5 LOAVES / 2 FISH

Christian Apologetics for Teens

All about Ardi

Posted by Mr. Satterfield on October 15, 2009

Ardi

News Flash!!! The “Missing Link” has been found!…again!

OK. To be fair, it isn’t so much that the “Missing Link” has been found as it is that Ida has been replaced — replaced by Ardi.

Of all that’s being said about the newest addition to the evolutionary hall of fame, “Ardi”, the simple fact is that all the facts are not in. Nevertheless, the people who are speaking the most matter-of-factly about  Ardi are not creationists, proclaiming that Ardi means nothing. The people who are most sure of themselves are the evolutionists, proclaiming that Ardi means everything.

I guess we’ll see if Ardi does “change everything” and proves to be the “evidence Darwin only dreamed of”, or if it will go the way of its predecessors. (You know the other “missing links” such as: Aegyptopithecus Zeuxis,  Dryopithicus africanus, Ramapithesu brevirostris, Orrorin tugenensis, Australopithecus ramidus, Australopithicus anamensis, Ardipithecus ramidus kadabba, Kenyanthropus platyops, Lucy, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Neanderthals, Nebraska Man, Piltdown Man, Java Man, and Rhodesian Man.) While all of these are facinating finds, they have all fallen short of being the silver bullet for proving Darwinian evolution as fact.

Here’s what some experts say:

From Answers in Genesis:

From Apologetics Press:

From the Institute for Creation Research:

7 Responses to “All about Ardi”

  1. morsec0de said

    ““Missing Link””

    There isn’t really such a thing. Or rather, there’s an infinite number of them. Take your pick.

    “Ida has been replaced ”

    If you mean ‘in the news’, then you’re correct. If you mean in any other form, then not really. Both have their places.

    “fallen short of being the silver bullet for proving Darwinian evolution as fact”

    There will be no silver bullet. It doesn’t work that way. It’s the combination of all the evidence pointing to the same thing.

    • Travis said

      From my understanding (which is admittedly limitted), a “Missing Link” is a illustrative representation of an evolutionary transition from one specie to the next in the evolutionary timeline. I also know that a more proper name for these are transitional life forms.
      If there is no such thing as a missing link/transitional, then how could macro evolution (specitation) have taken place?
      If there is an infinited number of them, then shouldn’t we be finding evidence of a lot more of them?
      Don’t get me wrong about this whole Ida/Ardi thing. Both finds fascinate me, personally. Pointing out that Ida has been replaced by Ardi was more or less a jab at the media coverage of both of them. As you said, “The hype for Ida is gone.” I think we’re in agreement on the “media’s inability to report on anything scientific correctly.” However, my intentions were to point out that both have been hailed as the be-all end-all for evolutionary theory, and neither are answering the questions they are supposed to be answering.
      I appreciate your honesty about there being no silver bullet. It’s a vital point to make that “It’s a combination of all the evidence” despite was many evolutionists, and creationists, try to say about any particular issue.
      So as for the issue of evolution in general, as I see it, it depends on if we are talking about micro or macro evolution. Micro variations occur, but they are always within species. Macro variations (speciation), on the other hand, have not been observed. The best we have are fossils and, as with all evidence, they have to be interpreted. Both Ida and Ardi have been interpreted to be the proof Darwinian theory needs, and as it turns out that’s just not the case.
      That’s all I’m trying to say.

      • morsec0de said

        “Missing link” implies one massive jump from one species to another. It doesn’t work that way. It works in slow, small transitions.

        “If there is an infinited number of them, then shouldn’t we be finding evidence of a lot more of them?”

        We do. We’re finding more every day. But not everything is in a position to be fossilized. So we can’t expect to find absolutely everything. But we keep looking, and keep discovering.

        “neither are answering the questions they are supposed to be answering.”

        What questions do you think those are? Ardi has answered a lot of questions about how we evolved.

        “The best we have are fossils and”

        Actually, the best we have is the genetic evidence. And that’s more than enough to show common descent.

        And ‘micro’ and ‘macro’ are inaccurate. There is only one form of evolution.

        “have been interpreted to be the proof Darwinian theory needs”

        What proof does evolution need? Evolution is a fact. Exactly how each species evolved is what scientists are searching for.

      • Travis said

        First, I can’t respond again without thanking you for the generosity with which you debate. It’s nice meeting a nice atheist every once in a while. :)
        “It works in slow, small transitions.”
        So, my question is, do those small transitions lead to big transitions? If so when has this happened?
        Ardi, for example. What small trasition does it represent that leads to anything that is outside of its specie? Those are the types of questions that I don’t see Ardi answering.
        As for DNA, genetic similarities do not require common descent. Consider one author:

        While the genome of each created kind is unique, many animal kinds share some specific types of genes that are generally similar in DNA sequence. When comparing DNA sequences between animal taxa, evolutionary scientists often hand-select the genes that are commonly shared and more similar (conserved), while giving less attention to categories of DNA sequence that are dissimilar. One result of this approach is that comparing the more conserved sequences allows the scientists to include more animal taxa in their analysis, giving a broader data set so they can propose a larger evolutionary tree.

        If anything, genetic information points the opposite direction. The probability of genetic mutation accounting for the diversity of life on earth is astronimcal. In order to produce the simplest new structure in an organism, at least five non-harmful cellular mutations are necessary. The odds of a cell having non-harmful mutations of five specific (functionally related) genes, is, according to this guy, 1 in 1 in 10 to the 40th power.
        “There is only one form of evolution.”
        Agreed. The adaptation that happens within species, the only substantial changes that have every been observed, can not be considered Darwinian evolution. That evolution has never been observed. I have a hard time calling something ‘fact’ that has never been observed.
        There’s only one way scientist can say that species have evolved when they don’t know how they evolved. By working off the presupposition of Darwinian evolution. But, we call that theory, not fact.

      • morsec0de said

        “It’s nice meeting a nice atheist every once in a while. ”

        My pleasure.

        Most of us are nice. But the nice ones generally don’t go online and respond to blog posts.

        This may be true for any group of people. ;)

        “So, my question is, do those small transitions lead to big transitions?”

        Yup.

        Think of something simple like hair length.

        Hypothetically, we have a line of 100 men standing next to each other. The man on one end has hair only 1cm long. The man on the other has hair 100cm long. Each man in line only has hair 1cm in length difference between the people on either side. Which is a small transition. But if you look at man number 2 and man number 99, that’s a pretty big jump. And that’s only the alteration of a single trait.

        (Just to be clear, this was just used as a mental example to show how small transitions can turn into large transitions, not to indicate how evolution works in particular.)

        “What small trasition does it represent that leads to anything that is outside of its specie?”

        Alright, let’s go.

        Since Ardi is the oldest, we can compare her to Lucy. The largest difference that I’m aware of (there are many more), not having studied either in great detail, is in the foot.

        Both have hips that indicate they were bipedal. Lucy had feet that were very close to what the human foot looks like. Ardi, however, has a large grasping toe. This indicates that Ardi either was still partially arboreal (lived in trees), or had only recently left the trees and the trait had yet to disappear.

        Some time between Ardi and Lucy, the natural pressures for the grasping toe were no longer favored, and thus Lucy evolved into a creature with a human-like foot.

        And again, that’s only one change of one particular trait. There are others.

        “The probability of genetic mutation accounting for the diversity of life on earth is astronimcal.”

        Probability plus time plus natural pressure equals inevitability.

        And to cut you off on the off-chance you claim I am using ‘time’ in place of ‘god’, that is not the case. Both astronomers and geologists, independently and unconcerned with biology, show us that the age of the earth is in the billions of years.

        I am, of course, assuming where you were going, and if I’m wrong I apologize.

        “That evolution has never been observed.”

        Actually, it has. In laboratories with insects and other small lifeforms (most notably fruit flies) with short generations, they’ve reached the point where new species have occurred. Speciation of course meaning that they’ve reached a point where a group is separated from the main species, can still interbreed within it’s own separate group but can no longer interbreed with the original group.

        Suddenly you have two distinct species. Yes, they are similar in many ways. But they can no longer interbreed. Which means, if they are in different locations, they will respond to different natural pressures. If both groups survive, given time they may appear to be greatly different to the naked eye in addition to no longer being genetically compatible.

        “By working off the presupposition of Darwinian evolution. But, we call that theory, not fact.”

        Not quite. Somewhat close, but not quite.

        By having a theory such as evolution, that gives us testable questions.

        The most famous example has to do with the difference in number between the chromosomes in the other great apes and the number in humans. We have less than they do.

        Now, if evolution is true, and if we descended from a common ancestor with the great apes, at some point in our past two chromosomes must have fused. And so, if evolution is true, there must be some evidence for that. If evolution isn’t true, there wouldn’t be any evidence for that.

        And, when scientists looked, they found the evidence: Chromosome 2. I’ll let you read about it here, if you like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromosome_2_(human) Ken Miller also has a great video about evolution where he mentions it in great detail on YouTube.

        “But, we call that theory, not fact.”

        I have a feeling you may have been corrected about this in the past, but I can’t help myself, sorry.

        A theory, in the scientific usage of the word, is the end-all and be-all of knowledge. It is what every scientist hopes their idea turns out to be.

        Coincidentally, evolution is also a fact. Species change over time and, given the right conditions can split off into new species. That is a confirmed fact, based on both direct observation (remember the flies), genetics (our fused chromosome as one example), comparative biology and the fossil record.

        The theory of evolution deals with how, when, and in what way those changes specifically occurred. Which is why it is awesome when we find a specimen like ardipithecus.

      • Travis said

        This may be true for any group of people.

        You are absolutely right about that.

        I understand your illustration was not meant to be a comprehensive explanation of the evolutionary process, but if I may throw out a quick incomprehensive illustration of my point. While there is a huge differencein in hair length between the men on either side of the line, they are both still men. There’s no change in species. Please don’t think that I intend for this point to go any further than your illustration. Consider it one mental example for another.

        As for the comparison between Ardi and Lucy:
        The comparison that I’m looking for is between Ardi, Lucy, and us.
        Richard Leakey, an authority in fossil anthropology, said that Lucy’s skull is so incomplete that most of it is ‘imagination made of plaster of paris’. (The Weekend Australian, May 7-8, 1983, Magazine section, p. 3.) Therefore, according to Leakey, no firm conclusion can be drawn about what species Lucy belonged to.
        Furthermore, Dr. Charles Oxnard, Professor of Anatomy and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia, said that the australopithecines (the group of fossils Lucy belonged to) were more different from both African apes and humans than apes and humans were from each other. (Dr Charles E. Oxnard, Fossils, Teeth and Sex—New perspective on Human Evolution, University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 1987, p. 227.)
        From what I’ve read, Donald Johanson, the discoverer Lucy himself, conceded that its V-shaped jaw bone was very ape-like, and more importantly nothing like that of a human. (Johanson & Edey, Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind, Simon & Shuster 1981, p. 258.)
        Whatever connection is assumed between Ardi and Lucy, the assumed connection between Lucy and humans are in my estimation questionable at least.

        As for the breeding experiments:
        It would seem that the fact that certain flies no longer interbreed with a group with which they originally did creates a new specie. That’s nothing more than reproductive isolation. Any variety of a specie that results from reproductive isolation has a smaller gene pool than the original. They also have a restricted ability to explore new environments with new trait combinations and to meet changes in its own environment. The long-term result? Extinction would be much more likely than evolution. That type of extrapolation always has limitations. These types of experiments show what evolutionists themselves call “subspeciation” (variation within kind), never “transspeciation” (change from one kind to others).
        Evolution requires an increase in genetic complexity. The type of speciation displayed by the flies show the opposite.

        That’s all I have time for right now. I’m looking into the Chromosome 2 thing, and it looks interesting.
        I’m really enjoying our conversation. It gives me a chance to look into things that I wouldn’t normally study.

      • morsec0de said

        “said that Lucy’s skull is so incomplete that most of it is ‘imagination made of plaster of paris’”

        That would be a valid argument if Lucy was the only specimen of australopithecus we had. She’s just the first and the most famous.

        “Extinction would be much more likely than evolution.”

        Which is why the vast majority of species that have existed on Earth are now extinct. Most, but not all.

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