Article Type: Letter to the editor
Author: Heim, Werner G.
Pub Date: 08/01/2010
Publication: Name: The American Biology Teacher Publisher: National Association of Biology Teachers Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Biological sciences; Education Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 National Association of Biology Teachers ISSN: 0002-7685
Issue: Date: August, 2010 Source Volume: 72 Source Issue: 6
Accession Number: 245037775
Full Text: For at least two reasons, the excellent exercise presented by Phil Senter (ABT 72:70-76, February 2010) will not convince a creationist that "Lucy" is any indication that Homo sapiens evolved from an ape-like species. First, the existence of a form with intermediate characteristics or mixed characteristics between an ape-like form and humans does not necessarily indicate that this form was on or near an evolutionary line from that ape-like form to humans. Because the condition of the ancestor is unknown (or at least unstated in the article), this intermediate form might just as well be on the line of evolution from a human-like ancestor to an ape such as a chimpanzee.

Second, creationists generally do not claim that an intermediate organism cannot exist. Rather, their claim is that Homo sapiens was created separately and did not arise by descent from such an intermediate ancestor. The following analogy will make the distinction clearer. Suppose we found three models of cars produced by the same company, one a 2000 model, one from 2005, and one from 2010. The 2005 model would have some features found in both the 2000 and the 2010 models but not in cars of other manufacturers. Examples might be a logo or a hood ornament. The existence of the car with features found in both the earlier and later models does not demonstrate that the newest car evolved from the older model, merely that the designers and builders (i.e., the creators) of the 2010 car used some ideas already present in the earlier models.

To beat the sophistry of the creationists requires a high degree of cleverness indeed.

DOI: 10.1525/abt.2010.72.6.2

Werner G. Heim

Professor Emeritus of Biology

Colorado College

14 East Cache La Poudre Street

Colorado Springs, CO 80903

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