In the 19th century, when the new science of paleontology was developing and cultural change agents like Thomas Huxley were interpreting fossils to fit a naturalism worldview, the so-called “bone wars” erupted. This war pitted Darwinists against clergy and fellow scientists who held to the historicity of Genesis.
The war never really came to a conclusion; it continues. Today, museums of natural history and creationist museums present their worldviews. While the now-developing Museum of Earth History, a joint project of Creation Truth Foundation and Christ for the Nations in Dallas, is small compared to the American Museum of Natural History, it will promote a particular worldview.
It seems that creationists and evolutionists are locked in an ideological battle, and the public is along for the ride. Stepping off the plane at the Pittsburgh airport, one is struck by the fact that a large dinosaur skeleton is displayed, thanks to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The display promotes evolution (the famed king of the Industrial Age was himself a devoted follower of Herbert Spencer and his social evolution ideas).
So the discussion and fierce debate goes on and on, the bone wars as savage as they were a century ago.
One of the pioneers of what I’d call “creationist paleontology” is Marvin Lubenow. The author of a landmark book, “Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils,” Lubenow writes fearlessly of the myths of Darwinian philosophy as it relates to human origins.
I first read the book 15 years ago, and was intrigued that Lubenow was a “man of letters.” So often, creationists are portrayed as primitive, backwoods dunces. Lubenow has degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and Eastern Michigan University. He has the rare ability to condense dense material into a form that is both interesting and informative for lay audiences. And he also has put evolutionary paleontologists on their heels with his devastating investigations into the hallowed halls of Huxley, etc.
For example, in “Bones of Contention,” Lubenow lays out a strong case that the theory of human evolution is false. The falsification of early discoveries – in order to give weight to Darwinian philosophy – is described in fascinating detail by Lubenow.
By the way, this updated edition also presents the solid science of creationists. Lubenow also makes the extremely important point that the creation-evolution debate/war is about philosophy, not so much science.
While it is obviously true that creationists have presuppositions about human origins … so do evolutionists. This seems to be a secret, even today, and that is astonishing.
For example, Lubenow points out that Thomas Huxley – the aggressive British evolutionist of the 19th century – had never even seen some early Neanderthal fossils, but he described them in his 1863 work, “Man’s Place in Nature.” You see, men like Huxley, Spencer, and Darwin first came to conclusions about human origins, then went about fitting the evidence to their theories. This is extraordinary.
In “Bones of Contention,” Lubenow also contributes important research, showing clearly that the early racism present among evolutionary paleontologists must now be camouflaged and described in the “Out of Africa” theory.
The author’s extensive research into the Neanderthal skeletons is also important, since he demolishes the evolutionary idea that these were primitive creatures.
“That Neandertals and anatomically modern humans were buried together constitutes strong evidence that they lived together, worked together, intermarried and were accepted as members of the same family, clan, and community,” Lubenow explains.
That isn’t what I was taught in the sixth grade, or in a freshman anthropology course in college. Evolutionists have a vested interested in promoting the idea that Neanderthals were part of the evolutionary development from hominids to modern humans. “Bones of Contention” destroys that view.
The scope of “Bones of Contention” is also admirable. While Lubenow has earned his reputation as scholar involved in the investigation of paleontology, he also includes a thoroughly fascinating chapter in “Bones of Contention”: “Genesis – The Footnotes of Moses.” Here, Lubenow presents a comprehensive apologetic in promoting the view that Genesis is, as the scholar Edward Young once said, a “severely historical book.”
Here, Lubenow explains ancient Near Eastern writing, specifically the cuneiform tablets that chronicle some of the dawn of civilizations. He explains that the colophon, a written signpost that identifies ancient authors – and a writing device present in the early chapters of Genesis – makes a strong case for believing that the early patriarchs compiled their own family records. Moses then at a later date served as “editor” of these records. Such a view buttresses the belief that the early patriarchs were not only real people, but that they were eyewitnesses to events described in the Bible.
“Bones of Contention” contains helpful charts, indexes and endnotes that make it a must-have book. This is an eye-opening book and one that I urge readers to obtain. Big ideas have consequences for individuals, and the ideas examined by Marvin Lubenow in “Bones of Contention” are deserving of a wide audience.