Marvin L. Lubenow’s “Bones of Contention” is truly an educated effort to explore the evolutionary ancestry of human beings. Lubenow obtained his Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary as well his Master’s degree in Anthropology. He diligently studied human fossils for over 35 years, was a professor at Southern California Seminary and Christian Heritage College in California. His extensive work in the field of human origins is conclusively summarized in this powerfully enlightening 1992 book.
“Bones of Contention” is written in a way that establishes a vast field of knowledge within the reader. From Paleoanthropology to astronomy, Lubenow is able to fiercely hammer the easily falsifiable “scientific concepts” of today, and honestly present the story that the fossil record actually tells. His language is engaging, his tone is sincere yet aggressive, and his science is accurate. He provides extensive figures and tables to illustrate the concepts he presents in an attempt to supply more information than needed.
As he begins his book, he calls Human Evolution into question by exploring the discoveries made in the field of Paleoanthropology. Lubenow establishes the purpose of his book early on, “The purpose of this book is to demonstrate that even when the human fossils are placed on time charts according to the evolutionist’s dates for these fossils, the results do not support human evolution but conflict with it” (7). He also claims that, “Evolutionists readily admit that evolutionary processes work so slowly that they are not observable over the lifetime of one individual or even over the successive lifetimes of hundreds of generations...there are no direct observations or experiments that can confirm the process of human evolution” (19).
This assertion is made often, yet Lubenow is one who successfully explores such concept and uses sufficient evidence to support it. He exposes biases, flaws, and faulty “evidences” which are said to support the theory of human evolution. One of which he explores in regard to genetics. He writes, “...the studies that seek to prove that human DNA evolved from chimp DNA start with the assumption that chimp DNA represents the original condition...that is circularity with a vengeance” (72). Many other examples of these occurrences include faulty reconstruction of Neanderthal (36-39), the Piltdown man hoax (39-44), and Rhodesian man (84-85).
The most eye-opening to me was pithecanthropus erectus or “Java man” discovered by Eugene Dubois. Lubenow readily admits that he studied Java Man for 20 years! He says, “By today's standards, theses fossils [that of Java man] would have been disqualified. Yet, they became for many years the primary evidence for human evolution” (90). There was so much fraudulence in this discovery that it is discussed for a large portion of the book. Lubenow does not cease to mention that Dubois, who made claims about which strata Java was found in, wasn’t even a geologist, and was not the individual to actually unearth the fossils. Another discovery made by Dubois was Wadjak man, who was hidden from the public in an attempt to keep pithecanthropus erectus at a certain place on the geological timeline. Conclusively Lubenow stresses, “The field of paleoanthropology has had more than its share of scandals and sloppy scholarships” (115).
I fully agree with Lubenow's conclusions in many respects. In his exploration of each of the fossil discoveries discussed in the book, he comes to a similar resolution, “Because of evolutionist’s faith in and commitment to evolution, I believe we are seeing a psychological phenomenon” (127). Lubenow goes on to say that this psychological phenomenon is self-deception. “It indicates how deeply their faith has colored their facts” (127). He also adds in another chapter that “...one will look in vain in an evolutionist work for a time chart that places all of the relevant human fossil material on a time chart according to the morphological description of the individual fossil” (140). This is simply because the discoveries that have been made are absolutely contradictory. Surprisingly, this is exactly what Dubois did in 1891 and 1892 with the infamous “Java Man”.
Not only does Lubenow address the scientific fraudulence that does take place, he also commemorates those evolutionists that suppose honesty is needed in the field of scientific discovery. He establishes his agreeance with those who state the facts and let the facts simply speak for themselves, whether evolutionist or creationist. This is the determination which I greatly accept. Lubenow promotes such an attitude in the scientific community: let the facts tell you the story.
Nevertheless, he confidently addresses that today's scientists widely go against this concept due to their interpretation of what science really tells us. “In truth, there is simply no conflict between the Bible and scientific discoveries and observations in the present. The only conflict between science and the Bible involves the scientific community’s interpretation of the past” (145). He goes on to add that science “has no mechanism to observe the past with the same authority it has to observe the present” (145). Thus, there is a “high degree of subjectivity in all scientific reconstructions of the past”. Yet, evolutionists reject historical documents and “speak dogmatically about the past” simply because they can “make authoritative statements about the present processes of nature” (145). A great demonstration of this rests in the dating of the KBS Tuff (Kay Behrensmeyer Site) and skull 1470, which is shockingly young in appearance, yet dated at 2.9 million years old. Lubenow states, “when the chips are down, factual evidence is prostituted to evolutionary theory” (164).
He is able to falsify human evolution by simply looking at the timeline which the fossils produce. “Even when we accept the evolutionist’s dates for the fossils, the results do not support human evolution. The results, in fact, are so contradictory to human evolution that they effectively falsify the theory” (179). Lubenow rejects the theory by also looking at other areas of science, including astronomy (The Big Bang), dating methods, genetics, and fossil and rock correlation. His aim is to not only to bring human evolution into question, but to provide supporting evidence for a young earth and defend the principles of Creationism.
Nevertheless, nothing impacted me more as a student of geological studies then his discussion on the interpretation of facts according to preconceived philosophical biases. Lubenow addresses an issue which I find is so heavily overlooked and desperate for attention. The philosophical concept which evolution silently teaches: Naturalism. That we are only a product of random material processes, and therefore, the concept of intelligent design must be rejected. It is whispered to us as we simultaneously are told to reject “philosophy” as were explore the “facts” and “truths” of nature."
According to evolution, it is merely ‘the luck of the draw’ that man has evolved a big brain with its ability to think, to reason, and to subdue other animals” (188). This philosophy, which is discreetly pounded into our heads, is summarized in a quote, which Lubenow provides by Ingrid L. Newkirk, “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy!”
I am appreciative of Lubenow’s attention on this issue, and the conclusions he establishes on this concept. Unfortunately, the implications of teaching Evolution as a “fact” (though if we use the proper scientific method, then we cannot say with absoluteness that it is) indirectly teaches a concept of philosophy. Lubenow explains, “While it is commonly thought that his [Charles Darwin] major work was an attempt to put the concept of evolution on a solid scientific foundation that was only a secondary matter. His scientific evidence for evolution was not that impressive. Darwin's major accomplishment was not in the area of science but in the area of philosophy” (190).
In reading Lubenow’s book, I truly have determined that there is great danger in teaching this well-fabricated concept. It not only indoctrinates us on our origins on the basis of faulty evidence, but it also dictates the way we see human life. We must resolve that in science, our aim should be to educate on what is clearly seen and easily definable, not based on our interpretations or opinions.
Lubenow best expresses the principles of Naturalism in the words of well-known evolutionist, George Gaylord Simpson, “He [man] stands alone in the universe, a unique product of a long, unconscious, impersonal, material process, with unique understanding and potentialities. These he owes to no one but himself, and it is to himself that he is responsible. He is not the creature of uncontrollable forces, but his own master. He can and must decide and manage his own destiny” (Life of the Past, 1953). It is clearly evident that to teach such a principle is to indicate a matter of philosophy. Thus, is the tolerance of teaching such contentious findings acceptable? I am satisfied with Lubenow’s resolve, on the basis of science, and for the sake of preserving the value of human life: The Bible is trustworthy and its truths are confirmed in science.