“MILFRED WOLPOFF: If you thought, as a paleontologist, that everybody descended from Africans, what you might expect to do is to go to different regions of the world, find the first modern humans, and say, aha, I’ve studied these people and they look like Africans, and this shows that all modern people came from Africa. But that isn’t the evidence that was there at all. The Fossil people squabble with each other all the time. They fight like cats and dogs, and they do it in public on radio shows and in front of the TV cameras and everyplace else, which leads to what I like to call the “yes-it-is-no-it-isn’t” argument: “Yes WLH-50 is a modern human,” “No is isn’t,” “Yes it is,” “No it isn’t,” “Yes it is” “Well I studied it and it is.” These don’t get anywhere.
No, but he doesn’t draw attention to the main reason for that: The ridiculous uncertainty of the field. And things haven’t changed much. Witness such recent stories as “Missing link a hotchpotch, may never have existed and “Complete skull of an adult male homo erectus creates shock waves.”
When a discipline is undergoing these chops and changes, the problem lies deeper. Most likely that desire for information about human origins has surged far ahead of genuine evidence, tempting many to take positions that the next fossil unearthed can destroy.
Hat tip: Slawek Bioslawek
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