In reading the coverage of Homo naledi, as the species is called now, it seems clear to me that the spin put on the actual bones depends on the assumptions of the writers. What do I mean? Bones can only tell us so much. The rest is a matter of interpretation, and one’s point of view inevitably tends to color that interpretation.
Let me give two examples:
The first example is how writers interpret skull size. H. naledi had a small brain compared to ours, about the size of a chimpanzee’s. To some writers that seems to indicate the probable lack of high levels of cognition. Only species with brain sizes near our own are considered intelligent. The data used to support that claim are (a) our current knowledge of chimp and gorilla brain sizes, and their lack of rational, abstract thought; and (b) the claim that a gradual progression in brain size exists from australopiths to Homo erectus to Neanderthals to us, indicating a gradual progression in intelligence, which fits the evolutionary story.
There are two problems with these interpretations. First, modern humans exhibit a range in brain sizes, and those differences do not correlate with intelligence. The fossil skulls of Homo erectus, the earliest fossil judged to be “human,” exhibit a range in skull size also (but see Casey Luskin’s post on Homo habilis). Second, if we were to judge intelligence based on brain size, Neanderthals would be smarter than us since their average brain sizes were more than average human brain sizes. Maybe they were smarter? – More.
Okay, now the viewer warning: The US election season is upon us. That means Bimbette from Airhead TV is joining Bimbo from Dumbo TV to persuade low information voters that some candidate plans to stop all teaching of Darwin in the schools.
No surprise: Darwin in the schools is good news for fourth rate union science teachers who never keep up, but are reliable low information voters.
It might be good if some assembly actually did stop the teaching of Darwin the schools. That is, if you look at recent stories like: Human evolution: “Taxonomic and undefinable mess.” Some people would have to start keeping up.
But a good thing only IF it forces a serious look when all else fails. Fortunately, most people who are concerned are not asking politicians to get involved. These kinds of problems are better handled in camera, provided they are handled at all.
Darwinism is simply a source of funded corruption in science now. Funded corruption tends to last longer and be more damaging.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (human evolution)
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