"Dubois concealed the fact that he had also discovered at nearby Wadjak and at approximately the same level [as the Java Man skullcap] two human skulls (known as the Wadjak skulls) ... It was not until 1922, when a similar discovery was about to be announced, that Dubois revealed the fact that he had possessed the Wadjak skulls for over 30 years." (Gish 1979)C. Loring Brace, a prominent paleoanthropologist, informed Gish in a debate in 1982 that Eugène Dubois had in fact published preliminary accounts of the Wadjak skulls in 1890 and 1892. Gish's initial error was pardonable, since Dubois' accounts were in obscure journals, and, as we shall see, legitimate scientists have made the same mistake. But Gish should, if he was interested in correcting possible errors, have asked Brace for his references. He did not, and in 1985 repeated the same claim in the next update of his book. In 1986 Brace published an article on creationist claims about Homo erectus (Brace 1986) in which he listed his references for Dubois' early publications on Wadjak Man. (Gish should surely have seen this article, which was published in a journal devoted to defending evolution against creationism.)
During a debate with Gish in 1992, Karl Fezer repeated Brace's claims, and showed a transparency listing Dubois' early publications on Wadjak Man. Fezer's later account of the debate also listed the references (Fezer 1993). Gish denied that these publications mentioned Wadjak Man (in effect calling Brace a liar), on the grounds that Sir Arthur Keith had claimed in 1925 that Dubois had concealed the existence of the Wadjak skulls. Keith did indeed say that, but he was apparently unaware of Dubois' early publications on Wadjak.
Despite having been not merely informed of the Dubois references, but shown them in a public debate, Gish once again repeated his original claim, essentially unchanged, in his next book:
"Dubois failed to publish the fact that he had also discovered at nearby Wadjak two human skulls (known as the Wadjak skulls) ... It was not until 1922, when a similar discovery was about to be announced, that Dubois published the fact that he had possessed the Wadjak skulls for over thirty years." (Gish 1995)Joyce Arthur, in 1996, pointed out Gish's error once more. In his response, Gish (1997) again claimed that Keith's 1925 statement, and similar ones by W. W. Howells in 1946 and 1959, showed that Dubois had not published on Wadjak, ignoring the fact that if Brace's references were correct (and Gish made no attempt to show they were not), Keith and Howells were simply wrong. Gish then had the gall to say:
"Brace claims that Dubois had already published these previous Wadjak finds and therefore I was either ignorant or less than honest in making such a claim. If this is so, I would like to have the documentation from Brace." (Gish 1997, my italics)Given that Gish was first told about Dubois' publications some fifteen years ago, and on many occasions since, I believe this account amply illustrates why Gish's "scholarship" fails to command much respect from legitimate scientists.
Brace C.L. (1986): Creationists and the pithecanthropines. Creation/Evolution, Issue 19:16-23. (discusses creationist arguments about Java Man and Peking Man)
Fezer K.D. (1993): Creation's incredible witness: Duane T. Gish, Ph.D. Creation/Evolution, Issue 33:5-21.
Gish D.T. (1979): Evolution: the fossils say no! Ed. 3. San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers. (this is the third edition of a book first published in 1972 and is quite out of date)
Gish D.T. (1985): Evolution: the challenge of the fossil record. El Cajon, CA: Creation-Life Publishers. (an updated version of Gish 1979)
Gish D.T. (1995): Evolution: the fossils still say no! El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research. (an updated version of Gish 1985)
Gish D.T. (1997): Gish responds to critique. Skeptic, 5.2:37-41. (a response to Arthur 1996)
Did Dubois hide Wadjak Man?
Creationist Arguments: Java Man
This page is part of the Fossil Hominids FAQ at the talk.origins Archive.
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