The excitement is almost unendurable as we ascend ever higher in the Discovery Institute’s list of their Top Ten “achievements” for the year now ending. We have already discussed the first five items in the Discoveroids’ impressive list — see #10, and #9, and #8, and #7 and #6. None of those involved a discovery, experiment, paper published in a recognized science journal, or any science at all that would support their “theory” of intelligent design.
Today we’re going to mention two — yes, two — items on their amazing list. They posted #5 yesterday, but it was so vacuous that it wasn’t worth a post of its own. Here it is: #5 of Our Top Stories of 2019: Shapiro, Berlinski on the Reversion to the Primitive in Modern Life. We still don’t think it’s worth discussing, but you can read the thing and comment on it if you like.
The next item on the Discoveroids’ impressive list is #4 of Our Top Stories of 2019: Apeman Waves Goodbye to Darwinian Gradualism. The author is Discoveroid “senior fellow” Günter Bechly. We wrote about his biggest claim to fame in Discoveroid Günter Bechly Has Been ‘Erased’.
As with the earlier items on the Discoveroids’ glorious list, this one begins with a request for funds. Then, without linking to it, they copy this post that Günter wrote back on 06 September: Apeman Waves Goodbye to Darwinian Gradualism. We ignored it when the thing appeared — maybe because it’s very long — but now we’ll take a look to see what it’s all about. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
A few days ago a sensational new paleontological discovery made headlines around the globe. After 15 years of searching, and the recovery of 12,600 fossils including 230 hominin remains (Leakey Foundation 2019), finally a rather complete skull has been found and described for Australopithecus anamensis, which is the oldest and most primitive representative of the australopithecines, living 4.2-3.9 million years ago. It was generally considered to be the direct ancestor of Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis, that lived in the same region 3.8-2.9 million years ago. The former species was previously known only by some fragments. Now we can finally give it a face. Actually, this face turns out to be very much ape-like, with a small chimp-sized braincase and a protruding jaw, but that is not the really interesting thing about this discovery. I will come back to that in a moment.
Why would that fossil be of interest to the Discoveroids? Oh — ICR posted about it a couple of weeks later, and that’s when we wrote ICR Gets It All Backwards. Let’s see if Günter takes the same path that ICR did. He says:
It turned out to belong toA. afarensis, even though it is reliably dated to 3.9 million years, thus 100,000 years older than the new skull of A. anamensis. This implies that both species did overlap for a considerable period. Consequently, A. anamensis cannot have just transformed and dissolved into A. afarensis.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Günter made the same point that ICR made. In our post about the latter, we said:
Brian [the ICR author] thinks that as as soon as a new species comes into existence, evolution theory demands that all members of the ancestor species should promptly die. We’ve seen this line of “reasoning” before. Brian is asking that old creationist favorite: Why are there still monkeys?
We’ve responded to that goofy question several times before, in several different ways — for example: You agree that dogs are descended from wolves, so why doesn’t it bother you that there are still wolves? If America was founded by England, why are there still Englishmen? And if your children are descended from you, why are you still here? Or to put it in general terms: If the emergence of a new species demands the prompt disappearance of its ancestral stock, then why is there anything on earth other than humans?
Our remarks regarding the creationists at ICR are equally applicable to Günter and the Discoveroids. But Günter’s post is much longer and it has an ark-load of references at the end. It looks so scholarly — but it makes the same point as the post by ICR.
Okay, dear reader, now here’s where we are. There are only three more items left to go in the Discoveroids’ Top Ten list, and we expect those three to be of incredible, world-shaking importance. So we’re putting a challenge to you: Of all the possible discoveries and breakthroughs that were reported in 2019, what do you think will be the Discoveroids’ Number One story of the year? If you don’t have an opinion, that’s okay. We’ll soon know the answer, so stay tuned to this blog!
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