Posted by: Rob Lester | November 3, 2011

Troublesome Teeth

A recent study published in the science journal Nature documented the analysis of some teeth found in England and Italy. “In tests conducted at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit in England, the baby teeth from Italy were dated at 43,000 to 45,000 years old. Other analysis showed the teeth to be those of a modern human, not a Neanderthal, as previously thought when the fossil was unearthed in 1964.” Similar results and dates were found for the Italian teeth as well making them the “oldest known modern human fossils from northwestern Europe”. These displace the previous record-holder, a Romanian fossil declared to be “reliably dated”  at 37-42,000 years old although it was found without any stone tools or artifacts to assist in the dating. Dr. Thomas Higham, the Oxford paper’s author, admitted: “the earlier dates for these fossils meant that early humans must have coexisted with Neanderthals in this part of the world, something which a number of researchers have doubted.” The most revealing part of the article was this frank confession: “Determining the age for any samples more than 40,000 years old was no sure thing. At that age, levels of remaining radiocarbon are low, and contamination can be a serious problem.” The Oxford group arrived at their dates by “obtain[ing] radiocarbon dates of animal bones found close to the jawbone in Kents Cavern and us[ing] a statistical modeling method to calculate the age of the human fossil.”

So what have we learned from this handful of teeth?

1. Neanderthals and modern humans coexisted despite long-held evolutionary assumptions to the contrary. So, once again, what “all real scientists KNOW” (i.e. that Neanderthals evolved into humans) has been disproven by actual evidence, much to the chagrin of evolutionists. Neanderthals were not “missing links” of human evolution, but rather were contemporaries of modern humans. Numerous other findings in recent years has proven that Neanderthals were truly modern humans with distinguishing features falling well within range of modern genetic variation—NOT a separate species of subhuman (as evolutionists have insisted for decades).

 2. Dating methods are riddled with problems and contradictions. One fossil is “reliably dated” even without any accompanying tools or artifacts. Then, scientists admit weaknesses in radiocarbon dating methods because so little radiocarbon is left after “tens of thousands” of years. Therefore, accompanying evidence (like stone tools and artifacts) must be present to support these alleged dates. Circular reasoning, anyone? Then, scientists turned to radiocarbon dates [which were just described in the article as “no sure thing”—RL] of animal bones found close to the jawbone…and used a statistical modeling method [i.e. a computer guess—RL] to calculate the age of the human fossil.” What a mess!

 3. Even if these findings are true and accurate (which is a mighty BIG “if”), all it proves is that modern humans keep appearing further and further back in the evolutionary timeline. The necessary time for the assumed evolution between apes and humans keeps shrinking. One day that window of evolutionary miracles will disappear and we will find that modern humans existed all the way back to the beginning in the garden of Eden. Just like the Bible has said all along. A great deal of information (and misinformation) from just a handful of teeth.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/03/science/fossil-teeth-put-humans-in-europe-earlier-than-thought.html?ref=todayspaper

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Responses

  1. My understanding of evolution is that for at least the past few years, its been known that Modern Humans and Neanderthals lived side by side. Neanderthal DNA has been found in Human DNA, leading to speculation that there was interbreeding as well.

    This document (http://www.mendeley.com/research/when-did-neanderthals-and-modern-humans-diverge/) from 2002 investigates the question of when did Humans and Neanderthals diverge. This means that for some time its been known in the scientific community that rather than Neanderthals leading to Humans, both species in fact come from a common ancestor.

    Evolution is not linear, rather it sprawls tree-like. The teeth article reaffirms that.

    I don’t know what long held evolutionary assumptions you are referring to, but current evolutionary understanding does not hold that Neanderthals lead to Humans and the document I link to shows that.

  2. Limey–
    You said: “My understanding of evolution is that for at least the past few years, its been known that Modern Humans and Neanderthals lived side by side.” That is correct. But anthropologists have only very recently (and very reluctantly) accepted this. My point is that evolutionary dogma for decades was that Neanderthals led to Homo Sapiens. As evidence, I point to the “ascent of man” chart with crouching ape at the left, standing ape (representing australopithecines or the like), hunched cave man with club (representing Neanderthal-like being), then standing homo erectus with spear over shoulder and finally modern man. This image and concept is the very heart of Darwinistic human evolution and is still seen everywhere in textbooks and on museum walls. Another point I was making in the post is how 1) evolutionists are constantly shocked by unexpected results of evidence which smash their previous assumptions. Creationists are never surprised and our theories have remained constant for a couple of thousand years. The theory of evolution is constantly “evolving” in order to avoid clear and contradictory evidence. The dance continues. And 2) that modern humans keep appearing further and further back in time than they are “supposed to” (according to evolutionary timelines). The period of time in which apes became people is rapidly and continuously shortening. It took millions of genetic “miracles” before even allowing for millions of years. It only becomes less likely as the time decreases. Thanks for the comment. I genuinely appreciate your input.

    • Hello Rob,

      But anthropologists have only very recently (and very reluctantly) accepted this. My point is that evolutionary dogma for decades was that Neanderthals led to Homo Sapiens.

      I have a problem with what you said here and its a theme I see a lot on creationist sites and blogs. Evolutionary theory (and all science for that matter) does not work on assumed dogma. Conclusions are reached as a result of evidence.

      Lets say that 30 years it was assumed that Neanderthals led to Humans. Its now known that is not the case and instead they both had an older common ancestor. This is not dogma being overturned, this is scientific theory being corrected following further study and the uncovering of better evidence. Its not a failure of the theory of Evolution that an old assumption as been overturned. Rather it confirms that the scientific method is correct and shows that even when we think we know the right answer we should continue to look for evidence to improve our knowledge.

      Further study of evolution and the gathering of evidence has helped to clarify how humans and Neanderthals evolved. A change to an old assumption, based on the evidence available then, because new evidence shows it as wrong is not a bad thing. The new evidence was brought to light by evolutionary scientists, people studying evolution and working hard to increase our understanding of it. These people do not hold a pre determined dogma, they follow the evidence and report on what it indicates.

      The dogma accusation does not compute because the evolutionary scientists who uncover new evidence and help to fine tune the theory of evolution are the same ones who are being accused by creationists of holding to dogma and being resistant to change.

      • Limey,
        You bring up a good point. But my problem with the “evolving” of evolution is that assumptions are never presented as assumptions. They are presented as undeniable, incontrovertable facts. If scientists would simply say, “Well, this is what the evidence seems to favor at this point, but we may be wrong about this” then I wouldn’t bristle. But when these assumptions are forced upon us with “It’s a fact. We KNOW this. If you don’t agree with us then you are just willfully ignorant.” That is when I have a problem. And your portrayal of scientists as benign, neutral, and without any bias whatsoever is completely inaccurate in the real world. I suggest you view the film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” I would also like to present two quotes as examples of this inherent and aggressive bias which taints evolutionary scientific findings and makes creationist suspicion well-founded. I could list many more, but these two are symptomatic of the resistance to change.

        1) Mary Schweitzer (discoverer of soft tissue in a T. rex bone) was having trouble getting her shocking results published. “One journal reviewer said he didn’t care what the data said, he knew what I was finding wasn’t possible. When I asked him, ‘What data would convince you?’ And he said, ‘None.’”
        https://preachrr.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/evolutionists-dismiss-data-on-juicy-t-rex-bone/

        2) Consider this telling quote from Donald Johansen (Lucy’s discoverer): “There is no such thing as a total lack of bias. I have it; everybody has it. The fossil hunter in the field has it…. In everybody who is looking for hominids, there is a strong urge to learn more about where the human line started. If you are working back at around three million, as I was, that is very seductive, because you begin to get an idea that that is where Homo did start. You begin straining your eyes to find Homo traits in fossils of that age…. Logical, maybe, but also biased. I was trying to jam evidence of dates into a pattern that would support conclusions about fossils which, on closer inspection, the fossils themselves would not sustain (Johanson and Edey, 1981, pp. 257,258, emp. added).
        https://preachrr.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/missing-the-forest-for-the-tree-dweller/

  3. Scientists are still people at the end of the day, so yes, they will all have their own biases and foibles. I don’t think anyone would deny that. They key thing is that there is no overriding bias individual biases do no override the evidence and conclusions of the community. Scientists who have made mistakes, made incorrect conclusions or even made fraudulent claims, have all been found out by the wider scientific community and the truth has come to light.

    With regards to evidence and proclamation of fact. You’ll need to come up with a specific example because I’m not entirely sure of the context in which you mean it. For example scientists can agree that Evolution is a fact, but disagree on the mechanics of certain processes. The latter does not disprove the former.

  4. The evolution of the relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals is a good example of the overlying evolutionary bias. Neanderthals were once considered to be in the evolutionary line between ape and modern human, then they were thought to be no relation at all, then they were thought to be cousins, and now they find Neanderthal DNA patterns in modern humans. These are radical and some of them contradictory positions. Yet through all of that people have held to their presupposition that modern humans evolved from apes.

    In comparison, creationists have stated all along that Neanderthals are fully human, and each time new evidence is presented (which causes the radical shift in evolutionary thought about them) the creationists continue to conclude that this evidence still supports the position that Neanderthals are fully human. This I think was Rob’s point, that the evidence much better fits the creationist interpretation of the past. It is the more robust position. The evolutionary position is held in spite of the evidence, in spite of major reinterpretations required in order to make the evidence fit.

    • Hello Rod,

      Evolutionary scientists change their views on the evolutionary path of Humans and Neanderthals in response to the evidence that they uncover. That is how scientific discovery works. Before Neanderthal DNA was discovered in Human DNA, there were scientists who argued that there was no interbreeding between Humans and Neanderthals (as well as scientists who argued that there was). The discovery of the DNA evidence strongly implies there was and more work is being done in that field.

      The changes in the scientific opinion of Neanderthals which you cite would be the result of changing evidence. I would also like to point out that different scientists can hold different opinions until the evidence makes it clear one way or the other.

      As for Humans and Apes having descended from a common ancestor, that’s been more firmly accepted for a longer period of time and the DNA evidence backs that up.

      Scientists do not make reinterpretation in order to make evidence fit, they make reinterpretations in order to fit the evidence. It is the evidence that dictates the scientific opinion, not the other way round. I made this point in one of my earlier replies to Rob.

      I am not sure that evolutionary scientists would classify Neanderthals as fully human (whatever Fully Human means). Is there a paper that explains why creationists think Neanderthals are fully Human?

      • Limey,
        I’m sorry if I keep missing your point. I think you are missing mine as well. Evolutionary science is rarely presented in the open, objective manner you describe. That would be great, but it’s not the reality I’ve experienced. Viewpoints are presented as established factual science when many times they are merely theories and assumptions. Let me give another example. For many years evolutionists have dogmatically asserted that birds came from dinosaurs. It was widely referred to in articles and journals as something scientists “knew.” Now, recent evidence indicates that either birds came BEFORE dinosaurs or that the two evolved in a convergent way separately and unrelated. I hope you understand my hesitancy to swallow bold assertions when SO MANY have been proven 100% false.

        As for Neanderthal humanity, the quickest way to address this would be for you to go to the home page of this blog and scroll down on the right in “Categories” until you see “Neanderthal” as a subject. There are about 10 articles on the blog about Neanderthals specifically and there are citations and links to the research that you are seeking. Thanks again for the comments.

    • Hi Rob,

      I think I do get your point, I see the issue as us interpreting what is happening differently.

      Over the years evidence of Human and Neanderthal evolution has been uncovered. Sometimes this evidence leads to change in previous ideas. As more and more evidence mounts the theories of what has happened before get fine tuned and more accurate. Occasionally something is found that proves a previous idea to be more wrong than anyone expected.

      When an old idea is shown to be wrong, its easy to be critical of those who proposed it in the first place with the benefit of the new knowledge. However, they were only doing their best to make sense of the world with the evidence available at the time.

      This is where you can correct me if I am wrong; I get the impression that you are accusing scientists (or science in general) of being dishonest because it changes its mind when new evidence comes to light. I say that this is not dishonest, but shows integrity because its the fact that theories change as a result of new evidence proves there is no pre-assumed position.

      Evolutionary theory originated from the examination of evidence and so have all adjustments since. Your point appears to me to be that scientists are pushing a pre-conceived notion of evolution and picking the evidence that fits to show it. I am saying that that is not true because Evolutionary theory came about and changes according to the evidence that is presented its not a pre-conceived idea that is trying to fit the evidence.

      I will certainly agree with you on the point that there are cases were certain points have been overstated. This annoys me intensely. Sometimes the fault is the press being sensational and not understanding what is told them and sometimes its scientists being over confident. Either way, it results in a public misunderstanding of the specific point in question. This is unfortunate as it can breed even greater confusion when more evidence comes to light.

      • I think at last we finally understand each other. The truth is probably found somewhere in between both of our opinions 🙂 It is sad that the volume on the debate has been turned up so loudly that both sides have to shout to be heard. Unfortunately, there just isn’t much room anymore for reasoned debate. Passions run too hot on both sides and the stakes are too high. I genuinely appreciate your perspective. It helps keep me from becoming too jaded. I try not to breed suspicion and contempt of modern science in my postings, but rather just some healthy skepticism. I’ve really enjoyed the conversation, LImey. God bless!

      • It’s not fine tuning when they totally reverse what they were previously claiming to be true. Your calling it that reveals your faith in the scientists and science itself to provide Truth, but in my opinion you are placing your trust in the wrong place.

      • Rob: Thank you for the compliment. I agree with all that you’ve said in that last comment. There is a lot of volume in the debate and it does detract from having helpful discussion.

        I think the root of that is there is no common ground between evolution and creationism and so whichever side you take, you are taking a side that rejects all the argument of the other. I don’t see that ever changing and so I am not at all surprised that its difficult to have a useful discussion on the matter.

        On a personal level, I spent all my childhood and 20 years of my adult life being a creationist before changing my opinion and deciding that evolution was true after all. So I think I am well placed to see and understand the argument from both sides.

      • Rod:

        Yes, I have faith in the scientific method. No I don’t think that everything scientists say is truth. Sometimes its the best that can be said given current understanding.

        The key thing is to be open to a change of view when new evidence comes to light.

        To ” totally reverse what they were previously claiming to be true” is a good thing when new evidence shows that what was previously thought to be true is wrong. Scientists changing their minds about how things are is not evidence of dishonesty in science but rather proof that opinions follow the evidence.

        I would be more concerned if scientists never changed their mind when fresh evidence came to light. It would be a very arrogant person who insists that we already know everything. In fact, if that was the case, why bother with further scientific study at all?

        I listen to several science podcasts and follow several science blogs and a common theme I come across is that being wrong is always and option. In fact its been said that being wrong is better than being right as it provides more areas of work and further study.

      • My point about the major change in position is it’s not a matter of tweaking or fine tuning as you said. I agree, if anyone says they know everything about anything they aren’t fooling anyone except perhaps themselves. To know everything about anything makes one omnicient, in other words, God. To acknowledge that what they said yesterday was seriously wrong because what they’re saying today, which is very different, is supposedly the real truth, makes what they said yesterday not true. The problem I have with that is if they were seriously wrong yesterday and they were asserting it as true, it lessens my confidence in today’s assertions when they say it is true. It makes me think that they don’t yet know enough to be making such bold assertions. I agree it’s not a matter of dishonesty on the part of the scientists; I expect they were fully convinced yesterday that what they were saying was true.

      • If you’ll forgive me coming back here again after several weeks, something Rod said above has been nagging at me all that time so I’ve come back to get it off my chest, so to speak.

        Firstly, I’m glad you agree that its not a matter of dishonesty on the part of the scientists. I think its important to acknowledge that because at the end of the day, the scientists are just people trying their hardest to make sense of the world around us and to interpret the evidence in the right way.

        Sometimes mistakes will be made and in time the scientific process will weed these out. Its Rod’s comment on his confidence being lessened that has bothered me. It should be the other way round.

        I have read several times (and heard on podcasts) scientists expressing delight in being proven wrong; to quote a Mythbuster “failure is always an option”. Being wrong means there is more work to be done and more research to gather.

        The point I wish to emphasis is that new scientific evidence, even evidence that overthrows a previous belief, adds to the pile of evidence we have and over time the quality of the evidence improves. Evidence gathering techniques also improve over time.

        This gradual increase and improvement can only mean that occasionally previously held positions will be proven wrong. This is a good thing because it demonstrates that the scientific process works and should increase everyone’s confidence in it. In short, it is self-correcting.

  5. […] 5. I really enjoy reading the Creation Faith Facts blog. While all the posts are about apologetics, every once in a while a post just jumps out at me. This one was one of those, and I had to share it. Enjoy “Troublesome Teeth.” […]

  6. Since what is considered true can have such radical shifts, yet through it all evolution is still considered to be true I think it exposes evolution as unfalsifiable, and thus a belief not science.

    • Hi Rod,

      I am not sure if I understand your comment right. So if my understanding below is wrong, please do correct me.

      You appear to be implying that a change in evidence, and therefore a change in the understanding, of something specific (like the teeth that Rob mentions in his post) equates to a challenge to the bigger picture.

      Evolution is not a belief, its a conclusion resulting from evidence gathered over many years, in many different disciplines. The amount of evidence is vast and as new evidence comes in, some parts of the theory get refined to reflect this new evidence. This is how scientific learning happens, new discoveries and evidence mean what is known and learnt gets refined and the knowledge and the theory gets better.

      A change in understanding is not the same as a falsification of the conclusion.

      In the specific example of the teeth here, it has helped confirm the evidence that modern humans and Neanderthals existed together. An idea that has been around for quite a few years and recently the evidence to support it has got stronger. These teeth are just one of the latest pieces of that evidence.

  7. Limey, we are not going to agree on this because you insist that evolutionary science is a benign, objective, and unbiased position that goes wherever the evidence leads and that is simply not the case. Much like creationists do, evolutionists begin with a presupposition (creationists=that the Bible is true; evolutionists=that the earth is billions of years old and people evoloved from apes) and then they interpret evidence in light of that presupposition. The problem is that creationists find that the evidence (not the theories, but the raw data) lines up perfectly with creation. Evolutionists are constantly “surprised, confounded, shocked, stunned, etc.” by what they find. This forces a complete rethinking and new interpretation of NOT the beloved theory, but the evidence! It is an intellectually dishonest position from the very start. I’m not saying all evolutionists are self-deluded liars who “cook the books” of the evidence. I am saying that is not good science. It is NOT “self-correcting” as you so politely put it. It is “self-contradicting.”

    Paleontologists dogmatically asserted that birds evolved from dinosaurs. They were seeing “proto-feathers” around every corner. Now, fossil evidence favors the idea that birds evolved into dinosaurs! What do evolutionists do now, admit they were wrong in their initial dogma? Of course not. They say that birds and dinosaurs must have evolved in parallel. Darwinism can never be challenged or tarnished in any way. This change in position is not a “minor tweaking” or self-correction. It is a 180 degree turn! The old theory was that Neanderthals were subhuman ancestors and there were at least two transitional creatures (Homo erectus and Cro-Magnon) before Homo sapiens. Now the evidence overwhelmingly proves that Neanderthals were modern humans and therefore they interbred with modern humans. DNA evidence verifies this.

    So when the evolutionists say, “OK so were 100% wrong about that, and that, aaaaand that too, but you can trust us on THIS” forgive me for being skeptical.

    • Hi Rob,

      Sadly, yes we are going to disagree on much, and there is much in your comment that I not only disagree with, but I am convinced you are wrong on.

      Evolutionary science is unbiased and benign and no evolutionary scientists have not started from a position of presupposition. You only need to look at the history of evolutionary science to see that the theory has grown from evidence all advancement since then has been as a result of evidence and discovery. In science there is no such thing as a pre assumed idea followed by filtered evidence. Such things are called fraud and are eventually found out. So yes, science is self-correcting wrong assumptions eventually get corrected and vague ideas gradually get more and more refined.

      I’m not sure what else I can say to convince you, but it is very important that you understand that the theory of evolution and the age of the earth is the result of evidence and not at all a pre formed idea.

      Now, fossil evidence favors the idea that birds evolved into dinosaurs!

      You are going to need to reference a scientific paper about this because I had a go and couldn’t find a reference. The best I could find was some discussion about the origin of birds which put forward two ideas, one was birds evolved from a dinosaur subset (Therapods I think) and another which said that birds and dinosaurs may have evolved in tandem, with there being a common ancestor.

      Now the evidence overwhelmingly proves that Neanderthals were modern humans and therefore they interbred with modern humans

      Certainly there seems to be some agreement that Neandertals (apparently it should be spelt without the ‘h’) should be reclassified within the homo genus, though there is also enough of a difference to be able to tell them apart from modern humans. Which raises a very interesting issue of where is the line between species. Paleontologists discus this particular issue a lot because the defining line between different species is not always clear. This is precisely what you’d expect when you have many different species evolving from a common ancestor. DNA evidence verifies this.

  8. A prime example of not going where the evidence leads is DNA. On the DNA molecule are instructions (codons). To create a protein requires these codons to be decoded and executed in precise order with even a “stop” command being one of the codons. This is undeniably a program. It is information not just random chemistry. The science of information theory knows information is not random, but highly ordered. The obvious conclusion the evidence points to is that the origin of this ordered information is intelligence. Yet most scientists refuse the obvious conclusion. Instead they opt for “that conclusion is impossible” even though in every other area of science their conclusion is unreasonable and directly contradicts what we know about the origin of information.

    A prime example of this type of hypocrisy: Consider what the scientists of SETI are looking for when they monitor noise coming from the stars? They are looking specifically for signals that can be deemed as intelligent information. Just think of it, if all of a sudden the SETI guys got a transmission that broke down into 22-some-odd different 3-pulse codes and after much study they were able to discern a “stop” command at the end of each transmission. What would they conclude? Well, it would be the ultimate discovery of the millennium. No, actually, it would be the ultimate discovery of all of human history. They would shout, “Intelligence has been discovered!”

    And yet, staring them in the face is the 3-nucleotide codons of DNA where a few of those codons actually do mean “stop.”

    How is “intelligence” concluded in one and not the other?

    • QuantumGreg:
      Thank you for your comment. You are exactly right. All of us are sometimes guilty of seeing only what we want to see. But none is so consistently guilty of this than the atheistic evolutionist. Great point, QuantumGreg.

    • Well said, QuantumGreg. Another unambiguous aspect of design in DNA is the error detection and correction. In order for there to be error detection there must be an overlying pattern for it to detect. This flies directly in the face of the evolutionary claim that all DNA code was randomly assembled.

    • The obvious conclusion the evidence points to is that the origin of this ordered information is intelligence.

      Is that based on solid evidence or is it your interpretation. What, pray tell, is the signature that can only be interpreted as intelligence? I suggest that until there is a test which can on be the result of an intelligent source, it is reasonable to work on the assumption that there is none. Its called the Null Hypothesis.

      Comparing this to SETI does not work because SETI has not even found what can be interpreted as an intelligent signal. You are comparing what is found in DNA with a hypothetical SETI discovery. That makes no sense at all.

      Regarding DNA, there is so much evolutionary history found within DNA. There are repeating patterns that show that DNA has duplicated a couple of times. Study of DNA has shown that DNA from different animals have the same coding. For example the gene that gives cats an extra toe is the same gene that gives humans extra fingers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polydactyly).

      I couldn’t find a reference to it, probably because I don’t know the right terms to look for, but there was a case where scientists looking for evidence of DNA duplication predicted they would find two ends merged. They looked and eventually found it. This is good science, observe, make a prediction and see if it is true. This helps to how the history of DNA and that it is changed and driven the evolution of species.

      If DNA is the product of intelligence, then why does it have evidence of evolved history?

  9. Limey,
    Here is a link to a blog post about dinosaurs evolving FROM birds, not into them:
    https://preachrr.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/dino-to-bird-bird-to-dino-whatever/
    The link at the bottom of the post goes to the Science News article the blog post referenced. I see that you recently subscribed to this blog. Thank you! I would recommend that you go and read the past archives as you have time. Many of the questions people ask me have been answered in past postings. Welcome, and happy reading!

    • An interesting case Rob, I’ll put a comment directly on the post you linked to.


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