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Author Topic:   A Critique of the "Evolution Essay"
Member (Idle past 2359 days)
Posts: 504
From: Juneau, Alaska, USA
Joined: 03-22-2004

Message 1 of 2 (320625)
06-11-2006 7:59 PM

In the topic Evolution Logic, Someone Who Cares suggests that a new topic be proposed to look at his essay (http://EvC Forum: Evolution Logic -->EvC Forum: Evolution Logic) which can be found at: Page Not Found - Webs.
I have been itching to start responding to such a topic, and out of impatience I decided to propose it myself. As the essay is an attempt to disprove the scientific validity of evolution it would fit well in the “Is it science?” category. I would envision that a piece of the essay be presented with an attempted refutation, then allow SWC to defend or clarify it. For this to work it would be important that we keep it simple and avoid ”dogpiling’. Also keeping this a critique of SWC’s essay, not him.
As it turns out I have on hand a good number of the references cited in the essay on my bookshelf, especially the portions on human evolution. So I will start there. One important point that seems to be found throughout the essay is the definition of the word hominid. This term means members of the human family (Hominidae) and includes humans, gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, as well as the extinct dryopithecinces, sivapithecines, and those forms classes as human fossils (although IIRC the sivapithecines and orangutans may still be considered pongids, family Pongidae). Hominid does not nor ever has meant simply “ape-man.” These distinctions are important in science because science relies on precise definitions.
SWC writes:
Ramapithecus is one of these finds. Based on merely some teeth, for about twenty years he was believed to be a hominid, a transition between ape and man. But he is now known to be just an extinct orangutan type of monkey.
This is fairly accurate. The palate and teeth of Ramapithecus look very much like human teeth. Where creationists go wrong with these points is to use them as evidence of flaws in the theory. It wasn’t Gish or Hovind that revealed Ramapithecus to be a sivapithecine, it was evidence found by scientists. As more skull fragments were discovered paleoanthropologists determined that Ramapithecus was a sivapithecine that had teeth and jaws that were similar to humans. Even before this happened molecular data was suggesting that Ramapithecus was far too old to be on the human side of the ”split’. Subsequent fossils finds show that the molecular data is extremely accurate (we call this multiple lines of evidence). BTW, apes and monkeys are very very different creatures.
SWC writes:
Hesperithecus was made from just a pig’s tooth! It was used as a hominid for 14 years until the truth was found out.
Nebraska man was also based on a pig’s tooth, just like Hesperithecus!
A bit of research would show that Hesperopithecus and Nebraska man are the same thing. It wasn’t used as a hominid for 14 years. The find is a rather insignificant footnote in the history of science. The discoverer only suggested that it might be an extinct species of ape but that judgment needs to wait for more material. It was a London newspaper that claimed it was a human fossil. The find was quickly recognized for what it was. Like with Ramapithecus this shows the self-correcting nature of science. People like Kent Hovind claim that Hesperopithecus is being used as proof of evolution, which is completely false.
Piltdown man was an ape’s jaw placed with a human skull, but for 45 years paleontologists called it ape human, and they wrote about 500 books on it!
500 books? On Piltdown? I am going to be generous and assume you made an honest mistake when citing F.C Howell as the source of that as he simply does not make this claim (Piltdown is mentioned as a fraud and chimaera, but nothing about 500 books) Although any more mis-cites and I will start becoming suspicious .
Pliopithecus was named a hominid because it was a cross between the spider monkey and a gibbon.
Doh! Not in Howell!
Proconsul was just an extinct type of an ape. No human characteristics in him. Dryopithecus was based on only a lower jaw and some teeth fragments, but later those bones were known to be just an extinct ape’s bones. [12] Nothing human about him either, he is not a hominid. Oreopithecus was based on only some teeth and the remains of a pelvis, it is also an extinct ape. [13]
Your point? The abovementioned finds have never been thought to be nor claimed to be human (okay, so Oreopithecus enjoyed a stint as a possible candidate for the common ancestor of apes and humans). Also Oreopithecus is known from nearly complete skeletons. We know more about Oreopithecus than we do any other extinct ape species. Howell never said that (known only from some teeth and a pelvis). That is three fabricated oops, I mean mistaken citations from one source!
I will leave it at this and hope this gets promoted.

Doctor Bashir: "Of all the stories you told me, which were true and which weren't?"
Elim Garak: "My dear Doctor, they're all true"
Doctor Bashir: "Even the lies?"
Elim Garak: "Especially the lies"

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Message 2 of 2 (320630)
06-11-2006 8:02 PM

Thread copied to the A Critique of the "Evolution Essay" thread in the Is It Science? forum, this copy of the thread has been closed.

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