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Recently we reported on the discovery of a tiny 6-inch hominid skeleton found in Chile’s Atacama Desert with unusual characteristics, as shown in the Sirius Documentary . The specimen was subjected to extensive medical examination including a range of genetic test and the results found that there was nothing in the DNA that could conclusively prove that the subject is non-human. As Gary Nolan, professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University stated: "I've only scratched the surface in the analysis. But there is nothing that jumps out so far as to scream 'nonhuman'". In fact, it concluded that the 6-inch creature was nothing other than a 6 to 8 year old girl!
Following this report, the mainstream media jumped into action with mass reporting along the lines of ‘what a relief, it is a human being after all’. However, this story is far from finished. A number of scientists are not satisfied with this final conclusion and have remarked that there has been a complete lack of scientific enquiry into the still unexplained characteristics of the hominid. In particular, it has 10 ribs instead of the 12 that humans have, its miniscule growth rate is at odds with the surrounding skeleton, 9% of the skeleton’s genes did not match up with a reference human genome, and then of course, is the elongated skull.
While some have brushed off these inconsistencies as mere mutations, no scientist or doctor has yet been able to describe a mutation that could account for such unusual characteristics. "There is no known form of dwarfism that accounts for all of the anomalies seen in this specimen," Ralph Lachman, a professor emeritus at the UCLA School of Medicine, wrote in a report on the skeleton.
It seems entirely plausible that an extraterrestrial could have a large portion of ‘human DNA’ but with some differences, particularly if we consider the hypothesis of Intelligent Design . Couldn’t this then account for the 9% mismatch between the genes of the tiny hominid and those of the human genome? The questions surrounding this remarkable little created are far from answered.
The Human Family Tree Bristles With New Branches
For scientists who study human evolution, the last few months have been a whirlwind. Every couple of weeks, it seems, another team pulls back the curtain on newly discovered bones or stone tools, prompting researchers to rethink what we know about early human history.
On Wednesday, it happened again. Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and his colleagues reported finding a jaw in Ethiopia that belonged to an ancient human relative that lived sometime between 3.3 and 3.5 million years ago. They argue that the jaw belongs to an entirely new species, which they named Australopithecus deyiremeda.
While some experts agree, skeptics argue that the jaw belongs to a familiar hominid species, known as Australopithecus afarensis, that existed about 3.9 to 3 million years ago.
Studies like this one are adding fresh fuel to the debate over the pace of human evolution. Some researchers now believe the human family tree bore exuberant branches early on.
“I’m so excited about these discoveries I’m driving my friends crazy,” said Carol V. Ward, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Missouri. “It makes us stop and rethink everything.”
In the 1990s, the broad outlines of human evolution seemed fairly clear. Early human ancestors, known as hominids, evolved from an ancestor shared with chimpanzees about six or seven million years ago. These hominids were short, bipedal apes with small brains and arms and legs still adapted for climbing trees.
Until about three million years ago, experts thought, there weren’t a lot of hominid species. In fact, some researchers argued that most hominid fossils represented just a single species.
In 1974, the paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson and his colleagues found a fairly complete, 3.4-million-year-old skeleton in Ethiopia, which they nicknamed Lucy. The species was named Australopithecus afarensis, and many more examples have come to light, dating from about 3.9 to 3 million years ago.
Scientists had thought that hominid evolution became more complex just 2.4 million years ago. New species split apart from Australopithecus afarensis, at least a few of them coexisting in Africa.
One lineage, called Paranthropus, evolved powerful jaws it probably used to grind tough plant matter. Other hominids developed nimble hands, which they used to make stone tools for butchering meat. Eventually they evolved into tall, long-distance walkers.
These hominids belonged to the genus Homo, which produced our own species about 200,000 years ago.
But with new discoveries like Australopithecus deyiremeda, this eons-long story may need to change. Hominids may have become much more diverse much earlier than previously thought. Australopithecus afarensis may have had a lot of company.
In 1995, Ronald J. Clarke of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and his colleagues discovered Australopithecus fossils in a South African cave. While the fossils have yet to be formally named, Dr. Clarke and his colleagues have started referring to the putative new species as Australopithecus prometheus.
Geologists initially estimated that the rock layer atop the bones was 2.2 million years old. But that research did not tell them exactly how much older the fossils might be.
More recently, Dr. Clarke and his colleagues have used new methods to date the rock layer in which the fossils were embedded. In April, they reported that Australopithecus prometheus was 3.67 million years old.
Yet another possible contemporary of Australopithecus afarensis lived in Kenya. In 2001, researchers reported the discovery of a flat-faced hominid skull dating back 3.5 million years. They called it Kenyanthropus platyops.
And even before Wednesday’s announcement, Dr. Haile-Selassie had been adding to the debate about early hominid evolution. In 2012, he and his colleagues reported finding 3.4-million-year-old foot bones in Ethiopia from a previously unknown hominid.
The long, grasping toes appear to have been better suited for tree climbing than those of Australopithecus afarensis, suggesting it belonged to a species of its own. Until scientists can describe more bones from its skeleton, it remains without a species name.
These early hominids may have been more mentally sophisticated than previously thought, scientists also have found. Until now, the oldest stone tools ever found dated back 2.6 million years — about 400,000 years after Australopithecus afarensis became extinct.
But last week, Sonia Harmand of Stony Brook University and her colleagues reported discovering tools in Kenya that they estimate to have been made 3.3 million years ago. The researchers suggested that the tools were made by Kenyanthropus, because its fossils come from rocks about the same age and in the same region of Kenya where the tools were found.
Dr. Ward, of the University of Missouri, said the evidence gathered so far pointed to a much earlier explosion of hominid diversity. “It changes our view of human evolution in a fundamental way,” she said.
Four or more species may have coexisted with Australopithecus afarensis. Some may have specialized in different ways of getting food, perhaps with newly developed stone tools, for example. Or they may have competed with one another.
The tools also hint that at least some of these early hominids were capable of more complex thinking than previously believed. “The stone tools represent a sophistication in how they use and manipulate objects,” Dr. Ward said.
Scientists have also shed new light on the transition from Australopithecus to Homo. In March, Kaye E. Reed of Arizona State University and her colleagues reported finding the oldest Homo fossil, dating back 2.8 million years. It has some anatomical features found only in Homo, such as narrow molars. But it has other traits, like a rounded chin, that make it look more like Australopithecus afarensis.
Dr. Ward said scientists now must trace Homo’s origins to one of the several hominid species that may have lived between three million and four million years ago — and figure out why the other species became extinct.
But some hominid experts remain unconvinced that the road to Homo took so many turns. Tim D. White, a paleoanthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley, argues that most of the new studies have been rushed into publication without careful peer review.
The 3.3-million-year date for the ancient stone tools, for example, “seemed quite sketchy to me,” Dr. White said. The tools could have been made hundreds of thousands of years later, he said.
Dr. White is also skeptical that the new fossils represent a wealth of new species. He suspects that most of them, including Australopithecus deyiremeda, are just Australopithecus afarensis.
“Lucy’s species just got a few more new fossils,” he said of Wednesday’s announcement.
The peculiar anatomical quirks described by other scientists are no more unusual than the variations found within living ape species, he said. When scientists discover a fossil, Dr. White warned, it can be easy to blow minor variations out of proportion.
“A piece of a mandible doesn’t tell you much,” he said. “Whenever you have small samples, you run a very real risk of mischaracterization.”
Dr. White said it would be wiser to assume that new fossils belonged to documented species, like Australopithecus afarensis, instead of hypothesizing a new species with every new fossil. As he sees it, human evolution isn’t the bushy tree that Dr. Ward describes.
“A saguaro cactus would be the metaphor,” said Dr. White.
Even Dr. Ward expects that scientists will eventually decide some of the new “species” really aren’t species. Even so, she predicted that early hominids would remain more diverse than traditionally thought.
“There were at a bare minimum two hominids around at that time, and perhaps three or more, which is exciting and important however it falls out,” she said.
Small skull, huge controversy: Saga of the Flores 'hobbit' continues
In October 2004, while working in his lab, Bob Eckhardtheard a report on National Public Radio: A team of archaeologists had unearthed bones of a three-foot-tall humanlike creature on the island of Flores in Indonesia. Based on the shape and size of the skull and other skeletal remains, the archaeologists, led by Michael J. Morwood of the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, claimed they had discovered a new species of human.
The diminutive biped had a cranium no larger than a chimpanzee's, yet its bones had been found along with abundant stone tools. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal in the same stratum, along with luminescence dating of surrounding sediments, implied that the skeleton was only 18,000 years old. Considering other earlier archaeological finds on Flores, Morwood and his colleagues concluded that a new human species had evolved from a preceding population of Homo erectus that had been isolated for over 840,000 years on Flores, in the archipelago between Asia and Australia.
Eckhardt, a professor of developmental genetics and evolutionary morphology in Penn State's department of kinesiology, added it up. Three feet tall. A tiny brain. Complex stone tools. Evolved in complete isolation in 40,000 generations. He says: "It just didn't ring true."
Eckhardt read the scientific papers, published in the British journal Nature, setting forth the findings and conclusions of Morwood's group. "A lot of things didn't make sense," he says. "For instance, the overall height seemed to be off. I took the long-bone measurements from the paper and plugged them into standard regression formulas." Where Morwood and colleagues estimated an overall height of 1.06 meters for their specimen, Eckhardt came up with figures ranging from 1.15 to 1.33 meters, with an average of 1.25 meters—more than seven inches taller than Morwood's estimate. Eckhardt also wondered about the proximity of the small cranium to sophisticated stone tools, including points, perforators, blades, and microblades. Over a century of research by anthropologists has established a rough correlation between an increasing brain size and advances in stone-tool technology. The kinds of tools described in the Nature article matched those made elsewhere by Homo sapiens. Says Eckhardt, "It seemed very unlikely that a human with a chimp-sized brain would have invented such tools independently and in total isolation."
A "hobbit" is born
That the Morwood find represented a new species also seemed doubtful to Maciej Henneberg. Henneberg works at the University of Adelaide in Australia, where he is the Wood Jones Chair of Anthropological and Comparative Anatomy and heads the division of Anatomical Sciences. The day the Morwood papers appeared in Nature, Henneberg announced during a radio interview that the most complete skeleton recovered by the Morwood group likely came from a developmentally abnormal individual, a member of Homo sapiens whose tiny head exhibited microcephaly, a condition in which a person's braincase remains very small because the brain fails to attain a normal adult size.
A flurry of e-mails passed between Eckhardt and Henneberg. (The two have known each other for years and currently are co-investigators on a project funded by the Australian Research Council.) Says Eckhardt, "Maciej's hunch complemented my own conviction that the 'new species' scenario didn't make sense. And it dovetailed with my belief that the Morwood group had exaggerated the size of their specimen downward." Eckhardt notes that the apparent novelty of the Flores skeleton was enhanced by comparisons with populations from Europe and other major continents where the "normal" stature approaches six feet.
Peter Brown, also of the University of New England, had worked with Morwood in analyzing the Flores remains. They named the purported new species Homo floresiensis, since it had been found on Flores.
The nearly complete skeleton (the arms were missing, but they turned up in a later dig) was categorized as LB1, in reference to the expansive limestone cave, Liang Bua, where the bones had been unearthed about six meters below the cave floor. (Liang Bua means "cool cave" in the local language.) Less formally, members of Morwood's team dubbed the creature a "hobbit"—capitalizing, Eckhardt believes, on the popularity of the film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional trilogy The Lord of the
Rings, in which small humans known as hobbits do heroic things.
The press, both popular and science-oriented, latched onto the name. And they embraced the new-species notion enthusiastically.
In February 2005, Scientific American ran an article accompanied by a color illustration of a band of pint-sized, spear-toting hunters overwhelming a Stegodon, an extinct dwarf elephant. (Stegodon bones had also been found in Liang Bua, bearing marks made by bladed tools.) The article, by Kate Wong, was entitled "The Littlest Human" and included as a subhead: "A spectacular find in Indonesia reveals that a strikingly different hominid shared the earth with our kind in the not so distant past." It continued: "Conventional wisdom holds that Homo sapiens has been the sole human species on the earth for the past 25,000 years," but the remains found on Flores "have upended that view."
The cover of the May 2005 National Geographic presented a mockup portrait of the hobbit—dark-skinned, big-eyed, startled-looking. Morwood, in a feature article inside, wrote: "We had discovered a new kind of human . We had stumbled on a lost world: pygmy survivors from an earlier era, hanging on far from themain currents of human prehistory." Jared Diamond, a UCLA evolutionary biologist, stated in a Public Broadcasting System interview: "This is the most amazing discovery in any field of science in the last ten years." Others touted the find as the most important discovery in human evolution and paleoanthropology in half a century.
Alone on an island?
Those characterizations of the importance of the Flores skeletons only intensified Eckhardt's interest. In the kinesiology department he teaches a graduate course in Experimental Design and Methodology. "The course stresses a key principle articulated by Sir Peter Medawar, who shared a Nobel Prize for pioneering work in immunology," Eckhardt says. "Scientists, particularly those of us with decades of experience, are supposed to work on the most important problems that we have a reasonable chance of solving." To Eckhardt and his colleagues, the Flores find represented precisely such a problem. They would attack it, Medawar-style, not through armchair theorizing but by testing hypotheses.
Flores is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, in the Malay archipelago.
Morwood and his colleagues speculated that a founding cohort of Homo erectus individuals had reached Flores from a nearby island, probably during a period of intense global glaciation, when huge volumes of
water would have been tied up in the polar icecaps, lowering sea level and exposing a greater amount of land. It was unclear how the hominids had gotten to Flores, whether by using primitive rafts or clinging to flotsam. Stegodons had also colonized Flores at about the same time. (Elephants are known to be
strong swimmers.) Once isolated on the island, both hominids and elephants shrank. The stegodons went from being slightly larger than modern African elephants to about the size of a water buffalo. The hominids supposedly dwindled as well from their more robust Homo erectus ancestors.
The so-called island rule is a widely accepted biological precept holding that mammals larger than approximately rabbit size tend to become smaller over millennia in an adaptive response to an island's limited food resources. Most paleoanthropologists, however, believe that our culture and behaviors buffer humans against some of the factors that cause other mammals to evolve rapidly where another species might develop a thick pelt to ward off the cold, we make clothes and harness fire. In his National Geographic article, Morwood said that the small human skeletons provided "powerful evidence" for hominid evolution in isolation on Flores.
But had the island really been isolated? In the 1950s and 1960s, evidence of an early human presence had been found on Flores. Theodor Verhoeven, a Dutch priest and amateur archaeologist, had excavated crude stone artifacts near the fossilized bones of stegodons thought to be around 750,000 years old.
On nearby Java, others had found 1.5-million-year old Homo erectus remains, which led Verhoeven to conclude that erectus had somehow made the crossing to Flores.
Morwood and his colleagues had unearthed a number of hominid bones in Liang Bua, although only the one complete cranium. They noted the sloping forehead, arched brow ridges, large jawbones, and receding chin on LB1, which, they said, mirrored Homo erectus traits. However, as Morwood wrote in National Geographic, "The tiny skull is most reminiscent not of the hefty Homo erectus from elsewhere in East
Asia but of older, smaller erectus fossils." The Morwood team stated in their Nature article that a CT scan demonstrated a congenital absence of a third molar, and they noted a unique positioning of other teeth. They also pointed to an unusual robustness of the leg bones and a low degree of humeral torsion, the twisting of the upper arm bone between the shoulder and the elbow. All of these characteristics were advanced as proof of a new species.
"Hobbit wars" heat up
Eckhardt knew that populations still living in parts of the world near Flores—on the Malay Peninsula, in the Philippines—were short-statured. He checked his impressions against a book he had read decades
before, The Origin of Races, by the anthropologist Carleton Coon, published in 1962. There Eckhardt found a footnote describing two small skeletons excavated in separate caves on Flores in the 1950s by
the amateur archaeologist Verhoeven. Deciding that he needed to see those previous finds, Eckhardt tracked down the skeletons at Naturalis, the Dutch national museum of natural history in Leiden. In January 2005, Eckhardt flew to the Netherlands to examine the skeletons. "The two measured 1.5 and
1.6 meters in length—quite small but somewhat larger than the height Morwood's group was proposing for LB1," Eckhardt says. He realized something else: The Verhoeven skeletons differed not only from
Morwood's Liang Bua specimen but also from each other. He says, "To me, those differences clearly suggested that Flores, far from being isolated, had been reached repeatedly by people from other regional populations."
At left, side view of Liang Momer E skull in Naturalis (Netherlands National Natural History Museum, Leiden). Right, side view of Liang TogÃ© skull in Naturalis.
By that time, Radien Soejono of the National Archaeological Research Center in Jakarta, listed as one of the coauthors of the Morwood Nature paper, had asked the Indonesian paleoanthropologist Teuku Jacob to restudy LB1. Jacob is with Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta his entire career has centered on the analysis of ancient human remains. Says Eckhardt, "Radien and Teuku are considered to be the two grand
old men of Indonesian archaeology. Radien works mainly with stones, Teuku with bones."
A number of scientists had begun questioning the new-species designation through letters and comments in a range of scientific journals. The group that included Eckhardt and Henneberg was at the forefront of the critics, while other specialists had lined up behind Morwood and his team. What the press started
calling "the hobbit wars" had begun to heat up.
Following preliminary analysis of LB1, Jacob also concluded that the skeleton was not normal and did not represent a new species. Says Eckhardt, "Morwood's team reacted in an odd manner for scientists, who
are supposed to believe in the value of independent study of evidence and replication of results." Instead, through the popular scientific press, "They made numerous charges, including that Jacob was holding on to LB1 and would restrict access to the bones in the future."
Continues Eckhardt: "Just the opposite was the case. Teuku had repeatedly invited me to examine the bones myself. Then, early in February 2005, I got an e-mail from Teuku saying he was under intense pressure to return the remains. If I wanted to see them firsthand, it had better be now." Eckhardt rearranged his Penn State classes and flew to Yogjakarta in mid-February, where he joined a group that included Jacob Henneberg Etty Indriati, a University of Chicago-educated anthropologist specializing in dentition, and Jacob's colleague at Gadjah Mada University and Alan Thorne, a paleontologist with the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the
Australian National University in Canberra.
Look at the bones
"There we were," recalls Eckhardt, "sitting around a four-by-four table covered with a batch of plastic trays holding the remains of several small, long-dead Indonesians. We were picking up the bones, examining them, putting them back down. Every once in a while, looks would be exchanged across the table, and then one of us would articulate something we had all probably noticed. For instance, Maciej held up one of the femurs and said, 'The Nature paper says this is a right femur. But it is a left femur.'"
Indriati handed the LB1 skull to Eckhardt. "She said, 'Look at the back of the maxilla.' She whisked off some bits of dirt. Where the third molar was supposed to be congenitally absent, instead we have a socket with a piece of tooth in it." Discussions were intense and wide-ranging as the scientists drew upon their collective knowledge of mammalian evolution, human variation, and regional conditions in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
The international team came up with four key areas of evidence disproving the assertion that LB1 represented a new species: geographical factors a pronounced asymmetry of the skull and face of LB1 dental traits and abnormalities in bones other than the cranium. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published their findings on September 5, 2006.
Team including Eckhardt in Yogjakarta, discussing LB1 fossils before Indonesian media. Left to right: Eckhardt, Indriati, Henneberg, Thorne, Soejono.
Morwood and his colleagues had theorized that Homo erectus individuals traveled to Flores around 840,000 years ago and subsequently evolved in isolation to become Homo floresiensis. That claim assumed no additional influx of humans to the island until just before or just after the "hobbits" had died out around 15,000 years ago, perhaps following a volcanic eruption that also led to the extinction of the stegodons. Jacob's team pointed out that other studies showed that the dwarf elephants had been able to reach the island on at least two separate occasions. Fluctuating cycles of glaciation at the earth's poles would have repeatedly enlarged the land mass of Flores and adjacent islands, leaving water gaps
of only a few kilometers. (That conclusion was based on research by K. Hsu of the National Institute of Earth Sciences in Beijing, a specialist in Pleistocene geology and a coauthor of the PNAS paper.)
Says Eckhardt, "There could have been numerous arrivals of humans during glacial stages with low sea levels, before final higher sea levels around ten thousand years ago widened the water gap separating Flores from neighboring islands. But by then, watercraft made crossings easy."
According to Eckhardt and his colleagues, the 14,200-square-kilometer island would not have offered food resources sufficient "for sustaining in isolation an adequate effective population" of hominids that would have provided enough genetic diversity to allow for survival and adaptation over hundreds of thousands of years. Rather, sporadic immigration from other Homo sapiens groups was far more likely.
After the Jacobs team had noticed that the LB1 skull was highly asymmetrical, they brought in David Frayer, an anthropologist at the University of Kansas. Using a set of photographs of the skull taken by a professional photographer, Frayer worked up computerized composite images of the hobbit's face. The combining of two left and two right side images of the face allowed for a comparison that made the asymmetry in the actual specimen strikingly obvious. The researchers also compared seven data points of left and right side measurements on the skull to quantify the asymmetry.
Evidence for abnormality
Base of LB1 skull showing socket of alleged "congenitally missing" upper right third molar.
"It turns out there's a huge forgotten body of literature on facial asymmetry, including many papers published nearly a century ago, based on studies at England's prestigious Galton Laboratory," Eckhardt says. "Everybody's face is asymmetrical to some extent. But when asymmetry exceeds about 1 percent, you're over the line into abnormality." In studying LB1, Eckhardt and Adam Kuperavage, a graduate student in kinesiology at Penn State, found that six of seven measurements taken on the skull's right side were larger than corresponding measurements on the left side by as much as 40 percent, while the seventh was 6 percent larger on the left side.
"Craniofacial asymmetry that extreme demonstrates that LB1 did not develop normally," Eckhardt says. "When we pointed out the asymmetry—which the Morwood group said in their original paper wasn't present—they backpedaled and said, sure, there's a small amount of asymmetry, but it was probably caused by pressure from sediments." Eckhardt cites a rebuttal of this explanation by the University of Wisconsin paleoanthropologist John Hawks, who writes in his weblog: "Yes, it is true that any archaeological specimen is likely to be distorted to some extent by reconstruction or postdepositional deformation. That might be true of this skull also. But in this case, the asymmetry clearly extends to morphological characters that should be relatively unaffected by such distortion."
Anthropologists frequently cite a unique shape or placement of teeth when describing a new species. According to Morwood's team, a CT scan had demonstrated the absence of a third molar for LB1. Etty Indriati had found the existing socket and a tooth fragment where the "missing" molar should have been. But LB1's teeth displayed other peculiarities, including enlarged wear surfaces, long roots, and an unusual rotated position of premolars in the upper jaw. "Those traits were characterized as unique," says Eckhardt. "But it turns out that the rotated premolars are shared by about 20 percent of the people still living in Rampasasa, a village near Liang Bua." This particular Australomelanesian population is
short-statured enough to be known as the Rampasasa pygmies. Many individuals in the population show receding chins (another supposed species-distinguishing characteristic), leading Eckhardt and his colleagues to state in their PNAS paper: "Absence of a chin cannot be a valid taxonomic character for the Liang Bua mandibles." The Jacob team contends that Morwood and his research group should have compared LB1's teeth with those of other populations in the same region, such as the Rampasasa cohort, rather than with Homo sapiens from other geographic areas of the world, principally Europe and Africa.
LB1 humerus, showing torsion between shoulder and elbow that is low but within the range of living humans.
Morwood's group had cited an unusual robustness of the leg bones of LB1. Eckhardt's team had CT scans done on the bones. "We paid for the scans with a few thousand dollars in traveler's checks that I was
carrying," Eckhardt says. "Others in the group combined funds and paid the professional photographer. Our involvement in this project moved so rapidly that there wasn't time to apply for conventional grants."
The CT scans showed that the cortex, or outer solid bone, was actually quite thin: "Those femurs are not robust at all," says Eckhardt. On the bones, the location of attachment points for the muscles suggest at least some paralysis. The LB1 skeleton also showed a low degree of humeral torsion, the twisting of the upper arm bone between shoulder and elbow. Normal humeral torsion in Homo sapienscommonly is about 140 degrees LB1's arms show 110 degrees of torsion. "When a limb develops with serious muscle weakness, torsion is usually only about 110 degrees," Eckhardt says. "Many points of evidence combine to suggest that this individual probably had severe movement disabilities."
How did humans evolve?
Was LB1 microcephalic? According to Eckhardt, around two hundred medically distinctive disease conditions can produce microcephaly. The malady can be genetic in origin, and it can be caused by various diseases and by infection. Asymmetries in the face and other bones often accompany microcephaly. Microcephaly exists in skeletons from the Upper Pleistocene and the Holocene periods. The ratio of LB1's small cranial capacity and short stature are similar to ratios found over several generations of microcephalics studied by physicians in the twentieth century. Scientists have also traced the
condition through succeeding generations of humans.
Says Eckhardt, "The archaeologists who dug up LB1 made serious mistakes in characterizing what they found, and they drew conclusions that were not supported by the balance of evidence. Altogether, they have one complete skull, plus a second mandible, which is similarly small, and assorted other bones from perhaps eight individuals. You cannot designate a new species based largely on an abnormal individual.
Group photo in Yogjakarta. Left to right: Thorne, Indriati, Henneberg, Jacob, Soejono, Eckhardt.
"In summary, the normal traits of LB1 were not unique but rather are characteristic of human populations in the region. The degree of humeral torsion, the structure of the long bones, the facial asymmetry, and the unusually small braincase all point to developmental abnormalities of the sort that often accompany microcephaly."
Continues Eckhardt: "We may be dealing with a population of individuals who went through a period of food shortages that made them smaller than they might otherwise have been. LB1 was about 1.25 meters
tall, and abnormalities of the sort from which that individual suffered commonly reduce stature markedly. The Rampasasa pygmies living near Liang Bua average just under 1.5 meters. That's not a huge stature difference."
In an apparent reaction to the Jacob group's PNAS paper, "the proponents of Homo floresiensis have now switched to arguing that the small humans must have originated elsewhere," Eckhardt says. "It seems that whenever we test one hypothesis and disprove it, they reinterpret the hypothesis into a less
readily testable form."
Since 1971, when Eckhardt earned his Ph.D. in anthropology and human genetics from the University of Michigan, many bones have passed through his hands. He has studied skeletal material in many of the major museums in the world, and spent five summers working with samples at the Institute of Anthropology and Human Genetics at the University of Frankfurt in Germany. In 1992 he published a comprehensive study of
skeletal changes in native Peruvians, based on samples ranging in age from 10,000 years before present to living populations. He has studied variation in skeletons as it is affected by age at death sex pathologies and developmental abnormalities and evolutionary changes over time. He has also worked with the bones of other mammals, including chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, macaques, and baboons.
"Most people in the fields of anthropology and archaeology believe the process of human evolution has been one of intense splitting over time," he concedes. "My belief, based on studying thousands of specimens during my career, is the opposite. Variation within any given species seems to be consistently underestimated."
The study of human evolution has always been a notably contentious field, and the Flores skeletons remain the focus of an intense and not always collegial debate. Currently scientists from different disciplines are studying the volume and shape of LB1's cranium, and trying—unsuccessfully, so far—to recover mitochondrial DNA from the skeletal material. (If found, this DNA might be compared to samples taken from both Neanderthal fossils and modern humans.) Morwood's team continues digging on Flores. The
scientific press and mainstream media seem happy to keep the controversy alive.
Says Eckhardt, "My estimate is that 80 percent or so of paleoanthropologists want this new species to be real—so much so that they are willing to overlook glaring errors and inconsistencies in the studies
and conclusions of the archaeologists who found the bones. This is not surprising, since LB1 was proclaimed to be our generation's critical test case of paleoanthropological theory. By disproving the validity of this new species, we have called a central dogma into question.
"Core beliefs are incredibly resistant to change. But testing and rejecting cherished hypotheses is how science moves forward."
Beautiful Skull Spurs Debate on Human History
A 1.8-million-year-old skull blends features of a number of early human species.
A newly discovered skull, some 1.8 million years old, has rekindled debate over the identity of humanity's ancient ancestors. Uncovered at the Dmanisi site in the Caucasus in Georgia, "Skull 5" represents the most complete jaw and cranium from a turning point in early human history.
Researchers, led by Georgian National Museum anthropologist David Lordkipanidze, first found the complete lower jaw of a fossil human in 2000. The cranium turned up five years later, at the fossil-rich Dmanisi site 96 miles southwest of Tbilisi, and is now being reported in the journal Science.
"It was discovered on August 5, 2005—in fact, on my birthday," Lordkipanidze says. He adds that the fossil's importance was clear as soon as the team saw it, but required eight years of preparatory analysis.
That is because Skull 5 is what paleoanthropologists often refer to as a "mosaic," or mixture of features seen in earlier and later humans. The skull's face, large teeth, and small brain size resemble those of earlier fossil humans, but the detailed anatomy of its braincase—which gives clues to the wiring of the brain—is similar to that of a more recent early human species called Homo erectus. This combination of features has fueled a long-running discussion over whether the Dmanisi humans were an early form of Homo erectus, a distinct species called Homo georgicus, or something else.
The newly described skull isn't the only one that has been found at Dmanisi. At least five relatively complete skulls have been found there in the last two decades. Those individuals may not have actually lived alongside each other, but apparently occupied this same place within a window of a few thousand years more than 1.75 million years ago.
Lordkipanidze and his coauthors suggest that, taken together, these skulls demonstrate how the Dmanisi humans varied in appearance from one individual to the next. "Together, our analyses suggest that Skull 5 and the other four early Homo [human] individuals from Dmanisi represent the full range of variation within a single species," study senior author Christoph Zollikofer of Switzerland's University of Zurich, said at a briefing on the new skull discovery.
Using morphometrics to gauge skull shape for each fossil skull, Lordkipanidze and colleagues found that the Dmanisi humans varied from each other in facial features and brain size, for example, about as much as modern humans do from each other. In other words, despite minor differences, they all belonged to the same species.
The single species finding raises wider implications for the history of humanity. Scholars have previously seen Dmanisi's inhabitants as a distinct variation of the human Homo erectus, or possibly as a new species. That would make them early emigrants out of Africa and part of a wildly branching early human family tree.
In the new study, however, Lordkipanidze and coauthors suggest that Dmanisi's inhabitants were actually part of a single human lineage that contains several earlier human species long thought of as distinct from Homo erectus.
So, who were the early humans living at Dmanisi? Lordkipanidze and colleagues place them in a single lineage of early humans that may stretch back as far as 2.4 million years ago in East Africa, when the first human species, Homo habilis, arose. This would lump the various human species that have been named during early Homo history into a single evolving species connecting Homo habilis to the Dmanisi humans, and forward in time to Homo erectus as it expanded across Eurasia. "We think that many African fossils can be lumped in this category and aligned with the single-lineage hypothesis," Lordkipanidze says.
While other paleontologists recognize the fossilized beauty of Skull 5, not everyone agrees on the evolutionary assertions of the new paper.
"There's no doubt that this is an interesting cranium," says paleoanthropologist Bernard Wood of George Washington University in D.C. "It's a good playing card, added to some other playing cards that are equally good."
Anthropologist Fred Spoor of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology agrees that Skull 5 is "an absolutely fabulous specimen." He says the skull will help researchers "figure out what's going on with the really early evolution of Homo erectus."
But both Wood and Spoor disagree with the "one big species" message of the new study.
The methodology used in the new study, Wood says, can obscure real differences between species, since the focus was on cranial shape rather than telltale anatomical features such as small openings on the skull for blood vessels or the delicate bony anatomy of the braincase.
Likewise, "species are identified by a clear diagnosis," Spoor says, based on distinct anatomical traits, and using such a shape analysis to determine species "is clearly not adequate," in his view.
Don't "Bring the Whole Bloody House Down"
Wood also points out that the study is entirely focused on skulls. "They are assuming that the only reason that people have come to the conclusion that there was more than one species of early Homo is that it's based entirely on cranial shape, and that's not true," Wood says.
The rest of the skeleton in other early human species carries distinguishing characteristics used to identify distinct species, such as relatively long arms still adapted for climbing in Homo habilis. "It doesn't make any sense to pretend that these pieces of evidence don't exist," Wood says. While he acknowledges that the Dmanisi humans are all likely the same species and can be difficult to categorize as Homo erectus or a separate species, he argues that it's unreasonable to "bring the whole bloody house down" by lumping all early human fossils into a single lineage.
Dmanisi Debate Only a Debut?
So where does that leave the one-time inhabitants of Dmanisi? According to Spoor, their grab bag of skull features places them near an ancient split in human evolution.
The Dmanisi humans have "an interesting combination of a primitive face, primitive teeth, primitive size of the brain," Spoor says, "but if I would take a saw and cut off the face and show the braincase to a colleague, I'm pretty sure that person would say, 'That's Homo erectus.'"
The combination of features seen in the Dmanisi skulls is a record of "evolution in action," Spoor adds. They might place the Dmanisi humans somewhere after the split between the earlier Homo habilis and Homo erectus, sometime prior to 1.8 million years ago.
Debate will undoubtedly continue about who the Dmanisi humans really were and how they fit into our broader family history. Those arguments will hinge on what is still being found. "Dmanisi is a snapshot in time, like a time capsule," Lordkipanidze said at the briefing. He suggests that his discovery team isn't done yet, and more early human fossil finds may lie ahead: "We can say for sure that Dmanisi has enormous potential to yield new discoveries."
Controversy over Tiny Alien-Like Hominid Continues - History
When it comes to evolution, headlines often get it wrong
Where's the evolution?
The science behind last month's sometimes sensational headlines is simple enough. In 2000, an international team of researchers led by Dr. Meave Leakey discovered two fossils in Kenya both from now-extinct members of our own genus Homo. The 1.44 million year old jawbone was hypothesized to have belonged to Homo habilis, a big-brained, tool-toting vegetarian and the earliest member of Homo to have evolved. The slightly older 1.55 million year old skullcap was attributed to Homo erectus, a likely candidate for the direct ancestor of modern humans. After seven years of study, the Leakey team reported their findings last month. They interpret the fossil evidence as supporting two separate hypotheses:
- First, because the new H. erectus fossil is unusually small compared to other adult H. erectus fossils, the team argues that in this species, males must have been substantially larger than females and that this particular fossil must have come from a female. Many species alive today (e.g., gorillas and elephant seals) have this sort of gender-based size difference, so it would not be surprising if one of our own ancestors did too.
|Female elephant seals (left) are much smaller than males (right).|
Since science relies on testing ideas with multiple lines of evidence, all of these hypotheses are still being investigated. But even if more evidence accumulates and these new ideas become widely accepted by the scientific community, the change would NOT contrary to last month's headlines constitute a "shakeup" or challenge to evolutionary theory. Accepted scientific theories, like evolution, are well tested, thoroughly supported explanations for a broad range of natural phenomena. They encompass many smaller ideas and hypotheses, and changes to these details reflect a refinement (not an overthrow) of the over-arching theory. If our own family tree does indeed need to be revised based on these new fossils, or if H. erectus did turn out to be more variable in size than we'd previously thought, it would represent a small change in a specific portion of our knowledge about the history of life on Earth but it would change none of the central ideas of evolutionary theory: that life on Earth has evolved, that different species share common ancestors, and that natural selection and other processes lead to evolutionary change.
Interestingly, even the scientists involved with this research anticipated its misinterpretation. An article from the Associated Press, ironically (and misleadingly) titled "Fossils Challenge Old Evolution Theory" by Fox News, explains the concern:
Susan Anton, a New York University anthropologist and co-author of the Leakey work, said she expects anti-evolution proponents to seize on the new research, but said it would be a mistake to try to use the new work to show flaws in evolution theory.
"This is not questioning the idea at all of evolution it is refining some of the specific points," Anton said. "This is a great example of what science does and religion doesn't do. It's a continous [sic] self-testing process."
Biologists expect our view of life's history to change over time after all, that's what science does: builds new knowledge of the natural world, continually improving and refining our previous understandings. Scientific theories can be challenged and overturned, but it takes a preponderance of evidence, a lot of careful scientific work, and an alternative theory that is a more compelling and useful explanation of how the world actually works. Evolution, however, is far from a theory in crisis. Its central ideas are supported by the weight of scientific evidence available (including the fossils discovered by the Leakey team), have been investigated by scientists the world over for more than a century, and continue to provide useful insights into fields as diverse as conservation biology, agriculture, computer programming, and human health.
- Gibbons, A. (2007). New fossils challenge line of descent in human family tree. Science 317:733.
- from the University of Utah News Center
Understanding Evolution resources:
Discussion and extension questions
- In your own words, describe what is misleading about the headline "Fossils Challenge Old Evolution Theory" with respect to the Leakey team's research.
. Which misconception seems to be inherent in the headline "Fossils Challenge Old Evolution Theory?" Explain your reasoning.
, paying special attention to the hominid family tree. What hypothesis regarding the relationships among H. habilis, H. erectus, and modern humans is depicted there? How does this compare to hypotheses A and B above?
, paying special attention to the timeline. Where on the timeline would the newly discovered H. habilis fossil fit? According to this timeline and the newly discovered fossil, what other close human relatives would have lived at the same time as H. habilis?
Related lessons and teaching resources
- : In this lesson for grades 6-12, students are taken on an imaginary fossil hunt and hypothesize as to the identity of the creature they discover. Students revise their hypotheses as new evidence is "found."
: In this lesson for grades 9-12, students describe, measure and compare cranial casts from contemporary apes, modern humans, and fossil hominids to discover some of the similarities and differences between these forms and to see the pattern leading to modern humans.
- Borenstein, S. (2007, August 9). Fossils challenge old evolution theory. Fox News.
Retrieved August 30, 2007 from Fox News
Resistance: Fall of Man is a science fiction and fantasy first-person shooter video game. The game is set in an alternate history 1951, and focuses on human resistance forces attempting to drive a mysterious alien-like invasion out of Great Britain. It was released as a PlayStation 3 launch title in Europe on 23 March 2007. Resistance features recreations of English landmarks throughout the game, including at one point a gun fight between player protagonist Nathan Hale and the alien species around the exterior and interior of Manchester Cathedral. The cathedral is a medieval church on Victoria Street in central Manchester and is the seat of the Bishop of Manchester. Built in the 15th century, it has been extensively refaced, restored and extended during the Victorian period, and then again following severe bomb damage in the 20th century. 
Church leaders accused Sony of the virtual desecration of Manchester Cathedral,  referring to one scene which depicts a shoot-out in which dozens of Leapers (small, scorpion-like enemies in the game) are killed during a bloody gun battle inside the cathedral. Officials described the use of the building as sick and sacrilegious, and stated Sony did not ask for permission to use the cathedral.  They demanded an apology from Sony and the withdrawal of the game from shops, otherwise legal action would be considered.  The cathedral's spokesman, David Marshall, told reporters that the cathedral had received many supportive e-mails for its stance and that they intended to make several demands of Sony. These included an apology, a substantial donation, complete withdrawal of the game or modifying the segment featuring the interior of the cathedral, and financial support of Manchester groups trying to reduce gun crime in the city. 
Cathedral officials also described the use of guns in a city which has a gun crime problem as irresponsible. The Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch, stated that it was well known that Manchester had a gun crime problem, and that it was beyond belief that a global manufacturer would re-create one of their Cathedrals with photo-realistic quality.  Insomniac, the game's developer, declined to comment, referring all inquires to Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.  Sony Computer Entertainment Europe issued a statement, stating that they were aware of the concerns expressed by the Bishop of Manchester and the Cathedral authorities, and take them seriously. However, they added that Resistance: Fall of Man is a fantasy science fiction game and not based on reality and that they believed they had sought and received all permissions necessary.  Sony also stated that it would be contacting the Cathedral on 11 June 2007 to understand their concerns in more detail.  David Wilson, a Sony spokesman, told The Times that it was game-created footage, and not video or photography. Further, he compared it to science fiction shows such as Doctor Who, claiming that it was not based on reality at all.  
At a meeting with church and cathedral officials, held on 11 June, reporters noted that three people had been shot within the city in the previous 72 hours. The attendees produced a letter by the Very Reverend Rogers Govender, on behalf of the Dean and Canons of Manchester Cathedral to Sony. It stated that they were currently seeking the advice of lawyers in the matter, and reserved their legal position in relation to the same. It demanded a substantial donation for the cathedral's work with youth in resisting the culture of gun crime and other forms of violence in our society. It further demanded the immediate withdrawal of the game, and that Sony not re-issue it without removing the section of the game containing the Cathedral interior. Govender described the use of images of the cathedral as virtual desecration. The letter stressed that they were in consultation with their lawyers and urged Sony to contact them so there can be a mutually satisfactory conclusion to the matter. Govender told reporters that the church officials had only been told of the content on 8 June 2007, and, after watching footage of gameplay posted on YouTube, said they were dismayed beyond belief and were shocked to see a place of worship being presented to youths as a place where guns may be fired, and that every year, they invite hundreds of teenagers to see the Cathedral and appreciate it as an alternative to violence. They added that it was a shame to have a game like this undermining such important work.  They also sought that Sony apologise unreservedly.  
Nanako Kato, a spokesperson from Sony Computer Entertainment, addressed the matter from Tokyo. She pointed out that historical buildings are often used in entertainment, such as in iconic movie scenes involving Godzilla and the Tokyo Tower and King Kong in Manhattan. She acknowledged the church in the game holds a resemblance to Manchester Cathedral, but that the point was to depict a backdrop of an old church, not to illustrate a specific church. She added that Sony understands why the Church of England was offended especially because of its efforts to reduce the serious problem of gun violence in Manchester.  She did not answer on whether Sony would donate money to the Cathedral's anti-gun program as the Church has demanded. At the time, over 2 million copies of the game had been sold. 
The controversy raises questions about the range to which copyright law can extend. Alex Chapman of Campbell Hooper solicitors, stated "The Church will have an uphill battle in a legal claim against Sony, and indeed it is likely that there is no basis for a claim." He cited a provision in the UK's 1988 Copyright Designs and Patents act that "explicitly states that it is not copyright infringement to represent certain artistic works that are on public display". This includes sculptures and buildings which are "permanently situated in a public place or in premises open to the public". Chapman also pointed out that, in the UK, copyright expires 70 years after the person who created the work dies. He went on to say, "What all this means is that public buildings are generally fair game for inclusion in video games, films et cetera, and it is something that their owners just have to accept. What isn't fair game, however, is if the building is presented in a way that could be said to be defamatory in relation to those associated with it and this might be what the Church is more concerned about. Also if the representation of the building could be argued to have become so closely associated with a business that its representation amounts to a false endorsement of Sony or its products, or it is registered as a trademark, there may be issues. In each case however my impression is that the Church will have some difficulty in pursuing Sony. There is no law against insensitivity and as with many matters of this kind, it is the public reaction that might be more damaging than the legal one."  An unofficial review, by lawyers at Freeth Cartwright, of the rights that Sony might have infringed concluded that the Church of England did not have a case on either copyright or passing off grounds. 
Tony Lloyd, the Member of Parliament for Manchester Central, addressed Prime Minister Tony Blair during the Prime Minister's Questions, saying, "When large organisations like Sony find their copyright has been breached, they're very quick to use the law. Would the Prime Minister agree with me then that when Sony used images of Manchester Cathedral as part a game which extols gun violence, this was not only in bad taste but also very, very insulting to not simply the Church of England, but people across the land who think it's inappropriate that big corporations behave in this way?" 
Blair answered, "I agree with my honourable friend. I think it's important that any of the companies engaged in promoting these types of goods have some sense of responsibility and also some sensitivity to the feelings of others. I think this is an immensely difficult area, the relationship between what happens with these games and its impact on young people. I've no doubt this debate will go on for a significant period of time, but I do agree. I think it is important that people understand there is a wider social responsibility as well as an interior responsibility for profits." 
On 15 June 2007, Sony issued the following statement: "We do not accept that there is any connection between contemporary issues of 21st century Manchester and a work of science fiction in which a fictitious 1950s Britain is under attack by aliens. It is not our intention to cause offence by using a representation of Manchester Cathedral in chapter eight of the work. If we have done so we sincerely apologise."   The apology was also included in an advertisement in a Manchester newspaper.  The Dean of the Manchester Cathedral, the Reverend Rogers Govender, said in a statement: "We acknowledge the admission by Sony that the building in the game is Manchester Cathedral. We thank Sony for the apology they have made. However, we do not move from the position that we are against violence and especially the gun violence seen in this portrayal of the Cathedral."   On 6 July 2007, Sony issued an unreserved apology to Manchester Cathedral by publishing it in the Manchester Evening News, although they refused to make a donation. 
On the same day, the Cathedral announced a proposal for "Sacred Digital Guidelines" to prevent further virtual desecration of religious buildings. These guidelines were debated at the Church of England's General Synod in York. Dean Govender called on Sony as well as all other video game publishers to sign up for these new guidelines. The codes of conduct in the guidelines include that publishers "respect our sacred spaces as places of prayer, worship, peace, learning and heritage" that they "do not assume that sacred space interiors are copyright free" that they "get permission from the faith leaders who are responsible for the building interiors you want to clone" and that they "support the work of those engaged in resisting the culture of gun crime and those involved in promoting the work of conflict resolution." 
Georgia Tech professor and Persuasive Games CEO Ian Bogost defended the use of Manchester Cathedral in the game. He described Sony's apology as "self-defeating" and criticised Sony and Insomniac Games for not explaining their goals with the use of the cathedral. He wrote that the cathedral was "one of the only significant experiences in the whole game", where he otherwise described it as "not a game richly imbued with wisdom." He wrote that video games provided players with a way to experience war time situations and called the use of the cathedral "the most powerful of these moments" and the "subtlest" in Resistance. He argued that the use of an accurate depiction of the monument instead of an anonymous location encourages players to pay attention to it as a structure that "demands respect." He wrote that Resistance "adds a fictional homage to the church’s resolve". 
Author Harry Joe Brown commented that the protest against Resistance does not represent "just another protest by cultural conservatives against videogame violence" he described it as a new form of video game criticism. He added that the people involved were not "so uninformed that they mistake science fiction for simulated murder", a notion which he stated was present in gamers' reactions and implied in Sony's apology. He elaborated that the controversy came from the use of assault weaponry in a place of worship, one that plays host to a yearly candlelight vigil for victims of gun violence. He wrote that the "jarring image of an American supersoldier spraying their church with bullets may indeed seem less like a meaningless violation of 'whiny dogma' than a sick joke." He added that, the controversy, while "ridiculous to Sony and the videogame community", demonstrates a growing awareness of religion in a "virtual place", even among the "severest critics of videogames". 
During the controversy, Resistance: Fall of Man rose from 40th place in the United Kingdom's top 40 Full Priced video games chart to 22nd place for the week of 17 July to 23 July.  It remained in the top 30 through the next week falling to 27th place,  and to 36th place in the next week.  In November 2009, IGN.com placed the incident in their "Top 10 Gaming Controversies".  It was also selected as a finalist along with six other games in the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards for the "PC World Gamers Award", which is the only category based on sales and public reception.  The Dean of Manchester Cathedral, the Very Reverend Rogers Govender, criticised the selection, stating that "BAFTA should not be seen condoning such behaviour unless they are saying it is acceptable for producers to walk into historic buildings and film interiors – ignoring contracts, rights and liability", asking for either BAFTA or Sony to withdraw the game from the award.  Neither withdrew it, but it ultimately lost to Football Manager 2007. 
Resistance: Fall of Man has been highly successful despite the controversy, and has resulted in the production of multiple products, including three sequels titled Resistance 2,  Resistance 3 and Resistance: Retribution.  Resistance developer, Ted Price, commented that there would be more "churches, mosques, and synagogues" in Resistance 2 before its release. While it was not known whether he was joking, he admitted to being Episcopalian, and considers the Church of England to be the "mother ship".  However, Sony pledged to not include the Cathedral in another game. 
Despite the Cathedral's reaction to its use in Resistance: Fall of Man, the controversy has resulted in a significant increase in its visitor numbers according to David Marshall, director of communications for the Diocese of Manchester, writing in the Official PlayStation Magazine. Teachers tell him that teenagers in particular are interested to see a building which they thought was fictional. He adds that tourism has increased since the broadcast of pictures taken inside the Cathedral. 
East Side Story
At the time of Broom’s study, Louis Leakey, the Kenyan-born son of English missionaries, was struggling to vindicate his long-held belief that humanity was in fact rooted in his native East Africa. His quest finally bore fruit in 1959, when he and his wife, Mary, discovered an australopithecine skull in Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge. A year later, the Leakeys found fossils of a more advanced species, seemingly a bridge from the australopithecines to us. They dubbed it Homo habilis, or “handy man,” after a scatter of stone tools close by.
Aided by Leakey’s charismatic personality—and extensive coverage by National Geographic—the finds drew global attention. But what really moved the human origins spotlight to East Africa was the ability to accurately pin an age on the bones the Leakeys and others were uncovering. While neither the fossils nor the ancient sediments they were found in could be dated directly, volcanic ash layers interspersed between the sediments, like layers of icing in a cake, could be dated by the clocklike decay of their radioactive elements, fixing limits to the age of the fossil-rich sediments above or below. These volcanic ash deposits are a feature throughout the Great Rift Valley running north to south through East Africa, so the ability to date them proved crucial not only for Louis and Mary Leakey’s finds at Olduvai Gorge but also for the later discoveries of their son Richard on the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya, and for the team led by Donald Johanson that discovered the Lucy skeleton in Hadar, in Ethiopia, in 1974.
Being able to date fossils enabled researchers to know how old they were in relationship to each other, connecting the discoveries emerging from the East African Rift into a phylogeny—a human family tree. Johanson and his collaborator Tim White assigned the Lucy skeleton and some other fossils to a new species, Australopithecus afarensis, dated to 3.2 million years ago. In their phylogeny, A. afarensis was the ancestor to Homo habilis, at a little under two million years old the most primitive member of our genus. H. habilis evolved into the younger, more advanced species Homo erectus, which in turn evolved into us. And Dart’s “southern ape,” A. africanus? Along with some other species with robust skulls and teeth and gorilla-like crests on their craniums, it was assigned to an extinct side branch of the family tree.
Firmly planted in East Africa, that version of the family tree cast a shadow over South Africa. Some new fossils were still emerging from the Cradle of Humankind, including a spectacular australopithecine skeleton dubbed Little Foot, more complete than any ever found, Lucy included. But it took its discoverer, Ron Clarke, 15 years to free it from the rock that entombed it deep in Sterkfontein cave.
And like many other South Africa finds, Little Foot suffers from an uncertain date. There are no neat layers of sediment with time stamps of volcanic ash in South African caves. Slightly acidic rainwater percolates down through the limestone and etches out a chaos of chambers, fissures, shafts, and passages. Fossils might end up there by many routes, at many times, with little information on what happened when.
Lost in a Million-Year Gap, Solid Clues to Human Origins
Sometimes the maturity of a field of science can be measured by the heft of its ambition in the face of the next daunting unknown, the mystery yet to be cracked.
Neurobiology probes the circuitry of the brain for the secrets of behaviors and thoughts that make humans human. High-energy physics seeks and may be on the verge of finding the so-called God particle, the Higgs boson thought to endow elementary particles with their mass. Cosmology is confounded by dark matter and dark energy, the pervasive but unidentified stuff that shapes the universe and accelerates its expansion.
In the study of human origins, paleoanthropology stares in frustration back to a dark age from three million to less than two million years ago. The missing mass in this case is the unfound fossils to document just when and under what circumstances our own genus Homo emerged.
The origin of Homo is one of the most intriguing and intractable mysteries in human evolution. New findings only remind scientists that answers to so many of their questions about early Homo probably lie buried in the million-year dark age.
It is known that primitive hominids — human ancestors and their close kin — walked upright across the plains of Africa at this time. They were presumably larger members of the genus Australopithecus, the best known of which was the Lucy species, Australopithecus afarensis, that had thrived up to three million years ago.
At about 2.6 million years ago, some clever hominids were knapping stone tools. Then, or some time later, scientists suspect, the first Homo appeared, but there is no confirmed evidence of this step.
Subsequent finds, from a time beginning after 1.9 million years ago, revealed an early Homo identified as Homo habilis, the “handy man,” a species with a somewhat larger brain and a more humanlike face, teeth and stature than the apelike australopithecines.
Habilis was generally accorded an important place as the first of the species, preceding the more advanced Homo erectus and, ultimately, modern humans — Homo sapiens. But certainty has been elusive. A report last month in the journal Nature renewed debate over the habilis’s place in human evolution.
William H. Kimbel, a paleoanthropologist at the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, said that the million-year period “has long been the source of frustrating gaps” in the hominid fossil record. “It’s not that sites containing rocks this age are particularly rare, or that the time period in eastern Africa has not been searched by several groups,” Dr. Kimbel said. “The problem is that the fossil yield has thus far been low or poorly preserved, compared to the time periods on either side of this interval.”
A succession of recent discoveries has extended evidence of hominids reaching back from three million to beyond six million years ago, close to the estimated time of the divergence of the human and chimpanzee lineages. The hominid trail from two million years forward has been fairly well worked, by fossil hunters as well as geneticists and archaeologists tracking migrations out of Africa and across Eurasia. Researchers have determined that anatomically modern Homo sapiens emerged in Africa less than 200,000 years ago.
G. Philip Rightmire, a specialist in habilis and erectus research at Harvard, said searches into the mystery period had yielded mostly the remains of various species of Australopithecus, the genus that came to a dead end around one million years ago.
Bones were found in 2.5-million-year-old sediments associated with some of the earliest known stone tools, used to butcher animals. A coincidence, or evidence of the first toolmaking species? Hard to tell.
A skull and other fossils, uncovered by a team led by the Ethiopian anthropologist Berhane Asfaw, were named the new species Australopithecus garhi. The researchers said the specimen had the projecting apelike face, small braincase and limb bones suggesting descent from the much earlier Lucy species. But if this was a candidate ancestor of early Homo, “a lot of evolution had to take place rather quickly” to complete the transition, a scientist said at the time.
With one possible exception, no fossils that are conclusively Homo have appeared in that period, Dr. Rightmire said. “That suggests there was not much Homo around then,” he said.
Nevertheless, Tim D. White of the University of California, Berkeley, one of the most experienced hunters of hominid fossils, said that his teams and several others were “pushing hard” to explore sites in Ethiopia and Kenya that may produce evidence of earlier Homo origins. Prospects are uncertain. Some prominent sites of previous hominid discoveries are underlain with lava flows and other geological barriers to digging into the deeper past.
At present, most paleoanthropologists think a solitary upper jaw represents the likeliest candidate for a Homo from that period. The find, reported in 1996 by a team led by Dr. Kimbel, was made in the Hadar badlands of Ethiopia, near the site of the much earlier Lucy skeleton and on a surface with a scattering of stone tools. The 2.3-million-year-old jaw was tentatively assigned to the genus Homo.
Dr. Kimbel remains cautious. “The Hadar jaw could represent a population of early Homo that was specifically in the ancestry of habilis,” he said. “Or it could represent a stem population from which ultimately descended all of the Homo species currently known from after two million years ago.”
Alan Walker, a professor of biological anthropology at Pennsylvania State University who studies hominid anatomy, agreed that the jaw was apparently “the earliest direct evidence” of Homo. It shows that the individual had the short face and squared-off palate of Homo, but with teeth that were larger and more primitive. The only other traces of possible Homo presence before two million years ago are some loose teeth from the Omo basin in Ethiopia and some fossil fragments from Kenya and Malawi. The recent Nature report on two new fossils, a 1.44-million-year-old habilis and a 1.55-million-year-old erectus, underscored the uncertainties about early Homo, even after the dark age.
The lead authors, Fred Spoor of University College London and Meave G. Leakey of the National Museums of Kenya, emphasized in the article and in a news release that their findings challenged the view that habilis and erectus evolved one after the other in a linear succession. Their research showed that the two overlapped for almost half a million years and, as they speculated to the media, both species could have had their origins well before two million years ago, possibly from a common ancestor.
Eric Delson, a paleoanthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History and the City University of New York, said that was possible. “It’s always difficult to know what is the earliest specimen of any lineage,” Dr. Delson added. “One always finds something older and older.”
A significant insight from the report, he said, may be the recognition that “there’s more diversity of species in this time period than we expected.”
Several scientists, notably Dr. White of Berkeley, took issue with the interpretation seeming to imply that evidence for the two species overlapping in time and exhibiting variable sizes was new. That, he said, had been recognized for a couple of decades.
Dr. Kimbel, who was not involved in the new research, defended the authors, saying that they had not “meant to imply that habilis could not have been ancestral to erectus, presumably on the basis of their being contemporaneous at Turkana,” the site in Kenya where the fossils were found.
Susan C. Anton, an anthropologist at New York University who was a member of the Spoor-Leakey team, said, “My money is still on habilis as the potential ancestor, but there is a lot of room for additional knowledge, given the dearth of fossils.”
Other scientists tended to agree but noted that habilis had been clouded with doubt. The first habilis fossils were collected in the early 1960s in the Olduvai Gorge of Tanzania by Louis Leakey, patriarch of the fossil-hunting family and Meave Leakey’s father-in-law.
Is habilis really one, two, possibly three species? Some scientists are not sure. Did erectus descend from habilis in a single, unbroken lineage, a process called anagenesis? “This is the only option that is no longer on the table,” Dr. Anton said.
Other experts agree that anagenesis has been refuted by recent evidence that erectus and habilis co-existed for a long time in East Africa, although perhaps in separate ecological niches. So could erectus and habilis have sprung from a much earlier common ancestor? No one can say there were no intermediate Homo species before habilis, back in the dark age. Or perhaps some habilis members left Africa earlier and, after an isolation that favors rapid evolutionary change, returned to Africa as erectus, living side by side with the habilis population that had remained behind.
A hominid site far from Africa has thus taken on new significance. In the 1990s, scientists turned up Homo fossils at the village of Dmanisi, in the republic of Georgia. The craniums, resembling fossils from Kenya, confirmed the presence of erectus on the fringes of Europe at least 1.7 million years ago.
The puzzle is, the Dmanisi fossils look like erectus, but are very small, like habilis. A few researchers raise the possibility that a population of habilis evolved into erectus outside Africa, perhaps in or near Georgia.
“There’s nothing to rule out the idea that habilis-like creatures moved into Eurasia prior to 1.8 million years,” said Dr. Rightmire of Harvard. “They may have given rise to erectus, as we see at Dmanisi, and then erectus moved back, joining the surviving habilis there.”
A new report, to be published Thursday in Nature, will review more skeletal evidence of the transitional aspects of the Dmanisi specimens.
But Dr. Anton said the Dmanisi remains were important as examples of size variability within the erectus species and its adaptations to local environments, not for “any special tie to earliest Homo, such as habilis.”
Writing in the Annual Review of Anthropology in 2004, Dr. Anton and Carl C. Swisher III, a geologist at Rutgers University, concluded that the relationships among erectus and various possible nonerectus Homo groups in Africa “currently are quite muddled and require substantial revisitations.”
Even if the mystery of the origins of the genus Homo is a sign of paleoanthropology’s maturing reach into the deep past, it still leaves the redrawing of the human family tree very much a work in progress. Daniel E. Lieberman, a paleoanthropologist at Harvard, said that filling in the tree matters to scientists, and not only out of innate curiosity about human ancestry.
“At a basic level, one wants to know when and where transformations occurred so one can put them into their appropriate evolutionary context,” Dr. Lieberman said.
He said that that could reveal the dietary and environmental causes of species change, leading eventually to modern humans with the ambition to find their origins.
Dr. Lieberman said that he and colleagues “are relentlessly optimistic that we have all the information we need to answer our big questions, but just haven’t figured out the order in which to connect the dots.”
But the real problem, he added, with resignation tempering optimism, “is that the fossil record doesn’t have enough dots.”
The creation–evolution controversy began in Europe and North America in the late 18th century, when new interpretations of geological evidence led to various theories of an ancient Earth, and findings of extinctions demonstrated in the fossil geological sequence prompted early ideas of evolution, notably Lamarckism. In England these ideas of continuing change were at first seen as a threat to the existing "fixed" social order, and both church and state sought to repress them.  Conditions gradually eased, and in 1844 Robert Chambers's controversial Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation popularized the idea of gradual transmutation of species. The scientific establishment at first dismissed it scornfully and the Church of England reacted with fury, but many Unitarians, Quakers and Baptists—groups opposed to the privileges of the established church—favoured its ideas of God acting through such natural laws.  
Contemporary reaction to Darwin Edit
By the end of the 19th century, there was no serious scientific opposition to the basic evolutionary tenets of descent with modification and the common ancestry of all forms of life.
The publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 brought scientific credibility to evolution, and made it a respectable field of study. 
Despite the intense interest in the religious implications of Darwin's book, theological controversy over higher criticism set out in Essays and Reviews (1860) largely diverted the Church of England's attention. Some of the liberal Christian authors of that work expressed support for Darwin, as did many Nonconformists. The Reverend Charles Kingsley, for instance, openly supported the idea of God working through evolution.  Other Christians opposed the idea, and even some of Darwin's close friends and supporters—including Charles Lyell and Asa Gray—initially expressed reservations about some of his ideas.  Gray later became a staunch supporter of Darwin in America, and collected together a number of his own writings to produce an influential book, Darwiniana (1876). These essays argued for a conciliation between Darwinian evolution and the tenets of theism, at a time when many on both sides perceived the two as mutually exclusive.  Gray said that investigation of physical causes was not opposed to the theological view and the study of the harmonies between mind and Nature, and thought it "most presumable that an intellectual conception realized in Nature would be realized through natural agencies."  Thomas Huxley, who strongly promoted Darwin's ideas while campaigning to end the dominance of science by the clergy, coined the term agnostic to describe his position that God's existence is unknowable. Darwin also took this position,  but prominent atheists including Edward Aveling and Ludwig Büchner also took up evolution and it was criticized, in the words of one reviewer, as "tantamount to atheism."     Following the lead of figures such as St. George Jackson Mivart and John Augustine Zahm, Roman Catholics in the United States became accepting of evolution itself while ambivalent towards natural selection and stressing humanity's divinely imbued soul.  The Catholic Church never condemned evolution, and initially the more conservative-leaning Catholic leadership in Rome held back, but gradually adopted a similar position.  
During the late 19th century evolutionary ideas were most strongly disputed by the premillennialists, who held to a prophecy of the imminent return of Christ based on a form of Biblical literalism, and were convinced that the Bible would be invalidated if any error in the Scriptures was conceded. However, hardly any of the critics of evolution at that time were as concerned about geology, freely granting scientists any time they needed before the Edenic creation to account for scientific observations, such as fossils and geological findings.  In the immediate post-Darwinian era, few scientists or clerics rejected the antiquity of the earth or the progressive nature of the fossil record.  Likewise, few attached geological significance to the Biblical flood, unlike subsequent creationists.  Evolutionary skeptics, creationist leaders and skeptical scientists were usually either willing to adopt a figurative reading of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, or allowed that the six days of creation were not necessarily 24-hour days. 
Science professors at liberal northeastern universities almost immediately embraced the theory of evolution and introduced it to their students. However, some people in parts of the south and west of the United States, which had been influenced by the preachings of Christian fundamentalist evangelicals, rejected the theory as immoral. 
In the United Kingdom, Evangelical creationists were in a tiny minority. The Victoria Institute was formed in 1865 in response to Essays and Reviews and Darwin's On the Origin of Species. It was not officially opposed to evolution theory, but its main founder James Reddie objected to Darwin's work as "inharmonious" and "utterly incredible", and Philip Henry Gosse, author of Omphalos, was a vice-president. The institute's membership increased to 1897, then declined sharply. In the 1920s George McCready Price attended and made several presentations of his creationist views, which found little support among the members. In 1927 John Ambrose Fleming was made president while he insisted on creation of the soul, his acceptance of divinely guided development and of Pre-Adamite humanity meant he was thought of as a theistic evolutionist. 
Creationism in theology Edit
At the beginning of the 19th century debate had started to develop over applying historical methods to Biblical criticism, suggesting a less literal account of the Bible. Simultaneously, the developing science of geology indicated the Earth was ancient, and religious thinkers sought to accommodate this by day-age creationism or gap creationism. Neptunianist catastrophism, which had in the 17th and 18th centuries proposed that a universal flood could explain all geological features, gave way to ideas of geological gradualism (introduced in 1795 by James Hutton) based upon the erosion and depositional cycle over millions of years, which gave a better explanation of the sedimentary column. Biology and the discovery of extinction (first described in the 1750s and put on a firm footing by Georges Cuvier in 1796) challenged ideas of a fixed immutable Aristotelian "great chain of being." Natural theology had earlier expected that scientific findings based on empirical evidence would help religious understanding. Emerging differences led some [ according to whom? ] to increasingly regard science and theology as concerned with different, non-competitive domains.
When most scientists came to accept evolution (by around 1875), European theologians generally came to accept evolution as an instrument of God. For instance, Pope Leo XIII (in office 1878–1903) referred to longstanding Christian thought that scriptural interpretations could be reevaluated in the light of new knowledge, [ citation needed ] and Roman Catholics came around to acceptance of human evolution subject to direct creation of the soul. In the United States the development of the racist Social Darwinian eugenics movement by certain [ which? ] circles led a number of Catholics to reject evolution.  In this enterprise they received little aid from conservative Christians in Great Britain and Europe. In Britain this has been attributed to their minority status leading to a more tolerant, less militant theological tradition.  This continues to the present. In his speech at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2014, Pope Francis declared that he accepted the Big Bang theory and the theory of evolution and that God was not "a magician with a magic wand". 
Development of creationism in the United States Edit
At first in the U.S., evangelical Christians paid little attention to the developments in geology and biology, being more concerned with the rise of European higher Biblical criticism which questioned the belief in the Bible as literal truth. Those criticizing these approaches took the name "fundamentalist"—originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century, and which had its roots in the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy of the 1920s and 1930s.  The term in a religious context generally indicates unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs.  [ need quotation to verify ]
Up until the early mid-20th century [ when? ] , mainline Christian denominations within the United States showed little official resistance to evolution. Around the start of the 20th century some evangelical scholars had ideas accommodating evolution, such as B. B. Warfield who saw it as a natural law expressing God's will. By then most U.S. high-school and college biology classes taught scientific evolution, but several factors, including the rise of Christian fundamentalism and social factors of changes and insecurity in more traditionalist Bible Belt communities, led to a backlash. The numbers of children receiving secondary education increased rapidly, and parents who had fundamentalist tendencies or who opposed social ideas of what was called "survival of the fittest" had real concerns about what their children were learning about evolution. 
British creationism Edit
The main British creationist movement in this period [ which? ] , the Evolution Protest Movement (EPM), formed in the 1930s  out of the Victoria Institute, or Philosophical Society of Great Britain (founded in 1865 in response to the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 and of Essays and Reviews in 1860). The Victoria Institute had the stated objective of defending "the great truths revealed in Holy Scripture . against the opposition of Science falsely so called". [ citation needed ] Although it did not officially oppose evolution, it attracted a number of scientists skeptical of Darwinism, including John William Dawson and Arnold Guyot.  It reached a high point of 1,246 members in 1897, but quickly plummeted to less than one third of that figure in the first two decades of the twentieth century.  Although it opposed evolution at first, the institute joined the theistic evolution camp by the 1920s, which led to the development of the Evolution Protest Movement in reaction. Amateur ornithologist Douglas Dewar, the main driving-force within the EPM, published a booklet entitled Man: A Special Creation (1936) and engaged in public speaking and debates with supporters of evolution. In the late 1930s he resisted American creationists' call for acceptance of flood geology, which later led to conflict within the organization. Despite trying to win the public endorsement of C. S. Lewis (1898–1963), the most prominent Christian apologist of his day, [ citation needed ] by the mid-1950s the EPM came under control of schoolmaster/pastor Albert G. Tilney, whose dogmatic and authoritarian style ran the organization "as a one-man band", rejecting flood geology, unwaveringly promoting gap creationism, and reducing the membership to lethargic inactivity.  It was renamed the Creation Science Movement (CSM) in 1980, under the chairmanship of David Rosevear, who holds a Ph.D. in organometallic chemistry from the University of Bristol. By the mid-1980s the CSM had formally incorporated flood geology into its "Deed of Trust" (which all officers had to sign) and condemned gap creationism and day-age creationism as unscriptural.
In 1925 Tennessee passed a statute, the Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of the theory of evolution in all schools in the state. Later that year Mississippi passed a similar law, as did Arkansas in 1927. In 1968 the Supreme Court of the United States struck down these "anti-monkey" laws as unconstitutional, "because they established a religious doctrine violating both the First and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution." 
In more recent times religious fundamentalists who accept creationism have struggled to get their rejection of evolution accepted as legitimate science within education institutions in the U.S. A series of important court cases has resulted.
Butler Act and the Scopes monkey trial (1925) Edit
After 1918, in the aftermath of World War I, the Fundamentalist–Modernist controversy had brought a surge of opposition to the idea of evolution, and following the campaigning of William Jennings Bryan several states introduced legislation prohibiting the teaching of evolution. By 1925, such legislation was being considered in 15 states, and had passed in some states, such as Tennessee.  The American Civil Liberties Union offered to defend anyone who wanted to bring a test case against one of these laws. John T. Scopes accepted, and confessed to teaching his Tennessee class evolution in defiance of the Butler Act, using the textbook by George William Hunter: A Civic Biology: Presented in Problems (1914). The trial, widely publicized by H. L. Mencken among others, is commonly referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial. The court convicted Scopes, but the widespread publicity galvanized proponents of evolution. Following an appeal of the case to the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Court overturned the decision on a technicality (the judge had assessed the minimum $100 fine instead of allowing the jury to assess the fine). 
Although it overturned the conviction, the Court decided that the Butler Act was not in violation of the Religious Preference provisions of the Tennessee Constitution (Section 3 of Article 1), which stated "that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship".  The Court, applying that state constitutional language, held:
We are not able to see how the prohibition of teaching the theory that man has descended from a lower order of animals gives preference to any religious establishment or mode of worship. So far as we know, there is no religious establishment or organized body that has in its creed or confession of faith any article denying or affirming such a theory. Protestants, Catholics, and Jews are divided among themselves in their beliefs, and that there is no unanimity among the members of any religious establishment as to this subject. Belief or unbelief in the theory of evolution is no more a characteristic of any religious establishment or mode of worship than is belief or unbelief in the wisdom of the prohibition laws. It would appear that members of the same churches quite generally disagree as to these things.
. Furthermore, [the Butler Act] requires the teaching of nothing. It only forbids the teaching of evolution of man from a lower order of animals. As the law thus stands, while the theory of evolution of man may not be taught in the schools of the State, nothing contrary to that theory [such as Creationism] is required to be taught.
. It is not necessary now to determine the exact scope of the Religious Preference clause of the Constitution . Section 3 of Article 1 is binding alike on the Legislature and the school authorities. So far we are clear that the Legislature has not crossed these constitutional limitations.
The interpretation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution up to that time held that the government could not establish a particular religion as the State religion. The Tennessee Supreme Court's decision held in effect that the Butler Act was constitutional under the state Constitution's Religious Preference Clause, because the Act did not establish one religion as the "State religion".  As a result of the holding, the teaching of evolution remained illegal in Tennessee, and continued campaigning succeeded in removing evolution from school textbooks throughout the United States.    
Epperson v. Arkansas (1968) Edit
In 1968 the United States Supreme Court invalidated a forty-year-old Arkansas statute that prohibited the teaching of evolution in the public schools. A Little Rock, Arkansas, high-school-biology teacher, Susan Epperson, filed suit, charging that the law violated the federal constitutional prohibition against establishment of religion as set forth in the Establishment Clause. The Little Rock Ministerial Association supported Epperson's challenge, declaring, "to use the Bible to support an irrational and an archaic concept of static and undeveloping creation is not only to misunderstand the meaning of the Book of Genesis, but to do God and religion a disservice by making both enemies of scientific advancement and academic freedom".  The Court held that the United States Constitution prohibits a state from requiring, in the words of the majority opinion, "that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma".  But the Supreme Court decision also suggested that creationism could be taught in addition to evolution. 
Daniel v. Waters (1975) Edit
Daniel v. Waters was a 1975 legal case in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down Tennessee's law regarding the teaching of "equal time" of evolution and creationism in public-school science classes because it violated the Establishment Clause. Following this ruling, creationism was stripped of overt biblical references and rebranded "Creation Science", and several states passed legislative acts requiring that this be given equal time with the teaching of evolution.
Creation science Edit
As biologists grew more and more confident in evolution as the central defining principle of biology,   American membership in churches favoring increasingly literal interpretations of scripture also rose, with the Southern Baptist Convention and Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod outpacing all other denominations.  With growth and increased finances, these churches became better equipped to promulgate a creationist message, with their own colleges, schools, publishing houses, and broadcast media. 
In 1961 Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing released the first major modern creationist book: John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris' influential The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications. The authors argued that creation was literally 6 days long, that humans lived concurrently with dinosaurs, and that God created each "kind" of life individually.   On the strength of this, Morris became a popular speaker, spreading anti-evolutionary ideas at fundamentalist churches, colleges, and conferences.  Morris' Creation Science Research Center (CSRC) rushed publication of biology textbooks that promoted creationism.  Ultimately, the CSRC broke up over a divide between sensationalism and a more intellectual approach, and Morris founded the Institute for Creation Research, which was promised [ by whom? ] to be controlled and operated by scientists.  During this time, Morris and others who supported flood geology adopted the terms "scientific creationism" and "creation science".  The "flood geology" theory effectively co-opted "the generic creationist label for their hyperliteralist views."  
Court cases Edit
McLean v. Arkansas Edit
In 1982, another case in Arkansas ruled that the Arkansas "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act" (Act 590) was unconstitutional because it violated the Establishment Clause. Much of the transcript of the case was lost, [ by whom? ] including evidence from Francisco Ayala.
Edwards v. Aguillard Edit
In the early 1980s, the Louisiana legislature passed a law titled the "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act". The act did not require teaching either evolution or creationism as such, but did require that when evolutionary science was taught, creation science had to be taught as well. Creationists had lobbied aggressively for the law, arguing that the act was about academic freedom for teachers, an argument adopted by the state in support of the act. Lower courts ruled that the State's actual purpose was to promote the religious doctrine of creation science, but the State appealed to the Supreme Court.
In the similar case of McLean v. Arkansas (see above) the federal trial court had also decided against creationism. Mclean v. Arkansas was not appealed to the federal Circuit Court of Appeals, creationists instead thinking that they had better chances with Edwards v. Aguillard. In 1987 the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Louisiana act was also unconstitutional, because the law was specifically intended to advance a particular religion. At the same time, it stated its opinion that "teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to school children might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction", leaving open the door for a handful of proponents of creation science to evolve their arguments into the iteration of creationism that later came to be known as intelligent design. 
Intelligent design Edit
In response to Edwards v. Aguillard, the neo-creationist intelligent design movement was formed around the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. It makes the claim that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."  It has been viewed as a "scientific" approach to creationism by creationists, but is widely rejected as pseudoscience by the science community—primarily because intelligent design cannot be tested and rejected like scientific hypotheses (see for example, List of scientific bodies explicitly rejecting intelligent design).
Kansas evolution hearings Edit
In the push by intelligent design advocates to introduce intelligent design in public school science classrooms, the hub of the intelligent design movement, the Discovery Institute, arranged to conduct hearings to review the evidence for evolution in the light of its Critical Analysis of Evolution lesson plans. The Kansas evolution hearings were a series of hearings held in Topeka, Kansas, May 5 to May 12, 2005. The Kansas State Board of Education eventually adopted the institute's Critical Analysis of Evolution lesson plans over objections of the State Board Science Hearing Committee, and electioneering on behalf of conservative Republican Party candidates for the Board.  On August 1, 2006, four of the six conservative Republicans who approved the Critical Analysis of Evolution classroom standards lost their seats in a primary election. The moderate Republican and Democrats gaining seats vowed to overturn the 2005 school science standards and adopt those recommended by a State Board Science Hearing Committee that were rejected by the previous board,  and on February 13, 2007, the Board voted 6 to 4 to reject the amended science standards enacted in 2005. The definition of science was once again limited to "the search for natural explanations for what is observed in the universe." 
Dover trial Edit
Following the Edwards v. Aguillard decision by the United States Supreme Court, in which the Court held that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools whenever evolution was taught was unconstitutional, because the law was specifically intended to advance a particular religion, creationists renewed their efforts to introduce creationism into public school science classes. This effort resulted in intelligent design, which sought to avoid legal prohibitions by leaving the source of creation to an unnamed and undefined intelligent designer, as opposed to God.  This ultimately resulted in the "Dover Trial," Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which went to trial on 26 September 2005 and was decided on 20 December 2005 in favor of the plaintiffs, who charged that a mandate that intelligent design be taught in public school science classrooms was an unconstitutional establishment of religion. The Kitzmiller v. Dover decision held that intelligent design was not a subject of legitimate scientific research, and that it "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and hence religious, antecedents." 
The December 2005 ruling in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial  supported the viewpoint of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and other science and education professional organizations who say that proponents of Teach the Controversy seek to undermine the teaching of evolution   while promoting intelligent design,   and to advance an education policy for U.S. public schools that introduces creationist explanations for the origin of life to public-school science curricula.  
Texas Board of Education support for intelligent design Edit
On March 27, 2009, the Texas Board of Education, by a vote of 13 to 2, voted that at least in Texas, textbooks must teach intelligent design alongside evolution, and question the validity of the fossil record. Don McLeroy, a dentist and chair of the board, said, "I think the new standards are wonderful . dogmatism about evolution [has sapped] America's scientific soul." According to Science magazine, "Because Texas is the second-largest textbook market in the United States, publishers have a strong incentive to be certified by the board as 'conforming 100% to the state's standards'."  The 2009 Texas Board of Education hearings were chronicled in the 2012 documentary The Revisionaries.
Recent developments Edit
The scientific consensus on the origins and evolution of life continues to be challenged by creationist organizations and religious groups who desire to uphold some form of creationism (usually Young Earth creationism, creation science, Old Earth creationism or intelligent design) as an alternative. Most of these groups are literalist Christians who believe the biblical account is inerrant, and more than one sees the debate as part of the Christian mandate to evangelize.   Some groups see science and religion as being diametrically opposed views that cannot be reconciled. More accommodating viewpoints, held by many mainstream churches and many scientists, consider science and religion to be separate categories of thought (non-overlapping magisteria), which ask fundamentally different questions about reality and posit different avenues for investigating it.  This idea has received criticism from both the non-religious, like the zoologist, evolutionary biologist and religion critic Richard Dawkins, and fundamentalists, who see the idea as both underestimating the ability of methodological naturalism to result in moral conclusions and ignorant or downplaying of the fact claims of religions and scriptures.  
Studies on the religious beliefs of scientists does support the evidence of a rift between traditional literal fundamentalist religion and experimental science. Three studies of scientific attitudes since 1904 have shown that over 80% of scientists do not believe in a traditional god or the traditional belief in immortality, with disbelief stronger amongst biological scientists than physical scientists. Amongst those not registering such attitudes a high percentage indicated a preference for adhering to a belief concerning mystery than any dogmatic or faith based view.  But only 10% of scientists stated that they saw a fundamental clash between science and religion. This study of trends over time suggests that the "culture wars" between creationism against evolution, are held more strongly by religious literalists than by scientists themselves and are likely to continue, fostering anti-scientific or pseudoscientific attitudes amongst fundamentalist believers. 
More recently, the intelligent design movement has attempted an anti-evolution position that avoids any direct appeal to religion. Scientists have argued that intelligent design is pseudoscience and does not represent any research program within the mainstream scientific community, and is still essentially creationism.   Its leading proponent, the Discovery Institute, made widely publicized claims that it was a new science, although the only paper arguing for it published in a scientific journal was accepted in questionable circumstances and quickly disavowed in the Sternberg peer review controversy, with the Biological Society of Washington stating that it did not meet the journal's scientific standards, was a "significant departure" from the journal's normal subject area and was published at the former editor's sole discretion, "contrary to typical editorial practices."  On August 1, 2005, U.S. president George W. Bush commented endorsing the teaching of intelligent design alongside evolution "I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught . so people can understand what the debate is about."  
In the controversy a number of divergent opinions have crystallized regarding both the acceptance of scientific theories and religious doctrine and practice.
Young-Earth creationism Edit
Young-Earth creationism (YEC) involves the religiously-based belief that God created the Earth within the last 10,000 years, literally as described in Genesis, within the approximate timeframe of biblical genealogies (detailed - for example - in the Ussher chronology). Young-Earth creationists often believe that the universe has a similar age to that of the Earth.  Creationist cosmologies result from attempts by some creationists to assign the universe an age consistent with the Ussher chronology and other Young-Earth timeframes based on the genealogies. 
This belief generally has a basis in biblical literalism and completely rejects the scientific methodology of evolutionary biology.  Creation science is agreed by the scientific community to be a pseudoscience that attempts to prove that Young Earth creationism is consistent with science.     
Old-Earth creationism Edit
Old-Earth creationism holds that God created the physical universe, but that one should not take the creation event of Genesis within 6 days strictly literally. This group generally accepts the age of the Universe and the age of the Earth as described by astronomers and geologists, but regards details of the evolutionary theory as questionable. Old-Earth creationists interpret the Genesis creation-narrative in a number of ways, each differing from the six, consecutive, 24-hour day creation of the Young-Earth creationist view.
Neo-creationism and "intelligent design" Edit
Neo-creationists intentionally distance themselves from other forms of creationism, preferring to be known as wholly separate from creationism as a philosophy. They wish to re-frame the debate over the origins of life in non-religious terms and without appeals to scripture, and to bring the debate before the public. Neo-creationists may be either Young Earth or Old Earth creationists, and hold a range of underlying theological viewpoints (e.g. on the interpretation of the Bible). As of 2020 [update] , neo-creationism underlies the intelligent-design movement, which has a "big tent" strategy making it inclusive of many Young-Earth creationists (such as Paul Nelson and Percival Davis) and some sympathetic Old-Earth creationists.
Theistic evolution Edit
Theistic evolution takes the general view that, instead of faith being in opposition to biological evolution, some or all classical religious teachings about God and creation are compatible with some or all of modern scientific theory, including, specifically, evolution. It generally views evolution as a tool used by a creator god, who is both the first cause and immanent sustainer/upholder of the universe it is therefore well-accepted by people of strong theistic (as opposed to deistic) convictions. Theistic evolution can synthesize with the day-age interpretation of the Genesis creation myth most adherents consider that the first chapters of Genesis should not be interpreted as a "literal" description, but rather as a literary framework or allegory. This position generally accepts the viewpoint of methodological naturalism, a long-standing convention of the scientific method in science.
Many mainline/liberal denominations have long accepted evolution, and it is increasingly finding acceptance among evangelical Christians, who strive to keep traditional Christian theology intact. 
Theistic evolutionists have frequently been prominent in opposing creationism (including intelligent design). Notable examples have included biologist Kenneth R. Miller and theologian John F. Haught, who testified for the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District in 2005. Another example is the Clergy Letter Project, which has compiled and maintains statements - signed by American Christian and non-Christian clergy of different denominations - rejecting creationism, with specific reference to points raised by intelligent-design proponents. Theistic evolutionists have also been active in Citizens Alliances for Science that oppose the introduction of creationism into public-school science classes (one example being evangelical Christian geologist Keith B. Miller, who is a prominent board member of Kansas Citizens for Science).
Agnostic evolution Edit
Agnostic evolution is the position of acceptance of biological evolution, combined with the belief that it is not important whether God is, was, or will have been involved. 
Materialistic evolution Edit
Materialistic evolution is the acceptance of biological evolution, combined with the position that if the supernatural exists, it has little to no influence on the material world (a position common to philosophical naturalists, humanists and atheists).  The New Atheists champion this view they argue strongly that the creationist viewpoint is not only dangerous, but is completely rejected by science.
Critiques such as those based on the distinction between theory and fact are often leveled against unifying concepts within scientific disciplines. Principles such as uniformitarianism, Occam's razor or parsimony, and the Copernican principle are claimed to be the result of a bias within science toward philosophical naturalism, which is equated by many creationists with atheism.  In countering this claim, philosophers of science use the term methodological naturalism to refer to the long-standing convention in science of the scientific method. The methodological assumption is that observable events in nature are explained only by natural causes, without assuming the existence or non-existence of the supernatural, and therefore supernatural explanations for such events are outside the realm of science.  Creationists claim that supernatural explanations should not be excluded and that scientific work is paradigmatically close-minded. 
Because modern science tries to rely on the minimization of a priori assumptions, error, and subjectivity, as well as on avoidance of Baconian idols, it remains neutral on subjects such as religion or morality.  Mainstream proponents accuse the creationists of conflating the two in a form of pseudoscience. 
Theory vs. fact Edit
The argument that evolution is a theory, not a fact, has often been made against the exclusive teaching of evolution.  The argument is related to a common misconception about the technical meaning of "theory" that is used by scientists. In common usage, "theory" often refers to conjectures, hypotheses, and unproven assumptions. In science, "theory" usually means "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses."  For comparison, the National Academy of Sciences defines a fact as "an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and for all practical purposes is accepted as 'true'." It notes, however, that "truth in science . is never final, and what is accepted as a fact today may be modified or even discarded tomorrow." 
Evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.
Marston   has argued that, although the creationism argument (that because evolution is "merely" a theory, it therefore cannot also be a fact) reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the concepts, the scientific countering of the creationist position by the simple stipulation that evolution is a fact may be counterproductive a better approach, according to Marston, is for scientists to present evolution not as a stipulated fact but as the "best explanation" for the development of life on earth. This approach, Marston argues, is less likely to end discussion of the topic and is more readily and effectively defended, in part by reducing the burden of proof standards required for assertions of "fact" and by shifting the burden of proof to those who claim that creationism is a better explanation.
Philosopher of science Karl R. Popper set out the concept of falsifiability as a way to distinguish science and pseudoscience:   testable theories are scientific, but those that are untestable are not.  In Unended Quest, Popper declared "I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research programme, a possible framework for testable scientific theories," while pointing out it had "scientific character." 
In what one sociologist derisively called "Popper-chopping,"  opponents of evolution seized upon Popper's definition to claim evolution was not a science, and claimed creationism was an equally valid metaphysical research program.  For example, Duane Gish, a leading Creationist proponent, wrote in a letter to Discover magazine (July 1981): "Stephen Jay Gould states that creationists claim creation is a scientific theory. This is a false accusation. Creationists have repeatedly stated that neither creation nor evolution is a scientific theory (and each is equally religious)." 
Popper responded to news that his conclusions were being used by anti-evolutionary forces by affirming that evolutionary theories regarding the origins of life on earth were scientific because "their hypotheses can in many cases be tested."  Creationists claimed that a key evolutionary concept, that all life on Earth is descended from a single common ancestor, was not mentioned as testable by Popper, and claimed it never would be. 
In fact, Popper wrote admiringly of the value of Darwin's theory.  Only a few years later, Popper wrote, "I have in the past described the theory as 'almost tautological' . I still believe that natural selection works in this way as a research programme. Nevertheless, I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation." His conclusion, later in the article is "The theory of natural selection may be so formulated that it is far from tautological. In this case it is not only testable, but it turns out to be not strictly universally true." 
Debate among some scientists and philosophers of science on the applicability of falsifiability in science continues.  Simple falsifiability tests for common descent have been offered by some scientists: for instance, biologist and prominent critic of creationism Richard Dawkins and J. B. S. Haldane both pointed out that if fossil rabbits were found in the Precambrian era, a time before most similarly complex lifeforms had evolved, "that would completely blow evolution out of the water."  
Falsifiability has caused problems for creationists: in his 1982 decision McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, Judge William R. Overton used falsifiability as one basis for his ruling against the teaching of creation science in the public schools, ultimately declaring it "simply not science." 
Conflation of science and religion Edit
Creationists commonly argue against evolution on the grounds that "evolution is a religion it is not a science,"  in order to undermine the higher ground biologists claim in debating creationists, and to reframe the debate from being between science (evolution) and religion (creationism) to being between two equally religious beliefs—or even to argue that evolution is religious while intelligent design is not.   Those that oppose evolution frequently refer to supporters of evolution as "evolutionists" or "Darwinists." 
This is generally argued by analogy, by arguing that evolution and religion have one or more things in common, and that therefore evolution is a religion. Examples of claims made in such arguments are statements that evolution is based on faith, that supporters of evolution revere Darwin as a prophet, and that supporters of evolution dogmatically reject alternative suggestions out-of-hand.   These claims have become more popular in recent years as the neocreationist movement has sought to distance itself from religion, thus giving it more reason to make use of a seemingly anti-religious analogy. 
In response, supporters of evolution have argued that no scientist's claims, including Darwin's, are treated as sacrosanct, as shown by the aspects of Darwin's theory that have been rejected or revised by scientists over the years, to form first neo-Darwinism and later the modern evolutionary synthesis.  
Appeal to consequences Edit
A number of creationists have blurred the boundaries between their disputes over the truth of the underlying facts, and explanatory theories, of evolution, with their purported philosophical and moral consequences. This type of argument is known as an appeal to consequences, and is a logical fallacy. Examples of these arguments include those of prominent creationists such as Ken Ham  and Henry M. Morris. 
Many creationists strongly oppose certain scientific theories in a number of ways, including opposition to specific applications of scientific processes, accusations of bias within the scientific community,  and claims that discussions within the scientific community reveal or imply a crisis. In response to perceived crises in modern science, creationists claim to have an alternative, typically based on faith, creation science, or intelligent design. The scientific community has responded by pointing out that their conversations are frequently misrepresented (e.g. by quote mining) in order to create the impression of a deeper controversy or crisis, and that the creationists' alternatives are generally pseudoscientific.
Disputes relating to evolutionary biology are central to the controversy between creationists and the scientific community. The aspects of evolutionary biology disputed include common descent (and particularly human evolution from common ancestors with other members of the great apes), macroevolution, and the existence of transitional fossils.
Common descent Edit
[The] Discovery [Institute] presents common descent as controversial exclusively within the animal kingdom, as it focuses on embryology, anatomy, and the fossil record to raise questions about them. In the real world of science, common descent of animals is completely noncontroversial any controversy resides in the microbial world. There, researchers argued over a variety of topics, starting with the very beginning, namely the relationship among the three main branches of life.
A group of organisms is said to have common descent if they have a common ancestor. A theory of universal common descent based on evolutionary principles was proposed by Charles Darwin and is now generally accepted by biologists. The most recent common ancestor of all living organisms is believed to have appeared about 3.9 billion years ago. With a few exceptions (e.g. Michael Behe) the vast majority of creationists rejected this theory in favor of the belief that a common design suggests a common designer (God). Many of these same creationists through the beginning of the 21st century also held that modern species were perpetually fixed from creation.    However, now a large amount of creationists allow evolution of species, in the face of undeniable evidence for speciation. They contend, however, that it was specific "kinds" or baramin that were created initially, from which all present-day species arose. Thus all bear species may have developed from a common ancestor that was separately created to establish a bear-like baramin, by this type of creationism. This type of creationism often acknowledges the existence of evolutionary processes but denies that they demonstrate common ancestry or that evolutionary processes would have produced the diversity of contemporary life. 
Human evolution Edit
Human evolution is the study of the biological evolution of humans as a distinct species from its common ancestors with other animals. Analysis of fossil evidence and genetic distance are two of the means by which scientists understand this evolutionary history.
Fossil evidence suggests that humans' earliest hominid ancestors may have split from other primates as early as the late Oligocene, circa 26 to 24 Ma, and that by the early Miocene, the adaptive radiation of many different hominoid forms was well underway.  Evidence from the molecular dating of genetic differences indicates that the gibbon lineage (family Hylobatidae) diverged between 18 and 12 Ma, and the orangutan lineage (subfamily Ponginae) diverged about 12 Ma. While there is no fossil evidence thus far clearly documenting the early ancestry of gibbons, fossil proto-orangutans may be represented by Sivapithecus from India and Griphopithecus from Turkey, dated to around 10 Ma. Molecular evidence further suggests that between 8 and 4 Ma, first the gorillas, and then the chimpanzee (genus Pan) split from the line leading to the humans.  We have no fossil record of this divergence, but distinctively hominid fossils have been found dating to 3.2 Ma (see Lucy) and possibly even earlier, at 6 or 7 Ma (see Toumaï).  Comparisons of DNA show that 99.4 percent of the coding regions are identical in chimpanzees and humans (95–96% overall   ), which is taken as strong evidence of recent common ancestry.  Today, only one distinct human species survives, but many earlier species have been found in the fossil record, including Homo erectus, Homo habilis, and Homo neanderthalensis.
Creationists dispute there is evidence of shared ancestry in the fossil evidence, and argue either that these are misassigned ape fossils (e.g. that Java Man was a gibbon) or too similar to modern humans to designate them as distinct or transitional forms. Creationists frequently disagree where the dividing lines would be. Creation myths (such as the Book of Genesis) frequently posit a first man (Adam, in the case of Genesis), which has been advocated by creationists as underlying an alternative viewpoint to the scientific account. All these claims and objections are subsequently refuted.   
Creationists also dispute the scientific community's interpretation of genetic evidence in the study of human evolution. They argue that it is a "dubious assumption" that genetic similarities between various animals imply a common ancestral relationship, and that scientists are coming to this interpretation only because they have preconceived notions that such shared relationships exist. Creationists also argue that genetic mutations are strong evidence against evolutionary theory because, they assert, the mutations required for major changes to occur would almost certainly be detrimental.  However, most mutations are neutral, and the minority of mutations which are beneficial or harmful are often situational a mutation that is harmful in one environment may be helpful in another. 
In biology, macroevolution refers to evolution at and above the species level, including most of fossil history and much of systematics. microevolution refers to the process in evolution within populations, including adaptive and neutral evolution. However, there is no fundamental distinction between these processes small changes compound over time and eventually lead to speciation.  Creationists argue that a finite number of discrete kinds were created, as described in the Book of Genesis, and these kinds determine the limits of variation.  Early Creationists equated kinds with species, but most now accept that speciation can occur: not only is the evidence overwhelming for speciation, but the millions of species now in existence could not have fit in Noah's Ark, as depicted in Genesis.  Created kinds identified by creationists are more generally on the level of the family (for example, Canidae), but the genus Homo is a separate kind. A Creationist systematics called Baraminology builds on the idea of created kind, calling it a baramin. While evolutionary systematics is used to explore relationships between organisms by descent, baraminology attempts to find discontinuities between groups of organisms. It employs many of the tools of evolutionary systematics, but Biblical criteria for taxonomy take precedence over all other criteria.  This undermines their claim to objectivity: they accept evidence for the common ancestry of cats or dogs but not analogous evidence for the common ancestry of apes and humans. 
Recent arguments against macroevolution (in the Creationist sense) include the intelligent design (ID) arguments of irreducible complexity and specified complexity. Neither argument has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and both arguments have been rejected by the scientific community as pseudoscience. When taken to court in an attempt to introduce ID into the classroom, the judge wrote "The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory."
Transitional fossils Edit
It is commonly stated by critics of evolution that there are no known transitional fossils.   This position is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of what represents a transitional feature. A common creationist argument is that no fossils are found with partially functional features. It is plausible that a complex feature with one function can adapt a different function through evolution. The precursor to, for example, a wing, might originally have only been used for gliding, trapping flying prey, or mating display. Today, wings can still have all of these functions, but they are also used in active flight.
As another example, Alan Hayward stated in Creation and Evolution (1985) that "Darwinists rarely mention the whale because it presents them with one of their most insoluble problems. They believe that somehow a whale must have evolved from an ordinary land-dwelling animal, which took to the sea and lost its legs . A land mammal that was in the process of becoming a whale would fall between two stools—it would not be fitted for life on land or at sea, and would have no hope for survival."  The evolution of whales has been documented in considerable detail, with Ambulocetus, described as looking like a three-metre long mammalian crocodile, as one of the transitional fossils. 
Although transitional fossils elucidate the evolutionary transition of one life-form to another, they only exemplify snapshots of this process. Due to the special circumstances required for preservation of living beings, only a very small percentage of all life-forms that ever have existed can be expected to be discovered. Thus, the transition itself can only be illustrated and corroborated by transitional fossils, but it will never be known in detail. Progressing research and discovery managed to fill in several gaps and continues to do so. Critics of evolution often cite this argument as being a convenient way to explain off the lack of 'snapshot' fossils that show crucial steps between species.
The theory of punctuated equilibrium developed by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge is often mistakenly drawn into the discussion of transitional fossils. This theory pertains only to well-documented transitions within taxa or between closely related taxa over a geologically short period. These transitions, usually traceable in the same geological outcrop, often show small jumps in morphology between periods of morphological stability. To explain these jumps, Gould and Eldredge envisaged comparatively long periods of genetic stability separated by periods of rapid evolution. For example, the change from a creature the size of a mouse, to one the size of an elephant, could be accomplished over 60,000 years, with a rate of change too small to be noticed over any human lifetime. 60,000 years is too small a gap to be identified or identifiable in the fossil record. 
Experts in evolutionary theory have pointed out that even if it were possible for enough fossils to survive to show a close transitional change critics will never be satisfied, as the discovery of one "missing link" itself creates two more so-called "missing links" on either side of the discovery. Richard Dawkins says that the reason for this "losing battle" is that many of these critics are theists who "simply don't want to see the truth."
Many believers in Young Earth creationism—a position held by the majority of proponents of 'flood geology'—accept biblical chronogenealogies (such as the Ussher chronology, which in turn is based on the Masoretic version of the Genealogies of Genesis). They believe that God created the universe approximately 6,000 years ago, in the space of six days. Much of creation geology is devoted to debunking the dating methods used in anthropology, geology, and planetary science that give ages in conflict with the young Earth idea. In particular, creationists dispute the reliability of radiometric dating and isochron analysis, both of which are central to mainstream geological theories of the age of the Earth. They usually dispute these methods based on uncertainties concerning initial concentrations of individually considered species and the associated measurement uncertainties caused by diffusion of the parent and daughter isotopes. A full critique of the entire parameter-fitting analysis, which relies on dozens of radionuclei parent and daughter pairs and gives essentially identical or near identical readings, has not been done by creationists hoping to cast doubt on the technique.
The consensus of professional scientific organizations worldwide is that no scientific evidence contradicts the age of approximately 4.5 billion years.  Young Earth creationists reject these ages on the grounds of what they regard as being tenuous and untestable assumptions in the methodology. They have often quoted apparently inconsistent radiometric dates to cast doubt on the utility and accuracy of the method. Mainstream proponents who get involved in this debate point out that dating methods only rely on the assumptions that the physical laws governing radioactive decay have not been violated since the sample was formed (harking back to Lyell's doctrine of uniformitarianism). They also point out that the "problems" that creationists publicly mentioned can be shown to either not be problems at all, are issues with known contamination, or simply the result of incorrectly evaluating legitimate data.
Other sciences Edit
While Young Earth creationists believe that the Universe was created by the Judeo-Christian God approximately 6000 years ago, the current scientific consensus is that the Universe as we know it emerged from the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. The recent science of nucleocosmochronology is extending the approaches used for carbon-14 and other radiometric dating to the dating of astronomical features. For example, based upon this emerging science, the Galactic thin disk of the Milky Way galaxy is estimated to have been formed 8.3 ± 1.8 billion years ago. 
Nuclear physics Edit
Creationists point to experiments they have performed, which they claim demonstrate that 1.5 billion years of nuclear decay took place over a short period, from which they infer that "billion-fold speed-ups of nuclear decay" have occurred, a massive violation of the principle that radioisotope decay rates are constant, a core principle underlying nuclear physics generally, and radiometric dating in particular. 
The scientific community points to numerous flaws in these experiments, to the fact that their results have not been accepted for publication by any peer-reviewed scientific journal, and to the fact that the creationist scientists conducting them were untrained in experimental geochronology.  
In refutation of Young Earth claims of inconstant decay-rates affecting the reliability of radiometric dating, Roger C. Wiens, a physicist specializing in isotope dating states:
- Only one technical exception occurs under terrestrial conditions, and this is not for an isotope used for dating. The artificially-produced isotope, beryllium-7 has been shown to change by up to 1.5%, depending on its chemical environment. . [H]eavier atoms are even less subject to these minute changes, so the dates of rocks made by electron-capture decays would only be off by at most a few hundredths of a percent.
- . Another case is material inside of stars, which is in a plasma state where electrons are not bound to atoms. In the extremely hot stellar environment, a completely different kind of decay can occur. 'Bound-state beta decay' occurs when the nucleus emits an electron into a bound electronic state close to the nucleus. All normal matter, such as everything on Earth, the Moon, meteorites, etc. has electrons in normal positions, so these instances never apply to rocks, or anything colder than several hundred thousand degrees.
- The last case also involves very fast-moving matter. It has been demonstrated by atomic clocks in very fast spacecraft. These atomic clocks slow down very slightly (only a second or so per year) as predicted by Einstein's theory of relativity. No rocks in our solar system are going fast enough to make a noticeable change in their dates.
Misrepresentations of the scientific community Edit
The Discovery Institute has a "formal declaration" titled "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism" which has many evangelicals, people from fields irrelevant to biology and geology and few biologists. Many of the biologists who signed have fields not directly related to evolution.  In response, there has been an analogous declaration humorously upholding the consensus, Project Steve, which emphasizes the large amount of scientists supporting the consensus.
Quote mining Edit
As a means to criticize mainstream science, creationists sometimes quote scientists who ostensibly support the mainstream theories, but appear to acknowledge criticisms similar to those of creationists.  These have very often been shown to be quote mines that do not accurately reflect the evidence for evolution or the mainstream scientific community's opinion of it, or are highly out-of-date.  Many of the same quotes used by creationists have appeared so frequently in Internet discussions due to the availability of cut and paste functions, that the TalkOrigins Archive has created "The Quote Mine Project" for quick reference to the original context of these quotations.  Creationists often quote mine Darwin, especially with regard to the seeming improbability of the evolution of the eye, to give support to their views. 
The creation–evolution controversy has grown in importance in recent years, interfacing with other contemporary political issues, primarily those in the United States that involve the Christian right.
Science education Edit
Creationists promoted the idea that evolution is a theory in crisis   with scientists criticizing evolution  and claim that fairness and equal time requires educating students about the alleged scientific controversy.
Opponents, being the overwhelming majority of the scientific community and science education organizations, See:
George Mason University Biology Department introduced a course on the creation/evolution controversy, and apparently as students learn more about biology, they find objections to evolution less convincing, suggesting that "teaching the controversy" rightly as a separate elective course on philosophy or history of science, or "politics of science and religion," would undermine creationists' criticisms, and that the scientific community's resistance to this approach was bad public relations. 
Freedom of speech Edit
Creationists have claimed that preventing them from teaching creationism violates their right of freedom of speech. Court cases (such as Webster v. New Lenox School District (1990) and Bishop v. Aronov (1991)) have upheld school districts' and universities' right to restrict teaching to a specified curriculum.
Religion and historical scientists Edit
Creationists often argue that Christianity and literal belief in the Bible are either foundationally significant or directly responsible for scientific progress.  To that end, Institute for Creation Research founder Henry M. Morris has enumerated scientists such as astronomer and philosopher Galileo Galilei, mathematician and theoretical physicist James Clerk Maxwell, mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal, geneticist monk Gregor Mendel, and Isaac Newton as believers in a biblical creation narrative. 
This argument usually involves scientists who were no longer alive when evolution was proposed or whose field of study did not include evolution. The argument is generally rejected as specious by those who oppose creationism. 
Many of the scientists in question did some early work on the mechanisms of evolution, e.g., the modern evolutionary synthesis combines Darwin's theory of evolution with Mendel's theories of inheritance and genetics. Though biological evolution of some sort had become the primary mode of discussing speciation within science by the late-19th century, it was not until the mid-20th century that evolutionary theories stabilized into the modern synthesis. Geneticist and evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky, called the Father of the Modern Synthesis, argued that "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution," and saw no conflict between evolutionary and his religious beliefs.  Nevertheless, some of the historical scientists marshalled by creationists were dealing with quite different issues than any are engaged with today: Louis Pasteur, for example, opposed the theory of spontaneous generation with biogenesis, an advocacy some creationists describe as a critique on chemical evolution and abiogenesis. Pasteur accepted that some form of evolution had occurred and that the Earth was millions of years old. 
The relationship between religion and science was not portrayed in antagonistic terms until the late-19th century, and even then there have been many examples of the two being reconcilable for evolutionary scientists.  Many historical scientists wrote books explaining how pursuit of science was seen by them as fulfillment of spiritual duty in line with their religious beliefs. Even so, such professions of faith were not insurance against dogmatic opposition by certain religious people.
Many creationists and scientists engage in frequent public debates regarding the origin of human life, hosted by a variety of institutions. However, some scientists disagree with this tactic, arguing that by openly debating supporters of supernatural origin explanations (creationism and intelligent design), scientists are lending credibility and unwarranted publicity to creationists, which could foster an inaccurate public perception and obscure the factual merits of the debate.  For example, in May 2004 Michael Shermer debated creationist Kent Hovind in front of a predominantly creationist audience. In Shermer's online reflection while he was explaining that he won the debate with intellectual and scientific evidence he felt it was "not an intellectual exercise," but rather it was "an emotional drama," with scientists arguing from "an impregnable fortress of evidence that converges to an unmistakable conclusion," while for creationists it is "a spiritual war."  While receiving positive responses from creationist observers, Shermer concluded "Unless there is a subject that is truly debatable (evolution v. creation is not), with a format that is fair, in a forum that is balanced, it only serves to belittle both the magisterium of science and the magisterium of religion."  (see Non-overlapping magisteria). Others, like evolutionary biologist Massimo Pigliucci, have debated Hovind, and have expressed surprise to hear Hovind try "to convince the audience that evolutionists believe humans came from rocks" and at Hovind's assertion that biologists believe humans "evolved from bananas." 
In September 2012, educator and television personality Bill Nye of Bill Nye the Science Guy fame spoke with the Associated Press and aired his fears about acceptance of creationist theory, believing that teaching children that creationism is the only true answer and without letting them understand the way science works will prevent any future innovation in the world of science.   In February 2014, Nye defended evolution in the classroom in a debate with creationist Ken Ham on the topic of whether creation is a viable model of origins in today's modern, scientific era.   
Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools, claimed debates are not the sort of arena to promote science to creationists.  Scott says that "Evolution is not on trial in the world of science," and "the topic of the discussion should not be the scientific legitimacy of evolution" but rather should be on the lack of evidence in creationism. Stephen Jay Gould adopted a similar position, explaining:
Debate is an art form. It is about the winning of arguments. It is not about the discovery of truth. There are certain rules and procedures to debate that really have nothing to do with establishing fact—which [creationists] are very good at. Some of those rules are: never say anything positive about your own position because it can be attacked, but chip away at what appear to be the weaknesses in your opponent's position. They are good at that. I don't think I could beat the creationists at debate. I can tie them. But in courtrooms they are terrible, because in courtrooms you cannot give speeches. In a courtroom you have to answer direct questions about the positive status of your belief.
Political lobbying Edit
On both sides of the controversy a wide range of organizations are involved at a number of levels in lobbying in an attempt to influence political decisions relating to the teaching of evolution. These include the Discovery Institute, the National Center for Science Education, the National Science Teachers Association, state Citizens Alliances for Science, and numerous national science associations and state academies of science. 
Media coverage Edit
The controversy has been discussed in numerous newspaper articles, reports, op-eds and letters to the editor, as well as a number of radio and television programmes (including the PBS series, Evolution (2001) and Coral Ridge Ministries' Darwin's Deadly Legacy (2006)). This has led some commentators to express a concern at what they see as a highly inaccurate and biased understanding of evolution among the general public. Edward Humes states:
There are really two theories of evolution. There is the genuine scientific theory and there is the talk-radio pretend version, designed not to enlighten but to deceive and enrage. The talk-radio version had a packed town hall up in arms at the Why Evolution Is Stupid lecture. In this version of the theory, scientists supposedly believe that all life is accidental, a random crash of molecules that magically produced flowers, horses and humans—a scenario as unlikely as a tornado in a junkyard assembling a 747. Humans come from monkeys in this theory, just popping into existence one day. The evidence against Darwin is overwhelming, the purveyors of talk-radio evolution rail, yet scientists embrace his ideas because they want to promote atheism.
While the controversy has been prominent in the United States, it has flared up in other countries as well.   
Europeans have often regarded the creation–evolution controversy as an American matter.  In recent years the conflict has become an issue in other countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and Serbia.     
On September 17, 2007, the Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) issued a report on the attempt by American-inspired creationists to promote creationism in European schools. It concludes "If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights which are a key concern of the Council of Europe. The war on the theory of evolution and on its proponents most often originates in forms of religious extremism which are closely allied to extreme right-wing political movements. some advocates of strict creationism are out to replace democracy by theocracy."  The Council of Europe firmly rejected creationism. 
Under the former Queensland state government of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, in the 1980s Queensland allowed the teaching of creationism in secondary schools.  In 2010, the Queensland state government introduced the topic of creationism into school classes within the "ancient history" subject where its origins and nature are discussed as a significant controversy.  Public lectures have been given in rented rooms at universities, by visiting American speakers.  [ page needed ] One of the most acrimonious aspects of the Australian debate was featured on the science television program Quantum, about a long-running and ultimately unsuccessful court case by Ian Plimer, Professor of Geology at the University of Melbourne, against an ordained minister, Allen Roberts, who had claimed that there were remnants of Noah's Ark in eastern Turkey. Although the court found that Roberts had made false and misleading claims, they were not made in the course of trade or commerce, so the case failed. 
Islamic countries Edit
In recent times, the controversy has become more prominent in Islamic countries.  In Egypt, evolution is currently taught in schools, but Saudi Arabia and Sudan have both banned the teaching of evolution in schools.   Creation science has also been heavily promoted in Turkey and in immigrant communities in Western Europe, primarily by Harun Yahya.  In Iran, traditional practice of Shia Islam isn't preoccupied with Qur'anic literalism as in case of Saudi Wahhabism but ijtihad, many influential Iranian Shi'ite scholars, including several who were closely involved in Iranian Revolution, are not opposed to evolutionary ideas in general, disagreeing that evolution necessarily conflicts with the Muslim mainstream.  Iranian pupils since 5th grade of elementary school learn only about evolution, thus portraying geologists and scientists in general as an authoritative voice of scientific knowledge. 
South Korea Edit
In South Korea, most opposition to teaching evolution comes from the local evangelical community. As part of these efforts, the Korean Association for Creation Research (KACR) was established in 1981 by evangelical pastors Kim Yŏnggil and Ch‘oe Yŏngsang. In South Korea, according to a 2009 survey, about 30 percent of the population believe in creation science while opposing the teaching of evolution. 
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- ^ abcd
- "Statement on the Teaching of Evolution" (PDF) . Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science. February 16, 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-02-21 . Retrieved 2014-07-31 . Some bills seek to discredit evolution by emphasizing so-called 'flaws' in the theory of evolution or 'disagreements' within the scientific community. Others insist that teachers have absolute freedom within their classrooms and cannot be disciplined for teaching non-scientific 'alternatives' to evolution. A number of bills require that students be taught to 'critically analyze' evolution or to understand 'the controversy.' But there is no significant controversy within the scientific community about the validity of the theory of evolution. The current controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution is not a scientific one.
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- Curry, Andrew (February 27, 2009). "Creationist Beliefs Persist in Europe". Science. 323 (5918): 1159. doi:10.1126/science.323.5918.1159. ISSN0036-8075. PMID19251601. S2CID206584437. News coverage of the creationism-versus-evolution debate tends to focus on the United States . But in the past 5 years, political clashes over the issue have also occurred in countries all across Europe. . 'This isn't just an American problem,' says Dittmar Graf of the Technical University of Dortmund, who organized the meeting.
- Welsh, Teresa (October 28, 2014). "Pope Francis Says Science and Faith Aren't At Odds". USA Today . Retrieved 2017-10-20 .
- McKenna, Josephine (October 28, 2014). "Pope says evolution, Big Bang are real". USA Today. Tysons Corner, VA: Gannett Company. Religion News Service . Retrieved 2016-01-28 .
- Gordon, Kara (October 30, 2014). "The Pope's Views on Evolution Haven't Really Evolved". The Atlantic. Washington, D.C.: Atlantic Media. ISSN1072-7825 . Retrieved 2016-01-28 .
- ^Desmond & Moore 1991, pp. 34–35
- van Wyhe, John (2006). "Charles Darwin: gentleman naturalist". The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. John van Wyhe . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- ^Desmond & Moore 1991, pp. 321–323, 503–505
- ^Dixon 2008, p. 77
- ^van Wyhe 2006
- Hale, Piers (July 2012). "Darwin's Other Bulldog: Charles Kingsley and the Popularisation of Evolution in Victorian England" (PDF) . Science & Education. 21 (7): 977–1013. Bibcode:2012Sc&Ed..21..977H. doi:10.1007/s11191-011-9414-8. ISSN0926-7220. S2CID144142263. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- ^ abcdAAAS 2006
- Baxter, Craig Darwin Correspondence Project (research collaborator). "Re: Design". Darwin Correspondence Project (Dramatisation script). Cambridge, England: University of Cambridge . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- "Dramatisation of the correspondence". Darwin Correspondence Project. Cambridge, England: University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 2014-08-12 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- ^Gray 1876
- ^Hodge 1874, p. 177
- ^Numbers 1992, p. 14
- ^Burns et al. 1982, p. 965
- ^Huxley 1902
- ^ abWitham 2002
- ^Barbour 1997, pp. 58, 65
- ^Numbers 1992, pp. 13–15
- ^ abNumbers 1992, p. 17
- ^Numbers 1992, p. 18, noting that this applies to published or public skeptics. Many Christians may have held on to a literal six days of creation, [original research?] but these views rarely found expression in books and journals. Exceptions are also noted [by whom?] , such as literal interpretations published by Eleazar Lord (1788–1871), David Nevins Lord (1792–1880), and E. G. White (1829–1915). The observation that evolutionary critics had a relaxed interpretation of Genesis is supported by specifically enumerating: Louis Agassiz (1807–1873) Arnold Henry Guyot (1807–1884) John William Dawson (1820–1899) Enoch Fitch Burr (1818–1907) George D. Armstrong (1813–1899) Charles Hodge, theologian (1797–1878) James Dwight Dana (1813–1895) Edward Hitchcock, clergyman and Amherst College geologist, (1793–1864) Reverend Herbert W. Morris (1818–1897) H. L. Hastings (1833?–1899) Luther T. Townsend (1838–1922) Alexander Patterson, Presbyterian evangelist.
- ^Salhany 1986, p. 32
- ^Numbers 2006, pp. 162–164.
- ^ abNumbers 2006, p. 161
- Withnall, Adam (2014-10-28). "Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand ' ". Independent.co.uk. The Independent . Retrieved 10 July 2015 .
- Buescher, John. "A History of Fundamentalism". Teachinghistory.org. Fairfax, VA: George Mason University United States Department of Education . Retrieved 2011-08-15 .
- Nagata, Judith (June 2001). "Beyond Theology: Toward an Anthropology of 'Fundamentalism ' ". American Anthropologist. 103 (2): 481–498. doi:10.1525/aa.2001.103.2.481. JSTOR683478.
- ^ abNumbers 2006, p. 162
- ^Numbers 2006, pp. 355–356
- ^Salhany 1986, pp. 32–34
- ^ Similar legislation passed in two other states prior to the Scopes trial—in Oklahoma and in Florida. After the Scopes trial of July 1925 legislators abandoned efforts to enact "Butler Acts" in other jurisdictions. See:
- Pierce, J. Kingston (August 2000). "Scopes Trial". American History. ISSN1076-8866 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 . Describes the Florida and Oklahoma acts.
- Cole, Fay-Cooper (December 31, 2008) [Originally published in January 1959]. "50 Years Ago: A Witness at the Scopes Trial". Scientific American. Stuttgart, Germany: Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. ISSN0036-8733 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- "Decision on Scopes' Appeal to the Supreme Court of Tennessee". University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law (Primary source). Kansas City, MO: Curators of the University of Missouri. January 17, 1927 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 . The statute required a minimum fine of $100, and the state Constitution required all fines over $50 to be assessed by a jury.
- ^ The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution was not, at the time of the Scopes decision in the 1920s, deemed applicable to the states. Thus, Scopes' constitutional defense on establishment grounds rested solely on the state constitution. See:
- harvnb error: no target: CITEREFCourt_Opinion_of_Scopes'_Trial1927 (help) . See generally Incorporation doctrine and Everson v. Board of Education (seminal U.S. Supreme Court opinion finally applying the Establishment Clause against states in 1947).
- Kerr, Orin (July 26, 2005). "State v. Scopes". The Volokh Conspiracy (Book review). Los Angeles, CA: UCLA School of Law. The constitutional case was largely based on state constitutional law this was before most of the Bill of Rights had been incorporated and applied to the states. Review of Edward J. Larson's book Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion (1997).
- Cantwell v. Connecticut. 1940 Supreme Court case stating that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment is incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment and is therefore applicable against the states. , p. 132 et seq. Explains incorporation doctrine relative to First Amendment.
- "BRIA 7 4 b The 14th Amendment and the 'Second Bill of Rights ' ". Constitutional Rights Foundation. Los Angeles, CA: Constitutional Rights Foundation . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- ^ The Court accordingly did not address the question of whether the teaching of creationism in the public schools was unconstitutional.
- ^Court Opinion of Scope's Trial 1927. The Court stated in its opinion that "England and Scotland maintained State churches as did some of the Colonies, and it was intended by this clause of the Constitution [the Religious Preference Clause] to prevent any such undertaking in Tennessee."
- ^Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District , 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Context, p. 19.
- Forrest, Barbara (May 2007). "Understanding the Intelligent Design Creationist Movement: Its True Nature and Goals" (PDF) . Center for Inquiry. Washington, D.C.: Center for Inquiry . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- Flank, Lenny (March 2006). "The History of Creationism". TalkOrigins Archive (Post of the Month). Houston, TX: The TalkOrigins Foundation, Inc . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- Elsberry, Wesley R. "The Scopes Trial: Frequently Rebutted Assertions". AntiEvolution.org. Palmetto, FL: Wesley R. Elsberry . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- ^ abNelkin 2000, p. 242
- ^ * Epperson v. Arkansas , 393 U.S. 97 (U.S. November 12, 1968).
- ^Larson 2003, p. 103
- ^Larson 2004, pp. 248, 250
- ^ ab
- Dobzhansky, Theodosius (March 1973). "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution". The American Biology Teacher. 35 (3): 125–129. CiteSeerX10.1.1.324.2891 . doi:10.2307/4444260. JSTOR4444260. S2CID207358177.
- ^Larson 2004, p. 251
- ^Larson 2004, p. 252
- ^ abLarson 2004, p. 255
- ^Numbers 1992, pp. xi, 200–208
- ^Numbers 1992, pp. 284–285
- ^Numbers 1992, pp. 284–286
- ^Larson 2004, pp. 255–256: "Fundamentalists no longer merely denounced Darwinism as false they offered a scientific-sounding alternative of their own, which they called either 'scientific creationism (as distinct from religious creationism) or 'creation science' (as opposed to evolution science)."
- ^Larson 2004, pp. 254–255
- ^Numbers 1998, pp. 5–6
- ^Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District , 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Introduction, pp. 7–9.
- "Evolving Banners at the Discovery Institute". National Center for Science Education. Berkeley, CA: National Center for Science Education. August 28, 2002 . Retrieved 2009-04-07 .
- "CSC – Top Questions: Questions About Intelligent Design: What is the theory of intelligent design?". Center for Science and Culture. Seattle, WA: Discovery Institute . Retrieved 2007-05-13 .
- "Some question group's move with elections nearing". 6 News Lawrence. Lawrence, KS: 6News Lawrence Lawrence Journal-World. July 7, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-07-14.
- "Evolution's foes lose ground in Kansas". NBCNews.com. Associated Press. August 2, 2006 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- "Evolution of Kansas science standards continues as Darwin's theories regain prominence". International Herald Tribune. New York: The New York Times Company. Associated Press. February 13, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-05-25 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- "Cdesign Proponentsists | National Center for Science Education". ncse.ngo . Retrieved 2021-05-19 .
- ^Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District , 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Curriculum, Conclusion, p. 136.
- ^ abcKitzmiller v. Dover Area School District , 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Whether ID Is Science, p. 89, support the view that "ID's backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID."
- ^Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District , 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Disclaimer, p. 49: "In summary, the disclaimer singles out the theory of evolution for special treatment, misrepresents its status in the scientific community, causes students to doubt its validity without scientific justification, presents students with a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory, directs them to consult a creationist text as though it were a science resource, and instructs students to forgo scientific inquiry in the public school classroom and instead to seek out religious instruction elsewhere."
- Mooney, Chris (December 2002). "Survival of the Slickest". The American Prospect. 13 (22) . Retrieved 2014-08-27 . ID's home base is the Center for Science and Culture at Seattle's conservative Discovery Institute. Meyer directs the center former Reagan adviser Bruce Chapman heads the larger institute, with input from the Christian supply-sider and former American Spectator owner George Gilder (also a Discovery senior fellow). From this perch, the ID crowd has pushed a 'teach the controversy' approach to evolution that closely influenced the Ohio State Board of Education's recently proposed science standards, which would require students to learn how scientists 'continue to investigate and critically analyze' aspects of Darwin's theory.
- Dembski, William A. (February 27, 2001). "Teaching Intelligent Design – What Happened When? A Response to Eugenie Scott". Metanexus. New York: Metanexus Institute . Retrieved 2014-02-28 . The clarion call of the intelligent design movement is to 'teach the controversy.' There is a very real controversy centering on how properly to account for biological complexity (cf. the ongoing events in Kansas), and it is a scientific controversy. Dembski's response to Eugenie Scott's February 12, 2001, essay published by Metanexus, "The Big Tent and the Camel's Nose."
- ^Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District , 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Curriculum, Conclusion, p. 134.
- Bhattacharjee, Yudhijit (April 3, 2009). "New Texas Standards Question Evolution, Fossil Record". Science. 324 (5923): 25. Bibcode:2009Sci. 324. 25B. doi:10.1126/science.324.5923.25a. ISSN0036-8075. PMID19342560. S2CID206585684.
- Verderame, John (May 10, 2001). "Creation Evangelism: Cutting Through the Excess". Answers in Genesis. Hebron, KY: Answers in Genesis Ministries International . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- Simon, Stephanie (February 11, 2006). "Their Own Version of a Big Bang". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- ^Dewey 1994, p. 31, and Wiker 2003, summarizing Gould.
- Charles H., Lineweaver. "Increasingly Overlapping Magisteria of Science and Religion" (PDF) .
- "Can God and science co-exist?". HowStuffWorks. 2010-09-27 . Retrieved 2020-08-07 .
- ^ ab
- Graffin, Gregory W. Provine, William B. (July–August 2007). "Evolution, Religion and Free Will" (PDF) . Macroscope. American Scientist. Vol. 95 no. 4. Research Triangle Park, NC: Sigma Xi. pp. 294–297. ISSN0003-0996. JSTOR27858986 . Retrieved 2020-02-11 .
- Martz, Larry McDaniel, Ann (June 29, 1987). "Keeping God Out of the Classroom" (PDF) . Newsweek. New York: Newsweek LLC. pp. 23–24. ISSN0028-9604. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-07-31 . Retrieved 2020-02-11 .
- "Statement from the Council of the Biological Society of Washington". Biological Society of Washington. Washington, D.C.: Biological Society of Washington. October 4, 2004. Archived from the original on 2007-09-26 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- Bumiller, Elisabeth (August 3, 2005). "Bush Remarks Roil Debate on Teaching of Evolution". The New York Times . Retrieved 2007-02-03 .
- Smith, Benjamin D. (2018). "Why I Repented of the Young-Earth View". Genesis, Science, and the Beginning: Evaluating Interpretations of Genesis One on the Age of the Earth. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 151. ISBN9781532643316 . Retrieved 19 July 2020 . YEC believe the universe and Earth must be young (compared to billions of years) because they believe the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 show humanity was created approximately 6000 years ago. If all was created just a few days before humanity, the heavens and Earth could not be billions of years old.
- ^Scott 2004, p. xii: "Creationism is about maintaining particular, narrow forms of religious belief—beliefs that seem to their adherents to be threatened by the very idea of evolution."
- Prothero, Donald Ross (2007). "The Nature of Science". Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 23. ISBN9780231511421 . Retrieved 19 July 2020 . [. ] when [ Kurt Wise ] completely rejects the data and methods of science in order to follow his rigid belief system, he's not acting as a scientist any more - he's just another preacher.
- ^NAS 1999, p. ix
- "Edwards v. Aguillard: U.S. Supreme Court Decision". TalkOrigins Archive. Houston, TX: The TalkOrigins Foundation, Inc . Retrieved 2014-09-18 .
- Ruse, Michael (1982). "Creation Science Is Not Science" (PDF) . Science, Technology, & Human Values. 7 (40): 45. doi:10.1177/016224398200700313. S2CID143503427 . Retrieved 2020-07-19 . What are the essential features of science? Does creation-science have any, all or none of these features. My answer to this is none. By every mark of what constitutes science, creation-science fails. [. ] Creation 'science' is actually dogmatic religious Fundamentalism.
- ^ Compare:
- Nickles, Thomas (2006). "Problem of Demarcation". In Sarkar, Sahotra Pfeifer, Jessica (eds.). The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. 1: A-M. New York: Psychology Press. p. 194. ISBN978-0-415-93927-0 . Retrieved 19 July 2020 . [. ] Overton appeals to Popper's falsifiability criterion to show that creationism is not science.
- Scott, Eugenie C. Cole, Henry P. (1985). "The elusive basis of creation "science " ". The Quarterly Review of Biology. 60 (1): 21–30. doi:10.1086/414171. S2CID83584433.
- ^Applegate & Stump 2016.
- ^Scott 2004, p. 65
- ^Scott 2004, pp. 65–66
- ^Johnson 1998 Hodge 1874, p. 177 Wiker 2003 Peters & Hewlett 2005, p. 5. Peters and Hewlett argue that the atheism of many evolutionary supporters must be removed from the debate.
- Lenski, Richard E. (September 2000). "Evolution: Fact and Theory". actionbioscience. Washington, D.C.: American Institute of Biological Sciences. Archived from the original on 2007-04-03 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- ^Johnson 1998
- Einstein, Albert (November 9, 1930). "Religion and Science". The New York Times Magazine: 1–4. ISSN0028-7822 . Retrieved 2007-01-30 .
- Dawkins, Richard (January–February 1997). "Is Science a Religion?". The Humanist. 57 (1). ISSN0018-7399. Archived from the original on 2002-08-22 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- ^Johnson 1993, p. 63
- Tolson, Jay (September 5, 2005). "Religion in America: Intelligent Design on Trial". U.S. News. Archived from the original on 2006-06-21 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- Moran, Laurence (1993). "Evolution is a Fact and a Theory". TalkOrigins Archive. Houston, TX: The TalkOrigins Foundation, Inc . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- Selman v. Cobb County School District , 449 F.3d 1320 (11th Cir. 2006).
- Dawkins, Richard (December 3, 2004). "Richard Dawkins on the Argument for Evolution". Now with Bill Moyers (Interview). Interviewed by Bill Moyers. PBS . Retrieved 2006-01-29 .
- ^ abNAS 1999, p. 2
- Gould, Stephen Jay (May 1981). "Evolution as Fact and Theory". Discover. 2 (5): 34–37. ISSN0274-7529 . Retrieved 2007-01-17 .
- Marsten, Peter (2021). "Facts, theories, and best explanations". Skeptical Inquirer. 45 (2): 27–28.
- Marsten, Peter (2014). "The rhetoric of extraordinary claim". Skeptical Inquirer. 38 (5): 50–54.
- ^Numbers 2006, p. 274: "To solve the age-old problem of distinguishing science from metaphysics or pseudoscience, Popper invoked the criterion of falsifiability as a substitute for the less rigorous test of verifiability."
- Hansson, Sven Ove (2012) [First published September 3, 2008]. "Science and Pseudo-Science". In Zalta, Edward N (ed.). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 ed.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University . Retrieved 2014-08-27 . Popper described the demarcation problem as the 'key to most of the fundamental problems in the philosophy of science.' He refuted verifiability as a criterion for a scientific theory or hypothesis to be scientific, rather than pseudoscientific or metaphysical. Instead he proposed as a criterion that the theory be falsifiable, or more precisely that 'statements or systems of statements, in order to be ranked as scientific, must be capable of conflicting with possible, or conceivable observations'. Popper presented this proposal as a way to draw the line between statements belonging to the empirical sciences and 'all other statements—whether they are of a religious or of a metaphysical character, or simply pseudoscientific'. It was both an alternative to the logical positivists' verification criteria and a criterion for distinguishing between science and pseudoscience.
- ^Numbers 1992, p. 247
- Wilkins, John S. (1997). "Evolution and Philosophy: Is Evolution Science, and What Does 'Science' Mean?". TalkOrigins Archive. Houston, TX: The TalkOrigins Foundation, Inc . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- ^Popper 1976, pp. 168, 172, quoted in
- Kofahl, Robert E. (May 22, 1981). "Popper on Darwinism". Science (Letter). 212 (4497): 873. Bibcode:1981Sci. 212..873K. doi:10.1126/science.11643641. ISSN0036-8075.
- ^ Unknown sociologist quoted in Numbers 1992, p. 247
- Kofahl, Robert E. (June 1989). "The Hierarchy of Conceptual Levels For Scientific Thought And Research". Creation Research Society Quarterly (Abstract). 26 (1). Archived from the original on 2000-01-22 . Retrieved 2007-01-29 , as quoted by Numbers 1992, p. 247
- Lewin, Roger (January 8, 1982). "Where Is the Science in Creation Science?". Science. 215 (4529): 142–144, 146. Bibcode:1982Sci. 215..142L. doi:10.1126/science.215.4529.142. PMID17839530. "Stephen Jay Gould states that creationists claim creation is a scientific theory," wrote Gish in a letter to Discover magazine (July 1981). "This is a false accusation. Creationists have repeatedly stated that neither creation nor evolution is a scientific theory (and each is equally religious)."
- ^Numbers 2006, p. 274
- ^Kofahl 1981
- Isaak, Mark, ed. (November 2, 2005). "Index to Creationist Claims: Claim CA211.1: Popper on natural selection's testability". TalkOrigins Archive. Houston, TX: The TalkOrigins Foundation, Inc . Retrieved 2012-06-05 .
- Popper, Karl (December 1978). "Natural selection and the emergence of mind". Dialectica. 32 (3–4): 339–355. doi:10.1111/j.1746-8361.1978.tb01321.x. ISSN1746-8361 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- Massimo Pigliucci (September–October 2004). "Did Popper Refute Evolution?" (PDF) . Skeptical Inquirer. ISSN0194-6730 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- ^Ruse 1999, pp. 13–37, which discusses conflicting ideas about science among Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, and their disciples.
- ^ As quoted by Wallis 2005, p. 32. Also see Dawkins 1986 and Dawkins 1995
- Wallis, Claudia (August 7, 2005). "The Evolution Wars". Time. 166 (7): 26–30, 32, 34–5. PMID16116981 . Retrieved 2007-01-31 , p. 6. Richard Dawkins quoting J. B. S. Haldane.
- Dorman, Clark (January 30, 1996). "McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education". TalkOrigins Archive (Transcription). Houston, TX: The TalkOrigins Foundation, Inc . Retrieved 2007-01-31 .
- ^ abHam 1987
- ^Dembski 1998
- Morris, Henry M. (February 2001). "Evolution Is Religion – Not Science" (PDF) . Impact (332): i–iv. OCLC8153605 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- ^Morris 1974
- Wiker, Benjamin D. (July–August 2003). "Part II: The Christian Critics – Does Science Point to God?". Crisis Magazine . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- ^Scott 2004
- Isaak, Mark, ed. (February 15, 2004). "Index to Creationist Claims: Claim CA611: Evolution sacrosanct?". TalkOrigins Archive. Houston, TX: The TalkOrigins Foundation, Inc . Retrieved 2014-08-27 .
- Kutschera, Ulrich Niklas, Karl J. (June 2004). "The modern theory of biological evolution: an expanded synthesis". Naturwissenschaften. 91 (6): 255–276. Bibcode:2004NW. 91..255K. doi:10.1007/s00114-004-0515-y. ISSN0028-1042. PMID15241603. S2CID10731711.
- Ham, Ken (November 1983). "Creation Evangelism (Part II of Relevance of Creation)". Ex Nihilo. 6 (2): 17. ISSN0819-1530 . Retrieved 2014-08-27 . "Why has the Lord raised up Creation Science ministries worldwide? Why is it necessary to have such organizations? One thing we have come to realize in Creation Science is that the Lord has not just called us to knock down evolution, but to help in restoring the foundation of the Gospel in our society. We believe that if the churches took up the tool of Creation Evangelism in society, not only would we see a stemming of the tide of humanistic philosophy, but we would also see the seeds of revival sown in a culture which is becoming increasingly more pagan each day.
It is also worth noting the comment in the book, 'By Their Blood-Christian Martyrs of the 20th Century' (Most Media) by James and Marti Helfi, on page 49 and 50: 'New philosophies and theologies from the West also helped to erode Chinese confidence in Christianity. A new wave of so-called missionaries from mainline Protestant denominations came teaching evolution and a non-supernatural view of the Bible. Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Northern Baptist schools were especially hard hit. Bertrand Russell came from England preaching atheism and socialism. Destructive books brought by such teachers further undermined orthodox Christianity. The Chinese Intelligentsia who had been schooled by Orthodox Evangelical Missionaries were thus softened for the advent of Marxism.' Evolution is destroying the Church and society, and Christians need to be awakened to that fact!" [emphasis in the original]
13. Belief in special creation has a salutary influence on mankind, since it encourages responsible obedience to the Creator and considerate recognition of those who were created by Him. …
16. Belief in evolution and animal kinship leads normally to selfishness, aggressiveness, and fighting between groups, as well as animalistic attitudes and behaviour by individuals." — Henry M. Morris, The Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth (Creation-Life Publishers, 1972), pp. vi–viii."