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What 'Ida' give for a missing link
Washington Examiner ^ | June 8, 2009 | Casey Luskin

Posted on 06/09/2009 9:22:31 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts

Opinion

What 'Ida' give for a missing link

By: Casey Luskin, OpEd Contributor

6/8/08

As a follower of the evolution debate, I love it when new “missing links” are found.

Not only does the media plunge headfirst into a crusade for Darwin, but suspiciously, it is only after unveiling the breakthrough that evolutionary biologists admit how precious little evidence they previously held for the evolutionary transition in question.

Take the recent media coverage of a fossil primate named “Ida,” hailed as the “eighth wonder of the world,” whose “impact on the world of palaeontology” is being compared to “an asteroid falling down to Earth.”

Google.com changed its home page to pay homage to the fossil. Famed BBC broadcaster Sir David Attenborough is making a documentary to proselytize for Ida, “the link that connects us directly with the rest of the animal kingdom.”

According to Ida’s PR team, this hype is acceptable. “Any pop band is doing the same. We have to start thinking the same way in science,” said one of the lead scientists studying Ida to The New York Times.

Yet accompanying this marketing and evangelism are the customary retroactive admissions of ignorance about our prior knowledge of evolution. Attenborough said that when Darwin-skeptics previously demanded a link to prove human evolution, “the link they would have said until now was missing.”

Similarly, Ida’s website (every missing link has a personalized website these days) admits that, “before Lucy,” the famous australopithecine hominid fossil, “there are massive gaps in the fossil record, and scientists have only had fragments of fossils to study.”

So there you have it. Before this fossil, “the link … was missing.” There were “massive gaps,” and scientists “only had fragments” upon which to base their evolutionary hypotheses.

Why didn’t we hear about these gaps before? If you believe the preaching, Ida solves all our problems; as National Geographic reported, she is the “critical ‘missing link’ species.” As is too-often the case, this is media hype.

If one bothers to delve into the actual scientific paper, one sees the admission that Ida “could represent a stem group from which later anthropoid primates evolved, but we are not advocating this here....”

Moreover, 12 of the 16 primate traits which the scientists were able to study classified Ida with monkeys. Ida’s website boasts of her monkey-like opposable toes and thumbs, monkey-like foot-bones, monkeylike face, and monkey-like binocular vision.

By now you should be getting the picture: Ida was a young, small-brained, monkey-like primate, whose evolutionary importance is anything but clear.

Forgive me for being skeptical of the media’s claims that “proof of this transitional species finally confirms Charles Darwin's theory of evolution” (Skynews) or that Ida is “a 47-million year old human ancestor” (ScienceDaily).

She may be an exceptionally well-preserved fossil, but she’s hardly cause for apocalyptic comparisons to running for asteroid shelters.

We’ve seen this kind of ancestor worship in the media before. In 2006, paleontologists reported bones from the hominid species Australopithecus anamensis.

After finding a couple of teeth of “intermediate” size and declaring the fossil a “missing link,” MSNBC called it “the most complete chain of human evolution so far.” In another retroactive confession of ignorance, biologists finally admitted that before the fossil, “the origins of Australopithecus were obscured.”

If a couple 4 million year old teeth of “intermediate size” make “the most complete chain of human evolution so far” then I feel quite comfortable being a scientific skeptic of Darwinian evolution.

Even the late evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr conceded that the earliest fossils of our genus Homo “are separated from Australopithecus by a large, unbridged gap,” without “fossils that can serve as missing links.”

Whether conscious or unplanned, Darwinian confessions of retroactive ignorance make the reasonable observer wonder, How strong is the evidence for Darwinism today?

The lesson is simple: keep a healthy skepticism of media hype over “missing links.” Anyone who believes the hype that we've found the “missing link” has either forgotten history or isn't looking very carefully at the evidence.

Casey Luskin is an attorney with a B.S. and M.S. in Earth Sciences from the University of California at San Diego. He writes at evolutionnews.org.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: creation; evolution; godophobes; goodgodimnutz; intelligentdesign; junkscience; piltdownman; religionofatheism; science; sciencefiction; storkzilla

1 posted on 06/09/2009 9:22:31 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: metmom; DaveLoneRanger; editor-surveyor; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; MrB; GourmetDan; Fichori; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 06/09/2009 9:23:36 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

Thanks for the ping!


3 posted on 06/09/2009 9:24:41 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: GodGunsGuts

“Little red wagon,
Little red bike,
I aint no monkey,
but I know what I like.......”


4 posted on 06/09/2009 9:46:39 AM PDT by John 3_19-21 ("Hello friend, welcome to Earth zone 4 - quadrant 7- sector 9”)
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To: GodGunsGuts

Missing link, or missing laugh?

That they are grasping at straws like this is an indication of the extreme vacuousness of the faith of evolution.


5 posted on 06/09/2009 11:21:07 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (The beginning of the O'Bummer administration looks a lot like the end of the Nixon administration)
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To: GodGunsGuts

So, Ya want a “missing link”, do Ya?

Ever gone to Washington, DC?


6 posted on 06/09/2009 11:51:03 AM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is essential to examine principles,)
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To: GodGunsGuts

Myself, I always liked Lucy as a missing link since so many of her (his) links were missing. Though missing hands and feet Lucy was determined to both a walker and climber and the crushed pelvis was reconstructed to allow her to stand upright, at least in the illustrations.

Ida just seems a little cold and stiff by comparison.


7 posted on 06/09/2009 1:31:13 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: GodGunsGuts

“According to Ida’s PR team, this hype is acceptable. “Any pop band is doing the same. We have to start thinking the same way in science,” said one of the lead scientists studying Ida to The New York Times”.

For all the liberal ramblings about religion poisoning science, libs have no problems with the atheist religion poisoning the science, along with pop culture, algore’s maniacal carbon footprints to pay for his own jet fuel, bizarre theories about multiverses...none of those things seem to endanger science at all and get a complete free pass and here’s yet another example: cultish-Ida-hype!

When a liberal starts posturing and preening about the purity of science, you can 100% of the time rest assured it has nothing to do with science but rather his/her insecurities about God.

Period.


8 posted on 06/09/2009 2:37:59 PM PDT by tpanther (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for g!ood men to do nothing---Edmund Burke)
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