Science & Human Origins
Ann Gauger Douglas Axe Casey Luskin
Softback, 124 pp., 2012
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The recent Hollywood SciFi movie, Prometheus, by Ridley Scott (2012), is a good reminder of how fascinated we are with the story of our own origins. Finding clues left by extra terrestrial beings, scientists funded by motivated entrepreneurs, leave on a galactic journey to find the â€œEngineersâ€ who seeded life on earth. What they find surprises them, and while they find some answers to â€œwhoâ€ created us, they are left with the more disturbing question of â€œwhyâ€ they create us.
Perhaps the movie provides us a little insight to the question of why every hominid bone discovery in Africa is hailed by anthropologists and media sources as the key missing link in explaining human origins. We just want to know where we came from. Standard scientific texts and news reports lead the average person to believe it has all been figured out according to Darwinâ€™s theory. The new discoveries are just filling in a few missing gaps in the evidence. That could not be farther from the truth. Scientists are nowhere closer to knowing the â€œwhoâ€ or the â€œwhyâ€ based on the evidence than they were 50 years ago. We frequently get requests for good texts that provide a critique of the Darwinian theory of human origins. What are we to make of the latest fossil finds from Africa or the claim that our DNA is almost identical to that of the chimpanzee? Until now there has not been a definitive textâ€”just an article here or a chapter there. We are happy to recommend this brief text on the topic that is written with a general audience in mind.
The modern scientific creation story is that humans evolved from a common ancestor through the process of common descent and natural selection acting on unplanned genetic variations. The two lines of reasoning that are typically used to argue for our common ancestry with ape-like creatures are both based on similarityâ€”similarity in anatomy, and similarity in DNA sequence. In this new book, Science & Human Origins, the authors take on both lines of argument and show that similarity between two complex structures does not reliably indicate an evolutionary path between them.
In chapters 1 and 2, Ann Gauger and Douglas Axe challenge the central claim that Darwinâ€™s undirected mechanism of natural selection is really capable of building a human being. In chapters 1, 3, and 4, Ann Gauger and Casey Luskin critically assess the genetic and fossil evidence that human beings share a common ancestor with apes. And in the final chapter, Ann Gauger refutes scientific claims that the human race could not have started from an original couple.
So whether itâ€™s for yourself, a high school or college student, or a friend at work, the next time someone claims that the fossil or DNA evidence proves we descended from a common ancestor according to Darwinâ€™s theory, this is the book you want in order to start examining the evidence and arguments in greater detail. Like the scientists from the movie Prometheus, I think you will be surprised by what you find.
About the Authors:
Ann Gauger is senior research scientist at Biologic Institute. She received her Ph.D. in developmental biology from the University of Washington and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. Douglas Axe is director of Biologic Institute and received his Ph.D. from Caltech. He previously held postdoctoral and research scientist positions at Cambridge University and the Babraham Institute. Casey Luskin is research coordinator at Discovery Instituteâ€™s Center for Science and Culture. He earned his M.S. in earth sciences from the University of California, San Diego, and conducted geological research at the Scripps Institution for Oceanography.