Australopithecus sediba and the creationist response

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MH1fossil.png

Two spectacular new hominid fossils found in a cave at Malapa in South Africa in 2008 and 2009 have been assigned to a new species, Australopithecus sediba (‘sediba’ means ‘wellspring’ in the local seSotho language). Discovered by a team led by Lee Berger and Paul Dirks, it is claimed by them to be the best candidate yet for an immediate ancestor to the genus Homo. The fossils are between 1.78 and 1.95 million years old, about the same date of the oldest Homo erectus fossils.

The first fossil, MH1, found by Lee Berger’s son Matthew, is an almost complete skull and partial skeleton of an 11 to 12 year old boy. The 2nd fossil, MH2, is a partial skeleton of an adult female, including some jaw fragments. The boy’s brain has a typical australopithecine size of 420cc, compared to the smallest Homo brain of 510cc. Both skeletons are small, about 130cm (4’3”) tall.

Au. sediba is most similar to, and quite likely descended from, Au. africanus. The upper limbs are long, and similar to other australopithecines. Many features of the hip, knee and ankle bones show it was bipedal, like other australopithecines, but the foot bones are still quite primitive. However Berger et al. list many other features of the skull, teeth, and pelvis in which it resembles early Homo fossils.

The discoverers have suggested that Au. sediba might be ancestral to either Homo habilis or Homo rudolfensis, or that it might be a closely related sister group to Homo - not a direct ancestor, but a close cousin. As the authors admit, these two individuals existed after the earliest known Homo fossils (at about 2.3 million years), so they can’t be human ancestors. However, it’s possible that the sediba species had already existed for a few hundred thousand years and that early members of it could have been human ancestors.

Interestingly, prominent scientists quoted in the media have split fairly evenly on the question of whether sediba should have been assigned to Homo or Australopithecus - Bill Kimbel, Don Johanson, Susan Anton and Colin Groves went for Homo, while Meave Leakey, Tim White and Ron Clarke didn’t. Some scientists have even suggested that it may be a late-surviving variant of Au. africanus.

However, the authors argued that the overall body plan was australopithecine, and hence put it in that genus. This seems to be the conservative and safest plan; even if they are right in their claims about sediba, the fossils do not seem out of place in Australopithecus, whereas putting them in Homo would have run the risk of needing to reclassify them later if they did not turn out to be very closely related to Homo. It would also, as Chris Stringer pointed out in an interview, require “a major redefinition” of the genus Homo.

In summary, it’s an important discovery even though we don’t yet know exactly how it fits into the family tree and what it means for human origins. Refreshingly, the discoverers have been fairly restrained in their claims about the fossil, and are keeping other options in mind.

The creationist organization Answers in Genesis has already taken note of the fossil. One might have expected that such small, and small-brained, fossils would be dismissed as apes. A few years ago, I’m sure AIG would have done so unhesitatingly. But AIG has strongly backed the idea that the similarly-sized Hobbit from Flores is a pathological human. Because of that, and probably also because some scientists have said Au. sediba should have been classified as Homo, AIG was surprisingly cautious. After referring to a quote by Berger that the small brain size of sediba (an australopithecine feature) is similar to that of the Flores Hobbit, AIG says that:

Berger’s comment suggests the Australopithecus sediba fossils may in fact be misclassified Homo individuals who were fully human.

and

Creationists must be cautious interpreting news like this.

But whatever happened to this earlier claim by AIG:

When complete fossils are found, they are easy to assign clearly as either ‘ape’ or human, there are only ‘ape-men’ where imagination colored by belief in evolution is applied to fragmented bits and pieces.

What happened to it is that creationists have been slapped around by reality: there are too many cases where creationists have classified fossils differently, and even cases of creationists changing their mind about some fossils. In spite of having an almost complete skull of sediba, AIG still can’t decide whether it’s an ape or a human. If they can’t tell if it’s an ape or a human, they obviously can’t rule out the possibility that it is an intermediate. The fact that they can’t tell is strong evidence that it is intermediate, because modern apes and humans are extremely easy to distinguish.

Brian Thomas of the Institute for Creation Research has also written about sediba. Unlike AIG however, ICR had no hesitation in calling it an ape. Thomas even disputes the claim that sediba was bipedal, saying

… in neither A. ramidus’ nor Au sediba‘s remains were found the relevant hip bones to even make such a determination!

Odd. MH1 has a good specimen of the os coxa bone, more commonly known as “the hip bone”, which is, funnily enough, the “relevant hip bone” for diagnosing locomotion. And let’s not forget that Berger et al. said that the hip, knee and ankle bones all show evidence of bipedality. I think the experts have a bit more credibility here than the ICR’s science writer.

One last gripe: it was depressing to see how many newspaper headlines used the term “missing link”. It’s a misleading and meaningless term, as Carl Zimmer explains well.

Update: See also this later Panda’s Thumb blog entry by Nick Matzke: Creationist vs. creationist on Homo habilis.

References

Australopithecus sediba: a new species of Homo-like Australopith from South Africa, by Berger et al. 2010. Science 328:195-204.

Yet Another “Missing Link”, by Carl Zimmer

News to Note, April 10, 2010, by Answers in Genesis

A New Evolutionary Link?, by Brian Thomas, Institute for Creation Research

84 Comments

The upper limbs are long, and similar to other australopithecines. Many features of the hip, knee and ankle bones show it was bipedal, like other australopithecines, but the foot bones are still quite primitive. However Berger et al. list many other features of the skull, teeth, and pelvis in which it resembles early Homo fossils.

It is somewhat humbling to speculate that one of the last major features of ‘modern human’ to evolve might not have been our skull or bipedalism, but rather our feet. Perhaps this explains why our spread across the world took place relatively late.

Fascinating image of MH1 showing the actual bones superimposed over the speculative majority of missing stuff. I like jigsaw puzzles but my hat is off to the folks who created so much from so little. Well done.

I hope they find more and can piece together a more definitive lineage.

“In spite of having an almost complete skull of sediba, AIG still can’t decide whether it’s an ape or a human. The fact that they can’t tell is strong evidence that it is intermediate, because modern apes and humans are extremely easy to distinguish.”

I don’t think AIG’s inability to distinguish fossils - these or any others - ever qualifies as “strong evidence.”

Chris said:

“In spite of having an almost complete skull of sediba, AIG still can’t decide whether it’s an ape or a human. The fact that they can’t tell is strong evidence that it is intermediate, because modern apes and humans are extremely easy to distinguish.”

I don’t think AIG’s inability to distinguish fossils - these or any others - ever qualifies as “strong evidence.”

I think in cases like these AIG’s preferred method is the coin flip.

AiG is not a scientific group but a political one. Their opinion on science is like asking George W Bush about the constitution. There is no connection.

Thomas even disputes the claim that sediba was bipedal, saying:

“Really, they didn’t find any shoes!”

How odd. I have read this post 10 minutes are returning from Maropeng at the Cradle of Humankind (http://www.maropeng.co.za/) where I saw the very same picture as in this post, but life-size, along with heaps of other hominid fossils and fossil replicas.

If they can’t tell if it’s an ape or a human, they obviously can’t rule out the possibility that it is an intermediate.

Sure they can. If you base your whole life on the contention that there is no such thing as grey, eventually all you’ll see is black and white.

Sounds like the hobbit has freaked AIG out. Are they abandoning brain size as a criteria for membership in Homo?

afarensis, FCD said:

Sounds like the hobbit has freaked AIG out. Are they abandoning brain size as a criteria for membership in Homo?

Only when it comes to their own!

AIG:

When complete fossils are found, they are easy to assign clearly as either ‘ape’ or human, there are only ‘ape-men’ where imagination colored by belief in evolution is applied to fragmented bits and pieces.

Of course, there’s still the issue that, ape, man, intermediate or Martian, these things are still a couple of million years older than the Garden.

I like this little gem from the ICR article:

The researchers found “hints of a potential brain remnant,” as well as “what could be fossilised [sic] insect eggs.” … to expect someone to believe that brain tissue escaped decay for 1.9 million years is asking far too much.

I’m not sure who actually asked this guy to believe that, but I suspect it’s the voices in his head…

MikeMa said:

Fascinating image of MH1 showing the actual bones superimposed over the speculative majority of missing stuff. I like jigsaw puzzles but my hat is off to the folks who created so much from so little. Well done.

I hope they find more and can piece together a more definitive lineage.

There’s another specimen, MH2, that adds some additional information.

I suggest that “speculative” is inappropriate. Reconstruction of hypothesized skeletal anatomy from bits and pieces is not an exercise in free-floating speculation. Read a bit about Cuvier for an introduction to some of the techniques that were worked out well before Darwin.

Don’t want this to digress into a political battle, but if you want to take a swipe at Bush, then, sadly, a virtually identical observation can be made for the present POTUS:

MikeMa said:

AiG is not a scientific group but a political one. Their opinion on science is like asking George W Bush about the constitution. There is no connection.

Just to get back on topic, yes, that piece from Carl is an excellent summary as to what we ought to see with regards to the “shape” of the hominim family tree across the period from approximately 3.5 to 1.8 million years ago. At the very least, this new fossil merely illustrates not only that the australopith phylogenetic “bush” was wider than we thought, but does illuminate a bit more knowledge regarding how the earliest Homo hominims divulged from their australopith relatives.

As for the nonsense from AiG and ICR, I’ll leave at that, since it’s mendacious intellectual pornography that I have no desire to comment further on

John Kwok said:

Don’t want this to digress into a political battle, but if you want to take a swipe at Bush, then, sadly, a virtually identical observation can be made for the present POTUS:

MikeMa said:

AiG is not a scientific group but a political one. Their opinion on science is like asking George W Bush about the constitution. There is no connection.

I don’t recall President Obama extolling the virtues of Young Earth Creationism, or a literal, inerrant interpretation of the Book of Genesis, nor have I heard of any of his political relatives, cronies, underlings and or allies plotting to destroy public education in order to make Jesus happy.

This find just increases the number of gaps!!111!!!eleven!!!

Just a minor quibble “but the foot bones are still quite primitive” could be read as implying some directionality in evolution. “but the foot bones are more similar to earlier fossils” would have been better.

DiscoveredJoys said:

Just a minor quibble “but the foot bones are still quite primitive” could be read as implying some directionality in evolution. “but the foot bones are more similar to earlier fossils” would have been better.

The “primitive” in this case refers indeed to a directionality. It is used in opposition to the term “derived”. While evolution does not have a pre-ordained directionality, cladistically the term primitive has meaning.

RBH said:

MikeMa said:

Fascinating image of MH1 showing the actual bones superimposed over the speculative majority of missing stuff. I like jigsaw puzzles but my hat is off to the folks who created so much from so little. Well done.

I hope they find more and can piece together a more definitive lineage.

There’s another specimen, MH2, that adds some additional information.

I suggest that “speculative” is inappropriate. Reconstruction of hypothesized skeletal anatomy from bits and pieces is not an exercise in free-floating speculation. Read a bit about Cuvier for an introduction to some of the techniques that were worked out well before Darwin.

I had the good fortune to see casts of the skull, the jaw, and some unpublished material, and to talk at length with one of the folks involved in the descriptions (the team is being very good about showing the fossils around). There is considerably more material coming out, and several of the statements and reconstructions that they made were backed up with material that has come out since the manuscript was accepted.

RBH said:

MikeMa said:

Fascinating image of MH1 showing the actual bones superimposed over the speculative majority of missing stuff. I like jigsaw puzzles but my hat is off to the folks who created so much from so little. Well done.

I hope they find more and can piece together a more definitive lineage.

There’s another specimen, MH2, that adds some additional information.

I suggest that “speculative” is inappropriate. Reconstruction of hypothesized skeletal anatomy from bits and pieces is not an exercise in free-floating speculation. Read a bit about Cuvier for an introduction to some of the techniques that were worked out well before Darwin.

I am a complete novice and so the work shown in the MH1 image almost looks like Cuvier’s brag that “one bone gives the whole thing”. Still impressive!

Even if the mainstream news doesn’t cover this accurately, or if anti-evolutionists still want to tow the party line and call it a “mere ape,” I still get all giddy over finds like this. I love it when we find pieces of the puzzle that increase our knowledge of the natural world; it fills me with hope for our species.

One last gripe: it was depressing to see how many newspaper headlines used the term “missing link”.

To be fair, it is a link and it was missing… ;P

Facetiousness aside, Carl’s explanation is spot on.

Sediba is a very interesting find. Thanks for the post!

e-dogg said:

I like this little gem from the ICR article:

The researchers found “hints of a potential brain remnant,” as well as “what could be fossilised [sic] insect eggs.” … to expect someone to believe that brain tissue escaped decay for 1.9 million years is asking far too much.

I’m not sure who actually asked this guy to believe that, but I suspect it’s the voices in his head…

Well, actually, he got it from a real source: http://www.esrf.eu/news/general/fir[…]at-the-esrf/. However, I don’t think it’s necessarily implying that soft tissue is still there - it may be referring to remnants of fossilized soft tissue. We need to wait and see on this.

Chris said: I don’t think AIG’s inability to distinguish fossils - these or any others - ever qualifies as “strong evidence.”

True, creationists have always been hopeless at identifying fossils - Exhibit 1 would be Duane Gish’s hopelessly incompetent and dishonest claims that Java Man and Peking Man were gibbons/monkeys/apes. The rest of the YEC community pretty much followed Gish off the cliff with that one. But they used to think they could identify them, even when they couldn’t. Now, at least, a few of the creationists have learnt that they can’t.

e-dogg said:

I like this little gem from the ICR article:

The researchers found “hints of a potential brain remnant,” as well as “what could be fossilised [sic] insect eggs.”

A bit off-topic, but I just found it priceless that they felt the need to tag the British spelling of “fossilized” with a “sic”. :)

AiG seems to be overly cautious about making any positive claims lately. They did the exact same thing with the Noah’s Ark story. I guess they finally got burned one too many times. Perhaps they are capable of learning.

i think AIG gave a intelligent and conservative responce. First creationists are not studying these bits of bones. So the only way to judge is from reports of how alike they are with humans or apes. In fact there is a great sameness between people and apes in mere skeleton looks. It probably is just apes of a type. The clincher would be if a female was found in which it could be seen if the body had the configuration that would give pain at childbirth like our women. Animals, apes, don’t have pain for structural reasons.

Robert Byers said:

… The clincher would be if a female was found in which it could be seen if the body had the configuration that would give pain at childbirth like our women. Animals, apes, don’t have pain for structural reasons.

Just a warning: we are not going to have another interminable discussion about whether animals feel pain giving birth! That topic was beaten to death in the recent hobbit thread.

Robert Byers said:

i think AIG gave a intelligent and conservative responce.

By lying?

First creationists are not studying these bits of bones.

Creationists don’t study anything, period. All they do is lie, bullshit, and plot to obstruct other people from learning or doing science because either action is an insult to a Creationist’s warped sense of piety.

So the only way to judge is from reports of how alike they are with humans or apes.

How do you intend to do that if you also state that you never intend to actually look at them? Through magic and prayer?

In fact there is a great sameness between people and apes in mere skeleton looks. It probably is just apes of a type.

Humans are a species of ape, idiot.

The clincher would be if a female was found in which it could be seen if the body had the configuration that would give pain at childbirth like our women. Animals, apes, don’t have pain for structural reasons.

We’ve pointed out on a previous thread that this claim of yours is false. In fact, it suggests that you are either lying, have never actually seen a live animal, or both.

How come Robert Byers is allowed to continue trolling, even though we are often given admonishments not to reply to him? I mean, we already have enough examples of his stupidity. Why is it too much trouble to follow Pharyngula’s example and bar him from posting here?

raven said:

So, the creationist god fools his creatures by making the 6,000 year old earth look 4.6 billion years old and then sends them to hell to be tortured for eternity when they don’t believe in it.

Not only that, but he makes everything work like it’s the end product of a billion-year proscess, to the point that you really can’t do serious medicine or agriculture or animal husbandry without treating the physical world exactly as if it is not only evolved, but as if evolution is a continuing process.

stevaroni said:

raven said:

So, the creationist god fools his creatures by making the 6,000 year old earth look 4.6 billion years old and then sends them to hell to be tortured for eternity when they don’t believe in it.

Not only that, but he makes everything work like it’s the end product of a billion-year proscess, to the point that you really can’t do serious medicine or agriculture or animal husbandry without treating the physical world exactly as if it is not only evolved, but as if evolution is a continuing process.

But you CAN do serious medicine, agriculture, animal husbandry, and even chemistry without even having to consider evolution AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM! Professionals of all sorts do so every day. The real question is: HOW DO YOU GET THEM TO THINK? The answer, sad to say, is that in most cases you CAN’T - and this comes after 30 plus years of trying to educate, entertain, and inculcate students in “higher education”. (Can you tell I just finished grading my intro and non-major bio classes and am feeling, well, sort of depressed…).

Congrats on not getting into it with the troll, folks… I know I am usually total troll-bait. It’s hard to resist antagonism, but it helps in this case that it’s so transparently a cry for attention. (Same off-topic subject that elicited several replies before? Really?)

On topic, nice post, Stevaroni. I dismissed the “god tricked you” theory of planted evidence so quick I hadn’t noticed that obvious extension of it. The “false evidence” God or Satan or whoever planted must be ongoing…

When creationists try to pigeonhole these fossils into man or ape, what do we call it? Is there a category tag for it? It happens often enough.

CS Shelton said:

Congrats on not getting into it with the troll, folks… I know I am usually total troll-bait. It’s hard to resist antagonism, but it helps in this case that it’s so transparently a cry for attention. (Same off-topic subject that elicited several replies before? Really?)

On topic, nice post, Stevaroni. I dismissed the “god tricked you” theory of planted evidence so quick I hadn’t noticed that obvious extension of it. The “false evidence” God or Satan or whoever planted must be ongoing…

When creationists try to pigeonhole these fossils into man or ape, what do we call it? Is there a category tag for it? It happens often enough.

I call it the apehole…

Vince said:

stevaroni said:

raven said:

So, the creationist god fools his creatures by making the 6,000 year old earth look 4.6 billion years old and then sends them to hell to be tortured for eternity when they don’t believe in it.

Not only that, but he makes everything work like it’s the end product of a billion-year proscess, to the point that you really can’t do serious medicine or agriculture or animal husbandry without treating the physical world exactly as if it is not only evolved, but as if evolution is a continuing process.

But you CAN do serious medicine, agriculture, animal husbandry, and even chemistry without even having to consider evolution AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM! Professionals of all sorts do so every day. The real question is: HOW DO YOU GET THEM TO THINK? The answer, sad to say, is that in most cases you CAN’T - and this comes after 30 plus years of trying to educate, entertain, and inculcate students in “higher education”. (Can you tell I just finished grading my intro and non-major bio classes and am feeling, well, sort of depressed…).

If you want to see something really depressing, take a look at Michael Shermer’s interview with Georgia Purdom at Ham’s creation museum.

Apehole? Nice one, Vince.

Hm… How about “He ain’t monkey, He’s my brother” ? Too long… Um, “ApeHomoSaysWhat?” no… I got nothing.

CS Shelton said:

Apehole? Nice one, Vince.

Hm… How about “He ain’t monkey, He’s my brother” ? Too long… Um, “ApeHomoSaysWhat?” no… I got nothing.

I’m beginning to think all fundies are apeholes…

Thomas said:

Article seems like wishful thinking. AIG hasn’t changed position.

AIG: When *complete* fossils are found, they are easy to assign clearly as either ‘ape’ or human…

PT: In spite of having an almost complete skull of sediba, AIG still can’t decide whether it’s an ape or a human.

I’d bet AIG doesn’t have “an almost complete skull,” or even seen more of it than the picture in the article.

The journal article contains larger photos of the skull from front, side and top. There’s a chunk missing, but it’s on one side so because of bilateral symmetry we do know what the whole skull looks like. It’s not the fault of the skull that AIG can’t work out what it is.

AIG: The bones have been examined by only one group of scientists… Creationists, in particular, do not routinely have access to such finds until much time has passed…

For good reason. Apparently these particular fossils have been shown to quite a few scientists, but you can’t just walk in off the street to look at them, you have to be a qualified and competent scientist. And, sadly, no creationists qualify…

This is a bit off topic, but I know of a major paleontological discovery which will be published soon. Can’t say anything more about it since it is embargoed news until the scientific paper is published. Will be fascinating to see how - or whether will - the usual agitprop creo mendacious intellectual pornographers (e. g. Ham, Luskin, Nelson) will react once it is published (And no, it’s not another australopithecine fossil.).

John Kwok said:

This is a bit off topic, but I know of a major paleontological discovery which will be published soon. Can’t say anything more about it since it is embargoed news until the scientific paper is published. Will be fascinating to see how - or whether will - the usual agitprop creo mendacious intellectual pornographers (e. g. Ham, Luskin, Nelson) will react once it is published (And no, it’s not another australopithecine fossil.).

Let’s see…as a prediction, that’s too vague to prove either way. As an announcement, it doesn’t actually announce anything. Pray tell…why did you post it?

But you CAN do serious medicine, agriculture, animal husbandry, and even chemistry without even having to consider evolution AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM!

Well that is sort of true. You can do journeyman medicine, raise wheat, run cattle, or chemistry without knowing a thing about evolution or believing the earth is 6,000 years old.

But you can’t do research in medicine or agriculture without taking evolution into account. To cite just one of countless examples, we just fought a new, emerging disease, swine flu, predicted by evolutionary theory. Everyone says it wasn’t all that bad. A lot of that is because we’ve been through this scenario many times before and are getting much better at handling new epidemics.

Without the research, medicine and agriculture would still be centuries behind where they are now. You don’t have to know how to build an internal combustion engine to drive a car. But someone has to know.

The very fact that people can do good work in agriculture, medicine, etc., while mindlessly reciting “the world is 6000 years old. Species are fixed,” proves evolution is a fact.

True story: A member of a biblical-literalist church got the plumb job of managing a church-owned cattle ranch. Since he ‘knew’ evolution was ‘just a theory’ he ‘knew’ he could ignore breeding programs and save the church money by buying the cheapest bulls on the market. His boss, also a biblical literalist who supposedly didn’t ‘believe’ in evolution, took one look and said, “Get your knife out and cut [i.e., castrate] those things. They won’t even make good steers.” But the manager was strong in his belief that evolution was ‘just a theory.’ As a result, the ranch’s calf weaning weights plummeted, the manager was fired and his boss hired a manager who denied evolution on Sunday morning, but treated it as fact all the rest of the week.

Evolution is a fact because even people who don’t ‘believe’ in the ‘theory’ have to accept that it’s true to get their jobs done.

For the very reason I gave. Am sure the creos will miss completely its significance (of which more will be known quite soon, trust me). Am eagerly awaiting whether they’ll be as dense as they have been with this new hominid.

John Kwok said:

This is a bit off topic, but I know of a major paleontological discovery which will be published soon. Can’t say anything more about it since it is embargoed news until the scientific paper is published. Will be fascinating to see how - or whether will - the usual agitprop creo mendacious intellectual pornographers (e. g. Ham, Luskin, Nelson) will react once it is published (And no, it’s not another australopithecine fossil.).

And once again it will be up to us to choose whether to (1) show how they can’t get their stories straight among themselves or (2) just dismiss them all as “creationists,” and reinforce the misconception that they all believe the same fairy tale. When in reality you have everything from 6-day, 6000 year ago flat-earthers, to those who concede ~4 billion years of common descent. In fact, as one of the comments above notes, even when they do believe the same fairy tale, they can’t decide whether to believe it because of, or in spite of, the evidence.

robert van bakel said:

As a very interested lay-person, and just looking at the bones shown on the given picture, I would assume the following:1.) The skull, jaw, and teeth, are well preserved, giving ‘experts’(ie. people who actually study this stuff)significant information about diet, and relative intelligence, including insights into possible language abilities; perhaps. 2.)The elongated arm and shortened leg suggest intermediate characteristics between apes and hominids; but I’ll let the people that understand anatomy interpret this for me, not being an expert myself you understand.3.)But most significantly, the hip-thigh joint which suggests upright locomotion, or so I am reliably informed by experts who study this every hour, of almost every day, of their lives, and dammit, I am actually persuaded.

Now, what does Mr Byers come up with? Sorry, but that ham sandwich has just got to be kicked in his nethers!

Your persuasion comes easily. Indeed if its just about “experts” then why list points? First intelligence is not from skull size. There is no evidence that measuring heads determines intelligence. All they can do is speculate on intelligence by how close the head size is to people. Many historically did it with people too by the way. Gibberish. If legs/arms are widely not like people then they are just apes of a type. I don’t know about the hip/thigh thing. However it shouldn’t just suggest but determine if a creature is upright. By the way if so then by evolutionists position the women should be having pain at birth like ours and unlike apes. Drawing such great conclusions on a few skeletons is poor research. Creationists could do better as usual.

It’s called “evidence”, Byers. I know you don’t understand the idea. Just as you can’t understand the difference between expert evaluation of it and your own ignorance, prejudice and unreason.

Dave Luckett Wrote:

It’s called “evidence”, Byers. I know you don’t understand the idea.

I notice that they always seem to know just enough about “evidence” to know never to challenge anti-evolutionists who agree with “Darwinists” that those fossils shared common ancestors.

As usual, that was not meant as a compliment.

Your contrariness comes easily. Indeed if its not just about “experts” then why not list points? First intelligence is not from skull size. There is no evidence that measuring heads determines intelligence, but if it is useful in distinguishing apes and humans. All they can do is speculate on intelligence by how close the head size is to people, which is plenty good enough since intelligence is not the issue. Many historically did it with people too by the way, which is irrelevant. Gibberish. If legs/arms are widely not like people then they are just apes of a type, even though they have combinations of characters that are distinctly human. I don’t know about the hip/thigh thing. However it shouldn’t just suggest but determine if a creature is upright. By the way if so then by evolutionists position the women should be having pain at birth like ours and unlike apes, which is also completely irrelevant, since this is not considered to be a species characteristic by anyone. Drawing such great conclusions on a few skeletons is poor research, so it is a good thing that we have lots of skeletons of many different intermediates. Creationists could do better as usual, but as usual they don’t do anything but whine and complain.

Robert Byers said:

robert van bakel said:

As a very interested lay-person, and just looking at the bones shown on the given picture, I would assume the following:1.) The skull, jaw, and teeth, are well preserved, giving ‘experts’(ie. people who actually study this stuff)significant information about diet, and relative intelligence, including insights into possible language abilities; perhaps. 2.)The elongated arm and shortened leg suggest intermediate characteristics between apes and hominids; but I’ll let the people that understand anatomy interpret this for me, not being an expert myself you understand.3.)But most significantly, the hip-thigh joint which suggests upright locomotion, or so I am reliably informed by experts who study this every hour, of almost every day, of their lives, and dammit, I am actually persuaded.

Now, what does Mr Byers come up with? Sorry, but that ham sandwich has just got to be kicked in his nethers!

Your persuasion comes easily. Indeed if its just about “experts” then why list points? First intelligence is not from skull size. There is no evidence that measuring heads determines intelligence. All they can do is speculate on intelligence by how close the head size is to people. Many historically did it with people too by the way. Gibberish. If legs/arms are widely not like people then they are just apes of a type. I don’t know about the hip/thigh thing. However it shouldn’t just suggest but determine if a creature is upright. By the way if so then by evolutionists position the women should be having pain at birth like ours and unlike apes. Drawing such great conclusions on a few skeletons is poor research. Creationists could do better as usual.

Huh? Do you just use a word wheel to write this stuff? Have you seen ANY of the material of this or any other hominin? Have you examined ANY literature concerning brain size and intelligence? Have you seen the pelvis? Do you know any functional anatomy? The answer is clearly “no” to all these. So creationists “could do better” by essentially saying stupid and ignorant BS. Nice “science” there. You are truly arrogant.

John Kwok -

John Kwok said:

Don’t want this to digress into a political battle, but if you want to take a swipe at Bush, then, sadly, a virtually identical observation can be made for the present POTUS:

MikeMa said:

AiG is not a scientific group but a political one. Their opinion on science is like asking George W Bush about the constitution. There is no connection.

I very, very strongly agree that this thread should not be a political battle.

However, I will reply once in the interest of accuracy.

President Obama is a trained attorney, who graduated from one of the nation’s top law schools.

It would be perfectly fair to say that you nevertheless disagree with his opinion about the constitution, or that you believe that his policies are not always consistent with his demonstrated exposure to and ability to understand the constitution. In fact, I believe the second statement myself.

But to suggest that there is “no connection” between his opinions and established constitutional expertise is simply incorrect, based on his educational background and record of public statements.

No more comments on this matter from me.

I wasn’t emphasizing that, harold:

President Obama is a trained attorney, who graduated from one of the nation’s top law schools.

It would be perfectly fair to say that you nevertheless disagree with his opinion about the constitution, or that you believe that his policies are not always consistent with his demonstrated exposure to and ability to understand the constitution. In fact, I believe the second statement myself.

But to suggest that there is “no connection” between his opinions and established constitutional expertise is simply incorrect, based on his educational background and record of public statements.

No more comments on this matter from me.

In fact, one could argue persuasively that Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, is a better student of the US Constitution than Obama. I was thinking more of his foreign policy and military leadership experience, which, after nearly a year and a half in office, is far more deficient than what I had seen from Bill Clinton.

Guys, PLEASE go to a different forum for political discussions.

but my hat is off to the folks who created so much from so little.

Shucks, that ain’t nothing.

Just look what was done with a pig’s tooth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebraska_Man

Alex H said:

Guys, PLEASE go to a different forum for political discussions.

Yes, let’s not go running off half-kwoked again here.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Foley published on April 27, 2010 7:40 AM.

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