Although the professional creationist ranks among the most deplorably ignorant or loathsomely dishonest specimens of humanity, one must acknowledge that he not only survives, he flourishes. The creationist is a highly successful parasite, and is unquestionably deleterious to our progress. As with any other pestilence, there is much to be gained by studying the creationist’s ways.
That is why we’re going to examine another article from the creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). They’re described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. Today’s article is Which Came First–the Spear or its Thrower?, by Brian Thomas, described at the end as: “Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.”
From start to finish — from the bizarre title to the utterly predictable conclusion — the article seems hopelessly foolish, like all the rest of ICR’s works; but if we look a little deeper, as we did in How To Write a Creation Science Paper, we can gain some insight into the creationist mind.
Brian starts out — and this is typical — by referring to research done by real scientists. The bold font was added by us for emphasis:
Scientists age-dated a cache of stone-tipped throwing spears unearthed from Ethiopia’s Gademotta Formation at 280,000 years old. This find appears to pierce the conventional story of human evolution — a narrative about modern man evolving from some pre-human type only 200,000 years ago. How will this date discrepancy be resolved?
According to their technical report in the online journal PLoS ONE researchers found “composite projectile weapons,” among the 226 artifacts they examined. Ancients sculpted spear tips from nearby obsidian deposits, shaped sticks into throwing spears, then affixed the obsidian tips onto them.
He’s talking about this: Earliest Stone-Tipped Projectiles from the Ethiopian Rift Date to >279,000 Years Ago. The abstract says:
Composite projectile technologies are considered indicative of complex behavior and pivotal to the successful spread of Homo sapiens. Direct evidence for such projectiles is thus far unknown from >80,000 years ago. Data from velocity-dependent microfracture features, diagnostic damage patterns, and artifact shape reported here indicate that pointed stone artifacts from Ethiopia were used as projectile weapons (in the form of hafted javelin tips) as early as >279,000 years ago. In combination with the existing archaeological, fossil and genetic evidence, these data isolate eastern Africa as a source of modern cultures and biology.
Interesting find. You can read the whole paper online without a subscription, but we’ll stay with ICR. Focusing on the reported age of the discovery, ICR says:
Apes don’t form assembly lines or engineer tools — humans do — and yet no humans were supposed to have existed at that supposed time.
Yes, so it has been believed, based on evidence previously unearthed. But maybe men did exist somewhat earlier. ICR doesn’t like that. They discuss an opinion offered by another article, that perhaps a pre-human ape-like ancestor made and used the tools. ICR immediately dismisses that possibility:
First, if some kind of pre-human was smart enough and able enough to manufacture and successfully use these projectiles, then what is left to intellectually distinguish these supposed pre-humans from true humans — descendants of Adam and Noah?
For a creation scientist, who insists that man was deliberately created with the unique ability to know and worship his creator, that’s a powerful objection. Then ICR mentions evidence that the spear tips were intended to be thrown, not merely used for thrusting, and they declare:
Apes don’t throw spears, and this kind of elegant throwing — the same basic action as pitching a baseball — requires a distinctly human anatomy. What then is left to physically distinguish these ancient spear throwers from being grouped within the category of fully real people?
Maybe nothing, because it’s possible that the spear-makers could have been human. But ICR rejects that. Why? Here’s their reasoning:
The other option would require an embarrassing wholesale rewrite of the story of human evolution found in textbooks throughout the world. Fully modern man — as human-like in intelligence and frame as anyone alivetoday — might have evolved 80,000 years before evolutionary dogma’s 200,000-year mark of man’s supposed emergence.
Ah, yes — “evolutionary dogma.” Creationists always think in terms of age-old, unchanging dogma, so they imagine that we do too. But what if it turns out that the textbooks have to be revised? These things have happened before, and we know they’ll happen again. Scientists keep doing research and expanding our knowledge. That’s why new editions of standard texts are routinely published. Educated people know that scientific knowledge isn’t inviolate, like scripture; but that concept leaves ICR aghast — such a thing is inconceivable to them.
This next excerpt is very revealing, so pay attention. ICR says:
In the past, secular researchers resolved similar dating discrepancies simply by re-dating the discovery site either repeating the same or using a different dating method to end up with new dates that agree with the evolutionary narrative. Thus, some future report stating that the Gademotta Formation [where the obsidian artifacts were recovered] is actually younger than 280,000 years old would come as no surprise.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The first thing a creationist thinks of is lying to protect the revealed perfection of his dogma! That’s what they do — so they think that’s what scientists do too.
The article finishes, as they all do, with the predictable creationist solution to every evidentiary problem:
Toss out the evolutionary age assignment. One is then left with fully human spear-making hunters who were doing their best to equip themselves after the great Flood and migrated from the ark’s Middle Eastern landing site south to Africa.
That’s ICR’s advice. Scientists don’t have to be embarrassed by surprising new evidence, which may require revising earlier evolutionary timelines. If they were to conduct their affairs as creationists do, then they could present their findings as evidence of Noah’s Ark. Creation science solves all problems!
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