Holy smokes! Apparently evolution has been entirely debunked by a new Nature paper that shows evidence that Homo habilis and Homo erectus lived, at least for a bit, at the same time. The media, always looking for a hook, has burped up titles like “Evolution theory challenged,” and those inclined towards creationism have already jumped on the news reports. For those of you who have a subscription, the new paper “Implications of new early Homo fossils from Ileret, east of Lake Turkana, Kenya” by Spoor, et al. is up online, and a popular summary of the work (and it’s implications) is available as well. Even though I have a pile of posts that are begging for completion, given the amount of attention this story has been getting I’ll write up my own thoughts on it tonight, but in the meantime you can check out some of the responses of those who oppose evolution, based on the popular press reports (not one of them, as far as I can tell, has actually read the research).
Life Under the Blue Sky – When Will Science Make Up It’s Mind? Or, What Would Richard Say?
Life Under the Blue Sky – A Brilliant Scientist Linked to My Blog
Tattered Bits of Brain – Evolutionary Theory Takes Another Hit
J’s Cafe Nette – Gee, Do Ya Think God Really Did Create Man and We Didn’t Evolve?
Fancied Freedom – The evolution of human beings continue to evolve
There are, of course, some more reasonable responses out there, like;
Archie’s Archive – Intelligent Design Begins to Bray, Again
John Hawks Anthropology Weblog – Man Bites Dog
John Hawks and Afarensis can probably do a much better job than I can when it comes to the overall significance of the new paper, but from everything I’ve seen so far it’s not a “death blow” to evolution. The stereotyped notion of the “March of Progress” has been known to be incorrect for some time, yet creationists and ID advocates continue to keep bringing it up as if it were the #1 scientific hypothesis for human origins. For people so concerned with how incorrect evolution is, I’m surprised (well, not really) that they can’t even be bothered to pick up a copy of this edition of Nature on the newsstand or pop over to read the abstract or news summary on the journal’s web page. No, the popular press spits out of few short summaries with seemingly provocative titles and overnight the whole of evolutionary science is disproved, or at least that’s what some of the aforementioned bloggers would have us believe. Rather than say “Hmm, this is really interesting. I wonder what this means?” and putting forth their own ideas, they seem content to sit back, quote Scripture, and say “See! I was right! Case closed!” I’ll leave it up to you which is the more enlightened response to new ideas.
Update: Some of the Scienceblogs folks are starting to chime in (you’ll have to wait for my take on the subject until I get home and get my hands on some books to put the straight-line evolution model in context);
Evolutionblog – New Hominid Fossils Reported
Pharyngula – Two New Homo Fossils
The Questionable Authority – New Fossils and Our Understanding of Human Evolution