The Bibliobloggers Carnival of Ardi.
Posted on October 3, 2009 at 8:15 am by Dr. Jim
The 4.4 million year old fossil hominid “Ardi” is forcing some rethinking about human evolution.
No video, just music, so turn it on and keep reading.
When I saw the Associated Press story in the Lethbridge Herald this morning I was very pleased. I haven’t written a letter to the editor for ages, and a news story that calmly asserts that the world is older than 6000 years is bound to bring out the loonies. Good letter writin’ ahead for Dr. Jim, folks!
The Mail Online has a great story on the subject, with a lot of images and whatnot.
The Ardipithecus ramidus fossil implies that existing theories about a common ancestor for humans and chimpanzees are wrong, that ancestor needs to be a million years older at least. The chart below is also from the Mail Online story.
Now, there is a lot of sciency stuff to talk about here, and how well the media reported on it, but I’m not the right blogger to do that. PZ Myers over at Phyrangula has a few opinions on the subject and his blog would be a good start with that.
What I’m interested in is the reaction to all of this. Anytime “science” has to change its mind about things because of new evidence is usually cause of much rejoicing in the creationist camp because “once again science got it wrong”.
Again, nothin’ to see but you can listen to some great funky Troglodyte grooves!
What motivated this post was my perusal of the TOP 50 Bibliobloggers list, since I’m now on it (!), and the discovery on that list of some other bloggers who have mentioned Ardi already. So here they are, Ardi according to some Bibliobloggers.
The Blog clan. Grampa Og Blog, Jim West’s great great great (well, not that great) granddaddy, is on the far right with a prehistoric prototype of the now infamous Dilettante whapper.
A Carnival (of sorts)
Cue requisite carnival picture!
Are a few of them Poes?
Well, what did you expect? Some 9/10 nikkid lady dancer?
The Number One Biblioblogger, Jim West, has posted “Evolutionists Meet Your Granny” and suggested that Ardi is the grandmother of Richard Dawkins, among others assorted hominids, along with a few Bible bloggers, including yours truly He includes some photos for comparison. He has forgotten to label them. Here is his picture:
West is on the left. On the right is the great great great grandson of Ulrich Zwingli, some other unimportant guy.
As for a comment on Dr. West’s post, all I can say is “Ardi, har har…”
“Polycarp” (#2 most popular biblioblogger) over at Church of Jesus Christ writes, “Another missing link in evolution found – yes another one” and merely asks how many that is so far. He does give his approval to the following comment by R. Mansfield who writes:
... The problem is that there’s no way to validate something this old as an ancestor to human. Because it’s a primate and we’re technically primates and because it’s old, lots of guesswork is made to link it to us. But if you look at the actual cranial structure, common sense says it’s an extinct ape.
There is no missing link to humans. Modern science has proved that through recent DNA testing. We have neanderthal bones recent enough to show that this species and humans overlapped. But DNA tests reveal that humans and neanderthals are not related. DNA testing proved that not only did we not “evolve” from them; we also never interbred with them.
The next likely candidate is homo erectus, but these have also been proven not to relate to humans.
Ardi is now being called our ancestor, but there’s nothing to connect her to us other than assumption and speculation. The evidence points to special creation of homosapians sapians, but they continue to look for some other explanation denying what is right in front of their noses.
Um, ok, “common sense” interpretations of photos trumps detailed analysis of the real thing by experts. Right.
Matt Dobbs at Kingdom Living (#3 on the list) doesn’t comment on Ardi, but provides what he says is a picture of John the Baptist. Jim West, by the way, is a Baptist. You can see why.
Jeff Oien, the Scripture Zealot, follows the media line and writes that the find means that the “Common understanding of human evolution is reversed”. He includes a photo of one of the scientists, Owen Lovejoy, linked from a Christian Post article (as I’ve done here). Oien writes:
Evolution is a theory that many Christians hold to–some above what Scripture says. Why is this? Evolution is a religion unto itself. The Bible is very clear. God couldn’t have talked with chimps in the garden and they wouldn’t have been embarrassed about being naked.
This is Owen Lovejoy. You can tell he’s really smart because he wears his glasses on top of his head like other scientists do. Or maybe he’s the absent minded professor and puts them there so he won’t forget them. In any case he’s very smart and I don’t doubt his smartness. That’s isn’t everything though.
Well, that certainly settles the matter, doesn’t it? The old argument from glasses on the head added to the standard bullshit line that “evolution is a religion”. Evolution is a religion in the same way that cabbage is the sound of paint fading. And so what if being “smart” isn’t everything. It is hardly all that Prof. Lovejoy has. He has a good education in the relevant sciences and has studied the actual fossils.
Read the Christian Post article, it’s better than Oien’s short blurb, if you can stand accommodationism.
James McGrath (#8) comments on Accepting Darwin’s Theory Without Compromising Faith. He mentions Ardi in passing, writing that it is a pity that it’s referred to as a “missing link” in some sources since:
Ardi is a link in the chain that interconnects all living things on this planet to those organisms that inhabited it in the past. For each such find there are countless other “missing links” on either side. We are filling in our knowledge of relevant fossils as more discoveries come to light, but as Francisco Ayala has said, there really are no more gaps in our understanding of the interrelatedness of all things, since the study of this subject no longer depends only on fossils. We can now study how all living things on this planet are related, using the same methods that allow us to do paternity and maternity testing.
Ah, someone who makes a bit of sense! Dr. McGrath, you win a non-snarky cartoon! It took me a while to find one that is appropriate. I couldn’t, so you are stuck with this one:
Claude Mariottini (#35) in “Ardi: The New Human Ancestor” contrasts the scientific claim that Ardi undermines the older theory that there was a “mising link” in the evolutionary chain with the Bible that:
teaches us that there was a time when the beast became human and that time was when God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).
If there was evolution, God was involved in the process. Because Christians believe human beings were created in the image and likeness of God, human beings are different than the animals. And honestly, when I look at the recreation of “Ardi” above, I do not see any family resemblance.
No family resemblance? Well, maybe Ardi doesn’t resemble the Mariottinis specifically, but to someone trained in human and ape anatomy, however, the resemblance may be far more readily apparent. And for what it’s worth, the Bible doesn’t describe the pre-breath-of-life humans as “the beast”, either.
Well, that’s it. Not many in the Top 50, but then bibliobloggers have many other interests than human evolution and palaeontology. It is interesting that the most sensible comments are by James McGrath and the most fun was had by Jim West. And of course, then there is Dr Jim, who, after yet another cartoon interlude, says:
EVOLUTION HAPPENED AND IS HAPPENING AND IS GOING TO CONTINUE TO HAPPEN. GET YER HEADS OUT OF YER BIBLES INTO A SCIENCE BOOK!
Maybe Dawkins’ new tome on the evidence for evolution will suffice.
Click the Cover to go to the Promo Page
I bought a copy but I haven’t started reading it yet. According to Chris Heard at Higgaion, Dawkins repeats the asinine claim that the Bible is from the bronze age. I do wish he would do some more reading on biblical scholarship before he writes about the bible but alas.
Perhaps we could make a deal. Biblical folk will learn more about evolution and he can learn more about history.
If people want to believe in evolution and God at the same time, I don’t much care, but I don’t see why anyone needs the latter to make the former work. There are evolutionary explanations for morality and group solidarity, and even evolutionary explanations for belief in gods, spirits and cosmic principles.
What Religious Studies really needs is a lot closer cooperation with the folks looking into human evolution and especially the evolutionary reasons for why religion developed in the first place.
So, lets have some more music!
Edited to add: Brian LePort at Near Emmaus: Christ and Text was feeling shunned because I didn’t include his post, Ardi = Eve. I only went through the first 50 on the list, but jeepers, NECT has way over 100 comments on his post. Jumpin’ Kadiddlieboppers! Anyway, he hardly takes a literal view on Genesis and adds “I must say though that if Eve looks like Ardi it is a miracle that Adam found her so attractive (see 2:22-23)!”
No argument there. But then, there’s no telling what Adam looked like…
And besides, when Adam and Eve were being thrown out of the garden, Adam wrote the FIRST COUNTRY SONG EVER! (Hence the fall of humanity…)
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