Paleoanthropologist Frustrated Over Assumptions

In a field dedicated to the advancement of the evolutionary story, it has come up road block after road block. Considered a science in crisis! When they come up with a solution, it just creates more problems to solve and eventually gets overturned with direct evidence  which is an indication, the framework namely, evolution is faulty.

Paleoanthropologist Barnard Woods wrote an interesting, honest and frank reality of his work as well as others in his commentary in PNAS. His comments revolve around this premise; “The origin of our own genus remains frustratingly unclear.” In a previous paper, Wood points out there is confusion in his field about being certain which is which, “it’s not so easy to determine whether relatively new fossil finds are early members of the human evolutionary family or prehistoric apes.”

In physorg

“The anthropologists question the claims that several prominent fossil discoveries made in the last decade are our human ancestors.  Instead, the authors offer a more nuanced explanation of the fossils’ place in the Tree of Life.  They conclude that instead of being our ancestors the fossils more likely belong to extinct distant cousins.”  Bernard Wood and Terry Harrison chided fellow paleoanthropologists for their jumping to conclusions: “to simply assume that anything found in that time range has to be a human ancestor is na ve.”

This reminds one of the hype with this assumption in a headline, “Prehuman Lucy on a Walking Path” to humanity.”  Barnard Woods is right in this regard, jumping to conclusions is not good but he also stated in 2006 when a research team claimed to have discovered bones in Ethiopia from three hominid species lined up in a vertical row, showing a clear progression toward humans “When you find 30 new hominid fossils, you are allowed a certain amount of conjecture.”

Now back to Woods recent comments…

“Although many of my colleagues are agreed regarding the “what” with respect to Homo, there is no consensus as to the “how” and “when” questions.  Until relatively recently, most  paleoanthropologists (including the writer) assumed Africa was the answer to the “where” question, but in a little more than a decade discoveries at two sites beyond Africa, one at Dmanisi in Georgia and the other at Liang Bua on the island of Flores, have called this assumption into question.”

“The results of recent excavations at Dmanisi reported in PNAS , which suggest that hominins visited that site on several occasions between ca. 1.85 and ca. 1.77 Ma, together with recent reassessments of the affinities of Homo habilis, are further reasons for questioning the assumption that Homo originated in Africa.”

Dmanisi specimens are hard to classify in the evolutionary framework, no doubt because you have things like Liang Bua specimens dubbed Homo floresiensis, that seem primitive but yet they overlap substantially with modern humans! The miniature humans remain very confusing to paleoanthropologists. Wood points out there is evidence that could support an opposite viewpoint too concerning our ancestors which to them migrated either out of Africa or into Africa. Not sure which, confused? They are!

It’s not surprising that Paleoanthropologists like Woods are frustrated with what’s going on over evolutionary assumptions. What progress have they done since Darwin’s time? It’s the wrong path, nothing more than a invented fictional story being passed along as factual! His field is full of rivalry, contradiction, deception, exaggeration and outright fraud and requires more faith than any known religion! Real science has some setbacks but does contain a progression in knowledge whether it be technology or medicine, yet it also is able to confirm the Bible!

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18 thoughts on “Paleoanthropologist Frustrated Over Assumptions

  1. Michael: “In a field dedicated to the advancement of the evolutionary story, it has come up road block after road block. Considered a science in crisis!”

    Not at all …

  2. Yes, really.

    A problem in science is not the same as a crisis.

    And of course I don’t believe anything: I’m a scientist. No faith involved.

  3. A mechanic has taken apart an automobile engine, then given Michael the parts in a box and asks him to reassemble it. Michael places a cylinder head on the block and reaches for a bolt to attach them. The bolt doesn’t quite fit. Anyone else would conclude that this particular bolt goes somewhere else in the engine. But not Michael. No. Michael concludes from this evidence that the box does not contain a car engine at all—it is a unicorn! Because he loves unicorns and believes in them with his whole vestigial appendix.

    Fossils are rare. Scientists find a few, and try to fit them into a nested hierarchy. If it turns out that a fossil seems not to fit in the place we thought, we look for another place that is a better fit. All this without knowing ahead of time what the overall hierarchy looks like—in the analogy above, we don’t have the engineering drawings for the engine, and the box contains only a small fraction of the parts.

    Paleontologists classify fossils into species and genera based upon sets of characteristics that seem to occur together. But, as we trace further back toward a common ancestor, those traits become blurred: The lines are indistinct—but they are artificial distinctions in the first place. Here again, Michael falls into the dictionary fallacy. There is no bright line between an Australopithecus and an early Hominid. This would be like arguing whether to classify a person as your grandfather or as your cousin’s grandfather. But creationists seem to think that a label determines the nature of a thing; if we give it a different label, it becomes a different thing. Perhaps this is true of religion (is homosexuality a “sin” or a “condition”?), but it is not true of the physical world. Is light a particle or a wave? Both. And neither. Particles and waves are human constructs that may or may not correspond to physical phenomena. Like Australopithecus and Hominid.

    In a field dedicated to the advancement of the evolutionary story, it [sic] has come up road block after road block. Considered a science in crisis!

    Once again— Give it up. Even most creationists have abandoned that canard. This is the argument from ignorance, pure and simple. Of course, it is really the only argument that creationists have.

  4. Eelco,

    Of course there is especially in fields like Paleoanthropology. It’s like your trying to tell me that proximate explanations and evolutionary explanations are the same thing. :) You have faith in “dark matter” where it has been invented for the purpose of accounting for discrepancies between calculations for such things as the mass of galaxies, and clusters of galaxies, don’t you? Here is an example, created out of thin air, dark matter is particles going faster than the subatomic level, they are known as botrons. These “botrons” collide into each other.

    This in turn creates a speed bump. Clusters of galaxies are like a car in neutral going down a slight hill but the speed bump (botrons) which prevents it from going all the way down the hill with the help of gravity. This accounts for the discrepancies for various masses, it hasn’t been directly detected yet because we have yet to invent the tools to do so. This is an hypothesis which contains faith. Yea it’s made up but so is dark matter. So science does require faith, faith in other scientists trying to recreate the unobservable past, faith in how this or that works. If you knew everything, faith wouldn’t be required. Science does practice guessing which in many cases requires faith in its outcome!

  5. Michael, I’m afraid you talk complete gobbledycook here …

    And again, I do not have faith in dark matter. I observe dark matter. That is quite a different thing.
    No faith involved. None at all.

  6. Science does practice guessing which in many cases requires faith in its outcome!

    Outcomes only require faith for creationism. In science, on the other hand, the guesses (hypotheses) are not the subject of faith, but of confidence. To the extent that predicted outcomes occur, the hypothesis is given more confidence. Outcomes that are consistent with the hypothesis are nice, but the best kind of outcomes are those that conflict with other hypotheses. When the hypothesis gains enough confidence through evidence, we start to call it a theory.

    A hypothesis (or theory) may include many other hypotheses (or theories) pertai8ning to parts of the overall hypothesis. The status of such sub-hypotheses is almost always less than in that of the overall hypothesis. In Michael’s dark-matter example, confidence in the existence of dark matter—that interacts only with gravitation—is higher than that in a hypothesis that dark matter consists of bogons having certain properties. Experimental outcomes inconsistent with bogons decreases our confidence in the bogon hypothesis, yet does not decrease confidence in dark matter. One of Michael’s favorite arguments is to attack confidence in an overall theory by showing inconsistencies or unexpected results in one of its minor sub-hypotheses. In his example, this is like denying the existence of gravity when experiments show that a speed bump slows a car down. Sorry, we can all see through that fallacy.

    And, to connect the two: No, dark matter has so far only been observed by its gravitational effect on normal matter, and not by its interactions with electromagnetism. On the other hand, gravitation itself has only been observed by its effect on the motion of matter, and has never been observed “directly” by, say, its effect upon the strong nuclear force. Yet probably even Michael believes in gravitation, even though he has never “seen” it directly.

    .

    Perhaps we are arguing over words here: “faith” and “confidence”. It is very evident by now that Michael’s view holds that an object of “faith” is true despite all evidence for or against it. This is what Eelco denies. Scientists have confidence in theories that have been supported by great gobs of evidence. We rely increasingly upon them to produce certain results. When they do not—again remembering the difference between an overall theory and a sub-theory about one of its details—then our confidence is lowered, or perhaps destroyed altogether. This is the difference between the feeling that scientists have for their theories and the feeling that religious zealots have for their favorite belief systems.

    One of the consequences of this difference is that, when, say, a cosmologist loses confidence in string theory, he starts investigating or making up other hypotheses. But when, say, a creationist loses his faith, he most often flips over completely into atheism.

  7. @Michael,

    You have faith in “dark matter” where it has been invented for the purpose of accounting for discrepancies between calculations for such things as the mass of galaxies, and clusters of galaxies, don’t you?

    Micheal, explain this to me: How is “dark matter” inconsistent with Creationism? Please answer me that. Even when I was a Creationist, I never understood why Creationists objected to it.

    Another point. It is not true that “dark matter” cannot be detected. All you have to do is watch the Science Channel to get an idea of that.– But here is a Wikipedia link that talks about detecting it:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter#Detection

  8. Oloroin, Kriss … no point trying to get Michael to read up on dark matter.
    He won’t.

    I’ve tried many times before.

    In the meantime I’ll happily continue to observe dark matter with the Hubble Space Telescope and others :-)

    I hope you don’t mind me ignoring Michael’s mutterings on this topic: I’ve given up. I would just repeat myself.

  9. Kris, there is a very good reason why creationists hate dark matter. One of their key recent arguments is that the galaxy could not possibly hold together over billions of years due to its gravity. What scientists did with this fact was to “invent” dark matter. What creationists did with it was to “invent” a young age for the galaxy. Thus, anything that can hold the galaxy together for its actual age is anathema to creationists.

    I had asked Michael about his hatred of dark matter many times, but he never gave an answer. Apparently he is totally ignorant even as to creationism!.

    Eelco may be able to verify this, but I think that, even without dark matter,, the behavior of galaxies would not be compatible with a young age—that is, even what we can observe directly would falsify a 10K-year age, even if there were no such thing as dark matter.

  10. Olorin,

    Creationists do not hate dark matter. It doesn’t affect one way or the other on creationism! But it does affect how science is researched…

    In Nature, 2007…No one knows what dark matter is, but they know what it’s not. It’s not part of the ’standard model’ of physics that weaves together everything that is known about ordinary matter and its interactions. The standard model has been hugely successful, but it also has some problems, and in trying to fix these, theorists have predicted hordes of new fundamental particles. At first, these hypothetical particles were viewed as unwelcome additions, but now some of them are leading candidates for dark matter. “These days a theory without a dark-matter candidate is not considered an interesting one,” says [Leszek] Roszkowski [CERN]. “The existence of the dark-matter problem is perhaps the most convincing evidence for physics beyond the standard model.”

    What kind of circular reasoning is that? “The existence of dark-matter problem” being the most convincing evidence for physics! When it grows into this high level of complexity in a ‘theory’, this is not a sign of being factual, “theorists have predicted hordes of new fundamental particles.”

    Did any of you know that they also think there is more than one type of dark matter? “Dark matter might prove to be a richer problem than anyone is expecting. [Max] Tegmark [MIT] hopes for this outcome. “This could be a wonderful surprise. It’s very arrogant of us humans to say that just because we can’t see it, there’s only one kind of dark matter.”

    You guys are still in the dark over this matter…lol. There is an old saying, “cosmologists never want to give up and just say that “things are as they are because they were as they were,” said Thomas Gold.

  11. @Michael,

    Creationists do not hate dark matter.

    Oh, no? Then explain to me why Creation Ministries International is so anti-Dark Matter?

  12. @Olorin

    I notice your link is written by Walt Brown. Interesting to note he is an engineer, not an astronomer. I find it odd Creationists would take the word of an engineer so seriously when he speaks out of his field.

    He is famous for his “hydroplate theory,” which is an attempt at an alternative for Plate Tectonics to explain Noah’s flood. — Again, geology is out of his field, so…i fail to see why Creationists would want to use him as an authority in a field he has no expertise in.

    Oh well, catastrophic plate tectonics was also proposed by someone who has no expertise in geology, so I guess it’s all the rage with Creationists.

  13. Engineers are attracted to creationism because their entire careers involve “designing” things. So they tend to see design everywhere. Second, engineers pride them selves on their knowledge of “technical” stuff—yet often they have had little education in any scientific subject outside their field, so they often know a lot less about science than they think they do.[1] Third, although engineering is often called “science: field, engineers have little dealing with scientific theories, and no experience in research. So they know little of what scientists actually do.

    Computer programmers also deal exclusively in things that are designed. They are even worse than the engineers in research experience and exposure to scientific theories. The entire subject matter of computer programming proceeds from a human intelligence. There are a number of creationist programmers.

    Another group with representation in the creationist refugee camp are mathematicians. Like programming, their entire subject matter is mental, the product of intelligence. So they see designs and premeditated plans everywhere. They have zero experience in investigating physical phenomena.

    Finally come the medical doctors.[2] We think of doctors as scientists—but medicine has always had an uneasy relationship with science, even with experimental science.[3] Strange, but true. Doctors see the amazing intricacy of the human body in medical school, and they wonder how such marvels could have come about. Unfortunately, they have until recently had zero exposure to evolution in medical school.[4] Here again, doctors like to think of themselves as scientists, but very few of them have ever had any exposure to experimental studies or to testing hypotheses. So creationism finds a comfortable home in the medical profession as well.

    I’m sure you can think of examples from all of these professional fields. People who seem otherwise rational and qualified, but fall into the creationism miasma.

    ===========

    {1} I know that. I useded to be a engineer.

    [2] Hate to say it, because my younger daughter is an MD.

    [3] You may note the big push today for “evidence based medicine.” Why should anyone have to push this concept? Shouldn’t it be obvious? You have to push it because doctors resist it—they prefer anecdotes to evidence.

    [4] There’s a big push on for teaching evolution in medical school these days, as well. To prevent them from such wrongheaded treatments as combining antibiotics that all attack the same metabolic pathway.

  14. Oh dear … Michael has also discovered there are likely to be several dark matter particle species … which is not al al surprising, of course, and not a new idea either.

    Funny that your reply also solely on quotes from others, some of whom I actually know. Their reply would not be surprising either.

  15. @Eelco

    Funny that your reply also solely on quotes from others,

    Creationists like to quote for a variety of reasons:

    1. They think the printed word has a lot of weight. i.e., this printed word says x, therefore x is true.

    2. They don’t know the evidence,. The proof of this is when a Creationist responds with a quote as the argument rather than his own words. But they can certainly lap up a conclusion they like. They have a tendency to quote-mine a conclusion that they like rather than use the actual evidence that is used. Logical Fallacy: An Irrelevant Appeal to Authority.

    3. They think the quote looks good.

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