JREF Homepage Swift Blog Events Calendar $1 Million Paranormal Challenge The Amaz!ng Meeting Useful Links Support Us
James Randi Educational Foundation JREF Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   JREF Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal
Click Here To Donate

Notices


Welcome to the JREF Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.

Reply
Old 27th November 2006, 05:48 PM   #1
Keerax
Scholar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 64
Lucy fossil debunked?

My girlfriend and a friend of mine have both told me that they recently saw a program proclaiming new evidence of the Lucy fossil that disproves she could have possibly been a transitional fossil for humans. Could anyone provide links to this information or even corroborate it for me? I've tried searching google and even these forums but the only websites I've found saying so were all creationist websites and they'll obviously be denying anything that ties humans to apes.

Thanks in advance!
Keerax is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th November 2006, 05:59 PM   #2
Soapy Sam
NLH
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 27,168
Can you not ask your friends for the name of the programme?

If they can't recall the name, I have to wonder how accurate is their recall of the content. The interpretation of hominid fossils is open to much speculative hypothesizing and subject to change as new evidence is found. I have not heard about this, but it's not impossible.
Soapy Sam is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th November 2006, 06:08 PM   #3
Questioninggeller
Illuminator
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,052
Originally Posted by Keerax View Post
... saw a program proclaiming new evidence of the Lucy fossil that disproves she could have possibly been a transitional fossil for humans.
A scientific show claiming that? Maybe a creationist argument on TV (an incorrect claim). There is no debate about whether it/she was a hominid.

Quote:
The term hominid refers to a member of the zoological family Hominidae. Hominidae encompasses all species originating after the human/African ape ancestral split, leading to and including all species of Australopithecus and Homo. While these species differ in many ways, hominids share a suite of characteristics which define them as a group. The most conspicuous of these traits is bipedal locomotion, or walking upright.
http://www.asu.edu/clas/iho/lucy.html

It is one of many "transition" fossils showing a progression of change.

Last edited by Questioninggeller; 27th November 2006 at 06:11 PM.
Questioninggeller is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th November 2006, 06:24 PM   #4
Gravy
Downsitting Citizen
 
Gravy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: In the argyle
Posts: 17,137
You may also be interested in a more recent find, dubbed "Baby Lucy." She's much more complete than adult Lucy, and older. There's a more detailed article than the above link in the December issue of Scientific American.
__________________
"Please, keep your chops cool and don’t overblow.” –Freddie Hubbard

What's the Harm?........Stop Sylvia Browne........My 9/11 links
Gravy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th November 2006, 07:00 PM   #5
articulett
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Las Vegas, NV (and the ethers of cyberspace)
Posts: 15,786
Originally Posted by Gravy View Post
You may also be interested in a more recent find, dubbed "Baby Lucy." She's much more complete than adult Lucy, and older. There's a more detailed article than the above link in the December issue of Scientific American.
Yep...There's a great mock up of what she looked like on the front of National Geographic (and I'd send a link) if the evil internet demons weren't making my cable behave so annoyingly. The photos in side are sooo fantastic; there's this one where you can see her lying on her side with her little hand up by her face (as they found her) and it just pushed all the "mom buttons" in me--even though you can't help but notice the lower face protrudes in a somewhat chimp like fashion.

It was a true marvel to find such a well preserved ancient specimen.

The big controversy over Lucy is whether she was an ancestor of hominids (with today's pygmy's being her closest descendants) or if she was a separate species like Neanderthals are. The common ancestor of all humans and all Neanderthal came prior to the splitting--although some humans appear to have some Neanderthals in their direct ancestry (estimates that 5% of those from Northern Europe do (where the Neanderthals lived.) If Lucy is an upright species (and both she and the new discovery were bipedal), it would be really fascinating if she was a separate species...because then, like the Neanderthal, there were several upright species only one of which survives today. There is a lot to be said for it being a separate species, but one scientist says that it's just a malformed microcephalic proto-human. But with the discovery of the new baby austrolepithecus, it seems there were a whole bunch of this "hobbit" sized people. Whether they our direct ancestors mated with them or helped kill them off is a question that we don't know yet. I don't think we'll have much success at getting DNA from such and old fossil. Much of what we now know about Neanderthal came from molecular DNA studies (first of mitochondrial DNA...and now we have about 1% of their nuclear DNA mapped.)
articulett is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th November 2006, 07:08 PM   #6
blutoski
Philosopher
 
blutoski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 7,449
Originally Posted by Keerax View Post
My girlfriend and a friend of mine have both told me that they recently saw a program proclaiming new evidence of the Lucy fossil that disproves she could have possibly been a transitional fossil for humans. Could anyone provide links to this information or even corroborate it for me? I've tried searching google and even these forums but the only websites I've found saying so were all creationist websites and they'll obviously be denying anything that ties humans to apes.

Thanks in advance!
I think you'll have to ask them for details if you want to follow up. FWIW: Lucy is just the first of many specimens from the same species.

Tell them that in 2006, we should be a little past "I saw it on TV so it must be true."
__________________
"Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness." - Terry Pratchett
blutoski is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th November 2006, 05:20 AM   #7
fuelair
Cythraul Enfys
 
fuelair's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 33,482
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...ors/index.html
for nat. geo info including 3D of reconstructed head
fuelair is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th November 2006, 01:05 PM   #8
bjb
Graduate Poster
 
bjb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,079
I also thought Lucy was an evolutionary dead-end and not an ancestor of modern humans. Here's a story about a fossil that was discovered back in 2001 that cast even more doubt on the Lucy story:

http://www.seacoastonline.com/2001news/3_22_w1.htm

Leakey said the species represented by the new skull could have been an ancestor of modern humans, or it could have been an evolutionary dead end. At the same time, she said, the same could apply to Lucy.

I know that doubts about Lucy being our ancestor have been around well before 2001. About ten years ago, I saw a PBS shows about human evolution and how it didn't seem like there was a branched family tree. At one time, the fossils that did exist suggested a straight-line evolution of humans from one species to another and finally, to us. There were no branches or dead-ends in the family tree as with every other animal on earth and this fact was being used by creationists to prove 'intelligent design'. But after many years and many more discoveries, it was found that there have been many hominid species and our family tree does have some branches and dead ends, just as expected.

I remember when Lucy was discovered back in the 70's and I even read the National Geographic article suggested that she was our earliest known ancestor. It was big news and the idea has been around ever since. But that PBS show was on a long time ago, so I suppose this idea is going to take a long time to catch on. As more people 'discover' this fact, they are going to be surprised that those zany scientists have taken so long to figure it out. Why can't those guys ever make up their minds, anyway?

What's funniest about the creationists who point to these new discoveries as 'proof' of their ideas never mention that it is the real scientists who are making these new discoveries! Creationists don't go out and find evidence to support their claims, they just look at existing information and twist it around to suit their purpose. In this respect, they're a lot like the 9/11 conspiracy theorists.
bjb is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th November 2006, 01:11 PM   #9
AK-Dave
Muse
 
AK-Dave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Alaska
Posts: 586
I think this blog entry discusses this "debunking" near the end:
http://scienceblogs.com/afarensis/20...g_creationist/

It is one of the ScienceBlogs, Afarensis.

-David
__________________
This space for rent.
AK-Dave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th November 2006, 01:14 PM   #10
Marc L
Thread Killer
 
Marc L's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,743
Originally Posted by Keerax View Post
My girlfriend and a friend of mine have both told me that they recently saw a program proclaiming new evidence of the Lucy fossil that disproves she could have possibly been a transitional fossil for humans. Could anyone provide links to this information or even corroborate it for me? I've tried searching google and even these forums but the only websites I've found saying so were all creationist websites and they'll obviously be denying anything that ties humans to apes.

Thanks in advance!
I don't know if it was on tv recently, but I remember back when I was a fundie (between 7 and 14 years ago), being told that Lucy and other "evolutionary" claims had been debunked.

Marc
__________________
Yes I am out of my mind, and it'll be so much more fun once you join me---Mrs. L
Marc L is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th November 2006, 01:28 PM   #11
Meri
Muse
 
Meri's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Boston
Posts: 692
Originally Posted by Marc L View Post
I don't know if it was on tv recently, but I remember back when I was a fundie (between 7 and 14 years ago), being told that Lucy and other "evolutionary" claims had been debunked.

Marc
My roommate my freshman year of college had been told the same thing, except she still believed it. She'd been told that Lucy was a fraud, and I think for some reason believed the skeleton was made of chicken bones.
__________________
It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.
--Good Omens
Meri is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 02:05 AM   #12
articulett
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Las Vegas, NV (and the ethers of cyberspace)
Posts: 15,786
Yes, religion is sly. Tell people to have faith in what you say (and never to question god) and you have gullible masses you can lie to and manipulate. Debunked, indeed.

I think the one they found in 2001 is the baby...they have to clean it off, literally grain by grain...they still haven't uncovered the feet and everyone wants to know if the toes are like humans or opposable like chimps". And though they've found a lot of bones and bone fragments of Lucy types...this is only the second full form--and it is older and more detailed than Lucy.

Do those fundies think National Geographic, Time Magazine, and Scientific American are part of an "evolution" conspiracy? Or does their brains just not compute anything which can sway their belief. Amazing.
articulett is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 03:17 AM   #13
VonNeumann
Muse
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 914
Hi, girl.
I haven't been around for a few months. Last time was posting with you. Just dropped in (couldn't even remember my password).

I don't really know anything about Lucy but I remember reading that Johansen himself claimed publically the bones for Lucy were found at much different places.


After a quick search, I found this from "Creation Science" which you will probably dismiss merely considering the messenger. But if you can believe they accurately reported what the Lucy discoverer/reconstructer says, you'll see here:

http://www.csama.org/csanews/LUCY1.pdf

that he admits a 200 foot vertical spread and more than a one mile spread on where the pieces come from. If that is true, the anthropaleontological community should put this disclaimer up front, in my opinion.

Would you call Lucy a 'fraud' if indeed Johansen assembled one specimen from distantly scattered locations? If there were DNA correlation, then it wouldn't matter -- but I don't know of any DNA analysis done or even if it is possible to do so.
VonNeumann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 03:39 AM   #14
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Whithin earshot of the North Sea
Posts: 17,387
On the idea that a fossil is a malformed specimen: Since the "privilege" of becoming a fossil is given on a random basis (happening to be in just the right place during the right conditions), we can assume that a given fossil is just as representative of its population than any randomly selected individual. In a naturally living population, malformed and otherwise divergent individuals are unlikely to survive for long, so it follows that any random specimen, and thus any fossil, is highly likely to be representative of its population. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that if we find just one fossil, a viable population of creatures like it must have existed. If we find two fossils of the same species, it becomes virtually certain that such a population has existed.

Hans
__________________
Don't. Just don't.
MRC_Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 03:44 AM   #15
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Whithin earshot of the North Sea
Posts: 17,387
Originally Posted by VonNeumann View Post
After a quick search, I found this from "Creation Science" which you will probably dismiss merely considering the messenger. But if you can believe they accurately reported what the Lucy discoverer/reconstructer says, you'll see here:

http://www.csama.org/csanews/LUCY1.pdf
The origin of the message would certainly make me wary of the messenger. However, it is reading the message that makes me likely to dismiss it:

Quote:
On November 20, 1986 several CSA members had the rather
dubious pleasure of joining 800 other folks at UMKC to learn
why LUCY, a "3,000,000 year old" chimpanzee, was really
our ancestor; rather than the assorted apes exhumed by the
Leakey family. Donald Johanson, of Stanford University,
opened with a few persuasive remarks about how all science is
very tentative and "paleoanthropology" is even more tentative
than most (All he has to work with are pieces of rock and lots
of imagination).
I think this sort of sets the style. Can anybody give me a good reason to read on?

Hans
__________________
Don't. Just don't.

Last edited by MRC_Hans; 29th November 2006 at 03:49 AM. Reason: Typos and formatting.
MRC_Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 03:45 AM   #16
Cuddles
Decoy
Moderator
 
Cuddles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: A magical land full of pink fluffy sheeps and bunnies
Posts: 17,909
Originally Posted by articulett View Post
I think the one they found in 2001 is the baby...they have to clean it off, literally grain by grain...they still haven't uncovered the feet and everyone wants to know if the toes are like humans or opposable like chimps". And though they've found a lot of bones and bone fragments of Lucy types...this is only the second full form--and it is older and more detailed than Lucy.
I really want opposable toes.
__________________
If I let myself get hung up on only doing things that had any actual chance of success, I'd never do anything!
Cuddles is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 05:55 AM   #17
Marc L
Thread Killer
 
Marc L's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,743
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post

[/size][/font]
I think this sort of sets the style. Can anybody give me a good reason to read on?
Extreme masochistic tendicies?

Marc
__________________
Yes I am out of my mind, and it'll be so much more fun once you join me---Mrs. L
Marc L is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 06:06 AM   #18
DeviousB
Critical Thinker
 
DeviousB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 374
Originally Posted by VonNeumann View Post
I don't really know anything about Lucy but I remember reading that Johansen himself claimed publically the bones for Lucy were found at much different places.
No, that's what creationists claim, even after it has been shown to be incorrect (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/knee-joint.html).

Quote:
Would you call Lucy a 'fraud' if indeed Johansen assembled one specimen from distantly scattered locations? If there were DNA correlation, then it wouldn't matter -- but I don't know of any DNA analysis done or even if it is possible to do so.
No, I would call it a fraud to pretend that Johansen is saying this when he isn't. It was wrong twenty years ago, it hasn't got 'more right' in the intervening period.
DeviousB is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 06:33 AM   #19
ponderingturtle
Orthogonal Vector
 
ponderingturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tarrytown, NY
Posts: 27,874
Originally Posted by Keerax View Post
My girlfriend and a friend of mine have both told me that they recently saw a program proclaiming new evidence of the Lucy fossil that disproves she could have possibly been a transitional fossil for humans. Could anyone provide links to this information or even corroborate it for me? I've tried searching google and even these forums but the only websites I've found saying so were all creationist websites and they'll obviously be denying anything that ties humans to apes.

Thanks in advance!
Is it that that particular branch of hominid did not lead to humanity or what?

There are certainly hominid branches that did not lead to humanity, but to conceder that as being debunked is a bit extreme as they where not generally being explicitly claimed to, but rather illustrate the process that arrived at humanity
__________________
Sufficiently advanced Woo is indistinguishable from Parody
"There shall be no *poofing* in science" Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
Force ***** on reasons back" Ben Franklin
ponderingturtle is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 06:40 AM   #20
ponderingturtle
Orthogonal Vector
 
ponderingturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tarrytown, NY
Posts: 27,874
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
On the idea that a fossil is a malformed specimen: Since the "privilege" of becoming a fossil is given on a random basis (happening to be in just the right place during the right conditions), we can assume that a given fossil is just as representative of its population than any randomly selected individual. In a naturally living population, malformed and otherwise divergent individuals are unlikely to survive for long, so it follows that any random specimen, and thus any fossil, is highly likely to be representative of its population. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that if we find just one fossil, a viable population of creatures like it must have existed. If we find two fossils of the same species, it becomes virtually certain that such a population has existed.

Hans
Depends. I don't think anyone is arguing that the bog people who where sacrificed where a random sample. When you get a society into it, some individuals might be much more likely to be preserved than others.
__________________
Sufficiently advanced Woo is indistinguishable from Parody
"There shall be no *poofing* in science" Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
Force ***** on reasons back" Ben Franklin
ponderingturtle is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 02:11 PM   #21
Keerax
Scholar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 64
My girlfriend can't remember where she heard it. My friend thought perhaps he'd seen it on the History Channel but can't remember when or what program.

I'm still not seeing anything credible, from searching myself and looking at what you've all posted here, that would make me think that Lucy wasn't what she's been claimed to be. I would think that anything definitive against Lucy would've been plastered everywhere by now.

I'm sticking with the Lucy is a transitional fossil camp until new evidence can convince me otherwise.
Keerax is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 02:35 PM   #22
hammegk
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 8,422
Originally Posted by articulett View Post
... The photos in side are sooo fantastic; there's this one where you can see her lying on her side with her little hand up by her face (as they found her) and it just pushed all the "mom buttons" in me--even though you can't help but notice the lower face protrudes in a somewhat chimp like fashion.
You must have a real fun time -- with all your mom buttons on high alert -- when visiting the bonobo cage at the zoo. Do chimps do it for you too?
hammegk is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 03:16 PM   #23
DeviousB
Critical Thinker
 
DeviousB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 374
Originally Posted by Keerax View Post
I'm still not seeing anything credible, from searching myself and looking at what you've all posted here, that would make me think that Lucy wasn't what she's been claimed to be. I would think that anything definitive against Lucy would've been plastered everywhere by now.

I'm sticking with the Lucy is a transitional fossil camp until new evidence can convince me otherwise.
Here's a good link from the Smithsonian.

Originally Posted by Smithsonian
The position of A. afarensis in the phylogeny of early humans is under debate. Many feel that it is ancestral to the east African "robust" early humans, and possibly to all robust forms. Additionally, A. afarensis is proposed as the ancestor to later Homo. Yet, research now suggests that A. africanus might be ancestral to later Homo.
Certainly until very recently, if not still, Lucy was considered an ancestor. This view hasn't been debunked, but may now have been discarded in light of evidence for a more likely candidate.
DeviousB is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 03:56 PM   #24
ponderingturtle
Orthogonal Vector
 
ponderingturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tarrytown, NY
Posts: 27,874
Originally Posted by Keerax View Post
My girlfriend can't remember where she heard it. My friend thought perhaps he'd seen it on the History Channel but can't remember when or what program.

I'm still not seeing anything credible, from searching myself and looking at what you've all posted here, that would make me think that Lucy wasn't what she's been claimed to be. I would think that anything definitive against Lucy would've been plastered everywhere by now.

I'm sticking with the Lucy is a transitional fossil camp until new evidence can convince me otherwise.
The current view is one of many hominid species with lucy belonging to one of them. If she is part of our ancestry or just a slightly different branch on the family tree is what is being debated.

This is not exactly debunked, that would fit more into her being like piltdown man and be a fake.
__________________
Sufficiently advanced Woo is indistinguishable from Parody
"There shall be no *poofing* in science" Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
Force ***** on reasons back" Ben Franklin
ponderingturtle is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2006, 04:07 PM   #25
JoeTheJuggler
Penultimate Amazing
 
JoeTheJuggler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 27,765
As mentioned, Lucy was just one of the first identified fossils of what we now call australopithecus afarensis. I suspect that the program your girlfriend saw may have been an anthropologist claiming that a. afarensis is not one of our ancestors, which may or may not be true and can be debated. I don't believe anyone has credibly challenged that the Lucy fossil is a genuine fossil or the dating or anything like that.

Debunking usually means someone was trying to pull off a hoax or something. In the course of science, ideas can be put forth, challenged, accepted and/or tossed aside. Only bunk can be debunked.

Last edited by JoeTheJuggler; 29th November 2006 at 04:12 PM. Reason: shortened
JoeTheJuggler is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 12:36 AM   #26
Windom
Scholar
 
Windom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Lithuania
Posts: 92
Hey, Lucy almost definitely isn't. Chances are she (and any other fossil we happened to find) is more like a cousin to our ancestors than a real ancestor.

references: Richard Dawkins, "Ancestor's Tale"
__________________
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin
Windom is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 02:13 AM   #27
DeviousB
Critical Thinker
 
DeviousB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 374
Originally Posted by Windom View Post
Chances are she (and any other fossil we happened to find) is more like a cousin to our ancestors than a real ancestor.

references: Richard Dawkins, "Ancestor's Tale"
Not that I condone quote mining, but...

"Anyone with an intelligent imagination should get the point from the undeniable fact that we animals are all cousins: it is the merest accident that the evolutionary intermediates happen to be extinct." -- Richard Dawkins.
DeviousB is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 07:11 AM   #28
VonNeumann
Muse
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 914
Originally Posted by DeviousB View Post
No, that's what creationists claim, even after it has been shown to be incorrect (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/knee-joint.html).

No, I would call it a fraud to pretend that Johansen is saying this when he isn't. It was wrong twenty years ago, it hasn't got 'more right' in the intervening period.
Okay, I didn't search very deep. Thanks for the link.
VonNeumann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 07:16 AM   #29
VonNeumann
Muse
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 914
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
The origin of the message would certainly make me wary of the messenger. However, it is reading the message that makes me likely to dismiss it:



I think this sort of sets the style. Can anybody give me a good reason to read on?

Hans
You quoted something above, that they said, regarding what Johanson said. Could you say what specifically got your goat? Was it where Johanson said paleoanthropology is one of the more "tentative" branches of science?
VonNeumann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 10:58 AM   #30
DeviousB
Critical Thinker
 
DeviousB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 374
Originally Posted by VonNeumann View Post
You quoted something above, that they said, regarding what Johanson said. Could you say what specifically got your goat? Was it where Johanson said paleoanthropology is one of the more "tentative" branches of science?
Well, he is actually reported as saying that all science is tentative, and paleoanthropology is more tentative than most.

1) Given the propensity for quote-mining in anti-evolution literature, I'd like to see a full transcript.

2) What he said is true. Paleoanthropology is based on a proportionally smaller number of data that Paleontology as a whole. The same is also true of anyone specialising in a particular group or family's transitional forms.

The article is not intended to be an even evaluation of the lecture or lecturer. The transitional nature of the fossil is dismissed ("Lucy's femur and pelvis, he claims, were more robust than most chimps, indicating she 'could have walked upright.' Come now, I 'could have been' president of IBM."), despite - or perhaps because - it being just what creationists have been asking for. The Leaky's finds are consistently referred to as 'chimps' (clearly they are not), an a priori rejection of evidence. Strawman arguments abound ("And chickens walk upright, but this does not seem to help them sire humans.", "[T]he Budweiser Clydesdale horses have considerably more robust skeletons than do Arabians. But, no one argues that this improves the odds of Clydesdales giving birth to elephants!"), as do logical errors of every hue. The (oft-still) repeated quote from Colin Patterson is trotted out (perhaps excuseable in a 1987 publication), though Patterson made it abundantly clear in his 1999 book Evolution (2nd Ed.) that he did not support YEC or a separate ancestry for humans and apes, and that molecular homology could, when properly evaluated, support inferences about common ancestry. He also criticised creationists willingness to quote out of context in lieu of any evidence.
DeviousB is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 12:58 PM   #31
Tanstaafl
Unindicted Co-conspirator
 
Tanstaafl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 5,630
Originally Posted by Windom View Post
Hey, Lucy almost definitely isn't. Chances are she (and any other fossil we happened to find) is more like a cousin to our ancestors than a real ancestor.

references: Richard Dawkins, "Ancestor's Tale"
I think all anyone means by "ancestor" is that she is (or might be) one individual of a species which is ancestral to modern humans. Not that she as an individual is an ancestor.

Assuming I interpreted your post correctly.
__________________
To forgive is human, to condemn for eternity is divine. -- AudioFreak
Truth is where evidence comes from, not where belief leads to. --yy2bggggs

Expelled exposed!
Sylvia Browne
Tanstaafl is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 01:17 PM   #32
KingMerv00
Penultimate Amazing
 
KingMerv00's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Philadelphia, PA...USA
Posts: 14,487
Originally Posted by Meri View Post
My roommate my freshman year of college had been told the same thing, except she still believed it. She'd been told that Lucy was a fraud, and I think for some reason believed the skeleton was made of chicken bones.
Heh yea...a chicken with big frickin arms and specialized teeth:

__________________
If man came from dust, why is there still dust?
KingMerv00 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 01:26 PM   #33
CurtC
Illuminator
 
CurtC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 4,769
Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
There are certainly hominid branches that did not lead to humanity, but to conceder that as being debunked is a bit extreme as they where not generally being explicitly claimed to, but rather illustrate the process that arrived at humanity
This whole thread just shows how easy it is to confuse laymen like Keerax's friends, who are not educated in the science. The fact that there were small evolutionary dead-ends on the path to how we got here, such as the Neanderthals apparently were, and how Lucy might have been, is a little more subtle, but does not detract from the fact that the fossils are solid evidence that the big-picture transition occurred.

It's closely related to Kent Hovind's argument that no fossil of anything is evidence for evolution, because there is no evidence that any particular fossil had offspring. Of course, now he's having to make that argument from behind bars.
CurtC is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 01:40 PM   #34
The Central Scrutinizer
Penultimate Amazing
 
The Central Scrutinizer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: The White Zone
Posts: 45,656
Originally Posted by bjb View Post
I also thought Lucy was an evolutionary dead-end and not an ancestor of modern humans.
Not that I am aware of. If I remember my studies correctly, Lucy was a member of Australopithicus afarensis, which is most certainly a descendant of modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens), at least as far as we currently know.

And as to the thread title, Lucy is not "bunk", therefore she cannot be "debunked".
__________________
If I see somebody with a gun on a plane? I'll kill him.

Lupus is Lupus tor central scrutineezer
The Central Scrutinizer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 02:43 PM   #35
Meri
Muse
 
Meri's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Boston
Posts: 692
Originally Posted by KingMerv00 View Post
Heh yea...a chicken with big frickin arms and specialized teeth:
Well, she was well drilled in creationist nonsense, but not very good at basic observation.
__________________
It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.
--Good Omens
Meri is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 02:46 PM   #36
Marc L
Thread Killer
 
Marc L's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,743
Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Lucy was a member of Australopithicus afarensis, which is most certainly a descendant of modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens), at least as far as we currently know.
I think you meant ancestor. To my knowledge, we don't have any descendants, yet.

Marc
__________________
Yes I am out of my mind, and it'll be so much more fun once you join me---Mrs. L
Marc L is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 02:51 PM   #37
KingMerv00
Penultimate Amazing
 
KingMerv00's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Philadelphia, PA...USA
Posts: 14,487
Originally Posted by Meri View Post
Well, she was well drilled in creationist nonsense, but not very good at basic observation.
No need for the redundancy.
__________________
If man came from dust, why is there still dust?
KingMerv00 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 02:51 PM   #38
crackers
Muse
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 727
Originally Posted by Marc L View Post
I think you meant ancestor. To my knowledge, we don't have any descendants, yet.

Marc

You don't have any descendants? I thought the cute little kid in your avatar was your daughter.
crackers is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 03:09 PM   #39
Marc L
Thread Killer
 
Marc L's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,743
Originally Posted by crackers View Post
You don't have any descendants? I thought the cute little kid in your avatar was your daughter.
I meant as a species, Mr. Smarty-Pants.

Marc
__________________
Yes I am out of my mind, and it'll be so much more fun once you join me---Mrs. L
Marc L is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th November 2006, 03:16 PM   #40
bjb
Graduate Poster
 
bjb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,079
Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Not that I am aware of. If I remember my studies correctly, Lucy was a member of Australopithicus afarensis, which is most certainly a descendant of modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens), at least as far as we currently know.
The problem with remembering your studies is that knowlege keeps changing, but our memory of our studies does not. I also learned that Lucy was our ancestor but that was a long time ago and today, not all scientists agree with this idea any more:

http://www.hypography.com/article.cfm?id=30437


"We've always assumed Lucy was our ancestor, and now we need to re-evaluate that idea,'' Frank Brown, a University of Utah geologist who helped date the site.

http://www.caller2.com/2001/march/22...nal/20928.html

Scientists have discovered a 3.5 million-year-old skull in Kenya that might force them to rewrite the anthropology textbooks and drop the fossil nicknamed "Lucy" from the line of human ancestors.


http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...7/ai_n14365879

They believe that Millennium Man - whose scientific name has still to be announced - is both older and "more human-like" than "Lucy", the famous ape-like hominid discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 and estimated to be 3 million years old.

However, finding a hominid creature that is twice as old and probably even more "human" than Lucy suggests that, if anything, Lucy was a mere side-show, an evolutionary "dead end" who has no direct descendants living today.

These aren't quotes from creationist websites. There are real scientists who are re-evaluating whether or not Lucy is our direct ancestor.

I honestly don't understand why skeptics are having such a hard time with this. There must always be branches and dead-ends in any evolutionary family tree. So what if Lucy turns out to be a dead-end? This only means our true ancestor is out there somewhere. Maybe Millenium Man is that ancestor, I really don't know. But holding on 100% to Lucy despite contradictory evidence is something I would not have expected from skeptics.
bjb is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

JREF Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:42 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2001-2013, James Randi Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.