Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Missing link found.

Or so it is claimed.

It looks like this. I have to say, it looks far more monkey than human. This thing is being hailed as proof of human evolution. While I come down on the side of science in any religion vs. science debate, I don't think this constitutes proof. Strong evidence maybe, but not proof. There's a write-up here.

The 'opposable thumb' is in fact its big toe. None of my toes are opposable. It has teeth like a monkey and nails like a primate. It's an early primate, certainly, but did it develop into humans?

We know that there are many genetic and physiological similarities between modern apes and humans. There is even some evidence of similarities in mental processes. All strong evidence that the apes and ourselves developed from a common ancestor. Strong evidence is not proof.

Of all people, I'm in a position to know the difference. A photograph of a ghost is strong evidence. It's not proof. A tape of an unidentified voice is strong evidence. It's not proof. A single observation is certainly not proof. There are thousands of ghost photos out there. There is one single skeleton of a long-tailed monkey.

Whenever someone shows off a photograph as 'proof of the supernatural', I cringe. It is easy to show that this does not constitute proof. In the same way, if the evolutionists crow 'proof' with this skeleton, they will find their opponents will have little difficulty in refuting it.

It's proof that some sort of proto-primate was around 47 million years ago (I'm not going to get into all that 'age of earth' stuff). It doesn't prove that this particular specimen lived long enough to reproduce, that it was part of a whole tribe and not just a one-off freak, that it spawned any lineage of anything.

This is showbiz science. By all means, make the find public but make clear that it's just one find. As P.T. Barnum might have said, one freak does not make a circus. Finding more of them would strengthen the case. With one complete specimen, other incomplete specimens can be matched to it. Build your data over time, keep it to yourself until you're ready, and then let the whole lot out at once.

Most of all, be absolutely sure your case is watertight before going public.

It's an impressive find. It's not proof of human evolution.

That particular goal is still open.


Southern Writer said...

Once again, you are the voice of reason. In my humble opinion, regarding Ida: maybe. Maybe not. Show me more evidence.

Southern Writer said...

I watched a program about Ida on the History Channel tonight. Okay, I can see how she can be a link between prosimians and anthropoids. She appears to be part lemur, part monkey (etc.) I'm still questioning the claim of an opposable thumb on her foot. If it's on her foot, it's not a thumb; it's a toe. I don't have an opposable toe. Do you? Still, it was a very interesting program that I watched with skepticism.

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