Nick Matzke posted Entry 2599 on September 21, 2006 07:36 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2593

One of the more hilarious absurdities of the creation/evolution debate is as follows: creationists love to hop up and down and point at gaps in the fossil record (sometimes real, often not), but for the one species that creationists would dearly love to be specially created, human beings, we are actually swimming in a stunning set of transitional fossils. The hominid fossil record isn’t even especially “jerky” when examined quantitatvely at fine-scale resolution, so the creationists don’t even have their usual incompetent misconstrual of punctuated equilibria (which is actually about morphologically small gaps between closely-related sister species) to rely upon.

The poor creationists can’t even agree on which fossils are human and which are ape, and even Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute has tried his hand at this (proving he is a creationist, by the way), arguing that the genus Homo is a specially created “basic type”, except for the inconveniently transitional Homo habilis, which he removes from the genus by creative citation, thus proving that there is a gap between Homo and other hominins! Because of course everyone knows if you switch the label on a fossil, it’s transitional features disappear and it can be safely ignored! (If you are counting, Luskin’s position appears to be closest to that of the creationists in the middle column, including Gish and others, which appears to be the median creationist position.)

As if designed to ruin Luskin’s weekend, Nature has just published yet more hard fossil evidence of human evolution:

In today’s issue of Nature, an Ethiopian-led international team reports the discovery of a juvenile skeleton of the species commonly known as ‘Lucy’, or Australopithecus afarensis. The researchers have named her Selam, after an Ethiopian word for ‘peace’.

The specimen, which is the oldest and most complete juvenile of a human relative ever found, has features that stand as striking examples of part-way evolution between primitive apes and modern humans.

Although many other samples of A. afarensis have been found before, this is the first one reported to come complete with a whole shoulder-blade bone (scapula). In modern humans the scapula has a ridge running horizontally across the top of the bone; in apes the scapula’s ridge reaches further down the back, where it can help to throw more muscle into arm action, as would be needed to swing from trees. In the young A. afarensis, the scapula looks to be part-way between.

“The animal was losing its capacity to be arboreal — heading right toward being human,” says anthropologist Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University in Ohio.

Other hominins have been found before with traits that similarly show a cross between a life in the trees and one on the ground. A. afarensis, for example, has previously been found to have hips and knees thought to be adapted to standing upright, but curved fingers suited to grabbing branches.

But ‘little Lucy’ is a particularly striking example of this sort of mosaic of evolution, says Zeresenay Alemseged, lead researcher on the paper and a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology at Leipzig, Germany.

“These hominid fossils clearly show evolution in the making,” he says.

Terminological note: according to the infallible omniscience of wikipedia:

A hominin is a member of the tribe Hominini, a hominine is a member of the subfamily Homininae, a hominid is a member of the family Hominidae, and a hominoid is a member of the superfamily Hominoidea.

According to their graphic:

So, hominins (humans+chimps+fossils that share their common ancestor) are a subgroup of hominines (includes gorillas) which are a subgroup of hominids (includes orangs) which are a subgroup of hominoids (includes gibbons). To sum up, all of the Homo and Australopithecus fossils can be called hominins, hominines, hominids, and hominoids and you’re not technically wrong, so don’t worry about it and stick your tongue out at anyone who says otherwise.

Update: Nature now has a news blog where people can discuss its stories.

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #132168

Posted by J-Dog on September 21, 2006 8:47 AM (e)

This is so cool! Unfortunately, if you are an IDiot like Luskin, it just creates 2 more God of The Gaps opportunities. You can lead a creationist to the fossil, but you can’t make him think.

Comment #132180

Posted by mplavcan on September 21, 2006 9:31 AM (e)

Fancy that! And wouldn’t you know, over at Answers in Genesis they posted a wonderful discussion this morning on the lack of evidence for human evolution by Parker. It’s the same old BS, but it has a few real gems. Of particular note: there is a poorly copied drawing of a Neanderthal skull superimposed on a fully modern tracing of a human face wearing a hat. WoW! PROOF that if you put a hat on a Neanderthal (well, a modern human, but that’s not important now…), it looks human (and apparently gains a chin too). The references are deeply impressive too - mainly Time magazine quotes from 3 decades ago.

Comment #132181

Posted by doyle on September 21, 2006 9:38 AM (e)

This article, as well as recent articles about patterning the nervous system with BMP, and one other about the last Neanderthals highlighted for me - a non-scientist- how much freaking work is done to add tiny pieces to the overall picture. Here, five years to excavate one skeleton; to excavate the Neanderthal site (60 sq. ft.) - five years. The BMP experiments - five years. No IDer has the appetite for this kind of effort. Better to read the work of others, crosscheck the Bible, and spew.

Comment #132184

Posted by mplavcan on September 21, 2006 9:48 AM (e)

Spew. Hmmmmm. Now THERE’s a word that really captures the essence of creationist “research” on human evolution.

Comment #132191

Posted by DragonScholar on September 21, 2006 10:26 AM (e)

doyle,

Sadly, IDers have covered that base too. If you mention the amount of detail done, IDers will argue they “don’t have to match your pathetic level of detail.”

Your point though is valid - this is about solid investigation and careful work. The level done really is quite impressive.

Comment #132192

Posted by Dave Carlson on September 21, 2006 10:26 AM (e)

Nick -

Nice post. The link to Casey Luskin trying his hand at hominid fossil indentification–which I would dearly love to read–appears to be a dud.

Comment #132194

Posted by Stevearoni on September 21, 2006 10:29 AM (e)

In the immortal words of John Wayne Gacey - “The hardest part is getting rid of the bodies”

Comment #132196

Posted by stevearoni on September 21, 2006 10:34 AM (e)

A hominin is a member of the tribe Hominini, a hominine is a member of the subfamily Homininae, a hominid is a member of the family Hominidae, and a hominoid is a member of the superfamily Hominoidea.

I suspect we could have been a little more diverse with the whole naming of the family tree thing.

Comment #132197

Posted by Bob O'H on September 21, 2006 10:38 AM (e)

Nick - both the “tried his hand at this” (as already pointed out) and the “infallible omniscience of wikipedia:” links take us back to site.

Bob
(and feel free to delete this post once hte links are fixed)

Comment #132206

Posted by cleek on September 21, 2006 11:36 AM (e)

hominin Hominini
hominine Homininae
hominid Hominidae
hominoid Hominoidea

anyone else thinking of Ed Norton?

Comment #132209

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on September 21, 2006 11:58 AM (e)

Hum.

Superfamilia: Hominoidea

Familia: Hominidae

Subfamilia: Homininae

Tribus: Hominini

Subtribus: Hominina

Genus: Homo

( http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Homo )

Yes, if I’m going to say homins (?), homininas (?), hominins, hominines, hominids, and hominoids I’m quite sure I will end up sticking out my tongue.

It was also noted that the infants relatively low cranial capacity could be a transition to more human-like slow childhood brain growth. ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5363328.stm )

Of course, for a cretin that means australopithecines are chimps: “In regard to Lucy’s pelvis, Johanson affirmed: ‘Lucy’s wider sacrum and shallower pelvis gave her a smaller, kidney-shaped birth canal, compared to that of modern females. She didn’t need a large one because her newborn infant’s brain wouldn’t have been any larger than a chimpanzee infant’s brain.’ That admission begs the question as to why this fossil was not categorized within the chimp family.” ( http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2004/0825lawrence.asp )

It would be nice to once if they would consider a confirmed evolutionary prediction to strengthen evolution, or if ‘there is business as usu.. eh, no evidence at all’.

Comment #132213

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on September 21, 2006 12:05 PM (e)

Ermh!
australopithecines - australopithecines
nice to once - nice for once

Comment #132214

Posted by Keith Douglas on September 21, 2006 12:05 PM (e)

I have never heard of the biological classification term “tribe” previously. Sort of spoils the usual mnemonics, like “king Philip calls out for good sex”, doesn’t it? When was it introduced? Is it so each branch point on the tree can have its own term? (Like the “sub-“ stuff?)

Comment #132215

Posted by Henry J on September 21, 2006 12:06 PM (e)

Re “A hominin is a member of the tribe Hominini,…”

That could be taken for an ad hominin argument? :)

Comment #132234

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 21, 2006 1:27 PM (e)

Tribe has been around a good long time, but isn’t often used. It is equivalent to “infrafamily” (the sub of a subfamily), given it’s own name if more detailed divisions help clarify relationships, skipped over if they aren’t.

Comment #132237

Posted by Nick ((Matzke)) on September 21, 2006 1:31 PM (e)

I have fixed the links. Those responsible for checking the links have been sacked, yadda yadda.

I have never heard of the biological classification term “tribe” previously. Sort of spoils the usual mnemonics, like “king Philip calls out for good sex”, doesn’t it? When was it introduced? Is it so each branch point on the tree can have its own term? (Like the “sub-“ stuff?)

The “tribe” rank is commonly used in plants, where there are just way too many nested groups to use only the species-genus-family-order and “sub” and “super” prefixes.

(plants, and now, hominins/ines/ids)

We are seeing kind of a hybrid between cladistics, which would just name the groups without bothering with the ranks, and Linnean taxonomy, which would approximate phylogeny with the ranked taxa, but they would not always be monophyletic. Once you insist on monophyly you end up with way too many groups.

Nick

Comment #132239

Posted by Ondoher on September 21, 2006 1:38 PM (e)

Keith Douglas wrote:

I have never heard of the biological classification term “tribe” previously. Sort of spoils the usual mnemonics, like “king Philip calls out for good sex”, doesn’t it? When was it introduced? Is it so each branch point on the tree can have its own term? (Like the “sub-“ stuff?)

Which is why standard Linnaean classification is so outdated. These arbitrary rankings give the false illusion that they are meaningful, but they really are not. What does Family actually mean. One might assme that the rank of Family denotes a certain evolutionary distance from species, but it doesn’t. You cannot pick some arbitrary number of rankings and expect all species to fit meaningfully within that arbitrary depth. Classification should reflect ancestry, and I think it is time we do away with these ranking which have outlived their usefulness.

I’m sure others here can support this point of view more elegantly.

Comment #132243

Posted by Coin on September 21, 2006 1:50 PM (e)

I saw an interesting comment in a separate news article about this find, to the effect that this specimen is particularly important because it is so young. The idea seemed to be that with the ability to compare things like the bone structure of a young “person” to an older and closely related “person” of the time (like the infamous Lucy), we’d learn a lot about the evolution of human development. Can anyone elaborate on this further?

Comment #132244

Posted by Nick ((Matzke)) on September 21, 2006 1:52 PM (e)

I forgot to mention one of Steve Reuland’s best lines:

One creationist says that all fossil hominids are 100% ape, and another says that all but one are 100% human. The other creationists are, um, transitional between these two extremes. Which means that the creationists are 100% nuts.

Comment #132247

Posted by GT(N)T on September 21, 2006 2:03 PM (e)

Cladists want things to be simple, when in fact evolutionary history is complex and messy. The terms are meaningful if they accurately reflect what we know about the relationships among taxa. If they fail in this, they are worse than worthless.

Dang, as I reread that paragraph, it reminds me of something Bruce Phillip would write. Shorter though.

Comment #132266

Posted by GvlGeologist, FCD on September 21, 2006 2:43 PM (e)

Of particular note: there is a poorly copied drawing of a Neanderthal skull superimposed on a fully modern tracing of a human face wearing a hat. WoW! PROOF that if you put a hat on a Neanderthal (well, a modern human, but that’s not important now…), it looks human (and apparently gains a chin too).

More than 20 years ago I was applying to graduate school at a southern Cal. univ. (not USC). One of the profs that I interviewed with had taken the cover of a magazine (Time/Newsweek/Sci. Am.?) that had a bald reconstruction of a Neanderthal on it. The prof had scribbled in a beard, some scraggly hair, and glasses, and it looked exactly like he did. During the interview, I could not look at him without laughing - it made the interview rather difficult!

Comment #132269

Posted by Mike on September 21, 2006 2:54 PM (e)

It would be fun to plant a story about finding that there were hominids which shared 95% of their DNA with chimps and wait to see the cdesign proponentists ask ‘Why not class it with the chimps, then, instead of humans!’

Comment #132279

Posted by Michael Hopkins on September 21, 2006 3:24 PM (e)

Nick wrote:

The poor creationists can’t even agree on which fossils are human and which are ape, and even Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute has tried his hand at this (proving he is a creationist, by the way), arguing that the genus Homo is a specially created “basic type”, except for the inconveniently transitional Homo habilis, which he removes from the genus by creative citation, thus proving that there is a gap between Homo and other hominins!

What a second!

Luskin in Icons Still Standing (2002) tells us:

Of the precious little that is found, the bottom line there are basically 2 types of hominid fossils: those of the genus Homo and those of the genus Australopithecus. Everything of the genus Homo (Homo erectus, habilus [sic], neanderthalis, sapiens, etc.) have skulls and body shapes which are very similar to modern humans–often to the point that they could be within the possible range of modern human genetic variation. Everything else from the genus Australopithecus (from which the famous fossil “Lucy” is derived), looks much more like a chimpanzee (Australopithecus means “southern ape”) There are “robust” forms of Australopithecus which are not very chimp-like, but these also look absolutely nothing like Homo, and evolutionists do not believe they are on the human line.

Luskin in Human Origins and Intelligent Design: Review and Analysis (2004):

Regardless of the preferred categories and hypodigms of paleoanthropologists, H. neanderthalensis and H. erectus differences from Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) are real, but most can generally be explained as microevolutionary effects of “size variation, climatic stress, genetic drift and differential expression of [common] genes,”2 leading paleoanthropologist Sigrid Hartwig-Scherer to classify these species together as members of a distinct basic type. Thus, H. erectus, H. ergaster, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens are reiterated here as members of a separately designed basic type: Homo (Figure 2). Following Wood and Collard32 and others,55 fossils now classified as H. habilis and H. rudolfensis are probably better classified under the genus Australopithecus. Following Hawks et al., the origin of humans represents rapid and significant genetic changes among hominid populations, reflecting the very, “quantum or discontinuous increase in specified complexity or information”4 stated by Meyer et al. as an indication of origin through design. This seems to satisfy the condition for safely concluding a basic type from fossil evidence: the alleged australopith precursors are very different from the earliest members of Homo, Homo appears suddenly and distinct in the fossil record from any earlier forms, and subsequent forms of Homo are variants of and very similar to the initial forms of Homo.

Homo habilis obviously a human according to Luskin.
Homo habilis obviously an ape according to Luskin.

So Nick is right creationists can’t agree with each other on what is human and what is ape. In this case one disagrees with himself. What is happening is that in 2002 he used some previous creationist on what is H. habilis was but by 2004 had discovered that current creationist party line was that H. habilis was an ape often using the “Human Genus” paper by Wood and Collard to justify it.

And since when is Sigrid Hartwig-Scherer a “leading paleoanthropologist”? (That she is one of the few ID people who has published in the peer-reviewed journals is almost certainly why.)

Comment #132281

Posted by Jeffrey K McKee on September 21, 2006 3:25 PM (e)

Given the similarities to the Taung child (Australopithecus africanus of South Africa), they missed out on a naming opportunity … they should have been Pebbles and Bam Bam.

Speaking of names, as the topic of “hominin” came up, here is my explanation from Understanding Human Evolution (5th ed., p. 76):
Humans belong to the family Hominidae. Traditionally this taxon has been restricted to modern humans and their non-ape fossil ancestors, with the apes belonging to sister taxa, the Hylobatidae (gibbons and siamangs) and the Pongidae (great apes). Although it has been the norm for paleoanthropologists to write about “hominid” evolution when referring to the lineages leading to modern humans and their evolutionary cousins, as in previous editions of this text book, taxonomists now use lower-level designations (subfamily and tribe) to categorize living and fossil higher primates.
There are two reasons to rearrange our taxonomic designations. The first is that humans, chimps, and gorillas are genetically and morphologically closer to each other than any are to the orangutan. Thus it would make more sense to separate out Pongo (orangutan), the type genus of the Pongidae. However, a second consideration makes it more compelling to divide the taxa into lower-level designations – that is to make our family divisions more consistent with the level of variation and relatedness found among other families of the primates (Delson et al., 2000) Thus the trend among paleoanthropologists is to use the family Hominidae to refer to the great apes and humans, the subfamily Homininae to designate chimps, gorillas, and humans (with the orangutan in the Ponginae), and the tribe Hominini to isolate humans and their fossil ancestors.

Comment #132283

Posted by Michael Hopkins on September 21, 2006 3:28 PM (e)

I wrote:

What is happening is

What probably happened…

Comment #132290

Posted by grasshopper on September 21, 2006 3:40 PM (e)

The fossil is another example of an add homonym argument.

Comment #132292

Posted by Doc Bill on September 21, 2006 3:41 PM (e)

She didn’t need a large one because her newborn infant’s brain wouldn’t have been any larger than a chimpanzee infant’s brain.’ That admission begs the question as to why this fossil was not categorized within the chimp family.”

She didn’t need a large one because her newborn infant’s brain wouldn’t have been any larger than a tangerine.’ That admission begs the question as to why this fossil was not catagorized within the citrus family.

Comment #132296

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 21, 2006 3:43 PM (e)

Realizing that “Lucy” was named for the Beatles’ Lucy (see lysergic), and not for TV’s Lucy (Lucille Ball)–and realizing also that (IIRC) in TV-land, Ricky and Lucy only had a son, “Ltttle Ricky,”–my vote for a “popular” appellation for our newest little ancestral darling would still follow that model to “Little Lucy.”

Or maybe “Li’l Lucille,” with music and lyrics to be supplied by Chuck Berry.

But “Pebbles” would definitely be my runner-up!

Comment #132308

Posted by CJColucci on September 21, 2006 4:27 PM (e)

Don’t be so hard on Luskin. If it were that easy, a cave man could do it.

Comment #132328

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 21, 2006 5:48 PM (e)

Seriously , we apologize —we had no idea you IDers were still around…. .

Comment #132335

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 21, 2006 5:56 PM (e)

there is a poorly copied drawing of a Neanderthal skull superimposed on a fully modern tracing of a human face wearing a hat. WoW! PROOF that if you put a hat on a Neanderthal(well, a modern human, but that’s not important now…), it looks human (and apparently gains a chin too).

Alan Titchmarsh did something similar a while back on a BBC natural history programme about Neanderthals. Well, he didn’t exactly wear a hat, but they got some BBC make up artists to turn him into a Neanderthal based on skeletal remains of the species. He then went about his daily business as usual, in order to see if he attracted any attention. Apart from a few stares most people ignored him. The point they (the BBC) were trying to make was, that if the Neanderthals had survived and continued to the present day they would not have looked all that different from modern humans. An interesting hypothesis I thought, although not the same as those silly creationist claims.

Comment #132368

Posted by BlueMako on September 21, 2006 6:54 PM (e)

Creationists seem to be all over this story, crowing “LOL Lucy was an ape!!1!”

Ugh…

Comment #132375

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 21, 2006 7:13 PM (e)

Thank you, Lenny. That almost justified that entire stupid series of commercials.

Comment #132377

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on September 21, 2006 7:17 PM (e)

Can anyone here provide a pointer towards a blog (i.e., web site with discussion/interaction) focused on topics of human evolution, which is both scientifically based and comprehensible to non-professionals?

Comment #132401

Posted by Dave Carlson on September 21, 2006 8:58 PM (e)

Pierce R. Butler wrote:

Can anyone here provide a pointer towards a blog (i.e., web site with discussion/interaction) focused on topics of human evolution, which is both scientifically based and comprehensible to non-professionals?

How about John Hawk’s Anthropology Weblog and Afarensis ?

Comment #132423

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 21, 2006 10:01 PM (e)

Pierce, I might be your man. Most Darwin-tied evolutionists seem to be intent on rebuilding a geocentric universe, apparently by cheering wildly when they rediscover some obfuscating non-evidence such as this one, which merely confirms that which was known before Darwin - there is spectacular potential adaptive capability built into species, without which species wouldn’t last 5 figurative minutes. As for the source of this adaptability or yet the fact that species cannot be classified with certainty from fossils alone, we hear nothing. Whatever is being accoladed or applauded here, it doesn’t have much to do with either empirical observation or the origin of the species. I do have a small section on human history, dating methods and so on at www.creationtheory.com . It only needs a small section because, like most things that have to do with the created world, it’s common sense.

Comment #132444

Posted by Traffic Demon on September 22, 2006 12:08 AM (e)

“Sort of spoils the usual mnemonics, like “king Philip calls out for good sex”, doesn’t it?”

I always liked “Kids Playing Catch On Freeways Get Smashed.”

Comment #132458

Posted by Gene Goldring on September 22, 2006 1:38 AM (e)

Pierce
That Philip is quite a joker. That site is a parody on science. You’re mean Philip, leaving him hang for so long.

Dave Carlson’s referals are the one’s you want.

Such a kidder…..lol

Comment #132462

Posted by jkc on September 22, 2006 2:05 AM (e)

Casey Luskin (PCID, July 2005) wrote:

Intelligent agents can rapidly infuse large amounts of genetic information into the biosphere, reflected in the fossil record as the abrupt appearance of novel fossil forms without similar precursors.

Wow, Bush has really been keeping the CIA busy lately!

Comment #132478

Posted by Steevl on September 22, 2006 4:44 AM (e)

According to the BBC news article, it’s been suggested that Selam was preserved so well because she was buried quickly in a flood. See where I’m going with this?

Comment #132486

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 22, 2006 5:02 AM (e)

Where could you possibly be going? Errr. I give up.

Comment #132498

Posted by Inoculated Mind on September 22, 2006 6:19 AM (e)

Hmmm…. a flood? It must have been a big one. By my calculations, the flood must have lasted about 40 days give or take a night. Publish me!!!

Comment #132499

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 22, 2006 6:26 AM (e)

I suspect I mightn’t get any advice re. icy bodies in the solar system over at the Lord of the Rings, so we’ll try for cracked rocks in Abyssinia.

1) Assume species gradually change through upgrade of genetic information, etc., and ape-like creatures slowly changed to men. The medicos all know that the genetic information of higher life-forms, man included, has only been getting worse since records began - but ignore that observation.

2) Assume species (ideally) are variable statistical concepts, not identifiable units with something inherently unique. Don’t try to pull that one on anyone who has seriously herded or bred higher animals, but assume it.

3) Assume the dating of these Ethiopian remains is correct. We shan’t diverge down that side-alley. I heard 3 million somewhere but don’t quote me.

4) Take the divide between Man and his “ancestor” as the point when the population on average began to construct shelters and make rudimentary tools, including stone tools. Does anyone say we are leaning too far either way with that definition?

Are we satisfied with the assumptions?

Assume the population of Abyssinia averaged one person every 10sq.km. Is that too dense? Assume they broke, lost, or discarded one durable tool, identifiable as a tool, every 10yrs. Is that conservative? We ignore bone-piles, graveyards, or traces of dwellings. These, of course, are less durable than stone. That gives one identifiable trace fossil per sq km every 100yrs. Check my maths, will you. Assuming they never advanced beyond primitive tools, that gives ten thousand trace fossils per sq km per million years. So unless primitive man didn’t utilize, at least, intelligently modified rocks, he should have left, at a conservative estimate, enough stone fragments to be remarkable. If he got into metals - well, look at Mesopotamia, Egypt, Crete, and so on. Anyone been to the fabled land of Abyssinia, and counted the cracked rocks?

Species cannot be defined solely on shape: brain power as evidenced by trace fossils is likely to be indicative: what does the sum total of the world’s human trace fossils suggest?

Comment #132505

Posted by Darth Robo on September 22, 2006 6:51 AM (e)

“Errr. I give up.”

Probably for the best.

“It only needs a small section because, like most things that have to do with the created world, it’s common sense.”

This from the guy who asks a load of astronomy questions (because he doesn’t know the answers and can’t be bothered to do his own research) so he can cannibalize the evidence to suit his own perceptions of the ‘revelation of life’ which he is currently ‘investigating’ on his own website, the WHOLE of which only needs a small section because all he really needs to say is:

“Goddidit.” See? It’s just common sense. :-/

Good luck with your research, Phil.

Comment #132520

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 22, 2006 7:30 AM (e)

What’s with the strange hieroglyphs? Are they Abassynian?

Comment #132521

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on September 22, 2006 7:32 AM (e)

Feeding the troll:
“rebuilding a geocentric universe”

Not that it is biology theory, but current science explores diverse multiverses. “A striking consequence of the new picture of the world is that there should be an infinity of regions with histories absolutely identical to ours…. In this astonishing world view, our Earth and our civilization are anything but unique. Instead, countless identical civilizations are scattered across the infinite expanse of the cosmos. With humankind reduced to absolute cosmic insignificance, our descent from the center of the world, a process begun by Copernicus, is now complete.” - Vilenkin. ( http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge192.html#av )

But actually Tegmark’s ultimate ensemble theory takes the cosmological principle one step further. What on earth gave you the idea that science is reverting from it? Your claim builds on nothing discernible.

“it’s common sense”

“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” - Albert Einstein

Though in this case it’s doubtful the subject reached that intellectual height. Common sense is not used in science. Try approach quantum mechanics by that route, and you will understand why.

“we hear nothing”
So your point is that we should reject all the science of evolution because *you* don’t understand it?

“ignore that observation”
Okay, that is better. But, there is no such observation. You are making your shit up as you go.

Good luck with peddling your ideas. I’m sure you will have better luck elsewhere.

Comment #132535

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 22, 2006 8:23 AM (e)

C-O-M-M-O-N S-E-N-S-E I-S N-O-T U-S-E-D I-N S-C-I-E-N-C-E . Sorry, I can’t resist repeating that. In the words of someone else somewhere else, I DENY THIS.

Comment #132543

Posted by Darth Robo on September 22, 2006 8:53 AM (e)

“What’s with the strange hieroglyphs? Are they Abassynian?”

Aha, humour! AR AR!!!

Common sense once told people that the earth was flat and the sun, along with the rest of the universe revolved around it. Scientific knowledge changed all that.

“C-O-M-M-O-N S-E-N-S-E I-S N-O-T U-S-E-D I-N S-C-I-E-N-C-E . Sorry, I can’t resist repeating that. In the words of someone else somewhere else, I DENY THIS.”

Curious statement coming from one, who as a creationist, does actually disagree frequently with scientific consensus.

Comment #132551

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on September 22, 2006 9:28 AM (e)

“I DENY THIS.”

Ouch, my ears! Sure you do, that is after all common sense.

Well, I deny you know anything about evolutionary theory. The support to this claim is that you make shit up as you go. Ie you couldn’t support your previous ad hoc claim that “the genetic information of higher life-forms, man included, has only been getting worse since records began”. On the contrary. We have for example animals like the puffer fish (IIRC) that for some reason has cleaned its genome quite efficiently from certain forms of errors or causes for errors AFAIK.

Now, what is your support for *your* claim? Theories are proposed by deductions, inductions et cetera, and verified by prediction and measurements. Where is your “common sense”? Is it common sense that quanta can be measured both by wave and particle properties?

Comment #132553

Posted by brightmoon on September 22, 2006 9:29 AM (e)

hominoidea?

im gonna put that on a t shirt and wear it next week, thanks ….Hanes t shirt, a Sharpie, and cheap fabric dye like Rit

ive already done one with the major Bilateria

im tired of creationist nonsence, too……and got the t shirt to prove it :)

Comment #132554

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on September 22, 2006 9:35 AM (e)

BTW, I’m curious. Not that appeal to authority is to be taken as dogma, but how come you think Einstein was joking? IMO he was trying to put over a serious point in a memorable manner.

Comment #132555

Posted by gwangung on September 22, 2006 9:36 AM (e)

C-O-M-M-O-N S-E-N-S-E I-S N-O-T U-S-E-D I-N S-C-I-E-N-C-E . Sorry, I can’t resist repeating that. In the words of someone else somewhere else, I DENY THIS.

I’m not sure how you make a statement, given that you don’t show much of an acquaintance with either.

Comment #132556

Posted by Darth Robo on September 22, 2006 9:39 AM (e)

Hey Phil, why do you keep asking all these questions on each thread to a bunch of people who would all disagree with you anyway? Why not do some of your own research?

“I heard 3 million somewhere but don’t quote me.”

Oops.

Comment #132557

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 22, 2006 9:41 AM (e)

This from Ken Ham’s blog today:

All over the news today was a
report that a young Australopithecine (the same species as the famous supposed human ancestor “Lucy”) skeleton had been found. They say the skeleton is fairly complete with almost a complete foot. It will be interesting to see the actual photos of the skeleton, etc,. and see what the foot looks like. “Lucy” models have been made by evolutionists with totally human feet!! We will continue to follow this story and get an article up once we know more from reliable sources.

Sounds familiar I think.

Comment #132558

Posted by Mike on September 22, 2006 9:51 AM (e)

” like most things that have to do with the created world, it’s common sense.”

If where you live human sized organisms are regularly popping into existence out of thin air.

Comment #132566

Posted by Mike on September 22, 2006 10:21 AM (e)

” like most things that have to do with the created world, it’s common sense.”

If where you live human sized organisms are regularly popping into existence out of thin air.

Comment #132571

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on September 22, 2006 10:58 AM (e)

Dave -

Thanks for the tips - just what I was looking for (well, pretty damn close, anyway)! (Alas, Br’er Hawks has no time for dialog - and Afarensis’s computer is on strike this week…)

Philip -

Thanks, but no thanks - I did say “scientifically based”, after all.

Comment #132581

Posted by Henry J on September 22, 2006 12:05 PM (e)

Re “If where you live human sized organisms are regularly popping into existence out of thin air.”

Maybe where he lives the air is thicker? :)

Comment #132582

Posted by mplavcan on September 22, 2006 12:54 PM (e)

Sorry folks, but I have to stick up for taste here. Most people are too impolite to stare at someone regardless of how they look. Nevertheless, if you dressed a Neanderthal up and put him in the subway (the local C to the AMNH entrance), he wouldn’t clear the car, and children wouldn’t be hiding behind mom’s skirts, but I’ll bet that he would get a lot of those sidelong glances reserved for the more unusual characters.

Comment #132593

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on September 22, 2006 1:56 PM (e)

Homo habilis obviously a human according to Luskin.
Homo habilis obviously an ape according to Luskin.

So Nick is right creationists can’t agree with each other on what is human and what is ape. In this case one disagrees with himself. What is happening is that in 2002 he used some previous creationist on what is H. habilis was but by 2004 had discovered that current creationist party line was that H. habilis was an ape often using the “Human Genus” paper by Wood and Collard to justify it.

Oh my, that is *hilarious*. “They’re clearly different groups, but I can’t decide which one this fossil fits into.”

And since when is Sigrid Hartwig-Scherer a “leading paleoanthropologist”? (That she is one of the few ID people who has published in the peer-reviewed journals is almost certainly why.)

I think she is one of the creationists who is a Seventh-Day Adventist, yes? That group is kind of independent from the major political battles and sometimes they get cited by the other creationists because of that. E.g. in McLean most of the creationist scientists were from the Geoscience Research Institute

Comment #132598

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 22, 2006 2:14 PM (e)

Henry J:

Maybe where he lives the air is thicker? :)

Where PBH lives, something is definitely thickening the air–whew!

Perhaps emanating from that material piling up ever deeper around him.

Comment #132609

Posted by Arden Chatfield on September 22, 2006 3:17 PM (e)

Pierce, I might be your man. Most Darwin-tied evolutionists seem to be intent on rebuilding a geocentric universe, apparently by cheering wildly when they rediscover some obfuscating non-evidence such as this one, which merely confirms that which was known before Darwin - there is spectacular potential adaptive capability built into species, without which species wouldn’t last 5 figurative minutes. As for the source of this adaptability or yet the fact that species cannot be classified with certainty from fossils alone, we hear nothing. Whatever is being accoladed or applauded here, it doesn’t have much to do with either empirical observation or the origin of the species. I do have a small section on human history, dating methods and so on at www.creationtheory.com .

Hey Philip, you must be a Christian, so maybe you can answer a question that’s been driving me crazy for years: Could God microwave a burrito so hot that even he could not eat it?

Comment #132611

Posted by Henry J on September 22, 2006 3:20 PM (e)

Re “Could God microwave a burrito so hot that even he could not eat it?”

I dunno how Philip might answer that, but thought I’d point out something - if it gets hot enough to melt, He might have to drink it. Or if hot enough to evaporate, inhale it. :)

Comment #132615

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 22, 2006 3:26 PM (e)

Or, if hot enough to plasma-ize it, he might have to silver surf it!

Comment #132627

Posted by mplavcan on September 22, 2006 4:17 PM (e)

I had a run-in with Dr. Hertwig-Scherer years ago at the annual meetings of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. She was offended when, in a talk on sexual dimorphism in hominins, I pointed out that the upper range of her estimates of body mass would place A.afarensis on a par with elephant seals in terms of dimorphism – something that would have profound implications for hominin evolution. She wrote me a letter saying she was offended, feeling that I was mocking her. I apologized, and said I did not intend to offend her (I did not). Nevertheless, that *is* what her analysis implied, and my point was that there was a wide range of size estimates, some of which were fairly unlikely. I could not help it if the audience laughed.

The paper that was in question is a legitimate piece of work published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology in 1993 (92:17-36). It is not widely cited. Apart from that, I do not recall her name coming up very often in my conversations with other hominid people, and I was actually quite surprised to hear that she is in the Young Earth Creation camp. I believe that her Ph.D. adviser was Bob Martin at Zurich (at the time). Martin is an outstanding primatologist.

Comment #132951

Posted by PatricktheDutch on September 23, 2006 4:57 AM (e)

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRRRR —-braking sound of a train.

Hold that thought guys.

There is a difference between the I.D. movement.
And creationists.

A big difference.

I.D. movement is not saying evolution doens’t excist.
Creationism is saying that.

I.D. movement is saying, well as shown in biochemistry, there are questions that are impossible to fill in with evolution, so something intellegent has layed at least the verry first steps of life.
I.D. officialy says: there could be evolution.

BUt i think you guys are getting confused because probaly some creationist borrow some stuff from the I.D.movement.

But officialy the I.D. movement is saying: well there could be evolution, who created the first steps???
Well it is not science to answer that.
According the I.D. movement It is logical to come to the conclusions that there have to be something that is really smart that has made the first steps.

euh euh euh before you angry post a comment, read the: black box of Darwin, and come to your own conclusions find answers first, and then you are able to post something about this.

by the way i am the “worst” of these 2, I am a creationist, hi guys nice to meet you ;-)
And just like you guys i love science, although we think sometimes different we have a whole lot in common.

Comment #132980

Posted by GlennK on September 23, 2006 7:26 AM (e)

Are u damn communists/evolutionists sayin we’re all part of the HOMO (homosexual) species? (snark snark ;)

Comment #132987

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 23, 2006 7:45 AM (e)

Hey “Dr Martin”, would you please pick an identifier and then stick with it?

Geez.

Comment #132995

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 23, 2006 8:24 AM (e)

Patick, I think you may have come in just about as the bar is closing and what’s left is mostly what I would call the Health and Beauty Department. Could be wrong. See some of the near-above.
Quote: COMMON SENSE IS NOT USED IN SCIENCE. Quote: I DID SAY “SCIENTIFICALLY BASED” (Contributor quoted here is telling the world what category of technical publication he patronizes). This second contributor is so swithed on, he knows more than all the Internet’s search engine advizors, who have classified the publication he says is not scientifically based, as, quote, “agreeing with mainstream science”, and have done so for the last five years - from the outset. But at least he is being consistent with the first contributor quoted.
Who swears vehemently that human genetics aren’t being gradually de-clarified by such things as cosmic radiation, and on the basis of a puissant puffer fish or something of that order, overthrows what I think most of us understand as a general consensus about such things - the deleterious effects of genetic damage are indeed passing on from one generation to the next. I hope I’m wrong.
If any of them actually consulted with the item they claim to be criticizing, they are distinctly low on cognitave skill.
And I’m only giving a short overview of the entries an honest man can read, without feeling physically ill.

Here’s some questions to the many gentlemen & seekers of knowledge who patronize the site:
About a century ago, there were the twin problems of black box radiation and speed of light constancy irrespective of the measurer’s speed. These problems were addressed through the development of quantum theory and relativity theory, respectively. Both require counterintuitive thinking, in at least some sense of that word. At the same time, they are common sense, and fundamentally concur with basic concepts held by Man for thousands of years. How so? Which concepts?

Quantum theory, with its uncertainty principle, opened the door to a new era of informatiomn technology. (A particle that is concurrently a wave cannot be located in terms of its centre of gravity. Quantum particles can in some instances be multiple “objects” whilst concurrently being one “object”. Etc.) Right now, we have the problem of speciation. Species have this spectacular ability to adapt. Yet there are innumerable groupings of (adaptable) organisms that reproduce only “after their kind”. Then again, we can see that it wouldn’t take much to trip one species to transform into another (provided new information was activated from somewhere), and that is what happened in the past - as an aspect of nature. So we have all this remarkable adaptive ability, we have distinct species as genetically self-contained units, we have strong evidence of very close genetic etc. similarity between species, we could turn one species into another if only we could talk the correct information language to it …… . To quote someone who was flood-minded at the time; See where I’m going with this? Well, we don’t Noah exactly just yet, but, ‘ark, we shall know soon enough. Sorry, it’s getting late here.
People never jumped the gun about science, did they?
We haven’t even begun to dabble our toes in the ocean of quantum information systems and the way they might manifest their outcomes in nature.
Any wisdom re. quantum information and the known facts of life would be valued.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the answers. You might get to pick up a few lads and put them to bed. Bless them all.

Comment #133025

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 23, 2006 9:49 AM (e)

‘nother question. Do you suppose the puissant puffer fish was in the ‘ark?

Comment #133038

Posted by Cynskeptirealist on September 23, 2006 10:47 AM (e)

Looks a little like Man Coulter. Sorry Selam, didn’t mean to offend.

Comment #133198

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 23, 2006 7:59 PM (e)

PatricktheDutch wrote:

There is a difference between the I.D. movement.
And creationists.

A big difference.

I.D. movement is not saying evolution doens’t excist.
Creationism is saying that.

I.D. movement is saying, well as shown in biochemistry, there are questions that are impossible to fill in with evolution, so something intellegent has layed at least the verry first steps of life.
I.D. officialy says: there could be evolution.

So, there’s no difference.

Creationists and IDers are identical. They all accept that there is some evolution, but that there is some mythical limit beyond which evolution cannot progress. Creationists call them ‘created kinds’ or ‘baramins’, but it doesn’t matter. IDers don’t call them anything, but they nonetheless tacitly accept the same concept.

Evolution up to some vageully defined limit: Good.

Evolution beyond vaguelly defined limit: Clearly impossible despite not a shred of evidence.

Mechanism limiting evolution: None ever proposed, just asserted to exist without any evidence.

The difference between ID and creationism boils down to semantics. IDers use more words to disguise the same old lies.

Comment #133438

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 24, 2006 7:59 AM (e)

IDers use more words to disguise the same old lies.

But they do say, in their Wedge Document, that the goal of ID is to “support traditional doctrine of creation”.

Which means all the arm-waving, by both IDers and creation ‘scientists”, that they are different, is pure unadulterated BS.

Comment #133454

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 24, 2006 9:01 AM (e)

My eyesight’s going a bit; did someone just write something like, There was cheering and armwaving by ID creationists & scientists when I got a different, pure unadulterated BSc? It sure is getting late.

Comment #133508

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 24, 2006 1:17 PM (e)

Hey Heywood, you’re blithering again.

Comment #133512

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on September 24, 2006 1:25 PM (e)

Philip:
“the deleterious effects of genetic damage are indeed passing on from one generation to the next”

Yes, mutations, even harmful ones, may pass on. But your claim is that the genome always deteriorates. There is no such observation. See CC CB101 & CB120( http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB101.html , http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB120.html ).

“Both require counterintuitive thinking, in at least some sense of that word. At the same time, they are common sense,”

Read that again and you will understand why common sense isn’t used in science.

“Right now, we have the problem of speciation.”
Speciation and species are fields of work, AFAIK. But see CC CB805 for your specific concern ( http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB805.html ). You can also take a look at John Wilkins blog where he has discussed the species concept ( http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/ ).

(If you think I’m handing you over to the experts you are right. I have no qualifications to make this correct, nor the patience. But I trust that you will see my points.)

“the ocean of quantum information systems”

Ah, the woo-woo of the quantum!

Since biology so far is about classical systems, we don’t need to concern ourselves with that. Sure, radiation and cell chemistry depend on QM to different degress (what doesn’t?), but in the coarsegraining of body functions and evolution there is so far only classicality observed.

Comment #133538

Posted by GT(N)T on September 24, 2006 2:27 PM (e)

I think the lesson we can learn from PatrickTheDutch and Phillip Bruce Heywood is that if we are unsuccessful in keeping the creationists out of the schools no one will ever make sense again.

Comment #133658

Posted by M.L on September 24, 2006 7:56 PM (e)

RAWRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

I R TEH MISSING LINK

Comment #133705

Posted by Sir_Toejam on September 24, 2006 11:27 PM (e)

euh euh euh before you angry post a comment, read the: black box of Darwin, and come to your own conclusions find answers first, and then you are able to post something about this.

we did read it.

then, after the wave of nausea passed, followed by a fit of rolling on the floor in laughter, we moved on.

so should you.

Comment #133706

Posted by Timothy Clemans on September 24, 2006 11:30 PM (e)

“infallible omniscience of wikipedia” Is Wikipedia incorrect or not? If it is then it needs to be corrected.

Comment #134035

Posted by Stevaroni on September 25, 2006 6:59 PM (e)

Posted by M.L on September 24, 2006 07:56 PM (e)

RAWRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

I R TEH MISSING LINK

No, one of my old college roomates - the one we affectionately named “Lurch” - was the missing link. And I have the photos to prove it.

Comment #134636

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 27, 2006 8:28 AM (e)

Sorry folks, it’s just another ape:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0926selam.asp

Comment #135257

Posted by Sir_Toejam on September 28, 2006 5:57 PM (e)

sorry Peter, it’s just another AIG lie you bit into.

how’s it taste?

Comment #135419

Posted by jonny on September 29, 2006 2:00 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'script'

Comment #136259

Posted by Jennifer on September 30, 2006 5:04 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #137280

Posted by J. Ervin on October 4, 2006 12:42 PM (e)

So if you guys think you know everything, explain to me how birds could evolve from a wingless creature?

Comment #137285

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on October 4, 2006 1:03 PM (e)

Well, it seems Mr. J Ervin can’t be bothered to do any research on his own.

For one thing, we don’t claim to know everything. We leave false pretenses of ultimate knowledge to our opponents.

For another, wings have evolved four times (insects, bats, pterosaurs and birds). Are you asking about a specific case or generically?

For a third, is google too difficult for you to use? I’ll help:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=evolution+of+wings