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Missing Link found!

April 7, 2010

Gee I wish liberals would stop using science to peddle their philosophical viewpoints.  This past weekend, for instance, headlines from around the world blared that the Missing Link was found.

Wait a minute, what?  Again?

“Missing link between man and apes found,” shouted the headline in the UK Telegraph.  “Fossil Find May Be ‘Missing Link’ in Human Evolution,” said Fox News breathlessly.  “Scientists discover ‘missing link between man and apes’,” screeched the London Daily Mail.

Seeing Missing Link headlines is like taking a trip in a time machine because everybody with a high school diploma received after 1950 knows that there is no such thing.  Everybody except journalists, apparently.  It gives you a good idea of the intellectual development of the average journalist that they trot out these Missing Link headlines on a regular basis and never seem to get a clue.

Some scientists are willing to correct them but the learnin’ never takes root.  Back in 1998, NPR’s Phil Ponce was interviewing Smithsonian human origins expert Richard Potts about the Missing Link du jour, some 3½-million-year-old bones found in the same place that our currently famous bones were found.

“Okay.  The big question—one of the big questions—is this the ‘missing link?’” asked Mr. Ponce, demonstrating his ignorance of the subject under discussion.

No doubt the expert had to muster all his willpower to keep from rolling his eyes and to edit the word “idiot” out of his answer.

“The idea of a missing link is a bit outmoded,” he said, patiently.  “Outdated,” he reiterated, probably suspicious that his interviewer never finished grade school.  “The idea of a missing link developed from when we thought that our family tree was just a line through time.  Well, we now know that our family tree was extremely diverse, diverse just like it is in most other organisms that we know about.”

Those particular bones turned out to be Australopithecus africanus bones.  Australopithecus africanus is supposedly a human ancestor who lived from about 3 million years ago to about 2 million years ago.  Or thereabouts.  We can never be sure.  In fact, it’s difficult to even be sure about the prevailing best estimate because it changes every time they find some new bones that don’t fit the timeline, whereupon they change the timeline.

Case in point: the Toumaï skull, discovered in 2002.  Paleoanthropologists still don’t know what to do with it.  The damn thing is 7 million years old, according to their calculations, far too old to be what they think it is, a direct human ancestor.  If they accept it as being a human predecessor they have to redraw the timeline from scratch, throwing out many of the current inhabitants… which is why some experts decided it must be a plain old female gorilla skull.  (Notice how the facts are molded to fit the theory when it comes to Darwinism, instead of vice versa… the vice versa in this case being what we call the “scientific method.”)

Hey, maybe the Toumaï skull belonged to a female gorilla from the year 2525 who traveled back in time through a wormhole created by Superman flying circles around Earth at super speed.  Just a thought.

Every timeline is etched in stone, or course, as far as what they teach our children in school, even though they sand the stone down and re-etch it every six months.

There are people who fervently believe in Darwinism and people who just as fervently don’t believe in Darwinism and a crapload of people like me who fall somewhere in between.  One thing that all of us agree about is that the concept of a Missing Link is supremely stupid.  There isn’t one lonely intermediate creature halfway between a chimpanzee and Albert Einstein.  If Darwinism is true (and probably even if it’s not true) then there’s a whole continuum of intermediate and related creatures in the family tree of chimpanzees and Einsteins—most of them dead ends and failures like Barney Frank.

So what’s up with those stupid headlines?

Ann Coulter calls Darwinism the “creation myth” of the religion of liberalism and what’s happening with these headlines is that liberalism’s clergymen—the Darwinists and atheists who dominate academia—are whipping up the fervor in liberalism’s true believers, hoping to gain some converts at the same time, and they’re using the complicity of the mainstream media as a tool.

They do it all the time.  You only have to look back one year, to May of 2009, to find another example, this one the bones of a tiny creature whimsically named “Ida” by its discoverers.

“Fossil Ida: Extraordinary find is ‘missing link’ in human evolution,” blared the UK Guardian.  “‘MISSING LINK’ FOUND: New Fossil Links Humans, Lemurs?” asked National Geographic, putting the important part in capital letters.  The NY Daily News asked the same exciting question: “Missing link found?  Scientists unveil fossil of 47 million-year-old primate, Darwinius masillae.”  (Notice the portentous scientific name they gave the creature.  If Darwinism is the “creation myth” for liberals then Darwin himself is their prophet.)  Famous BBC broadcaster Sir David Attenborough made a documentary about Ida titled “Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor: The Link.”  Even Google joined the frenzy of excitement, on May 20 replacing its banner graphic with a photo of Ida’s bones for the day.

Jeepers.  Ida must be big important stuff, eh?

Not so much, it turns out.  When all the hype was over, the scientists who discovered Ida were castigated for ignoring relevant scientific literature which pointed to Ida being just another monkey in the lemur branch of the primate tree, no direct ancestor to humans, and nothing particularly new or transitional.

“Many lines of evidence indicate that Darwinius has nothing at all to do with human evolution,” said Chris Kirk, associate professor of anthropology at The University of Texas at Austin.  “Every year, scientists describe new fossils that contribute to our understanding of primate evolution.  What’s amazing about Darwinius is, despite the fact that it’s nearly complete, it tells us very little that we didn’t already know from fossils of closely related species.”

Oops.  That’s about as fierce as a putdown gets in academia.

This year’s celebrity Missing Link—or this month’s, or this week’s, whatever—comprises some 2-million-year-old bones of a small creature who crawled into a South African cave and died.  They find a lot of these old bones in South Africa, not because more creatures lived there but because the conditions are right for preserving fossils.  That’s why I have resolved to head for South Africa when I sense my time has come.  I plan to crawl into a cave wearing an artificial diamond pendant around my neck etched with the words, “Darwinius dubious” for the benefit of the people who dig me up two million years from now.  That’ll puzzle ’em.

These new bones, which haven’t been assigned a whimsical name like “Ida” yet, supposedly lie in the timeline between the afore-mentioned Australopithecus and Homo habilus, the first species of advanced human.  But since they haven’t actually unveiled the bones yet we can’t be sure they aren’t Australopithecus bones, or maybe some overgrown lemur with an eating disorder who stumbled into the cave to sleep off his dinner.

Whatever they turn out to be, they won’t fill the gap between Australopithecus and the first human species because the gap is too large.  Way too large.  Evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr admitted in 2004 that human species “are separated from Australopithecus by a large, unbridged gap,” and the Journal of Human Evolution concluded that the origin of Homo required a “genetic revolution” because “no australopithecine species is obviously transitional.”

In other words, the gap needs more than one set of bones to be filled.  That gap is a flaw in the Darwinian creation myth that gnaws at liberals like a toothache which is why they overhype every set of bones like circus promoters.  Whether these bones end up being as uninteresting and useless as Ida’s turned out to be, they certainly won’t live up to the headlines which suggest they are some sort of final piece in the evolutionary puzzle.

They’re just bones and if they add to our knowledge of God’s world that’s great.

I just wish we had some scientists willing to look at the bones objectively, in case they hold a message that lies outside the Darwinian paradigm.

From Reno, Nevada, USA

April 8, 2010 - I have to wonder about anybody who disputes the theory of evolution, but I also have to admit that constant headlines about "missing links" are stupid and counterproductive. Some archeologists seem to be hunting fame and fortune as much as they're hunting bones. - Martin, Arizona

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