Ape-to-Man Diagrams Are All Wrong

This one will totally shatter you, dear reader. We found it at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. Hambo’s article is titled Famous Ape-to-Man Diagram “So Wrong”? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

We’ve all seen it — the apelike-creature-to-man diagram. It shows a supposed line of progression from an ape (or ape-like ancestor, which evolutionists picture as an ape), to a slightly more bipedal ape, to a more human-like ape, eventually culminating in modern man.

Yes indeed, we’ve all seen it. What about it? Hambo says:

This progression has long been presented as fact in most textbooks, museums, and in the media. But is that idea “so wrong”? [Wrong?]

He explains:

Well, some evolutionists are saying that the famous image is wrong because it gives the impression that evolution has a direction. A recent article quotes an evolutionist saying that image should be “expunged from the record of everything.”

Hambo’s link is to an article in the Daily Mail about the views of Dr. Adam Rutherford. Hambo quotes him:

[That image] points to the idea that evolution has a direction . . . It suggests that there are ape-like ancestors and they begin to walk upright and eventually become us and it goes in a very nice, neat line. This isn’t how evolution works at all. We evolve to occupy whatever environmental niche we’re in at that time. We quite easily in the future could evolve into a completely different shape or go back to being quadrupedal [walking on all fours]. That’s just how evolution works. The idea that evolution ‘improves’ is not correct.

We could play with that all day, but ol’ Hambo eagerly leaps upon it and declares:

So, evolution is directionless and humans could even evolve back to walking on all fours? Now that seems to suggest evolution does have a direction . . . in that case, going from walking on four limbs to walking on two limbs, to walking on four limbs, whatever is most advantageous. Confused?

Nice try, Hambo, but no, we’re not confused. Oh wait — he’s not done yet. His babbling about Rutherford’s statement continues:

Also, if evolution is directionless, how did man evolve? [Huh?] Really, what they believe is that by directionless chance random processes, all life somehow evolved and eventually man evolved, and we know it happened, they argue, because man and animals exist, therefore evolution is fact. Yep, that’s the story (fairytale) of evolution.

That paragraph is a classic. Let’s read on:

Also, Dr. Rutherford says mankind should never be looked on as a “pinnacle of evolution,” as was once taught. Actually, the whole idea of mankind as a “pinnacle” is itself borrowed from the Christian worldview because man is the pinnacle of creation. We alone are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), different from animals. So this evolutionist is trying to be consistent with his atheistic evolutionary view by not making man the pinnacle . . . or higher than the apes.

According to that newspaper, what Rutherford actually said was this:

He said all organisms – from a human on the plains of Africa to a tiny insect – have adapted to exist in their environment. ‘It’s a very human, hubristic point of view, that we think of ourselves as the pinnacle of evolution,’ he added.

Hambo’s rant continues:

Directionless evolution is actually man’s religion [Huh?] to try to explain life without God. Yes, evolution is a religion.

Hambo has a few other things to say, but we’ll quit with that strange insult — evolution is a religion. Jeepers, he really knows how to make us feel bad.

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12 responses to “Ape-to-Man Diagrams Are All Wrong

  1. I mean, if he wants to call it a religion then the Venn diagrams of the world will have to work overtime because they need to be circling pretty much everything in the religion set. Rendering the term completely useless. I dunno if that’s even technically a Venn diagram if it only has one set. Ken has destroyed both religion and Venn diagrams in one fell swoop.

  2. longshadow

    Really, what they believe is that by directionless chance random processes, all life somehow evolved and eventually man evolved, and we know it happened, they argue, because man and animals exist, therefore evolution is fact. Yep, that’s the story (fairytale) of evolution.

    Behold the signature of a nitwit and/or con artists.

    Genetic variations can be (but are not required to be) random and undirected, but the selection pressure acting on a POPULATION are very much directional; they are directional, causing the preferential demise of those members of a population, on average, that have inadequate features and abilities to survive and procreate in the environment in which they exist. Thus, over time, those members of the population in whom the beneficial variations have spread have a better chance at surviving and spreading the beneficial genes to future generations.

    Only an idiot or a con-man conflates the undirected random process of genetic variation at the individual level with the asymmetric — and thus directional — distribution of the result of selection pressure on the population as a whole.

  3. Dave Luckett

    Here we have yet another example of a creationist leaping on a single word, “directionless” – and throttling the life out of it. Evolution is not directionless in the sense that it’s random. It hunts fitness for environment. It is only “directionless” insofar as nobody directs it. As longshadow remarks, only an idiot or a con-man would do this: take an unnecessary and unintended implication and pretend that it’s a necessary and intended one.

    But Ham is one or the other, or both, by turns, even both at once. I don’t know which predominates, or if either does.

  4. Adam Rutherford is, as many readers here will know, a distinguished writer on biological subjects, especially human evolution, and I feel confident that the Daily Mail article correctly describes his views. The diagram in question is of course the mistitled March of Progress https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_of_Progress, correct title The Road to Homo sapiens. A particularly crude version of the diagram appears on the cover of Jonathan Wells’ Icons of Evolution. The Wikipedia article shows that the original diagram is much less bad than such popular representations. Wells’ version, for example, imposes a progression from dark to light which is absent from the original

    What part of “Mutation creates, selection winnows” don’t the creationists understand?

  5. chris schilling

    “This progression has long been presented as fact in most textbooks, museums, and in the media.”

    If anything, it’s creationists who still cling to the idea of evolution as (supposedly) orthogenetic. They’ve had at least forty years or so to access more broadly accurate descriptions of evolution as a branching, non-orthogenetic process, as presented in our natural history museums and in the general literature on the subject, including Darwin’s The Origin. (I wouldn’t rely on popular media for information on evolution, unless it’s by good science writers like Faye Flam or Carl Zimmer, or presenters like Alice Roberts and Brian Cox).

    Ham would object to evolution on principle, no matter how it was presented or understood. But the fact is, even a creationist like Linnaeus was more astute than today’s breed, since he clearly recognized that Homo sapiens belonged in the family of primates.

  6. @chris schilling
    Excuse me for nit-picking, but as I understand it …
    Primates is an order, not a family. It was established by Linnaeus. And Linnaeus did not, I think, have a taxon “family”.

  7. Once again the Hamster presents an argument that is wrong and demonstrates he does not know what he thinks he does.

  8. No redeemable qualities, other than the sandwich which bears his name. (The ham sandwich.)

  9. We know that atheism is NOT a religion because atheist don’t get to have automatic tax free income & profits! And if atheism is a religion like you are …then you should be taxed!!!

  10. AIUI, in Germany, the state subsidizes religions, according to the number of people who declare as adherents for each religion. Does this extend to atheism, secularists etc?

  11. Dave Luckett

    The question, TomS, would then be, “What body corporate receives such a subsidy?” In this question is a further demonstration that atheism is not a religion.

    Ham would be delighted to receive it, on behalf of, I don’t know, the far-out-in-left-field holy roller Biblical literalists, or whatever, because he is such a body. On that basis, he soaks up whatever concessions and tax dodges are going – and even some that aren’t, strictly speaking. Ham’s all for established religion, so long as either he’s the only one, or at least, it’s fair go for everyone.

    “Fair go” is an Australian expression meaning, “everybody gets a whack”. I trust this clarifies the position. It’s a deeply held value of my people. You might call it a religion.

    I wonder if you could subsidise that?

  12. “in Germany, the state subsidizes religions”
    This is incorrect. The German state collects a church tax from church members. The tax service uses Civil Registration for this. Unbelievers and adherents of non-official religions don’t pay it.
    Several other European countries have this system.


    Zero chance that soulmates of Ol’Hambo will receive any governmental subsidy in these countries.
    According to DaveL’s argument Icelandic humanists are religious indeed.
    In other European countries churches have to collect their membership fees themselves. Principled discussions are silly as Kirchensteuer (church tax) is nothing but a practical arrangement.