Lucy Goes to College

Author: Tom Willis, Mid-America Creation Science Association
Subject: Early Man
Date: 01/20/2001

Reprinted with permission from Bible-Science Newsletter

NOTE: This is the original article that started the controversy and confusion concerning Lucy’s knee joint and the validity of claims that Lucy walked upright based upon two different fossil finds. See also and

On November 20, several Creation Science For Mid-America members had the rather dubious pleasure of joining 800 other folks at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, to learn why Lucy, a “3,000,000-year-old” chimpanzee, was really our ancestor rather than the assorted apes exhumed by the Leakey family. Donald Johanson, of Stanford University, opened with a few persuasive remarks about how all science is very tentative, and “paleoanthropology” is even more tentative than most (all he has to work with are pieces of rock and lots of imagination).
Johanson reviewed the major fossil finds purported to be ancestors of Lucy (some folks call her Australopithecus, but I knew her personally). Then he showed pictures which supposedly supported his claim that Lucy (rather than Richard Leakey’s chimps) was our ancestor. His “evidence” was: 1. Lucy’s femur and pelvis, he claims, were more robust than most chimps, indicating she “could have walked upright.” Come now, I “could have been” president of IBM, but I wasn’t. And chickens walk upright, but this does not seem to help them sire humans. And there is enormous variation in skeletal robustness due to genetic and dietary differences. Skeletal robustness is absolutely no proof an animal can walk upright, or of its intelligence or likelihood of begetting a human. If you really need evidence of this, consider that the Budweiser Clydesdale horses have considerably more robust skeletons than do Arabians. But, no one argues that this improves the odds of Clydesdales giving birth to elephants! 2. A. slide showed us that “‘Lucy’s knee joint” had an angle more like Johanson’s carefully selected human knee than his carefully selected chimp knee. (Remember the knee it’s a biggie.) Johanson concluded his carefully worded presentation with a state-of-the-art Humanist altar call: “There is a common ancestor for man, and apes, and a common destiny…. We can now control the destiny not only of ourselves, but of our planet.”
He then opened for questions. There was an embarrassing lack of questions from the audience of 800, so we decided to help him out.

Tinker-Toy Paleontology

Roy Holt asked, “How far away from Lucy did you find the knee?” It was very difficult, but Johanson did manage to remember that it was found “60 to 70 meters [over 200 feet] lower in the strata and two to three kilometers [1.24-1.86 miles] away.”
“Then, why are you so sure it belonged to Lucy?”
Answer: “Anatomical similarity.” If that is “science” to Johanson, there should be little wonder why he says it is so tentative.
Really, folks, even if the knee was Lucy’s, it would hardly constitute evidence she was becoming human. No one seriously suggests large dogs are becoming bears. Remember, this creature was 3’6″ tall, weighed 50 pounds, had long arms, short legs and is believed by many paleontologists to have been a knuckle-walker. Its skeletal features are virtually indistinguishable from a chimpanzee! Furthermore, like.dogs, there is enormous skeletal variety among apes. Even if someone does discover an ape with an angled femur, we would still know nothing of an ape’s ability to have human progeny.

The Mysterious Methods of Evolutionary “Proof”

. I asked, “It is really quite easy to line up any artifacts in a purported evolutionary sequence (even utensils from my wife’s kitchen can be arranged to prove forks evolved from spoons, yet all were created). If I come to you with a chimpanzee with slightly more “humanlike features” than your chimpanzee, what evidence would you offer to falsify my claim that my chimpanzee sired humans, not yours?” I asked this to discover the evidence he really looks for to convince himself that some rocks (fossils) gave birth to humans. Bear in mind no one has ever seen any kind of animal give birth to any other kind (fruit flies becoming crippled and mosquitoes with resistance to DDT are illustrations of variety within create kinds). Incredible as it may seem, his answer was, “Well, I suppose if I found human bones lower in the strata.” In other words all dead apes with “humanlike features” sired humans unless human bones can be found lower in the strata. For some reason dead apes have no problem doing what living apes have never done! Paleoanthropology is truly a fascinating science.

I Do Believe…I Do Believe

After the meeting, he recognized me in a small group. Obviously uneasy with his answer he said, “You’re the one who asked that question.” I confessed, and added that he had really given no answer I since his only proof of ancestry was homology (similarity) which is not proof of ancestry. He argued that homology was a very good proof, claiming that DNA homology between apes and humans had proven our close relationship. I responded that “similar structures nearly always have similar plans (DNA in this case). Similar bridges have similar blueprints. This hardly constitutes evidence that one sired the other, or that the were erected by tornados. Furthermore, eminent researchers such as Colin Patterson of the British Museum have stated categorically that molecular homology is proving that evolution is anti-science, because every attempt to come up with an evolutionary tree using molecular homology has resulted in a different tree.” According to “molecular homology science,” everything evolved from everything . . . but slowly, of course … or, quickly, if you’re from Harvard.
Here is his scientific reply: “If you don’t believe homology proves ancestry, then you don’t believe in evolution … and evolution is a fact!”
Please refer to the last sentence in the first paragraph above. Note how easily an evolutionist can convert a very “tentative science” into a fact! It takes about an hour, and requires no additional evidence at all!
The more I study the thought processes of evolutionists, the more obvious it becomes “Why Johnnie Can’t Read”. These are the people who teach Johnnie’s teachers!! We should be thankful Johnnie can find his way home from school.
Let’s really reflect on what transpired here:

  1. Johanson offered “proof” that Lucy sired humans consisting of a robust femur and pelvis; and a knee with “human-like” characteristics.
  2. Only under questioning did he admit that the knee was found over a mile from Lucy. To the best of our knowledge this admission has not appeared in print!.Roy did not ask the question because he already knew the answer, but because of the suspicions of M. Bowden, a British scientist. Many articles and drawings of the discovery site make no mention of the distance whatsoever and absolutely lead the reader to the wrong conclusion about their relative positions!!! Java-man revisited.
  3. Confronted with the assertion that skeletal similarity (homology) between animals does not prove ancestral relationship, he changed the subject to molecular homology (DNA similarities).
  4. Faced with Dr. Patterson’s contention that molecular homology was proof that evolution was anti-science and anti-knowledge, Johanson simply resorted to dogma: “If you don’t believe in homology, you don’t believe in evolution…”, which means to him that you don’t believe in facts. Presumably Dr. Patterson does not believe in facts either, because he certainly does not have any kind words for molecular homology.

What transpired here, then, is that Johanson gave a clear demonstration of our assertion that evolution has nothing whatsoever to do with science. Belief in evolution has to do with a humanist religious viewpoint (Humanism is the religion of all who have chosen to believe man rather than God). Johanson not only used bones scattered over a mile apart, he presented an argument he should know to be false. As an anthropologist Johanson should be fully aware that a large hip joint does not prove upright posture, much less does it prove higher intelligence or the ability to sire a human.Remember, he gets paid for this stuff. By any reasonable standard Johanson misrepresented the evidence . . . and he did so for money! A businessman who made claims like this to sell his products would be charged with fraud rather than paid an honorarium!
When confronted with an informed challenge, Johanson did not resort to evidence or reason, but to dogma (evolution is a fact). He closed the meeting with the standard humanistic altar call, “Join us scientists in controlling our destiny and in bringing about world peace.”

Therefore, Johanson has also vividly illustrated our contention that evolution is simply a widely accepted
pagan religion. A religion because it requires faith that the gods of time, chance and the environment
worked the miracles necessary to build the universe, create living things, and help chimpanzees (or southern apes, or orangutan, take your pick) sire humans. Then they propose faith in man to determine his own destiny.
The religion is pagan because these objects of faith are false gods that manifestly do not have the capacity to accomplish what evolution claims for them.

You see, time, chance and the environment have never created anything, much less anything as complex as a living animal. And the idea that man can control his own destiny is so demented it hardly requires refuting. In the last 80 years the Soviets have killed some 10 million of their own countrymen, the Germans – 6 million Jews and blacks, the Chinese – 20 million, the Cambodians – 3 million, and the Americans . . . well 15 million children have been killed by their own mothers!

As to controlling our own destiny, if it can be argued that we have had any effect on our destiny, it would be that we have shortened our life expectancy from 900 years to about 70 years. With our recent brilliance (AIDS, Herpes, industrial wastes, Dioxin and other herbicides and pesticides) we will undoubtedly manage to shorten our lives still more. If it can be argued that man is evolving, he is doing so by the creation model of history’ Man is “devolving”, by choice, from a perfect beginning!

Evolution, you see, is not Johanson’s science. It is his religion . . . and his profession. Because his religion is pagan (false) it has made a fool of him. His twisted presentation of the data indicates that greed (for prestige, as well as money) has apparently also made a prostitute of him. How tragic that we parents pay for children to sit at his feet to acquire knowledge and wisdom. I wonder which of us is the greater fool? … God knows!

Tom Willis is President of Creation Science For Mid-America. He received his B.S. in physics and an M.A. in statistics and numerical analysis from the University of Missouri, Columbia, MO. He is a member of Pi Mu Epsilon, the honorary mathematics fraternity.
Presently, Tom is a Senior Systems Engineer in the data processing industry. He is the father of two grown children, and lives on a farm in Cass County, Missouri with his wife Penny, where they raise blueberries and other small fruits.