"I have never seen a baby turn into a geriatric; a newborn suddenly going from 60cm to 180cm in size with its skin bagging out, and lots of knowledge or wisdom suddenly gained! Pah! Have you ever seen such a freakish ridiculous sight? No…? Of course you haven't! Because old people are completely different species to young people and toddlers. God made us this way. God made toddlers who we must look after, and He made teenagers who perpetually do teenage things for the rest of eternity; and then He made us, middle aged and frozen forevermore like this - unchanging (with no evolution between these 'phases'). That's God's design"
Isn't that an absurd argument? Sure it is. But we effectively argue with this kind of crazy claim every day on News24.
Allow me to explain:
The Days of Your Life
If you make it to 70 years old, you'll have lived around 25,000 days; the maths is simple; and, the arithmetic to arrive at it, you will agree, is something you don't "believe in" to make it true - it is something you merely comprehend and then apply: 365 days x 70 years - 25,550.
So - if, like me, you're too darned close to 50, you're getting uncomfortably close to twenty-or so thousand days on the planet; Gulp!
So, which of those days did you go from baby-to-toddler? On which day did you move from toddler to "child"? Which one did you "suddenly become" an "adolescent"? Which one marked your first day as a "young adult" and then a "middle aged adult" (and, I'm talking in appearance and brain-power here, not legal status)?
Think of Pictures as Fossils
Clearly you have been these things between birth and now; and clearly you have had many photographs taken along that path… A lot of days you didn't have a picture taken (analogously, only 1 in 350-million or so bones get fossilised), and a lot of pictures get lost (very few fossils will ever be found): So that, if we sat down now and began looking through the pictures of your life (think of each as a fossil of your 'linage' or timeline to 'now'), would you be able to pick out one and exclaim - "Aha! Behold, the missing link between me being a child and me being an adult!" And I'd agree… "Yes - clearly that is it!".
I doubt it.
But - if I'm a reasonable person, we could lay out the timeline of your life in pictures and we'd see the transition… the same eyes and nose, perhaps… but you growing and changing dramatically.
If we could somehow magically tap day-by-day into your mind from babyhood to now in the same way as reviewing the pictures, and poll it for its evolving knowledge (think, increasing brain capacity in your ancestral linage), we'd see the same evolution - a accumulating capacity for knowledge, and hopefully wisdom too.
Following the picture-evolution, I think you'd probably find some fresh faced, full head-of-hair and bad 80's fashion pics, and another lot depicting the slack-jawlined balding, swelling git you are today… and in between would be a range of other pictures of your decline from one to the other. They'd be recognisable as the same creature, you… just; but there would be no eureka(!) moment captured in fossil-film that clearly spells a sudden change.
And so it is with your linage
As we live, we experience "now" as just that - "now"… Today. If we take a snapshot of only 'today' and don't have the benefit of having lived from 'then' to 'now'… We'd be forgiven for believing the ludicrous statement I made that started this essay - that toddlers are made as toddlers and no change will ever occur - "a toddler will never become a geriatric".
When we look at our parents, we see how we (our species) looked yesterday - and it's not much different to today. Our grandparents from two days ago are indistinguishable from us, and our own picture taken two days ago. And our grandparents from 3 days ago could be dressed up right and fit perfectly into "now". Unless you've got some kind of special historical linage, you'll not be going back more than a few generations before you lose track of your own linage and have to rely on the 'general' population you spring from…. and that puts you a week or two or three into the 'past'.
Even from last year you have hardly changed (in your picture from around this time last year), and that's 365 'generations' ago. At around 5 generations to the century that's (365/5=) 73 centuries you're looking at in your family tree… 7,300 years. And, like your picture of 365-you's ago, your ancestor from a little before the biblical era is indistinguishable from you today.
But ten times that… a picture of the 'you' ten years ago, is starting so reveal the need for general panel-beating - as is our analogous ancestor from 10 times 7,300 years ago… Ironically, that ancestor of yours 73,000 years ago just leaving Africa (or staying here) looked about as removed from you as you do on the 10-years-ago picture day-by-day transmutation.
Small Increments & Much Time Yields Big Change
And, so it goes… back in small increments.
If you're 50… since you went from an innocent bubbling tight skinned cherub to the worn out crotchety bellyache you've become, you're 5 times 73,000 years back (or a mere 365,000 years back) on the analogous scale (of a day equals a generation)… and… my-my… in those days (in which we agree, you could not pick a "missing link" / a "transitional fossil picture") you personally have made an infinitely more dramatic change in your mental, emotional and physical appearance and capacity than your ancestors did in the same set of increments. Isn't that fantastic?!!
If you haven't gone "Eureka!" now, then you're well into denial.
And, when we look at a mere 365,000 years, it is a mere 1/20th of the distance back to humanity's common ancestor with Chimpanzees (just under 7-million years ago).
If you've followed me - and, if you haven't, read it again - you'll agree that the amount of change between our common ancestor 7-million years ago and us today amounts to a generation-per-day in a life lived for 500-years. Were a human to change a little every day from toddler to being 500-years old… how much change would be possible?
A LOT! Is the answer.
So - now armed with a fairly simple though accurate analogy, let's please not hear anymore yapping about "fossil gaps" not indicating enough about the changes - or we'll start going through your photo collection again - from baby to the sorry thing you are now; and I'll ask to pick out for me which of the pictures fills in the gap where things went so wrong for you.
*Before the YEC's get going; I must again point out that fossils constitute perhaps just 20% of the story of modern evolutionary study; DNA / Molecular Biology / Anthropology / etc… each independently make a conclusive case for the Fact that is Evolution; taken together, Evolution is conclusive and; a few misguided rabble aside; cannot any longer be challenged by anyone of moderate learning or honesty; a fact borne out by the reality that all the world's major religions and greatest scholars have accepted it.
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