|Feature Article - April 2005|
|by Do-While Jones|
This is our annual special issue celebrating National Theory of Evolution Day (April 1), in which we give the theory of evolution all the respect that it deserves.
Here are the top ten reasons Why Humans Evolved From an Ape-like Ancestor:
10. Walking upright helped them see over grass.
9. Walking upright left their hands free to use tools.
8. Walking upright resulted in more sex.
7. Weapons made their brains bigger.
6. The weather got hotter.
5. The weather got colder.
4. The weather got drier.
3. Social behavior made their brains bigger.
2. Eating meat made their brains bigger.
And the number 1 reason Why Humans Evolved From an Ape-like Ancestor:
1. Evolutionists had to come from somewhere.
Tree cover and forest cover in Africa shrunk very dramatically. Any creatures that were dependent on sheltering in the trees and on fruits and leaves as food would be dramatically affected by this. Suddenly, these early creatures, the ancestors of which used to live in the trees, in the high-canopy forests of Africa, found themselves in much more open savannah and woodland situations. And they had to adapt or die. And I believe that bipedalism [walking on two feet] may be a direct response to this opening up of the vegetation. 1
According to evolutionists, our ape ancestors lived in trees until the climate changed. The forests were replaced by grasslands. Those apes that learned to stand upright were able to see over the grass, which allowed them to see sources of food, and see predators coming. This gave them a survival advantage.
The obvious problem with this argument is that skill is an acquired characteristic, not an inherited one. If you learn to stand on your head or do cartwheels, that ability will not be inherited by your children. Walking upright does not make long, curved ape toes shorter, nor does it make an inheritable change in the hips.
“My point is that the adoption of bipedality was so loaded with evolutionary potential—allowing the upper limbs to be free to become manipulative implements one day—that its importance should be recognized in our nomenclature.” 2
According to evolutionists, apes that walked upright had their hands free to make and use tools. The use of tools stimulated brain activity, which was inherited, causing subsequent generations to be smarter. The apes that inherited the intelligence to make tools were better able to survive than the dumb apes. This argument ignores the difference between intelligence and knowledge. Knowledge can be passed down to subsequent generations through oral tradition, books, or computer databases. Since our supposed ape ancestors could not speak, write books, or use computers, the amount of knowledge that could be passed from generation to generation was severely limited.
Furthermore, having more knowledge doesn’t make one more intelligent. Knowledge is data. Intelligence is the ability to process data. Adding a larger hard disk, with more data on it, doesn’t make your computer’s CPU run faster.
Far from evolving big brains and then tools, “the weapon fathered man,” [Robert] Audrey claimed. It was our development of stone axes and spears that triggered our evolution to our present status, a process that has been driven by the engines of war. 3
It wasn’t our ability to use our hands to make shelters and bring home food; it was our violent animal instinct that made us evolve away from the animals. This idea seems to be motivated more by a need to justify bad behavior rather than good science.
… [C]ost-effective walking saves many calories in maintenance energy needs—calories that can instead go toward reproduction. 4
Rabbits walk on four feet, but girl rabbits don’t seem to tell their mates, “Not tonight Honey, I’m too tired from hopping around.”
Peter Wheeler, an evolutionary biologist at Liverpool University who has made a special study of heat loss and retention, argues for a key positive advantage of standing upright. In hot conditions, especially when the sun is fully up, less of the body is exposed to direct sunlight, and accumulated heat in the body can be lost more quickly without consuming large quantities of water. Further, Wheeler thinks that two-legged locomotion, at least at low walking speeds, is less demanding of energy than its four-legged equivalent. 5
Walking upright certainly does present less surface area to the hot African sun, which presumably confers some survival advantage. Of course, staying in the shade during the heat of the day might do the same thing. Elephants present a much larger surface area to the sun, but they haven’t learned to walk upright yet, which is a little bit puzzling.
Apes that eventually became human also lost their fur at some point, to keep them cooler. Certainly Darwin believed that climate could cause inheritable changes in the length of fur, but modern scientists don’t think climate causes inheritable changes. Furthermore, if lack of fur is such an advantage, why do people wear clothes almost all the time?
The reason for their [Neanderthal’s] bigger brains has to do with the relationship between body size and ambient temperature. The "classic" Neandertals [British spelling] of western Europe were adapted to a late Pleistocene cold climate, and part of that adaptation was a relatively larger brain corresponding to their stout stature. 6
Yes, if it is cold, and if there is sufficient food available, people will eat more and get fatter, which helps them survive the cold. But this is just normal variation within an existing limit. What you eat does not create an inheritable change.
This does bring us uncomfortably close to the socially sensitive issue of whether or not there is a fat gene; but we don’t need to go there. Since it is brain size that is in question here, the real issue is whether there is a fat head gene, and if so, where does it come from? It is probably best not to go there, either.
“ … The eastern descendants of these same common ancestors, in contrast, invented a completely new repertoire in order to adapt to their new life in an open environment: these are the humans.” In short, we are “unquestionably the pure product of a certain aridity.” 7
So, some evolutionists claim it was hot weather that caused evolution. Others claim it was cold weather that caused evolution. Still others claim that it was dry weather that caused evolution. Apparently rain is the only thing that doesn’t cause humans to evolve.
After the initial spurt in brain growth, diet and brain expansion probably interacted synergistically: bigger brains produced more complex social behavior, which led to further shifts in foraging tactics and improved diet, which in turn fostered additional brain evolution. 8
As our cultures evolved in complexity, so did our brains, which then drove our bodies toward greater responsiveness and our cultures toward still greater complexity in a feedback loop. Big and clever brains led to more complex cultures and bodies better suited to take advantage of them, which in turn led to yet bigger and cleverer brains. … The uniqueness of our own evolutionary story lies in the fact that we, alone among the millions of species on the planet, seem to have been caught up in a process of runaway brain evolution. [italics in the original] 9
This is the wonderful “Runaway Brain” theory. Social behavior requires more thought, which exercises the brain more. The more the brain is exercised, the smarter it gets. The smarter it gets, the more complex the social behavior can become, resulting in even more brain exercise.
If brain development due to brain exercise could be inherited, then studies would show that the I.Q. of infants is related to the number of classes taken by parents in high school. We don’t know of any scientists who claim that knowledge acquired by parents results in smarter offspring.
There is a closely related issue that evolutionists don’t really want to advance publicly because of the political and social implications. The idea that some people are just plain smarter than others, and that smart people tend to have smarter children, doesn’t play well in a country founded on the idea that “all men are created equal.” Scientists are reluctant to do research in the area, because if there is a “bell curve,” it can be political suicide to say so.
Meat and bone marrow also gave them [Homo erectus] the extra energy to grow larger brains. 10
It was a loop. We started to eat meat, got smarter, and thought of cleverer ways to obtain more meat... 11
Evolutionists may be afraid to discuss potential different levels of innate intelligence for fear of offending certain people, but they aren’t afraid to offend vegetarians at all. Despite modern medical research showing that a vegetarian diet is as good, or better, than a carnivorous diet, some evolutionists have advanced the idea that when apes gave up their “impoverished” vegetarian diet and started eating meat, the extra calories were used to grow bigger brains.
You parents can do your kids a favor by loading them up with sugar before they go to school. Their teachers will really thank you for it, and the kids will learn so much more with all those extra calories building up their brains!
"An adult Homo erectus had a brain the size of a one-year-old modern human's," says Alan Walker, one of the paleoanthropologists who excavated the skeleton. "Still his brain was twice as large as a chimp's, so he must have been devastatingly clever for this time." 12
This idea also rests upon the idea that intelligence is correlated with brain size. If these ideas were true, then there would be no need to give kids the standardized Iowa tests every year. Just measure the circumference of the kids’ heads, and give them grades based on their brain sizes.
This might be the strongest evidence for evolution. Given the lack of evidence for evolution, and the preponderance of scientific evidence against it, only someone who hadn’t evolved much past the ape stage would believe in evolution. Since there still are people who believe in evolution, it must be true!
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Caird (1994) Ape Man page 57 (quoting Elisabeth Vrba)
2 Stringer and McKie (1996) African Exodus, page 26 (quoting Richard Leaky) (Ev)
3 ibid. pages 29-30
4 Leonard, Scientific American, December 2002, “Food for Thought” page 109 (Ev+)
5 Caird (1994) Ape Man, page 59 (Ev)
6 Johanson & Edgar (1996) From Lucy to Language page 83 (Ev)
7 Stringer and McKie (1996) African Exodus, page 25 (quoting Yves Coppens vision of geological intervention) (Ev)
8 Leonard, Scientific American, December 2002, “Food for Thought” pages 106 - 115 (Ev+)
9 Christopher Wills, The Runaway Brain, 1993, page xxii (Ev)
10 National Geographic, May 1997, Page 95 (Ev+)
11 Stringer and McKie (1996) African Exodus, page 35 quoting Leslie Aiello (Ev)
12 National Geographic, May 1997 page 91 (Ev+)