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Fossils like ‘Little Foot’ fail to prove evolution, prof writes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–When it was reported worldwide Dec. 9 that “Little Foot,” a “3-million-year-old [bipedal] hominid skeleton,” had been uncovered in South Africa, paleoanthropologists announced the almost-complete fossil would force the rewrite of human evolutionary history.
Not so, writes Hal Ostrander of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the February/March issue of SBC Life in an article titled, “The Colossal Fossil Failure: What the Fossil ‘Experts’ Don’t Tell You.”
The so-called human evolutionary ancestor, an “ape-man,” is named “Little Foot” because it is said to have a big toe “resembling the grasping toe of a chimpanzee while the back portion of the foot is more explicitly human,” recounts Ostrander, associate professor of Christian theology at Southern’s James P. Boyce College of the Bible who specializes in science-faith issues.
According to the ancient bone specialists, “Little Foot,” much like the famed find named “Lucy” from a quarter century ago, falls somewhere in between humans and the common ancestor that African apes and humans supposedly shared several million years before pre-human bipedal hominids appeared on the scene.
Rather than one more of the few-and-far-between “missing links,” or transitional forms, evolutionists think “Little Foot” represents, Ostrander suggests that fossils like the recent South African find are “nothing more than the remains of a once alive but now extinct primate [ape] species, creatures once as carefully wrought by God as any other vanished species from taxonomic families other than hominidae [human].”
What Darwin himself called “extreme imperfection” in the fossil record, that is, the lack of transitional forms, when he wrote “Origin of Species” a century and a half ago, creationists have long called lack of evidence. Not surprisingly, when evolutionists find a fossil that can by any stretch of the imagination be interpreted as a missing link, the tendency is to overstate the case for evolution, Ostrander writes.
Ostrander pinpoints the cause of this particular tendency not in the objective evidence or data but in something much more fundamental: worldview. He sees “the whole episode as a reflection of the tenets of a culturally entrenched evolutionism … the ongoing clash of two titan worldviews — naturalism vs. theism.”
The war of worldviews, Ostrander further asserts, must be engaged by Christians at the level of the dual revelation of God in nature and Scripture. Changing a worldview is not easy, but “at the level of God’s general revelation to us, you take apart your opponent’s system piece by piece, demonstrating to them in due course that it fails collectively with respect to at least four worldview tests.” The tests are: logical consistency, empirical adequacy, explanatory power and practical relevance.
“At the level of God’s special revelation to us, you continue to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ with boldness, knowing that the Holy Spirit will work infallibly and according to God’s good pleasure in the hearts and minds of your various worldview opponents, naturalists, new-agers, or otherwise,” Ostrander writes.
What the fossil finders fail to tell the public is called the “trade secret of paleontology” by Harvard geologist and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, referring to the sparsity of transitional forms that have been unearthed since Darwin’s day.
“In brief,” Ostrander notes, “the fossils [or lack thereof] tell one story, and the ‘experts’ tell another.”
Some of the things that the public rarely hears about include: paleoanthropological research is not considered as objective as many other forms of scientific investigation; paleoanthropology’s overall achievements have been questioned by documented cases of hoax and deceit; unmistakably human fossil remains appear only suddenly in the fossil record; the wide genetic diversity found in contemporary humans renders evidence for evolution inadequate when it comes to the hypothesis of primitive-to-advanced contours of fossil skulls; self-deception is always a possibility because of the influence of theory on the collecting of facts; fossils identical to modern humans appear alongside australopithecus africanus [Little Foot]; and homo erectus fossils do not appear to have evolved over their conjectural 2-million-year history. Further reading on these shortcomings, Ostrander notes, can found in the book “Bones of Contention” by Marvin Lubenow.
Based on this suppression of evidence, the only conclusion to draw is that “driven by a naturalistic worldview, evolutionary paleoanthropologists have failed to account for these many items, either on the basis of sheer ignorance of their chosen field, or willful misinterpretation for the sake of avoiding religious implications,” Ostrander writes. “Either way, what they have on their hands is a colossal fossil failure for all to observe.”

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  • Dave Couric