Gil Dodgen offers below a comparison between Mozart and “Lucy”, noting “I can’t think of anything in my wildest imagination that could be more absurd or preposterous.”
Good point. My question is, how much is “Lucy”* an artifact of the imagination?
With Mozart (1756-1791), we are looking at a portrait of a young man about whom we know a good deal, in historical time – the word of contemporaries and the documentary records, as well as his corpus of work and the well-documented circumstances of his time (18th century Vienna).
The worst we can say of the portrait painter of old is that he tended to flatter. If that painting didn’t look like Mozart at all, he wouldn’t get paid.
With Lucy, we are looking at an artist’s rendering of a reconstruction of a few bones, with details about Lucy’s life that are, beyond the most obvious (eat, sleep, etc.), almost entirely a work of someone’s imagination. The more letters that person can put after their name and the greater the number of years “in the field” and shazzam!! Imagination converts to fact, via the assured results of modern science: “Shed’ve … done this.”
For now. Until someone else comes along, with the same or more attributes, makes bigger shazzam!! and behold: “Shed’ve … done that!”
And as for the rest of us: Shut up, you morons, and believe.
Then, faced with this stuff, we have Templeton dweeb Rod Dreher asking, in all seriousness (?): “Why don’t people believe?”
Tell you what, Rod: Because Lucy is far more like a character in The Magic Flute than she is like Mozart. A work of the imagination. That’s why.
* “Lucy”: That, of course, is the name assigned to the fossil by the archaeologists, somewhat like the more recent “Ida” (remember her when she was still with Bloomberg?) By contrast, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had a name his parents gave him.