The problem with poop pop science reporting

1/30/2008 | 4:56 PM | Evolved Rationalist

Sometimes, pop science reporting is partly to blame for the creationist misconception that an important part of evolutionary biology or the theory itself has been called into question. Let's see:

The discovery by Meave Leakey, a member of a famous family of paleontologists, shows that two species of early human ancestors lived at the same time in Kenya. That pokes holes in the chief theory of man's early evolution — that one of those species evolved from the other.

The complete skull of Homo erectus was found within walking distance of an upper jaw of Homo habilis, and both dated from the same general time period. That makes it unlikely that Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis, researchers said.
So? How does the discovery that two species co-existed show that the earlier species could not have evolved from the later species? Here, we see how the sensationalist press reports every little discovery as the scientific breakthrough of the century.

The fact that a species co-existed with one of its evolutionary descendants does not mean that serious revisions have to be made to the theory. What this article is implying is that since both species coexisted, one could not be descended from the other. This is simply a misunderstanding of evolutionary theory.

Next comes the 'oooooohhhh.... the linear theory of evolution is wrong wrong wrong' tripe:
And it further discredits that iconic illustration of human evolution that begins with a knuckle-dragging ape and ends with a briefcase-carrying man.
Here we go again. The whole idea of a simple linear progression from ape to man was, for the most part, discarded decades ago. Why do people keep inflating stuff like this into groundbreaking, theory-shattering scientific revolutions?

The Wall Street Journal is even more bile-inducing. They claim that "Fossils Prompt New Evolution Theory" and claim that this discovery calls into question the evolution of our ancestors. Thank you for playing right into the creationists' hands, WSJ!

I would have just rolled my eyes and heaved a long sigh at the sensationalist press before closing the page, but thinking about how creationists rant and rave about how human evolution is WRONG, how Genesis is TRUE, and how Jesus SAVES, I'll end with one 'duh moment' from one of the many articles highlighting this 'discovery that overturned the old theory of human evolution':
...the surprisingly diminutive erectus skull implies that this species was not as humanlike as once thought.
*bangs head on the wall a few times*

Well, what did they expect? The earlier erectus fossils were more ape-like than the later fossils. This is perfectly consistent with the theory that erectus was descended from habilis.

It would certainly help if these people had the slightest clue about what they are attempting to talk about. Again, thanks to the sensationalist press, we'll just sit back and wait as the dumbfuck creationists and theists tell their sheep that human evolution is all a big demonic lie that has been finally refuted.
Wonderful.

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1 Comment

  1. Charlie |

    Is this blog a reincarnation of....

     

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