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Human evolution: The old normal – we claim we know. The new normal – we hint we might not


From “Human Evolution Puzzles & Problems” (Creation-Evolution Headlines, August 20, 2012), we learn that a whole lot of things about human evolution are up in the air – the old normal.

The new normal is that the fact is semi-admitted or hinted at.

In “Remaking history: A new take on how evolution has shaped modern Europeans,” PhysOrg unwittingly let the cat out of the bag about the trustworthiness of previous claims. Watch for the operative phrase “than previously thought” in the opening summary, a phrase suggesting falsification:

Investigators reporting in the Cell Press journal Trends in Genetics say that new analytical techniques are changing long-held, simplistic views about the evolutionary history of humans in Europe. Their findings indicate that many cultural, climatic, and demographic events have shaped genetic variation among modern-day European populations and that the variety of those mechanisms is more diverse than previously thought.

The next paragraph was more optimistic, claiming that a new study published in Trends in Genetics provides “never-before-seen glimpses into the complex evolution of humans in Europe, helping researchers piece together the events that ultimately created what is now known as modern man.”

So, what are these glimpses and pieces? First, the reader must wade through the standard tale. Then comes the overturn: “For some decades, it was assumed that the genetic diversity of contemporary Europeans was shaped mainly during the Neolithic transition; however, it now appears that it was also affected both before and after this key event.” But if that is true, it scrambles the data, making any theory incoherent.

The remainder of the article consisted of promises that future multidisciplinary research might “allow us to obtain a much more accurate and detailed perspective on the nature and timing of major prehistoric processes,” implying that the perspective up to now has been inaccurate and lacking detail. …

Svante Paabo, mapper of the Neanderthal genome, said it best: “There are probably more paleontologists than there are important fossils in the world.”
See also: Human evolution: It was all a coding error, see?


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