[ref001] What About Their Missing Links? [ref002] [ref003]_The_Skeptical_Review_: 1995: Nu

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[ref001] What About Their Missing Links? [ref002] [ref003]_The_Skeptical_Review_: 1995: Number Three: What About Their Missing Links? Creationists never tire of talking about the transitional forms or "missing links" that must be found in the fossil record in order to prove the theory of evolution but which, unfortunately for their theory, scientists have yet to find. We lay no claim to expertise in the field of evolution, but from the books and articles that we have read on the subject by those who are recognized authorities in the field, creationists are wrong when they say that no transitional fossils have ever been discovered. In _Evolution_and_the_Myth_of Creationism_, Tim M. Berra refuted this creationist claim and identified some of the transitional fossils that have been found (Stanford University Press, 1990, p. 127). Among others, he discussed the Australopithecines, some species of which were ancestral to homo sapiens (pp. 100-119), as well as transitional forms in the evolution of other species (pp. 39-46). Our purpose is not to discuss data that prove the theory of evolution but to point out an inconsistency in the way that creationists reason. They seem to be arguing that if fossil evidence of something (in this case, transitional forms or "missing links") cannot be found, then we know that it never existed. In using such "logic" as this, they apparently don't realize the damage that it will do when applied to some of their own claims. Creationists claim, for example, that the Bible gives an accurate account not just of creation but also of Mideastern history from the time of creation through the first century A. D. In order to prove this claim, however, they must produce some "missing links" of their own that no one has yet found. An obvious example would be fossils of people whose life spans covered centuries rather than just the few decades that modern humans can expect to live. Genesis 5 contains a genealogy from Adam to Noah, and the average life span of the nine generations listed was 847 years. (The average would have been even higher, but Enoch "walked with God" and was translated when he was just a mere kid of 365.) After the flood, so we are asked to believe, the life span of humans began to decrease. Noah died when he was 950 ( [ref004] Gen. 9:29), but his son Shem lived for only 600 years ( [ref005] Gen. 11:10-11). Shem's son Arphaxad lived only 438 years (vv:10-11), and within two generations, the average life span had decreased by still another 200 years ([ref006] Gen. 11:14-24). After this, things just went from bad to worse. Abraham had to settle for a life span of only 175 years ( [ref007] Gen. 25:7), and his son Isaac and grandson Jacob lived to be just 180 and 147, respectively ( [ref008] Gen. 35:28; [ref009] 47:28). Still, at the time of the exodus, people routinely lived for 130+ years ( [ref010] Ex. 6:20) --or so the Bible claims. So now it is time to apply the logic of bibliolaters to their own situation and ask them for archaeological or paleontological proof that human life spans ever reached anywhere near the incredible ages that the Bible attributes to the people who lived before and for at least a few centuries after the flood. According to the scenario that creationists ask us to believe, most of the fossil record resulted from catastrophic conditions that accompanied the flood, so if people routinely lived for 800 or 900 years at that time, why haven't we found some fossilized proof of this biblical claim? Where are these missing links? Probably more archaeological digging has taken place in that part of the world than anywhere else, yet no one has ever found human remains that expert examination has determined to be anywhere close to the ages that the Bible attributes to the antediluvian patriarchs, yet if the Bible record is true, there had to have been thousands of people buried in the silt of the flood who were several centuries old. Why haven't we found any fossils of these people? Where are these missing links? The truth is that evidence unearthed so far indicates that prehistoric man had a very short live span compared to ours. The consensus of experts who have examined prehistoric human remains is that 40 was a ripe old age. In February 1992, the wire services reported the discovery of a cemetery near Giza, Egypt, that dated from the 26th to the 21st century B. C., so the people buried in it would have been contemporaries of the ante and postdiluvians who had routinely lived from 175 to 900+ years. However, expert examination of the skeletal remains in this cemetery revealed that those who had lived the longest had died in their midthirties. Isn't that curious? Just a few miles to the northeast, people were enjoying life spans measured in centuries, but their Egyptian contemporaries could manage to hang on for only a few decades. When will Bible fundamentalists come forward with fossilized "missing links" that will fill in the gaps between present day life spans and those that presumably existed in anteand postdiluvian times? We can ask the same about the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. According to census figures in Exodus and Numbers (too complex to discuss here) 2.5 to 3 million Israelites left Egypt and wandered for 40 years in the Sinai wilderness. Because of their disobedience, all of them but the children were condemned to die in the wilderness without ever seeing the promised land ( [ref011] Num. 14:20-24; [ref012] Dt. 1:37-39). So we are asked to believe that 3 million nomads wandered from encampment to encampment for 40 years in a relatively confined area no bigger than the Sinai peninsula, that two million of them died and were presumably buried there, but archaeologists have never found any trace of evidence that they left behind. Speaking at a conference at the Royal Ontario Museum, Israeli archaeologist Eliezer Oren reported that more than 80 sites excavated in the Sinai by his team between 1972 and 1982 "had not turned up any support for the historical accuracy of when the Exodus was supposed to have occurred" (Barry Brown, "Israeli Archaeologist Reports No Evidence to Back Exodus Story," carried by News Toronto Bureau, Feb. 27, 1988). Oren reported that "(o)ther research groups, digging just as long in the central and southern Sinai, have found no traces of human activity at all from the Exodus time, except for some small mining sites that were under strict Egyptian control." Brown's article reported that "(o)ther archaeologists who have worked in the Sinai agree no evidence has been found of any encampments indicating where the children of Israel stayed in the desert." How much trash would three million people have left behind at these encampments to be buried in the shifting desert sands? And why hasn't any of it been found? [ref013] Numbers 33 lists some forty separate encampments where the Israelites allegedly stayed during their wanderings. The book of Leviticus details the daily sacrificial ceremonies that required the slaughtering of bullocks, sheep, lambs, goats, etc. to appease the wrath of Yahweh. Three million people participating in such sacrifices over a period of 40 years would have necessarily slaughtered millions of animals whose remains had to be carried outside of the camp and burned ( [ref014] Lev. 4:11). Where is the archaeological evidence that sacrifices on any such scale as this ever occurred in the Sinai? Where is this missing link? We could continue this and ask about many other "missing links" that Bible inerrantists have yet to produce, but these are sufficient to show an inconsistency in fundamentalist thinking. Logic recognizes that the lack of positive evidence does not constitute negative evidence, and fundamentalists recognize it too. We can guarantee you that some of them will write to inform us that the absence of archaeological proof of the exodus or of antediluvian life spans of several centuries doesn't mean that neither happened--and they are right. If they can recognize this in matters that concern their outrageous beliefs, why can't they see that all of their talk about "missing links" (even if it were true) would prove nothing about evolution? FREE SUBSCRIPTION: A free one-year subscription to _The_Skeptical_ Review_ can be obtained by emailing [ref015]Jftill@aol.com or by writing to P.O. Box 717, Canton, IL 61520-0717. File contributed by [ref016]Farrell Till; page maintained by the [ref017]Internet Infidels. [ref018]Email: [ref019]infidel@freethought.tamu.edu [ref020]JL [ref021]Copyright © 1995 [ref022]Internet Infidels. HTML Reproduction Rights Reserved. [ref001] mailto:jlowder@atheist.tamu.edu [ref002] http://freethought.tamu.edu/mag/sr/1995/3/3front95.html [ref003] ./ [ref004] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?version=KJV&passage=Genesis+9:29 [ref005] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?version=KJV&passage=Genesis+11:10-11 [ref006] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?version=KJV&passage=Genesis+11:14-24 [ref007] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?version=KJV&passage=Genesis+25:7 [ref008] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?version=KJV&passage=Genesis+35:28 [ref009] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?version=KJV&passage=Genesis+47:28 [ref010] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?version=KJV&passage=Exodus+6:20 [ref011] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?version=KJV&passage=Numbers+14:20-24 [ref012] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?version=KJV&passage=Deuteronomy+1:37-39 [ref013] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?version=KJV&passage=Numbers+33 [ref014] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?version=KJV&passage=Leviticus+4:11 [ref015] mailto:Jftill@aol.com [ref016] mailto:Jftill@aol.com [ref017] /infidel.html [ref018] mailto:infidel@freethought.tamu.edu [ref019] /cgi-bin/mail?infidel [ref020] http://atheist.tamu.edu/~jlowder/ [ref021] /copyright.html [ref022] /infidels/

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