Homo naledi is an important new fossil from Africa that is a huge boon to our understanding of human evolution. It helps provide solid evidence for many hypotheses about our ancestors.
Creationism has a lot of flaws. It’s kind of racist, deceptive, and sometimes downright ignorant. But at it’s core the main problem is that it just isn’t science. Science is the most reliable way we have to test ideas and figure out if they’re accurate. Without this tool, creationists can’t determine if one of their ideas is more accurate than another. Which is where Homo naledi comes in. Without any way to actually figure out which of their ideas about the fossil is right a creationist civil war has erupted on the subject.
And the results are hilarious.
The two basic sides are whether this find is just a human, or just an ape. After all, there’s no way it could be some transition between the two. Creation Ministries International espouses the most common view: that since Homo naledi is part of the Homo family; it’s just human and nothing special.
But why label the remains Homo naledi if there is so much indication that these may have been ordinary humans with some unique anatomical variations just as there are variations today between different people groups but all descended from the first two people created by God—Adam and Eve?
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Indeed, H. naledi has been described as having features “similar to early Homo species including Homo erectus, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis” . . . Scientists such as Wolpoff as far back as 2001 argued that these should really all be included under H. sapiens, human beings.
Of course; they’re not ignorant of the fact that this idea disagrees with some creationists. As such they’re careful to not close the door completely on the interpretation that it’s actually an ape; promising to re-evaluate their position at a later date. And by re-evaluate, I strongly suspect they just mean “copy whatever other creationists say.” Which is something the Institute for Creation Research has already done.
They also started out claiming that Homo naledi was just another human; writing.
Their human feet and skulls, plus ritualistic burial, show that Homo naledi—if this name stands the test of time—was likely just another human variety.
But 5 days later a little footnote was posted at the bottom of the page
Update: Upon closer examination, the skeletal remains given the name Homo naledi show a host of primate characteristics, and evolutionists have pointed out shortcomings with the ritualistic burial interpretation.
What’s particularly interesting is that there’s no citation for this new information. No specific evolutionary criticism of the ritual burial, or which primate traits convinced them. Which is a shame, because the timing coincides with the publication of an Answers in Genesis piece on the subject – after the ICRs initial post but before their update. This takes the opposite position, arguing that Homo naledi was actually just an ape.
the extremely small braincase—assuming the composite reconstruction is accurate—and the sloped ape-like face, the jaw, the shoulder, the curved fingers and toes, the rib cage, and flared pelvis all are consistent with an australopithecine variant
Clearly, the creationist narrative is in disarray. Some can’t even agree that all the fossils found belong to the same species, let alone decide if it was ape or human. At the end of the day this is because all they have is a narrative; not science. If they problems they were finding with this fossil were real, surely they would all be arriving at the same conclusion? But they aren’t so they won’t.
This sort of disagreement undermines any scrap of credibility creationists might have left. As such, it can’t be allowed to continue. Over the next few weeks I suspect we’ll see creationists falling into lockstep as one narrative becomes dominant. After all, we’ve already seen the ICR do a complete 180 on the subject. But hopefully, dear reader, you’ll agree. By then the damage will have been done.