Need some ammo, guys. Their main points are: -my analysis on Sahelanthropus is flawed -they have to admit that australopiths walked bipedally, but they say there is no known mechanism that enable them to do so [count that as a half-victory] -they refuse to acknowledge change from the 'ladder' view to the 'bush' view. -they think I'm misquoting them misquoting Henry Gee. -they point out the 99% myth.
quote:Originally posted by Andya Primanda: Need some ammo, guys. Their main points are: -my analysis on Sahelanthropus is flawed
They seem to be arguing that if sahelanthropus is 'more-modern' then evolution is falsified. This is silly. At worst, we've got the family tree wrong.
quote:-they have to admit that australopiths walked bipedally, but they say there is no known mechanism that enable them to do so [count that as a half-victory]
The same flaw as above appears here too.
They present the ToE as Lamarkianism-- straw man, and dishonest as well.
The final paragraph about the austs. is another straw man. They present mutation as kind-of a gestalt, all or nothing transformation. It is the hopeful-monster view-point.
quote:-they refuse to acknowledge change from the 'ladder' view to the 'bush' view.
It actually looks to me like they do accept the bush view, but claim that such a view falsifies evolution. Another straw man. They are taking the ladder view of evolution and cannonizing it. Then falsifying it. Wow... gee... that's a trick.
The gist of it seems to me to be that 'the fossil record is a mess so evolution is falsified'
quote:-they think I'm misquoting them misquoting Henry Gee.
quote: Briefly, Gee is saying that the model for human evolution comes "not from direct fossil evidence," that there is "a huge and frustrating gap" in the fossil record, and that therefore the view of the "missing link" is also "completely untenable." This is what we have been saying from the beginning. Therefore Primanda's allegation that Gee was misquoted is entirely unfair.
Lets look at the summary:
1) Gee said 'not from direct fossil evidence' he did not say 'not from any evidence' In this case the evidence is from genetic studies.
2) The 'frustrating fossil gap' is a meaningless argument. For it to have weight one has to jump to the conclusion that there are no fossils to fill the gap instead of to the more rational conclusion that we haven't yet found any fossils to fill it.
3) The 'missing link' idea is completely untenable. The missing link idea is a vestige of great-chain-of-being thought. It is the Hollywood half-man/half-ape fantasy. This is an attack upon a theory that is long dead.
Since I'm not a paleontologist, I took the liberty of posting your request to Infidels forum. Here's the thread so you can follow the responses yourself. We've already got a nibble. Ergaster is a paleoanthropologist, verrry sharp and knowledgeable. If anyone can help you out, the scientists who haunt IIDB should be able to.
quote:Originally posted by peter borger: Dear John, How was it again with the line up and the position of the foramen magnum in these 'primates'? I couldn't make much of it, and still can't. So, could you please help me out?
best wishes, Peter
I'm not sure what you want PeterB. but I'll take a shot.
The position of the foramen magnum-- the connection point between the head and spine-- implies the angle at which the head rests. This in turn implies the general posture of the animal. Think about how your head is positioned on your neck. Then get down on your hands and knees and raise your head to look around. It is pretty easy to understand how it would be helpful for your spine to attach to your head a little further back. This is where it attaches in animals like dogs. The more upright an animal's posture the further foreward, or under, the foramen magnum rolls.
Sahelanthropus has a foramen magnum positioned within the range you'd expect for a bipedal animal-- not quite as far forward as in humans but pretty far foreward nonetheless.
Sorry, I thought you were linking to it. For the delectation of all concerned, here are Ergaster's comments, in toto:
quote:Originally posted by Ergaster on iidb (link as above):
There is nothing very unusual about the original Yahya page ("New Fossil Discovery Sinks Evolutionary Theories") in that it consists of the typical mélange of gross oversimplifications, strawmen, wishful thinking, and ignorance that we have become so fond of from creationists. It's all standard stuff--he makes declarations with no supporting evidence, invents fictional evolutionary "theories" and then demolishes them, and quote-mines freely while completely misunderstanding or ignoring the actual meaning of the quoted passages. None of the sources he uses include the original article (which was available for free for a time on the Nature website), so anything he claims about the skull has come from second-hand commentaries.
I assume that the phrase "stooped posture just like other apes" is supposed to mean that australos did not habitually walk upright, which is, of course, false. HY cites no references, possibly because every study done in the last 30 or so years has shown that australos were unequivocally and unambiguously bipeds, even if the manner of their bipedalism is not entirely clear. It is irrelevant if they did not walk exactly like modern humans do, because, of course, australos were not modern humans, and no evolutionist has ever claimed they were.
HY seems to be trying to give the impression that evolutionists think apes and humans are related because of the mere presence of similarities, but of course this is completely erroneous. Evolutionists know that humans and apes are closely related because of decades of work that has already been done, in a huge variety of different fields that are quite independent of human evolution. HY also clearly fails to understand the nature of science and does not realize that science proceeds by building on the knowledge that has gone before, even if that means we need to revise our ideas in the face of new information. Declaring that human evolution is "false" because we have learned that old ideas about it are erroneous is ignorance of the highest degree. HY seems to think that the "ladder" version is still correct and everyone else is wrong, despite the fact that the "ladder" has been proven to be the wrong model in many lineages of organisms, not just humans. He is perfectly entitled to his opinion, of course, but he is not entitled to complain when educated people laugh at him.
HY also manages to entirely misunderstand what his sources are actually saying. It might be misleading to assert that he is "misquoting"--technically, he is not because he did get all of the words in the right order; what HY completely failed to do, of course, is attribute the correct meaning to the words quoted, but it is unclear whether this is from dishonesty or ignorance.
For example, the Bernard Wood quotes are quite correct. HY apparently is trying to make a point by emphasizing the sentence "Now human evolution looks like a bush", but even that is true--the human evolutionary tree *does* look like a bush. But so what? As we have seen, only HY seems to think this is a problem; everyone else is perfectly aware of what Wood means by this.
However, his interpretation of Henry Gee is completely off the mark, but the reasons are rather complex and require the reading of Gee's book In Search of Deep Time to fully understand why. But in short, Gee is *not* admitting (or even implying) that evolution does not happen or that common descent is not true, he is emphasizing that the "ladder" or "chain" idea of evolution is false and misleading (this is an image that Stephen Jay Gould also used to rail about, so it is not a new complaint by any means), and that a proper understanding of evolution requires the realization it does not proceed in a linear, one-species-after-another fashion, but that many closely-related species usually exist at the same time. Because of this, it is usually impossible to determine an ancestor from a very close cousin (they will look very much alike), and Gee insists that the focus in paleontology should be on reconstructing the pattern of relationships instead of worrying about which species is ancestral to which other. The best we'll be able to do with fossil hominids is to claim varying degrees of kinship rather than trace a direct line from one fossil to another (it is the best we can do with pretty well any other group of organisms, be they horses or dinosaurs). As we have seen, the "bush" concept of evolution and speciation is apparently beyond HY's grasp, so he continues to beat a strawman.
There is probably no need to comment on his use of Jonathan Wells as a source....
Now, on to Primanda's rebuttal. I hate to have to agree with HY (in their reply to AP), but Andya does seem to have missed the mark. He is not wrong in most of his facts--please be clear about that--but he was apparently aiming at a slightly different target. I'll just restrict myself to some of the problems I saw.
Firstly, HY is correct in one thing--the "human-like" features of Toumai were identified by Brunet et al. and not first by HY. HY certainly misunderstood the significance of these, but still, it is not HY's claim, but the discoverer's. I note that AP has referenced the Brunet et al. article, so I am surprised he did not catch this. At any rate, it seems to have led to a subsequent discussion on AP's part that is actually rather peripheral to the (entirely trivial) claims in HY's article on Sahelanthropus.
The thick supraorbital torus is considered by Brunet et al., to be a derived feature, and not a primitive one, since they compare it to that of Pleistocene Homo erectus. Although the foramen magnum position has received a lot of emphasis in commentaries, its significance is played down in the original article, as is the question of whether it was bipedal. Brunet et al's conclusion on bipedalism is a definite "maybe". The position of the f.m. is in fact difficult to ascertain, since the basicranium is distorted and the f.m. shape and position are out of whack. Not only that, but the nuchal plane is very long, which will reflect on the position of the f.m (Hawks pers. comm.) The short face and low prognathism are a couple of the more intriguing features, but alas the photo provided in Brunet et al. is oriented way off the Frankfurt horizontal, so it makes direct comparisons with most other hominid photos problematic. AP does not mention just how he oriented the hominid outlines in relation to Sahelanthropus, and even though he mentions a comparison with A. afarensis in the text, I did not see a corresponding figure. Given the orientation of the original photo, I'm not sure that these outline comparisons actually accomplish anything meaningful.
AP is quite correct when he points out that HY misinterpreted both Wood and Gee, although unfortunately AP also mischaracterized Gee's opinion. I have not read Gee's comment in the Guardian, but in his book In Search of Deep Time he makes it quite clear that he does *not* subscribe to the view that every organism is a "missing link" or transitional. On page 45 he says: "They [fossil hominids] were neither missing links nor transitional forms: they existed in their own right, not as staging posts..." (I happen to disagree with him, because I think one can legitimately identify morphological transitions in the fossil record, even if they are not phylogenetic ones, but of course, the issue is not what I believe or Yahya believes, but what Gee means). HY's problem is that he wants to insist that evolution depends on the linear model, which renders his objections and interpretations ridiculous and based on nothing but ignorance and fantasy.
And just as a postscript: Mayr's idea is interesting, but a little off the mark. Firstly, Homo rudolfensis simply is not as distinctive as Mayr seems to think it is; in fact, there are really very few features that link it to the Homo clade to the exclusion of the australos, and in many ways it is quite australo-like (it certainly isn't "far more advanced"). However, this is actually what we would expect to see if H. rudolfensis is a very early member of the genus Homo--it should not look very distinctive, but should retain rather a lot of primitive features. And with the discovery of Kenyanthropus platyops, there may in fact be an australopithecine-grade east African ancestral population from which it derives (though not a large one). The plot thickens.
I will address HY's reply to AP later. Even if Andya's aim was slightly off, his reply *was* valuable because it provided HY with even more rope to hang himself with.
Gee, Henry. 1999. In Search of Deep Time: Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life. New York: The Free Press, 267 pp.
I followed the discussion there, but the thread sunk under some 'local' threads. Quetzal, can you re-heat the thread there? Tell them that Harun Yahya had successfully made creationism an international problem. Also, I am waiting for Ergaster's further comments.
Your attempts to return the compliment to brother Harun Yahya is worth the attempt. Brother Yahya makes a lot of good points in his article and it will take one hell of a bunch of atheists to help you out with this. But keep trying....
Thanks for the support. Honest. The only reason there are only atheists helping me is that there are no serious Muslim scientists active in EvC (I count myself as a scientist apprentice; Delshad is still a student).
Anyway, don't you think that science is equally accessible to both atheists and theists of every stripe? As long as they do not question my faith I do not feel annoyed by their help.
There's no harm in seeking knowledge. Knowledge is fardh (obligaotory) for every Muslim. But why should we seek knowledge from flagrantly godless people who have devoted their whole life to materialism?? Are there no other means?