Andya Primanda, an Indonesian Muslim paleontologist, has recently been criticizing books and articles posted on the website which reject the theory of evolution. Primanda, who has stated that he believes in God - and so we assume that he believes in the creation - is probably influenced by the Darwinist dogma that dominates the paleoanthropological world. He insistently argues for the theory of evolution and states that he finds the criticisms brought against evolution incorrect. However, as we will see below, Primanda is mistaken in both his belief in the theory of evolution and his criticisms against those who point out the flaws in evolutionary theory.
PRIMANDA'S MISCONCEPTIONS REGARDING SAHELANTHROPUS
Primanda's chief contention is against interpretations made concerning a skull found some time ago in Chad that was given the name Sahelanthropus tchadensis. In an article on the skull entitled "New Fossil Discovery Sinks Evolutionary Theories" recently posted on the Harun Yahya website, we stated that the seven-million-year-old Sahelanthropus tchadensis, despite its advanced age, was more "human like" compared to the genus Australopithecus, which is younger and which has been presented as a primitive ancestor of humans. We wrote that this evidence would pull the evolutionary tree out by its roots.
Primanda, in his response to us, rejected our interpretation and throughout his article, he claimed that Sahelanthropus was more "ape like" than Australopithecus in every respect. He wrote:
HY based his statements on the assumption that Sahelanthropus displayed 'more human-like attributes' than australopiths (Australopithecus, Paranthropus, Ardipithecus), yet living before them.
However, Primanda ignores an important fact. Those who made this comment on Sahelanthropus were the scientists who found this fossil and examined it, and these scientists are also proponents of evolutionary theory. An article published in Nature magazine said:
What is remarkable about the chimp sized cranium TM 266-01-060-1 discovered by Brunet et al. is its mosaic nature. Put simply from the back it looks like a chimpanzee, whereas from the front it could pass for a 1.75-million-year-old advanced australopith. The hominid features involve the structure of the face, and the small, apically worn, canine crowns. Other hominid features are found in the base of the cranium and in the separate jaw fragment. If we accept these as sufficient evidence to classify S.tchadensis as a hominid at the base, or stem, of the modern human clade, then it plays havoc with the tidy model of human origins. Quite simply, a hominid of this age should only just be beginning to show signs of being a hominid. It certainly should not have the face of a hominid less than one-third of its geological age. Also if it is accepted as a stem hominid, under the tidy model the principle of parsimony dictates that all creatures with more primitive faces (and that is a very long list) would, perforce, have to be excluded from the ancestry of modern humans.1
Briefly, the fossil presents a picture that runs counter to the "evolutionary scheme" which has been imposed on the society for over a century, since Darwin. This contradiction is so striking that the Nature writer compares the discovery of this fossil to the Burgess Shale fossils that demonstrate the Cambrian Explosion, which constitutes perhaps the best-known paleontological evidence against Darwin's theory:
The fauna of the Burgess Shale in Canada, which samples a bewildering array of ivertebrate groups some 500 million years ago, is a famous example of diversity at the base of an adaptive radiation. Does S.tchadensis belong to the African ape equivalent of the Burgess Shale? 2
The theory of evolution is unable to explain the Cambrian Explosion, the sudden appearance of over 60 animal phyla on our planet. It also fails to explain the origin of humankind. The recently discovered fossil makes this deficiency even more obvious. Primanda is opposed to our revealing this fact, which is a pointless criticism.
Faced with this fact, what Primanda wants to do is to show that Sahelanthropus' relatively modern characteristics do not actually exist. He discusses two characteristics, prognathism and foramen magnum position, but his analysis is quite shallow. His examination of prognathism is nothing but superimposing the outlines of Sahelanthropus on some hominid fossils, and he himself admits that "this method of comparison may be flawed" and that "the results may not be of high value."
His explanation of the foramen magnum is a dodge. This is also seen in his illustration based on foramen magnum position; when compared to Australopithecus, Sahelanthropus is more modern. And this confirms what we have been arguing from the very beginning, that is that Sahelanthropus, despite being older than Australopithecus, had more modern features, and therefore an evolutionary chart based on these features cannot be formed. Primanda made a show of responding to this statement in writing, "Sahelanthropus falls nicely in an intermediate position, between ape and human positions," but this misses the point entirely. The point is the comparison between Sahelanthropus and Australopithecus.
THE DISCUSSION ON AUSTRALOPITHECUS
At this point, Primanda refers to our explanation of Australopithecus and criticizes the work of Zuckerman, Oxnard and Spoor. He also wrote that Spoor's studies have changed. It's a fact that the locomotion of Australopithecus is a contradictory issue. The common view is that members of this genus were arboreal, and that they used their two feet when they walked on the ground. It's accepted that the usage of these two feet was not like that of humans, but was in fact quite different, and constituted a much more bent mode of locomotion as compared to humans.
What would it prove if Australopithecus was moving more erectly than the apes that exist today? Today the world has a rich variety of ape species, and it's no great leap to assume that this variety was even greater in the past and that this also applies to their mode of locomotion. What's key here is that an evolutionary arrangement cannot be put together among these ape types.
There is yet an even more important point which puts the theory of evolution into a big quandary regarding its scenario about the origin of man and other species: The mechanisms that would allegedly turn this scenario into reality are wholly imaginary. If you examine the evolutionist account, it says that these creatures got used to walking after they came down from the trees, and their skeletons became more erect since they had to assume a straighter posture when they walked across the savannah. Their hands were empty so they used their hands, and this led their brains to develop. This sounds like a fairy tale based on Lamarckian logic, such as the evolution of the body according to emerging needs and the inheritance of acquired traits. But that's just how this is foisted on the public. (Needless to say, Lamarckism is utter sophistry).
When we probe this account more closely, we see that the only possible mechanism behind this fairy tale is the natural selection-mutation dyad. However, all experiments and observations show that these mechanisms do not provide an increase in genetic information.
Looking at this evolutionary account together with natural selection and the mutation mechanism suffices to demonstrate that this is nonsense. The Australopithecus which was trying to stand erect on the savannah must have had such a mutation so he would gain a straighter skeleton, a balance mechanism needed for this skeleton, a foramen magnum and a muscle mechanism, and he mustn't have suffered any ill effects from this mutation. (However, this is impossible because of the pleiotropic effect.) Moreover, this imaginary mutant must have been superior to other mutants of his species only because he was able to see higher parts of the tall grasses, and he must have reproduced and started a new species. All other physical and mental characteristics that make us human must have been created through such random mutations; all these transformations must have taken place through these accidental mutations. This is nothing but a dream, or in the words of Henry Gee, the editor of Nature, a "bedtime story."3 On the other hand, famous French biologist Pierre-Paul Grasse once said, "There is no law against daydreaming, but science must not indulge in it." 4
Therefore Primanda, in the article mentioned earlier, has no basis other than Darwinist prejudice for criticizing our view that Australopithecus was a unique ape genus unrelated to human beings which later became extinct.
DISCUSSIONS ON BUSHES AND PRIMANDA'S CONTRADICTION
Primanda bases his views on imaginary evidence, and he presents contradictory criticism against us. One of his criticisms is that Bernard Wood's view of the evolution of man looks like a bush rather than a ladder. Primanda writes:
HY failed on two counts:
1) As shown before, Sahelanthropus does not show more humanlike characteristics than australopithecines;
2) 'The evolutionist scheme', 'the ladder from ape to man' is a strawman.
The prevailing scientific view is currently shifting to another perspective. HY quotes Bernard Wood, which said that '...human evolutionary history was a ladder in the 1960s...but it looks like a bush now'. As a matter of fact, this change of evolutionary thought was due to the ever-expanding human fossil record, with new and unexpected discoveries pouring in every few years.
So what? In the midst of criticizing us, Primanda repeats exactly the facts that we had already stated. Yes, the evolutionary account no longer looks like a "tree" but rather a "bush," and this is because the evidence unearthed fits neither the 150-year-old Darwinist tree of life nor any evolutionary arrangement. Primanda and others are still trying to cobble together an "evolutionary hypothesis" from this bush, but in the end we have this concrete truth: The fossils do not support Darwinism. The evolutionist community thought that the more fossils they found, the stronger evolutionary theory would become, but in fact it was the other way around. Niles Eldredge from Harvard University, one of the
United States' leading paleontologists, and Ian Tattersall from the American Museum of Natural History once wrote:
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