Update on Kenya

| 32 Comments

The East African Standard has a new (well, a week and a half old, but new to me) article concerning the attempts by evangelicals to suppress the hominid fossils currently on display in Kenya’s National Museum. You may remember when this ruckus first began several months ago. We now learn that churches are planning on holding “major demonstrations to the museum to press for the removal of the bones.”

The ringleader of all this is Bishop Boniface Adoyo, the head of the Chairman of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, which has roughly six million members. The article contains numerous quotes from Adoyo, which show him to be pretty much your standard creationist. The following lines, interspersed throughout the text, are particularly telling:

“I’m worried that children will believe we evolved from monkeys. Yet this is not the truth that’s killing our faith,” he says. […]

“When museums claim that man evolved from apes, they are actually hurting many Christians who believe that God created us,” Adoyo says. […]

“These people should know that palaeontology is an old science. Richard Leakey and his group are afraid that their only source of survival and fame is rightly being put into question,” Adoyo claims.

Note the irony. After expressing dismay at the possibility that his job will be rendered obsolete if children are exposed to science, he then goes on to accuse Richard Leakey of being the self-interested party.

And of course the good Bishop’s ranting wouldn’t be complete without reciting some creationist falsehoods:

“Even Darwin on his death bed expressed surprise that people believed his theory,” Adoyo says

The good old Lady Hope Story. Never was there a creationist claim so thoroughly refuted that it doesn’t keep resurfacing. Here is another one:

The advent of DNA testing has helped us to trace the origin of man to Adam and Eve,” he says. “Palaeontologists do not want to admit this because it will crumble their scientific edifice,” he says.

He is presumably referring to Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosome Adam. Prior to my interest in the evolution-creationism debate, if someone told me that M-Eve and Y-Adam would be used to argue in favor of the literal Adam and Eve story, I would have said no way. No one could be that ignorant.

Sadly, they are. You can read these links to get the low-down on what M-Eve and Y-Adam really mean. But the well known fact that M-Eve lived about 84,000 years before Y-Adam should make it obvious to even the dimmest of bulbs that this does not in any way support the literal Bible story.

The good news in is that the Kenyan government says that it won’t give into this garbage. The disturbing news is that the Evangelical Alliance has enlisted a number of “Western institutions” to aid them in their crusade against people looking at bones. One can only guess which American creationist groups that might include.

(Hat-tip to Bartholomew’s notes on religion; cross-posted to Sunbeams From Cucumbers.)

32 Comments

Amazing.

Only could the creationists manage to imply Kenya should somehow be ashamed that it can show it was the cradle of the whole freakin’ human race.

I predict an attempt, in the near future, to destroy the evidence.

“Even Darwin on his death bed expressed surprise that people believed his theory,” Adoyo says

The good old Lady Hope Story.

Wait, that’s even stupider than the Lady Hope story. Darwin was surprised that people accepted evolution? “I only published several papers and wrote a couple of books at several hundred pages each as a joke! If only I’d ended the Origin with ‘…not!’, this whole misunderstanding could have been averted!”

Steve Reuland — I fear you fail to comprehend just how dim the dimmest of bulbs can be. Sort of like dark matter…

new heights of rubedom: “we insist that the evidence in this museum we are protesting in front of does not exist.”

bah. Religious fundamentalists. They’re fun to laugh at until they blow up Buddha statues or try to shut down one of the best museum displays on earth.

“Even Darwin on his death bed expressed surprise that people believed his theory”

Charles Darwin died in 1882.

People were still surprised that the earth wasn’t flat.

Even if the story were true, it’s not unreasonable at all for Darwin - a man trained as a preacher don’t forget - to have one last thought in those last moments before he slipped the mortal plain that went like “geeze, I hope I got that right or the big guy is going to be pissed at me”.

I’d say stevaroni hit it on the head. Where is the sense of wonder in Bishop Adoyo and his supporters?

Paleontology, geology and cosmology daily reveal a history and universe grander than any human construction, and these people shut their eyes and ears. What’s more, they don’t want anyone else to know about it either.

I just don’t get it. Even when I thought of myself as a Christian, the scope of the revealed universe added to my faith. Now, as I move from agnosticism towards atheism, my appreciation of the world and the tools that help us explore it continues to deepen.

The Evangelical Alliance of Kenya is a member of the world Evangelical Alliance, which seems to be a nasty business sciencewise; links to creationism, biblical archeology (carbon dating unreliable, of course), et cetera.

I’m intrigued by the repeated claims of racism, on evolution and, rather sadly, on the EU project that brings in money and museum visitors. Seems they have added some extra spice to the usual portion of dung.

While we respect their (evangelicals) concerns, it is their duty as the clergy to educate their congregations on biblical matters,” says an officer with the ministry.

Ouch!

Raging Bee Wrote:

I predict an attempt, in the near future, to destroy the evidence.

Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are attempts to do so. We’re down to people quoting spurious stories and misinterpreting genetic naming, all while protesting scientific findings and interpretations. If that doesn’t work (and it doesn’t sound like it is), I’d expect something like that next is distinctly possible.

Perhaps some western museum(s) might want to offer to take those pesky bones off their hands. I’m certainly not advocating for that, but maybe the threat of losing such a treasure would spark some heavy-duty push back from people who can appreciate what they have.

like Raging Bee, I to fear a “Storming of the Bastille” scenario. Hope there are copies, or better, the copies should be on display and the originals under lock and key and several meters of fire retardant concrete.

I’m not surprised the the Cretinist use M-Eve and Y-Adam to try to mislead people. They do the same thing any scientist uses religious names/terms in an attempt to poeticize (is that a word? it should be) a scientific concept. Think of the Creo-fodder that “God does not play dice with the universe” became.

One can only guess which American creationist groups that might include.

How about Henry Morris’ ICR? http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/racism.html

By the way, just what is the official creationist line about things like hominid fossils?

Are they still just evil deceptions planted by Satan to sow doubt in the mind of man, or is there some more nuanced explanation these days?

I’m curious, because I hear lots of rationalizations about Noah’s Ark, but precious few explanations of how half-man / half-gorilla creatures might come to be buried in ancient Africa.

Or maybe the reason I never hear an attempt at explanation is that creationists just ignore it, since in their minds there simply was no such thing as ancient Africa.

i agree with raging bee

i think creationists will try to destroy the fossils and im surprised that they havent tried that here in the usa

stevaroni Wrote:

By the way, just what is the official creationist line about things like hominid fossils?

Are they still just evil deceptions planted by Satan to sow doubt in the mind of man, or is there some more nuanced explanation these days?

I think that they are doubting between the “only fragments of bones” lie and the “they are fully human or fully ape” lie.

By the way, just what is the official creationist line about things like hominid fossils?

One I have often heard is that piltdown man and Nebraska man were hoaxes therefore every hominid fossil is fabrication or Darwinist wishful thinking; As though every palaeontologist is an unethical hack like the people that perpetrated those hoaxes.

The other objections I have seen are: there aren’t enough fossils or bones to fill a coffin, the fossil pieces were found too far apart to be the same individual, and the fossils are either ape or man and not transitional.

Maybe someone should send them this link about a list of arguments that even most creationists won’t use anymore since they’ve been so thoroughly refuted. :)

http://www.answersingenesis.org/Hom[…]dont_use.asp

The other objections I have seen are: there aren’t enough fossils or bones to fill a coffin, the fossil pieces were found too far apart to be the same individual, and the fossils are either ape or man and not transitional.

The funniest thing is that we are not in fact evolved from apes. We share a common ancestor with the other higher apes.

Hope there are copies, or better, the copies should be on display and the originals under lock and key and several meters of fire retardant concrete

Or even better yet, in one of those mysterious, uncharted caverns where the ID researchers are hard at work. (no peeking!)

Re “The funniest thing is that we are not in fact evolved from apes. We share a common ancestor with the other higher apes.”

I wouldn’t say that, since the common ancestor would probably qualify as a type of ape. The recent common ancestor would likely be in the same subgroup of apes as chimpanzees and gorillas.

Henry

I wouldn’t say that, since the common ancestor would probably qualify as a type of ape. The recent common ancestor would likely be in the same subgroup of apes as chimpanzees and gorillas.

Actually Chimps and us were the last to share a common ancestor about 7 million years ago. What I had meant before is that we ARE a type of ape so we really aren’t evolved from them. And that common ancestor would be a proto-“ape”.

By the way, just what is the official creationist line about things like hominid fossils?

Ah, that’s where it gets really funny. To creationists, transitional forms must be either strictly human OR strictly ape, but they don’t all agree on how the different species should be classified.

I’d like to point out one quoted word there which I feel signifies a escalation on the part of the religious regressives;

“When museums claim that man evolved from apes, they are actually hurting many Christians who believe that God created us,” Adoyo says. […]

Up to this point, we have seen innumerable occurrences of religionists objecting to cartoons of the Prophet, Western modes of attire, &c., &c. The ground for their objections has been that these various phenomena they find to be offensive. Now it would appear that at least one is attempting to imply that they are suffering a greater degree of victimization than previously. No longer content to feel that their beliefs have been slighted, they are now being, in some carefully unspecified manner, “hurt”. This sly and deceptive semantic ruse will go undetected and be unconsciously, uncritically and immediately adopted by their sheep adherents.

I expect to see this imported into the domestic Bible-thumping ‘victim’s’ bag ‘o tricks rather quickly. “Hurting” them sounds, to the semantically naïve audience they play to, far more deliberate and aggressive than merely “offending” them - and will exacerbate polarization as well as further magnify the fundies’ sense of martyrdom.

Or perhaps not, as the case may be. I merely suggest keeping a sharp ear open for claims of now being “hurt” by science in the near future…

…sorry, accidently lost in editing:

(…their naïve audience) will process “actually hurting as “actually = tangibly ( = physically) harming”, and the intensity of their reaction will be significantly enhanced by limbic response to this ‘apparent’ threat to their physical well-being. Not something to be hoped for, to say the least.

That’s nothing new with theists, especially with Christians. Its called a martyr complex, or persecution complex. In the USA Christians assert that they are being persecuted for their religious beliefs by the Atheist government. It is ironic because the government is made up of mostly Christians. The founding fathers never intended America to be a Christian Nation and said so in the Treaty of Tripoli in Article 11. Christians will, of course, claim that this is a lie or that it doesn’t really exist.

ARTICLE 11. As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/d[…]bar1796t.htm

P.S.

Muslims are just “borrowing” from the Christians yet again since their religion is nothing more than the combination of Jewish, Christian, and pagan beliefs as well.

What kind of an idiot is this Bishop. Has he ever read anything but the Bible?

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Stop grouping all Evangelicals together. Many of them do not understand man’s need to prove himself to be wise. I believe in the Bible, and I believe the Bishop is misled in his approach.

The Bible clearly states that No One (including Evangelicals and Scientist) knows the beginning or the end of what God created. While we might try to understand this with our feeble, limited minds,we cannot.

Science is simply man’s search to understand what God created. Theories must be proven or they remain just that, THEORIES!

Can you imagine, if centuries from now (provided Christ has not yet returned) some scientist digs up the remains of a little boy from our era, and comes to the conclusion that their early ancestors had two heads. Sounds crazy, but since there are documented cases of such individuals,(as recently as last year in Jakarta) and if that is the only fossil found, the scientist should draw such conclusions right?

Well, let’s hope they find other fossils to refute it, but since we have no real control over what happens to our civilization, No One can guarantee that may not be the case.

It is my opinion that the Bishop is protesting because in this era, that’s what many “Christians” think they must do. However, I find no example of this in the Bible. Those who are true Christians, should be following Christ’s example. He did not hold protest against the government of his time, or against the popular beliefs. He TAUGHT people!

That’s what I think the Bishop should do. Don’t protest, teach people to think and reason and use logic. If more “Christians” really read their Bibles, they would not be outraged at anything modern man does to try and disprove God’s Word. It’s already in there, and they would recognize this as simply another attempt to try and “discover” how The Creator did things in the beginning.

No, don’t protest the Turkana Boy. To me, he brings more questions than answers. Another puzzle piece, that continually proves the Bible to be true. No matter what they find, they cannot answer the ultimate question. They can only come up with more THEORIES!

I think the Bishop and his followers should take a few science classes, and the scientist should study the Bible.

Ruthg Wrote:

The Bible clearly states that No One (including Evangelicals and Scientist) knows the beginning or the end of what God created.

Given that the Bible starts with “In the beginning,” and finishes with the End Times, that seems rather self-contradictory.

Can you imagine, if centuries from now (provided Christ has not yet returned) some scientist digs up the remains of a little boy from our era, and comes to the conclusion that their early ancestors had two heads. Sounds crazy, but since there are documented cases of such individuals,(as recently as last year in Jakarta) and if that is the only fossil found, the scientist should draw such conclusions right?

Pretty unlikely. The scientist would recognize a strong possibility that the individual was diseased or deformed–see for instance Homo floresiensis and the debate over whether it’s actually microcephalic H. sapiens or not. If no sign of disease or deformity (such as skeletal assymmetry) is found, and most importantly if they dig up a lot more fossils of people at all stages of life with the same feature, well, then, maybe there was a population of two-headed people around then.

We have fossils of about 20 individuals of H. ergaster, the Turkana Boy’s species; if we lump it with H. erectus as some taxonomists do, there’s about 150 individuals of that species also accounted for. That makes it fairly unlikely that the Boy is dramatically physically abnormal.

No, don’t protest the Turkana Boy. To me, he brings more questions than answers. Another puzzle piece, that continually proves the Bible to be true.

It sounds like you’ve already got your answers. Where did the questions go?

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on January 23, 2007 11:21 AM.

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