ORGINS OF MAN: APE OR ADAM?
The evolution myth has been almost universally accepted in the modern secular world. Evoltuionists view evoltuion as the old reasonableand truly scientific framework from which to interpet evidence. As a result they view fossiles through "evolutionary glasses." Evolution demands "missing links" between different species, especially between modern humans and whatever evolved into humans--commonly believed to be an ape-like ancestor. The fossil finds calimed as "missing links" to Homo sapiens (HOH moh SAY pee unz) have turned out to be insubstantial evidence such as pig's tooth (Nebraska Man), human skeletons that had been classified as missing links )neandertal Man, Cro-Magnon MAn) meaningless ships of bone (Java man), or outright hoaxes (Piltdown Man).
The fossil dubbed "Lucy" by
A lot of this material is covered already in thorough detail on the internet, which I will provide links for you. That being stated much of the answers I can give you are just going to be referencing what is already stated in that material. What I'd like to do firstly is discuss the kind of strategy being used here and reference the data as I need to in order to support my argument. Whoever is arguing to you about this has obviously never cracked a book on modern evolutionary science or maybe even biology, I would also dare say that they have no grasp on the scientific method or how ideas are promoted in science, understood in science, and become fundamental parts of advancing scientific discoveries.The language of anti-science, also known as the language of sophistry:
Arguments that often address atheism/atheist/evolution often construe all of this as if the terminology was in reference to an ideological belief delivered in a polemical manner from the one your opponent seems to believe is true. I pointed this out and described it in detail here in an earlier response to you, which I will quote:
Some of these dishonest beliefs are layered upon dishonest presuppositions that don't allow the apologist to deviate from the argument or claim they are making. They can be derailed simply by pointing out that their component requirement of what they are arguing against doesn't apply. I mentioned this to you in another post when you were talking about converting to atheism and wanted to know more about evolution ( http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,22558.msg504602.html#msg504602 ). There I discussed how many apologist argue in such a way where a scientific idea like 'evolution' is presupposed to be part of 'atheism' as if atheism were a belief system and that 'evolution' was a dichotomy against their beliefs. Now in some cases evolution is a dichotomy against a literal interpretation of a creationist myth, however that doesn't always need to be the case. Nor are the god claims of any particular theist the only available options to us, since evolution can be true and a god could exist anyway. Telling christians this by interjecting their argument as they begin usually blows their minds or sends them into gibbering nonsense, because they can't allow you as a non-believer to not fit the mold of the strawman that they wish to build. Many such arguments are delivered in the same fashion, as if your atheism or atheism in general were predicated upon the idea that no god could exist. They are not willing to entertain that their own god claim is not self evidently true or self evidently the only one possible.
The person responding to you delivered this as if it were a dichotomy of ideas, expressly related to their belief in a christian deity ( as if it were self evidently true ) vs your non-belief in their christian deity ( as if the only available options are either belief in their god or no god ). This kind of mentality informs a string of stereotypes, often emotionally believed, that only serve to misinform believers and even equip others in arguing against them. When I mean by equipping you to argue against them, it almost always presents a claim that can be fact checked for its authenticity that leaves little room for ambiguity. You can then point out the inaccuracy and ask for an explanation, which is my primary route in arguments. The problem with this is that creationist employ a wide range of obfuscating tactics delivered in the form of rhetorical language and platitudes. It can follow along this pattern:
1. Make declarative statements about science or a scientific issue.
- This narrows down what their describing, often done so inaccurately, in order to build a false perception of what science is or says.
2. Contrast the first statement against secondary assertions, implying a conflict of information.
- This also relies on misinformation, by either over stating what is supposedly in conflict ( as you will see in the examples i'll present ) or blatantly making stuff up.
3. Conclude from the previous two premises, in a manner to dismiss an undesired scientific conclusion.
- While sometimes someone can make a valid 'inference', that doesn't always make an argument correct. This is ultimately building up to a type of argument called a strawman.
4. Special: Ignore rebuttals and repeat steps 1-3 with a different subject.
- Creationist have a bad habit of once being countered thoroughly, to just ignore the response and make another kind of argument delivered in the same way about a completely different subject. A good rule of thumb here is to refuse to allow the conversation to proceed until previous issues are either acknowledged in agreement or disagreement.
In logic this kind of argument is called a strawman
, in short it is misrepresentation of a position in order to argue against that position ( to lie effectively ). In formal arguments they are piss poor means of trying to argue against other people and probably the easiest ones to respond too. Most of the time these kinds of arguments aren't delivered to people who actually know what they're talking about, they are instead lauded upon audiences that are ignorant in basic science. In the case of the individuals telling you this nonsense, it is most likely something they heard, or the book in question is just being used to target people who lack an education in science and purposefully misinform them about science.
There is also an accompanying mentality to this 'rhetoric', where they seem to believe if they can deliver any counter claim no matter how specious or absurd that that in itself is plausible deniability of the issue. This is a kind of tactic repeated in politics where people want to deny the science behind global warming or relevant social data like statistics on sex education. This is also a kind of tactic espoused by people who claim other kinds of unsupported issues that are often called 'woo' in the skeptic community. "Woo" can encompass anything from people who are snake handlers to alien abductions, ufos, ghosts, paranormal, homeopathic medicine etc. I'm including them in this because the same kind of arguments do not seem to change much, as long as the problem is that someone really wants to believe something and a very straightforward scientific argument contradicts what they want to believe or what they believe is inescapably without any evidence. This is 'antiscience' because it is so incredibly vague that in many cases the argument can be applied to ALL fields of science. There are no fields of science where people don't make mistakes, occasionally fraudulent data is produced, or new data changes previously established scientific theories. The irony with the last one is that that is how science works, that's how science engages in objective self analysis, and nothing in science is 'absolutely' proven or true.
To answer the examples you gave in the citation:
1. Missing links. The description in what you cited is incredibly vague, it doesn't properly define what a missing link is, or at least has very little in common with how it might be used in science. I would even go so far as to say that the term isn't really scientific
, because the idea itself is impossible to define in the way they're using since there will always be 'missing links' regardless of how many 'missing links' we find. It is being inserted in a clumsy manner as if it were interchangeable with transitional fossil
, which is a more accurately defined term. Transitional fossils are fossilized remains of organisms that exhibit features from an ancestor species to a descendant species. It will literally be a species that exhibits qualities from both at the same time, rather than being exclusively one or the other. Note: Transitional species need not be dead and long gone, transitional examples can still be living and a great example of this is the platypus
in general are considered living transitional examples )
2. False positives: ( nebraska man, piltdown man, java man ) These are often oft repeated examples of science gone wrong, again delivered as an argument suggesting that if science got something wrong in one instance than it must have gotten it wrong in all instances. There is also a lie of omission here, note that these examples are being inserted as if they were the only ones available to us as evidence of hominid evolution, which I will return too shortly.
- In the case of Nebraska Man a fossil was found and mistakenly identified, it then sat in a drawer not being used to contribute to the understanding of evolution for a few years before someone bothered to look at it again, it was never really accepted because it conflicted with other fossil evidence. Notice the creationist tactic is to overstate the emphasis of which nebraska man supposedly contributed to scientific studies. In particular in the case of Nebraska man, there is an illustrated drawing of what Nebraska man was supposed to look like, that drawing was never part of a scientific peer reviewed article or even anything to do regarding science studies. However, that doesn't stop creationist from claiming in exaggerated terms, that scientist literally made up a man from a single fragment and here is the lying artwork to prove it! The illustration was on the cover a magazine, at best.
- Piltdown man really was a hoax, as opposed to Nebraska man which was a minor mistake. Piltdown man was also referenced a few times to confirm hypothesis about the evolution of man, however Piltdown man from the very beginning was under heavy scrutiny and the science community was pretty heavily split on the issue. The issue with Piltdown man, like nebraska man, is that other fossil evidence we kept finding disagreed with them. Scientist kept having to answer for conflicts, if it were going to assume that Piltdown man was an authentic contribution to the field of evolutionary science and human evolution. It was later re-examined and identified as fragments of bone from 3 separate species. Again, the exaggeration of creationist is to overstate its influence in science and lie through omission about how the scientific community responded as well as later identifying it as a hoax. You could always simply respond by asking how did scientist discover that Piltdown man was a hoax? Which the obvious answer is science.
- Java Man, there isn't much to say on this one because it wasn't a hoax and wasn't a fraud, it's actually authentic. The creationist lie is to dismissively assert that this was just from 'fragments' of bones, but clearly Java Man is not just fragments but entire anatomical features that could be studied and contrasted against other examples.
3. Fully Ape vs Fully man: This is a blatant attempt to obfuscate science by inserting poor language and over exaggerating the ability for science to identify either. It sort of ironically pretends like transitional fossils exists in that it accepts that features can exist between the two, but then arbitrarily declares that one must be fully man or fully ape. The lie by omission is that there are features available in transitional fossil examples that are not normally found in ape or human individually, hence inviting the question as to what is something that has features of both. In science this is called a transitional fossil, in creationism.. this is an absurd level of reasoning where it is so ambiguous that if you lined creationist up and asked them if examples were apes or humans.. that their methods of identifying them would be all over the place purely out of their bias and inconsistency. I tried to find a study that mockingly pointed out this fact.. but its been so long and I can no longer find it. Instead I'll have to link to a more detailed refutation of the subject at talk origins:
4. Lying by omission: This is another common tactic of creationist, just as creationist start by lying by exaggerating what science does say they also lie by avoiding what science does say. To be incredibly blunt; piltdown man and nebraska man are pointless. We have DOZENS of examples of hominid evolution, often with hundreds of specific examples for each one. Yet, why are not creationist concerned with addressing the actual examples of hominid evolution we have? Why are they concentrated on examples that are not claimed as being scientific evidence for hominid evolution? I'll just let the data speak for itself:http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/hominids.html
Picture for 1.4.4: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/images/hominids2_big.jpg
Figure 1.4.4. Fossil hominid skulls. Some of the figures have been modified for ease of comparison (only left-right mirroring or removal of a jawbone). (Images © 2000 Smithsonian Institution.)
(A) Pan troglodytes, chimpanzee, modern
(B) Australopithecus africanus, STS 5, 2.6 My
(C) Australopithecus africanus, STS 71, 2.5 My
(D) Homo habilis, KNM-ER 1813, 1.9 My
(E) Homo habilis, OH24, 1.8 My
(F) Homo rudolfensis, KNM-ER 1470, 1.8 My
(G) Homo erectus, Dmanisi cranium D2700, 1.75 My
(H) Homo ergaster (early H. erectus), KNM-ER 3733, 1.75 My
(I) Homo heidelbergensis, "Rhodesia man," 300,000 - 125,000 y
(J) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, La Ferrassie 1, 70,000 y
(K) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, La Chappelle-aux-Saints, 60,000 y
(L) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, Le Moustier, 45,000 y
(M) Homo sapiens sapiens, Cro-Magnon I, 30,000 y
(N) Homo sapiens sapiens, modern
Here are 14 examples for which creationist to examine, to argue against, to completely destroy all of evolution by showing that they are not scientific. Yet, the response is to talk about examples that are either not provided here and are not part of evolutionary science, or lie about the one example that is ( Australopithecus ). I really mean it when I say that creationist will lie about anything and everything, for no other purpose than making up convenient excuses that in the most part are incredibly vague arguments not against evolution specifically.. but literally against the methodologies of science itself. If we are going to invite a casual denial of subjects based on our ability to misinform or draw faulty conclusions, then when we are no longer talking about science.