Home » Intelligent Design » Time Mag (of all places) Exposes Media Hype About Ida

Time Mag (of all places) Exposes Media Hype About Ida

 Time’s verdict regarding Ida:  “Most paleontologists will roll their eyes at that sort of overhyped nonsense, especially given that there’s real science lurking underneath. After wading through the false advertising, though, most people might have a hard time finding it.”Full story here.

Then there is this gem:  “‘Most of what we understand about primate evolution is pieced together from bits of teeth and jaws,’ says Michael Novacek, curator of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History.”

Teeth and jaws.  Seems to me that leaves an awful lot of room for interpretation, which, of course, is influenced by worldview (or “metaphysical prejudices if you like) as much as anything else.

 

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

15 Responses to Time Mag (of all places) Exposes Media Hype About Ida

  1. Even though the hype surrounding this fossil is obviously out of control, I guess I’ll keep an open mind and see what develops. It’s just hard to believe that all of humanity (including Mozart, Newton, Da Vinci, etc) descended from what looks like a piece of roadkill someone peeled off an interstate.

  2. herb:

    It’s just hard to believe that all of humanity (including Mozart, Newton, Da Vinci, etc) descended from what looks like a piece of roadkill someone peeled off an interstate.

    As an ID supporter and a Christian (not YEC), I don’t see descent as a threat to my world view. I have no problem with having this specimen as one of my ancestors. Of course, I don’t mean descent in the Darwinian sense but in the Corvette sense. After all, we Christians believe that homo sapiens was the last animal to be designed. It makes sense that we should be better looking than Ida.

    Looking at living organisms, it is clear to me that the designer is a fun-loving geek who loves to experiment with various models and has an awesome sense of humor.

  3. Most biologists would quickly admit that there is far too much hype surrounding Darwinius masillae. More importantly, whats wrong with the hype, is the false ‘claims’ that surround it.

    But either Michael Novacek has never taken a look at the hominid fossil record, or he too is being sensationalistic, as there are hundreds of skeletons available piece together primate evolution.

  4. Mapou,

    As an ID supporter and a Christian (not YEC), I don’t see descent as a threat to my world view. I have no problem with having this specimen as one of my ancestors. Of course, I don’t mean descent in the Darwinian sense but in the Corvette sense. After all, we Christians believe that homo sapiens was the last animal to be designed. It makes sense that we should be better looking than Ida.

    Thanks for your post. I don’t find the Ida fossil so troubling when viewed from this perspective.

  5. 5

    Barry’s excerpt in context:

    “Most of what we understand about primate evolution is pieced together from bits of teeth and jaws,” says Michael Novacek, curator of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. Ida, by contrast, has pretty much every bone, from the skull to the tip of the tail, and they’re all in place. Not only that: you can see impressions of its fur in the surrounding material, and there are even the remains of what was presumably Ida’s final meal (leaves and fruit) still visible where the digestive tract used to be.

    “Primate” does not equal “hominid.” Humans are primates and mammals and vertebrates, etc, etc. Something about nested hierarchies.

  6. 6
    Barry Arrington

    eintown writes: “But either Michael Novacek has never taken a look at the hominid fossil record, or he too is being sensationalistic, as there are hundreds of skeletons available piece together primate evolution.”

    OK, on this subject we have the word of the curator of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, an avowed Darwinist with no interest in understating the evidence. And we have the an anonymous blogger named “eintown.”

    Any takers on who has more cred? Oh, pick me! Pick me! Pick me! I can answer that!

  7. Mapou wrote:

    “…we Christians believe that homo sapiens was the last animal to be designed…”

    This is incorrect. Christians do not believe we are animals at all! Indeed, were we created on a separate day (sure, argue over what ‘day’ means), but one thing is for sure — we are not animals according to Holy Scripture.

  8. Nzer:

    Christians do not believe we are animals at all!

    Well, I do, and I certainly consider myself to be a Christian. I don’t see anything in Genesis to indicate that humans are not a type of animals. Indeed, we, like animals, are made of the dust of the earth. The difference, as far as I understand it, is that humans have a spirit and were designed in the image of their creators, the Elohim.

  9. Fascinating arguments that go on in ‘science blogs’ these days.
    NZer (I assume New Zealander?), and Mapou arguing the to’s and fro’s of whether it is christian or not to assume we are animals, or not.
    The relevance to science of this question, is at best pointless, and at worst, a way in which science is hijacked by ideology, religion; whatever.

  10. 10

    rvb8:

    The relevance to science of this question, is at best pointless, and at worst, a way in which science is hijacked by ideology, religion; whatever.

    When you say “science is hijacked by ideology,” were you talking about Darwinism?

  11. NZer,

    This is incorrect. Christians do not believe we are animals at all! Indeed, were we created on a separate day (sure, argue over what ‘day’ means), but one thing is for sure — we are not animals according to Holy Scripture.

    I have to admit I’m torn on this question. On one hand, the bible teaches that humans should have dominion over all living things, so we are obviously unique, and perhaps should form a category ourselves. On the other hand, I’ve seen Christians (even on Rapture Ready!) argue that we are animals, biologically. Does anyone here doubt that humans are mammals, for example? It’s definitely a dilemma.

  12. rvb8:

    The relevance to science of this question, is at best pointless, and at worst, a way in which science is hijacked by ideology, religion; whatever.

    Look who’s talking. Am I the one who believes in the superstition that life emerged spontaneously from dirt? I thought we had advanced beyond that silly myth a thousand years ago.

  13. Folks:

    Can I suggest that we are animals (specifically, mammals), but not just simply animals?

    Thence, with apologies to Ari: rational, ensouled animality. (How we got to be such is the interesting question. And lucky noise (chance + undirected necessity –> RV + NS etc) theories run into hopeless self-referential absurdities once they have to address that rationality and its origin and credibility. [And, if a worldview cannot ground the basic credibility of our minds, it cuts its own throat.])

    GEM of TKI

    PS: WIki on animals: Animals have several characteristics that set them apart from other living things. Animals are eukaryotic and are multicellular[2] (although see Myxozoa), which separates them from bacteria and most protists. They are heterotrophic,[3] generally digesting food in an internal chamber, which separates them from plants and algae (some sponges are capable of photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation though).[4] They are also distinguished from plants, algae, and fungi by lacking rigid cell walls.[5] All animals are motile,[6] if only at certain life stages. In most animals, embryos pass through a blastula stage, which is a characteristic exclusive to animals.

  14. “bits of teeth and jaws”… “ooh, just a few fossil fragments”… “yeah, they claim it’s intermediary, but all they have is one hip bone…”

    ARGH I’m sorry, but this has gotten to be too much for me. Assuming that fossils truly are imprints of actual bones that were part of actual organisms, than “fragments” is usually all you *need* to demonstrate a transition.

    If we take a chimpanzee jaw, a hominid jaw, and my jaw, and line them all up, and find that the hominid jaw’s features fit “between” the others the most reasonable conclusion (though by no means the only possible conclusion) is that the hominid is an intermediary. Why? Because the jaw presumably belonged to a creature (rather than walking around on its own or something) and we can infer that the creature was probably a primate, because the type of jaw in question is found on no other type of animal.

    To put it all another way, transitional bones indicate transitional/intermediary organisms, barring circumstances that have basically never been observed (such as a cow with ape teeth).

    To put it another another way: why does ID predict non-transitional animals with the transitional features of other animals “stuck on”?

  15. 15

    Lenoxus,

    Regarding fanciful speculation from fragments of fossils, there are skeptics all along the way, and this latest is more of the same:

    “For instance, I have pointed out the difficulty of keeping a monkey and watching it evolve into a man. Experimental evidence of such an evolution being impossible, the professor is not content to say (as most of us would be ready to say) that such an evolution is likely enough anyhow. He produces his little bone, or little collection of bones, and deduces the most marvellous things from it. He found in Java a piece of a skull, seeming by its contour to be smaller than the human. Somewhere near it he found an upright thigh-bone and in the same scattered fashion some teeth that were not human. If they all form part of one creature, which is doubtful, our conception of the creature would be almost equally doubtful. But the effect on popular science was to produce a complete and even complex figure, finished down to the last details of hair and habits. He was given a name as if he were an ordinary historical character. People talked of Pithecanthropus as of Pitt or Fox or Napoleon. Popular histories published portraits of him like the portraits of Charles the First and George the Fourth. A detailed drawing was reproduced, carefully shaded, to show that the very hairs of his head were all numbered No uninformed person looking at its carefully lined face and wistful eyes would imagine for a moment that this was the portrait of a thigh-bone; or of a few teeth and a fragment of a cranium. In the same way people talked about him as if he were an individual whose influence and character were familiar to us all. I have just read a story in a magazine about Java, and how modern white inhabitants of that island are prevailed on to misbehave themselves by the personal influence of poor old Pithecanthropus. That the modern inhabitants of Java misbehave themselves I can very readily believe; but I do not imagine that they need any encouragement from the discovery of a few highly doubtful bones. Anyhow, those bones are far too few and fragmentary and dubious to fill up the whole of the vast void that does in reason and in reality lie between man and his bestial ancestors, if they were his ancestors. On the assumption of that evolutionary connection (a connection which I am not in the least concerned to deny), the really arresting and remarkable fact is the comparative absence of any such remains recording that connection at that point. The sincerity of Darwin really admitted this; and that is how we came to use such a term as the Missing Link. But the dogmatism of Darwinians has been too strong for the agnosticism of Darwin; and men have insensibly fallen into turning this entirely negative term into a positive image. They talk of searching for the habits and habitat of the Missing Link; as if one were to talk of being on friendly terms with the gap in a narrative or the hole in an argument, of taking a walk with a non-sequitur or dining with an undistributed middle.”
    G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Leave a Reply