Today is May 25th, 2010 and I originally wrote this review around this time in 2007. It was the very first book review/refutation having to do with religion that I ever attempted. I originally posted this on my old Myspace blog I had and during the transfer from that blog to the one I have currently I had lost the original write up. Luckily I still had it saved on my Myspace blog so I copied and pasted the whole thing from there. An issue I hated with the Myspace blogs were the problems with the formatting and HTML and when I copied it over from the other blog it screwed up the formatting and a few other things. The latter part of the review for some reason was placed in bold font and I've been unable to correct it and a few other issues.
I don't feel this is my best review (I feel the most recent ones I've done I did the best job out of all my reviews) but I think it's still a good reference for answers to creationist claims and handily refutes most of Comfort's arguments. Several months later I tried my hand at refuting one of Comfort's other books, God Doesn't Believe in Atheists: Proof that the Atheist Doesn't Exist. I did a lot more original research for that one and was surprised to learn about many of the deceptive arguments creationists use, such as quote mining, which Comfort did a lot of. I suspect that he simply read these arguments elsewhere and copied them for his books without looking to see if they were accurate. In addition, I also attempted to refute the claims made in the "Big Daddy" Jack Chic tract that was featured in the review. That can be found here. You can also find another very good rebuttal here.
I'm going to review as many claims as I can in Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron's little book of B.S. called The Evidence Bible: Irrefutable Evidence for the Thinking Mind.
This is the 2002 version, published by Bridge-Logos Publishers. The claims of these two range from misquoting people, making it sound like they said something they didn't; lying about the fossil record and using the same tactics that psychics and horoscopes use, if something is vague enough, you can claim that it means almost anything, when it comes to citing the bible for "proof" of things.
I have to laugh at that subtitle though. Seriously! For the "thinking mind???" Anyone who does think would not be fooled by their false and misleading claims. As well as one who did their research and checked on the validity of their claims. Well, on to the demolition of many of their misleading statements!
Each claim will be numbered, followed by the rebuttal, with the source of my information placed after my rebuttal, if I used a source. In some cases I'll just use my own brain – my logic- to refute some of their claims, so I won't list any sources.
1. On page 486 in the inset titled 'Missing Link Still Missing' they claim that Archaeoraptor was a fake, yet this was never touted as a transitional fossil. The find was discovered by a Chinese fossil hunter, and he either knowingly or unknowingly, put a tail on the fossil from a different species. Archaeoraptor was not ever published in any scientific journals; only in National Geographic, and two science publications, Nature and Science, rejected the fossil as a legitimate scientific find.
Source: www.talkorigins.org / Index to Creationist Claims, Claim CC352
2. In the same section, they claim that TIME magazine said, "Scientists concede that their most cherished theories are based on embarrassingly few fossil fragments and that huge gaps exist in the fossil record." TIME Magazine, Nov. 7, 1977.
Wow that's over 20 years ago, and there have been some impressive finds since then such as Tiktaalik Roseae. Many quotes that creationists use are sometimes very old and are not even valid any more, if they ever were valid in the first place. I would rather use a scientific magazine or journal for references, not Time magazine. The mass media is often wrong on some things, plus the fact, that they may just be misquoting the article anyway. But I did a search online for this article and the only thing that came up which listed the Time magazine in question were creationist, and religious websites, and one forum where a christian obviously used some of the B.S. in the The Evidence Bible in his debate. I thought that was funny. I debunk most of his claims that he used here.
3. On page 715, in the inset titled 'Scientific Facts of the Bible' they list the following:
a. "Only in recent years has science discovered that everything we see is composed of invisible atoms. Here scripture tells us that the "things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
This is an example of what horoscopes do, and psychics. Ray and Kirk have just picked something from the bible and claim it means what they say. But it's so vague it could mean anything. Another thing is that they don't give you the information on where that is found in the bible so I can't be sure if it says anything that is even close to what they are claiming.
b. "Science has discovered that stars emit radio waves, which are received on earth as a high pitch. god mentioned this in Job 38:7: When the morning stars sang together."
This is a clear misrepresentation of scripture because the full quote is this in Job 38:4-7: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you are understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of god shouted for joy?"
This is clearly not depicting anything of scientific nature. It's simply saying how the stars literally sang, as well as did sons of god; not anything resembling what Kirk and Ray want you to believe.
Source: 'holy' bible, New Kings James Version, 1982, Thomas Nelson Publishers
c. "Most cosmologists (scientists who study structures and evolution of the universe) agree that the genesis account of creation, in imagining an initial void, may be uncannily close to the truth." TIME Magazine, Dec. 1976
Again they use an outdated quote, when many scientists now agree that the universe could be eternal, following the law of conservation of mass and energy, which states that mass and energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can only change forms from one to another. So according to this theory, the universe is most likely eternal, and was never "created."
d. "Science expresses the universe in five terms: time, space, matter, power, and motion. Genesis 1:1-2 revealed such truths to the Hebrews in 1450 b.c. " In the beginning [time] god created [power] the heaven [space] and the earth [matter]…And the spirit of god moved [motion] upon the face of the waters…"
How anyone can believe that the quote talks about scientific principals is not thinking clearly. I have no doubt that the people of bible times had a concept of time and space, though didn't know how to explain them. But claiming that the bible "revealed" these "truths" to people is an enormous overstatement.
e. "Look at the specific instructions god gave his people for when they encounter disease: "And when he that has an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days to his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean. (Leviticus 15:13) Until recent years doctors washed their hands in a bowl of water, leaving invisible germs on their hands. However the bible says specifically to wash hands under "running water."
I looked up this verse in one of my King James bibles and an NIV and it's talking of a ceremonial cleansing, not washing your hands, and doesn't even mention running water, but fresh water, in the NIV. This could be a translation problem, and of course the good old vagueness of the bible.
Source: NIV, 2001 Zondervan
f. "The prophet Isaiah also tells us that the earth is round: 'It is he that sits upon the circle of the earth.' (Isaiah 40:22) This is not a reference to a flat disk, as some skeptics maintain, but to a sphere. Secular man discovered this 2,400 years later. At a time when science believed the earth was flat, it was the scriptures that inspired Christopher Columbus to sail around the world."
Well, I can debunk their B.S. about their maintaining that Isaiah 40:22
is talking about a sphere pretty quickly. In Matthew 4:8 it says,"Again
the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the
kingdoms of the world…" Now if the earth were a sphere this would
not be possible to see the whole world all at once, unless it was flat.
However, let's just say for the sake of argument that Isaiah does indeed mean a spiracle earth. It really wouldn't be very special because "the shape of the earth may already have been known in Isaiah's time. Ancient astronomers could determine that the earth was round by observing its circular shadow move across the moon during lunar eclipses. There is some suggestion that the Egyptians knew of the earth's spherical size and shape around 2550 B.C.E. (more than a
thousand years before Moses). The Greek philosopher Pythagoras, who was born in 532 B.C.E., defended the spherical theory on the basis of observations he had made of the shape of the sun and moon (Uotila 1984). If this information was known by educated Greeks and Egyptians during biblical times, its use by Isaiah is nothing special."
Also, for anyone not up to date on their history, Columbus found America in 1492 (though what is actually true to history is that he didn't actually get to the mainland until his third voyage in 1498 - as well as the fact that he wasn't the very first person to find it either), and that same year Martin Behaim made the first globe, which according to my source; "Christopher Columbus was almost certainly aware of it [the making of the globe] and strengthened by it in his conviction to sail West to find the Orient."
I have a feeling that Ray and Kirk are weaving their own biased ideas about Columbus wanting to sail around the earth because of the bible, trying to make the bible sound more important then it actually is.
However, christianity did inspire Columbus to steal the land from the people there, as he placed crosses in their land and declared ownership of all the lands. It was also the ritual, Requerimiento, which was declared that told of the spanishs' "right" to claim the americas as their own because of the "assertion that God, through Saint Peter and his Papal successors, held authority as ruler over the entire Earth, and that the Inter Caetera, (a Papal Bull of 4 May 1493 by Pope Alexander VI) conferred title over the Americas to the Spanish monarchs."
I wouldn't consider the christian legacy on these stolen lands as anything to brag about.
Source: NIV bible, 2001 Zondervan, and www.talkorigins.org Index to Creationist Claims CH131
American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World, by David E. Stannard, page 65
4. On page 580, they talk about Kent Hovind's $250,000 challenge for anyone who can prove that evolution is true.
Creationist Kent Hovind has widely publicized his "standing offer" to pay $250,000 for scientific evidence of evolution. He argues that the "failure" of anyone to claim the prize is evidence that the "hypothesis" of evolution is not scientific but religious in nature. What is the real meaning of Hovind's challenge?
To be as clear as possible at the very outset: Kent Hovind's "offer" has nothing to do with the validity of the vast body of evidence, from a breathtakingly broad range of disciplines, that establishes the Theory of Evolution as one of the bedrocks of modern science. His challenge, as will be seen, is a mere humbug without value in any rational appraisal of science. The terms of the offer are formulated to be unattainable and it would be nothing but a total waste of time and effort for any proponent of evolution to participate in his charade. The only intent of the offer is to gull the credulous and confuse the uninformed.
Supporters of science are not alone in this assessment. Answers in Genesis, a creationist website devoted to promoting much the same viewpoint as Hovind's, has said of the offer: "AiG would prefer that creationists refrained from gimmicks like this."  Even those every bit as dedicated as Hovind to opposing the Theory of Evolution recognize his offer to be a sham and an embarrassment.
The only reason to even address Hovind is to demonstrate how, like some stage magician, he is out to dazzle the unwary with what is, in the end, not very elegant sleight of hand. No attempt will be made here to discuss the evidence supporting the Theory of Evolution because, frankly, I have neither the expertise nor the eloquence to do such a vast subject justice. In any case, if you are reading this, you have already found one resource, the Talk.Origins Archive, that is better equipped to inform and educate you in the real facts and issues surrounding the Theory of Evolution than perhaps any one person could hope to be. Instead, the intent of this FAQ is to disclose, as clearly as possible, how Hovind's offer is deceptive, even on its own terms.
Who Is Kent Hovind?
Kent Hovind is the head of Creation Science Evangelism (CSE) Ministries , based in Pensacola, Florida. He and his son, Eric, stump extensively giving creationist "seminars" dozens of times a month, with some dates booked more than a year in advance.  The Hovinds also operate a "theme park", called Dinosaur Adventure Land , which is best evaluated through the Hovinds' own "virtual tour" at their site. 
More than one conservative Christian website lauds Hovind as being "considered by many to be one of the foremost authorities on 'Science and the Bible'."  Given his popularity as a speaker, it is certain that he has considerable influence among certain segments of conservative Christian evolution deniers and his "$250,000 offer" is prominently featured on his website and in his lectures.
What Is the "$250,000 Offer"?
As of the time this is being written (July 2002), Hovind's offer is at the website of his CSE Ministries at: http://www.drdino.com/cse.asp?pg=250k. [May 2004: The offer is now at http://www.drdino.com/Ministry/250k/index.jsp.]  [On the face of it, it seems like a simple matter. Under a headline in bold typeface, separated from the rest of the terms of the offer, and below a cartoon of a man and a woman stretching an oversized dollar bill, is the following:
I have a standing offer of $250,000 to anyone who can give any empirical evidence (scientific proof) for evolution.* My $250,000 offer demonstrates that the hypothesis of evolution is nothing more than a religious belief. [Emphasis mine.]
Given its place of prominence, that paragraph is clearly intended to convey the impression, at least to those who bother to read no further, that there is no scientific evidence for evolution. But this opening salvo gives only a superficial and wildly incorrect impression of what the offer really is.
What Is Wrong With the "Offer"?
By every appearance of that opening, all that needs be done is to present some empirical scientific evidence for evolution and collect $250,000. But note the asterisk! It leads to the following footnote:
* NOTE: When I use the word evolution, I am not referring to the minor variations found in all of the various life forms (microevolution). I am referring to the general theory of evolution which believes these five major events took place without God:
1. Time, space, and matter came into existence by themselves.
2. Planets and stars formed from space dust.
3. Matter created life by itself.
4. Early life-forms learned to reproduce themselves.
5. Major changes occurred between these diverse life forms (i.e., fish changed to amphibians, amphibians changed to reptiles, and reptiles changed to birds or mammals).
That sound you hear is the scraping of goal posts being moved. It is true that, in its broadest possible sense, "evolution" can simply mean "change" and has been applied to such non-biological processes as star and planetary formation. Even cultural phenomena such as the metamorphosis of language and the development of political systems have been referred to in "evolutionary" terms.  Yet, in the United States today, in light of at least three-quarters of a century of conflict over the issue, "evolution" is almost universally understood, even among Hovind's own flock, it would be fair to say, to refer to "biological evolution" (perhaps, among creationists, with abiogenesis  thrown in).
However, Hovind is not simply using the term loosely but, instead, is trying to fashion an entirely new and idiosyncratic definition that links vastly dissimilar processes under a single rubric. He then insists, as will be seen, that unless all can be demonstrated equally and in the same way, then none of them can be. It is rather like demanding that a political scientist defend the values of the People's Democratic Republic of (North) Korea or admit that all "democratic republics" are unworkable tyrannies. Just because many things can go under the umbrella of one broad term does not make everything under the umbrella part and parcel of one unitary idea or process.
As Hovind would have it, there is some all-encompassing concept he calls "the general theory of evolution" that embraces (1) cosmology, (2) astrophysics, (3) abiogenesis and (4) biochemistry or genetics or something (given the confused "Early life-forms learned to reproduce themselves"), in addition to (5) biological evolution. All of the other items could be disproved without affecting the validity of biological evolution. Since this "general theory of evolution" is not a part of science, there is no reason for any scientist to attempt to establish evidence for it.
The most charitable interpretation is that Hovind is deeply confused. The alternative would seem to be that he has cynically constructed a strawman  to serve as an obstacle to succeeding at his challenge. Nor is that the only impediment he has thrown up. Anyone familiar with young-Earth creationism will recognize Hovind's usage of "microevolution" as a convenient way of dismissing all demonstrated evolution below the genus level, at least. It is clearly unfair to arbitrarily limit the evidence in this way. Still, the expanded definition of the "general theory" could actually be a good thing for the applicant. If, after all is said and done, the applicant has only to present any empirical evidence in support of these events, the bigger target makes it easier, not harder, to hit. Or does it?
As you might expect, Hovind is not done yet.
Consider the import of the phrase from the footnote "these five major events took place without God". That might look, at first blush, as if it means "without resort to miracles as an explanation for natural events". But, in fact, it requires production of empirical evidence that God had no role at all in cosmology (including the Big Bang), astrophysics, abiogenesis, genetics and whatever else Hovind means by "the general theory of evolution". This calls for the logical impossibility of "proving a negative". Few, if any, atheists would go so far as to say that there could be empirical evidence that God was never active anywhere at anytime throughout the entire history of the cosmos.
More importantly, Hovind is imposing a condition that is totally outside of the Theory of Evolution. The proposition that God never had a hand in the cosmos is certainly no part of evolution and no prerequisite for its truth. 
But that's not all, folks.
Now we turn to the section of the offer called "How to collect the $250,000", where we find the applicant must:
Prove beyond reasonable doubt that the process of evolution . . . is the only possible way the observed phenomena could have come into existence.
But before we can look at that in detail, we have to find out what Hovind means by the "the process of evolution". For that, we must go to still another section of the offer, under "Known options" (is it accidental that the terms of the offer are spread out so widely in the text?), where we find it defined as the "idea" that:
The universe came into being by itself by purely natural processes (known as evolution) so that no appeal to the supernatural is needed.
Initially, why should there be a requirement that the applicant "prove beyond a reasonable doubt" any part of evolution? That is a legal standard having nothing to do with the process of science. (As we will see later, there may be good reason for Hovind to insert legal terminology.) Not only that, the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" seems excessive. After all, why should science be put to that standard when most things in our day-to-day lives, including religious beliefs, are not? Still, it is not necessarily an insurmountable burden, though meeting it for the full range of the "general theory of evolution" would doubtless be difficult and certainly time-consuming.
But go back and note the wording: "the only possible way the observed phenomena could have come into existence". How do you prove that anything is the only possible way "life, the universe and everything" could have come into existence? Again it is calling for proof of a negative and what a negative!
In essence, you would have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that God not only didn't create the universe or anything in it, but that God couldn't have done it. Since an infinite, omnipotent, omniscient being can obviously do anything it likes, including using "naturalistic" or "theistic" evolution  to develop the panoply of life, you logically have to prove, by empirical evidence, that God doesn't exist at all in order to meet Hovind's terms. Clearly this is, as it is no doubt intended to be, an impossible task. [As many Christian theists have been the first to insist, the only way one could know definitively that God did not exist would be to be absolutely omniscient and omnipresent; in other words, to be God oneself. --Ed.]
To summarize, Hovind has gone, in the course of presenting his offer, from promising money to anyone who can present any scientific evidence for evolution; to demanding scientific evidence of a strawman version of evolution covering numerous branches of science; to demanding not merely evidence, but proof beyond a reasonable doubt; to demanding proof beyond a reasonable doubt that God didn't do everything; to demanding proof beyond a reasonable doubt that God couldn't do anything and, ultimately, to demanding proof beyond a reasonable doubt that God does not exist. At the very least, Hovind's claim that he will pay $250,000 for "any empirical evidence (scientific proof) for evolution" can be said to be deeply deceptive.
Other Problems With the Offer
Even if Hovind had stuck with the plain meaning of that first paragraph, would the offer be legitimate? Whatever "evidentiary value" there is to the supposed inability of evolution supporters to meet Hovind's challenge depends on there being some method to collect on the offer if and when evidence is produced. For Hovind to fairly make hay out of the fact that the offer remains uncollected, he must have procedures in place to fully evaluate submissions and impartially determine if the prize should be paid. Failing that, there should at least be legal recourse to the courts to force payment if appropriate. Otherwise, "talk is cheap".
Does anyone really have a chance to collect the money under Hovind's procedures? The experience of those people who have inquired or who have made submissions  strongly suggests that fair and unbiased procedures for the review of submissions are lacking. Hovind's own statements do nothing to lessen these concerns.
Although the offer states that a "committee of trained scientists will provide peer review of the evidence offered", all inquiries as to who makes up this "committee" or what their qualifications are have been rebuffed by Hovind.  In one exchange with Dr. Barend Vlaardingerbroek , Hovind did claim that the committee was "neutral". However, he followed that later on by saying "I don't know if they [the committee members] are or are not young earth creationists like me but asking that question or making that stipulation would prejudice the committee." Of course, others, perhaps with a bit more curiosity than Hovind, might want to at least check out the committee members' prior public statements, which could be done without risk of biasing them. It seems more than a tad convenient that no one but Hovind knows their identities.
The most Hovind will say is that there is "a zoologist, a geologist, an aerospace engineer, a professor of radiology and biophysics, and an expert in radio metric [sic] dating to name a few" on the committee.  He refuses to give their names because these people do not "wish to waste time arguing with skeptics and scoffers".  That is strange behavior for "trained scientists", especially if they are impartial and were only recruited to make fair judgments based on specific evidence submitted.
But, then again, nowhere does Hovind's offer promise that the members of the committee will be impartial or that it will be made up of a mix of people from all sides of the issue. Within the offer itself, he only says that these people, "to the best of their ability, will be fair and honest in their evaluation and judgment as to the validity of the evidence".  In short, Hovind is free, by his own terms, to appoint a committee entirely composed of professing believers in a literal interpretation of the Bible and confirmed young-Earth creationists, just as long as they promise to be as fair as they can be. Anyone going to the trouble to provide as much evidence as Hovind demands might want a slightly greater assurance of a fair hearing than that.
If, in fact, the committee is made up of young-Earth creationists, that would be a strange definition of "peer review", considering that Hovind himself declares evolution supporters to be adherents of a "pagan religion masquerading as science".  Could Bible-based young-Earth creationists, whether they consider themselves scientists or not, truly conduct "peer" evaluation of something they consider a "pagan" ideology? How fair would such people likely be under such circumstances? And yet, Hovind refuses to even inquire of them about this.
On a different aspect of the issue, Hovind has implied, at least at times, that he has the right to act as a "first filter", deciding what submissions would even be forwarded to the committee. He has said, for instance: "Evidence of minor changes within the same kind of plant or animal does not qualify as evidence and will not be sent to the committee to waste their time."  At other times, when pressed, he seems to back off, promising to forward everything to the committee.  Still, considering that he claims that "Many have responded to my offer . . ." , it is puzzling why he has yet to produce a single evaluation, even an anonymous one, performed by his crack committee. Occam's Razor suggests that whatever committee Hovind has in mind has never been invoked, despite the "many" submissions.
Then there is, as there always is, the question of the money. It is only reasonable to inquire if Hovind even has the $250,000. In 1996, Hovind filed for bankruptcy, declaring in official court documents under penalty of perjury that, as of that time, he was receiving no income and owned absolutely no property.  If there is any reason to believe that his economic worth has significantly changed since then, it is not immediately obvious. All he has said about the existence or whereabouts of the money is: "The offer is legitimate. A wealthy friend of mine has the money in the bank. If the conditions of the offer are met, the money will be paid out immediately. My word is good."  Sliding over the last sentence for the moment, it appears that the money and its whereabouts are as anonymous as the committee. Indeed, it is hard not to wonder if this rich friend of Hovind's, if he or she exists, is not also sitting on the committee, if it exists, "guarding" his or her funds. Apparently, we are never to know. It is perhaps instructive to compare Hovind's monetary arrangements with those of James Randi's, who has a $1,000,000 offer for evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. In Randi's offer, an independent, public investment firm certifies the existence of the money and holds the account containing it. 
However, since Hovind has failed to provide any evidence as to his ability to pay the $250,000 and has instead produced only assurances that his word is good, Hovind, himself, has put the question of the value of his "personal coin" at issue. In the same 1996 bankruptcy action , the judge denied Hovind's request for bankruptcy protection, finding:
Notwithstanding the debtor's listing under penalty of perjury in his schedules and statement of affairs that he has no income, has no expenses, and owns no property, the evidence shows otherwise.
The judge concluded that:
Here, the debtor, who has failed to acknowledge his obligations as a citizen and taxpayer of the United States, seeks to utilize this taxpayer supported court in order to thwart the lawful collection efforts of the Internal Revenue Service . . . The debtor having failed to file his federal income tax returns for at least the years 1989 through 1995, having resisted collection efforts by the IRS, and having provided false information in his schedules and statement of affairs in connection with this case, I find that the debtor filed this petition in bad faith and as such the petition is subject to dismissal for cause under the provisions of 11 U.S.C. 1307(c).
No matter what your feelings about the Internal Revenue Code or even the right of citizens to resist it, it is quite a different matter to go to a bankruptcy court, which is unrelated to the enforcement of the tax laws, and file false documents under oath in a cynical attempt to circumvent those laws through the back door. And Hovind's willingness to blatantly manipulate the system cannot engender confidence in his "procedures" for judging the submissions made in response to his offer.
To sum up, from all the circumstances, reasonable questions arise as to whether Hovind can or will voluntarily pay on the offer if it were successfully answered, not only because of the financial loss to him and his ministry (and/or his mysterious friend), but because of what it would do to his "reputation" as an evolution denier and lecturer if he was to admit in 250,000 ways that he was wrong.
The next step is to consider whether he can be forced, through the courts, to pay up or at least acknowledge that the challenge had been met. Indeed, Hovind almost calls for such a standard himself when he said of claimants: "Treat the $250,000 offer as a lawyer would treat a 'who-done-it' case. It is your job to prove that what is being taught to our kids as fact . . . is indeed a fact." 
Can the Courts Be Used to Force Hovind to Pay?
Speaking as an attorney myself, there are many practical problems with taking Hovind to court. Where you can get jurisdiction over him and what laws will apply, for starters. The simplest and surest answer would be to bring the case in Florida state courts. But then you would have to convince a judge or, more likely, a jury, to impose a significant monetary judgment against a local "man of the cloth". That would be a rather daunting task for any plaintiff under the best of circumstances. Add in having to present rather complicated issues of science and religion in a courtroom, under the restrictive rules of evidence, and you have the stuff of lawyers' nightmares. But the question is moot in the end.
Even without an in-depth analysis of Florida law,  Hovind's offer is clearly a species of contract that is generally enforceable in law, but only upon acceptance of the terms by meeting the conditions exactly. It is in the nature of a "reward", which cannot be claimed unless the "item" is delivered precisely as it is described. 
So, while the good news is that the offer can become a binding contract that Hovind is obligated to pay, the bad news is that the courts will not, for the most part, look to see whether the conditions are fair or reasonable or even capable of being performed, at least in the absence of outright fraud.
A very basic definition of fraud (from the Encyclopedia Britannica) is: "in law, the deliberate misrepresentation of fact for the purpose of depriving someone of a valuable possession". No matter how you feel the phrase "deliberate misrepresentation of fact" might, or might not, apply to Hovind's offer, it is clear that the offer is not intended to generate money (the most common "valuable possession" cognizable in American courts), at least not from those who would claim the prize. And while most of us would consider our time at least as important as our money, the courts do not consider the effort exerted by those who spend their days devising or responding to such point-proving exercises to be a "valuable possession".
The courts do not favor these types of challenges but will enforce them when they are clearly made, accepted and met. However, they will not check to see that the terms are reasonable or even rational and will not reform the terms to make them so. At most, they will interpret any confusing terminology in a way they deem to be most clearly evident in the actual language used. In other words, you either meet the terms exactly as Hovind has written them (to some value of "exactly") or you don't get the money.
Furthermore, one general rule courts use in interpreting contract language is that more specific language is given greater weight than general statements. Thus, despite that opening paragraph, a court would almost undoubtedly hold that, in order to be successful, the applicant would have to meet the more specific terms set out in the section "How to collect the $250,000" and the rest of Hovind's conditions.
That would also include Hovind's "standard of proof". The usual standard in civil litigation is proof "by a preponderance of the evidence", a much lower standard than proof "beyond a reasonable doubt", which is normally reserved only for criminal trials. Contracts can, and frequently do, set higher or lower evidentiary standards for any litigation arising out of the contracts. In this instance, American courts would, almost certainly, enforce the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard set out in Hovind's terms, despite the fact that it bears no relationship to the quality or quantity of "empirical evidence (scientific proof)" necessary to support a theory in scientific practice.
As we have already seen, the conditions of the challenge are logically impossible to fulfill. The courts will not remake them to be attainable and will impose the highest possible standard of proof to boot. Under these circumstances, the fact that no one has gone to court to collected on the offer demonstrates only that Hovind has enough cunning to make it legally impossible to do so.
There is much else wrong with Hovind's presentation. For instance, he goes on to taunt scientists by saying:
If you are convinced that evolution is an indisputable fact, may I suggest that you offer $250,000 for any empirical or historical evidence against the general theory of evolution.
However, note that all talk of "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" has disappeared and "historical evidence" has instead shown up. It takes no great perspicacity to guess what that might be. Clearly, Hovind prefers his gander served without sauce.
He also perpetrates another egregious strawman, conflating science with atheism and religion at the same time. And the list goes on. There comes a point, however, when a dead horse is beyond beating.
Still, one more fault in the offer must be pointed out. Perhaps the worst aspect of Hovind's offer is who it is intended to fool. After all, anyone who seriously sat down to try to win the $250,000 and closely read the rules would quickly discover the impossibility of the conditions and the sham that the offer is. It is no accident that the first paragraph appears so simple and easy to fulfill. Hovind's target audience for this bit of flimflam is just those people least likely to read any further than the opening paragraph . . . the ones who already disbelieve in evolution with a certainty born of religious fervor. In other words, it is his own flock he wants to give an intellectual shearing. It says much about the man.
Hovind could, of course, confound this analysis with a few simple steps. Some possibilities would be:
* Since he is demanding "scientific evidence", he could either accept the scientific definition of biological evolution or at least engage in a dialogue with the proponents of evolution as to what the definition should be;
* He could specify exactly what evidence he would accept as satisfying the challenge and then defend his choices on scientific grounds, or else admit that he is setting a metaphysical, theological or other standard; and
* He could engage in a transparent and fair process to select a balanced, if not objective, panel of judges who have a clear standard by which to judge whether or not the terms have been met.
Until Hovind makes some reasonable effort to turn this into a true test of the Theory of Evolution, his challenge will continue to deserve nothing but disdain from advocates of evolution and creationism alike.
No human can ever know for sure if Hovind is being deliberately dishonest or is just suffering the malady of fanaticism strong enough to overcome reason and any sense of fair play. In either event, the depressing results are plain to see . . . at least to any who choose to look.
[Return to Kent Hovind FAQs]
1. See the commentary by Jonathan Sarfati on a debate between Hovind and the progressive creationist and old-Earth proponent, Dr. Hugh Ross, at http://www.answersingenesis.org/news/ross_hovind_analysis.asp. It is a long article, with the comment on Hovind's offer appearing about 1/3 of the way down, under the heading "Days 5 and 6".
2. See http://www.drdino.com/
3. See their itinerary at http://www2.drdino.com/cse.asp?pg=itinerary.
4. The Dinosaur Adventure Land website is at http://www.dinosauradventureland.com/.
5. See http://www.dinosauradventureland.com/dal.asp?pg=virtual
6. See, for example, http://www.blueletterbible.org/audio_video/kent_hovind/ at Blue Letter Bible, and http://makeashorterlink.com/?W17115331 [Link defunct] at Steeling the Mind (Compass International).
7. In case of a later change in URL, the text of the present offer is attached here, in its entirety, as an Appendix.
8. For various uses of "evolution", see http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-definition.html
9. The hypothetical development of life from non-living systems via natural mechanisms.
10. For a definition of "strawman argument", see http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/jargon/jargonfile_s.html
11. See http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-god.html
12. While these terms perhaps have no "official" definition, among those debating the merits of evolution versus creationism, "naturalistic evolution" is usually used to refer to the development of the diversity of life as a result of the natural laws of the universe, without resort to explanations based on the miraculous intervention of God, while "theistic evolution" refers to such development mostly through natural means coupled with the intervention of God at one or more "critical" stages.
13. See http://www.kent-hovind.com/250K/challenge.htmnames for a handy list of sites discussing contacts various people have made with Hovind over taking the challenge and/or inquiring after the full conditions of the offer.
14. For example, see Ian (Budikka) Wood's experience at: http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/kent_hovind's_lies.htm or Dr. Barend Vlaardingerbroek's at http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/kent_hovind's_bogus_challenge.htm.
15. See: http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/kent_hovind's_bogus_challenge.htm.
16. References to "Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about the $250,000 Offer" are to material originally appearing on Hovind's site but which has since been removed. However, that material is still available at Wayne Jackson's Christian site: http://www.revelationwebsite.co.uk/index1/Article.htm (at the bottom of the page) as well as at Lenny Flank's anti-Creation Science site (about half way down the page): http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/2437/hovind.htm.
18. From the Offer, under the section "How to collect the $250,000" at http://www.drdino.com/cse.asp?pg=250k [May 2004: now http://www.drdino.com/Ministry/250k/index.jsp]
19. From an article on his CSE Ministries website, "Questions for Evolutionists", at http://www.drdino.com/cse.asp?pg=articles&specific=3 (May 2004: http://www.drdino.com/QandA/index.jsp?varFolder=CreationEvolution&varPage=QuestionsforEvolutionists.jsp):
The test of any theory is whether or not it provides answers to basic questions. Some well-meaning but misguided people think evolution is a reasonable theory to explain man's questions about the universe. Evolution is not a good theory -- it is just a pagan religion masquerading as science.
20. See "Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about the $250,000 Offer" at http://www.revelationwebsite.co.uk/index1/Article.htm.
21. See Dr. Barend Vlaardingerbroek's exchange at: http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/kent_hovind's_bogus_challenge.htm or the response to Ron Rayborne by Hovind that "I will send this to the committee if you wish but I feel they will just laugh." at http://www.geocities.com/kenthovind/250K/ron.htm.
22. See "Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about the $250,000 Offer" at http://www.revelationwebsite.co.uk/index1/Article.htm.
23. See 197 B.R. 157 (Bkrtcy.N.D.Fla. 1996). Hovind's declarations as to his income and assets are not the end of this story, however. The bankruptcy court specifically found that Hovind had both income and property at the time of his filing and he was merely attempting to use the bankruptcy procedure to recover property that the Internal Revenue Service had seized for his failure to file returns or to pay income taxes. However, the IRS investigation failed to reveal assets anywhere near $250,000. The amount the IRS determined Hovind owed in taxes (a little over $21,000 total for the seven tax years) strongly suggests that his income was considerably less than $50,000 a year. His largest discovered asset was his home, which would not be subject to seizure to pay off any debt resulting from a successful claim on the prize money. The full text of the decision is available.
24. Again, see "Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about the $250,000 Offer" at http://www.revelationwebsite.co.uk/index1/Article.htm.
25. See http://www.randi.org/research/index.html
26. See 197 B.R. 157 (Bkrtcy.N.D.Fla. 1996). Again, the full text of the decision is available here.
27. Again, see "Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about the $250,000 Offer" at http://www.revelationwebsite.co.uk/index1/Article.htm.
28. Since no attempt to collect on the offer is presently pending, or ever likely to be, only a superficial web search was conducted concerning the nature of Florida contract law. That search did indicate that Florida follows standard rules of American common law in regards to contract formation.
29. As an aside, this type of offer can be legally withdrawn at any time, up until the very moment that the conditions have been met. Thus, even if there has been fairly extensive discussions over the terms (as there have been on occasions in the past - see footnote 12), Hovind, if he felt the need, could simply say that the offer is no longer in effect and avoid paying, as long as the conditions had not been fully met up to that point.
Dr. Hovind's $250,000 Offer
formerly $10,000, offered since 1990
I have a standing offer of $250,000 to anyone who can give any
empirical evidence (scientific proof) for evolution.* My $250,000 offer
demonstrates that the hypothesis of evolution is nothing more than a
religious belief. Observed phenomena:
Most thinking people will agree that--
1. A highly ordered universe exists.
2. At least one planet in this complex universe contains an amazing
variety of life forms.
3. Man appears to be the most advanced form of life on this planet.
Choices of how the observed phenomena came into being--
1. The universe was created by God.
2. The universe always existed.
3. The universe came into being by itself by purely natural processes
(known as evolution) so that no appeal to the supernatural is needed.
Evolution has been acclaimed as being the only process capable of
causing the observed phenomena.
Evolution is presented in our public school textbooks as a process
1. Brought time, space, and matter into existence from nothing.
2. Organized that matter into the galaxies, stars, and at least nine
planets around the sun. (This process is often referred to as cosmic
3. Created the life that exists on at least one of those planets from
nonliving matter (chemical evolution).
4. Caused the living creatures to be capable of and interested in
5. Caused that first life form to spontaneously diversify into
different forms of living things, such as the plants and animals on the
earth today (biological evolution).
People believe in evolution; they do not know that it is true. While
beliefs are certainly fine to have, it is not fair to force on the
students in our public school system the teaching of one belief, at
taxpayers' expense. It is my contention that evolutionism is a religious
worldview that is not supported by science, Scripture, popular opinion,
or common sense. The exclusive teaching of this dangerous, mind-altering
philosophy in tax-supported schools, parks, museums, etc., is also a
clear violation of the First Amendment.
How to collect the $250,000:
Prove beyond reasonable doubt that the process of evolution (option 3
above, under "known options") is the only possible way the observed
phenomena could have come into existence. Only empirical evidence is
acceptable. Persons wishing to collect the $250,000 may submit their
evidence in writing or schedule time for a public presentation. A
committee of trained scientists will provide peer review of the evidence
offered and, to the best of their ability, will be fair and honest in
their evaluation and judgment as to the validity of the evidence
If you are convinced that evolution is an indisputable fact, may I
suggest that you offer $250,000 for any empirical or historical evidence
against the general theory of evolution. This might include the
1. The earth is not billions of years old (thus destroying the
possibility of evolution having happened as it is being taught).
2. No animal has ever been observed changing into any fundamentally
different kind of animal.
3. No one has ever observed life spontaneously arising from nonliving
4. Matter cannot make itself out of nothing.
Proponents of the theory of evolution would do well to admit that they
believe in evolution, but they do not know that it happened the way they
teach. They should call evolution their "faith" or "religion," and stop
including it in books of science. Give up faith in the silly religion of
evolutionism, and trust the God of the Bible (who is the Creator of this
universe and will be your Judge, and mine, one day soon) to forgive you
and to save you from the coming judgment on man's sin.
When I use the word evolution, I am not referring to the minor
variations found in all of the various life forms (microevolution). I am
referring to the general theory of evolution which believes these five
major events took place without God:
1. Time, space, and matter came into existence by themselves.
2. Planets and stars formed from space dust.
3. Matter created life by itself.
4. Early life-forms learned to reproduce themselves.
5. Major changes occurred between these diverse life forms (i.e., fish
changed to amphibians, amphibians changed to reptiles, and reptiles
changed to birds or mammals).
Appendix 2 - The Bankruptcy Decision
In re Kent E. HOVIND, Debtor.
Bankruptcy No. 96-04256.
United States Bankruptcy Court,
June 5, 1996.
SUPPLEMENTAL FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
LEWIS M. KILLIAN, Jr., Bankruptcy Judge.
THIS MATTER was heard May 23, 1996 on the motions of the United States, through the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") and the chapter 13 trustee to dismiss this chapter 13 case. At the conclusion of the hearing, I orally granted the IRS' motion and announced my findings of fact and conclusions of law on the record in open court. I hereby supplement those oral findings of fact and conclusions of law with this written supplement.
The debtor, Kent Hovind, filed this case pro se on March 1, 1996. Accompanying his petition for relief, the debtor filed the schedules and statement of affairs required by 11 U.S.C. 521(1) together with a preprinted form chapter 13 plan on which he indicated monthly payments to be made of $60.00 per month. In his schedules and statement of affairs, the debtor represents that he is an evangelist employed by God and that he receives no income, has no expenses, owns absolutely no property, and has no creditors except for the IRS with a claim of $10,602.31. On March 8, 1996, one week after the filing of his petition, the debtor filed a pleading entitled "Petition for Return of Seizure" requesting an order requiring the IRS to return to the debtor unspecified property which it had apparently seized. The only clue as to what property this "Petition" referred to was contained in Item 4(b) of the Statement of Financial Affairs describing any property which has been garnished or seized under legal process within one year of the filing of the petition for relief. There the debtor identifies three vehicles, a trailer, cash, and a bank account which had apparently been levied on by the IRS on February 7, 1996.
On March 25, 1996, the IRS filed its Motion to Dismiss alleging that this chapter 13 case was filed in bad faith for the sole purpose of avoiding payment of federal income taxes. Alternatively, by its motion, the IRS sought relief from the automatic stay to enable it to retain the property it had levied upon prepetition. A hearing was scheduled for April 18, 1996 on the debtor's "Petition for Return of Seizure" but was continued at the request of the debtor when he retained an attorney approximately one week prior to the scheduled hearing. The hearing was rescheduled for May 23, 1996, to be conducted in conjunction with the motions of the IRS and the trustee to dismiss the case. Fifteen minutes prior to the time scheduled for the hearing, the debtor through his counsel filed another chapter 13 plan which provided for payment in full of the IRS claim over a period of sixty (60) months with the debtor submitting $432.33 per month to the trustee.
The evidence presented at the hearing paints a clear portrait of a tax protester whose sole purpose in seeking relief under chapter 13 was to obtain the release of property seized by the IRS. The IRS in this case has filed a proof of claim setting forth a secured tax claim in the amount of $10,461.36 for the tax years 1989, 1990, and 1991, and a priority claim in the amount of $10,690.46 for the years 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995. The IRS records reflect that notwithstanding his earning of income during the years in question, the debtor has failed to file any federal income tax returns for those tax years for which the IRS has filed its proof of claim. Furthermore, the IRS has no record of the debtor ever having filed a federal income tax return. 
In January of 1996, IRS Revenue Officer M.C. Powe was assigned to collect taxes which had been assessed against the debtor for the years 1989, 1990 and 1991 as well as to properly determine the debtor's tax liability for the years 1993 and 1994. In carrying out those duties, Officer Powe served a summons directing the debtor to appear before her on February 13, 1996 to produce for examination certain records and to give testimony in order for her to properly compute the debtor's tax liability for the years 1993 and 1994. Rather than appearing and producing any of the records set forth in the summons, the debtor submitted a letter to Revenue Officer Powe claiming that he is "a non resident alien to the federal government," that he cannot confirm nor deny that he received income nor that he was a taxpayer under the IRS Code, and demanding that the IRS provide him with certain items proving that he was required to pay taxes.
On February 16, 1996, the IRS levied upon the following items of personal property in execution of its Tax Lien filed on June 21, 1995 for the 1989-91 taxes:
a) a 1989 GMC van
b) a 1987 Mercury Grand Marquis
c) a 1984 Honda
d) a homemade trailer
e) $54.00 in cash
Soon thereafter, on February 20, 1990, the debtor prepared and had served on Revenue Officer Powe by the Escambia County Sheriffs Department a document entitled "Asseveration [sic] of Invalid Lien/Levy" in which the debtor contended that the IRS tax lien/levy was invalid and that he was an inhabitant of the "Florida Republic". The debtor further threatened to sue Revenue Officer Powe in federal criminal court for her actions and did in fact file a lawsuit against her individually in federal district court, which was later withdrawn.
Notwithstanding the debtor's listing under penalty of perjury in his schedules and statement of affairs that he has no income, has no expenses, and owns no property, the evidence shows otherwise. Records from the State of Florida, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles ("DHSMV") reflect three motor vehicles, a 1987 Mercury, 1989 GMC, and 1984 Honda titled in the debtor's name. Real property records from Escambia County, Florida reflect that the debtor and his wife purchased a home on December 16, 1993 from Ernest and Voncile Hicks and gave the Hicks, a mortgage in the amount of $60,000 encumbering the home. The testimony of Mrs. Hicks together with a closing statement from the sale, reflects a purchase price of $90,000 for the house with the debtor paying $30,369.43 down. Mrs. Hicks' testimony further established that the debtor makes regular payments on the mortgage and has in fact paid in advance on the mortgage. Typically, payments are made with third party checks made payable to the debtor and endorsed over to Mrs. Hicks. In February, 1995, the debtor paid $3,265.00 for the installation of central heating and air conditioning in the house. Additionally, the debtor has three children all of whom attend a private Christian school for which he and his wife pay approximately $4,800.00 per year in tuition and fees.
An inventory of the debtor's van following seizure by the IRS revealed video and audio tapes and printed literature on creationism published by the debtor. Included in the literature is an order form containing prices designated as "suggested donations:" The "suggested donation" for the video tapes ranged from $9.95 each to $14.95 each with the "donation" for a set of all eighteen (18) of the debtor's videos of $180.00.
In the face of all of the foregoing, the debtor apparently maintains that as a minister of God everything he owns belongs to God and he is not subject to paying taxes to the United States on the money he receives for doing God's work. While in his correspondence to the IRS he denies being a tax protester., the evidence overwhelmingly establishes otherwise. At the hearing on this motion, debtor's counsel represented to the court that the debtor was now ready to do everything which was required of him to comply with the Bankruptcy Code and the Internal Revenue Code including the filing of tax returns and payment to the trustee in accordance with the plan filed immediately prior to the hearing. However, the debtor himself never took the stand during the hearing to testify to that nor has he ever filed any amended schedules and statement of affairs to reflect his true financial status. Given this debtor's history and the documentary evidence presented, I cannot find that this debtor has any intention of complying with the Bankruptcy Code nor with the Internal Revenue Code.
Dismissal of a chapter 13 case is provided for pursuant to 11 U.S.C. 1307(c) which provides as follows:
(c) Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, on request of a party in interest or the United States trustee and after notice and a healing, the court may convert a case under this chapter to a case under chapter 7 of this title, or may dismiss a case under this chapter, whichever is in the best interests of creditors and the estate, for cause, including --
(1) unreasonable delay by the debtor that is prejudicial to creditors;
(2) nonpayment of any fees and charges required under chapter 123 of title 28 [28 USC 1911 et seq.];
(3) failure to file a plan timely under section 1321 of this title;
(4) failure to commence making timely payments under section 1320 of this title;
(5) denial of confirmation of a plan under section 1325 of this title and denial of a request made for additional time for filing another plan or a modification of a plan;
(6) material default by the debtor with respect to a term of a confirmed plan;
(7) revocation of the order of confirmation under section 1330 of this title, and denial of confirmation of a modified plan under section 1329 of this title;
(8) termination of a confirmed plan by reason of the occurrence of a condition specified in the plan other than completion of payments under the plan;
(9) only on Request of the United States trustee, failure of the debtor to file, within fifteen days, or such additional time as the court may allow, after the filing of the petition commencing such case, the information required by paragraph (1) of section 521; or
(10) only on request of the United States trustee, failure to timely file the information required by paragraph (2) of section 521.
While a lack of good faith in the filing of a chapter 13 case is not specified in Section 1307(c), the language of that section, with the exception of the specific language in several of the enumerated examples of cause, is virtually identical to the language of 11 U.S.C. 1112(b). It has been well established in this circuit that "cause" under 1112(b) for dismissal of a chapter 11 can include a lack of good faith. In re Albany Partners, Ltd., 749 F.2d 670 (11th Cir. 1989); In re Phoenix Piccadilly, Ltd., 849 F.2d 1393 (11th Cir. 1988). Accordingly, the same reasoning should apply under 1307(b) to permit dismissal of a case for lack of good faith.
In most instances, the inquiry into the good faith or lack thereof of the debtor in a chapter 13 case is conducted in conjunction with confirmation of a chapter 13 plan. In In re Scott, 166 B.R. 459 (Bankr.M.D.Fla. 1994) the court held that there is no authority to support the proposition that a chapter 13 case may be dismissed for lack of good faith as opposed to a chapter 11 case which may be dismissed at the very beginning of the case. The court held that it was premature to consider a motion to dismiss until confirmation of a plan had been considered.
Even the leading cases from the 11th Circuit, In re Kitchens, 702 F.2d 885 (11th Cir. 1983) and In re Waldron, 785 F.2d 936 (11th Cir. 1986) focus on good faith in connection with the plan rather than the initial filing. However, in Waldron, the court stated that "accordingly, whenever a chapter 13 petition appears to be tainted by questionable purpose, it is incumbent upon the bankruptcy courts to examine and question the debtor's motives." Waldron, 785 F.2d at 941. While the court was considering an appeal from an order confirming a chapter 13 plan, the court did make an explicit finding of bad faith and ordered a dismissal of the Waldron's petition rather than just a denial of confirmation.
The dismissal of chapter 13 cases as bad faith filings as opposed to bad faith in the proposal of a plan has been upheld of by the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit in two cases with striking similarities to the instant case. In In re Morimoto, 171 B.R. 85 (9th Cir. BAP 1994) the court held that a tax protester's chapter 13 petition was properly dismissed as a bad faith filing based in large part on her failure to file federal income tax returns. Likewise in In re Greatwood, 194 B.R. 637 (9th Cir. BAP 1996), the court once again held that a chapter 13 case was properly dismissed as a bad faith filing where the debtor, a tax protester, had failed to file federal income tax returns prepetition, denied that he owed any income tax, and failed during the nine months that his chapter 13 case was pending to file any plan which proposed payments to Internal Revenue Service. The court further held that "to use the bankruptcy court solely as an alternative forum for the resolution of a tax dispute is not a proper use of the bankruptcy code. On that basis alone the bankruptcy court could have dismissed the case for bad faith in accordance with 1307(c)". Greatwood, 194 B.R. at 641.
While I concur with Judge Paskay in In re Scott that ordinarily a chapter 13 case should not be dismissed for lack of good faith prior to consideration of a chapter 13 plan, under limited circumstances such as those presented in this case and those presented in the Morimoto and Greatwood cases, a chapter 13 case may properly be dismissed for lack of good faith prior to consideration of any chapter 13 plan.
Here, the debtor, who has failed to acknowledge his obligations as a citizen and taxpayer of the United States, seeks to utilize this taxpayer supported court in order to thwart the lawful collection efforts of the Internal Revenue Service. While questioning his legal status as a "taxpayer", the debtor has completely ignored the eligibility requirement of 11 U.S.C. 109(e) which provides "only an individual with regular income . . . may be a debtor under chapter 13 of this title". In his own filings which were signed under a declaration under penalty of perjury that the information provided is true and correct, the debtor claimed he had no income. Thus, he should clearly be ineligible to be a debtor under chapter 13. Counsel for the debtor argued at the hearing that pleading alternative theories is permitted and sanctioned in our court system. This argument, when made in the context of sworn schedules and statements of affairs in connection with a bankruptcy filing, is patently absurd. Such documents are not pleadings in an adversary context asserting a position, and as such are specifically excluded from the application of F.R.B.P. 9011. Rather, these documents are intended to contain facts which are to be declared to be true and correct under penalty of perjury.
The debtor having failed to file his federal income tax returns for at least the years 1989 through 1995, having resisted collection efforts by the IRS, and having provided false information in his schedules and statement of affairs in connection with this case, I find that the debtor filed this petition in bad faith and as such the petition is subject to dismissal for cause under the provisions of 11 U.S.C. 1307(c).
DONE AND ORDERED.
 The IRS prepared tax returns for the debtor for the years 1989, 1990 and 1991 based on earnings reports submitted by entities which had paid him wages during those periods. The IRS estimated taxes for the years 1992-1995.
5. On page 581, they ask a question which a skeptic might ask, then answer it: "Adam was a mythical figure who never really lived."
They respond with: "Adam is a key figure in scripture. He is described as the "first Adam," the one who brought sin into this world….If Adam and Eve were not real then ought to doubt whether their children were real too, and their children…and then we ought to doubt the first 11 chapters of genesis, and so on. All the genealogies accept Adam as being a literal person, so their children Cain and Abel must be real too. Jesus was descended from Adam, and it is impossible to be descended from a myth."
OK! They are claiming that Adam must be real or jesus (and I'm assuming everyone else on earth too) would not have ever been. Though the truth of jesus' existence is shaky too, but I won't get into that.
Most of their arguments are based on their assumption that the bible is free from all error, which is far from the truth. Even the genealogies in the bible have huge discrepancies.
Here are genealogies in the bible:
Source: Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism, by David Mills Published by: Ulysses Press, 2006
6. On page 108 they make some claims about the bible:
a. "It is unique in its continuity. …It was written over a period of 1,600 years by more then 40 writers from all walks of life….They wrote on hundreds of controversial subjects yet they wrote with agreement and harmony."
They are saying that the bible must have been inspired because it is perfect
and does not contradict itself, which is untrue. The entire doctrine of
christianity revolves around sin, and how we are all born with sin, as it says
in Exodus 20:5 that, "…I am a jealous god, punishing the children for the
sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.."
Yet in Deuteronomy 24:16, "Fathers shall not be put to death for their
children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his
According to the bible, there is a major discrepancy about doctrine here.
Do we all inherit sin as all christians believe, or do we each bare
responsibility for our own sin, as the bible says? That is but one
contradiction in this book, and a big one in my opinion.
Source: NIV bible 2001, Zondervan
b. "It is unique in its circulation." Here they are saying that because it's been printed more then any other book in history, that is proof that it is such an important book, and you should pay attention to it.
Well, just because some book is printed many times does not make it important,
and that is never more clearer then with the bible, because it's been shown to be
inaccurate and have many inconsistencies.
c. "It is unique is it's translation. The bible has been translated into over 1,400
languages. No other book comes close."
Again, just because something has been translated many times over doesn't mean it's accurate. If anything each translation is a new chance for someone new to make changes in translation and meaning, and content. Though in some cases, too, it can be an improvement, with better, updated knowledge on certain languages. But even still, people can make mistakes, and that is very well documented with the new testament. Many older manuscripts have been found with are profoundly different from what we see in the bible today. There are drastically different teachings within different groups of christians: some didn't believe jesus was even a real man, other groups did. Some believed in up to 365 gods, while others believed in just one. The teachings of christianity have changed throughout time, and that can be seen in some of the older writings that have been found.
Source: Lost Christianities, by Bart D. Ehrman; Misquoting Jesus: The Story
Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, by Bart D. Ehrman
d. "The bible is unique in its survival."
I didn't feel this one required comment. I have pretty much the same response for this one as I did for the comment about translation.
e. "It is unique in withstanding attack. No other book has been so attacked throughout history as the bible…No book has been more attacked for its accuracy. And yet archaeologists are proving every year that the bible's detailed descriptions of historic events are correct."
Sorry, but this is untrue. It is true that the bible does have some historical accuracy, but for the most part, stories are said to have happened at a different time then they say in the bible, and other stories just are not true, based on up to date knowledge.
For example, Luke 2:4 describes Nazareth as being Joseph's home, but the
archaeological evidence indicates that the town did not exist at the time. The Exodus, which should have been a major event, does not appear in Egyptian records. There are no traces in the Sinai that one would expect from forty years of wandering of more then a half million people. And other archaeological evidence contradicts it, showing instead that the Hebrews were a native people. And lastly, there is no evidence that the kingdoms of David and Solomon were nearly as powerful as the bible indicates; they may not have existed at all.
Source: The Counter-Creationism Handbook, by Mark Issak
7. On page 80 they are trying to disprove macro-evolution. They say. "While we do see what we call microevolution- variations within species (different types of dogs for instance)- we don't see any evidence of macroevolution- one species evolving into another species. Microevolution is observable, while macroevolution takes a tremendous leap of faith."
This statement is just plain crazy. I can cite some very good examples of macroevolution:
First, there is Archaeopteryx, which is commonly criticized, but is a true transitional fossil. It had traits of both birds, such as long external nostrils, all teeth lacking serrations, and quadrate and quadratojugal (two jaw bones) not sutured together, among other traits. Some of dinosaur traits it had were no bill, neck attached to the skull from the rear, sacrum that occupies six vertebrae, and bones of pelvis unfused, among others.
Another very good example of transitional forms are several which show the transition from water dwelling fish to land dwelling tetrapods with legs. These stages are represented by the following fossils: Eusthenopteron, Panderichthys, Tiktaalik, Acanthostega and Ichthyostega.
I also think it's hypocritical for christians to criticize science for not being able to "observe" macroevolution (though we can through indirect means with fossils for example) yet when people ask for visual proof of god, they just say trust us, and have faith, but no real evidence.
8. A quote taken out of context from Charles Darwin: "As by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?"
"There is no surprise here. Darwin is proceeding by his usual method of asking a question and then answering it. Creationist quote miners classically omit his answer. In the sixth edition this appears in Chapter 6, "Difficulties on Theory", on p. 134 (in the first edition it appears on p. 172 with a different follow-up):
But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?It will be more convenient to discuss this question in the chapter on the Imperfection of the Geological Record; and I will here only state that I believe the answer mainly lies in the record being incomparably less perfect than is generally supposed. The crust of the earth is a vast museum; but the natural collections have been imperfectly made, and only at long intervals of time.
Besides leaving out the context, this is misleading in a subtler way when used for the proposition that there are no transitional forms. Darwin is not talking about the existence or nonexistence of transitionals here, but of an "innumerable" series of finely-graded transitionals linking together all extinct and existing forms. As he says later in Chapter XI of the sixth edition on page 342:
These causes [the imperfection of the fossil record, the limited exploration of the record, poor fossilization of certain body types, etc.], taken conjointly, will to a large extent explain why -- though we do find many links -- we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all extinct and existing forms by the finest graduated steps. It should also be constantly borne in mind that any linking variety between two forms, which might be found, would be ranked, unless the whole chain could be perfectly restored, as a new and distinct species; for it is not pretended that we have any sure criterion by which species and varieties can be discriminated.
In short, the use of the quote to imply there are no transitionals misstates Darwin's argument, intentionally or out of ignorance. Darwin was not stating that there was an absence of transitionals but, in fact, stated there were "many links." Instead, he was discussing why there are not more transitionals in an easily read pattern of gradual change. As Darwin correctly noted, where the fossil record does not approach "perfection," it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell by morphology alone exactly where any particular organism would fall within such a graduated series. Thus, such an organism might be classified as a distinct species from either the original or the subsequent ones. However, such organisms, being general morphological intermediates between different forms, as in the case of Archaeopteryx, would, along with other evidence, support an inference of evolutionary change over time through common descent. The fossil record may not be easy to read, but it is not devoid of information either.
Even if the quote stood for what the quote miners claim it does, Darwin was writing almost 150 years ago, at a time early in the scientific study of fossils and when few scientists were expecting to find "transitional forms." Much has been learned since, some of which can be seen in various articles in the Archive, such as: Transitional Vertebrate Fossils FAQ, Archaeopteryx FAQs, and 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution, among others."
Source: www.talkorigins.org Quote Mine Project, Quote 2.6
9. On page 183 in a Questions and Objections section, they say in to a common claim about the bible: "Christianity oppresses women by making them submit to their husbands,"
They then try to refute that claim: "The bible does say,'Wives, submit to your own husbands, and to the lord, ' but it also instructs, 'Husbands, love your wives, even as christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.' (Ephesians 5:22,25). A man who understands that jesus christ sacrificed his life's blood for the church will likewise love his wife sacrificially and passionately. He will honor her, respect her, protect, love, and cherish her as much as he he does his own body, as he is instructed to do (Ephesians 5:28)…A godless world rejects the god given formula to make marriage work. It thinks it knows best, and suffers the heartbreaking consequences of destroyed marriages and ruined lives."
How very funny. First they don't deny the bible talks down to women, then they try to down play it by saying, 'but the bible also says….' Sorry but ignoring the horrible way in which women are treated in the bible will not make it go away. Not only does the bible have that quote, which they cite, but these others:
1 Corinthians 11:8-10: "For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head."
1 Corinthians 14: 34-35: "Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church."
Deuteronomy 22:28-29: "If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives."
That's just a few of the horrible things, which the bible says about women. And the comment about godless people having bad marriages is contradicted by the following study:
A 1999 study done by a christian sociologist, George Barna, published these results from his study on divorce rate.
-"Born Again Christians": 27% chance of divorce
-"Mainstream Protestants": 24% chance of divorce
-"Atheists and Agnostics": 21% chance of divorce
No these are not huge differences, but it proves my point that Ray and Kirk's claim is baseless, that all godless marriages will be "destroyed."
Source: : NIV bible 2001, Zondervan, and a YouTube video on atheists
10. Taking a quote of Thomas Jefferson out of context:
"I have always said, and always will say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands."
This quote is clearly taken out of its historical context, because if anyone has done any reading up on Jefferson, he disliked religion, and the horrible and cruel god of the bible, and the fairy tales spoken of in the bible. Jefferson once wrote to John Adams, "And the day will come when the mystical generation of jesus, by the supreme being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva, in the brain of Jupiter."
For further evidence that Jefferson did not take a liking to the bible (with the exception of many of the kind sayings of jesus) he went through the bible and compiled all the verses that he liked, which is commonly called now, The Jefferson Bible. Jefferson felt that people went through and put false sayings of jesus in the bible, and he felt that jesus was depicted as a cruel person in some passages, and felt they were wrong. So, in his Jefferson Bible, he only has the good, kind sayings of jesus, and none of the supernatural claims, which are the foundation of christianity, such as the virgin birth, jesus rising from the dead, etc.
Source: Who's Who in Hell, by Warren Allen Smith, and The Jefferson Bible
11. On page 8, in a footnote titled, 'The Thoughts of Sinners,' it says, "Scripture gives us insight into the thoughts of the unsaved. 1) His pride keeps him from seeking god. Any admittance of guilt is a blow to the pride of the human heart. 2) Because he's self-centered and self-sufficient, he feels no need to even consider god. 3) He thinks that he's in control of his life and adversity will never come to him. 4) His willful ignorance leaves him without understanding of god's righteous judgments. 5) He believes that either god is blinded to his sinful lifestyle, or he has no sense of justice and will therefore not require any account for his lawlessness."
Ok, this is a complete misunderstanding of non-believers. Firstly, pride has absolutely nothing to do with not believing in god, it has to do with evidence, and that's that. If there were, or ever was, any evidence of a god I would admit it right away. Though I find it funny how believers, given the mountain of evidence against any god, ignore it and keep on living in ignorance.
Secondly, atheists are not self-centered. I think the self-centeredness of christians, believing that they are some special creation, is self-centered. Believing that the world was made for them is self-centered. While atheists feel that we are just another part of the evolutionary process, and are basically just another animal, who has been endowed with a higher mental capacity though natural selection, and because of that, has survived, and risen above the other species of animal on this planet, though at the same time is still a part of nature.
What is wrong with being self-sufficient? I don't need to bow down and beg forgiveness by some imaginary god. There is no such thing. I do not need to degrade myself by calling myself some horrible person –some sinner- when I have done nothing wrong. Though, have I hurt others emotionally? Yes. But I'm sure so have christians, and I regret that. I do have a conscience, but it was not given by some imaginary friend. It was through the evolutionary process to some extent,
and the socialization process in society.
Thirdly, this is just an insane statement. Adversity effects everyone, and non-believers do not feel that they will not have troubles in life. I know first hand about hardships and over coming them, and I never needed any imaginary support. If anything, my hardships made me start to question god, with all of my unanswered prayers.
Fourthly, calling non-believers ignorant is just ignorance in itself. I have no need for rationalizations about why my imaginary friend didn't help me when I asked. You have yourself, your friends, and family to count on in life and that's the only truth.
Finally, there is no law to begin with, which needs following. These people are just touting scripture as some authority, when it has none what so ever.
12. In another Questions and objections section, they ask: 'Doesn't the big bang theory disprove the genesis account of creation?'
"Try to think of any explosion that has produced order. Does a terrorist bomb create harmony? Big bangs cause chaos. How could a big bang produce a rose, apple trees, fish, sunsets, the seasons, humming birds, polar bears-thousands of birds and animals, each with its own eyes, nose and mouth? A child can see that there is 'grand design' in creation."
This is an interesting quote. This is one tactic that creationists use to fool you. They try to explain some aspect of cosmology or evolution with some common
example, like a bomb exploding, and ask how that can create order? As first glace, it sounds like a reasonable argument, but it's not.
First off, the big bang is not what caused life. That is a complete misunderstanding of the whole concept. Later on, once the universe formed, elements happened to come together and begin to evolve. The big bang has no real relevance to the evolution of plants and animals on this planet.
a. The total entropy of the universe at the start of the big bang was minimal, perhaps almost zero. Because it was so compact, it had considerably more order than the universe we are in now. The complexity we observe around us today can be produced from the ultimate order of the hot but cooling gas of the big bang.
b. The big bang was not an explosion. It was an expansion. Besides the fact that it got bigger over time, the big bang has almost nothing in common with an explosion.
c. Explosions do produce some order amidst their other effects:
1. Large surface explosions, such as nuclear bombs, produce the familiar mushroom clouds. There are not very highly ordered, but they are not purely random, either.
2. Supernovae produce heavy elements, and the shock waves from them compress interstellar gases, which begins the formation of new stars.
3. Powerful explosions can compress carbon into diamond crystals, the most ordered arrangement.
4. Explosions of atomized gasoline produce compressed gas, which is harnessed in internal combustion engines to power automobiles and other equipment.
Source: www.talkorigins.org Index to Creationists Claims Claim CE441
13. On page 28 in the footnote titled, 'Scientific Facts in the Bible,' they say:
"The scriptures say, 'Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them' (genesis 2:1). The original Hebrew uses the past definite tense for the verb 'finished' –once and for all. That is exactly what the first law of thermodynamics says. This law (also referred to as the law of conservation of energy and/or mass) states that neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed. It was because of this law that Sir Fred Hoyle's 'Steady State' theory was discarded. Hoyle stated that at points in the universe called 'irtrons' matter (or energy) was constantly being created. But, the first law states just the opposite. Indeed, there is no "creation" ongoing today. It is 'finished' exactly as the bible states."
They are accurate about the definitions but that's all I can say about this one. I just don't understand their thinking. They correctly define the first law of thermodynamics, which says that matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed, and then claim that because the first law says that matter and energy can't be destroyed, that proved the bible to be correct in that all of god's work was "finished." What??? Did they forget that quickly what the first part of that definition is? That matter/energy cannot be created. How anyone can possibly think that this law defines the "creation" or "finishing" of the universe is beyond me…it states the total opposite!
14. On page 48, they talk about atheists:
"It is much more reasonable to believe that this publication had no printer then to believe that there is no god. Who in his right mind would ever believe that no one compiled its pages., no one produced the graphic art, and no one printed it. The publication happened by chance...from nothing. There was no paper, no ink, no cardboard, and no glue. The paper just came into being (from nothing), and then trimmed itself into perfectly straight edges. All the words fell into place, forming coherent sentences, and then the graphic art appeared. The pages fell into numerical order, and finally the book bound itself.
The fact that there was a printer is axiomatic (self-evident), so it would be intellectually insulting to even begin to argue for the case of the printers existence. For the same reason, the bible does not enter into the case for god's existence. It simply begins by stating, 'In the beginning…'
'It takes no brains to be an atheist. Any stupid person can deny the existence of a supernatural power because man's physical senses cannot detect it. But there cannot be ignored the influence of conscience, the respect we feel for the moral law, the mystery of first life…or the marvelous order in which the universe moves about us on this earth. All of these evidence the handiwork of the beneficent deity…' - Dwight Eisenhower"
This comment is ridiculous because if they claim that there must be a creator for something to exist, then there must also be a creator for their god. Claiming that the bible says 'In the beginning' is pointless. The bible is a man made book, and as such, they did not know how the "beginning" happened, or where it came from, so they just said that some supernatural god must have been the cause. This is not logical.
The quote by Eisenhower is ignorant, but only to the point that during his time, there was not as much evidence as there is now, pointing to the fact that there are no supernatural causes in the world, only natural ones. Just because we cannot understand something now, does not mean we won't in the future. Case in point is out of body experiences and near death experiences.
From a magazine article in Nature:
Electrodes trigger out-of-body experience
Stimulating brain region elicits illusion often attributed to the paranormal.
19 September 2002 By, HELEN PEARSON
Activity in one region of the brain could explain out-of-body experiences. Researchers in Switzerland have triggered the phenomenon using electrodes1.
People describe out-of-body experiences as feeling that their consciousness becomes detached from their body, often floating above it. Because these lucid states are popularly linked to the paranormal, "a lot of people are reluctant to talk about them", says neurologist Olaf Blanke of Geneva University Hospital in Switzerland.
Blanke found that electrically stimulating one brain region — the right angular gyrus — repeatedly triggers out-of-body experiences. Blanke and his team were using electrodes to excite the brain of a woman being treated for epilepsy.
The right angular gyrus integrates visual information — the sight of your body — and information that creates the mind's representation of your body. This is based on balance and feedback from your limbs about their position in space.
"It makes perfect sense," agrees Peter Brugger of University Hospital, Zurich, in Switzerland, who studies the phenomenon. "We have representations of our entire body that can be dissociated from our real body," he says. But this is an isolated case, he points out.
With gentle stimulation, the woman, who could speak during the operation, felt she was falling or growing lighter. As the intensity increased she told them: "I see myself lying in bed, from above."
When asked to look at her raised arm, she thought it was coming to punch her. This observation suggests that 'alien hand syndrome' — when people feel that a limb is foreign — or 'phantom' limbs that people can feel after amputations could be related to out-of-body experiences, says Blanke.
Out-of-body experiences are incredibly common, says clinical neurologist John Marshall of the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, UK. Some are part of near-death experiences.
Some believe that the events have religious or spiritual causes, or that a person really leaves their physical body behind. They may, for example, interpret them as evidence that the physical and spiritual body can separate again after death.
The new experiments cannot disprove such ideas, says Marshall: "It doesn't show that people with paranormal beliefs are wrong" - it simply demonstrates one way that the experience can be stimulated. Nevertheless, "I think it would give great comfort to patients" who, he says, frequently question their own sanity.
Thrill-seekers will be hard-pushed to artificially create their own out-of-body experiences, adds Brugger. "You can't stimulate that precisely without opening up the skull," he says.
1. Blanke, O., Ortigue, S., Landis, T., Seeck, M. Stimulating own-body perceptions. Nature, 419, 269 - 270, (2002). |Article|
Also, in an episode of Pen and Teller's Bullshit, there was a show on out of body experiences, and near death experiences. They went to a place where they do centrifuge testing, and about 18% of those who were whipped around by the big machine at nine G's experienced what many people call a near death experience, but they were not anywhere close to death. As they were being flung around, they just passed out because blood drained from their heads. One man interviewed claims to have had twenty to thirty near death experiences while being put in the centrifuge test. The things these people experienced were the same things that people who were near death report. Watching yourself from high above, seeing people you know, seeing a bright light, etc.
It's not really clear why these things happen, but many people say it's because when your body and brain become traumatized because of serious injury and impending death, or some other traumatic experience (like being flung around at nine G's) your brain takes you on a bit of a mind trip. Instead of putting you through the agony of whatever you're experiencing, your brain puts on a little show for you, to make things easier, much like a dream.
Sources: http://home.comcast.net/~neardeath/nde/001_pages/31.html, and an episode of Pen and Teller's BULLSHIT. Season One, titled Ouija Boards / Near Death Experiences, and aired on April 11, 2003
15. On page 82 in another Question and Answer bit, they ask the question: "Who made god?" And they answer with:
"To one who examines the evidence, there can be no doubt that god exists. Every building has a builder. Everything made has a maker. The fact of the existence of the creator is axiomatic (self-evident). That's why the bible says, 'The fool has said in his heart there is no god' (Psalm 14:1). The professing atheist denies the common sense given to him by god, and defends his belief by thinking that the question 'who made god?' can't be answered. This, he thinks, gives him license to deny the existence of god."
"The question of who made god can be answered by simply looking at space and asking, 'Does space have an end?' Obviously it doesn't. If there is a brick wall with 'The end' written on it, the question arises, 'What is behind the brick wall?' Strain the mind though it may, we have to believe (have faith) that space has no beginning and no end. The same applies with god. He has no beginning and no end. He is eternal."
"The bible also informs us that time is a dimension that god created, into which man was subjected. It even tells us that one day time will no longer exist. That will be called 'eternity.' God himself dwells outside of the dimension he created (2Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2). He dwells in eternity and is not subject to time. god spoke history before it came into being. He can move through time as a man flips through a history book. Because we live in the dimension of time, logic and reason demand that everything must have a beginning and an end. We can understand the concept of god's eternal nature the same way we understand the concept of space having no beginning and no end – by faith. We simply have to believe they are so, even though such thoughts put a strain on our distinctly insufficient cerebrum."
Wow that was a mouth full! A mouth full of crap! OK enough insults. I'm trying to be fair here and not trash talk these morons. They start off stating their usual (and very much done to death) argument that everything needs a maker, and then try to counter the argument against the 'who created god' argument by putting god outside of time! The bible verses to both state how god promised things "before time began," yet quoting the bible is meaningless. It's been proven to be inaccurate, even though their theology might be correct, assuming 1. that the translation is correct, and 2. that is the correct interpretation, which no one can be certain of.
But regardless of what the bible says, we know space exists. We can look up and see it, we have pictures of it, and we've traveled in it. No one has ever seen or experienced any god, beyond what their own imaginations have told them, about certain events taking place.
I've always found it funny when you look back though time, about what people say about god. In the bible he seems to appear daily in people's lives; influencing different events, and talking to people. Later on he seems to take a back seat, and not interfere with man's daily life as much, though you can still pray to him, and maybe he will answer you and maybe he won't. But nowadays, you have people claiming that god is outside of time, and yet he can still do things in our time frame, just like a super hero! god, it seems, can do anything! But that's what's so funny about theologians. They can't even describe their god in a consistent manner, or how he accomplishes things, and yet claim to know so much about him.
It's clear that this changing of description and traits of their god is a clear indication that with more knowledge they have no choice but to modify their beliefs about their imaginary friend, or else be forced to admit the truth. It's like a little kid whose imaginary friend comes out to play when no one else is around. Yet when an adult comes and asks the boy where his (imaginary) friend is, the boy claims that he is hiding, and doesn't want to come out.
I also find the last sentence amusing: "We simply have to believe they are so, even though such thoughts put a strain on our distinctly insufficient cerebrum." Instead of trying to distort and twist the facts, just admit the truth, instead of straining your brain by trying to come up with new excuses about god and how he supposedly operates. It's like the child describing his imaginary friend. All goes well until someone asks him to come out and play.
I also thought it was funny that Comfort and Cameron brought up that bible verse: "The fool has said in his heart there is no god," because the bible also says in Matthew 5:22: "But anyone who says 'You fool' will be in danger of the fire of hell." So I guess both Cameron and Comfort are in danger of hell fire. Woops!
Sources: : NIV, 2001 Zondervan , and Atheist Universe, by David Mills, for the information on the Matt. 5:22 verse. Thanks David!
16. On page 92, they talk about why the peppered moth experiments did not prove evolution. They say:
"Almost all textbooks on evolution include the peppered moth as the classic example of evolution by natural selection. There are two types of peppered moths, a light-colored speckled variety and a dark variety. Most peppered moths in England were the light variety, which were camouflaged as they rested on tree trunks. The black variety stood out against the light bark and were easily seen and eaten by birds. But as the industrial revolution created pollution that covered tree trunks with soot, the dark variety was camouflaged better, so birds are more of the light moths.
"The peppered moth story has been trumpeted since the 1950's as proof positive that evolution by natural selection is true. In 1978, one famous geneticist called the peppered moth 'the clearest case in which a conspicuous evolutionary process has actually been observed.'"
"However, this 'clearest case' of purported Darwinian evolution by natural selection is not true! The nocturnal peppered moth does not rest of the trunks of trees during the day. In fact, despite over 40 years of intense field study, only two peppered moths have ever been seen naturally resting on tree trunks!"
"So where did all the evolution textbook pictures of peppered moths on different colored trees come from? They were all staged. The moths were glued, pinned, or placed onto tree trunks and their pictures taken. The scientists who used these pictures in their books to prove evolution all conveniently forgot to tell their readers this fact. If the best example of evolution is not true, how about all their other supposed examples? It makes you wonder doesn't it?" Mark Varney
As for the comment that moths do not rest on trees that is false:
Peppered moths do not rest exclusively on tree trunks, but they do rest there. Of the forty-seven moths one researcher found in the wild, twelve were on trunks and twenty were on trunk/branch joints. (The other fifteen were on branches). The numbers and proportion on trunks near light traps were even higher (Majerus 1998, 123). Wells's claim that the moths do not naturally land on trunks is simply a falsehood.
About the supposedly faked pictures for textbooks:
Branches provide a background similar to trunks. Photos showing moths on trunks were staged but only for purposes of illustration. The photographs depict what is found in the wild, whether trunk or branch. Furthermore, the photos played no part in the scientific research or its conclusions.
Source: www.talkorigins.org Index to Creationist Claims, Claim CB601.1
17. On page 117, they talk about what god supposedly has to say about abortion, and how "taking the life of the unborn is clearly murder." They say that, "god's word says that he personally made each one of us, and has a plan for each life: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.' (Jeremiah 1:5)"
I find this ironic and hypocritical because this is one of those times when christians choose to cherry pick the bible for the verses that support what they what you to hear. What they don't tell you is that god murdered unborn babies in the bible. In Hosea 13:16: "The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their god. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open."
Source: NIV, 2001 Zondervan
18. On page 130 it says:
"At least six different radiometric dating methods are available. The assumed age of the sample will dictate which dating is used because each will give a different result."
That seems to be Dr. Hovind's complaint, one that has been made by other creationists. Are we to believe that the world's leading geologists cannot recognize an elementary case of circular reasoning? Is that the real explanation behind their choice of isotopes in radiometric dating? Of course not! Those creationists arguing thus have been grievously blinded by their religious prejudice, against which even a Ph.D. is no defense.
The problem lies with Dr. Hovind and many other creationists who haven't the foggiest idea how radiometric dating works! They are the last people who should be criticizing it. The explanation is so easy that quotations from specialists won't even be necessary.
If you test an old sample with a radiometric method geared to young samples, you would find that all the "parent" radioactive atoms have decayed. Your conclusion would be that the sample has a minimum age which corresponds to the smallest amount of the "parent" nuclide you can detect. You would not conclude that the sample was "young."
If you test a young sample with a radiometric method geared to old samples, you would find that none of the "parent" radioactive atoms have decayed. Your conclusion would be that the sample has a maximum age which corresponds to the smallest amount of the "daughter" nuclide which you can detect. You would not conclude that the sample was "old."
The realities of the laboratory, of course, mean that there are no sharp cut-off points. Instead, there will be ranges, and at the extremes the results can only give a rough maximum or minimum age. Dates landing in that zone would be considered unreliable.
It's a little like weighing a flea on a truck scales or weighing a brick on a scales designed to weigh envelopes. If the brick depresses the envelope scales all the way to the highest mark, you conclude that the brick weighs at least that much. If the flea doesn't depress the scales at the truck stop, you conclude that it weighs less than a weight which barely moves those scales.
Consequently, the choice of scales will not dictate the result. Of course, if the truck scales isn't perfectly calibrated, you might get a 50-pound flea! Similarly, the envelope scales would indicate that the brick only weighs a few ounces. However, no one who is familiar with such scales would take those readings too seriously. A similar situation holds for radiometric dating. Readings falling in the minimum or maximum zones are not taken too seriously. Thus, there is no problem.
Source: www.talkorigins.org / How Good Are Those Young-Earth Arguments? A Close Look at Dr. Hovind's List of Young Earth Arguments and Other Claims, by Dave E. Matson, Claim G5
19. On page 204 they have a section on prayer and claims that, "god always answers prayer. Sometimes he says yes, sometimes he says no, and sometimes he says 'wait for a minute.' And since to the lord a day is a thousand years that could be a ten year wait for us."
At first glance this seems logical (except for the day for god is a thousand years) but if you think about it, it is really just a ploy. On YouTube there was a video, which addressed this very topic. The author said that you can easily see how this is a faulty argument because let's say you pray to a jug of milk for something. The jug of milk gives either a yes, no or wait, answer. Now, does anyone really think that a jug of milk has any special powers? Of course not! You can pray to anything and get the same results if you say the answers can be yes, no, or wait because either something you wish will happen, or it won't, or it might later down the road. It's just a trick.
Source: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/ - Website of the author of the video; the video is called The Best Optical Illusion in the World, and at the time of this writing the video can be found on his YouTube page: http://youtube.com/user/GIIVideo
20. On page 210, they repeat the same old argument which Michael Behe tried, in his book Darwin's Black Box, which is a laughable attempt at disproving evolution. Every one of Behe's conclusions were incorrect. The blood clotting argument is used here in The Evidence Bible:
"To form a blood clot there must be twelve specific individual chemical reactions in our blood. If evolution is true, and if this 12-step process didn't happen in the first generation (i.e. if any one of these specific reactions failed to operate in their exact reaction and order), no creatures would have survived. They would all have bled to death!"
To paraphrase Darwin, the notion that evolution could have produced a system as intricate as the blood clotting cascade seems, we might freely confess, "absurd in the highest possible degree." This is especially true if you believe, as Behe seems to, that clotting is not possible until the entire cascade of factors is assembled.
But we already know that evolution doesn't start from scratch, and it doesn't need fully-assembled systems to work. Remember the lobster system as an example. Blood clotting evolved there from two pre-existing proteins, normally found in separate compartments of the body, that had a fortuituous interaction when damage to a blood vessel brought them together. Once that interaction was established, natural selection did the rest.
Could something like this have happened here?
Remember, we're not starting from nothing. We're starting about 600 million years ago in a small pre-vertebrate. with a low-volume low-pressure circulatory system. Just like any small inverterbate with a circulatory system, our ancestral organism would have had a full compliment of sticky white cells to help plug leaks. In addition, that ancestral system would have had something else. Most of the time, hemorrage starts with cell injury, meaning that cells are broken in the vicinity of a wound and their contents are dumped out. That means, among other things, that all of a cell's internal signalling molecules are suddenly spilled out into the damaged vascular system. Included among the contents are a whole slew of internal signalling molecules, including prominent ones like cyclic adenosine monophosphate (abbreviated: cAMP), all dumped into the tissue surrounding a wound.
Why would a sudden gusher of cAMP in a wound be significant? Well, it turns out that vertebrates use cAMP as a signalling molecule to control the contractions of smooth muscle cells, the very sort of muscle cells that surround blood vessels. Therefore, the release of internal cAMP from broken cells would automatically cause smooth muscles around a broken vessel to contract, limiting blood flow and making it more likely that the blood's own sticky white cells would be able to plug the leak. That means that we already have some ability to limit damage and plug leaks in a primitive, low-pressure system. Not a bad place to begin.
Our next step is to consider the nature of blood itself. For reasons relating to osmotic pressure, the tendency of water to move across cell membranes, blood plasma is a viscous, protein-laden solution. And it's also important to note that the extracellular environment of ordinary tissue is very different from blood. These spaces are laden with protein signals, insoluble matrix molecules, and extracellular proteases that cut and trim these molecules to their final shapes and sizes. In fact, such proteases constitute one of the major forms of extracellular signalling. So the tissues of our ancestral vertebrate would be laden with protein-cutting enzymes for reasons completely unrelated to clotting.
Keeping all of this in mind, what would happen when a blood vessel broke in such an organism?
Well, protein-rich plasma flows into an unfamiliar environment, and sticky white cells quickly "glom" up against the fibers of the extracellular matrix. Tissue proteases, quite accidentally, are now exposed to a new range of proteins, and they cut many of them to pieces. The solubility of these new fragments vary. Some are more soluble than the plasma proteins from which they were trimmed, but many are much less soluble. The result is that clumps of newly-insoluble protein fragments begin to assumulate at the tissue-plasma interface, helping to seal the break and forming a very primitive clot. (Could one object that this is too primitive and too nonspecific to work? That it wouldn't be sufficient to seal breaks? Well, it turns out that you can't make this objection for the very simple reason that this is pretty much the clotting mechanism used today by a large number of invertebrates. Works for them, and therefore there is no reason why it wouldn't have worked for the ancestors of today vertebrates, either!)
Now we get down to business. A mutation duplicates an existing gene for a serine protease, a digestive enzyme produced in the pancreas. Gene duplications happen all the time, and they are generally of such little importance that they are known as "neutral" mutations, having no effect on an organism's fittness. However, the original gene had a control region that switched it on only in the pancreas. During the duplication, the control region of the duplicate is damaged so that the new gene is switched on in both the pancreas and the liver. As a result, the inactive form of the enzyme, a zymogen, is relesased into the bloodstream.
This causes no problem for the organism - most pancreatic proteases are inactive until a small piece near their active sites can be cut away by another protease. However, when damage to a blood vessel allows plasma to seep into tissue, suddenly our previously inactive plasma serine protease is activated by tissue proteases, increasing the overall protein-cutting activity at the site of the hemorrage. Blood clotting is enhanced, so our duplicate gene (with the mistargeted protein) is now favored by natural selection.
That plasma protease gene is now subject to the same witches' brew of copying errors, rearrangements, and genetic reshuffling that affect the genes for every other cellular protein. Over time, bits and pieces of other genes are accidentally spliced into the plasma protease sequence. Because the selective value of the plasma protease is pretty low (it doesn't help clotting all that much), most of these changes make very little difference. But one day, through a well-understood process called "exon shuffling," a DNA sequence known as an "EGF domain" is spliced into one end of the protease gene. EGF stands for epidermal growth factor, a small protein used by cells throughout the body to signal other cells. EGF is so common that just about every tissue cell has "receptors" for it. These receptors are cell surface proteins shaped in such a way that they bind EGF tightly.
The fortuitious combination of a EGF sequence with the plasma protease changes everything.
In a flash, the tissue surrouding a broken blood vessel is now teeming with receptors that bind to the new EGF sequence on our serum protease. As a result, high concentrations of the circulating protease bind directly to the surfaces of cells near a wound. The proteases are activated in the same way, but now their proteolytic activities are highly localized. The production of a clot of insoluble protein fragments is now faster and more specific than ever. Organisms with the new EGF-protease can clot their blood much more quickly than before, and therefore are favored by natural selection. To emphasize its role in the clotting process, that cell surface protein with the EGF receptor is called Tissue Factor.
What happens next? Well, remember the case of the lobster in which a duplicate of a circulating protein (vitellogenin) became specialized to produce a clot-forming protein (lobster fibrinogen)? Once we have a situation in which every hemorrage activates a protease bound to tissue receptors, a gene duplicate of one of the major plasma proteins would then be under strong selective pressure to increase its ability to interact with the bound protease. Fibrinogen, the soluble protein that now is now the primary target of proteolysis in the clotting cascade, clearly arose in this way. Natural selection would favor each and every mutation or rearrangement that increased the sensitivity of fibrinogen to the plasma protease, dramatically enhancing the ability of the new protease to form specific clots of insoluble protein.
There is no doubt that these three steps, each one supported by classic Darwinian mechanisms, would have been sufficient to fashion a rudimentary clotting system. This would leave us with system in which circulating plasma contains both an inactive serine protease and its fibrinogen target. The protease would activated by contact with tissue factor, and the active protease, in turn, would cleave sensitive sites in fibrinogen to form a clot. This system wouldn't be nearly as quick, as responsive, or as sensitive as the current system of vertebrate clotting, but it would work a little better than the system that preceeded it, and that's all that evolution requires.
Could evolution take this rudimentary system and produce a multilayered cascade of factors? Just watch. Most serine proteases, including trypsin and thrombin, are auto-catalytic. That means that some extent they can activate themselves, in many cases by cleaving a few amino acids to switch on their active sites. So, we could diagram the actual functions of our ancestral plasma protease (which we'll call protease A) like this:
As we have seen, the inactive form of the protease (A) is changed into the active form (A*) when two things happen: it is bound to tissue factor (TF) and it is activated by tissue proteases, including our protease itself (that's the autocatalytic part). This means - and this is important - that our protease is actually involved in cutting two things: Fibrinogen, and also itself, converting A's inactive precursor protein into A*.
Now, let's suppose that a gene duplication occurs in the gene for our protease, producing a new (B) version of the gene:
At first, just like most gene duplications, this is no big deal. Proteins A and B are identical. Each can bind to TF, each can cleave fibrinogen into fibrin, and each can activate itself or its sister serum protease. So nothing has really changed - we've just got two copies of the same gene. But now let's suppose that a mutation in the active site of B changes its behavior, making it a little less likely to cut fibrinogen and a little more likely to activate protease A. In essence, this would change the relationship between these previously duplicate genes to something like this:
Suddenly, the ability of A to bind to TF becomes much less important. If B can saturate all of the available TF-binding sites itself (by virtue of its EGF domain), then the TF-mediated activation of B, combined with B's affinity for A, will result in a rapid activation of A, producing plenty of activated A to convert fibrinogen into clottable fibrin. Sounds good. But why would natural selection favor a mutation like this in B's active site? Simple: it would increase the efficiency of the clotting process by producing a 2-level cascade. Look closely, and you'll see that our 1-step clotting system required a direct interaction with TF to activate each protease. The new 2-step system allows each TF to activate a protease B, each of which in turn can activate scores or hundreds of A's. With so many more active proteases in the neighborhood of the injury, clotting can now occur more quickly, increasing the chances of surviving a hemorrage. Exactly the sort of stuff that natural selection favors.
Step back for a second and think about what we've just seen. A simple gene duplication sets the stage for the selection of active site mutations that would dramatically improve the clotting process. Gene duplications are neutral mutations, the sort that occur all the time and therefore, given enough time, are highly probable. Once the duplication has taken place, any mutation in the active site that shifts the preferences of the active site in the direction I have mentioned will be strongly favored. And that means that a true 2-step system will evolve very quickly.
Two additional points have to be mentioned. The first one is obvious. If gene duplication and subsequent mutation of the duplicate protease can change a 1-step system into a 2-step one, they could certainly change a 2-step system into a 3-step one. This means that increases in biochemical complexity are not only accomodated by evolutionary theory, they are actually predicted by it. The second point is a little more subtle. Early stages in the evolution of a clot forming-system are bound not to work very well. But as the system starts to work better, as it increases in complexity and efficiency, it begins to present a danger to the organism. That danger, simply put, is that clotting might get out of hand. As the clot-forming cascade evolves larger and larger, there is a chance that a small stimulus will start a reaction that might cause all of an organism's blood to clot, or at least enough of it to cause serious problems. Does evolution have an answer to that, too?
Well, it turns out that it does. First, keep in mind that a primitive clotting system, adequate for an animal with low blood pressure and minimal blood flow, doesn't have the clotting capacity to present this kind of a threat. But just as soon as the occasional clot becomes large enough to present health risks, natural selection would favor the evolution of systems to keep clot formation in check. And where would these systems come from? From pre-existing proteins, of course, duplicated and modified. The tissues of the body produce a protein known as a1-antitrypsin which binds to the active site of serine proteases found in tissues and keeps them in check. So, just as soon as clotting systems became strong enough, gene duplication would have presented natural selection with a working protease inhibitor that could then evolve into antithrombin, a similar inhibitor that today blocks the action of the primary fibrinogen-cleaving protease, thrombin.
In similar fashion, plasminogen, the precursor to a powerful clot-dissolving protein now found in plasma, would have been generated from duplicates of existing protease genes, just as soon as it became advantageous to develop clot-dissolving capability.
In short, the key to understanding the evolution of blood clotting is to appreciate that the current system did not evolve all at once. Like all biochemical systems, it evolved from genes and proteins that originally served different purposes. The powerful opportunistic pressures of natural selection progressively recruited one gene duplication after another, gradually fashioning a system in which high efficiencies of controlled blood clotting made the modern vertebrate circulatory system possible.
According to the website, Kenneth Miller (author of the book Finding Darwin's god) placed this extended chapter online on blood clotting:
The original draft of Finding Darwin's God contained a longer, more detailed account of the way in which the vertebrate blood clotting system might have evolved. This documents contains part of that original draft (with references) and a number of diagrams. My editor insisted that the blood clotting section of my draft was already too long and too technical, and that the manuscript would benefit from paring down the details. For the general reader, I agree that this was a wise editorial decision.
However, a number of readers have asked me to place the more detailed description on the Web, and that's what this document represents. As you will see, my description was originally planned to follow a portion of the text that explains the evolution of clotting in an invertebrate - the lobster. If you have a copy of my book, the lobster clotting system is described on pages 158-161.
21. On page 234 they ask how sex could have evolved if "the male needs the female to reproduce, and the female needs the male to reproduce?"
Knowledge of how sex evolved is not very well known at this time. There are some theories on how and why, yet no real specifics at this time. But, this is no problem for evolution because just because we can't explain this as completely as some would like (stupid creationists) doesn't mean sex did not evolve.
Origin of Sex:
The most primitive organisms known to reproduce sexually are protists (primitive unicellular eukaryotes) such as those that cause malaria.
Organisms need to replicate their genetic material in an efficient and reliable manner. The necessity to repair genetic damage is one of the leading theories explaining the origin of sexual reproduction. Diploid individuals can repair a mutated section of its DNA via homologous recombination, since there are two copies of the gene in the cell and one copy is presumed to be undamaged. A mutation in an haploid individual, on the other hand, is more likely to become resident, as the DNA repair machinery has no way of knowing what the original undamaged sequence was. The most primitive form of sex may have been one organism with damaged DNA replicating an undamaged strand from a similar organism in order to repair itself.
Another theory is that sexual reproduction originated from selfish parasitic genetic elements that exchange genetic material (that is: copies of their own genome) for their transmission and propagation. In some organisms, sexual reproduction has been shown to enhance the spread of parasitic genetic elements (e.g.: yeast, filamentous fungi). Bacterial conjugation, a form of genetic exchange that some sources describe as sex, is not a form of reproduction. However, it does support the selfish genetic element theory, as it is propagated through such a "selfish gene", the F-plasmid.
A third theory is that sex evolved as a form of cannibalism. One primitive organism ate another one, but rather than completely digesting it, some of the 'eaten' organism's DNA was incorporated into the 'eater' organism.
A theory states that sexual reproduction evolved from ancient haloarchaea through a combination of jumping genes, and swapping plasmids. 
A comprehensive 'origin of sex as vaccination' theory proposes that eukaryan sex-as-syngamy (fusion sex) arose from prokaryan unilateral sex-as-infection when infected hosts began swapping nuclearized genomes containing coevolved, vertically transmitted symbionts that provided protection against horizontal superinfection by more virulent symbionts. Sex-as-meiosis (fission sex) then evolved as a host strategy to uncouple (and thereby emasculate) the acquired symbiont genomes.
The variety of life cycles is very great. It is not simply a matter of being sexual or asexual. There are many intermediate stages. A gradual origin, with each step favored by natural selection, is possible (Kondrashov 1997). The earliest steps involve single-celled organisms exchanging genetic information; they need not be distinct sexes. Males and females most emphatically would not evolve independently. Sex, by definition, depends on both male and female acting together. As sex evolved, there would have been some incompatibilities causing sterility (just as there are today), but these would affect individuals, not whole populations, and the genes that cause such incompatibility would rapidly be selected against.
Many hypotheses have been proposed for the evolutionary advantage of sex (Barton and Charlesworth 1998). There is good experimental support for some of these, including resistance to deleterious mutation load (Davies et al. 1999) and more rapid adaptation in a rapidly changing environment, especially to acquire resistance to parasites (Sá Martins 2000).
www.talkorigins.org Index to Creationist Claims/ Claim CB350
21. On page 259 there is another Question and Answer section. It asks: "There are contradictions in the resurrection accounts. Did christ appear first to the women or to his disciples?"
Their answer: "Both Matthew and Mark list women as the first to see the resurrected christ. Mark says, 'He appeared first to Mary Magdalene" (16:9). But Paul lists Peter (Cephas) as the first one to see christ after his resurrection (1 Corr. 15:5).
Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, then to the other women, and then to Peter. Paul was not giving a complete list, but only the important one for his purpose. Since only men's testimony was considered legal or official in the first century, it is understandable that the apostle would not list the women as witnesses in his defense of the resurrection here."
Well this may be a valid excuse for the womens' testimony but what about all the other contradictions? It's funny that they only chose that one little part to explain away, and forget about all these other glaring inconsistencies.
Matthew was the only one to mention that at the crucifixion dead people emerged from their graves of Jerusalem, walking around showing themselves to everyone. This seems like a very spectacular event, and it's surprising that no other gospel writer mentions this.
In Matthew 28:2 he writes of a huge earthquake, which no other writer mentions. Yet another large event which would hardly have been unnoticed by the other writers. Matt. also claims that the stone was rolled away from the tomb after the women arrived.
Yet both Mark and Luke say that the stone was rolled away before the women arrived.
Another glaring problem is the fact that in Matt. the first post-resurrection appearance of jesus to the disciples happened on a mountain in Galilee, as predicted by the angel sitting on the rock; "And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he goeth before you into Galilee, there shall ye see him." (This must have been of supreme importance, since this was the message of god via the angel(s) at the tomb. Jesus had even predicted this himself during the last supper, Matt. 26:32) Matt. 28:16-17 says, "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted."
Reading this at face value, and in context, it is clear that Matthew intends this to be the first appearance. Otherwise, if jesus had been seen before this time, why did some doubt? Mark agrees with Matthew's account of the angel's Galilee message, but gives a different story about the first appearance.
Luke and John give different angel messages and then radically contradict Matthew. Luke shows the first appearance on the road to Emmaus and then in a room in Jerusalem. John says it happened later that evening in a room, minus Thomas. These angel messages, locations, and travels during the day are difficult to reconcile.
To put it in perspective, Luke says the post-resurrection appearance happened in Jerusalem, but Matthew says it happened in Galilee, which is sixty to one-hundred miles away. That's like one witness claiming a car accident happened in Chicago and another say it happened in Milwaukee.
With all of these discrepancies it is hard to believe this story, plus the fact that any story of a man coming back to life is just silly anyway. If I told someone that someone I knew came back to life they would just laugh at me. So why is it that christians can so boldly claim that basically the same thing happened? It's just illogical and well, just plain stupid.
Source: The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You to Read, edited by Tim C. Leedom. From the article by Dan Barker titled No Stone Unturned
22. On page 324, in another questions and objections section they ask: "Religion has caused more wars then anything else in history."
They reply with stating that there have many people who have used religion for political gain. They say that, in John 16:2-3 that there will be some who, in their error, commit atrocities and murder in the name of god. However, they say, that these people are not true believers, and will be dealt with on judgment day.
I think this kind of "it's only the few who give religion a bad name" excuse is pathetic, and the fact is that it's the other way around. It is the majority of religious people/groups that are causing so much chaos. History is filled with religion attempting to stifle science and kill anyone who said anything that contradicted the scriptures. Even in modern days in the Middle East you have christians, catholics and muslims killing each other. In the united states you've got these damn intelligent design morons, the Institute for Creation Research – research. That's laughable. They do no research there; all they do is try and force their religious-political agenda, which is to destroy science and replace it with religious/supernatural explanations. This was exposed a few years ago when an internal document, called The Wedge, was leaked onto the internet. A branching off of those well funded assholes are all the other ignorant religious people who buy into their bullshit about how evolution is a myth and their hundreds of idiotic lies and distortions about science, and evolution in particular, and then spread it like wild fire. Never have I seen such ignorance. This paper is a response to yet another group of idiots trying to act like they know what the hell they're talking about.
Source: For more information about the wedge document, and links to download the document (at least at the time of this writing) go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategyReferences
If either of these sources no longer have the document, I have saved copies of it, so if you'd like to see it, just contact me.
23. On page 408 there is a questions and objections section which tries to make an excuse for Ray and Kirk's use of the ten commandments in witnessing in order to make people feel guilty, or as they call it, attempt to get people to think about 'god's law.' They say: "You are trying to make me feel guilty by quoting the ten commandments."
"Ask the person which one of the ten commandments makes him feel guilty. Simply state, 'The bible says you shall not steal. If you feel guilty when you hear that, why do you think that is? Could it be because you are guilty?'
god gave us our conscience so we would know when we break his law; the guilt we feel when we do something wrong tells us that we need to repent."
This is Ray and Kirk's classic tactic, and was once used on me by a friend of mine, but I'll get to that in a few. First, this is just silly. The ten commandments have no authority whatsoever. The first half of them have nothing to do with morality at all, just rules that you should not leave that particular religion, or have any other belief, and not to do any work on the sabbath, which is just pointless religious dogma. The second half are not bad to live by. People certainly shouldn't go around killing others (though god breaks his own commandment constantly, that hypocrite), or stealing.
Though these are nothing really special anyhow. People, even before the bible was written, I'm sure followed these rules (at least some of the time) and just decided to write them down. Though just interacting with other human beings it's easy to see how things like no lying, stealing, murder, and honoring your father and mother, would have been adopted without any divine inspiration because they are things which help a society run smoother and more peacefully.
If someone feels bad about something, it doesn't mean any "creator" put a person's conscience in place. There are people who do horrible things and feel no regret. We call them psychopaths, and I can think of one off the top of my head: the god all christians worship. It's a undeniable fact that morals are taught through socialization in a society.
A friend of mine tried this tactic on me a few years back and I hadn't ever heard of it before, so I was unaware of the ploy, but later that day I figured it out.
My friend asked me if I had ever broken any of the ten commandments and I of course have broken all of them, except for the one about murder. Afterwards I did indeed feel guilty, and truthfully started to wonder why? But later on I unraveled the whole ploy. Instead of trying to debate with logic and reason, Kirk and Ray want to just make you feel like a bad person, and in need of their god. The entire Christian religion revolves around sin, and guilt. Remember, the church gets money from those who go to church. They are a business, and a bad one at that! But they want to make you feel guilty so you will buy their product: relief of sin and damnation. Both made up ideas in order to control the brainwashed masses.
But later on I realized, of course I feel guilty. The things, like stealing which I had done in my teenage years, I felt bad about, but that was just the socialization process working, not any divine conscience. After all, let's say you take a two year old and teach them that stealing is OK to do. I bet when they grow up they will think it is an OK practice. That experiment would rip Ray and Kirk's argument to shreds I bet. If this conscience was really divinely placed within us, it shouldn't matter what we teach a child. But we all know the outcome.
24. Page 444, in another questions and objections section they try to answer another skeptics question:
"Seeing is believing. If I can't see it, I don't believe it exists."
"We believe in many things that we can't see. Ask a skeptic if he has ever seen the wind. Has he seen history? Has he ever seen his brain? We see the effects of the wind, but the wind is invisible. We have records of history, but it is by 'faith' that we believe certain historical events happened. Television waves are invisible, but an antenna and a receiver can detect their presence. The unregenerate man likewise has a 'receiver.' However, the receiver (his spirit) is dead because of sin (Ephesians 2:1). He needs to be plugged into the life of god; then he will come alive and be aware of the invisible spiritual realm."
This is pretty silly really. It's true that we can only see the effects of wind yet we can still truly experience it, and measure it, and even use it to push boats. Many things in history are sketchy but with recorded first hand accounts of some events; we can be very sure, without faith, what actually happened in the past. Television waves I liken to wind, because we can detect them with instruments and we use them daily. No device has ever detected god's presence. No human being has either, and personal experience of being "lead in a certain direction, a prayer answered," etc. is just that person's perception, and not an accurate portrayal of reality. In fact there have been tests done on prayer and I will cite one of those now.
Funded by the Templeton Foundation, this 2.4 million dollar experiment, took a total of 1,802 patients from six different hospitals. Prayers were delivered from three churches, one located in Minnesota, one in Massachusetts, and the other in Missouri. All the patients had received coronary bypass surgery, and were divided into three groups: Group 1 received prayers and didn't know it. Group 2 (the control group) received no prayers and didn't know it. Group 3 received prayers and did know it. The comparison between groups 1 and 2 tests for the efficacy of intercessory prayer, while group 3 tests for possible psychosomatic effects of knowing that one is being prayed for.
The praying individuals were only given the first name and the first letter of the last name of each patient for whom they were to pray for. They were all just told to say during their prayers to pray for a 'successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications.'The results were published in the American Heart Journal of April of 2006. The results were clear-cut. There was no difference between those patients who were prayed for and those who were not. There was a difference, however, in the third group, who knew they were being prayed for. They suffered significantly more complications then the other groups. The experimenters explained it as being a result from the stress, or 'performance anxiety,' from having the knowledge that they were being prayed for.
Well, there you have it. A multimillion dollar experiment done to test the "effects" of god, and what a surprise, there was none. I'm sure countless rationalizations will come my way, but it doesn't really matter. This test was a huge blow to theologians regardless of their childlike rationalizations as to why their god didn't answer the prayers.
After all, the bible does say in Matthew 21:21: "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, bu also you can say to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will recieve whatever you ask for in prayer."
And also in Mark 11:24: "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have recieved it, and it will be yours."
And as Ray and Kirk are fond of saying, the bible is inerrant, and so the prayers should have been answered right? It says that prayers will be answered no matter what, so why weren't they? I'll tell you why. Ray and Kirk, as well as every other religious person, is living in fantasy land if they think prayer will actually work.
Source: The god Delusion, by Richard Dawkins; NIV, 2001 Zondervan
25. On page 492, in yet another Q and A, they pose as the skeptic and ask:
"Christians can't use 'circular reasoning' by trying to prove the bible by quoting from the bible!"
"The 'circular reasoning' argument is absurd. That's like saying you can't prove that the president lives in the white house by looking into the white house. It is looking into the white house that will provide the necessary proof. The fulfilled prophecies, the amazing consistency, and the many scientific statements of the bible prove it to be the word of god. They provide evidence that it is supernatural in origin."
Ray and Kirk, as well as many other christians, are guilty of this. Their white house analogy is absurd. Of course you can look into the white house and see our shitty president sitting, unless your eyes deceive you. You may think you see him, but it's really someone else, perhaps. But even if you see him, and know that it is him, that's verifiable proof with your own eyes. The bible on the other hand is a totally different subject. Claiming that the bible is error free is like me claiming that I, myself, am never wrong. Does that automatically mean that I'm never wrong? No! So why should the bible be taken any more seriously then anything else?
Aside from that argument, there are many contradictions, and errors in the bible, which serves as proof that it is not inerrant.
Some problems of inerrancy:
Most claim the King James version as authoritative, but analysis of the earliest biblical manuscripts shows that the King James version includes numerous errors. For example, the story of Jesus chiding those who would stone an adulteress (John 8:1-11) does not appear until about after 300 years after the gospel of john was written.
Many stories in the bible are repeated, but with different emphasis, different details, and different language. These differences show that the bible was written by different people at different times for different purposes, and their accounts were redacted by people with different motives.
The bible shows evidence for syncretism, the process by which rituals and concepts from one religion are adapted by another. Many biblical stories show Sumerian and Canaanite influence.
The writers of the bible most likely did not distinguish literalism or consider it important. The bible was not written to record accurate histories, but to convey and persuade spiritual ideas.
In genesis 1, adam is created after other animals; yet in genesis 2, he appears before animals.
Matthew 1:16 and luke 3:23 differ over jesus' lineage.
Genesis (9:3 and Leviticus 11:4 differ about what is proper to eat.
Source: The Counter-Creationism Handbook, by Mark Isaak
26. On page 679 is another Q and A and they ask the following: "Didn't the church persecute Galileo?"
"Skeptics often try to demean scripture by saying that the christian church persecuted Galileo when he maintained that the earth circled the sun. As a professor of astronomy at the University of Pisa, Galileo was required to teach the accepted theory of his time that the sun and all the planets revolved around the earth. Later at the University of Padua he was exposed to a new theory, proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus, that the earth and all the other planets revolved around the sun. Galileo's observations with his new telescope convinced him of the truth of Copernicus's sun-centered, or heliocentric theory. Galileo's support for the heliocentric theory got him into trouble with the roman catholic church. In 1633 during the inquisition he was convicted of heresy and ordered to recant (publicly withdraw) his support of Copernicus. The roman catholic church sentenced him to life imprisonment, but because of his advanced age allowed him to serve his term under house arrest at his villa outside of Florence, Italy. The christian church therefore should not be blamed for his imprisonment. It was the roman catholic church that persecuted Galileo.
'Under the sentence of imprisonment Galileo remained til his death in 1642. It is, however, untrue to speak of him in any proper sense a' prisoner.' As his protestant biographer, von Gebler, tells us, 'One glance at the truest historical source for the famous trial would convince anyone that Galileo spent altogether twenty-two days in the buildings of the holy office [during the inquisition], and even then not in a prison cell with barred windows, but in a handsome and commodious apartment of an official of the inquisition.' (Catholic Encyclopedia)"
It is true that it was not the christian church who persecuted Galileo, yet I think it's a cruel, and illogical rationalization to claim that it is "untrue to speak of him in any proper sense a' prisoner.'" Sure, he wasn't put in a cell, but imprisonment doesn't have to mean being placed in a cellblock. Imprisonment is defined as, "put into prison; confine; shut up; incarcerate; detain; or box in." So even if it was house arrest he was still wrongly convicted of nothing more than speaking the truth, simply because power hungry church leaders didn't want his ideas spread, which conflicted with their beliefs. Galileo still had his freedom taken away, and that in essence is imprisonment. Plus the catholic encyclopedia is not telling the whole truth (surprise surprise!). Only for a year did Galileo live in the "handsome and commodious apartment," until the church found out and moved him to a new place:
Galileo was placed under house arrest in Siena under the guard of archbishop Ascanio Piccolomini, who was a former student of Galileo. Piccolomini allowed, and even encouraged Galileo to resume his writing. There he began his final work, Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences. But a year later, Rome got word of Galileo's special treatment that he was receiving from Piccolomini, and had Galileo removed to another home, in the hills above Florence.
Source: Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus, American Edition, Oxford University Press, 1997; The Illustrated On the Shoulders of Giants, Edited by Stephen Hawking, Running Press, 2004 pg. 60
27. On page 474 in a Q and A section Ray and Kirk ask a hypothetical question for christians interested in witnessing, in case a skeptic asks them this question, and attempts to answer it for them.
"What should I say to someone who has lost a loved one through cancer?"
Ray and Kirk respond:
"Be very careful not to give the impression that god was punishing the person for his sins. Instead, speak about the fact that all around us we can see the evidence of a 'fallen creation.' Explain how in the beginning there was no disease, pain, suffering, or death. But when sin entered the world, it brought suffering with it. Then gently turn the conversation away from the person who died to the person who is still living. Ask if he has been thinking about god, and if he has kept the ten commandments. Then take the opportunity to go through the spiritual nature of god's law. Someone who has lost a loved one often begins to ask soul-searching questions about god, death, and eternity. Many people are so hard-hearted that it takes a tragedy to make them receptive to god."
This statement is so ridiculous because first of all, in the first two sentences they say how you don't want to let the still living friend think that their friend or family member was being punished for their sins, and yet then talk about our "fallen creation" in which all humans are born with sin because of what adam and eve did, and therefore we all are being punished already! So how can Ray and Kirk claim that god was not punishing the deceased loved one because of sin? According to Ray, cancer is one of the punishments of sin. It would never have come about without sin, according to Ray's dogma.
The sneaky part about their tactic is that they want you to only briefly mention the deceased friend, and then quickly move to the friend and quiz him about the ten commandments. I think this ploy is just to get the person's mind off of their deceased friend, and Ray and Kirk want to put a guilt trip on them so they might feel like instead of blaming god, get them feeling as if they need god's salvation. Remember the other comment I made in question number 23, about the church's business-like tactic of telling you that you have this made up disease (sin) and trying to tell you that you need their made up cure (salvation)? It's all really very simple. Too bad a lot of people fall for it.
The thing about their comment regarding "hard-hearted" people is that people are not unwilling to accept god, as long as there is evidence. That's what Ray and Kirk just can't get though their thick skulls. Some people need evidence to believe in something, unlike Kirk and Ray who actually believe some man was born of a virgin, who is the son of some invisible being, without one shred of evidence whatsoever. Wanting evidence for something is not "hard-hearted", it's called using your reasoning and logical capabilities, something which Ray and Kirk do not do.
28. On page 485, they discuss their classic arguments about Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, Java Man, Heidelberg Man, and Neanderthal Man, trying to convince people that this is some of the only evidence that evolution has ever come up with, or that some of these are not valid finds, as far as fossils are concerned, but there are some big problems with their claims. They claim that Piltdown Man was just some hoax to fool people into believing evolution; Nebraska Man, claiming that scientists reconstructed an entire species from just one tooth, which was later found out to be from an extinct pig; Java Man, which they claim was nothing more then a piece of skull, a fragment of thigh bone, and three molar teeth; Heidelberg Man, they claim is nothing very similar to modern man, and that scientists reject the find; and finally they claim that Neanderthal Man, claiming that he died of exposure, that he had a stooped posture caused from disease (Rickets I'm assuming), and that his skull was fully human, and not ape.
The Bogus Bones Caper
Copyright 1996-1997 by Richard Harter
This is the home page for Piltdown man, a paleontological "man who never was". In April of 1996 there was an extended discussion in the talk.origins news group about the Piltdown man hoax. During the discussion I checked the web and discovered that Piltdown man did not have a home page. I resolved to eliminate this deficiency in the scholarly resources of the world wide web; here, for your delectation, is Piltdown man's home page. Corrections and suggestions for improvement are welcome.
This page has been laid out so that it can be read sequentially or so that you can skip around in it using links. It is broken up into sections and subsections. Each section is headed by a list of links to the other sections. Each subsection has links back to the list of sub sections. There are brief biographies and a bibliography with internal links to them through out the text. This page is a self contained, text only, document_ However there are links to supporting documents and pictures.
Supporting web pages
Drawhorn's paper accusing Arthur Smith Woodward
Photographs and maps
- Photo of the Piltdown men contemplating Eoanthropus dawsonii (135K)
- Reconstruction of the Piltdown man skull (168K)
- Ordinance Survey Map of the Piltdown region (114K)
- Woodward's reconstruction of the skull (62K)
- Skull bones (some pieces assembled) (57K)
- Outside and inside views of the Jawbone (71K)
- Rutot's reconstruction of Piltdown Man (93K)
I am far from being the best qualified person to put together a substantive page on Piltdown man -- they are many others who have a better knowledge of the subject and who command more scholarly resources. However people have been very kind, indeed enthusiastic, in helping to fill in the gaps. Even though I am the original author of the page and its editor-in-chief this page is, in a real sense, a collaborative effort.
Special thanks are due to Robert Parson (rparson@spot.Colorado.EDU) and Jim Foley (Jim.Foley@symbios.com) who have made many invaluable suggestions and corrections. I also wish to thank Wesley Elsberry (email@example.com) who found Betrayers of the Truth, David Bagnall (firstname.lastname@example.org) who pointed out the Matthews articles in the New Scientist, and Robert B. Anderson (andersons@InfoHouse.com) who has written articles on the hoax.
Special thanks are also due to Tom Turrittin (email@example.com) who has created a comprehensive bibliography of references since 1953 to Piltdown man. He has made it available as a pair of web pages and has graciously agreed to let me maintain a mirrored copy at this site. The web sites has links both to the mirrored copy and to the original copy. Finally, I wish to thank Gerrell Drawhorn (firstname.lastname@example.org) who has provided a copy of his 1994 paper for inclusion at this site.
Piltdown man is one of the most famous frauds in the history of science. In 1912 Charles Dawson discovered the first of two skulls found in the Piltdown quarry in Sussex, England, skulls of an apparently primitive hominid, an ancestor of man. Piltdown man, or Eoanthropus dawsoni to use his scientific name, was a sensation. He was the expected "missing link" a mixture of human and ape with the noble brow of Homo sapiens and a primitive jaw. Best of all, he was British!
As the years went by and new finds of ancient hominids were made, Piltdown man became an anomaly that didn't fit in, a creature without a place in the human family tree. Finally, in 1953, the truth came out. Piltdown man was a hoax, the most ancient of people who never were. This is his story.
My principal source for the original version of this page is Ronald Millar's The Piltdown Men. This book is an account of the entire Piltdown affair from beginning to end, including not merely the circumstances but the general background of the paleontology and evolutionary theory with respect to human ancestry during the period 1850-1950. A number of important books have also been written on the hoax, e.g. works by Spencer, Weiner, Blinderman, and Walsh, and have been valuable resources.
The Story Of The Hoax
In following the history of the hoax it is useful to have a time line showing the principal events. The time line runs as follows:
1856 -- Neanderthal man discovered
1856 -- Dryopithecus discovered
1859 -- Origin of Species published
1863 -- Moulin Quignon forgeries exposed
1869 -- Cro Magnon man discovered
1871 -- The Descent of Man published
1890 -- Java Man discovered
1898 -- Galley hill "man" discovered [modern, misinterpreted]
1903 -- First molar of Peking man found
1907 -- Heidelberg man discovered
1908 -- Dawson (1908-1911) discovers first Piltdown fragments
1909 -- Dawson and Teilhard de Chardin meet
1912 -- February: Dawson contacts Woodward about first skull fragments
1912 -- June: Dawson, Woodward, and Teilhard form digging team
1912 -- June: Team finds elephant molar, skull fragment
1912 -- June: Right parietal skull bones and the jaw bone discovered
1912 -- Summer: Barlow, Pycraft, G.E. Smith, and Lankester join team.
1912 -- November: News breaks in the popular press
1912 -- December: Official presentation of Piltdown man
1913 -- August: the canine tooth is found by Teilhard
1914 -- Tool made from fossil elephant thigh bone found
1914 -- Talgai (Australia) man found, considered confirming of Piltdown
1915 -- Piltdown II found by Dawson (according to Woodward)
1916 -- Dawson dies.
1917 -- Woodward announces discovery of Piltdown II.
1921 -- Osborn and Gregory "converted" by Piltdown II.
1921 -- Rhodesian man discovered
1923 -- Teilhard arrives in China.
1924 -- Dart makes first Australopithecus discovery.
1925 -- Edmonds reports Piltdown geology error. Report ignored.
1929 -- First skull of Peking man found.
1934 -- Ramapithecus discovered
1935 -- Many (38 individuals) Peking man fossils have been found.
1935 -- Swanscombe man [genuine] discovered.
1937 -- Marston attacks Piltdown age estimate, cites Edmonds.
1941 -- Peking man fossils lost in military action.
1943 -- Fluorine content test is first proposed.
1948 -- Woodward publishes The Earliest Englishman
1949 -- Fluorine content test establishes Piltdown man as relatively recent.
1951 -- Edmonds report no geological source for Piltdown animal fossils.
1953 -- Weiner, Le Gros Clark, and Oakley expose the hoax.
In 1856 the first Neanderthal fossil discovery was made and the hunt was on to find fossil remains of human ancestors. In the next half century finds were made in continental Europe and in Asia but not in Britain. Finally, in 1912, the sun rose on British paleontology -- fossil remains of an ancient pleistocene hominid were found in the Piltdown quarries in Sussex. In the period 1912 to 1915 the Piltdown quarries yielded two skulls, a canine tooth, and a mandible of Eoanthropus, a tool carved from an elephant tusk, and fossil teeth from a number of pleistocene animals.
There is a certain vagueness about some of the critical events. Dawson contacted Woodward about the first two skull fragments which were supposedly found by workman "some years prior". Exactly when is unknown. Similarly, the discovery of Piltdown II is shrouded in mystery. Supposedly Dawson and an anonymous friend make the discovery 1915; however the friend and the location of the find are unknown.
The reaction to the finds was mixed. On the whole the British paleontologists were enthusiastic; the French and American paleontologists tended to be skeptical, some objected quite vociferously. The objectors held that the jawbone and the skull were obviously from two different animals and that their discovery together was simply an accident of placement. In the period 1912-1917 there was a great deal of skepticism. The report in 1917 of the discovery of Piltdown II converted many of the skeptics; one accident of placement was plausible -- two were not.
It should be remembered that, at the time of Piltdown finds, there were very few early hominid fossils; Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens were clearly fairly late. It was expected that there was a "missing link" between ape and man. It was an open question as to what that missing link would look like. Piltdown man had the expected mix of features, which lent it plausibility as a human precursor.
This plausibility did not hold up. During the next two decades there were a number of finds of ancient hominids and near hominids, e.g. Dart's discovery of Australopithecus, the Peking man discoveries, and other Homo erectus and australopithecine finds. Piltdown man did not fit in with the new discoveries. None the less, Sir Arthur Keith (a major defender of Piltdown man) wrote in 1931:
It is therefore possible that Piltdown man does represent the early pleistocene ancestor of the modern type of man, He may well be the ancestor we have been in search of during all these past years. I am therefore inclined to make the Piltdown type spring from the main ancestral stem of modern humanity...
In the period 1930-1950 Piltdown man was increasingly marginalized and by 1950 was, by and large, simply ignored. It was carried in the books as a fossil hominid. From time to time it was puzzled over and then dismissed again. The American Museum of Natural History quietly classified it as a mixture of ape and man fossils. Over the years it had become an anomaly; some prominent authors did not even bother to list it. In Bones of Contention Roger Lewin quotes Sherwood Washburn as saying
"I remember writing a paper on human evolution in 1944, and I simply left Piltdown out. You could make sense of human evolution if you didn't try to put Piltdown into it."
Finally, in 1953, the roof fell in. Piltdown man was not an ancestor; it was not a case of erroneous interpretation; it was a case of outright deliberate fraud.
From the chronology and the later reconstruction of events it is fairly clear that there never were any significant fossils at the Piltdown quarry. It was salted from time to time with fossils to be found. Once the hoax was exposed, Sir Kenneth Oakley went on to apply more advanced tests to find where the bones had come from and how old they were. His main findings were:
Piltdown I skull: Medieval, human, ~620 years old.
Piltdown II skull: Same source as Piltdown I skull.
Piltdown I jawbone: Orangutan jaw, ~500 years old, probably from Sarawak.
Elephant molar: Genuine fossil, probably from Tunisia.
Hippopotamus tooth: Genuine fossil, probably from Malta or Sicily.
Canine tooth: Pleistocene chimpanzee fossil.
Originally it had been believed that one skull had been used; later, more precise dating established in 1989 that two different skulls had been used, one for each of the two skull "finds". The skulls were unusually thick; a condition that is quite rare in the general population but is common among the Ona indian tribe in Patagonia. The jawbone was not definitely established as being that of an orangutan until 1982. Drawhorn's paper summarizes all that is currently known about the provenance of the bones that were used.
Not only were the bones gathered from a variety of sources, they were given a thorough going treatment to make them appear to be genuinely ancient. A solution containing iron was used to stain the bones; fossil bones deposited in gravel pick up iron and manganese. [It is unclear whether the solution also contained manganese: Millar mentions that manganese was present; Hall, who did the tests for manganese, says that it was not.] Before staining the bones (except for the jawbone) were treated with Chromic acid to convert the bone apatite (mineral component) to gypsum to facilitate the intake of the iron and manganese (?) solution used to stain the bones. The skull may have also been boiled in an iron sulphate solution. The canine tooth was painted after staining, probably with Van Dyke brown. The jaw bone molars were filed to fit. The connection where the jawbone would meet the rest of the skull was carefully broken so that there would be no evidence of lack of fit. The canine tooth was filed to show wear (and was patched with chewing gum). It was filled with sand as it might have been if it had been in the Ouse river bed.
How the hoax was exposed
With few exceptions nobody suggested that the finds were a hoax until the very end. The beginning of the end came when a new dating technique, the fluorine absorption test, became available. The Piltdown fossils were dated with this test in 1949; the tests established that the fossils were relatively modern. Even so, they were still accepted as genuine. For example, in Nature, 1950, p 165, New Evidence on the Antiquity of Piltdown Man Oakley wrote:
The results of the fluorine test have considerably increased the probability that the [Piltdown] mandible and cranium represent the same creature. The relatively late date indicated by the summary of evidence suggests moreover that Piltdown man, far from being an early primitive type, may have been a late specialized hominid which evolved in comparative isolation. In this case the peculiarities of the mandible and the excessive thickness of the cranium might well be interpreted as secondary or gerontic developments.
In 1925 Edmonds had pointed out that Dawson was in error in his geological dating of the Piltdown gravels: they were younger than Dawson had assumed. In 1951 he published an article pointing out that there was no plausible source for the Piltdown animal fossils. Millar (p203) writes:
The older group of Piltdown animals, he said, were alleged to have been washed from a Pliocene land deposit in the Weald. Edmonds thought there must be some misunderstanding. There was no Pliocene land deposit in the entire Weald which could have produced them. the only local Pliocene beds were marine in origin and lay above the five-hundred foot contour line.
In July 1953 an international congress of paleontologists, under the auspices of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, was held in London. The world's fossil men were put up, admired and set down again. But, according to Dr. J.S. Weiner, Piltdown man got barely a mention. He did not fit in. He was a piece of the jig-saw puzzle; the right colour but the wrong shape. It was at the congress that the possibility of fraud dawned on Weiner. Once the possibility had raised it was easy to establish that the finds were a fraud. Millar writes:
The original Piltdown teeth were produced and examined by the three scientists. The evidence of fake could seen immediately. The first and second molars were worn to the same degree; the inner margins of the lower teeth were more worn than the outer -- the 'wear' was the wrong way round; the edges of the teeth were sharp and unbevelled; the exposed areas of dentine were free of shallow cavities and flush with the surrounding enamel; the biting surface of the two molars did not form a uniform surface, the planes were out of alignment. That the teeth might have been misplaced after the death of Piltdown man was considered but an X-ray showed the lower contact surfaces of the roots were correctly positioned. This X-ray also revealed that contrary to the 1916 radiograph the roots were unnaturally similar in length and disposition.
The molar surface were examined under a microscope. They were scarred by criss-cross scratches suggesting the use of an abrasive. 'The evidences of artificial abrasion immediately sprang to the eye' wrote Le Gros Clark. 'Indeed so obvious did they [the scratches] seem it may well be asked -- how was it that they had escaped notice before?' He answered his question with a beautiful simplicity. 'They had never been looked for...nobody previously had examined the Piltdown jaw with the idea of a possible forgery in mind, a deliberate fabrication.'
Why then was the fraud so successful? Briefly, (a) the team finding the specimans (Dawson, Woodward, Teilhard) had excellent credentials, (b) incompetence on the part of the British Paleontological community, (c) the relatively primitive analytical tools available circa 1920, (d) skill of the forgery, (e) it matched what was expected from theory, and (f) as Millar remarks, the hoax led a charmed life.
As a matter of practice, a fraud or hoax is much more likely to succeed if it appears to be validated by an authority. In general, one does not expect a professional in a field to concoct a hoax. Experience teaches that this expectation is not always met.
Although the team had excellent credentials none was truly competent in dealing with hominid fossils; their expertise lay elsewhere. The British museum people, Woodward and Pycraft, made numerous errors of reconstruction and interpretation. The only expert in the expanded team, Grafton Eliot Smith, was strangely silent about some of the errors.
Primitive analytical tools
It is hard for us today to fully grasp how primitive the analytical tools available to the paleontologists of that time were. Chemical tests and dating techniques taken for granted today were not available. The analysis of the details of tooth wear was less worked out. The simple knowledge of geology was much less detailed. The importance of careful establishment of the provenance of fossils was not appreciated. In short, the paleontologists of 1915 were an easier lot to fool.
Skill of the forgery
At the time there were virtually no hominid fossils finds except for some of the early Neanderthal finds. The reconstruction of human evolution was very much an open question. The Piltdown specimens fit one of the leading speculations. The forger knew what anatomical and paleontological tests the specimens would be given.
Meeting Theoretical Expectations
As Hammond points out, a key reason why the hoax succeeded was because it fit in very well with the theories of the time. Boule had recently (erroneously) discredited Neanderthal man as being close to the main hominid line (1908-1912). Elliot Smith felt that the large brain case would have developed first. Sollas did not, but did strongly support mosaic evolution, i.e., features appearing in patches rather in a smooth transition. It was his opinion that human dentition developed before the human jaw. Woodward and others believed that eoliths (supposed very early stone tools) indicated the presence of an early, intelligent hominid in England. Piltdown man, with his large braincase, his simian jaw, and his near human dentition fit the theoretical picture.
The hoax had a charmed life. Features that might have exposed the hoax didn't get caught because of small errors in procedure. For example, the hoax would have been exposed immediately had a test of the jaw for organic matter been made. Tests were made on the cranial fragments, but these were sufficiently well mineralized to pass.
The X-rays taken were of poor quality, even for the time. The dentist Lyne pointed out the incongruity between the heavy wear on the canine and its large pulp cavity, a sign of youth. This was interpreted as secondary dentine formation, an explanation that "worked" because of the poor quality of the X-rays.
The erroneous wear pattern on the molars, which was obvious when Weiner looked at the casts, was never noticed. Nor were they carefully examined under a microscope -- the abrasion marks would have been seen.
Who perpetrated the hoax?
Who did it? Who perpetrated the hoax? When the hoax was exposed nobody knew who the perpetrator was. No one confessed to the deed. For forty odd years people have speculated about the identity of the culprit; over time an impressive list of suspects has accumulated. The case against each suspect has been circumstantial, a constellation of suspicious behaviour, of possible motives, and of opportunity. In this section we present summaries of the arguments against the principal candidates.
A comprehensive listing of the accusations, when they were made, who made them, and who the accused were can be found in Tom Turrittin's Piltdown man overview; it includes details not given here including the particulars of 30 separate books or papers making accusations.
When the hoax was first exposed Dawson, Teilhard, and Woodward were the obvious suspects; they had made the major finds. In 1953 Weiner fingered Dawson as the culprit. Stephen Jay Gould argued that Teilhard and Dawson were the culprits. Woodward generally escaped suspicion; however Drawhorn made a strong case against him in 1994. Grafton Elliot Smith and Sir Arthur Keith were prominent scientists that played key roles in the discovery. Millar argued that Smith was the culprit; Spencer argued that it was a conspiracy between Dawson and Keith. Other candidates that have been mentioned over the years include Arthur Conan Doyle, the geologist W. J. Sollas, and the paleontologist Martin Hinton. This is by no means the end of the list; other people accused include Hargreaves, Abbot, Barlow, and Butterfield.
This fraud is quite unique. Most scientific frauds and hoaxes fall into a few categories. There are student japes, students conconcting evidence to fit a superior's theories. There are confirming evidence frauds, in which a researcher fabricates findings that they believe should be true. There are outright frauds for money, fossils that are fabricated for gullible collectors. There are rare cases of fabrication for reputation, done in the knowledge that the results will not be checked. And, upon occasion, there are frauds concocted simply as an expression of a perverse sense of humor.
The Piltdown hoax does not seem to fit any of these categories well. This was not an ordinary hoax; it was a systematic campaign over the years to establish the existence of Piltdown man. The early skull fragments were created in advance and salted with the foreknowledge that more extensive finds would be planted later. The hoaxer had to have good reason to believe that the salted fossils would be found.
One of the critical factors in any theory is to account for the fact that the perpetrator had to be confident that the salted fossils would be found. That suggests that either Dawson, Teilhard, or Woodward was involved since they alone made the initial finds. At first sight it would seem that Dawson must have been guilty since he made the initial find of the first two skull fragments. However he didn't! They were made by anonymous workmen. The "find" could have been arranged for a handful of coins. As Vere pointed out, the labourer Hargreaves, employed to do most of the digging, was also present at the site.
Another critical factor to be accounted for is access to the specimens that were used in the hoax. Likewise the question of skill and knowledge required for the hoax must be taken into account.
Below are summaries of the cases to be made against the various possible perpetrators. At the moment this section is very much under construction!
The candidates for perpetrator
Was it Abbot?
Was it Barlow?
Was it Butterfield?
Was it Dawson?
Was it Dawson and Keith?
Was it Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?
Was it Hargreaves?
Was it Martin Hinton?
Was it Martin Hinton and others?
Was it Grafton Elliot Smith?
Was it W. J. Sollas?
Was it Teilhard de Chardin?
Was Woodward the perpetrator?
Back to perpetrator list
Was Abbot the forger?
Lewis Abbot, owner of a Hastings jewelry shop, friend of Dawson, and widely respected for his knowledge of the geology of southern England. He was considered as a possibility by Weiner. Blinderman make a major accusation against Abbot, based on an assessment of personality, requisite knowledge, and probable access to the needed bones. The case, however, lacked any definite substance. Abbot has also been mentioned as a possible co-conspirator in a number of accusations.
Was Barlow the forger?
Barlow was accused of being a co-conspirator with Dawson by Caroline Grigson, the curator of the Ontodontological Museum. The accusation has not been taken seriously.
Was Butterfield the forger?
Butterfield, the curator at the Hastings museum, was accused by van Esbroeck of being the forger with Hargreaves planting the forged fossils. The proposed motive is revenge over Dawson's appropriation of some dinosaur fossils. There is no substantive evidence for this charge.
Was Dawson the sole forger?
Dawson is the obvious suspect. He made the initial find of the two skull fragments and the Piltdown II find. In both of these critical discoveries there is no confirmation by another party. He was the one who made the Piltdown quarry a special object of search. Indeed he is such an obvious suspect (Weiner seems to have taken it for granted that Dawson was the forger) that the question is -- why consider any one besides Dawson? Millar (p 226-7) argues against Dawson as the culprit as follows:
One of my main objections to the assumption that Dawson is inevitably the culprit is that as the discoverer he was wide open to suspicion. He is too obvious a culprit... If the bogus fossil excaped detection by his friends at the museum he surely could not have expected that it would withstand scientific enquiry forever. I find it impossible to believe that Dawson would pit his meagre knowledge of anatomy (if it is accepted that he had any at all) against that of any skilled human anatomist... The threat of exposure would be perpetual.
As it was Piltdown man had a charmed life. Because of the poor quality of the original X-ray photographs the bogus jaw remained undetected at the outset. Le Gros Clark has emphasized that the forger's crude workmanship on the teeth was there for all to see if only someone had looked for it.
Millar's argument sounds plausible but it doesn't stand up well. Dawson was a man of many interests, both antiquarian and paleontological, and had numerous knowledgeable friends and acquaintances. The requisite knowledge could readily have been acquired. The argument that he wouldn't have dared is suspect; there is considerable evidence that Dawson had been involved in a number of forgeries and plagarisms; some of which only came to light after Millar wrote. Walsh discusses a number of incidents:
- The Beauport Statuette
- The Blackmore flint weapon
- The Bexhill boat
- The Uckfield horseshoe
- The Hastings clockface
- The Dene Holes plagarism
- The Iron Industry in Old Sussex plagarism
- The Old Sussex Glass plagarism
- The Hastings Castle plagarism
- The Pevensey Brick
A critical point, which Walsh emphasizes, was the discovery of the jawbone by Dawson. Most of the other bones were found in spill, dug up gravel which was searched later after having been dug up. The jawbone, however, was found in situ by Dawson. He struck a blow into the hardpacked gravel and the jawbone popped out (this was reported by Woodward). It would have been very difficult to bury the jawbone in the hardpacked gravel convincingly; however no one except Dawson actually observed the purported undisturbed location of the jawbone before it was found.
In retrospect it is hard to see how Dawson could not have been involved. Walsh argues strongly that Dawson and Dawson alone was the culprit, that he had both the necessary knowledge and the requisite character, and that his participation was physically necessary. Indeed, one might ask why someone proposing to undertake such a fraud would risk having a co-conspirator. However it happens often enough that people of similar inclinations recognize each other.
Were Dawson and Keith conspirators?
The following is an excerpt taken from a summary published by Robert Parson in the talk.origins newsgroup.
In the late 1970's, Ian Langham, an Australian historian of science, began a comprehensive reevaluation of the events surrounding the forgery. Langham was initially attracted to Ronald Millar's hypothesis that the forger was Grafton Elliot Smith; however he later dropped this hypothesis and settled instead upon Sir Arthur Keith. Langham died suddenly in 1984, before revealing his conclusions, and Frank Spencer, of the Department of Anthropology at Queens College of the City University of New York, was appointed to complete Langham's research. Spencer published his and Langham's conclusions in Piltdown: A Scientific Forgery.
The centerpiece of the Langham-Spencer argument is an anonymous article that appeared in the British Medical Journal on 21 December 1912, three days after the formal announcement of the discovery of Piltdown Man at a Geological Society meeting. This article appears superficially to be a mere summary of the meeting, but in fact it contains information (relating to the exact location of the site and to the history of the discovery) that at that time was known only by the people actually involved in the digging. Arthur Smith Woodward found this puzzling and wondered who the author had been and how he had learned about these details, but never found out. 70 years later Ian Langham discovered that the author was Arthur Keith. Moreover, Keith's diary showed that he had written the article three days before the meeting actually took place. Keith was not a part of Woodward's inner circle at this time, and he had not been consulted by Woodward on the discovery; indeed, he had only been allowed to view the specimens two weeks before the official announcement, even though the existence of the find (though not the details) had been an open secret for many weeks beforehand.
This discovery (and similar, more ambiguous documents) suggested to Langham a connection between Dawson and Keith. Keith claimed to have met Dawson for the first time in January 1913, but Langham found evidence that they had met at least three times during 1911-1912. He also noticed that Keith had destroyed all of his correspondence with Dawson. Langham proposed that Dawson began to prepare the hoax sometime between 1905 and 1910. In mid-1911 Keith was brought into it, and during the period 1911-12 Keith prepared the various specimens, Dawson planted them, and Dawson's team subsequently dug them up.
The case against Keith is discussed in detail by Walsh. According to his analysis the circumstantial evidence all has a natural and innocent explanation.
Was Arthur Conan Doyle the perpetrator?
The argument for Doyle was made in an article in Science in 1983 by the anthropologist John Winslow. The Spring 1996 issue of Pacific Discovery has an excellent article by Robert Anderson on the Doyle theory. Doyle was a neighbour of Dawson, was an amateur bone hunter, and participated briefly in the digs. The principal arguments for Doyle as the culprit are circumstantial and literary; it has been argued that The Lost World describes the execution of the hoax in veiled terms. Anderson argues that the exact location of the planted fossils is spelled out in The Lost World as a puzzle. The essential weakness of the case against Doyle is that it would not have been possible for him to have planted the bones with any expectation that they would have been found. Walsh analyzes the case against Doyle in detail and finds it wanting.
The principal proponent of the Doyle theory,Richard Milner who is a historian of science from the American Museum of Natural History, still holds Doyle was responsible. In a debate staged by the Linnaean Society in March 1997 as part of National Science Week he argued the case for Arthur Conan Doyle and against the case for Hinton.
Sir Arthur was a zealous spiritualist, embittered by the exposure and prosecution of Henry Slade, one of his favourite psychics. It is suggested that Doyle sought to discredit the scientific establishment by faking evidence of something they wanted to believe in thereby showing scientists knew less than they thought they did.
Was Hargreaves involved?
Hargreaves, the laborer who did most of the digging at the Piltdown site, was accused by Vere. There is no direct evidence against him. However, unlike many others, he had real opportunity to plant the fossils. If Dawson and Woodward were not involved he almost must have been involved.
Was Martin Hinton the perpetrator?
The May 23, 1996 edition of Nature presents the new case and a smoking gun (?) against Martin A. C. Hinton, a curator of zoology at the museum at the time of the fraud. There are two finds of bones stained and carved in the manner of the Piltdown fossils, a canvas travelling trunk marked with Hinton's initials and glass tubes from Hinton's estate (Hinton died in 1961) which contained human teeth stained in various ways.
The trunk was found in the mid-1970s, when contractors were clearing loft space in the British Museum. The trunk contained hundreds of vials of rodent dissections (Hinton was a rodent specialist) and a collection of carved and stained pieces of fossil hippopotamus and elephant teeth, as well as assorted bones, that looked as if they belonged in the Piltdown collection.
The Nature article claimed that the teeth from the the estate, the contents of the trunk, and the Piltdown remains were stained with the same chemical recipe, a mixture of iron, managanese and chromium. The recipe appears to have been invented by Hinton and is based on a knowledge of post-depositional processes affecting fossils in gravel. Hinton had published a paper in 1899 showing that fossils in river gravels would be impregnated with oxides of iron and manganese, staining them a characteristic chocolate- brown colour.
The motive may have revenge in a quarrel about money or it may simply have been that Woodward was irritatingly stuffy. Hinton was fond of and was famed for his elaborate practical jokes. Hinton was a member of a circle of Sussex-based geologist colleagues and was an expert on the Weald geology. In 1954, shortly after the exposure Hinton wrote a revealing letter to Gavin de Beer director of the British Museum (Natural History):
The temptation to invent such a 'discovery' of an ape-like man associated with late Pliocene Mammals in a Wealden gravel might well have proved irresistable to some unbalanced member of old Ben Harrison's circe at Ightham. He and his friends (of whom I was one) were always talking of the possibility of finding a late Pliocene deposit in the weald.
Andrew Currant, a researcher at the museum and Brian Gardiner, professor of palaeontology at King's College, London, made the investigations into the Hinton evidence. Gardiner presented the case against Hinton in his presidential address to the Linnean Society in London on May 24, 1996.
The case against Hinton is not what it seems. The motive suggested by Gardiner (a quarrel about money) does not work because of timing; the incident in question happened in 1911; the first finds were in 1908. More importantly the chemical analyses do not match. The Hinton samples include Manganese; the Piltdown specimens do not. The Hinton samples do not contain gypsum (produced from the organic material); the Piltdown specimens do. [Drawhorn, correspondence]. Walsh notes that there were legitimate reasons for Hinton to have this material, including doing tests for Oakley. In any event it would have been physically impossible for Hinton to have been the sole hoaxer because he did not have the requisite access to the site in the 1912-1914 period.
Was it Hinton and others?
Although the physical evidence is ambiguous, Hinton's name pops up under a variety of odd circumstances and it seems likely that he knew more that he should have, either by virtue of being a co-conspirator or by virtue of special knowledge not publicly admitted.
In 1981 L. Harrison Matthews wrote a series of articles in the New Scientist on the Piltdown hoax. In these article he suggested that Hinton believed the finds to be a hoax and that Hinton and Teilhard manufactured and planted ridiculous forgeries to expose the hoax. In particular the Elephant bone tool was a crude cricket bat, appropriate for "the earliest Englishman". This theory was repeated in 1982 in Betrayers of the Truth by Broad and Wade, and in 1996 in The Common but Less Frequent Loon and Other Essays by Keith S. Thomson.
L. Harrison Matthews described informal dinner conversations in the period 1945-51 during which Hinton implied that "Piltdown was not a subject to be taken seriously" from which Matthews surmised that Hinton "knew more about the hoax and the museum's part in it than he ever admitted". Other evidence referred to by Matthews included Hinton's correspondence after the hoax was exposed and subsequent conversations in which Hinton obliquely included himself in a small list of suspects. Matthews was sufficiently confident about Hinton's involvement that he was the first to suggest the oft-repeated claim that the first finds were due to Dawson and that in response, Hinton manufactured and planted ridiculous forgeries to expose the hoax. This is a relatively honorable role for Hinton in comparison with sole hoaxer. It is clear that Matthews respected Hinton, with whom he shared many wide-ranging and interesting conversations during Hinton's retirement. It is likely that Matthews was unable to conceive of his friend being the initiator and solely responsible for the fraud.
Was Grafton Elliot Smith the perpetrator?
Millar argues that Smith was the culprit. Smith was an expert anatomist, and a paleontologist with ready access to a wide variety of fossils. He was suspiciously quiet when Woodward messed up the construction of the Piltdown I skull. He "failed to recognize" that the cranial bones of Piltdown II belonged to Piltdown I whereas Hrdlicka recognized that the Piltdown II molar came from Piltdown I after a brief examination. Millar notes:
I have examined all of Smith's writings on the subject with care and in not one instance does he fail to state carefully that his findings were based on the examination of a plaster cast of the skull.
It is quite unlikely that Smith had not examined the actual skull fragments. Smith was in Nubia during most of the discoveries; however he came to England at convenient points. Smith had the right kind of personality. When Millar discussed the possibility of Smith with Oakley, Oakley was not surprised. There is, however, no direct evidence against Smith. As with other "outsider" theories it was physically impossible for Smith to have been the sole hoaxer.
Was W. J. Sollas the perpetrator?
W. J. Sollas was a Professor of Geology at Oxford and a bitter enemy of Woodward. He was accused in 1978 by his successor in the Oxford chair, J. A. Douglas, in a posthumously released tape recording. The essential difficulty with this theory is to explain how Sollas (or another outsider) could have salted the Piltdown site and be sure the fake fossils would be found. One also wonders why, if Sollas were the perpetrator, he did not expose the hoax and thereby damaging Woodward's reputation. This could have been done behind the scenes easily enough by asking the right questions.
Was Teilhard de Chardin the perpetrator?
In an essay reprinted in The Panda's Thumb, Stephen Jay Gould argues the case for a conspiracy by Teilhard de Chardin and Dawson. The case is circumstantial. The suggested motive is a student jape (Teilhard was quite young at the time.) It was supposed that Teilhard did not have the opportunity; however Gould shows that this was not necessarily so. Much of Gould's case rests on ambiguous wording in Teilhard's correspondence. Certainly Teilhard is a plausible candidate for the mysterious friend who helped discover Piltdown II. Gould argues that they had intended to blow the gaffe shortly after the initial finds but that they were prevented from doing so by WW I. By 1918 things had gotten out of hand to the point where the hoax could no longer be owned up to.
I do not think that Gould's assessment of motive stands up well. It is plausible that Teilhard might have concocted a hoax; that is common for frisky students. However this fraud was planned and prepared years in advance and was executed over an extended period of time; the nature of the execution of the fraud goes well beyond the student jape.
The case against Teilhard is considered in detail by Walsh. He argues fairly convincingly that many of the circumstances stressed by Gould have natural and plausible explanations.
Teilhard was also accused of being involved by L. Harrison Matthews who claimed that Teilhard planted the fossil canine tooth in collaboration with Martin A.C. Hinton, with Teilhard subsequently "discovering" the tooth. The evidence for this collaboration is that Hinton told his friend Richard Savage that Hinton and Teilhard had visited the site together early in 1913. Matthews commented that Teilhard never mentioned this visit, and subsequent developments have damaged Hinton's credibility regarding these clues.
Was Woodward the perpetrator?
Woodward seems to have escaped serious consideration, primarily because he was very much a "straight arrow". However there is a strong case to be made against Woodward as a co-conspirator with Dawson. The provenance of many of bones used in the construction of the Piltdown specimens has been established; some were not at all readily available. Woodward, and apparently only Woodward, had professional access to all of them. The main focus of Drawhorn's paper is a consideration of this question of the origin of the specimens and who could have provided them.
Woodward had strong motives. He benefitted directly as co-discoverer of a monumental find. During the period in question he was engaged in an ardent campaign for the position of Director of the BMNH, a campaign in which his tactics were distinctly not "straight-arrowish". The finds directly confirmed the orthogenetic theories that he was advocating.
Woodward's participation would explain many of the seemingly fortunate circumstances that allowed the hoax to survive. For example, the hoax would have failed immediately if the jawbone had been tested for organic material; it never was. Dawson, as a single hoaxer, could have arranged that only skull fragments be tested initially. However it was Woodward who kept Keith from testing the Piltdown specimens even though he had used Keith's services before and after. It was Woodward who carefully restricted access to the specimens. At no time did Woodward give the specimens the careful physical examination that would have exposed the hoax. The vagueness about the location of the second find is peculiar. At one point he designated the site as being at a particular farm on the Netherfield side of the Ouse; later he "forgot" this and designated it as being on the Sheffield Park side, location unknown. Millar remarked on the "charmed life" of the hoax. Perhaps the charmed life was stage managed.
It has been argued that Woodward's correspondence with Dawson establishes his innocence. This is not so. If Woodward were a conspirator their correspondence would have been artifacts, part of the hoax. It should be remembered that copies of Museum correspondence were kept as part of the official record. For many years afterward Woodward returned to the Piltdown site for further digs; nothing was found. This may be the best argument for his innocence.
Although a strong case against Woodward can be made it is not definite. It is impossible to prove that Dawson did not have access to all of the specimens used to construct the hoax. Woodward's "errors" could have been unfortunate incompetence.
Myths and misconceptions
Piltdown man has been the focus of many myths and misconceptions, many of which are assiduously repeated by creationists for whom Piltdown man is a popular club with which to assail evolution. They include:
[It's all the British Museum's fault]
[The hoax was swallowed uncritically]
[500 doctoral theses were written on Piltdown man]
[This is a good example of Science correcting itself]
[The hoax was unimportant]
It's all the British Museum's fault
Gould and others have criticized the British Museum for keeping the fossils "under wraps". suggesting that the hoax might have been exposed much earlier. It is true that access to the fossils were restricted. This is normal practice for rare and valuable fossils. However it is doubtful that this "security" protected the hoax. The fossils were available for examination. The tests that exposed the hoax could have been performed at any time. The single most important thing that protected the hoax from exposure was that nobody thought of the possibility. However in reading the history of the find it is clear that the leading paleontologists had access to the Piltdown man specimans. For example, Hrdlicka examined them; his rejection of the mandible and cranium being from the same animal was based on direct examination. Following the revelation of the fraud Martin Hinton, Deputy Keeper in the Dept. of Zoology at the British Museum. wrote to the Times:
Had the investigators been permitted to handle the actual specimens, I think the spurious nature of the jaw would have been detected long ago.
Wilfred Le Gros Clark, a member of the team that exposed the forger, wrote to Hinton reminding him that Woodward had in fact allowed other specialists to examine the originals. The charge seems to have stuck, however. (Frank Spencer, The Piltdown Forgery, p. 149).
It does seem to be the case that access to the fossils was quite restricted in later years. In his autobiographical book By the Evidence Leakey said when he saw Piltdown in 1933:
I was not allowed to handle the originals in any way, but merely to look at them and satisfy myself that the casts were really good replicas. Then, abruptly, the originals were removed and locked up again, and I was left for the rest of the morning with only the casts to study.
The hoax was swallowed uncritically
This is a half truth; almost no one publicly raised the possibility of a deliberate hoax. There were rumors circulating, however. William Gregory, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History wrote in Natural History in May of 1914:
"It has been suspected by some that geologically [the bones] are not that old at all; that they may even represent a deliberate hoax, a negro or Australian skull and a broken ape jaw, artificially fossilized and planted in the grave bed, to fool scientists."
He went on, however, to vigorously deny the charge, concluding
"None of the experts who have scrutinized the specimens and the gravel pit and its surroundings has doubted the genuineness of the discovery."
In general, however, the finds were accepted as being genuine fossils but were not accepted uncritically as being from an ancient human ancestor. There was an early and recurring doubt that the jaw and the skull were from two different animals, that the jaw was from an archaic chimpanzee and that the skull was from a relatively modern human being. Notable critics include Dr. David Waterston of King's College, the French paleontologists Marcellin Boule and Ernest Robert Lenoir, Gerrit Miller, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian, and Professor Ales Hrdlicka.
Initially there were many more critics, e.g. Osborn. However the finding of the second skull converted many of the critics. Finding a jaw from one animal near the skull of another might be an accident of juxtaposition -- two such finds is quite unlikely to be an accident. Some critics, e.g. Lenoir and Hrdlicka remained unconvinced none-the-less.
The following quote comes from a "The Evolution of Man", a 1927 book by Grafton Elliot Smith:
"Yet it [the skullcap] was found in association with the fragment of a jaw presenting so close a resemblance to the type hitherto known only in Apes that for more than twelve years many competent biologists have been claiming it to be the remains of a Chimpanzee."
Franz Weidenreich in 1946, in his book "Apes, Giants, and Men" (Note that Weidenreich was an extremely respected scientist, having done most of the work on the Peking Man skulls):
In this connection, another fact should be considered. We know of a lower jaw from the Lower Pleistocene of southern England which is anatomically, without any doubt, the jaw of an anthropoid. The trouble is that this jaw, although generally acknowledged as a simian jaw, has been attributed to man because it was found mixed with fragments of an undoubtedly human brain case. I am referring to the famous Piltdown finds and to Eoanthropus, as the reconstructed human type has been called by the English authors... Therefore, both skeletal elements cannot belong to the same skull.
It should also be mentioned that in 1950 Ashley Montagu and Alvan T. Marston mounted major attacks on the interpretation of the Piltdown fossils as being from a single animal.
500 doctoral dissertations were written on Piltdown man
This claim appears in creationist sources. Gary Parker's pamphlet "Origin of Mankind", Impact series 101, Creation-Life Publishers (1981) makes the claim without qualification or source. Lubenow's Bones of Contention (1992) remarks that it is said that there were 500 doctoral dissertations but does not give a source.
This claim is clearly in error. When one considers the small number of PhD's in paleontology being granted currently and the even smaller number 80 years ago and the diversity of topics chosen for PhD theses a figure of half a dozen seems generous; in all probability there were none whatsoever. John Rice Cole notes that in the 20s there were about 2 dissertations per year in physical anthropology in the entire US on ANY topic.
Robert Parson made a systematic search of the bibliographies of The Piltdown Forgery by Weiner, The Piltdown Inquest by Blinderman, Piltdown: A Scientific Forgery and The Piltdown Papers by Spencer, The Antiquity of Man (1925) and New Discoveries Relating to the Antiquity of Man (1931) by Sir Arthur Keith. Spencer and Keith's works have extensive references and bibliographies of the primary research literature. There are no references to any doctoral dissertations. Likewise Millar's bibliography contains no references to any doctoral dissertation.
It is not clear whether this claim is a simple fabrication or whether it is an erroneous transcription from another source. In the introduction to The Piltdown Men (1972), Millar says "it is estimated that some five hundred essays were written about [Piltdown man]". This estimate is credible, the 1920 edition of H.G. Wells' The Outline of History remarks "more than a hundred books, pamphlets, and papers have been written [about Piltdown Man]". W. & A. Quenstedt listed over 300 references in 1936 in Hominidae fossiles. Fossilium Catalogus I: Animalia, 74: 191-197.
Millar gives no source, evidently not considering the matter to be important enough to document_ However it probably was the editorial in the 10 July 1954 issue of Nature (vol. 274, 4419, pp. 61-62) which describes a meeting of the Geological Society (30 June 1954) devoted to the exposure of the hoax. The editorial (unsigned) says:
"It is agreed that the skull fragments are human and not of great antiquity; that the jawbone is ape; that they have no important evolutionary significance. More than five hundred articles and memoirs are said to have been written about Piltdown man. His rise and fall are a salutary example of human motives, mischief and mistake."
By coincidence, Spencer's The Piltdown Papers (1990) contains 500 letters, i.e. 500 items of correspondence between Piltdown principals. However this cannot be the source of the number 500 since The Piltdown Papers appeared well after Parker's pamphlet and Millar's book.
The most plausible explanation for this myth is that Millar and Parker both used the same source, the Nature editorial, and that Parker assumed that papers and memoirs were dissertations. In turn Lubenow's source was probably the Parker pamphlet. The truth, however, is unknown.
This is a good example of Science correcting itself
It has been argued that this is a good example of science correcting its errors. This argument is a bit roseate. As the Daily Sketch wrote:
Anthropologists refer to the hoax as 'another instance of desire for fame leading a scholar into dishonesty' and boast that the unmasking of the deception is 'a tribute to the persistence and skill of modern research'. Persistence and skill indeed! When they have taken over forty years to discover the difference between an ancient fossil and a modern chimpanzee! A chimpanzee could have done it quicker.
Far from being a triumph of Science the hoax points to common and dangerous faults. The hoax succeeded in large part because of the slipshod nature of the testing applied to it; careful examination using the methods available at the time would have immediately revealed the hoax. This failure to adquately examine the fossils went unmarked and unnoticed at the time - in large part because the hoax admirably satisfied the theoretical expectations of the time.
The hoax illuminates two pitfalls to be wary of in the scientific process. The first is the danger of inadequately examining and challenging results that confirm the currently accepted scientific interpretation. The second is that a result, once established, tends to be uncritically accepted and relied upon without further reconsideration.
The hoax was unimportant
Robert Parson pointed out in a talk.origins posting that the Piltdown hoax was a scientific disaster of the first magnitude. He said:
Piltdown "confirmed" hypotheses about our early ancestors that were in fact wrong - specifically, that the brain case developed before the jaw. The early Australopithecine fossils found by Dart in South Africa in the 1920's failed to receive the attention due to them for this reason. The entire reconstruction of the history of the evolution of humanity was thrown off track until the 1930's.
Prominent anthropologists, such as Arthur Smith Woodward, Arthur Keith, and Grafton Elliot Smith, wasted years of their lives exploring the properties of what turned out to be a fake. The lingering suspicion that one of them might have been involved in the forgery will cloud their reputations forever.
More than five hundred articles and memoirs were written about the Piltdown finds before the hoax was exposed; these were all wasted effort. Likewise articles in encyclopedias and sections in text books and popular books of science were simply wrong. It should be recognized that an immense amount of derivative work is based upon a relatively small amount of original finds. For many years the Piltdown finds were a significant percentage of the fossils which were used to reconstruct human ancestry.
It is a black mark on science that it took 40 years to expose a hoax that bore directly on human ancestry. Creationists have not been slow in pointing to the hoax, the erroneous reconstructions based on the hoax, and the long time it took to expose the hoax.
Who the players were
Lewis Abbotwas a jeweler in Hastings. He knew Dawson since 1900 through the Hastings museum. He was an authority on Wealdan flora and fauna and its ancient gravels and, more generally, the geology of southern England. Weiner described him as "fiery, bombastic, inspiring and weird."
Frank O. Barlow was a staff member of the British Museum of Natural History. He prepared plaster casts of the Piltdown skull.
William Butterfield was the curator at the Hastings museum. Ordinarily of calm and placid temperament, he quarreled with Dawson over Dawson's appropriation of some dinosaur fossils for the British Museum.
Raymond Dart held the chair of Anatomy in the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. He discovered Australopithecus (Taung baby) and was the principal early exponent of an African origin for humanity.
Charles Dawson was an amateur archaeologist, geologist, antiquarian, and was a collector of fossils for the British museum. He was the original person to seriously search for fossils in the Piltdown quarry. In 1912 he and Woodward discovered the the first Piltdown skull. In 1915 he discovered the second skull. He died in 1916 shortly after the finds.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a neighbor of Dawson's and had an interest in paleontology. At one point he participated in the Piltdown digs. He was the victim of the "fairies in the garden" hoax. Doyle wrote The Lost World and a number of popular mysteries.
F. H. Edmonds was a British geologist in the Geological Survey. His papers in 1925 and 1951 cast doubt respectively on the assigned age of Piltdown man and on there being a plausible source for Piltdown animal fossils.
Stephen Jay Gould is a paleontologist at Harvard University. Gould and Niles Eldredge introduced the "punctuated equilibrium" theory. Gould is the author of a number of popular collections of essays. He has suggested that Teilhard de Chardin was the author of the hoax.
Venus Hargreaves was the workman who assisted Dawson, Woodward, and Teilhard deChardin in the Piltdown digs.
Martin A. C. Hinton was a member of the Sussex circle of paleontologists before the hoax and a curator of zoology at the British Museum at the time of the fraud. He was an expert on the effect of deposition of fossils in gravel. Hinton was noted for his practical jokes.
Sir Arthur Keith was an anatomist and paleontologist, keeper of the Hunterian collection of the Royal College of Surgeons, and president of the Anthropological Institute.
L Harrison Matthews was an eminent English biologist who wrote an influential series of articles in New Scientist in 1981 in which it was postulated that Dawson planted the original finds and Hinton, with the aid of Teilhard, planted the later objects. Matthews was a friend of Hinton.
Grafton Elliot Smith was a fellow of the Royal Society and in 1909 became the holder of the chair of anatomy at the University of Manchester. Smith had made a special study of fossil men. He was one of the select crew that participated in the Piltdown dig.
W. J. Sollas was a Professor of Geology at Oxford. He was acerbic, ecentric, and a bitter enemy of Woodward and of Keith.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a friend of Dawson, a Jesuit, a paleontologist, and a theologian. He participated in the discovery of Peking man and Piltdown man. He is popular for his theological theories which are considered heretical by the Catholic church.
J. S. Weiner was an eminent paleontologist. In 1953 he realized that Piltdown man might have been a hoax. J.S. Weiner, Sir Kenneth Oakley and Sir Wilfrid Le Gros Clark jointly exposed the hoax.
Sir Arthur Smith Woodward was the keeper of the British Museums's Natural History Department and was a friend of Dawson. His specialty was paleoichthyology. His subordinate, W.P. Pycraft, who was in charge of the anthropology section which dealt with fossil humanity, was an ornithologist. Neither was knowledgable about human anatomy, a fact which facilitated the hoax.
This section lists major sources. Tom Turrittin's bibliography page is a comprehensive post 1953 bibliography of Piltdown man material.
The Piltdown Inquest, C. Blinderman, Prometheus 1986
Betrayers of the Truth, Broad and Wade, Simon and Schuster, ISBN 0-671-44769-6, 1982, focuses on scientfic frauds and other hanky panky, including a section on Piltdown man.
The Panda's Thumb, Stephen Jay Gould, W.W.Norton and Company, New York, contains the essay "Piltdown Revisited" which gives Gould's views on the hoax.
A Framework of Plausibility for an Anthropological Forgery: The Piltdown Case, Michael Hammond, Anthropology, Vol 3, No. 1&2, May-December, 1979.
The Antiquity of Man, Sir Arthur Keith,2nd edition, 2 vols., Williams and Northgate, London 1925. Volume 2 devotes about 250 pages to Piltdown man, with many references to primary research literature.
New Discoveries Relating to the Antiquity of Man, Sir Arthur Keith, Williams and Northgate, London 1931. Page 466 contains the cited material.
Bones of contention: a creationist assessment of human fossils, M.L. Lubenow, Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Books, 1992. (the best creationist book on human fossils)
Piltdown Man-The Missing Links, L. Harrison Matthews, a series of articles in New Scientist from 30 April 1981 through 2 July 1981.
The Piltdown Men, Ronald Millar, St. Martin's Press, New York, Library of Congress No. 72-94380, 1972, 237 pages + 2 appendices + an extensive bibliography.
Piltdown: a scientific forgery, Frank Spencer, Oxford University Press, London 1990, ISBN 0198585225, xxvi, 272 p. : ill., ports. ; 25 cm.
The Piltdown Papers, Frank Spencer, Oxford University Press, London 1990, ISBN 0198585233, xii, 282 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. The second book is a collection of archival materials that Spencer investigated in his research. His book is based in part on research of Ian Langham; Langham died in 1984 and Spencer was asked to finish the investigation.
Unravelling Piltdown, John Evangelist Walsh, Random House, New York 1996, ISBN 0-679-44444-0, 219p, 38p of notes, selected bibliography, index.
The Piltdown Forgery, J. S. Weiner, Oxford University Press, London, 1980, is a republication of the 1955 edition.
The Earliest Englishman, A. S. Woodward, Watts and Co. London, 1948, is Piltdown man's last hurrah in respectability.
Nebraska Man was named in 1922 from a humanlike tooth which had been found in Nebraska. As creationists tell the story, evolutionists used one tooth to build an entire species of primitive man, complete with illustrations of him and his family, before further excavations revealed the tooth to belong to a peccary, an animal similar to (and closely related to) pigs.
The true story is much more complex (Wolf and Mellett 1985; Gould 1991). Harold Cook, a rancher and geologist from Nebraska, had found the tooth in 1917, and in 1922 he sent it to Henry Fairfield Osborn, a paleontologist and the president of the American Museum of Natural History. Osborn identified it as an ape, and quickly published a paper identifying it as a new species, which he named Hesperopithecus haroldcookii.
The Nebraska Man tooth, as shown in the Illustrated London News, June 24, 1922
The imaginative drawing of Nebraska Man to which creationists invariably refer was the work of an illustrator collaborating with the scientist Grafton Elliot Smith, and was done for a British popular magazine, not for a scientific publication. Few if any other scientists claimed Nebraska Man was a human ancestor. A few, including Osborn and his colleagues, identified it only as an advanced primate of some kind. Osborn, in fact, specifically avoided making any extravagant claims about Hesperopithecus being an ape-man or human ancestor:
"I have not stated that Hesperopithecus was either an Ape-man or in the direct line of human ancestry, because I consider it quite possible that we may discover anthropoid apes (Simiidae) with teeth closely imitating those of man (Hominidae), ..."
"Until we secure more of the dentition, or parts of the skull or of the skeleton, we cannot be certain whether Hesperopithecus is a member of the Simiidae or of the Hominidae." (Osborn 1922)
Most other scientists were skeptical even of the more modest claim that the Hesperopithecus tooth belonged to a primate. It is simply not true that Nebraska Man was widely accepted as an ape-man, or even as an ape, by scientists, and its effect upon the scientific thinking of the time was negligible. For example, in his two-volume book Human Origins published during what was supposedly the heyday of Nebraska Man (1924), George MacCurdy dismissed Nebraska Man in a single footnote:
"In 1920 [sic], Osborn described two molars from the Pliocene of Nebraska; he attributed these to an anthropoid primate to which he has given the name Hesperopithecus. The teeth are not well preserved, so that the validity of Osborn's determination has not yet been generally accepted."
Gregory confirmed this in his article which correctly identified the tooth:
The scientific world, however, was far from accepting without further evidence the validity of Professor Osborn's conclusion that the fossil tooth from Nebraska represented either a human or an anthropoid tooth. (Gregory 1927)
Identifying the tooth as belonging to a higher primate was not as foolish as it sounds. Pig and peccary cheek teeth are extremely similar to those of humans, and the specimen was worn, making identification even harder.
The infamous illustration of Nebraska Man done for the Illustrated London News
by Amedee Forestier
Creationists often ridicule the Nebraska Man illustration, of two humanlike but extremely bestial creatures, done by Amedee Forestier for the Illustrated London News (Smith 1922). They rightly point out that an animal cannot be reconstructed from one tooth. But the drawing was not a reconstruction and was never intended, or claimed, to be accurate or scientific, being based more on the Java Man fossil than on the tooth. Smith emphasized (the following quote was in both the main text and below the drawing) its speculative nature:
"Mr. Forestier has made a remarkable sketch to convey some idea of the possibilities suggested by this discovery. As we know nothing of the creature's form, his reconstruction is merely the expression of an artist's brilliant imaginative genius. But if, as the peculiarities of the tooth suggest, Hesperopithecus was a primitive forerunner of Pithecanthropus, he may have been a creature such as Mr. Forestier has depicted." (Smith 1922, emphasis added)
Osborn, who had named Hesperopithecus, was less impressed with Forestier's artistic efforts, and remarked that
"such a drawing or 'reconstruction' would doubtless be only a figment of the imagination of no scientific value, and undoubtedly inaccurate." (quoted in Wolf and Mellett 1985)
Smith may have been the only major scientist who was enthusiastic about Nebraska Man's hominid status, but even he, in his 1927 book The Evolution of Man, was much more cautious than he had been in the ILN article. Although he stated that
"I think the balance of probability is in favour of the view that the tooth found in the Pliocene beds of Nebraska may possibly have belonged to a primitive member of the Human Family" (Smith 1927),
Smith also recognized that Hesperopithecus was "questionable", and admitted that
"The suggestion that the Nebraska tooth (Hesperopithecus) may possibly indicate the existence of Mankind in Early Pliocene times is, as I have explained in the Foreword, still wholly tentative. The claim that real men were in existence in Pliocene and Miocene times must be regarded as a mere hypothesis unsupported as yet by any adequate evidence." (Smith 1927)
Creationists often claim that Nebraska Man was used as proof of evolution during the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925, but this claim is apocryphal. No scientific evidence was presented at the trial. (Some evidence was read into the trial record, but even this did not refer to Nebraska Man.)
Nor is it true, as Ian Taylor (1995) has said, that the retraction of the original identification was not publicized and never made the headlines. Bowden (1981) similarly states that "Little publicity was given to the discovered error". In fact, The New York Times and The Times of London both announced the news (the NYT put it on the front page), and both also printed editorials about it (Wolf and Mellett 1985). Taylor's other claim, that the retraction was announced in the scientific literature in only four lines in the back pages of Nature, is almost correct (it was 16 lines) but highly deceptive, since it conceals the fact that a one and a half page article retracting the claim was printed in the prestigious journal Science (Gregory 1927). Moreover, Taylor should have known about this article, because it was referenced by the item in Nature to which he did refer.
Nebraska Man should not be considered an embarrassment to science. The scientists involved were mistaken, and somewhat incautious, but not dishonest. The whole episode was actually an excellent example of the scientific process working at its best. Given a problematic identification, scientists investigated further, found data which falsified their earlier ideas, and promptly abandoned them (a marked contrast to the creationist approach).
Gregory W.K. (1927): Hesperopithecus apparently not an ape nor a man. Science, 66:579-81. (identified the Nebraska Man tooth as belonging to a peccary)
Gould S.J. (1991): An essay on a pig roast. In Bully for brontosaurus. (pp. 432-47). New York: W.W.Norton.
Osborn H.F. (1922): Hesperopithecus, the anthropoid primate of western Nebraska. Nature, 110:281-3.
Smith G.E. (1922): Hesperopithecus: the ape-man of the western world. Illustrated London News, 160:942-4.
Smith G.E. (1927): The evolution of man. Ed. 2. London: Oxford University Press.
Taylor I. (1995): Nebraska man goes to court. Science, Scripture and Salvation (ICR radio show), Jul 8:
Wolf J. and Mellett J.S. (1985): The role of "Nebraska man" in the creation-evolution debate. Creation/Evolution, Issue 16:31-43. (the best reference on the Nebraska Man episode)
Thanks to Chris Nedin for obtaining the hard-to-find Illustrated London News article on Nebraska Man.
Many creationists have claimed that Java Man, discovered by Eugene Dubois in 1893, was "bad science". Gish (1985) says that Dubois found two human skulls at nearby Wadjak at about the same level and had kept them secret; that Dubois later decided Java Man was a giant gibbon; and that the bones do not come from the same individual. Most people would find Gish's meaning of "nearby" surprising: the Wadjak skulls were found 65 miles (104 km) of mountainous countryside away from Java Man. Similarly for "at approximately the same level": the Wadjak skulls were found in cave deposits in the mountains, while Java Man was found in river deposits in a flood plain (Fezer 1993). Nor is it true, as is often claimed, that Dubois kept the existence of the Wadjak skulls secret because knowledge of them would have discredited Java Man. Dubois briefly reported the Wadjak skulls in three separate publications in 1890 and 1892. Despite being corrected on this in a debate in 1982 and in print (Brace 1986), Gish has continued to make this claim, even stating, despite not having apparently read Dubois' reports, that they did not mention the Wadjak skulls (Fezer 1993).
Lubenow does acknowledge the existence of Dubois' papers, but argues that since they were bureaucratic reports not intended for the public or the scientific community, Dubois was still guilty of concealing the existence of the Wadjak skulls. This is also incorrect; the journals in which Dubois published, although obscure, were distributed in Europe and America, and are part of the scientific literature. They are available in major libraries and have often been referred to by later researchers (Brace, 1996:pers.comm.).
Based on his own theories about how brains had evolved and wishful thinking, Dubois did claim that Java Man was "a gigantic genus allied to the gibbons", but this was not, as creationists imply, a retraction of his earlier claims that it was an intermediate between apes and humans. Dubois also pointed out that it was bipedal and that its brain size was "very much too large for an anthropoid ape", and he never stopped believing that he had found an ancestor of modern man (Theunissen 1989; Gould 1993; Lubenow 1992). (The creationist organization Answers in Genesis has now abandoned the claim that Dubois dismissed Java Man as a gibbon, and now lists it in their Arguments we think creationists should NOT use web page.)
Creationists are right about one thing. Most modern scientists agree that the femur is more recent than the skullcap, belonging to a modern human. Some of the teeth found nearby are now thought to be from an orang-utan, rather than Homo erectus.
It is instructive to listen to Gish (1993) expounding on the apelike qualities of the skullcap:
"Now we see that the skullcap is very apelike; notice that it has no forehead, it's very flat, very typical of the ape. Notice the massive eyebrow ridges, very typical of the ape".
Despite this, the skullcap definitely does not belong to any ape, and especially not to a gibbon. It is far too large (940 cc, compared to 97 cc for a gibbon), and it is similar to many other Homo erectus fossils that have been found. One of these is Sangiran 17, also found on Java. This skull, which is never mentioned by creationists, is an almost complete cranium and is clearly human, albeit primitive. Others are the Turkana Boy and ER 3733 fossils, both of which creationists recognize as human.
If one is trying to pigeonhole Java Man as either an ape or a human, calling it a human is easily the best choice, but very few creationists seem to have done so until Lubenow in 1992. However he attempts to disqualify Java Man as a primitive human by using faunal evidence to show that it is the same age as the Wadjak skulls. Lubenow gives the following quote from Hooijer (1951):
"Tapirus indicus, supposedly extinct in Java since the Middle Pleistocene, proved to be represented in the Dubois collection from the Wadjak site, central Java, which is late - if not post - Pleistocene in age."
Lubenow is saying that since this species of tapir was found in both the Trinil [the site where Java Man was found] and Wadjak faunas, these fossils may be of the same age. This conclusion is reinforced by three other quotes from Hooijer, all of which describe difficulties in using faunal methods to date Javan fossils. Lubenow's argument fails for a number of reasons.
Even if faunal methods were completely invalid, it would not constitute evidence that Wadjak Man and Java Man were the same age. The most that could be claimed was that the ages of both were unknown. However Hooijer never said that the faunal methods were useless, or that the Wadjak and Trinil faunas were the same.
By far the simplest resolution of the tapir discrepancy is, as Hooijer stated, that Tapirus indicus survived longer than previously thought on Java (Lubenow does admit this possibility). This is consistent with the rest of the evidence. The Wadjak fauna is modern, and hence Wadjak Man is considered to be less than 50,000 years old, and more probably about 10,000 years old. The Trinil fauna contains many more extinct species, and is hence older.
Basically, Lubenow argues that Wadjak Man and Java Man are the same age because a single species of tapir is in both faunas, ignoring that there are many other species not shared between the faunas, and that the extinct species are exclusively in the Trinil fauna.
Lubenow claims that Dubois concealed the Wadjak fossils because the discrepancy of the tapir would have contradicted his claim that Java Man was far older than Wadjak. This seems implausible because Dubois was one of the earliest collectors in Java, and detailed information on the Javan faunas was not compiled until decades later (Hooijer 1951).
Incidentally, the tapir was probably not singled out for mention by Hooijer because it is an anomaly, as Lubenow seems to suspect. It was probably of interest because this species of tapir is still living in South East Asia, and is not, as Lubenow stated, extinct. (Hooijer only stated that it was extinct in Java, not elsewhere.)
Parker (Morris and Parker 1982) expresses puzzlement that Johanson (1981) considers Java Man to be a valid fossil. It is of course a valid fossil because the skullcap had to belong to something, but Parker merely dismisses it as "bad science". (He seems to be of the opinion that it was an ape, but does not say so explicitly.)
As mentioned above Lubenow, publishing in 1992, was one of the first major creationists to conclude that the Java Man skullcap did not belong to an ape. Bill Mehlert came to similar conclusion in a paper published in a creationist journal in 1994:
The finding of ER 3733 and WT 15000 therefore appears to strongly reinforce the validity of Java and Peking Man. The clear similarities shared by all four (where skeletal and cranial material available), render untenable any claims that the two Asian specimens are nothing more than exceptionally large apes. (Mehlert 1994)
Following this many of the better-informed creationists decided that the skullcap which had hitherto belonged to an ape was in fact human, such that Carl Wieland, the CEO of Answers in Genesis was able to write in 1998 (in a review of Richard Milton's book Shattering the myths of Darwinism) that
[Milton's] statement that the Java Man remains are now thought to be simply those of an extinct, giant gibbon-like creature is simply false. He appears to have been misled by the myth (commenced by evolutionists, and perpetuated in both creationist and evolutionist works since) that Eugene Dubois, the discoverer of Java Man, recanted and called his discovery a 'giant gibbon'. Knowledgable creationists do not make this sort of claim anymore. (Wieland 1998)
"Knowledgable creationists" may not claim that Java Man is an ape any more, but there still seem to be quite a few non-knowledgable creationists out there, such as Duane Gish (1995). Old lies die hard, however. An article published in 1991 in Creation, the popular magazine of Weiland's organization Answers in Genesis, suggested that the Java Man skullcap was probably that of an ape. That article is still on the AIG website as of 2005:
'Java man' has been renamed so as to now belong to the category of Homo erectus. However, readers should be aware that though there are indeed reasonable specimens which have been named Homo erectus (of disputed status in this whole question, but that's another matter) there is no reason to believe that 'Java man' necessarily even belonged to this category, nor had any objective existence at all.
The skull-cap may have belonged to a large extinct ape, and the leg bone to an ordinary human.
When Mehlert stated that ER 3733 and WT 15000 had rendered untenable the claim that Java Man skullcap was just a large ape, he was only about 60 years behind the times. Legitimate scientists had come to the same conclusion in the 1930's, when other fossils similar to but more complete than the original Java Man were discovered, showing conclusively that it did not belong to a giant ape. It seems to have taken the discovery of the Turkana Boy fossil WT 15000 in 1985 to make this obvious even to creationists.
Ray and Kirk claim that Heidelberg Man is a fraud, claiming that "scientists reject the jaw bone because it's similar to that of modern man." "Heidelberg Man came from a jaw bone, a large chin, and a few teeth," say Comfort and Cameron, but here is a picture of this find with some back ground information on the fossil:
Discovered by gravel pit workers in 1907 near Heidelberg in Germany. Estimated age is between 400,000 and 700,000 years. This find consisted of a lower jaw with a receding chin and all its teeth. The jaw is extremely large and robust, like that of Homo erectus, but the teeth are at the small end of the erectus range. It is often classified as Homo heidelbergensis, but has also sometimes been considered to be a European Homo erectus.
The above photograph compares the Heidelberg jaw (left) with the jaw of a modern human (right). Suffice it to say that the owner of this jaw would definitely attract more attention than the average traveller on the New York subway.
This photograph is from "Humankind Emerging", edited by Bernard Campbell.
Creationists often point out, correctly, that Neandertals were human, but they tend to exaggerate their similarity to modern humans:
"The creationists in those days [the 1860's] responded 'Now wait a minute. Neanderthals are just plain people, some of whom suffered bone disease'"
"Nowadays, evolutionists agree with creationists: Neanderthals were just plain people, no more different from people living today than people than one living nation is different from another." Parker in (Morris and Parker 1982).
"Nowadays, Neanderthal Man is classified as Homo sapiens, completely human" (Huse 1983).
Actually, Neandertals are usually classified as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, a subspecies of humans, in recognition of consistent differences such as heavy brow ridges, a long low skull, a robust skeleton, and others. (Some scientists believe the differences are large enough to justify a separate species, Homo neanderthalensis.) Evolutionists last century claimed that these were real differences between us and Neandertals, and they were right. Creationists claimed that the differences were a result of various diseases or environmental factors, and they were wrong. For Parker to claim that creationists won this debate is a rewriting of history.
Amazingly, a century after scientists knew otherwise, most creationists still believe that Neandertals were merely modern humans, deformed by diseases such as rickets, arthritis or syphilis. Some, but by no means all, Neandertals have been found with signs of health problems such as arthritis. But Neandertals have many distinctive features, and there is no reason why these diseases (or any others) would cause many, let alone all, of these features on even one, let alone many, individuals. Modern knowledge and experience also contradicts the idea that disease is a cause of Neandertal features, because these diseases do not cause modern humans to look like Neandertals.
In the 1800's the famous pathologist Rudolf Virchow was one who claimed that the first Neandertal fossil found was of a rickets sufferer. As Trinkaus and Shipman (1992) point out, Virchow, an expert on rickets, should have been the first to realize how ridiculous this diagnosis was. People with rickets are undernourished and calcium-poor, and their bones are so weak that even the weight of the body can cause them to bend. The bones of the first Neandertal, by contrast, were about 50% thicker than those of the average modern human, and clearly belonged to an extraordinarily athletic and muscular individual.
Lubenow (1992), relying on the authority of Virchow and Ivanhoe (1970), claims that Neandertals (and H. erectus and the archaic sapiens) were caused by a post-Flood ice age: heavy cloud cover, the need to shelter and wear heavy clothes, and a lack of vitamin D sources, would all have combined to cause severe rickets.
This explanation fails for many reasons:
- Rickets does not produce a Neandertal, or Homo erectus morphology; it is clear from many sources (Reader 1981; Tattersall 1995) that the original Neandertal skeleton was unlike any previously known, even in a century in which rickets was a common disease.
- Evidence of rickets is easily detectable, especially on the growing ends of the long bones of the body. Radiology courses routinely teach the symptoms. It has never (so far as I know) been detected in Neandertals or Homo erectus.
- Even Virchow did not claim rickets as a sole cause. Virchow in 1872 decided that the first Neandertal Man fossil had had rickets in childhood, head injuries in middle age, and chronic arthritis in old age. A whole population of such people strains credibility, to say the least, although Lubenow says that this diagnosis "is as valid today as when [Virchow] first made it".
- The long bones of Neandertals, like those of rickets victims, are often more curved than normal, but rickets causes a sideways curvature of the femur, while Neandertal femurs curve backwards (Klein 1989).
- Humans could hardly have stayed in shelter all the time; food gathering would have required them to spend a lot of time outside (and probably a lot more time than most modern urban humans).
- The most extreme differences from modern humans (H. erectus) are mostly found in regions such as Africa and Java, which were always tropical; the reverse of what would be predicted by Lubenow's hypothesis.
- Creationists usually claim that most of the fossil record was laid down by the Noahaic Flood. And yet there are hundreds of fossils of "post-Flood" humans, who supposedly lived in a period of low population and little fossilization. Why, underneath these post-Flood humans, do we not find far larger numbers of fossilized pre-Flood humans?
Lubenow claims that modern scientists do not consider rickets as a cause of Neandertalism because it is a virtually unknown disease nowadays. This is not true. Although not as common as it used to be, rickets has other causes besides vitamin D deficiency and still occurs. Information on it is common in medical textbooks (and even on the web), and the symptoms bear no apparent similarity to the Neandertal skeleton or skull.
Ironically enough, one of the best refutations of the idea that Neandertalism is caused by diseases such as rickets, syphilis or arthritis, is by a creationist author, Jack Cuozzo (1998, pp.275-279). As Cuozzo documents, the symptoms of these diseases bear very little resemblance to the features of Neandertals. (See also a review of Cuozzo's book Buried Alive by Colin Groves.)
Creationists sometimes imply that a paper by Straus and Cave (1957) showed that Neandertals were identical to modern humans. Straus and Cave overturned the stereotype, created by Boule, that Neandertals were semi-erect ape-men with a shambling gait and a divergent big toe, and showed instead that their posture was identical to ours. However their conclusions applied only to posture, and they did not claim that Neandertals were identical to modern humans; in fact quite the opposite:
"This is not to deny that his limbs, as well as his skull, exhibit distinctive features - features which collectively distinguish him from all groups of modern men. In other words, his "total morphological pattern", in the phraseology of Le Gros Clark (1955) differs from that of "sapiens" man." (Straus, Jr. and Cave 1957)
The exhibit on Neandertals at the ICR (Institute for Creation Research) Museum says (or used to say):
"Many Neanderthal features are similar to those in elderly humans today. Since humans lived to great ages in the initial generations after the flood and Babel, perhaps the features are primarily due to advanced age ...".
In fact, the distinctive features of Neandertals, least of all the powerful bones and muscles, seem to bear little resemblance to those of old people. This argument is particularly implausible because even Neandertal children are distinctive. Whoever wrote this presumably also thinks that Neandertals are arthritic modern humans.
At least two evolutionary scientists have revived the idea that Neandertal morphology may be a result of congenital diseases such as rickets (Ivanhoe 1970) or syphilis (Wright 1971). According to Day (1986), neither of these cases was adequately supported or subsequently justified. Both claims seem to have sunk without a trace except among creationists, who often cite them. Gish goes even further, dishonestly implying that even the scientific community accepts these claims:
"They have now concluded that these primitive features of Neandertal people were not genetic, they were pathological." (Gish 1985)
Straus and Cave (1957) made a striking comment about Neandertals:
"Notwithstanding, if he could be reincarnated and placed in a New York subway - provided that he were bathed, shaved, and dressed in modern clothing - it is doubtful whether he would attract any more attention than some of its other denizens".
This may be a source of the creationist idea that Neandertals are "just plain people" (Morris and Parker 1982). Note, though, that this is not quite what the quote says. Anyone who has travelled the Big Apple's subway will probably agree that Neandertals could look quite odd and still meet Straus and Cave's rather lax criterion. Gish (1985) distorts this quote by claiming that a Neandertal in a business suit could walk down a city street and not attract more attention than any other individual, a statement that is probably false.
Johanson and Edey (1981) extend this example by saying that if you put Homo erectus on a subway, "people would probably take a suspicious look at him". Put Homo habilis on the subway, and "people would probably move to the other end of the car". Berra (1990) states that "if cleaned up, shaved and dressed in business suits, [Neandertals] could probably pass for television evangelists."
The following quote from Trinkaus and Shipman (1992) refutes claims that Neandertals differ no more from modern humans than living races do from each other:
"Rare individuals among modern humans may share one, or even a few, of the anatomical characteristics of Neandertals, but not one human - much less any population - can be found that possesses the entire constellation of traits that define Neandertals" (p 412).
Some creationists, such as Doug Sharp (1997), have claimed that Neandertals have existed in historic times. The most cited example is that of a Neandertal reputedly found with (or sometimes in) a suit of chain mail armor (Nature, Apr 23 1908, 77:587), but Sharp also mentions a report of a living Neandertal-like human found in the Phillippines (Nature, Dec 8 1910, 85:176). Both of these reports are so short, a single paragraph, that Sharp quotes them in their entirety. The problem with these claims is that they were made at a time when Neandertals were not nearly as well known as they are today, and by authors who probably had no personal familiarity with Neandertal fossils. There was a tendency in the early 1900's to classify any skull with a browridge or receding forehead as a Neandertal (Trinkaus and Howells, Sci.Am, Dec 1979). This tendency is perfectly illustrated in the report on the "chain mail Neandertal", which mentioned that another scientist had recently classified Australian aborigines as Neandertals. Needless to say, any such claim would be considered ridiculous today. Such old reports, non-peer-reviewed and unsupported by any recent or even contemporary documentation, are equally worthless as evidence of recent Neandertals. (See also my response to Sharp, who commented on the above argument on his web page.
In 1998, creationist Jack Cuozzo published his book Buried Alive, which claimed that Neandertals were humans who had lived for hundreds of years, and that their skull features were caused by extrapolating the changes which normally occur in modern human skulls as they age. Follow this link for material about this book and related issues.
29. On page 524, they bring up the "if there is a building, there must be a builder" argument, and it's funny because the piece written here is almost identical to the opening speech Ray Comfort gave in that ABC Nightline 'Does god Exist' debate a few months ago.
This whole thinking is flawed because, first off, buildings, cars, paintings, all these things that creationists cite as being designed, were in fact intelligently designed, by human beings. However, human beings were not 'intelligently designed' given our vestigial organs such as the appendix and tonsils, organs which have no real purpose, and can be taken out without complication. Plus the fact that our passageways for breathing and to our stomach intersect, sometimes causing a person to choke. Not very intelligent I must say.
In that same section they make the claim that, "no scientific evidence has been found that homosexuals are 'born that way.' They then spout their biblical nonsense that no sexual activity should be done, unless it is within marriage, and that "homosexuality goes against god's created order and expressed will."
This is pure bigotry based on false information, and stupid religious dogma. Ray and Kirk should be ashamed of themselves…though I think Kirk should be more ashamed of his poor acting skills on 'Growing Pains.'
But their research is pitiful because first off even in the animal world there is homosexual behavior. Male penguin couples have been documented to mate for life, build nests together, and to use a stone as a surrogate egg in nesting and brooding. In 2004, the Central Park Zoo in the United States replaced one male couple's stone with a fertile egg, which the couple then raised as their own offspring. German and Japanese zoos have also reported homosexual behavior among their penguins. This phenomenon has also been reported at Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium in Auckland, New Zealand. Courtship, mounting, and full anal penetration between bulls has been noted to occur among American Bison. Homosexual behavior in male sheep (found in 6-10% of rams) is associated with variations in cerebral mass distribution and chemical activity. A study reported in Endocrinology concluded that biological and physiological factors are in effect. These findings are similar to human findings studied by Simon LeVay.
Sexuality researchers are often interested in homosexuality because there is evidence from twin studies that there is a biological involvement in its determination. Although homosexuality does not appear to be adaptive from an evolutionary standpoint, because homosexual sex does not produce children, there is evidence that it has existed in all times and in all known human cultures and civilizations.
Although a number of biological factors have been considered by scientists, such as prenatal hormones, chromosomes, polygenetic effects, brain structure and viral influences, no scientific consensus exists as to how biology influences sexual orientation.
Most scientists agree that it is unlikely that there is a single "gay gene" that determines something as complex as a (homo)sexual orientation, and that it is more likely to be the result of an interaction of genetic, biological and environmental/cultural factors. However, in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, mutant alleles of the fruitless gene were found to cause male flies to court and attempt to mate exclusively with other males.
Sexual orientation and evolution
Sexual practices that significantly reduce frequency of heterosexual intercourse significantly decrease the chances of successful reproduction, and for this reason, they would appear to be maladaptive in an evolutionary context following a simple Darwinian model of Natural Selection. Maladaptive traits will only be removed from a population if the trait is under simple, direct selection, if it derives from a heritable component of a genotype and if the intensity of selection is greater than other evolutionary forces like genetic drift, or inclusive fitness. The prevalence of homosexuality does not, therefore, represent a "problem" for genetic or evolutionary theory.
Some scholars have suggested that homosexuality is adaptive in a non-obvious way. By way of analogy, the allele (a particular version of a gene) which causes sickle-cell anemia when two copies are present may also confer resistance to malaria with no anemia when one copy is present.
The so-called "gay uncle" theory which developed posits that people who themselves, do not have children may nonetheless increase the prevalence of their family genes in future generations, by providing resources (food, supervision, defense, shelter, etc.) to the offspring of close relatives. This "gay relative" hypothesis is an extension of the theory of kin selection. Kin selection was originally developed to explain apparent altruistic acts which seemed to be maladaptive. The initial concept was suggested by J.B.S. Haldane in 1932 and later elaborated by many others including John Maynard Smith and West Eberhard. This concept also was used to explain certain social insects where most of the members are non-reproductive.
The primary criticism of this theory has to do with the fact that children share on average 25% of their genes with their uncles and aunts, but on average 50% with their parents. This means that to be adaptive, a "gay uncle" would need to save from death (or other lineage-terminating events) on average two nieces or nephews for every one of their own offspring they give up. Critics of the theory find this trade-off to be unlikely to produce a net reproductive gain.
Researchers have traditionally used twin studies to try to isolate genetic influences from environmental or other influences. Unfortunately, many early twin studies in this area selected from non-representative samples, and gave non-representative results. Later twin studies have drawn from broader, more representative samples, and have given more representative results. A recent large-scale twin study, done by researchers at Yale University and Columbia University, concludes that "there is no evidence for strong genetic influence on same-sex preference in this sample."
Earlier twin studies gave indications that male homosexuality was genetically mediated. One common type of twin study compared the monozygotic (or identical) twins of people possessing a particular trait to the dizygotic (non-identical, or fraternal) twins of people possessing the trait. Since monozygotic twins have the same genotype (genetic makeup) while dizygotic twins share only, on average, 50% of their genotype, a difference in the prevalence of the trait in question between these types of twins provides evidence of a genetic component.
Bailey and Pillard (1991) in a study of gay twins found that 52% of monozygotic brothers and 22% of the dizygotic twins were concordant for homosexuality. Bailey, Dunne and Martin (2000) used the Australian twin registry to obtain a sample of 4,901 twins. Self reported zygosity, sexual attraction, fantasy and behaviours were assessed by questionnaire and zygosity was serologically checked when in doubt. MZ twin concordance for homosexuality was found to be 30%.
Criticism of these earlier studies included: recruitment through gay media (which may result in higher response rates from twins who are both gay), and recruitment from twin registries (which may result in higher response rates from twins who act more similar to each other). Bearman & Bruckner (2002), by contrast, based their conclusions on a study drawn from a wide population. The assessment of these researchers is:
Among [identical] twins, 6.7 % are concordant [that is, both express same-sex romantic attraction]. [Fraternal] twin pairs are 7.2% concordant. Full-siblings are 5.5 % concordant. Clearly, the observed concordance rates do not correspond to degrees of genetic similarity. None of the comparisons between [identical] twins and others ... are even remotely significant. If same-sex romantic attraction has a genetic component, it is massively overwhelmed by other factors.
Estimates of heritability for male and female homosexuality derived from a number of twin studies are shown below.
Estimates of heritability of homosexuality
Bailey et al., 2000
Kendler et al., 2000
Kirk et al., 2000
Bearman et al., 2002
Twin studies have received a number of criticisms including "ascertainment bias" where homosexuals with gay siblings are more likely to volunteer for studies.
Another issue is the recent finding that even monozygotic twins can be different and here is a mechanism which might account for monozygotic twins being discordant for homosexuality. Gringas and Chen (2001) describe a number of mechanisms which can lead to differences between monozygotic twins, the most relevant here being chorionicity and amniocity. Dichorionic twins potentially have different hormonal environments and receive maternal blood from separate placenta. Monoamniotic twins share a hormonal environment, but can suffer from the 'twin to twin transfusion syndrome' in which one twin is "relatively stuffed with blood and the other exsanguinated". If one twin receives less testosterone and the other more, this could result in different levels of brain masculinisation.
Overall, data appear to indicate that genetic factors may play some part in the development of sexual orientation, even if only a modest part. Further work is needed to more precisely quantify any genetic contribution to sexuality and to elucidate its mechanism.
Studies of brain structure
A number of sections of the brain have been reported to be sexually dimorphic; that is, they vary between men and women. There have also been reports of variations in brain structure corresponding to sexual orientation. In 1990, Swaab and Hofman reported a difference in the size of the suprachiasmatic nucleus between homosexual and heterosexual men. In 1992, Allen and Gorski reported a difference related to sexual orientation in the size of the anterior commissure.
However, the best-known work of this type is that of Simon LeVay. LeVay studied four groups of neurons in the hypothalamus, called INAH1, INAH2, INAH3 and INAH4. This was a relevant area of the brain to study, because of evidence that this part of the brain played a role in the regulation of sexual behaviour in animals, and because INAH2 and INAH3 had previously been reported to differ in size between men and women.
He obtained brains from 41 deceased hospital patients. The subjects were classified as follows: 19 gay men who had died of AIDS, 16 presumed heterosexual men (6 of whom had died of AIDS), and 6 presumed heterosexual women (1 of whom had died of AIDS).
The AIDS patients in the heterosexual groups were all identified from medical records as intravenous drug abusers or recipients of blood transfusions, though only 2 of the men in this category had specifically denied homosexual activity. The records of the remaining heterosexual subjects contained no information about their sexual orientation; they were assumed to have been mostly or all heterosexual "on the basis of the numerical preponderance of heterosexual men in the population."
LeVay found no evidence for a difference between the groups in the size of INAH1, INAH2 or INAH4. However, the INAH3 group appeared to be twice as big in the heterosexual male group as in the gay male group; the difference was highly significant, and remained significant when only the 6 AIDS patients were included in the heterosexual group. The size of the INAH3 in the homosexual male brains was similar to that in the heterosexual female brains. However, he also found some contrary results:
- Three of the 19 homosexual subjects had a larger group of neurons in the hypothalamus than the average control-group subject.
- Three of the 16 control-group subjects had a smaller group of neurons in the hypothalamus than the average homosexual subject.
William Byne and colleagues attempted to replicate the differences reported in INAH 1-4 size using a different sample of brains from 14 HIV-positive homosexual males, 34 presumed heterosexual males (10 HIV-positive), and 34 presumed heterosexual females (9 HIV-positive). They found a significant difference in INAH3 size between heterosexual men and women. The INAH3 size of the homosexual men was apparently smaller than that of the heterosexual men and larger than that of the heterosexual women, though neither difference quite reached statistical significance.
Byne and colleagues also weighed and counted numbers of neurons in INAH3, tests not carried out by LeVay. The results for INAH3 weight were similar to those for INAH3 size; that is, the INAH3 weight for the heterosexual male brains was significantly larger than for the heterosexual female brains, while the results for the gay male group were between those of the other two groups but not quite significantly different from either. The neuron count also found a male-female difference in INAH3, but found no trend related to sexual orientation.
LeVay concluded in his 1991 paper that "The discovery that the nucleus differs in size between heterosexual and homosexual men illustrates that sexual orientation in humans is amenable to study at the biological level, and this discovery opens the door to studies of neurotransmitters or receptors that might be involved in regulating this aspect of personality. Further interpretation of the results of this study must be considered speculative. In particular, the results do not allow one to decide if the size of INAH 3 in an individual is the cause or consequence of that individual's sexual orientation, or if the size of INAH 3 and sexual orientation covary under the influence of some third, unidentified variable."
He later added,
"It's important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain. ... Since I look at adult brains, we don't know if the differences I found were there at birth or if they appeared later."
In addition to this, of the men LeVay used in his studies, the sexual histories of the "heterosexual" men were unknown.
It is not clear from the research how HIV/AIDS may affect brain structure, a possible confounding factor. So rather than showing that differences in the neuron indicate homosexuality, LeVay's study may be showing that HIV/AIDS causes differences in neurons. It should be noted, however, that neither LeVay nor Byne found an HIV-related difference in INAH3 size.
Chromosome linkage studies
In 1993, Dean Hamer published findings from a linkage analysis of a sample of 76 gay brothers and their families. Hamer et al. (1993) found that the gay men had more gay male uncles and cousins on the maternal side of the family than on the paternal side. Gay brothers who showed this maternal pedigree were then tested for X chromosome linkage, using twenty-two markers on the X chromosome to test for similar alleles. Thirty-three of the forty sibling pairs tested were found to have similar alleles in the distal region of Xq28, which was significantly higher than the expected rates of 50% for fraternal brothers. A later analysis by Hu et al. revealed that 67% of gay brothers in a new saturated sample shared a marker on the X chromosome at Xq28. Sanders et al. (1998) replicated the study, finding 66% Xq28 marker sharing in 54 pairs of gay brothers. These studies only examined homosexuality in males.
However, two later studies (Bailey et al., 1999; McKnight and Malcolm, 2000) failed to find a preponderance of gay relatives in the maternal line of homosexual men. A study by Rice et al. in 1999 failed to replicate the Xq28 linkage. More recently, Mustanski (2005) failed to find the Xq28 marker in a complete genome scan of gay men's DNA. Mustanski did however find autosomal markers at 7q36, 8p12 and 10q26.
The evidence for the Xq28 marker is therefore preliminary and has yet to be fully proved or disproved. Even at face value, the discovery of the Xq28 region would only show one genetic correlate of male homosexuality. Hamer's study was important though, as it was the first experiment to claim such a correlation. These findings do not suggest that the Xq28 region is necessary for homosexuality or singularly causes homosexuality, but rather that it might play one of many factors in causing homosexuality in some males.
A recent study supports X-linkage from a different perspective. Women have two X chromosomes, one of which is "switched off". In some cases though, it appears that this switching off can occur in a non-random fashion. Bocklandt et al (2006) reported that the number of women with extreme skewing of X chromosome inactivation is significantly higher in mothers of homosexual men than in age-matched controls without gay sons. 4% of controls showed extreme skewing compared to 13% of the mothers with gays sons and 23% of mothers with two or more gay sons.
Also, male homosexuality appears likely to be influenced by a complex genetic interaction which may be mediated by H-Y antigens in the mother's immune system (see below). Whichever genes are implicated they almost certainly cause male brains to differentiate in a female typical direction.
As for female homosexuality, there remains little evidence from replicated genetic linkage studies.
Maternal linkage, birth order, and female fertility
Blanchard and Klassen (1997) reported that each older brother increases the odds of being gay by 33%. This is now "one of the most reliable epidemiological variables ever identified in the study of sexual orientation." To explain this finding, it has been proposed that male foetuses provoke a maternal immune reaction that becomes stronger with each successive male foetus. Male foetuses produce HY antigens which are "almost certainly involved in the sexual differentiation of vertebrates." It is this antigen which maternal H-Y antibodies are proposed to both react to and 'remember'. Successive male foetuses are then attacked by H-Y antibodies which somehow decrease the ability of H-Y antigens to perform their usual function in brain masculinisation.
Bocklandt, Horvath, Vilain and Hamer (2006) reported that some mothers of gay babies have extreme skewing of X chromosome inactivation. Using a sample of 97 mothers of homosexual men and 103 mothers of heterosexual men, the pattern of X inactivation was ascertained from blood assays. 4% of the mothers of straight men showed extreme skewing compared to 13% of the mothers of gay men. Mothers of two or more gay babies had extreme skewing of X inactivation of 23%. This extreme skewing may influence male sexual orientation through the fraternal birth order effect.
An alternate theory was proposed by Italian researchers in 2004 supported by a study of about 4,600 people who were the relatives of 98 homosexual and 100 heterosexual men. Female relatives of the homosexual men tended to have more offspring than those of the heterosexual men. Female relatives of the homosexual men on their mother's side tended to have more offspring than those on the father's side. The researchers concluded that there was genetic material being passed down on the X chromosome which both promotes fertility in the mother and homosexuality in her male offspring. The connections discovered, however, would explain only 20% of the cases studied, indicating that this might not be the sole genetic factor determining sexual orientation.
Homosexuals of either sex are more likely than the general population to be non-right handed (see Handedness and sexual orientation)
Recent research conducted in Sweden has suggested that gay and straight men respond differently to two odors that are believed to be involved in sexual arousal. The research showed that when both heterosexual women (lesbians were included in the study, but the results regarding them were "somewhat confused") and gay men are exposed to a testosterone derivative found in men's sweat, a region in the hypothalamus is activated. Heterosexual men, on the other hand, have a similar response to an estrogen-like compound found in women's urine. The study was taken as evidence in support of the theory that certain chemicals act as pheromones in humans. The conclusion, that sexual attraction, whether same-sex or opposite-sex oriented, operates similarly on a biological level, does not mean that there is necessarily a biological cause for homosexuality. Researchers have suggested that this possibility could be further explored by studying young subjects to see if similar responses in the hypothalamus are found and then correlating this data with adult sexual orientation.
Early fixation hypothesis
Main article: Prenatal hormones and sexual orientation
The early fixation hypothesis includes research into prenatal development and the environmental factors that control masculinization of the brain. Studies have concluded that there is empirical evidence to support this hypothesis, including the observed differences in brain structure and cognitive processing between homosexual and heterosexual men. One explanation for these differences is the idea that differential exposure to hormone levels in the womb during fetal development may block masculinization of the brain in homosexual men. The concentrations of these chemicals is thought to be influenced by fetal and maternal immune systems, maternal consumption of certain drugs, maternal stress, and direct injection. This hypothesis is also connected to the fraternal birth order research.
So, according to this document, there have been studies which show that homosexuality is genetic, at least at some level, though more research must be done.
30. On page 780 they depict a picture from a creationist pamphlet, attempting to disprove evolution. Without the author's permission I have included the comic book from the talkorigins website.
Big Daddy? is a small anti-evolution comic book tract by evangelist Jack Chick. Since there was already an excellent review of it on the web, I have included it here with permission of the author:
Big Daddy?, reviewed by Cosma Shalizi
Jack Chick writes Christian comic books. "So what?", you say. Dear Reader, you are obviously not familiar with what lurks in the lowest reaches of the American religion. I first encountered Chick's work as an undergraduate at Berkeley --- someone had been passing them out on the main campus square, and one of them found its way to the physics society. This classic was entitled Big Daddy? and the cover was graced by a grinning chimpanzee eating a banana. It told the story of the conflict between a born-again christian high school student (who looked like a Hitler Youth recruiting poster) and his science teacher (who looked, not to put too fine a point on it, remarkably "Jewish"). The science teacher attempted to indoctrinate his class with the vile doctrines of secular humanism, an old earth and evolution: but the stalwart young man stood firm, secure in his god and his faith, and finally confuted him with the nucleus of the atm. Here, he said, were all these protons, of like charge, bound together: but don't like charges repel? What holds them together? The teacher is bereft, sweating, without answer. The youth triumphantly says, "Our lord, jesus christ," and cites an epistle to the Colossians. The class is converted; I forgot what happens to the teacher [he got the sack-JF]. Most of us were taking nuclear physics at the time...
[ Some explanation may be necessary here. The forces holding atoms together are not familiar from everyday experience, but they are very well understood by nuclear physicists, thanks to decades of scientific experiments. Saying that "Jesus holds atoms together" is as hilariously ignorant as claiming that planets travel in ellipses because angels are pushing them around. -JF
Christia high school student (who looked like a Hitler Youth recruiting poster) and his science teacher (who looked, not to put too fine a point on it remarkably "Jewish"). The science teacher attempted to indoctrinate his clas with the vile doctrines of secular humanism, an old earth and evolution: but the stalwart young man stood firm, secure in his God and his faith, and finally confuted him with the nucleus of the atom. Here, he said, were all these protons, of like charge, bound together: but don't like charges repel? What holds them together? The teacher is bereft, sweating, without answer. The youth triumphantly says, "Our Lord, Jesus Christ," and cites an epistle to the Colossians. The class is converted; I forget what happen to the teacher
This is a typical rehashing of the usual creationist chestnuts. It ignores almost all of the real evidence, misrepresents the real fossils that are discussed (Heidelberg Man, Peking Man, Neandertal Man), of course mentions Nebraska Man and Piltdown Man, and finally lists some fossils that have never been claimed to be anything but Homo sapiens (New Guinea Man, Cro-Magnon Man).
The real oddity in Chick's list is "new Guinea Man." As far as I know, no one has ever proposed this as any sort of transitional form. It presumably refers to fragments of a fossil modern human skull thought to be about 5000 years old found at Aitape (now Eitape) about 60 years ago. This is the only human fossil ever found in New Guinea, and is very obscure; I have never seen it even mentioned in any mainstream scientific or popular literature on human origins. The only place (other than Big Daddy) I have ever seen it referred to is a 1961 book by Canadian creationist Evan Shute, Flaws in the Theory of Evolution. Shute merely mentions the existence of this fossil in a list of many other fossils and does not discuss it individualy, so Chick may have found out about this fossil from another unknown source.
This little list have been widely copied. If you see a reference to New Guinea Man, or read that Heidelberg Man was "built from a jaw bone that was conceded by many to be quite human" or that Peking Man is "supposedly 500,000 years old, but all evidence has disappeared," you'll know it was cribbed from this little booklet.
The 2ed edition of Big Daddy? has only minor differences from the 1st edition. A few of the hoarier old creationist chestnuts have been adandoned, to be replaced by some almost equally bad arguments. As far as the human evolution section goes, the only significant change is the addition of Lucy to the lineup:
"...most experts now agree that Lucy was only an unusual chimpansee not a missing link."
"Nearly all experts agree Lucy was just a 3 foot tall chimpanzee."
For details on both of these statements, the reader is referred to videos from "Dr." Kent Hovid (who, according to his website, rewrote Big Daddy?). Hovind is presumably referrding to claims by some scientists (e.g. Zilhman et. al. 1978) that bonobos (often called pygmy chimpanzees) are the best living prototype for the common ancestor of humans, chimps, and gorillas.
These statements about Lucy are completely fictitious. I am not aware of a single reputable scientist, let alone most, who would claim that Lucy was "only an unusual chimpanzee". Even Zihlman, who is probably the most vocal defender of the resemblances between Lucy and pygmy chimps, has never said that Lucy is a chimp, and points out differences between them, the most obvious being that Lucy has a bipedal pelvis rather than a quadrupedal one (Zihlman 1984).If you enjoyed Big Daddy?, you'll also get a kick out of Primal Man, one of a series of comic books published by Jack Chick. As you'd expect (if you're at all familiar with Chick's work), the evolutionists are unattractive, money-grubbing sleazebags with no redeeming qualities, while the Christian heroes are so handsome and pure you'll feel like gagging. Also as you'd expect, the creationist arguments and "science" are so hopelessly outdated and incompetent that even many creationists would be embarrassed by them. Ya gotta laugh!
See also: a hilarious parody of Big Daddy?
Chick, J. 1972. Big Daddy? Chino, CA: Chick Publications.
Fenner, F.J. 1941. Fossil human skull fragments of probable Pleistocene age from Aitape, New Guinea. Records S.Australian Mus., 6:335-356.
Shute, E. 1961. Flaws in the theory of evolution. Nutley, NJ: Craig Press.
Zihlman A.L., Cronin J.E., Cramer D.L., and Sarich V.M. (1978): Pygmy chimpanzee as a possible prototype for the common ancestor of humans, chimpanzees and gorillas. Nature, 275:744-5.
Zihlman A.L. (1984): Pygmy chimps, people, and the pundits. New Scientist, (15 November 1984)39-40.
Here is the comic book:
Big Daddy, Copyright 2002 by jack Chick LLC
NOTE: You can see the parody of this comic in a post I did on 10-30-07, called "Parody of the Big Daddy Pamphlet".
Sources: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/bigdaddy.html; http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0055/0055_01.asp
31. On page 798 I expose some misquotes and outright lies:
The Evidence Bible claims that Sir Arthur Keith wrote the forward to the 100th edition of Origin of the Species, and wrote: ""Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation which is unthinkable." (Keith, Arthur, forward to 100th anniversary edition of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, 1959)
The quote that is attributed to Sir Arthur Keith is a figment of the creationists imagination. I researched that quote a month or two ago and could not find a trace of it. No library in the Atlanta metro area has this particular edition and neither Amazon nor Barnes and Noble has this edition. I am in nine newsgroups and no one in these NGs had a copy or had ever seen one. A search of the internet showed many references for this quote but every one of them was from a creationist site. It is also amazing because that Sir Arthur died in 1955 and the 100th anniversary edition would not have been issued until 1959.
Source: www.talkorigins.org, The Quote Mine Project Quote 81 Direct link to page: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part1-4.html
They also quote a H.S. Lipson, who is a professor of physics (at least used to be- this quote is old from what info I can find, from 1980) at the University of Manchester, UK: "In fact, evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it and many are prepared to 'bend' their observations to fit in with it."
Poster Chris Ho-Stuart writes:
"There is a British physicist, one H Lipson, who spoke skeptically about evolution in 1980 or so; but he is not an evolutionist; and as far as I know he had nothing to do with the Supreme Court in the USA. There can't be too many other alternatives; finding scientists with anything positive to say about creationism is hard work. You can find a few, but there can't be too many Lipsons amongst them."
Source: Source: www.talkorigins.org Feedback page - http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/feedback/may02.html
Another reference to Lipson I found claimed that perhaps Lipson might have been a creationist:
"Your next quote was from H.S. Lipson, a physics professor who had an article in the Physics Bulletin. The only discussion of it I found outside of creationists quoting it was this message board reference: http://www.evcforum.net/ubb/Forum12/HTML/000124.html . I searched for Physics Bulletin and only found the journal mentioned as holdings in two university libraries. It apparently stopped publishing in 1988. It looks to me like Lipson is a creationist who might know little about evolution since it is not his field, and has published his impression in minor physics journal, so I don't think he tells us much."
Source: http://www.truthpizza.org/post/nitard2r.htm This page was written by someone named 'Bob' to a Mr. Bill Nitardy, which I found at the above link.
On page 808 in a Q and A portion they pose a skeptic's question and try to answer it:
"How can people be happy in heaven, knowing that their unsaved loved ones are suffering in hell?"
"Those who ask such questions fall into the category of those who asked jesus a similar question. The Sadducees said that a certain woman had seven consecutive husbands, so whose wife will she be in heaven (Mark 12:23)?" Jesus answered by saying that they neither knew the scriptures nor the power of god. The unregenerate mind has no concept of god's mind or his infinite power. If god can speak the sun into existence; if he can see every thought of every human heart at the same time; if he can create the human eye with it's 137,000,000 light sensitive cells, then he can handle the minor details of our eternal salvation."
"John writes that in heaven 'we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is'(1 John 3:2), so perhaps we will be fully satisfied that god is perfectly just and merciful, and that he gave every individual the opportunity to accept or reject him. However he works it out, god promises that there will not be sorrow or crying in heaven. Our focus in heaven won't be our own loss, but our own gain."
Here Ray and Kirk go again, quoting the bible for their answers and evidence. Here they are merely speculating about what god might do, and how heaven might be, though where is their evidence? Even they are unsure, because they are using their own "language of speculation," with using the word "perhaps." I'm using their own argument against them, which I saw on one of their Way of the Master TV shows on evolution. Some of the same nonsense is repeated in this book.
But regardless of what the clearly fallible bible claims, Ray and Kirk's seemingly uncaring attitude is disturbing, saying that no one should care about their loved ones while they are burning for eternity. Claiming that those in heaven should just think about themselves, and no one else in hell, is just horrible and selfish.
Well, there you have it, the end of my paper. I covered the majority of their false claims and illogical ramblings, and did a decent job of rebutting them I hope. I feel very confident that I did indeed do a good job in taking down all their arguments, based on the information I could get regarding each claim. Some I demolished better then others, but overall I think I accomplished my objective. I hope anyone who reads this will pay attention to it, and learn something from it. I also hope it will open minds, and expose these two imbeciles (and anyone else who uses these claims) for the liars they are.