Sensationalism In The Stories Relating To Science

How does a fossil containing finger bones suggest a certain behavior or lifestyle? Researchers from universities of Southampton and Calgary, think they can determine it. Science Daily foolishly did a report on this absurd study…

Using “finger ratios from fossilised skeletal remains of early apes and extinct hominins, as indicators of the levels of exposure species had to prenatal androgens – a group of hormones that is important in the development of masculine characteristics such as aggression and promiscuity. It is thought that androgens, such as testosterone, affect finger length during development in the womb.”

What? A thick finger indicates larger amounts of male hormone during development, which in turn suggests that the men were more masculine, therefore aggressive, therefore promiscuous? This is one of the most ridiculous conclusions I have ever seen!  Have the researchers been watching too much of “Bones” a Hollywood dramatization while coming up with these strange conclusions?

And this is not all, in physorg there is a caption which says, “Evidence of an intense warming period in the Universe’s early history, described as a form of “cosmic climate change.” Are they going to blame man-made pollution for this? Not quite but there is a quandary facing cosmologists for detecting anomalous heat in distant galaxies. So blacks holes which haven’t been observed are invoked to account for it.

In this story, there is a claim that a missing link had been found, most of us would think of a missing link as an intermediate life form but in this story the missing link is, Phosphorus! Yes, phosphorus, without any observational data to suggest such a thing, all you do is add that element and presto you have animals.

“The key ingredient to the eventual oxidation of the oceans was found in the rubble of rock left behind when the glaciers receded,” said Lalonde. “We believe the glacial debris that washed into the oceans contained high concentrations of phosphorus.”

Some pretty cool stone tools was discovered in a cave from South Africa which shows that the ancient inhabitants were pretty good at craftsmanship. What was the conclusion from New Scientist as a result of this discovery? There headlines tells it all, “Our ancestors had to grow bigger brains to make axes”.

“Previous brain scans have shown an overlap in the areas responsible for toolmaking and language processing. The overlap is greater when people are making complex tools. Parts of the right-hand side of the brain, such as a section of Broca’s area, which is involved in processing language, become more active in this situation.”

Catherine de Lange fails to explain why someone needs a bigger brain to make an axe. She explains what the brain has to do in order to accomplish it, but why the bigger size? Perhaps it was a decision by the cave council. Reporters like the ones in Science Daily, Catherine in New Scientist and others worship evolution, never seem to question some of these bizarre stories that come out of these studies.

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6 thoughts on “Sensationalism In The Stories Relating To Science

  1. Michael fulminates: “What? A thick finger indicates larger amounts of male hormone during development, which in turn suggests that the men were more masculine, therefore aggressive, therefore promiscuous? This is one of the most ridiculous conclusions I have ever seen! Have the researchers been watching too much of “Bones” a Hollywood dramatization while coming up with these strange conclusions?”

    Another display of astounding ignorance. Michael. Do you mean to rtell us that you’ve never seen the parlor trick of ascertaining sex only from a hand? In male humans, the third finger is longer than the first; in females, the opposite. The amount of difference is reliably linked to testosterone levels. Testosterone levels are so reliably linked to aggression and other behaviors that even Michael may have noticed them.

    If Michael knew more than a novice in a nunnery about physiology, he would realize that testosterone, a small and simple hormone, has pervasive effects throughout the body—many related to its primary function of sex determination, but others that are entirely irrelevant, coming along for the ride. The reason that creationists have a hard time understanding this is that they are immersed in teleology. Testosterone is “for” sex development; that is its preordained “purpose.” When humans design, say, a car, the electrical system is “for” pushing electrons around—ignition, lights, iPod connections. Why would anyone design the electrical system so that one of the cables holds up the muffler? Dumb design. But evolution is not neat and tidy like design. Hormones have unintended consequences; it is not at all surprising that a sex enhancer controls a finger length that has nothing to do with what we—from our designer standpoint—call its “primary” function.

    If Michael would relate to us his qualifications in any field of science, by education, background, employment, or divine revelation, we could judge whether God misiinforms him, or he has his receiver turned off.

  2. We all know there can be sensationalism in science stories….like on science daily….

    But there is a lot more sensationalism on Creationist web sites

  3. Quoth Michael:[1] “And this is not all, in physorg there is a caption which says, “Evidence of an intense warming period in the Universe’s early history, described as a form of “cosmic climate change.” Are they going to blame man-made pollution for this? Not quite but there is a quandary facing cosmologists for detecting anomalous heat in distant galaxies. So blacks holes which haven’t been observed are invoked to account for it.”

    Of course,. if Michael knew anything about astronomy, he would realize that the concept of temperature has little meaning in this situation. For example, the “temperature” (average particle speed) of space around the earth is millions of degrees. Ye4t an astronaut would freeze to death in minutes. the only temperature that applies to the universe as a whole is that of the cosmic background radiation, which has steadily decreased since the Big Bang. Any other “universal” temperature is, as Michael says without knowing why, is contrived for the purposes of sensationalism.

    But then creationists only read the popular-press stories, and suppose that they represent reality. If there were fewer creationists, we could hope that reporters would not be forced to dumb down their stories in this manner.

    =================

    [1] We do hope Michael fixes the blockquote tag soon.

  4. “Sensationalism In The Stories Relating To Science”

    Upson Downes reminds us that when one reads only the sensationalist press, then one is likely to see only sensationalist stories. This is as true for Science Daily as it is for Soap Opera Weekly.

  5. Speaking of sensation, one of the books that Michael touts in his “About” oubliette is Michael Behe’s The Edge of Evolution.

    Whatever happened to this sensational book after three years? Amazon no longer offers it directly; one must order it from a 3d-party reseller for $0.38. (Plus shipping, of course. Even blank paper is heavy.)

    The Discovery Institute seems to have ceased pushing the book. Perhaps even they have realized that the number Behe based his mutation claim on was just a wild guess about an irrelevant quantity thrown out in a journal paper.

    In biology, even a humdrum pedestrian paper gets cited in 30-40 other reviewed papers within a couple of years. Behe’s book has been cited exactly three times—all in negative reviews.

  6. Apparently we need to remind Michael periodically about what he said here.

    Each of his next few posts swallows a sensalionalist report in the popular press as though it were … well … gospel.

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