Pharyngula

Silly ol’ Jack Chick

i-ccbc028bf567ec6e49f3b515a2c4c149-old_pharyngula.gif

A reader sent me a note about this rather well known and deeply stupid poster from Jack Chick…I’d already seen it and addressed it some time ago, but I thought I’d bring back this old article.


Jack Chick, the author of the infamous Big Daddy anti-evolution tract, has an amusing poster he’s peddling.

i-cef4cfdc123b950b105ebee146f3f311-chickposter.jpg
(click to view in a larger size)

It purportedly illustrates a series of frauds in the reported evolutionary history of human beings. The text is too tiny to read at this size, but it’s listed at Chick’s site, and I reproduce it below, along with my response.

Chick’s claims My response
Heidelberg Man
Built from a jaw bone that was conceded by many to be quite human.

Judge for yourself.

i-cbfd516c6ef531ea3487700e9b6adceb-heidelbergjaw.jpg

That’s the Heidelberg jaw on the left, modern human on the right.

Nebraska Man
Scientifically built up from one tooth and later found to be the tooth of an extinct pig.
This is false. A tooth from a pig was misidentified as belonging to a primate; the building up of the tooth to a human ancestor was entirely the unjustified and excessively imaginative work of journalists. Scientists were largely skeptical at the time.
Piltdown Man
The jawbone turned out to belong to a modern man.
No, no, no. Chick has it completely backwards. Piltdown Man was an intentional fraud, but it was a modern human skull with an orangutan jaw. A number of prominent members of the scientific community were misled with all the attendant damage to our understanding at that time, but Piltdown was pretty much ignored after the 1930s, and was shown conclusively to be a forgery in the 1950s.
Peking Man
500,000 years old. All evidence has disappeared.
The original Peking Man fossils were lost in World War II, that is true. However, casts remain, and the fossils are classic Homo erectus, of which plenty of fossils still exist. The claim that “all evidence has disappeared” is false.

i-9c53ba9ca7d469ba6623ee709a869c0a-pkm-skul.jpg
Neanderthal Man
At the Int’l Congress of Zoology (1958) Dr AJE Cave said his examination showed that the famous Neanderthal skeleton found in France over 50 years ago is that of an old man who suffered from arthritis.

Yes, some of the Neandertals survived to old age, and suffered from diseases similar to our own. Dr Cave did point out that one of the fossils showed evidence of arthritis, but he also said that they were anatomically distinct from modern humans: ‘This is not to deny that his limbs, as well as his skull, exhibit distinctive features – features which collectively distinguish him from all groups of modern men. In other words, his “total morphological pattern”, in the phraseology of Le Gros Clark (1955) differs from that of “sapiens” man.’

Again, he looks different to me:

i-562019515af8a4747af79f40340ad664-neandertalskull.jpg
Cro-Magnon Man
One of the earliest and best established fossils is at least equal in physique and brain capacity to modern man…so what’s the difference?
There is no difference. Cro-Magnon is Homo sapiens sapiens; they are named for their locality and time. When we refer to some people as Americans, for instance, we aren’t claiming that they are not humans…same story with the term Cro-Magnon.
Modern Man
This genius thinks we came from a monkey.
No, from an ancient population of monkey-like primates.
Professing themselves to be wise they become fools. Romans 1:22.

Often a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other parts of the world, about the motions and orbits of the stars and even their sizes and distances,… and this knowledge he holds with certainty from reason and experience. It is thus offensive and disgraceful for an unbeliever to hear a Christian talk nonsense about such things, claiming that what he is saying is based in Scripture. We should do all that we can to avoid such an embarrassing situation, which people see as ignorance in the Christian and laugh to scorn.
–St. Augustine

Jack Chick. What a moron.

Addendum: it has been mentioned to me that probably the most glaring flaw in Chick’s poster is the sin of omission — it fails to mention the large number of hominid fossils that have been discovered. See the list of Prominent Hominid Fossils at the Talk.Origins archive to correct that lack.

Comments

  1. #1 Sean Foley
    April 4, 2006

    Well, to be fair, there are paleoanthropologits (Wolpoff and other Multiregionalists especially) who do favor folding Homo heidelbergensis into Homo sapiens.

  2. #2 ThePolynomial
    April 4, 2006

    Woah, PZ…breaking out the St. Augustine!

  3. #3 Great White Wonder
    April 4, 2006

    What we really need is a poster depicting all the butthead creationists whose spewage we are forced to deal with every week, accompanied by two or three of their stupidest quotes.

    Put Ahmansen at the top with Phil Johnson next, then Dumbksi, Johnny tWitt, Johnny Wells next in line, with li’l Lyin’ Casey Luskin and his bastard progeny (Michael Francisco and other ultralowlifes) at the very bottom.

    I suppose you could expand it out and put the other professional creotards in there (Hovind, Ham, etc.) for additional fun.

    I’d put their heads on naked hairy and obviously female bodies (after all, we can’t know for sure they are really all men — teach the controversy!!)

  4. #4 Jeremy
    April 4, 2006

    I’m also surprised you had a quote like that in reserve. I certainly couldn’t have come up with that. I was supposed to read Augustine’s Confessions this semester, but all I could do was skim it. He got down on his knees and thanked God every other paragraph. It got annoying.

  5. #5 Jeffery Keown
    April 4, 2006

    Love it. Just love it. At each turn, the hoaxes on the Chickster’s list were uncovered by scientists. Not by creationist wackos. Interesting, that.

  6. #6 plunge
    April 4, 2006

    We did come from monkeys. Your mom was a monkey. She was also an ape, a tetrapod, a eutherian, a vertebrate, a eukaryote, etc. etc. 🙂

  7. #7 ccc
    April 4, 2006

    Given the choice between coming from apes or coming from christians, I’d chose apes.

  8. #8 Carel
    April 4, 2006

    Sure, that poster is worthless as an educational aid, but it sure is cool! I don’t know about the rest of you, but I ordered one. I love the Rhamphorhynchus swiping the Cro Magnon’s cocktail prawn.

  9. #9 BlueIndependent
    April 4, 2006

    I think someone should create a cartoon that is a museum scene, and in each of the exhibit cases, there’s a prop creationist body posed with various other items. And then imagine parents taking their children through and pointing at the exhibit pieces:

    Child: “Oh look mommy! What’s this?”

    Mother: “Honey, that’s what used to be known as a creationist.”

    Child: “What are those?”

    Mother: “Well, those *were* people that used to think that the Earth was flat, and that the Earth was the center of the universe. They also hated the theory of evolution.”

    Child: “Why did they hate mommy?”

    Mother: “Well, because very few of them had anything better to do than interrupt other peoples’ lives. They said a lot of things to intentionally confuse people and mislead them.”

    Child: “Is that like lying?”

    Mother: “Very good, yes it is like lying, but not as obvious. We aren’t supposed to lie to other people, are we?”

    Child: “No mommy.”

    Mother: “Good.”

    Child: “What happened to all the creationists mommy?”

    Mother: “Well, over time, people grew tired of all the creationists complaining and whining. You know how mommy gets angry when you are bad?”

    Child: “Yes mommy.”

    Mother: “Well, all kinds of people got mad with the creationists, and refused to listen to their lies any longer. That’s what happens you don’t tell the truth.”

    Child: “I see…”

  10. #10 Steff Z
    April 4, 2006

    Plunge,

    apes and monkeys are non-overlapping.

    Primates are apes, XOR monkeys, XOR prosimians
    (where XOR is the Boolean operator for “either . . . or, but not both”).

    We’re apes.
    Other than that, you are correct, of course.

  11. #11 Bachalon
    April 4, 2006

    I’d love to find an original printing of that poster to go along with collection of tracts and “crusader comics.”

  12. #12 Mike Hanson
    April 4, 2006

    Perhaps a poster shoule be made of the response and widely distributed in hopes that Creationist sretins will notice it, not that that is highly likely, but there always is some possibility…

  13. #13 Morse
    April 4, 2006

    P.Z., congrats on the Koufax award.

    Who knew Jesus skated?

    http://medianeedle.blogspot.com/2006/04/ice-capades.html

  14. #14 Great Cthulhu
    April 4, 2006

    for your Jack Chick viewing pleasure:

  15. #15 Bruce Baugh
    April 4, 2006

    It might be amusing to note that the evidence for Peking Man is exactly the evidence for the text of the New Testament.

  16. #16 charlie Snyder
    April 4, 2006

    When I went to the Jack chick site the Piltdown man caption said that the jawbone turned out to belong to a modern ape, which is consistant with PZ’s explanation of the fraud. Did I misread that?

  17. #17 mudkitty
    April 4, 2006

    Chick tracks have been the fave of fab cartoonists for years…how camp can you get?

    Watch for the new movie, “HOT CHICK’s” a series of live action Chick tracts filmed verbatum – it doesn’t get any funnier. The film will make it’s debut this year at the L.A. Film Festival.

    See you at the movies!
    mudkitty

  18. #18 Heliologue
    April 4, 2006

    “Teens love it!”?

  19. #19 Paul
    April 4, 2006

    I’m no scientist. In fact, in looking back at my youth, I can only describe my science education as embarrassingly poor. Still, I recognised the fallacies inherent in every one of those examples before I read your explanations.

  20. #20 Kristine
    April 4, 2006

    “Petrified trees are often found going through many of the layers”? (Does Chick mean strata?) That sounds a little obscene to me.

  21. #21 Argent23
    April 5, 2006

    another error…Neanderthal is in Germany, not France…

  22. #22 plucky punk
    April 5, 2006

    Back when I was a homeless mohican gutter punk girl I kept a collection of Jack Chick tracts I’d get handed. I was always a little creeped out by the dashing, doe-eyed, placid guy who’d come along towards the end to deliver the ‘good news’ about Jesus loving you.

    The born-again christian types are the most annoying religious people who try to convert you. At least the hare krishnas offered us food.

  23. #23 mjs
    April 5, 2006

    How does that man
    divine the past
    with monkey thumbs
    and a horse’s ass?

    +++

  24. #24 G. Tingey
    April 5, 2006

    DON’T call The Librarian ( “Oook?” ) a MONKEY!

  25. #25 Alexander Whiteside
    April 5, 2006

    Got to hand it to Jack, he manages to get an actual hoax and some media hysteria in there, but gets his facts wrong when it comes to describing them. With geniuses like this at the oars, it’s no wonder creationism’s doing so well as a scientific discipline.

  26. #26 eric
    April 5, 2006

    another error…Neanderthal is in Germany, not France…

    The name Neanderthal does indeed come from Germany, but the skull in question was found in France. (For the record, the first Neanderthal fossils were actually found in Gibraltar, but their significance wasn’t recognized at the time.)

  27. #27 Rosie
    April 5, 2006

    I also like the dinosaurs in the background

  28. #28 aiabx
    April 5, 2006

    Don’t buy the poster – steal it, or ask for one (postage included). Don’t reward hatred and ignorance with money.

  29. #29 BronzeDog
    April 5, 2006

    I’m so glad I made fun of this guy. I simply must do so again, sometime.

  30. #30 Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
    April 5, 2006

    One more set of corrections:
    “Nebraska Man” (Hesperopithecus haroldcookii) was interpreted as an anthropoid ape rather than some sort of caveman. It was significant, though, in being the only fossil member of ‘higher’ primates in the New World prior to the arrival of humans. The oft-copied illustration making it look like a Homo erectus was form from the Illustrated London News, not a scientific study, and even those who interpreted the specimen as an anthropoid felt that this illustration was ridiculous.

    Additional material demonstrated that it was indeed the tooth of an extinct peccary (NOT a pig!!) species Prosthennops crassigenus. Indeed, when Matthew and Cook had initially described that peccary species in 1909, they noted “The anterior molars and premolars of this genus of peccaries show a startling resemblance to the teeth of Anthropoidea, and might well be mistaken for them by anyone not familiar with the dentition of Miocene peccaries.”

  31. #31 Will E.
    April 5, 2006

    After seeing the HP Lovecraft parody of a Chick tract, I’m convinced: I’m now a “Cthulhu creationist”! Awesome!

  32. #32 Dave Godfrey
    April 5, 2006

    It appears, given the associated fauna placed with the Piltdown remains that the intention was to demonstrate that “eoliths” broken bits of rock that look a bit like tools were genuine tools. The jawbone was supposed to be associated with this Pliocene fauna, and the skull with a later, Pleistocene fauna and some more advanced tools.

    Arthur Smith Woodward, being a dab hand at fishes (‘scuse the pun), but not much cop with human fossils promptly put the thing together in one animal.

    Piltdown II was a further hoax after the initial fraud didn’t go quite the way the hoaxer (Charles Dawson) intended.

    The “Cricket Bat” for the “Earliest Englishman” may well have been an attempt to hoax the hoaxer, as it was found under a hedge.

    Even in the 1920s there were palaeontologists (especially in America) who felt there was something not quite right with Piltdown Man.

    Incidentally Charles Dawson was well known at the NHM, having donated quite a nice collection of fossil material at various points in the 1890s and 1900s.

  33. #33 george cauldron
    April 5, 2006

    Interesting interview with Old Man Chick here:

    http://members.cox.net/jimmyakin/x-meet-jack-chick.htm

    …tho it doesn’t really capture his essential insanity.

  34. #34 Thomas Ware
    April 5, 2006

    Cute. I especially like the look on Cro Magnon’s face, though not as much as the dipiction of ‘Modern Man’. For some reason I am reminded of the end of Animal Farm, where the animals realized they could no longer tell the difference between the pigs and the (sic) humans.

  35. #35 jim
    April 5, 2006

    I love the St. Augastine quote. Excellent work.

  36. #36 Ricardo Azevedo
    April 5, 2006

    Yes, what a moron. In fact, we are actually fortunate to have such a richly detailed hominid fossil record. The evolutionary lineage that lead to modern chimps from our common ancestor is much less well documented.

  37. #37 sammy baby
    April 5, 2006

    I wouldn’t bother trying to impress Chick by quoting Augustine, considering his opinion of Catholics.

  38. #38 sammy baby
    April 5, 2006

    I wouldn’t bother trying to impress Chick by quoting Augustine, considering his opinion of Catholics.

  39. #39 luca
    April 6, 2006

    Uhm, I think Augustine came quite before the schisms of protestant churches (although there were a good deal of heresies before that)

    but I think that the quotation was great, too…

  40. #40 floater
    April 6, 2006

    That evolution poster is beyond ridicule… it’s so bad it’s almost good. Thanks for the Chick reminder. I recently did an article for a local publication which featured a reference to Chick:

    http://www.downstreamer.com/thunderbird/thunderbird.html

    You might enjoy it. Welcome to the bizarro world of entry-level souvenirs, rubber tommahawks, bathroom humor … and evangelical hatred.

  41. #41 EFulwood
    June 14, 2008

    Great post, but you repeated the common error that Nebraska Man was a pig tooth. Pigs are native to the old world; they were narry to be seen in Nebraska during the Pliocene. Nebraska Man was based on a misidentified peccary tooth, a close New World relative of the pig.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.