Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests

A Jaundiced Eye on Ida


You’ll forgive me if I cast a somewhat jaundiced eye on Ida, evolution’s latest supposed missing link. Yet when the old girl is found gracing even the front page of Google, you know it’s a phenomenon that at least deserves a moment’s notice. Rob Crowther’s post at ENV offers the appropriate response: laughter. Don’t skip the dancing boy video at the end.

If they weren’t atheists, you’d think the scientists raising the ballyhoo over Ida were hailing the second coming.

Here is yet another icon of evolution. Every time one of these discoveries is made, there’s a huge PR snow job from the Darwin lobby to make it seem like it answers all the questions and objections. I thought Tiktaalik did that. Or maybe Archaeopteryx. It goes at least as far back as Proconsul. Each time the Darwinists seem to forget they already found the missing link — the one fossil to rule them all — and re-find it all over again.

Manolith also suggests this headline for the story:

Missing Link Found; Owners Take Flyers Down From Local Lampposts

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Glen Davidson

posted May 20, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Can you differentiate between journalistic hype and the scientific response, David?
Crowther apparently cannot. I suppose if he actually read and understood what scientists actually write, he might be on the path to gaining that ability.
We’ve been laughing at the hype over at Pharyngula for over a day, now. In fact, it appears to me that “island” thought one of my jokes there about the hype was serious…. Indicating–well, I probably shouldn’t say it.
Glen Davidson

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posted May 21, 2009 at 12:09 am

David wrote: “You’ll forgive me if I cast a somewhat jaundiced eye on Ida, evolution’s latest supposed missing link.”
Have any scientists referred to this specimen as a “missing link?” It does seem like she could be a member of a species that is ancestral to all monkeys. She has some monkey-like features, for instance, teeth similar to those of monkeys rather than a tooth comb like lemurs. Her face also is more compact than that of lemurs. And she has finger nails instead of claws. She also has an opposable thumb. And her age makes her older than any other primate fossils that we have discovered. Maybe she is a member of a species that is ancestral to humans. Maybe she is not. I don’t know yet. But she may be. And even if she is not, she is an important find, because she has properties of both lemurs and monkeys, which may help some people get a better understanding of the anatomical changes that resulted in pre-monkeys evolving into monkeys.
Ida obviously doesn’t help me know that bacteria evolved into humans. I already knew that before Ida was found. But it is nice to see such a complete fossil that some reasonable scientists seem to think may be the member of a species that is a direct ancestor of the human species. 47 million years is a long time ago!
Rob Crowther wrote: “Here is yet another icon of evolution.”
What does he mean by “icon of evolution?”
Rob Crowther wrote: “Every time one of these discoveries is made, there’s a huge PR snow job from the Darwin lobby to make it seem like it answers all the questions and objections.”
That sentence is irrelevant to whether anyone is warranted in inferring that Ida is a member of a species that is ancestral to monkeys. Crowther may have committed the ad hominem fallacy here.
Crowther wrote: “I thought Tiktaalik did that. Or maybe Archaeopteryx.”
Tiktaalik is a fairly important specimen in terms of understanding how the anatomical transition from fish to tetrapods occurred. It has both fish properties and tetrapod properties. And many fossils older than it are more fish-like than it. And most, if not all, fossils younger than it are more tetrapod like than it.
Also, Archaeopteryx has helped some people understand that birds evolved from reptiles. It has both bird properties and reptile properties. And all of the fossils that are more bird-like than it are younger than it
Crowther wrote: “It goes at least as far back as Proconsul.”
What point is he making? Proconsul might have helped some people understand how Old World Monkeys evolved into apes. It has properties of both Old World Monkey and apes. And all of the organisms that are more ape-like than it are younger than it. Also, even if proconsul didn’t help anyone know how Old World Monkeys evolved into apes, it still is an interesting find. It is interesting to find an organism that may be ancestral to all apes. These are very old things we are talking about. And real fossils help us understand what certain living organisms in the past actually looked like.
Rob Crowther wrote: “Each time the Darwinists seem to forget they already found the missing link — the one fossil to rule them all — and re-find it all over again.”
Which “Darwinist” does that? What does he mean?

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David Klinghoffer

posted May 21, 2009 at 12:26 am

Steve, I trust you’ll also forgive me if I say your comment analyzing Rob’s light-hearted blog entry puts me in mind of a joke:
Q: “How many Darwinists does it take to screw in a light bulb?”
A: “That’s not funny!”

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Karen Brown

posted May 21, 2009 at 6:17 am

Oh, I wasn’t aware that a blog entitled ‘Recovering the Wisdom of the Hebrew Bible’ was supposed to be filed in the comedy section.
Now that I know we’re not suposed to take anything he says seriously, well, that does explain most of the posts.

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Glen Davidson

posted May 21, 2009 at 12:09 pm

You’re telling us that Crowther’s piece was a joke, David?
True enough, but it wasn’t the kind of joke that makes people laugh.
Glen D

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Your Name

posted May 21, 2009 at 12:25 pm

We did laugh at this piece, because it was a funny joke:
These were my cracks at the hype on Pharyngula:

Ida recently demonstrated a car that runs on cold fusion.
I hear that she’s going to attempt the most challenging scientific research yet, finding a single fact in favor of “Intelligent Design.” If she pulls off that feat, her fame will be secure for all time.

Ida had a Texas cage match with Chuck Norris–and won!

I told you we were laughing at the hype on Pharyngula, David. But you have your canned response to our failure to find yet another of Crowther’s misleading articles to be amusing.
No, conflating yellow journalism with the response of scientists is not funny, except to those who like to throw mud.
Glen Davidson

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posted September 17, 2009 at 12:43 am

It is clear that there is more evidence to support an abrupt arrival of humans rather than a gradual evolution.
It also makes since that intelligent design screams that there was a designer.
And it’s understandable that humans are similar to other creatures because we all have one creator. After all, how many ways are there to make an ear to hear or a mouth to eat.

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Your Name

posted September 17, 2009 at 9:48 am

Now the scientists are saying IDA can’t be a human ancestor, but is rather a side branch.

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