Bones of Contention was written by Marvin L. By , he had spent over forty years researching and studying in the field of anthropology, often defending creationism from a young earth perspective through oral and literary mediums. Any variation found in the fossil record is due to deformity, disease or fossilization process. The book is organized into seven sections. The first two sections focus on the lack of rigorous scientific standards in the fields of paleoanthropology and evolution. He believes that the hominid fossil record is comprised solely of modern humans i.

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It is republished here by permission of the Australian Skeptics and Colin Groves. Baker Book House. Grand Rapids MI. ISBN Creationists are bound to fare rather poorly on human evolution. The fossils form such a neatly graded series, getting less and less ape-like and more and more human as they get closer in time to the present, that the most earnest creationist can do little more than muddy the waters by inflating and distorting the existence of points of disagreement between specialists, or trying to revive long since discredited Homo sapiens specimens once claimed to have been from extremely ancient deposits.

To my knowledge, only two have, up to now, tried to demolish the idea of human evolution in any depth for want of a more accurate phrase : Duane Gish and Malcolm Bowden. Bowden who appears in the flesh in one of the Origins films has at least done some original research on Piltdown, and tried, if not very convincingly, to think up reasons why this or that key fossil is not what it seems.

Somehow, creationists seem not to take much notice of Bowden; Gish is the inevitable source. Gish has such a way with the evidence, after all. No, Gish is the master, the source. Until now. Until Marvin L. Creationists are going to sit up and take notice of this one. Second of all, he actually has read much of the original literature on human evolution even if he has not quite understood it all.

Above all, he does not try to conceal the fact that human fossils are abundant, in fact he stresses it: by his "conservative estimate" more than 6, fossil protohuman individuals have been discovered up to now p This is a good start; one plunges into the body of the book with spirits soaring, anticipating an intellectual cut-and-thrust. One is disappointed. On pp Lubenow tries to explain evolutionary theory. His chain of oversimplifications leads him into a glaring non-sequitur: "It is thus basic to evolution that if species B evolved from species A, that species A and species B cannot coexist for an extended length of time".

Ungrammatical, and inaccurate; yet time and again throughout the book he appeals to this supposed corollary of evolution to argue that, because there is coexistence between a supposed ancestral species and Homo sapiens, the relationship cannot actually be ancestor-descendant.

So reliant is he on this misunderstanding as a potent dragon-killer, that he drags out one dragon after another to be slain by it. The date of the famous Taung Child, the earliest discovered specimen of Australopithecus africanus, is believed by some specialists to be only some 0.

The Kanapoi elbow, dated at 4. Feldesman , American Journal of Physical Anthropology, which finds that Kanapoi is very far from being modern human. Where a particular fossil is in dispute, he accepts whichever interpretation of it will suit his theme he accuses "evolutionists" of doing this often enough, but seems quite unaware that he is doing it himself.

Middle Pleistocene African and European fossils such as Petralona, Mauer, Ndutu, Vertesszollos, Arago, Bodo, Saldanha and Kabwe are classified as Homo sapiens by some authorities and as Homo erectus by others, but they are early in time some hundreds of thousands of years old , so Lubenow accepts the Homo sapiens designations. A variety of Late Pleistocene Australian fossils, such as those from Kow Swamp, have been said to be Homo sapiens but retaining certain Homo erectus-like features, which Lubenow distorts by saying that they are fully Homo erectus.

By semantic sleight-of-hand Homo erectus and Homo sapiens become contemporaries over , years. The fact is that one school of thought "Regional Continuity" believes that all Middle Pleistocene Homo were really a genetic continuum, ancestral as a whole to modern humans; another "Replacement" believes that only the African ones were our ancestors, and the others more or less died out, replaced by the newcomers from Africa. If you adhere to the first school, it is clearly quite arbitrary where you draw the line between Homo erectus and H.

If you are a Replacementist, like me, you will restrict the concept "archaic Homo sapiens", or whatever you want to call it, to the ones that are very likely our ancestors, and the others the Chinese and Indonesian fossils, mainly will be a separate clade, Homo erectus.

All this business of taxonomy and nomenclature, clades and grades, Continuity and Replacement, is probably a bit too much like science for any creationist, for whom a rose by any other name would not smell sweet at all. There is little actual description of anatomy in this or any other creationist writing. Actually, this is just as well considering the games Lubenow plays with cranial capacity more or less equals brain size.

Molnar actually hedged his figures about with qualifications, e. The probability of occurrence of a cc cranial capacity in a modern person must be rather tiny, given that mean capacity for the species as a whole is about cc. Perhaps we can calculate just how tiny. Mean cranial capacities vary from one human population to another, dependant on such things as body size and, curiously, climate.

They had a mean of cc, with a standard deviation of Now our statistical books tell us that one standard deviation on either side of the mean includes One individual in 30, will be, statistically, beyond below or above the 4 standard deviation limits, ie one in 60, will be below.

In the Homo sapiens population with the smallest reported cranial capacity, about one person in 60, can be expected to have a brain size sensu Lubenow of as little as cc.

You can perform a similar calculation to find out what proportion will have a size of cc, and so on. The chances of finding even one such individual as a fossil is remote. It is far, far more probable that the various fossil Homo that have cranial capacities of this general size were normalish representatives of small-brained populations. The rest of the complex anatomical changes that are observable in human evolution are subsumed under one heading: pathology.

Rudolf Virchow in argued that the bones from Neandertal were those of a normal human being, deformed by rickets; the idea was revived by Francis Ivanhoe in It has not received wide support, mainly because the skeletons of people who suffered from rickets, even very severe rickets, simply do not resemble those of Neandertalers.

Gloriously ignorant of this simple fact, and relying entirely on the authority of Virchow and Ivanhoe which by p. The one case where a nongenetic factor artificial cranial deformation has indeed been plausibly argued to be responsible for a superficially archaic skull appearance Kow Swamp and some other Australian fossils he dubs "contrived" p Of course he would; he needs Kow Swamp to be a late-occurring Homo erectus in order to prove that erectus was not earlier than sapiens, and indeed has already misquoted their describer, Alan Thorne, to that effect.

And so it goes on. Homo habilis is argued out of existence altogether; the famous East African skull, ER which some, but nowadays by no means all, authorities class with Homo habilis somehow becomes a modern human representative.

Australopithecines are, of course, dismissed on the evidence of Charles Oxnard a noted Western Australian anatomist, who in fact is the first to admit that his view of this series of fossils is uniquely his own.

We have the obligatory tale of those early failures of potassium-argon dating - as if the errors made by the early practitioners of any method somehow invalidate the whole enterprise.

And not just evolution of our species - in Chapter 18, even the Big Bang gets a serve. Perhaps a cosmologist would like to comment on his treatment of this theme: unlike Lubenow, I would hesitate to step into an unfamiliar field. And in Chapter 19, there he is rewriting the history of ancient civilisation. Maybe my readers are getting restless by this point.

Well, he is there, on page 9: "John Whitcomb and Duane Gish read the manuscript and offered valuable comments". He is mentioned just twice more in the entire book, as having held debates with "evolutionists".

Not, ever, as an authority. In fact, if you remember your Gish as you read Lubenow, you begin to get the feeling that Lubenow has a rather low regard for Gish. Both creationists they may be, but their interpretations of palaeontology are diametrically opposed. Two competing creationist views of the human fossil record Gish,


Post-modernism in pseudoscience: a creationist's deconstruction of Gish

Lubenow, who has researched creationism and evolutionism for thirty-five years, presents a thorough and scholarly critique of this evolutionary parade of so-called ape-men. Lubenow discusses in great detail the alleged human fossil chain from the early Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, and modern humans. In recounting the numerous fossil discoveries in the last decades Lubenow gives thorough scientific support for several points, all of which are devastating to evolution: 1 Brain size is no determiner of the degree of culture or morality. Humans are distinct from the animal world because they are made in the image of God.


Bones of Contention

The book Bones of Contention , by Marvin Lubenow , is considered by many creationists to be the definitive creationist treatment of the claimed evidence for human evolution. To his credit, Lubenow has read a large amount of the scientific literature on human evolution, and his book stands up well compared to the gross incompetence of other creationist authors such as Duane Gish and Malcolm Bowden who have written on the same topic. By any other standards, the book fails badly and will not convince anyone familiar with the details of the literature on human evolution. The major theme of Bones of Contention is that the various species of hominid cannot form an evolutionary sequence because they overlap one another in time. Firstly, he argues that a species cannot survive once it has given rise to a new species. Unlike many other creationists, he does at least attempt to give some justification for this.

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