1961): 61-63.
  36. Jacques Monod, Chance and Necessity (New York: Vintage Books, 1972) 112 below: https://monoskop.org/images/9/99/Monod_Jacques_Chance_and_Necessity.pdf
  37. John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner “The waiting time problem in a model hominin population”. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling(2015, Sep 17), 1-22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4573302/
  38. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “The Evolution of Man: What do We Really Know? Testing the Theories of Gradualism, Saltationism and Intelligent Design” (2019, 70 pp.) http://www.weloennig.de/HumanEvolution.pdf
  39. https://discourse.biologos.org/t/human-chimp-genome-similarity/38409/6 Further Details at: http://richardbuggs.com/index.php/2018/07/14/how-similar-are-human-and-chimpanzee-genomes/ (retrieved 7 December 2019)
  40. Christopher Rupe and John Sanford, Contested  Bones (Canandaiguam  NY  14424: FMS  Publications, First edition, Second [revised and enlarged] Printing 2019, p. 311).
  41. Text at https://azpdf.tips/rethinking-human-evolution-pdf-free.html (retrieved 7 December 2019).
  42. “Unbiased as I am,” I have enumerated here only some authors pro intelligent design, presently the minority position in biology. There are of course also many critics of the theory.
  43. For the principal identity of cybernetic systems in technology and organisms, see please Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, Auge widerlegt Zufalls-Evolution (Cologne: Naturwissenschaftlicher Verlag Köln, 1989): Chapter Die Entstehung des Auges: http://www.weloennig.de/AuIEnt.html
  44. Siegfried Strugger: Botanik (Frankfurt am Main: Das Fischer Lexikon. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 1962). Text in square brackets added by W.-E. L.
  45. On the depth of the problems involved in the origin of life, see, for example James Tour, “Time out, an appeal to the OOL research community,” Inference 4, Issue 4, July 2019: https://inference-review.com/article/time-out For several further critical articles on the topic of the origin of life by the author, see https://inference-review.com/author/james-tour
  46. Darwin: Formulation in the last sentence in the Origin: See http://darwin-online.org.uk/
  47. Michael J. Behe, Darwin Devolves (New York: HarperOne, 2019).

Photo: An artist imagines Australopithecus afarensis, Hall of Human Origins, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History; reconstruction by John Gurche; photographed by Tim Evanson / CC BY-SA.