Thursday, October 1, 2009

From the Darwin LOL Files...



"You may not be interested in the God vs. Darwin issue, but the God vs. Darwin issue is interested in you." - Lawrence Auster

Exhibit 1,389: This story is the banner headline on The Huffington Post.

Ardi: Oldest Human Skeleton Discovered, Bipedal Origin May Be Revealed


The article begins innocently enough...

The big news in the journal Science tomorrow is the discovery of the oldest human skeleton--a small-brained, 110-pound female of the species Ardipithecus ramidus, nicknamed "Ardi." She lived in what is now Ethiopia 4.4 million years ago, which makes her over a million years older than the famous "Lucy" fossil, found in the same region thirty-five years ago.

Fine. Interesting. Then we come to these LOL Darwinist myths...


The journalist writes....

One of the defining attributes of Lucy and all other hominids--members of our evolutionary lineage, including ourselves--is that they walk upright on two legs....

So why did her species become bipedal while it was still living partly in the trees, especially since walking on two legs is a much less efficient way of getting about?

Yes. Why? Do tell...

Let's suppose that some lesser male, with poor little stubby canines, figures out that he can entice a fertile female into mating by bringing her some food...Such a strategy could catch on if searching for food required a lot of time and exposure to predators. Males would be far more successful food-providers if they had their hands free to carry home loads of fruits and tubers--which would favor walking on two legs.

So our ancestors starting walking on 2 legs so the males could carry more food to their lovers?


To quote Ace Ventura: "Alllllright then..."


But this is the best part...

Buried among the slew of papers about the new find is one about the creature's sex life. It makes fascinating reading, especially if you like learning why human females don't know when they are ovulating...


If the female knew when she was fertile, she could basically cheat the system by taking all the food offered by her milquetoast of a provider, then cuckold him with a dominant male when she was ovulating, scoring the best of both worlds. The food-for-sex contract thus depends on what Lovejoy calls "the most unique human character"--ovulation that not only goes unannounced to the males of the group, but is concealed even from the female herself.

Read that last line again...The female half-monkey/half-human - in her infinite wisdom - concealed ovulation "even from herself." Sometimes I wonder if the Darwinists are just testing us to see how dumb we are.


The article concludes...

Regular meals, monogamy, and discretion--who would have thought our origins were so sedate?

Speak for yourself, pal.


But seriously...Why do the Darwinists feel compelled to inject such Reductionist nonsense into a legitimate news story?... Why do they feel compelled to "de-rationalize people, and thus, dehumanize them."


To answer that, let's turn to the atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel.


In his book, The Last Word, Nagel talks about the "Cosmic Authority Problem" and the "fear of religion" found among scientists....

In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions...I am talking about something much deeper—namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and wellinformed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.


My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind. Darwin enabled modern secular culture to heave a great collective sigh of relief, by apparently providing a way to eliminate purpose, meaning, and design as fundamental features of the world"


If the Scientific Elite has a genuine "fear of religion," no one should be surprised that they want to spread that "fear" to the masses. And thus they will use every tool at the their disposal to do precisely that.


H/T: Subversive Thinking.


For more on this topic, see my essay, Sex with Blondes and Darwin.


***UPDATE, OCT. 1, 2009***


This is interesting...


Oldest Known Hominid Sheds Light on Human Evolution (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


The first major analysis of one of the earliest known hominids suggests that humans may not have evolved from apes.

One of the principal investigators, C. Owen Lovejoy, associate professor of biological anthropology at Kent State University, said the research reveals that the reverse could be true: Apes might have evolved from the hominids that eventually evolved into humans.

"People often think we evolved from apes, but no, apes in many ways evolved from us," Dr. Lovejoy said. "It has been a popular idea to think humans are modified chimpanzees. From studying Ardipithecus ramidus, or 'Ardi,' we learn that we cannot understand or model human evolution from chimps and gorillas."

The research is being published in a special edition of the journal Science.


Doesn't Dr. Lovejoy know that "evolution is a fact," and not to question it?


"But what's evolution?" asks the mouse. "That word can mean a lot of things."


"It doesn't matter. Just don't question it."


"Oh, ok."



H/T: Jonah Goldberg.


***UPDATE, OCT. 2, 2009***




Lawrence Auster emailed me this morning with a few suggested changes to my essay for the sake of clarity (which I've made), and a few questions about my argument.


This is what I wrote back...


Larry: Yes, you are right. The article quoting Lovejoy is incoherent, and in retrospect, my own article deconstructing Lovejoy and the Darwinists could use a bit more clarity. Let me try again through this email.


I guess I had 2 major points...


1) Regarding the Huffington Post, I thought it was peculiar that at least half of the article was regurgitating Darwiniian "just-so" stories about human evolution millions of years ago that cannot - by definition - be proven or disproven. We're so used to these stories cropping up in articles about fossil discoveries that we forget that a responsible journalist would simply report the facts of the event (the discovery of the fossil), or (if they simply can't control themselves) repeat the Darwinian stories, but also add the caveat that these stories are speculation at best, far from proven facts. And then I ask: "What compels the Scientific Community to do these things?" That's when I cite the atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel who argues that the Scientific Elite has a "fear of religion" - a fear - that - if these articles are any guide - they are quite eager to spread to the masses.


2) Regarding the Dr. Lovejoy quote, it does sound like the good doctor himself is confused by what it all means. And that too is my point. The arch-Darwinists constantly repea,t "Darwinism is a fact; Darwinism is fact," but for any honest investigator, it is NOT a fact. It might true, or it might be false, but based on the evidence, it is NOT a fact.


Dr. Lovejoy speculates that apes evolved from humans. By saying this, Dr. Lovejoy (who as far as I know is an arch-Darwinist) is suggesting a radical reinterpretation of Darwinian theory: that apes evolved from humans (not the other way around).


Needless to say, the fact that this question is still being entertained in the year 2009 (150 years after Darwin's book) shows that Darwinian evolution ISN'T a fact. It's a speculation. The whole thing is a speculation.

Larry's articles on this topic can be found here, here, and here.


I like this quote of his:

"I hereby move that all popular journalism about evolution and related subjects be banned. It's worse than useless. But the problem is, the scientists are little better than the journalists. Much like the journalists, the scientists allow themselves to say whatever they feel like saying, with no concern for whether it is internally consistent or not, and even whether it makes sense or not."

I second that motion!

-Todd



**UPDATE, OCT. 6, 2009**


Casey Luskin summarizes some of the major problems with "Ardi" here and here.

He concludes...

"What do we have with “Ardi”? We have an extremely crushed “Irish stew” fossil that has undergone extensive reconstruction in order to become part of a PR campaign to make bold claims of ancestral status to the human line, even though at base its qualities are very similar to previously known fossils, and there's a lot of skepticism about the claims being made. In other words, we have the typical media circus that we find every time a new "missing link" is found.


Indeed. The clowns in the circus (especially those at The Huffington Post) should feel quite silly.


**UPDATE, OCT. 7, 2009**

According to this article, The New York Times put the Ardi story "on the front page...above the fold." Shall we add the NY Times to the list of "clowns" who report breathlessly about every new "missing link" when no such link has been proved? Sure, why not?




11 comments:

Chuck said...

Todd:

you are intentionally being belligerent as per usual. lovejoy isn't implying that evolution didn't take place. he's also not implying that evolution didn't take place from a more primal species. he's actually making a case for the speciation that theists often cite the lack of to make their case *against* evolution and Darwinism.

and just because some people use Darwinism for reductionist ends doesn't mean that it is inherently reductionist - at least not any more reductionist than theism.

novaseeker said...

Yeah the conventional explanation I have seen as to why human females have concealed ovulation is not to trick the female herself, but to trick the male. That is, it's an evolutionary adaptation in human females to facilitate cuckolding because her pair bond doesn't know when she is fertile. The female doesn't know with precision when she is fertile, either, but her body does send her cues: women tend to be randier when fertile and also attracted to different sorts of men. So the fertile effect is present in women, even if they perceive it as randiness and certain kinds of attraction.

Studies have shown, also, that female adultery (i.e. cuckolding) is more likely to occur during the small fertile period than during the rest of the month. See Baker's "Sperm Wars".

Todd White said...

CR: "Lovejoy isn't implying that evolution didn't take place...He's actually making a case for the speciation."

TW: Yes, I'm aware of that. I was merely making light of the fact that Lovejoy (who as far as I know is an arch-Darwinist) was making a major, dare I say, radical reinterpretation of Darwinian theory: that apes involved from humans (not the other way around).

Needless to say, the fact that this question is even being entertained in the year 2009 (150 years after Darwin's book) shows that Darwinian evolution ISN'T a fact. It's speculation. The whole thing is a speculation.

CR: "Just because some people use Darwinism for reductionist ends doesn't mean that it is inherently reductionist."

TW: In theory, I'm willing to go along with that. But in practice, I have to disagree. Atheists use Darwinism as a sledgehammer against faith and as propaganda for materialism. And since most people casually accept Darwinism as *truth* (after all, they had to accept the "truth" a good grade in high school biology) they are intellectually and morally defenseless against the claims of prominent scientists like Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, etc. that Darwinism *does* equal atheism.

Bottom Line: I don't think it's unfair of me to say that Darwinism is Reductionist.

Todd White said...

Nova: "Studies have shown, also, that female adultery (i.e. cuckolding) is more likely to occur during the small fertile period than during the rest of the month. See Baker's "Sperm Wars".

TW: Just so I'm clear: Is this a study of human females?

novaseeker said...

Yes it is. I'd recommend the book -- some of it is rubbish, but that bit isn't. Adultery is more common during the fertile period (for women).

Todd White said...

Hmm, that strikes me as plausible, but to this day, no one has explained to me what any of it has to do with Darwinian evolution.

In my opinion, if we want to understand human nature, we're better off studying flesh-and-blood human beings in the year 2009 than speculating about what our ancestors may or may not have done millions of year ago.

That's why I found the Huffington Post article so silly. If the book you're recommending, "Sperm Wars," focuses on real people, rather than dead monkeys, then it may have some legitimate value.

Chuck said...

"In my opinion, if we want to understand human nature, we're better off studying flesh-and-blood human beings in the year 2009 than speculating about what our ancestors may or may not have done millions of year ago."

Ah, so this is why you can't grasp the concepts of HBD and Game.

How can we learn anything about the psychological, physiological, and sociological make-up of humans just by studying them in their current state? You could say "well women like high status men because it allows them to obtain material goods." But why do they care to obtain material goods? HBD-rooted thought would lead us to the conclusion that females prefer high-status males because it benefits their offspring. This is quite true. But in the face of abortion and contraceptive use (especially), human intersexual relations largely lose the reproductive facet of the relationship. What's left over is the biological drive that induces women to find men attractive. Studying human nature allows us to realize that the biological urge remains while the mechanism has been marginalized.


I'll use the title of a Joyce Carol Oates short story here "Where are you going, Where have you been?"

If we don't study current human behavior against a backdrop of what we're pre-disposed towards (by natural selection's "hand") we have no way of knowing the reasons we tend to do the things we do. if you want to argue that leftists endorse darwinism because it explains reductionist ends, i'll agree with that. leftist ideology benefits greatly from darwinism *but only on the surface*.

if you dig down deep and realize that we have an innate morality, an innate order, and diverse innate natures, leftist egalitarian thought is pointless in application to society.

we have to know where these natures came from in order to understand our current situation. knowing this allows us to determine what works and what doesn't work wrt social interaction.

novaseeker said...

It does focus on people's behavior today. It's comprised of a series of real life scenarios (all very plausible) followed by the author's interpretation of the actions in biological terms. Not all of it is convincing, as I say, but it's a very interesting read.

Todd White said...

Chuck:

First, let me begin by saying that I don't think evolutionary psychology is TOTALLY useless; I would just say it's MOSTLY useless.

An example: You wrote - very casually - that "in the face of abortion and contraceptive use (especially), human intersexual relations largely lose the reproductive facet of the relationship."

To that, I can only ask: "Why?"

Can evolutionary psychology explain why that change take place? Nope.

Can evolutionary psychology make any useful predictions about future human sexual behavior? I don't think so.

And why not? Because the evolutionary psychologists see human beings as merely glorified apes. They refuse to consider the possibility that human beings have the capacity to reason, and do in fact use reason quite often in their affairs.

Sadly, the evolutionary psychologists are trapped in their own Reductionist paradigm. And that's what makes them practically useless.

The truth is, we can do just fine researching and understanding human nature without inventing Darwinian just-so stories that - by definition - can never be proven or disproven (at least until we invent a time machine).

I wrote about this in my first essay about the Game phenomenon...

http://mustardseednovel.blogspot.com/2009/08/sex-love-and-marriage-in-modern-society.html

Chuck said...

"And why not? Because the evolutionary psychologists see human beings as merely glorified apes. They refuse to consider the possibility that human beings have the capacity to reason, and do in fact use reason quite often in their affairs."

That's a shortcoming of those scientists then, not of the science itself (although I'd argue that those guys don't view their work in a vacuum; they're fully aware of current human behavior).

This is the thing about Evo psych that i don't think has been fully accounted for: we are the only animals with language and ability to reason. we are able to reason away certain behaviors that we were biologically predestined to perform. the fact that many people are happier *not* having children than having them is a loop-hole in evolution's process.

i've never argued that science and such are the best thing for humanity, just that - as a seeker of truth rather than noble lies - it is "right".


and, btw, the evo psych guys are trapped in no more of a reductionist paradigm than you my friend. you haven't come close to proving that your system of *belief* is any more absolute than the idea that some sort of objective morality is instilled in humans.

Todd White said...

CR: This is the thing about Evo psych that i don't think has been fully accounted for: we are the only animals with language and ability to reason. we are able to reason away certain behaviors that we were biologically predestined to perform.

TW: That’s beautiful, man. Seriously. That is the total opposite of the current Reductionist paradigm. And for that, I salute you.

CR: i've never argued that science and such are the best thing for humanity, just that - as a seeker of truth rather than noble lies - it is "right".

TW: I’m confused. What is “right?” “Evolutionary psychology? You just said above that evolutionary pshcology doesn’t account for reason, and is thus gravely flawed.

CR: “Btw, the evo psych guys are trapped in no more of a reductionist paradigm than you my friend. you haven't come close to proving that your system of *belief* is any more absolute than the idea that some sort of objective morality is instilled in humans.”

TW: Honestly, I think have. Not just once or twice. But many, many times.