Errors Concerning Human Intelligence From The Discovery Channel
The documentary, Evolution: The Mind's Big Bang, broadcast on The Discovery Channel, set out a number of Darwinist claims on the subject of human intelligence and culture. Considerable space was devoted to the views of such unrepentant Darwinist scientists as Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins. This paper examines these Darwinist views and sets out the distortions behind them.
Mankind's Social Identity Did Not Emerge By Means of Evolution
At the beginning of the documentary there is talk of discoveries of ornaments and necklaces going back some 50,000 years. It is then suggested that there was a so-called evolutionary explosion in cultural terms at that time, and various adornments are put forward as evidence of this. These belong to the ancient human race called Cro Magnon. It is stated on The Discovery Channel that these adornments are guessed to have belonged to a pregnant Cro Magnon woman and to have been used to send a message to other people. After explaining that such behavior is an indication of social identity, it is then suggested that these people established social relationships that did not exist in nature.
The claims regarding these ornaments are not consistent, since such adornments are not "indispensable" indications of social identity. The social identity put forward by means of these ornaments could have been expressed by even earlier people in terms of other objects, or even in other ways making not use of objects at all (by gestures, for instance). So, there is no foundation to the idea that one can simply look at an ornament and infer that previously non-existent social identities had been established at the time of that adornment.
Neanderthal Man is a True Human Being
A number of anatomical and cultural features of Neanderthal man are distorted on The Discovery Channel. This distortion can even be seen in the interpretation of the very word Neanderthal. Neanderthal man is spoken of in the documentary as "primitive Stone-Age man." Yet the fact is that Neanderthal means nothing of the sort. The name of this human race comes from the Neander valley near the German city of Dusseldorf (The first discoveries of this man were made by miners working in a cave in the valley in 1856.)
In the documentary, Neanderthal man is described as having a strong body, with a sloping, narrow forehead, following which there is speculation about his artistic levels. We are told that he left behind him no cave drawings in the habitat he lived in, and it is suggested that he thus left "no clues as to his symbolic life." The programme then says that modern man, on the other hand, attaches great importance to art and takes great care over it.
What emerges from this anatomical and artistic comparison of modern and Neanderthal man is not an evolutionary superiority. The fact that Neanderthals had powerful bodies or narrow foreheads is insufficient to demonstrate that they were a primitive species. For instance, we do not conclude that the large inhabitants of Northern Europe are cruder and more primitive than the smaller Chinese or pygmies. That is because bone and skeletal structure is not a criterion for judging behavior and intelligence.
On the other hand, if anatomical features are to be regarded as such criteria, then according to evolutionist logic, Neanderthals must be regarded as more intelligent than modern man, since evolutionists base human intelligence upon brain size. The brain volume of Neanderthal man is some 13% greater than that of his modern counterpart.
The fact that no Neanderthal drawings have come down to the present day is also no indication of primitiveness. There are modern societies which take little interest in art or painting. Looking at their lack of representational art, all one can say about the Neanderthals is that they were "backward in art." Portraying them as a primitive intermediate species solely because they did not make pictures is nothing more than prejudice.
The fact that they did not make pictures is insufficient to show that they had little interest in art. A flute unearthed from a Neanderthal cave in Slovenia demonstrates that these people did have a musical culture. This flute is the oldest known musical instrument. Made from bear bone, it is able to produce notes thanks to four holes specially made in it. There is no doubt that it is only possible to make a flute and produce tunes by means of abstract conception. There is no reason not to assume that these people who interpreted music and produced tunes also entertained themselves by dancing.
Moreover, it has also been demonstrated that the Neanderthals nursed their sick and injured, and buried their dead with flowers. This indicates that they were social beings, possessed of the concepts of love and affection. To maintain that Neanderthals were primitive and on a lower evolutionary level than modern man is nothing than The Discovery Channel's own prejudice.
The Dilemma of Materialism Concealed by Steven Pinker
The Discovery Channel also reported errors regarding the origin of human behavior committed by Steven Pinker, a psychologist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as though they were true. Pinker makes the following claims:
As Pinker makes clear, the human brain is a most complex structure. It is even described as "the most complex thing in the universe" in scientific magazines. Furthermore, the design and processing capacity in the human brain is even used as a model by computer engineers. Dr. Kerry Bernstein, a senior technologist from the well-known company IBM, states in an interview-report called "Brain Teaches Computers a Lesson" published on MSNBC.com, that he holds regular annual conferences attended by neurologists at the IBM headquarters to inform his engineers about the design of the human brain. Bernstein says that the operations of the brain cannot be exactly copied. It operates at roughly 12 kilohertz—the equivalent of 12,000 cycles per second—and burns a fraction of the power computers do, Bernstein says. That makes it exponentially more efficient than the fastest computer, he says. "The reason is because of something that we can't do in electronics." Bernstein says. "It's this notion of massive parallelism." Meaning one bit of data can spread to 100,000 other neurons, he said.2
As well as this superior design, the brain also functions most productively. Martin S. Banks, a professor of optometry and psychology at the University of California Berkeley, says, "The brain is efficient in that it doesn't waste energy maintaining information that it will not likely need in real life."3
As we have seen, there is a phenomenal design in the arrangement and functioning of the brain. Pinker and other Darwinists, however, suggest that this order within the brain came about by chance mutations. They claim that atoms bereft of all capacity for thought established the magnificent design in the human brain solely as the result of a long "evolutionary process" based on nothing more than chance. This claim has no scientific foundation and is a violation of reason. Genetic research has shown that there is no question of mutations' adding any information to the genes, and that if they do have any effect, they are always damaging to the organism. Not one artificial mutation carried out in laboratories has ever brought any benefit to a single living thing. Embryos subjected to mutation have been seen to be born dead or crippled. It is clear that mutation could never bring about the "order" within the brain. Such a thing is as impossible as turning an electronic calculator into the most complex computer in the world by smashing it with a hammer.
The claim that behavior is to do with nerve cells and the connections between them is also a dogma. Neuron activity concerning behavior has been detected in the brain, yet no explanation has been offered which might reduce consciousness, the source of all behavior, to the brain.
Behavior consists of the choices of action taken by man to adapt to his environment or to adapt that environment to himself. The possibility of such behavior is dependent upon his having knowledge, in other words consciousness, of his environment. Consciousness, however, is one of the major dilemmas facing materialism, since it has never proven possible to reduce consciousness to matter: no clues have ever been found as to where consciousness resides in the brain and how it emerges. The question of how consciousness comes about in man, a collection of cells, is still a mystery to materialists. Brain scan studies in the experimental field and theories put forward in the theoretical field have all failed to account for consciousness. Colin McGinn, author of the book The Problem of Consciousness, admits this failure in these words:
We have been trying for a long time to solve the mind-body problem. It has stubbornly resisted our best efforts. The mystery persists. I think the time has come to admit candidly that we cannot solve the mystery.4
All this reveals that behavior is not limited to the brain cells. Steven Pinker is actually perfectly well aware of the quandary that consciousness represents for materialism. In basing behavior on the connections between brain cells, he is attempting to cover up this dilemma facing materialism, rather than offering a consistent explanation.
Behavior Aimed at Defending Social Position Is No Proof of Evolution
Taking certain aspects of chimpanzee behavior as a model, The Discovery Channel attempts to establish a relationship between them and man. The documentary explains how when a chimpanzee seeks to influence another chimpanzee whose friendship it hopes to win, it attacks another animal when it begins to annoy the community, thus sending the message that "my friend's enemy is my enemy." However, this example is a comparison based on sheer prejudice; what we have in common with chimpanzees is that we understand the meaning of communications and that this can threaten our social position.
The fact that man and chimpanzees display such common behavior cannot be put forward as proof of any evolutionary relationship between them. Such shows of strength can also be seen among other animals. Elephants, for example, do not allow other elephants to enter regions belonging to their herd. Moreover, the elephant that wins the struggle for leadership of the herd is approved as the new leader by the other members of the community. In other words, just like chimpanzees, many other living things are capable of sending messages to other members of the group in order to defend their own social positions. Yet, the fact that elephants, like man, attach importance to their social position does not of course mean that there is any evolutionary relationship between the two.
The Discovery Channel also engages in Darwinist propaganda by suggesting, in the narration accompanying images of a group of chimpanzees, that human beings split away from chimpanzees some 6 million years ago and evolved as a separate primate branch. The truth is, however, that just like other different species in nature, man and chimpanzees are totally different creatures. The claim that they separated from one another 6 million years ago through an evolutionary process has no scientific basis, and is merely a Darwinist assumption. The scientific evidence has revealed that the significance of the fossils put forward as evidence for these scenarios has been distorted. These fossils are not so-called intermediate species, but either the remains of extinct human races or else species of ape. (For the collapse of the scenario of human evolution, see Harun Yahya, The Evolution Deceit, Taha Publishers, London, 2003.)
The Discovery Channel's Darwinist Preconceptions About Language
The documentary also contains speculation about the origin of language that are based entirely on fantasy and prejudice. The social benefits conferred on man by language are described as the benefits conferred on individuals in the so-called process of evolution. The claim is then made that the socially most powerful might have been selected during the alleged evolutionary process.
The Discovery Channel is unable to offer any scientific proof for this claim, and deals with it in a fairy-tale manner. It takes man's ability to speak, and artificially pastes it onto natural selection, the classical idea at the heart of the theory of evolution. Needless to say, one-sidedly portraying a series of imaginary claims lacking in any scientific foundation as though they were scientific fact is not a scientific approach.
Language, which allows man to think and establish communication with others in a most perfect manner, is a miraculous ability unique to man. All human beings possess language-learning ability from the moment of their birth. A baby anywhere in the world can learn any language spoken anywhere in the world.
Structurally, language rests on complex grammatical and syntactical rules. An utterance consisting of two or three words might appear to be something really rather simple. However, in order for a person to produce it, a great many very complicated processes must be carried out within a very short space of time. Abstract concepts regarding the issue in question are brought to mind, appropriate words are chosen, and then the words are arranged in the right order. All of this must happen for the original thought to be communicated to someone else.
Frank Guenther of Boston University says, "Speech is easily the most complicated motor act humans carry out."5 Guenther states that during speech the brain controls more than 100 muscles in the face, throat, chest, and abdomen, and emphasizes that all of this happens spontaneously without our needing to think about it. Guenther describes how a five-syllable word, including eleven discrete phonemes, takes most people less than a second to say. Furthermore, we do not have to worry about which muscles to tighten or loosen as we speak. Speech is literally a miracle.
Seeking to offer a Darwinist explanation of the origin of language, The Discovery Channel also deals with gossip in terms of natural selection. After stating that gossip comprises two-thirds of human conversation, the channel says that gossip is actually capital, and that the first person to learn how to do it acquired information that could be negotiated with others, for which reason gossip is an evolutionary benefit.
This claim about gossip is actually nothing more than fantasy, of course. Moreover, it is not even consistent, because gossip is not capital. If it were, then those who gossip most would today be the most respected individuals in society.
Richard Dawkins' Distortions
The Discovery Channel also devotes space to the claims of Richard Dawkins, an unrepentant Darwinist, atheist, and Oxford University zoologist. Dawkins considers all forms of cultural behavior (ideas, gestures, etc.) under the heading of "meme." Dawkins describes memes as ideas passed on by one human being imitating another, and suggests that in the same way that the genes copy DNA and pass it on from person to person, the memes that constitute the mind and shape behavior are similarly copied and handed on from one person to another. The idea is that, just as the so-called competition between genes shaped biological evolution, so too the competition between memes shaped the brain and culture. Dawkins later suggests that memes—i.e., mimicry or assimilation—are the propulsive force behind human evolution.
The ideas Dawkins describes with the concept of memes can of course change and develop. For instance, ideas can be discussed and other ideas added as a result. Cultural progress can thus take place. In addition to this, human behavior and the behavior of other human beings may be imitated. There is nothing wrong with Dawkins' account up to this point. The error lies in suggesting that this is evidence for so-called human evolution. Mimicry is concerned with abstract thought. Man is the only being possessed of reason and capable of transmitting, copying, and developing ideas.
No relationship based on mimicry can possibly be established between man—who creates works of art, develops scientific theories, and designs and debates political regimes—and animals, bereft of all capacity for abstract thought. Instead of considering and defining a property that is unique to man, Dawkins should first of all explain how abstract thought might have emerged during the so-called transition from animal to man. What evolutionists are unable to explain is this: How is it that an animal that is unable to think or speak and unable to establish detailed connections between itself and its surroundings, could possibly turn into a human being able to speak and think and possessed of reason and high intelligence? By what evolutionary mechanism could this mental gulf have been bridged?
Naturally, neither Dawkins nor other evolutionists have a consistent reply to these questions. That is because it is impossible to account for abstract thought by adopting a materialist approach, as Colin McGinn has admitted.
Dawkins has no evidence at all of how so-called evolution might have bridged this gulf, and his claim is a totally imaginary one.
"If cultural heritage replicates itself, like DNA molecules, then a new theory of Darwinism might emerge."
No further comment is made after The Discovery Channel puts this suggestion forward. Yet, an explanation of what a cultural accumulation is and how human culture might emerge from the replication of such an accumulation needs to be made. For that reason, these superficial statements have no meaning at all on the scientific level.
Finally, the claim that there is competition between genes and that this competition shaped biological evolution is invalidated by the effect of chance mutation. Like all evolutionists, Dawkins has adopted the dogmatic idea that the vast amount of information concealed in DNA emerged by chance. Genetic research has demonstrated that it is impossible for chance mutations to add information to species' DNA and thus turn them into other species. You can read about the scientific evidence for how mutations—the genetic stronghold of evolution—actually put the theory into a quandary in www.darwinismrefuted.com based on the works of Harun Yahya.
Conclusion: The Origin of Human Reason is Creation, not an Evolutionary Big Bang
Human beings are very superior to other living things. The civilization established by man reveals an extraordinary accumulation of knowledge. Philosophy, medicine, universities, science, technology, politics, art … the origin of all of these stems from consciousness. Consciousness, language, and speech are concepts that cannot be explained in terms of materialism. Man has no physical or psychological relationship to chimpanzees. It is not possible to talk of the mind's big bang through evolution, which is itself unable to account for reason in the first place. The great error of Darwinism is clear. Mutations which came about by chance cannot have caused a "big bang" in human brain and led to "the world's most complex" design, the human mind.The truth, which evolutionists refuse to accept, is evident: it is impossible to account for human reason and consciousness in terms of materialism. The atoms in the brain cannot feel, know, or speak. There is no doubt that the source of the human brain is not atoms, but the inspiration of our Lord.
1- Steven Pinker, Evolution of the Mind, WGBH Educational Foundation http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/07/2/text_pop/l_072_03.html
2- Ruthland Herald, "IBM engineer looks to brain for new technology," April 12, 2003, http://rutlandherald.nybor.com/Archive/Articles/ Article/49517
3- "Brain's method of merging input depends on which senses supply it" http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-11/uop-bmo111902.php
4- Colin McGinn, "Can We Solve the Mind-Body Problem?" Mind, 98 (1989), p. 349
5- "Repeat After Me," Discover, November 2002