On the recent microfossil find from 3.4 billion years ago, Casey Luskin observes at Evolution News & Views (August 24, 2011),
While the NY Times says these microfossils show life existed “surprisingly soon” after the earth became hospitable, ID proponents aren’t surprised by evidence for early life. Materialists are surprised because they expected much more time would be needed for the origin of life to take place.
Yes indeed. Many of us don’t notice the news formulas by which we are taught to think. We are taught to think that evidence for intelligence is “surprising.” The immediate next thought is, “Scientists will discover the answer” – the answer, in this case, being “How intelligence isn’t required.” Over time, most regular readers fall into a sort of thought trap from which only a few get out.
Hint: Adverbs are suspicious characters. Always question them. In this case, “surprisingly.” In another, perhaps, “daringly” or “forcefully.” they enable editorializing for free in a news story.
Of course, some adverbs do convey information. Consider “fatally” vs. “fatefully.” = fact vs. opinion
See also: Earliest fossils found in Australia, 3.4 bya
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