Decoding the Lucy’s Death Narrative

CRI-Blog-Hanegraaff, Hank-Lucy's DeathI want to say just a word about a newspaper headline that caught my attention this morning. It was in USA Today written by Doyle Rice with the headline: “Cracking an ice cold case: Nearly 3.2 million years ago, Lucy died. Now we know how.” That last phrase really caught my attention. “Now we know how” Lucy died 3.2 million years ago.

The article purports,

Lucy, the iconic human cousin whose skeleton was discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, died shortly after she fell out of a tree, according to a new study published Monday in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature.

According to John Kappelman, the lead author of this study,

A hominid is a member of the evolutionary family that includes great apes—such as gorillas, chimps, and orangutans, humans, and their ancestors, some of which are extinct.

The article does mention that,

Scientists dubbed her Lucy from the Beatles song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,’ which was played at the archaeological camp the night of her discovery, according to Arizona State University (ASU) Institute of Human Origins.

This is the accepted narrative of what happened.

Scientists analyze the breaks in Lucy’s bones and they determine that she probably fell out of a tree. Again the headline indicates that’s how she died. So we now know how. But, you get towards the end of the article and you read that,

Other experts who are familiar with Lucy aren’t so sure of the findings. “I think the methodology falls short of providing a realistic explanation for the majority of breaks in Lucy’s bones,” said paleoanthropologist William Kimbel of ASU’s Institute of Human Origins. “We see this kind of damage frequently in a wide variety of animals that did not fall from trees,” he said.

This is a great example of how a narrative works. The headline offers a dogmatic assertion:  “3.2 million years ago, Lucy died. Now we know how.” But the text demonstrates that in all reality this is just a dogmatic assertion. It does not really comprise a defensible argument. As has been well said there is simply no business like the bone business.

Think back to 2009 when Darwinius masillae, which was affectionately nicknamed “Ida” was dubbed the eighth wonder of the world—the link between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom—the most important fossil discovery in 47 million years; but, what about today? Well, today, evolutionary scientists are uniformly convinced that Ida plays no role whatsoever in human evolution. In other words, Ida like Lucy was a dogmatic assertion and hardly a defensible argument.

The illustration of a knuckle dragging ape evolving through a series of imaginary transitional forms into modern man has appeared so many times in so many places and today the picture has evolved into the proof. We would do well to remember that past candidates have bestowed fame and fortune on their finders, but they have done very little to distinguish themselves as prime exemplars of human evolution.

Another point is that as the corpus of human fossil specimens continue its become increasingly evident that there is an unbridgeable chasm between hominids and humans in both composition and culture. The distance between and ape who cannot read or write and a descendant of Adam who can compose a musical masterpiece or send an astronaut to the moon is the distance of infinity. I would conclude by simply saying this: Evolution cannot satisfactorily account for the genesis of life, the genetic code, and the ingenious synchronization process needed to produce life from a single fertilized human egg. Neither can evolution satisfactorily explain how physical processes can produce metaphysical realities like consciousness and spirituality.

The insatiable drive to produce a missing link has sadly substituted selling, sensationalism, and subjectivism for solid science. Here’s the deal. You see an

Dave Einsel | Getty Images

Dave Einsel | Getty Images

article like this in the paper and immediately, if you don’t have discernment skills, you think, “Wow! Science has discovered something about our ancestor and exactly how she died,” and our ancestor is often times pictured. You know, she’s got that face with the eyes of a philosopher and that slightly worried look like she just seen her tax accountant. But, the picture again forwards the narrative. The narrative that this is our human ancestor, and that half-a-million years ago our father’s, father’s, father’s father was in fact an ape.

Now, there’s precious little, other than the picture, to substantiate these kinds of mythologies. We’ve been through this so many times we ought to have learned. Mental digestion should have gotten better. We had Pithecanthrous erectus, we had Piltdown man, we had Peking man, we have Nebraska man—one tooth found on a farm in Nebraska but with a little imagination the tooth was attached to a jawbone, the jawbone to a skeleton, and by the time the story hit the newspaper they not only had the Nebraska man but also the Nebraska mom. All of that from a single tooth. Then a year later—you don’t find this part of the story communicated very often—but a year later they find another tooth. This time attached to a jawbone, a jawbone to a skull cap, and the skull cap to a skeleton, and they find out that Nebraska man is in reality just the skeleton of an ancient pig. Here you have scientist trying to make a man out of a monkey and the monkey makes a laughing stock out of the scientist.

The sad reality is that people, particularly in universities, they fall for the skin of the truth stuffed with a great big lie over and over and over again. The narrative gets communicated so many times that the narrative takes on real flesh and bone. So we have to be those who exercise our discernment skills.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please access the following resources:

Can We Be Certain that Evolution is a Myth? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Did Humans Evolve from Hominids? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Are Ape-Men Fictions, Frauds, and Fantasies? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Why Natural Selection Cannot Explain the Origin of Animal Development (Paul Nelson)

Adam and Eve Redux (Ann Gauger)

Evolution’s Achilles’ Heel? (R. Scott Smith)

Darwin vs. Beauty: Explaining Away the Butterfly (Jonathan Witt)

More answers to the most common and controversial questions about the origin of life can be found in The Creation Answer Book (B1056) by Hank Hanegraaff

Adapted from Hank’s prologue to the August 30, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.