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Our African ancestry: Puzzling over human origins
Union Leader ^ | August 8 2002

Posted on 08/08/2002 3:09:19 AM PDT by 2Trievers

JULY WAS one of the most momentous months in the history of paleontology. Two major findings were reported that are beginning to reshape our theories about the origin of human beings.

Scientists revealed that a skull found in the central African nation of Chad has both ape and human characteristics. This would not be so unusual were the skull not 7 million years old. That’s a million years older than the skull that previously was the oldest known hominid remain.

Another skull, this one found in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, also shows ape and human characteristics. This was a completely unexpected find because until this 1.7-million-year-old skull was found, paleontologists and anthropologists believed that the only humanoid to migrate from Africa was homo erectus, our direct ancestor. If we weren’t the first hominids to leave Africa, who were, and when and why did they leave?

It is a shame the brilliant Harvard anthropologist Stephen Jay Gould died earlier this year. It would be interesting to hear what he would have had to say about the new findings. Gould was a sort of radical among anthropologists. He believed in and popularized a different theory of the way evolution works, and his deviancy from the accepted orthodoxy on the subject revealed to the rest of the world what these newly discovered skulls are reinforcing: that evolution is, after all, a theory that has yet to complete its own evolutionary cycle.

The truth is, science cannot yet tell us anything conclusive about the origin of our species. The fossil record is scant, and what we don’t know about our own ancestry greatly outweighs what we do know.

The one thing scientists seem to universally agree on is that the human race was spawned in Africa. How, when, where and why we changed after leaving that continent is a mystery. We guess that means that, anthropologically speaking, we who inhabit the United States of America are all African-Americans. And this leaves us to wonder two things. 1.) Can understanding this common ancestry help to break down racial barriers and tensions that unfortunately still survive? 2.) Will we look good in a dashiki?



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: crevolist
Interesting editorial out of NH. Is Nackey Loeb flipping in her grave? &;-)
1 posted on 08/08/2002 3:09:19 AM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: blam
Good morning Blam! &;-)
2 posted on 08/08/2002 3:15:34 AM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: *crevo_list
Bump.
3 posted on 08/08/2002 3:25:04 AM PDT by Junior
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To: Junior
Umpteen million years after the discovery of these specimens, the skeletal structure of humans bear a resemblance to apes. Does this mean Darwin's theory is right and the theory of the creation of man is wrong? Hardly. To each his belief, but to force the issue through "scientific" evidence is a waste of time.
4 posted on 08/08/2002 3:56:36 AM PDT by meenie
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To: Junior; meenie
Why don't you folks start a continuing thread in the "Religion" section on "Evolution vs Creationism" (like "The Hobbit Hole" or "The USO Canteen" in general interst), and discuss these SCIENCE threads THERE by reference--instead of infesting EVERY ONE OF THEM with your anti-evolution bullbleep.

That would leave the base thread open to those of us who are actually interested in the SCIENCE posted.

5 posted on 08/08/2002 4:24:30 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog
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To: 2Trievers
"..The truth is, science cannot yet tell us anything conclusive about the origin of our species. The fossil record is scant, and what we don’t know about our own ancestry greatly outweighs what we do know.."

Never thought I'd hear an evolutionist admit that.

6 posted on 08/08/2002 4:28:09 AM PDT by Icthus
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To: 2Trievers

We guess that means that, anthropologically speaking, we who inhabit the United States of America are all African-Americans.

Now let's discuss reparations!

7 posted on 08/08/2002 4:31:22 AM PDT by BruceS
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To: BruceS
Put down that phone Bruce ... a call to the Porsche dealer may be a bit premature ... wait until we know more! LOL &;-)
8 posted on 08/08/2002 4:36:11 AM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: Wonder Warthog
A science forum would be nice, but alas the
supernaturalists would come there to argue,
rather than to just talk amongst themselves in their supernaturalist forum.
9 posted on 08/08/2002 4:37:03 AM PDT by ASA Vet
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To: 2Trievers
"The one thing scientists seem to universally agree on is that the human race was spawned in Africa."

Sarcasm on:

100% of humans are part of one minority.

Sarcasm off
10 posted on 08/08/2002 4:38:03 AM PDT by Greeklawyer
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To: Icthus
Never thought I'd hear an evolutionist admit that.

Take a look at this site. Evolution scientists baring their buns on the fossil issue.

http://trueorigin.org/isakrbtl.asp#fossils

A Freeper sent me this. Stunned me. At least it's not a religion for some scientists.
11 posted on 08/08/2002 4:49:37 AM PDT by jwh_Denver
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To: jwh_Denver
Interesting read, thanks.
12 posted on 08/08/2002 5:14:32 AM PDT by Icthus
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To: Wonder Warthog
I ain't anti-evolution, fella. And we do discuss real science on these threads.
13 posted on 08/08/2002 5:28:34 AM PDT by Junior
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To: meenie
Does this mean Darwin's theory is right and the theory of the creation of man is wrong?

There is no "theory of the creation of man." There is a religious belief that man was created directly by God, but that belief has no predictive powers and cannot be falsified, which means it is not a theory in the scientific sense.

14 posted on 08/08/2002 5:30:34 AM PDT by Junior
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To: Icthus; 2Trievers; Junior

Posted article: "..The truth is, science cannot yet tell us anything conclusive about the origin of our species. The fossil record is scant, and what we don’t know about our own ancestry greatly outweighs what we do know.."

Icthus: Never thought I'd hear an evolutionist admit that.

This is what scientific approach is about: if you don't know, you say I don't know, not enough evidence, etc. Theories come and go, some remain as the best explanation of observable facts. The difference between scientific approach and faith-based one is that when faced with contradictory facts, science eventually will develop a better theory explaining new facts as well. Contrary to this, if you just believe in your theory, what do you do when you are faced with the new facts you can't explain?

There is no shame for a scientist to admit that his knowledge is not complete, or that the existing theory can't explain all facts. It is a shame for a scientist to ignore new facts and rigidly hold for the old wrong theory. Of course, history of science is full of examples when indeed even big name scientists could not bring themselves to admit that they were wrong. But this is just a human failure, not the wrongs of the scientific method of inquiry.

But just because our knowledge is limited, it does not mean that science as principal needs to be abandoned in favor of faith-believes every time when our old theories are challenged.

15 posted on 08/08/2002 6:47:18 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: 2Trievers
Good morning, running a little late.
16 posted on 08/08/2002 8:18:22 AM PDT by blam
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To: Tolik
"..There is no shame for a scientist to admit that his knowledge is not complete, or that the existing theory can't explain all facts.."

I absolutely agree. But it is usually the exception rather than the rule. Creationists have been tagged as superstitious idiots, ignorant of scientific facts. My beef with the Evo's revolves more around their absolute "refusal" to admit that #1, they don't have any concrete proof of macro evolution, and #2 that the creation theory could be just as much of a possibility.

From an archeaological standpoint, the Bible has been shown to be accurate time and again, rarely is it questioned from a historical context. Yet science, by its very nature, cannot accept something as fact unless it can be proven true (which is where the beef with the Evo's comes in)

Science attempts to answer a question using all available data and probabilities. Faith doesn't necessarily require that I know the answer....just that I believe it is correct.


17 posted on 08/08/2002 8:39:11 AM PDT by Icthus
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To: Greeklawyer
"The one thing scientists seem to universally agree on is that the human race was spawned in Africa."

I am willing to concede that if they would just shut up and go away.

What unstated profound PC message are we failing to infer that causes these "scientists" to continue beating that dead horse?

18 posted on 08/08/2002 8:47:32 AM PDT by Publius6961
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To: 2Trievers
it's good that stephen gould died. he was a liar.
19 posted on 08/08/2002 9:27:57 AM PDT by jody
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To: Icthus
To summarize the points of contention, as they are discussed on Creation/Evolution threads here: two separate points are discussed, and some people insist on very sharp distinction, that we should not mix them together.

1. Origin of life and ultimately origin of the Universe: creation by G-d versus natural (no G-d involved). This is a clearly argument between believers and non-believers.

2. Once the life exist, the evolution of it. A number of believers insist that there is no contradiction between their faith in G-d creating the beginning of life, and their acceptance of the science of life developing: Evolution. So this argument is between Evolutionists (including believers and non-believers) versus creationists who don't accept evolution.

From an archaeological standpoint, the Bible has been shown to be accurate time and again, rarely is it questioned from a historical context.

Many events in Bible looks like did happen some time in history. You don't need to be a believer to have a high regard to Bible as a historical document.

Yet science, by its very nature, cannot accept something as fact unless it can be proven true (which is where the beef with the Evo's comes in) .

Science attempts to answer a question using all available data and probabilities. Faith doesn't necessarily require that I know the answer....just that I believe it is correct.

Yes. I absolutely agree. We differ in approach. I have a deep respect to believers and their faith. But I use science to explain the universe. I don't think science needs to revert to concept of G-d every time when it encounters an unexplainable. Honest "I don't know" is quite acceptable to me. There are countless examples of things that were absolutely unexplainable at previous levels of knowledge, had a "divine" explanation at that time, and received a scientific explanation later on.

20 posted on 08/08/2002 10:03:54 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik
"..There are countless examples of things that were absolutely unexplainable at previous levels of knowledge, had a "divine" explanation at that time, and received a scientific explanation later on.."

I completely agree with you. As science discovers more and more about the unsolved matters in our world, it generally creates a sense among humans of a reliance upon our selves. "We" can control our world. We then tend to view God in a trivial manner, as an ancient myth alongside Neptune and countless others. This is easier to do in part, because of the spirit of the age in which we are now living in. Post Modernism, there are no moral absolutes. Truth has been boiled down to whatever is right for you....may not be right for me.

Sorry for getting off on a separate tangent.....it's something I sometimes become passionate about. Back to your initial comment....IMO, science routinely reaffirms my belief and strengthens my faith. Not necessarily in what it cannot yet answer, but in what it has already been able to answer.

21 posted on 08/08/2002 10:45:33 AM PDT by Icthus
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To: 2Trievers
Why does the author think "we were changed" after leaving?
22 posted on 08/08/2002 11:02:57 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic
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To: Junior
Then that means that there is no "Big Bang Theory" since it cannot be falsified - which means it is not a theory in the scientific sense.
23 posted on 08/08/2002 11:21:02 AM PDT by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
Then that means that there is no "Big Bang Theory" since it cannot be falsified - which means it is not a theory in the scientific sense.

Beep. Circle takes the square. There are all sorts of ways the Big Bang theory could be falsified -- if for instance it was shown that space really wasn't expanding. There is a line of research going on this right now -- based on an alternate theory of what the red shift of astronomical objects really means -- unfortunately, it doesn't take into account the background radiation that the Big Bang theory accounts for nicely (and predicted years before it was discovered).

24 posted on 08/08/2002 11:25:59 AM PDT by Junior
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To: Icthus

Post Modernism, there are no moral absolutes. Truth has been boiled down to whatever is right for you....may not be right for me.

Sorry for getting off on a separate tangent.....it's something I sometimes become passionate about.

Yes, this is another point of contention. SOME non-believers call believers stupid, and believers call non-believers amoral.

Both wrong in my opinion.

Parents and society indoctrinate kids in morals.  Kids learn what is good and what is bad, what is acceptable and what's not. For this purpose, it makes no difference why, where and how the parent came into knowledge of what is good and not. Kids will trust the parents authority and develop the moral backbone before they are really able to grasp such abstract ideas as G-d, or afterlife, etc. O-o yes, they will repeat all the right keywords and lots of funny touchy stuff, but no real comprehension. The fact that the moral code was given to mankind by G-d, or mankind developed this morale code on its own, is irrelevant. Kids will learn what you feed them. I agree and follow myself, and enforce in my kids the Judeo-Christian moral absolutes minus G-d. I think they are one of the greatest achievements of our civilization.

"If no G-d, all is acceptable" is wrong, gross misrepresentation, and misunderstanding. More, if we to believe the legends, it was coined by Dostoevsky, a religious man himself, so it may be just a libel.

For you I am wrong. An independent observer will not find a difference in our behavior.

With great respect,

25 posted on 08/08/2002 12:20:50 PM PDT by Tolik
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To: Junior
Ah, but the point is that it hasn't as of yet been shown to be falsifiable.  Therefore, according to your definition of science (though not according to the classic definition of science), the Big Bang Theory is not a theory.
26 posted on 08/08/2002 12:21:52 PM PDT by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
It doesn't have to be proven false, it merely needs to be able to be falsified. You cannot falsify "God did it" but you can falsify (potentially) "the universe expanded from a singularity."
27 posted on 08/08/2002 12:30:52 PM PDT by Junior
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
It doesn't have to be proven false, it merely needs to be able to be falsified. You cannot falsify "God did it" but you can falsify (potentially) "the universe expanded from a singularity."
28 posted on 08/08/2002 12:32:49 PM PDT by Junior
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To: Junior
But thus far you can't falsify the Big Bang Theory either...
29 posted on 08/08/2002 12:41:03 PM PDT by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: Tolik
I must say that this discussion was completely civil in comparison with most here on FR on the same subject matter. I'm sure we'll cross paths again and.....agree to disagree.

Sorry...I just had to! ;o)

30 posted on 08/08/2002 12:44:25 PM PDT by Icthus
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
You are not understanding the concept of "falsify." Big Bang is a very well thought out theory. It accounts for what the universe looks like now, and can be used to make predictions (i.e., background radiation). However, if something comes along that cannot be covered by the Big Bang, cosmologists will have to go looking for something else to explain it. The Big Bang would have been falsified. That is all "falsifiable" means -- something may come along to render the theory moot. Saying "God did it" is not falsifiable, as anything can be attributed to God. Big Bang is not so blessed. It sets out a certain set of parameters and says "this, this and this must have happened to account for this." However, if something comes along that falls outside those parameters, Big Bang goes out the window. This is what happened to ætheric theory. For the longest time scientists considered light to be composed of waves, not particles (now it's known to act like both). Waves need a medium through which to travel -- hence æther. Æther explained the actions of light quite nicely indeed, until the Michelson-Morley (sp?) experiment falsified it.
31 posted on 08/08/2002 12:58:34 PM PDT by Junior
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To: Junior
I do understand the concepts of falsifiability (believe it or not).  But falsifiability is a tool only.  As such, it has nothing to do with the classic definition of science.  As far as the Big Bang Theory is concerned, there are proposed falsifiability tests.  These tests may or may not ever be able to be done.  A few years ago, we didn't even have these proposed tests.  Did that make the theory any less of a theory?  No, it merely meant that there wasn't enough info.

When I worked on CGRO a few years ago, every scientist had at least 2 theories for the whys and wherefores of gamma ray bursters.  None of them were falsifiable.  That didn't stop them from doing some nifty research and trying to find the answers anyway.  Going by the classical definition of science (a search for truth), falsifiability is not strictly necessary.
32 posted on 08/08/2002 1:53:06 PM PDT by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
As an Agnostic, I'm not sure why I'm here, but I feel obligated to follow science and ALSO obligated to follow the golden rule not out of fear of punishment but because it appears to be an elegant example of species preservation...I cooperate to advance the condition of the Human Race...I don't judge others good or bad in their beliefs only in their treatment of others...The Germans used "science" as a methodology to conduct the Holocaust...Biblical persecutions are a matter of fact also. I hope we can all agree that individual people of goodwill can respect each other without relying on what ideological foundation they live their life...

The ONLY thing I'm intolerant of is Intolerance...And I can be as lethal as anyone when confronted with Murderous Intolerance and ISLAM openly embraces such...Other than that...Sure...God created man...but not in 7 days...I'm sorry, I can't go that far off the fossil record...Did he light the big Bang, or write the periodic Table? WOW...I think that's beautiful! I'd sing WTG G*D for that, UBETCHA!

33 posted on 08/08/2002 2:59:06 PM PDT by sleavelessinseattle
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
But thus far you can't falsify the Big Bang Theory either...

Of course you can.  You can find another cause
for background radiation, the expansion of the
universe, and other artifacts attributed to the
big bang.  Other falsifiable theories that fit
the data better than the big bang could falsify
the big bang theory.

34 posted on 08/08/2002 4:57:27 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: Junior
Placemarker.
35 posted on 08/08/2002 5:21:09 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
When I worked on CGRO a few years ago, every scientist had at least 2 theories for the whys and wherefores of gamma ray bursters. None of them were falsifiable. That didn't stop them from doing some nifty research and trying to find the answers anyway. Going by the classical definition of science (a search for truth), falsifiability is not strictly necessary.

BWAHAHAHA!

36 posted on 08/08/2002 5:54:32 PM PDT by balrog666
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To: gcruse
Well then, by your own definition, ID is also falsifiable - since you seem to be able to come up with naturalistic explanations for many of the same phenomena.
37 posted on 08/09/2002 6:16:32 AM PDT by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
I don't know ID well enough to say it is falsifiable or not.
38 posted on 08/09/2002 11:37:28 AM PDT by gcruse
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