Googling the title of the paper below so I could find it on the Internet, I see that at least one evolutionary-biology website has posted about it. I’m not going to read what it said until after I post this, as I don’t want to repeat its ideas. But if you have the stomach, have a look at the paper below, published in Springer’s International Journal of Anthropology and Ethnology, which I assume is a fairly respectable journal as it’s published by the money-hungry but scientifically credible Springer firm.
The author of the paper, Sarah Umer, is listed as being in the Department of Visual Arts & Graphic Designs at the Institute of Visual Arts & Designs at the Lahore College for Women University in Lahore, Pakistan. Okay, well, that’s not a ringing endorsement of her expertise, but, as always, it’s the content that’s important.
And the content is dire: this is a straight-up creationist paper, impugning the evidence for evolution, arguing for human separatism from the rest of the planet’s species, and claiming that modern humans (yes, H. sapiens sapiens, not Neanderthals or any other species of Homo), as well as other species, appeared suddenly and fully formed about 50,000 years ago. Yep, that’s Genesis-style “instant appearance” creationism, though Umer appears to be somewhat of an old-earth creationist.
I’ll give some quotes from the paper, which show that Springer clearly didn’t vet this one, or didn’t vet it properly—even more offensive because the paper is loaded with grammatical errors and misspellings. In fact, I’m going to write to the journal and kvetch about this one.
The abstract itself shows you how bad the writing is. The last sentence, which says that many evolutionists and scientists are also sudden-appearance creationists, is of course a lie (my emphasis):
There is a consensus among evolutionists today that man first appeared in Africa approximately four million years ago. Others counter this theory saying, “… when shall we speak of man as man”? The timeline they give is approximately one million years and to fully understand one million years is still a difficult task.
However, another even better way to understand time and man is to study it in terms of generations. So, keeping in mind that primitive people married and had children early, twenty years will make an average generation. According to this there would be 50,000 generations in a million years. Keeping this in mind if we calculate generations we find that 250 generations back take us to the time when written history began. While, another 250 generations back would take us to the time (10,000 years ago), when cultivation began, and man started settled life. Now we are left with 49,500 generations of men, plus a time span of 990,000 years. Keeping these statistics in mind let us ask the question once more, when should we speak of man as man?
Therefore, this paper attempts not only to understand the timeframe “when we can really call Man? – Man” in light of the so-called history of human evolution but also to understand that if the specie roaming the earth for a million years was truly man’s ancestor, as is claimed by Charles Darwin. Then what took man’s ancestor so long to show signs of development that we only witness in the last 12000 years.
Moreover, while keeping man’s progress under consideration of the last 12000 years, it will further shed light on why there are serious reservations about Charles Darwin theory of human evolution. As many scientists, evolutionists, archeologist and different religious scriptures strongly claim that man came to the earth fully developed and did not evolve from a lesser specie.
Species? Dr. Umer—yes, she got a Ph.D for this stuff—apparently doesn’t know that “species” is a singular and a plural word. She also capitalizes species names in the Latin binomial, as in “A. Anamensis“, and sometimes doesn’t capitalize the names of genera, as in “homo“. But let’s move on. I’ll give just a few howlers:
The question whether the Neanderthals and modern humans interbred was recently addressed by paleoanthropologists who claim, that there was no interbreeding between the two.
She apparently agrees with this, which of course is wrong: we know there was a fair amount of genetic exchange between H. sapiens sapiens and H. sapiens neanderthalensis, as many modern humans carry Neanderthal genes. Umer apparently rejects that, probably because she wants modern human beings to have originated de novo, without any of those cootie genes from Neanderthals. Umer also uses out-of-date claims by Darwin, and quotes from someone named Derk V. Ager, to show that all living species were created separately. Using quotes as evidence is a common tactic of creationists. Umer doesn’t address the fossil evidence for intermediates between, say, fish and amphibians, amphibians and reptiles, reptiles and birds, reptiles and mammals, and the sequentially changing morphology of the hominin lineage. Here:
Another important fact that seems to refute the claim of the evolutionists today is that, there are no signs of any intermediate forms found in the fossil records. Charles Darwin, who is known as the father of the theory of evolution, as state in his book, The Origins of Species claims,
“If my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking most closely all of the species of the same group together must assuredly have existed… Consequently, evidence of their former existence could be found only amongst fossil remains.”(Darwin 1964)
This is of course a prediction from Darwin, not an “important fact.” And we do have those intermediate forms. Is Umer blind? She’s at least blinkered—I suspect by religion.
She goes on with another quote from someone I’ve never heard of (she also drags in Solly Zuckerman, a favorite of creationists):
The fossil records today show few intermediate forms; on the other hand, we see fully-formed living species seem to emerge suddenly without any evolutionary transitional form between them. This lack of factual evidence is enough to back their claim that all living species are created separately, and that life appeared on earth all of a sudden and fully-formed. Derek V. Ager, a famous British evolutionist admits this fact by saying;
“The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of Orders or of Species, we find – over and over again – not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.”(Ager 1976)
Umer even enlists evoutionary biologist Doug Futuyma as a supporter of creationism, showing that she completely misunderstands his book Science on Trial, an excellent anti-creationist book:
The fact that all living species were created separately, suddenly and fully-formed without any evolutionary ancestor is yet again backed by evolutionist biologist Douglas Futuyma, who claimed,
“Creation and evolution, between them, exhaust the possible explanations for the origin of living things. Organisms either appeared on the earth fully developed or they did not. If they did not, they must have developed from pre-existing species by some process of modification. If they did appear in a fully developed state, they must indeed have been created by some omnipotent intelligence.”(Futuyma 1983)
Futuyma is just laying out alternatives here, not favoring creationism. The way Umer uses his quote to back creationism shows that she’s either completely clueless or religously tendentious. I favor the latter given that she quotes the creationist loon Harun Yahya (real name Adnan Oktar, now in prison) to support her thesis!
Keeping all the arguments and counter arguments in mind with respect to the theory of man’s evolution, I shall conclude by quoting a few sentences from Harun Yahya’s book, ‘Fascism: The Bloody Ideology of Darwinism’,
“…the theory of evolution is a claim evidently at variance with scientific findings. The theory’s claim on the origin of life is inconsistent with science, the evolutionary mechanisms it proposes have no evolutionary power, and fossils demonstrate that the intermediate forms required by the theory never existed. So, it certainly follows that the theory of evolution should be pushed aside as an unscientific idea.”(Yahya 2002a, b, c)
Umm. . . how come the reviewers of the paper—if there were any—didn’t catch this?
The last paragraph, which I quote in part below, is another paean to human exceptionalism and manages to invoke the “divine” twice and Yahya three times. I’m not sure whether Umer’s “divine” is God or Allah (probably the latter), but why is this in a scientific journal?
Another thing which is even more important than seeing and hearing abilities is the ‘consciousness’ that man has been blessed with (Yahya 2002a, b, c). It is this consciousness that creates the major difference between man and all other living species. It is this that takes man one step ahead of all others. It is this ability that makes us flee from a fire, but we can go back in the same fire to save someone. It is this ability that helps us to understand and comprehend, that despite of the best of qualities given to us in this world, there are certain things that are still beyond our reach, control and comprehension. Even we humans have limitations, and this concept was well taken and understood even by early man since antiquity. He also knew that he had no control over the elements and there was some “Divine Force” somewhere, which had everything under its control. Hence it would not be wrong to presume here, that it was at this point in time around approximately 50,000 to 40,000 years ago, that the modern man entered the scene, and all the other species predating him were not actually ‘man’, or his ancestors. Hence, man was born a man with the best of qualities and a consciousness to understand the ‘Divine’ which has helped him not only to conquer but also to rule the world.
Okay, here’s a link to another critique, which I’ll now go read: “Creationist paper published in journal” by Adam Benton on the site Filthy Monkey Men.
If you want to write to the journal about this paper, the contact information is below. I’m gonna ask them how it managed to get published:
General enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
What I wrote (join me if you’d like!)
I am writing to call to your attention to something you probably already know: the December issue of your International Journal of Anthropology and Ethnology has published a straight-out Genesis-style creationism paper by Sarah Umer, “A brief history of human evolution: challenging Darwin’s claim.” (Link is at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s41257-018-0014-2). Not only does the paper make a number of false statements about evolution, and misquotes prominent evolutionists, but also quotes the jailed Turkish creationist loon Adnan Oktar (Harun Yahya) in support of its thesis that humans and all species originated instantly at the behest of the “divine”. The editing is also dreadful: there are grammatical and spelling mistakes throughout. Did anybody whose first language is English even edit the paper?
I would like to know how this paper got published and what review process you used. Are you going to let the paper stand as is? Also, why was it so poorly edited?
This paper is an affront to all evolutionary biologists who do good work, as well as a tremendous embarrassment to Springer, who should have known better.
I would appreciate the courtesy of a reply. In the meantime, I’ve posted a short critique–it would take pages to refute Umer’s misstatments and lies–on my website Why Evolution is True. That link is here: https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2018/12/18/creationist-paper-gets-into-a-springer-journal/
Department of Ecology and Evolution
The University of Chicago